Celebrity Reflection | 7 Days Western Caribbean – Labadee, Haiti

My intention to travel is always the discovery of the destination by experiencing as much as possible authentically. Local people, local food, local places. Labadee on Haiti on the other hand, is so much of a fake cash machine for Royal Caribbean Cruise Line and her subsidiaries, that once you have been on it for the first time, you may skip all future stops without feeling guilty. At least when you are like me.

Advertised as a paradise island, Labadee (originally named Labadie after the Marquis de La Badie, the first settler of the area in the 17th century) truly is a peninsula belonging to the northern part of the island Hispaniola.

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The view onto Labadee from the ship. There are many watersports activities available at extra cost as well as booze-cruises on party boats

It is a private facility for cruise passengers and leased by Royal Caribbean from the Haitian government. Making it the largest contributor of tourist revenue to Haiti since 1986.

Labadee is everything but authentic though. The resort is fenced-off the surrounding area and a private security force makes sure that no passenger crosses the line to the real world. It feels a little bit like in those science fiction movies where a self-titled elite is shielding itself off of the mob. So while people enjoy a margarita at the beach or scream their heads off when zip lining down the hill, there are people starving on the other side of the fence.

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When 3,000 people empty out onto Labadee, it can become a little cramped at the beaches

I am well aware of the fact though, that opinions about setup places like this one vary. And I think that is absolutely okay. Here are a few snapshots that I took for you guys during my very short visit ashore. Enjoy!

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There are altogether five beaches on Labadee. This is Dragon´s Beach with Adrenaline Beach in the background. Those two beaches are only partly adequate for swimming as there are lots of rocks and reefs right at the shoreline. Beach loungers are free of charge, cabanas can be rented at additional cost. In my opinion, the least attractive beaches on offer!
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You can use your SeaPass card to pay for services such as beverages, activities, etc. Be aware though, that no beverage package is valid ashore. Everything costs extra! A free barbeque is served during lunch time at three different locations. The best time to get hold of a sun loungers!
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Columbus Cove and Nellie´s Beach are the most recommendable beaches on Labadee for swimming. As much as I am used to share the sun deck onboard with a bunch of people, on a beach I just cannot handle it.
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Barefoot Beach Club (starts behind the trees) is an exclusive refuge for Suite guests. All other beaches are public. Labadee can be well explored by foot or by motorised sightseeing train.
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Best views of the ship from Columbus Cove. Labadee surely is a fun spot for families with children. Royal Caribbean lets a selected amount of locals onto the premise for a nominal fee to sell local goods for cash.
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I think we spent altogether 30 minutes on Labadee before we went back to the ship. This destination did not meet my expectations and demands at all and was in my opinion the least interesting port of call of the entire cruise. For future cruises, I will try to avoid it completely. Unfortunately, all major cruise lines put effort into obtaining their private premises these days. But seriously, why should I pay for drinks ashore when I can have them for free onboard?

For more information on Labadee, click here.

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