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Caribbean Cruise Discounts!
A Visit To Labadee In Haiti
by: Clint Leung
The first port for our Royal Caribbean cruise of the western Caribbean was
Labadee, Hispaniola which is actually a part of Haiti. This specific port is
leased out to Royal Caribbean so only their cruiseships come here. Labadee is
actually a peninsula with a few beaches. Getting to land from the cruiseship is
There is a small section for kids with floating fake icebergs to climb and water
slides but they charge an admission fee. Flotation mattresses are also available
for rent for those who just want to float in the ocean. There are also locals
who help with getting beach chairs for you but they expect tips. So things here
are a money grabber. The cruiseship did have optional tours for snorkelling,
parasailing, waverunner and kayaking tours but we thought that they were
overpriced. Most passengers just spent the day relaxing around the beaches. The
area around Labadee was pleasant enough but the beaches and shores themselves
were fairly rocky so wearing sandals in the water would be advised. Royal
Caribbean had organized a beach BBQ at an outdoor picnic facility which was okay
but nothing special. There is a market there consisting of two buildings. One is
a store where the souveniers and items have marked prices and the other building
is like your typical market where locals try to hustle you for business. The
locals inside the market were aggressive but polite. If you don't mind haggling,
you could get some pretty good deals but if you dislike this type of pushy
atmosphere, then you best avoid the market except for the fixed price store.
One big difference between this port compared to others is that since it is
pretty well being used as a private beach, you will not be hassled by locals.
The vendors coming around with drinks at the beach locations are actually Royal
Caribbean staff so if one wishes to buy a drink, the cruiseship passcard is all
that is required. As for concerns about being in Haiti given the poverty and
political situation, Labadee was not a problem because the entire site is
enclosed by a high steel fence. Other passengers later told us that they
wandered off near the perimeter of the site and saw many Haitians along the
fence begging for handouts and food. The fencing was mostly concealed in the
distance from the main tourist areas.
We found Labadee in general to be a bit of a waste of time for us. The beaches
were too rocky and we didn't have access to inexpensive activities since
everything was run by Royal Caribbean. If one wanted to just go lie on the beach
all day and not much else, then Labadee would be a suitable place. For those who
want to experience some culture, do water sports without going through the
cruiseship, or shop duty free, Labadee would not be the place to go. We decided
to stay on board the ship after the BBQ lunch for the rest of the afternoon. I
like Royal Caribbean and would definitely cruise with them again but would not
want to go on an itinerary that included Labadee in the future.
About The Author
Clint Leung is owner of Free Spirit Gallery http://www.FreeSpiritGallery.ca, an
online gallery specializing in Inuit Eskimo and Northwest Native American art
including carvings, sculpture and prints. Free Spirit Gallery has numerous
information resource articles with photos of authentic Inuit and Native Indian
art as well as free eCards.