When I was invited to sail on the maiden voyage of Royal Caribbean’s Wonder of the Seas, I was especially excited about the itinerary. In addition to Nassau, Perfect Day at CocoCay, and San Juan Puerto Rico (all fantastic destinations I’d already experienced), our first port of call was Labadee Haiti. I’d never been there and was thrilled to explore this private area of Haiti for myself.
Disclosure: My sailing on the Royal Caribbean Wonder of the Seas was complimentary for purposes of review. All opinions are my own.
Things to Do in Labadee Haiti
Where is Labadee?
Labadee is a port of call along the north coast of Haiti that is privately leased by Royal Caribbean International as an exclusive destination. When cruise passengers visit Labadee, they are able to explore the private resort area (which is fenced in), but excursions don’t go beyond Labadee. Private excursions aren’t offered. However, Labadee is not a private island – it’s actually part of the mainland of Haiti.
Royal Caribbean and Celebrity Cruises both offer Labadee as a port of call. Currently, some of the cruise ships that visit the port (not on all sailings, however) include Independence of the Seas, Mariner of the Seas, Grandeur of the Seas, Oasis of the Seas, Grandeur of the Seas, and Harmony of the Seas. This is always subject to change.
Areas to Enjoy in Labadee
We were already docked at Labadee when we woke up for the day. I was surprised to see how hilly and mountainous it is. I definitely recommend walking around the ship until you can get a great panoramic view of the port – the natural landscape of Labadee is beautiful and photo-worthy.
It’s a short walk off the pier to the Dragon’s Plaza, the entry point of Labadee. Here, you can get a great view of the ship from a distance, meet for certain excursions, and watch the over water zip line.
There are several beach areas on Labadee, and they are all great for different purposes. We asked for the best sunbathing area and were guided to Nellie’s Beach. This sandy area offers beach chairs and umbrellas, along with gorgeous cabanas and beach bungalows (including overwater cabanas) that can be rented in advance for the day.
The water here was still a bit chilly (it was early March, after all) but did warm up after a few minutes.I really liked the Nellie’s Beach area as a place to relax in one of the lounge chairs and enjoy a good book.
If you prefer a little more activity, head to Adrenaline Beach. Here, you can sit in an overwater swing, swim out to the floating bar, and enjoy some time in a beach chair. There are also bocce and basketball courts. I enjoyed some time sitting in the shade at Adrenaline Beach. While I had brought a book to read, I put it aside in favor of watching the zip liners go over the water. This area is also where you’ll find the Dragon’s Tail Coaster.
Further down on the island is Columbus Cove. This area is home to the Arawak Aqua Park, and also offers beach chairs and umbrellas, floating mats, a cafe, bars, and more. It’s the farthest beach.
The town square section is where you’ll find the artisans (including the artisan market), gift shop, first aid station, and more. It’s located adjacent to Adrenaline Beach.
Younger kids may enjoy Splash Bash, a water splash area located along Dragon’s Beach. In this area, you’ll also find beach lounger rentals, a volleyball court, and an area to rent floating mats.
Guests staying in a Grand Suite or above can enjoy a special area. The Barefoot Beach Club is available to those guests as well as those who have reached Pinnacle status in the Crown and Anchor Club.
Activities and Excursions in Labadee
Like with other ports of call, excursions, and activities for your day in Labadee, Haiti can be purchased and reserved in advance. Some of these shore excursions are very popular and do sell out. Book as soon as possible for the best availability, especially if you want a private cabana.
Unlike other ports of call, the official excursions are the only ones you can do at Labadee. You aren’t able to travel beyond the fenced-in resort area.
Here are some of the examples of activities and excursions you can book.
- Boat ride to Amiga Island for a beach day
- Beach bungalow rental
- Beach Cabana rental (including overwater and waterfront cabanas on Nellie’s Beach)
- Beach Lounger for two rental
- Rental of floating beach mats
- Speed boat trip
- Kayak tours
- Historical walking tour of Labadee
- Sip and paint excursion – I walked past this while I was there and saw them enjoying the shade while each painting a pot to take home.
- Snorkel tour
- Jet ski ride
- Fishing trip
Dragon’s Fire Flight Line and Dragon’s Breath Flight Line Zip Lines
The biggest regret of my Wonder of the Seas trip is missing the Labadee zip line rides. It looked like such a fun ride, with gorgeous Labadee views. There are two styles of ziplines – one is a more traditional line where your feet are pointed towards the ground, and the other is where you are suspended horizontally (Superman style).
With both zip lines you’ll have to store your items with a friend that isn’t riding, or in a locker. You’ll also need to wear closed-toed shoes and go through a safety briefing.
Dragon’s Tail Coaster
I was glad to be able to experience the Dragon’s Tail Coaster, a mountain coaster that winds down the side of one of the lush hills over Labadee. I wasn’t sure of what to expect, but this coaster is similar in style to the ones I’ve ridden at Epic Discovery in Vail and at Attitash Mountain in New Hampshire.
After watching a brief safety video, you’ll board the ride vehicle. There is room for two passengers, although it’s best for an adult and a child, rather than two adults. Cubbies by the ride entrance are available for you to store your bags, but they don’t lock.
The ride vehicle is pulled automatically up the hill until you reach the top. Then, you’ll use the braking mechanism to either go faster or slow down. While it’s very fun to go fast right away, take the time to look around at the gorgeous scenery.
Dragon’s Splash Waterslide and Arawak Aqua Park
The Dragon’s Splash Waterslide is a 300-foot saltwater waterslide located in the Columbus Cove area of Labadee. I didn’t see anyone on it while I was there, but it does look like a fun slide.
There’s also the Arawak Aqua Park, an inflatable water park in the Columbus Cove area. These in-water inflatables would be a really fun option for families with kids old enough to enjoy jumping around.
Food on Labadee
Food on Labadee is included in your cruise. There are several restaurants and you can expect to find things like burgers, hot dogs, salads, fresh fruit, and more. Full-service bars are located along the various beaches, and some of the beach areas also have servers to bring your drink right to your beach chair.
Tips for Visiting Labadee
If you’ve purchased a beverage package on the ship, it will work at Labadee. Make sure you try one of their signature Labadoozies, which can be made with or without rum! If you don’t have a drink package, you can use your SeaPass package to purchase items a la carte.
While theoretically, Voom internet should work on the island, we found that it wasn’t working in the area we were sitting in. So be prepared for that.
Beach chair attendants are available to escort you to the best beach chairs available. They accept tips so have small US bills available with you if you’d like to offer a gratuity.
Don’t forget to bring beach towels off the ship so you have them at Labadee. Used towels can be dropped off at the hut in Dragon’s Plaza.
There are both mild and more adventurous walking paths in Labadee. A tram is available if you’d prefer not to walk. It is a pretty big area, so you may want to take the tram, even if just on the way back. There are several tram stops at Labadee.
We found the artisans to be fairly aggressive, so be prepared. They don’t accept SeaPass or credit cards. There’s also a gift shop in Town Square that does accept credit cards.
We found Labadee to be very hot. Make sure you have packed sunscreen, a cover-up, and a hat for your day. Pack as you would for any beach resort.
Unless you have booked a snorkel trip, you should bring your own snorkel gear if you’ll want to use it on Labadee.
If you are planning to do the zip line, lockers are available in several locations. You’ll also need to make sure you have closed-toed shoes. While bags can’t be brought on the Dragon’s Tail Coaster, there are (unlocked) cubbies available to store your items. Open-toed shoes can be worn on the coaster.