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Labadee, Haiti Do's and Don'ts at Royal Caribbean's private beach

28 May 2022

Labadee, Royal Caribbean's original private destination, remains a family-favorite place for a great beach day. 

Packed with different beaches to choose from, thrill attractions, and even a few shore excursions, you will find lots to enjoy about this private peninsula in Haiti.

It's one of the most popular stops on Royal Caribbean's Caribbean cruises, and for good reason - Labadee has something for everyone.

From zip lines to parasailing to luxury cabana retnals, there's no shortage of things to do in this tropical paradise.

If you want to make the most of your visit, here are some Labadee tips to share from my many visits.

Do prebook a cabana

After I rented my first cabnana at Labadee, I have never been able to go back without having one because it was that impressive.

Guests visiting Labadee are able to take rent cabanas at Nellie's Beach or Barefoot Beach (suite guests only).

These cabanas provide privacy, shade, personalized service and even transportation around Labadee.

For families or groups, a cabana rental can make a lot of sense for the convenience it provides, along with the great amenities.

If you do want a cabana, be sure to prebook it. Cabana rentals go very fast, and they almost always sell out months or weeks before a cruise. Your best bet is to log into Royal Caribbean's site and reserve one so that you can ensure your family has it for when you arrive.

Do find the right beach

There are five beaches at Labadee, so it is a good idea to figure out which one you want to visit before you step off the ship.

Depending on if you want to be close to the ship, want the prettiest water, or want the best views, there can be a few good choices to consider.

If you are a suite guest, your choice is simple: Barefoot Beach. This is a suites-only beach area and the place to go for anyone who has a suite cabin on the ship.

Families usually like to go between Columbus Cove or Adrenaline Beach for the views and open water. 

Nellie's Beach is a quieter cove which can get busy as the day goes on, but also offers cabanas to rent.

Which beach you pick can depend on a lot of factors, especially what time you arrive at the beach.  Crowds will build as the day progresses and most guests tend to fill spots closest to the dock first, extending out towards Adrenaline Beach and Columbus Cove. 

Regardless of which beach you end up going to, you should bring some cash with you for tips.  Chairs are complimentary, but there are locals on Labadee who will help you set them up and it is customary to provide a tip for the assistance.

There is a complimentary ferry at the pier that will take you directly to Columbus Cove to save time.

Don’t forget your Seapass Card

Just like any port you visit, you will need your SeaPass card to disembark and for use on the island.

Just like on the ship, your SeaPass card is what you will need for most transactions on the island. 

You can use it to order drinks, and gain access to certain activities. If you end up booking a tour or rent snorkel equipment, you will need it for that too.

Make sure you have everyone's card before you leave your stateroom.

Don't forget cash

While Royal Caribbean takes your SeaPass card on Labadee, many Haitians work on the island too, and they only take cash.

You will need cash for two things: tipping and souvenirs.

You will find helpful locals on Labadee to set up chairs and umbrellas for you, and even re-arrange them to suit your needs. While there is no cost for their services, a tip is expected.

In addition, there is an artisan market you can browse, along with crafts available to purchase at different spots. The Haitians working there cannot take your SeaPass card, so bring a few dollars with you rather than having to trek back to the ship to get some later.

Don't be afraid to say no in the Artisan market

The Artisan market is an open-air place to buy crafts and other hand made souvenirs.

While the people who sell their wares here are friendly enough, they are not passive artisans either. They are salesmen and women, so and will try their best to lock in a sale.

There is nothing wrong with browsing, but it is okay to say "no thank you"  if something is not of interest. These storekeepers are proud of the work they have done, and will want to sell you something if they can, but they will respect if it is clear you are not interested.

Don't forget to take advantage of your drink package

The Royal Caribbean drink package benefits you purchased for your cruise ship work at Labadee as well.

This means if you have the Deluxe Beverage Package, you can enjoy unlimited alcoholic beverages, along with bottled water, sodas and more. Likewise, the Royal Refreshment and Soda Package benefits also work on Labadee.

Just give your SeaPass card to any waiter or bartender while ordering, and you can enjoy the same sort of drinks as onboard.

Keep in mind that the island's drink selection may be more limited than on the ship, but they usually have a good assortment of favorites.

You should also be aware drinks served in souvenir cups and/or fruits (i.e. pineapples) are not included with the drink package, although you can get a discount on them.

Don't miss the floating bar

A fun new addition to Labadee is the floating bar on Adrenaline Beach.

You can swim up to the floating bar and climb aboard for a seat anywhere around circular bar.

The floating bar is located underneath the zip line, which should provide for some fun views as guests enjoy a beverage at the bar.

And yes, your drink package benefits work here as well.

Don't forget your water shoes

I generally do not think water shoes are necessary at beaches in the Caribbean, but Labadee's beaches can be tough.

While there is plenty of sand, rocks on the ocean floor are not uncommon and it is somewhere where you might consider getting a pair of water shoes.

In addition, the paved walkways and even that white sand can get very hot in the afternoon.

Don't be scared of the zip line

The star attraction at Labadee is the Dragon's Breath zip line, which is a 2,800 foot zip line over the ocean that takes guests across the span of Labadee. 

It is not cheap ($95 per guest at last check), but it delivers some really impressive views down one of the longest zip lines over the ocean in the world.

Weather permitting, you will have the choice of a traditional zip line ride down, or a head first Furious Flyer zipline. 

Do go to suites only beach

If you have a Grand Suite or better while on your ship, you absolutely want to plan your day around spending time at the suites-only area known as Barefoot Beach.

It is located on the south side of the island and is a relatively smaller beach, compared to Adrenaline Beach and is more of a cove in shape.

Crowds on Barefoot Beach are not as prevalent as other areas of Labadee due to its exclusivity.

If you want to reserve a cabana at Barefoot Beach, contact your suite concierge. Your best bet is to email your suite concierge in the days before your cruise departs after you receive the welcome email from him/her.

Don't miss the nature trails

It took me quite a few visits before I forced myself to walk down one of the nature trails, and it was so worth it!

When you get off the pier, there are a few walking trails to your left, and it provides nice views around Labadee.

It is probably a good idea to tackle the trails early in the day before the major heat hits in the afternoon.

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First look: Royal Caribbean returns to Labadee

27 Jan 2022

For the first time since the cruise industry shutdown of 2020, Royal Caribbean returned to its private destination in Haiti at Labadee.

Royal Caribbean's Harmony of the Seas visited Labadee on Thursday, and is the first ship to stop there since early 2020.

While Royal Caribbean's other private destination of Perfect Day at CocoCay was one of the first places cruise ships visited when the restart began in 2021, Labadee had yet to see a ship visit.

Up until today, scheduled visits to Labadee have been routinely cancelled and replaced with visits to other ports.

RoyalCaribbeanBlog readers Colby Burnett and Michael Krieger shared photos from their visit today.

With today's visit, it appears Royal Caribbean is once again prepared to return with regular visits.

It's not clear what prevented Royal Caribbean from sending ships to Labdee up until now, but the good news for cruise fans is the private paradise is open again.

Labadee is a 260-acre private destination that Royal Caribbean has operated since 1986, and was visited by both Royal Caribbean International and Celebrity Cruises ships.


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Spotted: Is Labadee closer to reopening?

16 Jan 2022

The rumor mill has been swirling lately with the unconfirmed possibility that Royal Caribbean's other private destination may reopen.

Royal Caribbean Blog - Unofficial blog about Royal Caribbean cruises

Labadee, a private destination in northwest Haiti, has been shutdown since cruises stopped in 2020. While Perfect Day at Cococay has reopened, Labadee has not and there has not been a great deal of detail as to why or when it might resume.

Up until now, scheduled visits to Labadee have been routinely cancelled and replaced with visits to other ports.

There are two new pieces of very circumstantial evidence that point to Labadee possibly welcoming guests back again sooner than later.

Friday Photos | Royal Caribbean Blog

First, Harmony of the Seas is scheduled to visit there next week when she sails on January 23, 2022. 

According to the Royal Caribbean app, Harmony is scheduled to visit Labadee on Day 5 of the sailing during her 5-night Western Caribbean cruise.

Of course, itineraries can change at any time.

Someone also shared a post on Facebook, claiming that the visit to Labadee is scheduled and that a "test cruise" is headed there on January 27th.

The other thing we spotted is Royal Caribbean is actively hiring for Labadee, posting on social media an opening for a Shore Excursions Manager to work in Labadee.

Royal Caribbean has made no announcement either way about Labadee reopening or not. 

Thus far, the only public comments have been made in emails to guests on booked sailings that have had to have their itinerary revised.

Labadee is a 260-acre private destination that Royal Caribbean has operated since 1986, and was visited by both Royal Caribbean International and Celebrity Cruises ships.

Challenges for Labadee

Labadee Guide & Tips | Royal Caribbean Blog

The exact reason why Royal Caribbean has not resumed visiting Labadee is not entirely clear.

Haiti has dealt with the assassination of its president, as well as a major earthquake.

The U.S. State Department lists Haiti as having a level 4 warning not to visit, which is the highest level of warning to avoid travel.

Should you expect cruises to visit Labadee?

Anthem of the Seas Live Blog - Day 7 - Labadee | Royal Caribbean Blog

It's still too early to tell what to expect for Labadee and when ships will visit there again.

Certainly ancillary evidence after months of little to no updates or information is a step in the right direction, but we still lack Royal Caribbean's confirmation.

For now, we will keep an eye on the situation and share any updates if the situation changes.

Anthem of the Seas Live Blog - Day 7 - Labadee

11 Jul 2019

Our final port stop on this sailing brings us to Royal Caribbean's private destination of Labadee.

I have been to Labadee on numerous occasions, and I have always enjoyed my visits for the natural beauty of this corner of Haiti.

The ship was cleared to begin disembarkation around 9:30am, and I think we walked off the ship at around 10am. 

Prior to the cruise, I had reserved an over the water cabana.  For many years, I have booked cabanas at Labadee because I think it is a terrific value for a family. I love having our own little "refuge" from the elements, personalized service and prime napping spot. 

On this particular visit, we reserved a cabana at Nellie's Beach and it was exactly what we wanted.

The weather today was excellent. It was hot, and less oppressively humid as it was in San Juan yesterday. Moreover, there was more sunshine than clouds. This is the right equation for a day at the beach.

Throughout the day I also noticed some smaller enhancements that I did not recall seeing on past trips. Primarily seating areas along the paths.

Our day in Labadee went by quickly, and around 3pm or so we decided to head back to the ship. 

Back onboard, we showered and napped. The Captain said our weather for the return to Bayonne looks great.

We headed back to the main dining room for dinner, and the wait staff provided another excellent meal.  The service in the dining room is certainly in the upper echelon that I have encountered in recent memory.

After dinner we went to Two70 to see the Vistarama show, however, they played a virtual concert featuring Santa Fe & The Fat City Horns. I asked one of the tech guys and he indicated this was one of the dozen or so Vistarama shows they have, but I think everyone in Two70 was hoping for something else. 

Instead, we headed over to the pub for singalongs.  It was jam packed in the pub, as I think by now the word is out about the talent of the pub singer.

Tomorrow is a sea day.

Spotted: Furious Flyer ZipLine excursion in Labadee

01 Aug 2018

Royal Caribbean is now offering a new type of zipline experience at its private destination of Labadee.

The Furious Flyer Zipline has popped up as an excursion to reserve prior to a Royal Caribbean sailing that offers guests a tandem zip line course to experience. Royal Caribbean Blog reader melski94 spotted the new option.

The excursion is described as, "Take a thrilling leap into sky-high adventure as you race head-first on a tandem zip line course that shoots you along 2,800 feet of cables dangling above the forested mountains and tropical seascapes of Labadee. Atop a launch tower in the middle of the forest you’ll meet expert trainers who will deliver a safety briefing before gearing you up with a helmet and cable harness. Then feel the adrenaline rush of flying head-first, like a soaring superhero, through a tunnel of tall trees along a zip line that opens up over craggy cliffs plunging to the bright-blue ocean below. This unforgettable flight whizzes you over Labadee’s powdery sands, crystalline seas, and coral reefs — all before touching down safely on an elevated landing deck."

There is a minimum weight of 75 pounds, and a maximum weight of 275 pounds.  Guests must also be at least 48 inches tall.

Labadee Over The Water cabanas replaced following hurricane damage

23 Dec 2017

Royal Caribbean has replaced the Over The Water cabanas at Barefoot Beach on Labadee, following removing them due to hurricane damage.

RoyalCaribbeanBlog reader Twangster reports construction of the replacement cabanas completed two weeks ago.

The original cabanas were damaged by waves as Hurricane Irma passed by Labadee well off shore. The new cabanas have been fortified with rocks below them to reduce potential damage from waves in the future. No other notable damage occurred to Labadee from hurricanes this year.

With the new cabanas in place, all hurricane restoration at Labadee is complete and the suite exclusive Barefoot Beach remains as beautiful as it always has been.

Royal Caribbean completes Adrenaline Beach work in Labadee

17 Nov 2017

After a few months of work, it appears at least some of the beach enhancements at Adrenaline Beach on Royal Caribbean's private destination of Labadee are complete.

RoyalCaribbeanBlog reader twangster shared photos from his visit to Labadee that occured today.

In September 2017 there was construction on the Labadee beach with areas sectioned off by fences.

The work is now complete and they have introduced small bump outs into the water complete with palm trees as a mini-oasis.

There are three such areas under the length of the zip-line.

This side of Labadee faces the Atlantic Ocean and large rocks serve as a break wall to protect from crashing waves


Each of the three bump outs feature a number of palm trees for shade.

These areas provide a relaxing panoramic view of the water complete with the sound of waves crashing against the rocks to soothe you to sleep as you enjoy a Labradoozie.

Unrelated to Adrenaline Beach, the over the water cabanas at Barefoot Beach are still missing. Those cabanas are missing due to recent hurricane damage.

Comparative look at damage to Labadee cabana hurricane damage

09 Oct 2017

Hurricane Irma caused some damage to the cabanas at Barefoot Beach, and we have a look at the exact nature of what has changed.

Luckily the noticable damage from the hurricane was mostly relegated to some cabanas on Barefoot Beach, which is the Suites only area.

Royal Caribbean Blog reader twangster took photos of the damage on an October 2017 cruise, which we can compare to photos of Barefoot Beach from last year.

Here is a photo taken from Oasis of the Seas in October 2016. The impacted Cabanas are highlighted.

A similar photo from Harmony of the Seas taken October 2017.

Here are some close ups of the those Cabanas from October 2016. Note the concrete stairs between the over water Cabanas for water access, that will be shown later in another photo.

In this photo, you can see the railings of the stairs used for direct access to the water.

Here is what is left of the same area, October 2017.

Anchored in the bay of Labadee off Columbus Cove there was a work barge full of sand that is being used to replenish the beaches.

25 tips for a great day at Royal Caribbean's Labadee

29 Aug 2017

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.

Royal Caribbean plans beach enhancements at private destination of Labadee

07 Aug 2017

Royal Caribbean announced new beach enhancements for its private destination of Labadee, that will begin this month.

Adrenaline Beach will be undergoing a beach enhancement, beginning on August 14, 2017. The footprint and quality of the beach and surrounding areas will be nourished. In addition, reef balls will be added to increase the tranquility of the water and to provide exciting new marine habitats and snorkeling paths for cruise line guests.

Work will take place in four phases from August 14th through October 2017. Work will not take place when guests are on the island.

During the enhancement, some beach bungalows may be have obstructed views. Please note that the lounge chairs at Adrenaline beach will still be available.

The surrounding beach will be unaffected and will remain open for guest’s enjoyment.

UPDATE: We noticed on Royal Caribbean's Labadee map that Adrenaline Beach cabanas are listed, which would be a new addition.

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