25 tips for a great day at Royal Caribbean's Labadee
Royal Caribbean's private destination of Labadee in Haiti has been a popular cruise destination for many years, and whether you are planning a day for the first time or fifteenth time, it seems like there is so much to see and do.
We decided to share our top tips for the best things to see, do, eat, and explore on Labadee.
1. Labadee is quite beautiful when you see it in person and via photos, but underneath that gorgeous blue water are some rocks. You should consider buying water shoes to use in Labadee (and other beach stops during your cruise). Water shoes are easy to pack, fairly inexpensive, and make exploring the underwater world of Labadee super easy. It also makes getting around Labadee, both on land and in the water, simpler and easier.
For adults, try the Aleader brand water shoes for men and women because not only do they protect your feet, they also do not look like typical water shoes. For the kids, try the Northside Brille II Water Shoe for girls and the Aleader Boys Water Shoes.
2. There is no need to worry about being hungry on Labadee, because Royal Caribbean provides lunch on the island at three different locations. Lunch on Labadee consists of salads, burgers, hot dogs, chicken and more freshly prepared food. Lunch begins serving at 11:00am.
3. Just like onboard your Royal Caribbean ship, the SeaPass card is the primary method of purchasing things on Labadee. The only exception are the craft markets, where locals sell items to you. It is probably a good idea to bring a little bit of cash with you, but your SeaPass card works in most places too.
4. The premier attraction in Labadee is the Dragon's Breath Flight Line. From the mountaintop launch point, guests glide down the zip line over the ocean at speeds of 40 to 50 mph. It is not just a fun thrill, but also provides the best view of Labadee available.
5. If you are interested in having some extra privacy, or cushier accommodations in Labadee, then you should consider renting a cabana or beach bungalow. Each provides a secluded spot for you and your family to enjoy. Guests can reserve a cabana or beach bungalow before their cruise, by visiting Royal Caribbean's Cruise Planner. They can also be rented once onboard the ship, but they tend to rent quickly.
6. If cabanas or bungalows are a bit out of your price range, beach beds and beach loungers are two inexpensive rental options that also provide a more comfortable day in Labadee.
7. If you are looking for a bit of nature, be sure to check out the nature trails, located throughout Labadee. Labadee has a lot of natural beauty to behold and walking around will give you a good sense of the layout of the beaches as well as an appreciation for the natural wonders. Be sure to bring your camera.
8. Columbus Cove is the least crowded beach in Labadee, but can be a far walk to get to. Look for a complimentary ferry ride that takes guests from the dock that your cruise ship is docked at, and brings you right to Columbus Cove. Not only is it quick and convenient, but it provides a beautiful view of Labadee.
9. If you need to get around Labadee without walking, Royal Caribbean provides a complimentary shuttle service that takes guests all along the middle of Labadee. There are clearly marked tram stations, where you can grab the next shuttle.
10. Young children may find a lot of fun at the Adventure Ocean Oasis, located roughly in the middle of Adrenaline Beach. This is a splash pad area, with fountains, geysers, and buckets of water spraying everywhere. It can be the perfect spot for children to play, and for you to cool off.
11. Speaking of Adventure Ocean, Royal Caribbean's award-winning children's programming, Adventure Ocean, will be open while the ship is docked in Labadee. This can be a great option for adults who want to take in an excursion, but need supervision for their children.
12. Your Royal Caribbean drink packages will work while in Labadee, just like they do onboard the ship.
13. Kids (and those young at heart) will gravitate towards Arawak Aqua Park, which is an aqua park in Columbus Cove. There, you will find floating trampolines, pyramids and water slides.
14. There is also the Dragon's Splash Waterslide located nearby to the Aqua park and features a 300-foot slide that drops you into a 18-foot splash zone.
15. Royal Caribbean provides two major spots to do some shopping in Labadee: the Artisan Market and the Artisan Village. The Market is more of a store, with pre-set prices and offering hand-made goods. The Village is more of an open air market, where guests are expected to haggle with the vendors. Keep in mind that both places take cash only.
16. A day in Labadee offers a lot, but you will want to pack water resistant sunscreen, hats and sunglasses for a day in Labadee. You may also consider bringing your camera, beach toys, and other fun options. If you forget something in your stateroom, you can always go back and get it!
Consumer Reports recommends two sunscreens that are great for use at the beach. If you prefer a lotion, try the Coppertone Water Babies SPF 50. If spray sunscreen is more your style, the Neutrogena Beach Defense Water + Sun Protection SPF 70 received high marks.
17. Barefoot Beach is reserved for guests residing in Grand Suites and above. It is an exclusive perk for suite guests, and the only area in Labadee where all guests cannot go. If you happen to be staying in a suite, Barefoot Beach is a great choice for the smaller crowds. Plus, there is an exclusive lunch buffet reserved just for suite guests.
18. Labadee itself has an interesting past. It was named after the marquis de La Badie, a Frenchman who first settled the area in the 17th century. The peninsula was named Labadie, although Royal Caribbean spells it "Labadee" to make it easier for English-speakers to pronounce.
19. There is a swim-up bar at Adrenaline Beach, where guests can wade through the ocean to the bar, climb up and order and enjoy a drink.
20. If you are looking for other fun excursions in Labadee, consider parasailing, renting a jet ski, deep sea fishing, or even taking a ride on the alpine coaster. All can be reserved prior to your cruise, via the Cruise Planner.
21. The official drink of Labadee is a Labadoozie. It is a fruit concoction, that is served with rum. You can order them without rum as a cold treat for kids.
22. Royal Caribbean added in 2016 a DreamWorks photo safari excursion, which might be a great family activity on Labadee. There are two excursions to choose from, both of which include a DreamWorks photo safari for kids to enjoy.
23. A good way to stay hydrated is to bring bottled water with you to Labadee. There are water fountains around Labadee, but the convenience of having water bottles is a great perk. Bottled water is included with the Deluxe and Refreshment packages.
24. There are not many of them, but towards the interior of Labadee you can find hammocks to enjoy. Go early if you want to grab one.
25. Read the Labadee map before you arrive to get a basic understanding of where things are located, how to get to the area you want, and get a good understanding of what is available in Labadee. All too often, we spot guests arriving in Labadee that are unaware of where things are located.