Ports

Excursion Focus: Barefoot Beach Cabanas at Labadee

In:
13Sep2011

Barefoot Beach Club at Labadee is a private beach enclave for those staying in a suite or those who pay their way in. Barefoot Beach is available to guests staying in a suite onboard their Royal Caribbean cruise. Once inside the walled off area, suite guests may use chairs and water toys included with the beach.

Barefoot Beach also features private cabanas you can rent for the day that include a number of amenities such as

  • bottled water
  • Snorkel gear
  • Water floating mats
  • Beach chairs
  • Private buffet access
  • Golf cart service to anywhere on Labadee

The cost of a cabana is $150 and is good for up to 6 people per cabana. Suite guests receive first chance to book the cabanas but anyone may book a cabana by simply showing up to the Barefoot Beach entrance and inquiring about availability.

While the name of the beach infers a nice sandy beach, the sand in the water is just as rocky as the rest of the beaches in Labadee and water shoes are a good investment. The secluded nature of the beach makes up for it and it's nice to not worry about a crowded water area.

Barefoot Beach also swaps out the regular stream of Royal Caribbean waiters trying to sell you alcoholic drinks, chairs or other goods in favor of attendants who can provide you with whatever you need upon request. While it was nice to not hear the regular calls for drinks, the staff were sure to remind us they work on tips each time we purchased a drink.

In terms of value, it's a bit more expensive than other excursions where you can book a cabana on other islands, especially when you consider alcohol is not included in the cost. There are definitely better deals on cabanas on other islands, so if your budget calls for only one extravagant beach day, Barefoot Beach probably isnt the best choice. However, if cost isn't the only factor then the cabanas at Barefoot Beach can be a nice choice.

If you want to pamper yourself and escape the crowds, a cabana is a great investment. For two people, the price is a little steep but if you have 4-6 people in your group, the cost makes more sense, especially for those who were planning on snorkeling or renting a mat to float on. At the end of the day, the cabanas at Barefoot Beach are a perk that is a great choice if you have the money to spare.

Alicante, Spain busy with Royal Caribbean cruises this week

In:
03Sep2011

The Port of Alicante, Spain this week has received more than four thousand tourists arriving on board the biggest cruise ship that sailed the Mediterranean Royal Caribbean's Independence of the Seas. Independence of the Seas arrived at 8 am and departed at 4.30pm on Monday.

After just a few hours there were no shortage of visitors to Santa Barbara Castle and the Old City. According to the cruise line, these are along with the beach, are the great attractions of Alicante. Some charms, together with the short time of docking, the majority opted to stay in the passage in the city.  

The activity around a cruise begins early to use the time in port at 8.30am, where cruise ships dock, was already a hive. Nine buses, three of them bound for Benidorm for being the most requested tour and the rest to other parts of the province as Novelda, Elche, Guadalest and the Fuentes del Algar, waiting for the tourists to drop ship. Royal Caribbean explained that prices of the tours range from 19 euros it costs to transfer by bus to Benidorm to 35 or 45 euros for those who leave the other tours. 

"We've never been to Benidorm, but we hear it's beautiful," said Jean and Ray, a married Australian who traveled to the English port of Southampton to climb aboard this floating hotel.  

But "most people will visit for free the city and especially to the beach," said Coralia Leopea, responsible for Royal Caribbean's excursions. Hence the line of tourists can be seen walking along the pier throughout the day and the constant trips that a shuttle bus between the boat and access to the port to avoid the long ride cruisers without shade. 

Port Canaveral's new cruise terminal will be able to handle Oasis class ships

In:
27Aug2011

Port Canaveral, Florida is celebrating the start of construction of a new cruise terminal with a scheduled completion date of July 2012.  The new terminal should be large enough to handle any cruise ship in the world, including Royal Caribbean's behemoth Genesis class ships such as Oasis and Allure of the Seas.

Port Canaveral Port Authority Chief Executive Officer J. Stanley Payne says the new Terminal 6 dock will be large enough to accommodate "the absolute largest cruise ships in the world," including Royal Caribbean's 6,200-passenger, Genesis-class ships.

Currently Royal Caribbean's Freedom of the Seas is home ported in Port Canaveral, which was the largest passenger ship ever built (by gross tonnage) from 2006 until construction of Oasis of the Seas, so large ships are something Port Canaveral can handle.

Royal Caribbean worried Australia's cruise ports could reach capacity by 2013

In:
25Aug2011

Royal Caribbean is planning on sending more ships to Australia, but the company has concerns that the Australian ports could become overwhelmed by demand in the very near future.

Royal Caribbean feels that if a new terminal in Sydney, Australia isn't built soon, the port will reach capacity in 2013.  Australia is enjoying increasing demand and the market for cruises is expanding so quickly that the facilities in place today will not be able to keep up with the increasing number of large cruise ships entering Sydney harbor.

Royal Caribbean's Australian managing director Gavin Smith released a statement that covers the growing concern, "We have a good situation that needs attention before becoming a problem."

Royal Caribbean wants the New South Wales government to reconsider the $60 million allocated by the previous Labor government to build a new terminal in White Bay, in Sydney's inner west.

Smith continued, "Our view is $60 million is a considerable amount of money to invest in a permanent terminal west of the Harbour Bridge that most ships calling into Sydney in the future won't be able to use.  It would be more prudent and viable to redeploy a large part of the funding towards a terminal (east of the bridge) the whole industry can use"

Royal Caribbean has a good reason to be concerned, given their announcement that they will quadruple the amount of guests they will handle over the next few cruise seasons.

Independence of the Seas will stop in Galicia, Spain next month

In:
22Aug2011

Officials of the Port Authority Ferrol-San Cibrao have confirmed that, as initially announced, Royal Caribbean's Independence of the Seas will return to the city of Galicia  on September 26 after docking for the first time on April 25.

The arrival of Independence of the Seas will, as happened in the time before a flood of tourists in just a few hours. This giant cruise ship usually bring more than 4,000 passengers on board, in addition to the compliment of crew members that can also descend upon the city

The September 26th is a Monday, so travelers will find all the retail and hospitality of the city open, which will make their shopping more comfortably than the previous occasion, which fell on a holiday.  This will also be an opportunity to give the tourists a good idea of what the city is really like. 

Cruise passenger traffic up at Port Everglades 2.4%

In:
18Aug2011

Port Everglades, home to Royal Caribbean's Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas, saw its cruise passenger numbers jump 2.4% up in the third quarter compared to the same period last year.

Port Everglades Director Phil Allen is happy about the results, “These trends show the resilience of the nation’s cruise market and the importance of the cruise industry to South Florida.  In a tough economy, cruising offers guests affordable vacationing options."

Jamaica Labor Party blasts Falmouth for slow development

In:
18Aug2011

Senator Dennis Meadows of Jamaica's Labor Party lashed out over the lack of development in Falmouth, Jamaica since the port opened to cruises in February 2011.  Falmouth's cruise port is a $7.5 billion endeavor that is a partnership between Jamaica and Royal Caribbean.

"The apparent abandonment of the town since the opening of the cruise ship pier demonstrates the perceived lack of commitment on the part of various government agencies in sustaining the focus on the development of Falmouth."

According to Meadows, businesses in Falmouth have experienced up to a 50 percent fall-off in their revenues since the implementation of the traffic management system in February.

When Falmouth was being planned, there were several projects that were to be included in the finished product including an artisan village, municipal market, and a transport center.

Meadows went on to claim that the people of Falmouth were feeling a sense of abandonment and urged the government agencies in the area to make plans to finish development of the area.

"There is a pervasive sense that the people are subjects of Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines which seem to be the primary focus and the sole beneficiary of the development that has so far taken place, and this is unsustainable."

Dubai becoming a cruise line boom

In:
Category: 
16Aug2011

Dubai has only been a cruise destination since the opening of its cruise terminal in July 2010 but already it's popularity continues to grow.

Royal Caribbean's General Manager for the UK and Ireland, Jo Rzymowska, sees the growth potential for cruises in and out of Dubai, "Dubai is really starting to boom on the cruising map - more than 325,000 people passed through the Cruise Terminal in 2010 and this is set to increase in 2011.”

Royal Caribbean should know exactly how well Dubai has been performing considering it's one of two cruise lines to home-port a ship in the Middle Eastern city.  

Dubai has been popular with Europeans, especially those in the UK, “Brilliance of the Seas is returning to Dubai in November 2011, two months earlier than her season in 2010, due to a really successful response to the Middle East cruises from UK travellers.”

Busan sees money in Legend of the Seas cruise stops

In:
14Aug2011

Royal Caribbean's Legend of the Seas makes stops in Busan, South Korea and that has meant a lot of money for the city. How much money?  Well, of the 1,800 passengers onboard the ship, all but 250 were foreign tourists and each foreign tourist represents on average $140 to $180.  That comes out to an economic impact for each ship stop of about $267,000.

Lee Gap-jun, head of Busan’s culture and tourism department talks about the value of cruise passengers, "According to research from the Korea Maritime Institute, the added value of one cruise ship passenger is equivalent to that of exporting one container box.  If there’s a constant increase in cruise ships entering the port of Busan, it will translate into economic growth for the city of Busan.”

Thanks to Busan's success, other South Korean cities are competing now to attract ships like Legend of the Seas, including Incheon, Jeju and Yeosu.

Falmouth helps propel Jamaica into top 10 fastest-growing cruise destination

In:
14Aug2011

Jamaica is back in the top-10 fastest-growing cruise destinations in the region after not making the list for the last five years.  Jamaica posted double-digit growth between January and May 2011, growth that has coincided with the opening of the Falmouth cruise port in February of this year.

Since February, Falmouth has seen nearly 181,650 passengers and 65,400 crew arrive which translates to generating $15.8 million in passenger expenditure.  

Falmouth was developed by the Port Authority of Jamaica in partnership with Royal Caribbean Cruise Limited (RCCL), whose investments were estimated at $167 million and $102 million, respectively.  Royal Caribbean has promised to send eight million cruise passengers over the next 8 years into Falmouth.

Ahead of Jamaica is St Maarten with 21.5% growth, followed by the Bahamas at 16% and Jamaica in third with 12.6%.

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