Labadee is a small part of the island of Haiti. The property is actually “owned” by Royal Caribbean and it’s an “artificial” stop. This comes as a surprise to so many cruisers but it makes sense. You can read more about that on this article about cruise lines and islands.
We arrived on Oasis of the Seas. Even though the ship is massive, the dock could easily handle her. Since the dock is so close to a lot of the action, it’s easy to get on and off as much as you want. We walked around a bit before going on the excursion which I’ll discuss below.
The Layout was Like an Amusement Park
To keep thousands of guests happy, there are a bunch of activities spread out over the area reminded me of Orlando, Florida. It was kind of like when you’re at Universal Studios and go from the Marvel section to the Jaws section to the Harry Potter section, and so on. Or like Disney World’s Magic Kingdom where you go from Main Street USA to Frontierland, and so on.
The different sections in Labadee were Dragon’s Plaza, Buccaneer’s Bay, Barefoot Beach Club, Town Square, Adrenaline Beach, and Columbus Cove. It only took a few minutes to walk to each of these areas.
Food, Bars, Shopping and Activities
Town Square had the most stores with artisan markets, an information desk, a first aid station, kayaking, and so on. Of course, there were several bars to serve your alcohol needs. Food was readily available (BBQ lunch) so you don’t have to go back on the ship to eat.
You should expect to pay for some activities like kayak rentals, zip lining, roller coaster, etc.
There are many beautiful, colorful plants around the island which are quite pleasant to look at.
From Families to Adrenalin Junkies
The area comprising Labadee for passengers was not that large, relatively speaking, but it was enough to give everyone room. Since it was like an amusement park, families will enjoy Labadee. Also, adrenalin junkies will probably want to be more adventurous and go ziplining across the beach just over the water which looks like a lot of fun. Some activities like ziplining come at an additional fee.
Labadee Private Beach Excursion (Malfini Beach)
The main beach in Labadee was actually full of rocks and not pleasant to go barefoot. There are others, some for swimming others just for sunbathing.
We opted for an excursion where you hop on a small boat and ride over to an amazing, private beach with powdery sand. It was just a few minutes away. This excursion was pricey (something like $50) but very relaxing, away from the rest of the passengers and crowds. There were about 15 of us and it was really nice.
A lot of people ask if the Malfini Beach excursion is worth it. It could be argued that you could go anywhere for a smooth, sandy beach, and that this was only special in context. It would agree with that assessment but it was still worth it. They gave us floating mats to relax on the water. I brought my own snorkeling equipment (mask and snorkel, no fins) and gladly spent an hour or so checking out what was right under the water. As I said, it’s a very relaxing place. The calm and ocean waves make you feel good.
If you plan to stay in the Royal Caribbean area, there is little need to bring “real money” with you since everywhere you go in this area offers food or activities for free. If you need to pay for something like a specific activity or alcohol you can do so with your ship card (seapass). As far as I know, the only place where they insisted on the use of cash was if you wanted to be artisan work from the local vendors.
One noteworthy item though is that on the private beach excursion (and apparently with some of the other excursions), there were a few people (aside from us) on the beach who were local vendors. They could care less about your Royal Caribbean card! They only wanted cash so if you wanted drink and didn’t bring your own, you were out of luck.
If you have already been to Labadee, I’d love to hear your feedback. Also, since policies, excursions, and availability are always changing, please add your updated info below.