Labadee is a port on the northern coast of Haiti. It is a private resort leased to Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. until 2050.
It was initially leased from the Haitian government in 1986 and now the cruise line pays the government $12 per guest. Royal Caribbean is the largest contributor of tourism revenue to Haiti.
Although sometimes described as an island in Royal Caribbean advertisements, it is actually a peninsula .
Royal Caribbean employs around 300 locals throughout the resort & an extra 200 locals are allowed to sell goods at the resort for a fee.
The site is fenced off from the surrounding area and guarded by private security. Tourists are not allowed to leave the resort. All food is brought off the ship for consumption in Labadee.
Attractions in Labadee include Beaches, barbecue lunches, dragon coaster, water-parks, remote beaches & a zip-line.
We visited Labadee whilst on our New Year Cruise aboard Allure of the Seas. We were impressed with how well organised the resort was and the quality of food served in the temporary replacement for the Windjammer.
Drinks packages are valid in Labadee. If you have a drinks package and book no excursions it is possible to visit Labadee and not spend a dollar.
The same staff from the ship work in the bars and lunch venue in Labadee.
During the afternoon we caught a free road train around the resort and looked at the varied market stalls.
The were some very good quality beaches in the resort. Although we had heard reports of locals being very pushy in Labadee we did not find that a major problem.
Labadee is not cheap and many of the excursions/activities only last a short period. It would be very easy to spend a significant sum in Labadee if booking several of these to fill the day. However; guests with control can avoid spending anything. What else do you need in the Caribbean apart from food, drink, beach, sea & sun?
My greatest niggle with Royal Caribbean is how they have developed a 2 class system in recent years. This is evident in Labadee in that cabanas are first offered out to Suite guests. In addition Suite Guests get exclusive use of Barefoot Beach and an enhanced luncheon. Although I accept 2 classes on ships are now the norm I am unconvinced that this should be the case at a port stop.
We spent our morning away from the Labadee crowds at Malfini Beach. Malfini Beach is a small private beach and is reached by a 20 minute boat ride from Labadee.
The beach is limited to just 25 guests and the are plenty of chairs, shades and water beds to relax.
Water is crystal clear and is initially shallow to allow bathing for all the family. The is a small bar selling beer and coconuts and restroom facilities are available.
Apart from my iPhone having a dip in the Caribbean the was nothing to fault on this excursion. You do have to climb down from the boat therefore the tour is not suitable for guests with disabilities.
This is very much your own Robinson Crusoe Island and is highly recommended 3 hour excursion.
Watch my video highlights of Labadee & Malfini Beach
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