If you have looked at a Caribbean cruise on Royal Caribbean lately, chances are you have seen Labadee, Haiti as a port of call. At first, I was surprised because let’s be honest, one usually doesn’t think of Haiti as a vacation destination.
However, this port of call is at Royal Caribbean’s private beach and it is everything you would expect from a Caribbean beach destination. We visited for the day during a cruise on Freedom of the Seas.
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Where is Labadee, Haiti?
Labadee is a private port on the north coast of Haiti on the island of Hispaniola (the Dominican Republic occupies the east side of the island).
The port is leased by Royal Caribbean, so it’s considered private. The cruise line has one other private port and an additional one in the works. Coco Cay is located in the Bahamas and Lelepa, on the island of Vanuatu in the South Pacific, will open in 2022.
Activities in Labadee, Haiti
There are a lot of activities offered on Royal Caribbean’s private beach area in Labadee, Haiti. You can go for an adrenaline rush on the Dragon’s Breath Flight Line, the world’s longest zip line over water. Play all day at the Arawak Aqua Park on trampolines, slides, and inflatable water toys. Or try the Dragon’s Tail Coaster for some fast-paced views of the beach.
You can also choose to parasail, kayak, or jet ski! If shopping is more your thing, you might enjoy the market featuring local art and crafts. Or if you are like me you can choose to just relax on the beach all day long on 1 of 4 beaches:
- Columbus Cove
- Adrenaline Beach
- Nellie’s Beach
- Barefoot Beach (for suite guests only)
Columbus Cove in Labadee
Columbus Cove is the main beach area, and it’s where we spent our day in Labadee. The area has ample seating and a decent amount of shade from the palm trees. The beach is on a protected cove so the water is extremely calm, making this a perfect spot for young children who are intimidated by big waves.
Here you can relax all day with a view of your cruise ship in the distance. A buffet lunch is served to all guests. There are bars as well, however, they won’t be whipping up your cocktail of choice. They offer one frozen drink, the “Labaduzee”, which was quite delightful, and beer was available also but that was about it.
Pro Tip: Don’t forget to bring along some reef safe sunscreen if you plan to get in the water! (Many tourist destinations have started banning certain sunscreens because they can cause damage to the reefs and sealife).
Columbus Cove Beach Bungalows
There are a few options for private areas on the beach. If you’re staying in a suite you can rent a private cabana on Barefoot Beach. Or if you are a mere commoner like me, you can rent a beach bungalow on Columbus Cove beach. As far as I am concerned, it’s worth every penny.
The bungalows are located in a private area of the beach and each can accommodate up to 8 guests. You’ll be provided with 2 floating mats and a cooler filled with water bottles. The bungalow had an L shaped couch, coffee table, and bar service as well as 2 additional lounge chairs.
Unfortunately, we ran into some bad weather during our beach day. But, since we had a bungalow we were protected from the afternoon downpour! It was actually pretty relaxing to watch the rainstorm from the bungalow. Sure, a sunny day would have been better, but you make the most of what you get!
>>Pro Tip: Prepare before you go with this printable family beach vacation packing list.
Labadee, Haiti FAQs
Q: Is Labadee owned by Royal Caribbean?
A: Labadee is leased by Royal Caribbean from Haiti. Coco Cay in the Bahamas is the cruise line’s other private port.
Q: Can you leave Labadee?
A: No, there aren’t any options to leave the Labadee port to see the “real” Haiti.
Q: Does the drink package work on Labadee?
A: Yes, the unlimited drink package will work on Labadee.
Q: Is food on Labadee free?
A: Yes, a complimentary BBQ lunch is served to all guests.
Overall, we had a delightful day on Columbus Cove beach in Labadee, Haiti. If I was on a cruise that visited this port again, I would absolutely rent a cabana to enjoy the day. It was a nice break from all of the activities of the cruise.
If you are looking for a cultural experience, this ain’t it. However, if you just want a nice day at the beach, Labadee will fit the bill.