I have to admit having mixed emotions about visiting Labadee, Haiti next week while we are on board Royal Caribbean’s Freedom of the Seas on a seven-day cruise to the Caribbean from Florida’s Port Canaveral. I solidly support the cruise line’s decision to keep calling at the island they have had a relationship with for decades. These are not normal times though and after the devastating earthquake hit not far from there last week, it gives me pause to think “How will I feel about getting off the ship there?” once we arrive.
The plan is to go ashore, support those working on the island and enjoy the day. But unlike visits to other cruise lines private islands, this one surely will be different. Still, if the point is to go ashore as a show of support for the Haitian people, just standing around looking glum is probably not going to be a big help. Engaging in what is available on the island is probably more likely to be helpful. Still, it is hard to think about basking in the sun with a cocktail when so many are suffering not far away. This is not on TV now, we will be about as far away as I am to Tampa here in Orlando. This is going to be more real than ever.
In support of what they do on Labadee, here is a menu of what we might choose to do there:
- Get there first- Labadee is a tender port but the ride is all of about 45 seconds to get there, no big deal
- Beaches- There are several pristine beaches that line the shore and the water is very blue and warm. Lounge chairs and hammocks are available. Best bet: keep walking past the first beach about 500 yards and you will find the beach on the other side which is much larger and will be less crowded
- Water Sports-The Aqua Park has a floating trampoline, water slides and inflatable iceberg and that sort of thing
- Shopping-The Artisan Market has lots of Haitian arts, crafts and liquor
- Dining- a barbecue buffet lunch is provided by the ship from 11:30am to 2pm in several places on the island
Not just as a result of the recent earthquake, the cruise line recommends not traveling outside of the tourist area there at the beach unless on an excursion
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