It may not be an island, per se, but it is a massive playground for cruisers. Located on a whopping 260 acres, the beach is part amusement park, part resort (though the hotel rooms are actually on the cruise ship).
When your ship is in port here, you can spend the whole day lazing in the sun, enjoying the white sand, the palm trees, and the pale blue water, without booking a shore excursion.
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There are a variety of bars to choose from, with everything from buckets of beers to frozen cocktails, and the restaurants serve casual, American barbeque that feels fitting for the beach-holiday setting. Think picnic tables and a buffet of burgers, ribs, hot dogs and corn on the cob. After lunch, you can stroll through the marketplace, where you’ll find Haitian crafts for sale and bands of locals performing.
There are rows and rows of lounge chairs waiting and, if you’re one of the first people off the ship when you arrive, it may feel like there’s no way this place could ever fill up. There’s also a water park, with trampolines and water slides, sitting right in the surf, as well as a splash park on the land for little kids, with buckets that dump water on the children and toys fitted with hoses and sprays. For a fee, you can also take a ride on the zip line, which stretches out over the water, or even the roller coaster, both of which are fun activities for teens, tweens, and grown-ups.
But, if you want a little more adventure, there are plenty of options — from snorkeling and kayaking to parasailing and boat rides to quieter beaches further afield.
How to upgrade your Labadee experience
The easiest way to have a more enjoyable experience is to book a cabana. The palapa-topped cabanas (which cost approximately $200 for the day) fill up fast— in most cases, before you get off the ship, and in some before the cruise even sets sail. Having an open-air bungalow of your own helps give you some private space and a guaranteed stretch of shade, as well as waiter service. Your butler will bring cold water and lunch, and the cabanas come with towels and floats to use in the surf. The locations vary: Some are on rocks sitting over the surf, and others are on the beach behind rows of lounge chairs.
For more travel advice go to www.insightguides.com.