An Uneventful Day in Labadee, Haiti

Haiti's flag
Central America Caribbean » Haiti
February 24th 2017
Published: September 6th 2017
Edit Blog Post

Geo: 19.7667, -72.2681

This is the third and final port we will visit on this 7 day cruise. I researched and booked excursions for the first two stops but this one I left up to Scarlett. Not knowing what she or her son wanted to do and realizing their fear of traveling, I hesitated in making any commitments for this day at the resort.

Labadee is a port located on the northern coast of Haiti. It is a private resort leased to Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. until 2050. Royal Caribbean has contributed the largest proportion of tourist revenue to Haiti since 1986, employing 300 locals, allowing another 200 to sell their wares on the premises for a fee and paying the Haitian government US$12 per tourist. The resort is completely tourist-oriented, and is guarded by a private security force. The site is fenced off from the surrounding area, and passengers are not allowed to leave the property. Food available to tourists is brought from the cruise ships. A controlled group of Haitian merchants are given sole rights to sell their merchandise and establish their businesses in the resort. Although sometimes described as an island in advertisements, it is actually a peninsula contiguous with the island of Hispaniola. The cruise ship moors to the pier at Labadee, a pier capable of servicing the Oasis class ships completed in late 2009. Attractions include a Haitian flea market, beaches, water sports, a water-oriented playground, an alpine coaster and a zip-line.

We arrive in the morning and are cleared to disembark by 9:30. Unfortunately, we barely make it to breakfast by that time. Since we have no plans or reservations, there's no need to rush. We have a leisurely breakfast and walk off the ship around 11:30am. The pier leads us to the park where we find shopping areas, food services and all sorts of sport activities. We take a ride around the area on a tram so we can see most places without having to walk extensively. After yesterday, Karen and Queenie are nursing their sore arms and legs. Jonathan is ready to go on everything but that's not happening. His mom thinks everything is either too dangerous or too difficult for either of them so he just takes pictures of people. We found two lounge chairs in the shade and while the two ladies rest, we bring some fruit and water from the buffet set up by the ship. Mom eats but Queenie is taking no chances and again passes on the food or drinks. "Who knows what they did to it.", she questions.

It's sunny and a warm 86°F and that's too much for the Queen. I remind her that she lives in San Diego and that 86°F is common there. She says she's seldom exposed to such temperatures as she prefers spaces offering conditioned air like her car, home, stores or restaurants. OK.

It's around 2pm when, facing certain death from heat exhaustion, we make our way back to the ship. With all the things to do in Labadee, we did nothing. Karen tells me, "You should have just booked something." No. I think I learned my lesson yesterday using that approach. This time we let Queenie make the choices on what's safe to do without expending too much energy. While the other 5500 passengers aboard risked their lives today performing death-defying feats, we we're safe today, safe and boring. Just ask the kid.

Back on the ship, Queenie can now eat so we hang out at the pool. With most people having fun on shore, it's easier for us to find seats in the shade with all those pushing 80 years old. I continue to write the blog, Scarlett gets some snacks from the ship, the same ship that supplied snacks to Labadee. Were they the same? What if they were altered? It's a scary thought.

Mom sleeps and the kid swims in the pool. Only Jonathan and I have ever touched any type of water not coming from a shower head here onboard the ship. No ocean, no pools, no nothing. Here we are on a Caribbean cruise but, unfortunately, it's hot and there's lots of water activities around us. That's odd. Why didn't they tell us? I would never have come to these islands had I known about warm temps and ocean water. Oh boy.

Soon it's time for dinner so we get down there at 6:30. We've been on time only once for our 6pm reservation. I order the sole and clam chowder and so does Mom. Queenie orders the clam chowder also but returns it saying, "This soup tastes like clam". With a queried look, the waiter replaces it with a salad. The kid orders lamb but it's not the lamb he was expecting. It's exchanged for spaghetti with no sauce. That's not eaten because the noodles are different. The ice cream is good, however. Queenie shows me how to get free Cokes. She orders one, $4. She orders a second from a different waiter, $4. She has got a few free ones by "not understanding that soft drinks are extra". Sometimes it works but not tonight. I'll stick with the free milk, thank you.

Tonight's show is the "Blue Planet", a music, dance and acrobatic performance that we reserved at 8:30pm. It's good but the best entertainment has been the aquatic show and comedy club, the adult comedy club that Scarlett missed.. Everyone is tired so it's back to our rooms. I write some more while watching "Spartacus" with Kirk Douglas. The TV on the ship sucks. No movies, no documentaries, just goofy stuff. Maybe I'm just old.


Additional photos below
Photos: 22, Displayed: 22


Tot: 0.092s; Tpl: 0.047s; cc: 11; qc: 30; dbt: 0.016s; 1; m:saturn w:www (; sld: 1; ; mem: 1.3mb