Essential guide to the cruise port in Labadee (Royal Caribbean's private resort in Haiti): where ships dock, the terminal, how to get around, best things to do, how to explore on your own and on shore excursions, beaches, cabanas, shopping, lunch, and all must-know.
Unlike what you may read in less acurate reviews, Labadee is not an island. The cruise port of Labadee is in an enclosed peninsula in Haiti with a vast area that is in reality a gatted resort for the exclusive privilege of passengers of Royal Caribbean.
Cruise passengers are not allowed outside the gated area and do not have access to Haiti. Not even on shore excursions.
- Where is Labadee
- Where cruise ships dock
- How to get around
- Top things to do in Labadee
- Beaches in Labadee
- Cabanas, bungalows and beach loungers
- Lunch and drinks
- Shops and shopping
- Shore excursions (Shorex)
- Must-know: language, currency and more
- Safety, travel advisory and Covid-19
Labadee is a regularly visited port of call on Eastern and Western Caribbean itineraries ports during the Fall-Winter season. Most cruises calling at Labadee depart from Miami or Orlando, visiting one or two other ports like CocoCay, Nassau, Key West, Falmouth, or Grand Cayman. Some 8-night cruises will call at ports like San Juan, St Maarten, and Antigua. In 2019, there were over 160 cruise ship calls at Labadee with 720,000 passengers visiting the resort.
Where is Labadee and the cruise port
Labadee is on the north coast of Haiti, 32 miles (51.3 km) west of the Dominican republic. The closest cruise port to Labadee is Grand Turk, around 134 miles (215 km) to the north. However, the Grand Turk cruise terminal is a Carnival Corporation development, and Royal Caribbean cruise ships do not include it in their itineraries. Labadee is 657 miles (1,057 km) southeast of Miami.
Where cruise ships dock
The cruise port in Labadee has a 0.25 mile (400 meters) pier extending south into the ocean. More precisely into Buccaneer's Bay. It has one berth where extra-large ships like Royal Caribbean's Oasis-class can dock. At the end of the pier, cruise passengers enter the main gate to the property. You will not find land transportation between the ship gangway and the entrance of the 260-acre private resort.
Cruise terminal services and amenities
There isn't a cruise terminal building as such in Labadee. However, passengers will find all services and amenities near the entrance of the resort.
On the right side, in an area know as Buccaneer’s Bay, you will find a Trading Post with all sorts of beachwear (t-shirts, sunglasses, hats amd so on) for those that forgot someting onboard or at home. And there are also two large desks to book tours and get information for activities such as:
- Jet skiing
- Deep-sea fishing
- Speed boat adventure
Behind the shore excursions counters is the meeting point for these activities and also lockers to leave your stuff whilst on tour. Walking 300 feet straight into the resort, your will also find the following:
- Dragon’s Tram Station
- Information Center and Meeting Point
- Dragon’s Café
- Beach wheelchairs
How to get around in Labadee
Although there isn't a shuttle bus in Labadee, most cruise travelers walk the gangway into the pier not realizing that there are a few very convenient ways to explore the resort. Some cruisers may not realize how easy it is to walk around and how Labadee is very acessiblity friendly.
Columbus Cove Express the tender boat
A tender boat specially designed by Royal Caribbean docks right by the gangway. This double decker type of water-taxi takes passengers to Columbus Cove, the farthest beach in Labadee. Named Columbus Cove Express, the tender boat service is free and takes a few minutes to sail ½ mile (800 meters) to Columbus Cove.
There is also a free tram running continuously between the Dragon Tram Station (by the entrance of the resort) and the Columbus Cove Tram Station on the East side of the property. There are a couple of stops along the way: the Barefoot Tram Station and the Town Square Tram Station. Using the Columbus Cove Express to get to the farthest beach and returning with the tram is a great way of exploring Labadee.
Because Labadee is just over ½ mile (800 meters) long and no more than ⅓ mile (400 meters) wide, walking is a comfortable way to get to all and every attraction of Labadee. All paths and trails are paved. There are lots of shaded places to have a rest and there is excellent signage allong the way. Paths are well marked, color colored and divided into: leisure (green), moderate (amber) and strenous (red).
Acessibility: wheelchairs and scooters
Cruisers with mobility difficulties will find beach wheelchairs right by the entrance of the resort. Wheelchairs can easily be accommodated at all food and beverage venues, restrooms, beaches and by all tram stops. Passengers traveling with a wheelchair or a scooter, will find it easy and comfortable to exlore Labadee.
21 Top Things to Do on a cruise to Labadee
Many if not most of the top things to do in Labadee are offered on shore excursions but there are quite a enjoyable free attractions to enjoy.
- Relax on one of the three free beaches. More about the beaches of Labadee on this page.
- Enjoy adrenaline rush on the Dragon’s Breath Zipline.
- Ride down the Dragon’s Tail Coaster.
- Slip down the Dragon’s Splash Waterslide.
- Jump around the Arawak Aqua Park.
- Rent a cabana, a bungalow or a beach loungers. Keep reading to learn about cabanas.
- Taste a complimentary barbecue lunch. More about dining and drinks on this page.
- Enjoy a Labadoozie, the signature cocktail.
- Visit the shops at the Artisan's Market and the Artisan’s Village. More about shopping on this page.
- Play basketball, volleyball, or soccer.
- Guided snorkeling.
- Go for a high-speed jetski ride.
- Sail on a 62-foot luxury yacht.
- Paddle a Kayak Columbus Cove.
- Sightsee on an speedboat.
- Reel in a trophy on a 25-foot fishing vessel.
- Fly-in tandem on a parasail.
- Getaway to a secluded sandbank.
- Escape to Amiga Island.
- Sightsee the coast of Haiti.
- Walk the scenic trails of Labadee.
The beaches in Labadee
Unlike what you may read in lesser acurate reviews, there are four beaches in Labadee but one of them is for the exclusive used of passengers cruising on the Grand Suites of Royal Caribbean and Celebity.
Barefoot Beach is for the exclusive use of passengers cruising on the Grand Suites of Royal Caribbean and Celebrity.
Adrenaline is on the north shore of the resort and the largest beach in Labadee. The floating bar is one of the signature features of this beach.
On the shore of a southern bay, Columbus Cove is the remotest beach in Labadee. The best way to get there is with the Columbus Cove Express.
On the southern shore of Labadee, Nellie's Beach is small, secluded and with excellent cabanas. .
Cabanas, bungalows, beach loungers and beach beds in Labadee
Passengers cruising in Grand Suites and above have access to the Barefoot Beach Club with luxurious cabanas and an oceanview spa. All other passengers may book different cabana categories, beach bungalows, beach loungers, and beach beds. Here are all types of beach retreats and prices.
- Cabana over the water at Nellie's Beach.
Price: US$579.00 for eight guests.
- Waterfront cabana at Nellie's Beach.
Price: US$579.00 for eight guests.
- Beach Cabana at Nellie's Beach.
Price: US$395.00 for eight guests.
- Beach Bungalow.
Price: US$263.00 for eight guests.
- Beach Beds.
Price: US$175.00 for two guests.
- Beach loungers at Adrenaline's Beach.
Price: US$48.00 for two guests.
Dining and drinks in Labadee
Do not expect gourmet cusine in Labadee. In fact, all food is cooked onboard your cruise ship and transported to these venues. Think more of a barbecue lunch in a tropical setting than a seating down serviced experince. All bars in Labadee serve signature cocktails, virgin drinks and beers. Cruise passengers with beverage packages can also use these in Labadee.
Lunch in Labadee is served in three venues well placed along the resort.
- Dragon’s Café. Complimentary buffet lunch close to the pier entrance.
- Café Labadee. Complimentary buffet lunch on Adrenaline beach.
- Columbus Cove Café. Complimentary buffet lunch on Columbus Cove.
Bars, Pub and Tavern
Bars in Labadee have different names and are in diverse settings. All are very similar except for the Floating Bar on Adrenaline beach.
- Dragon’s Breath Pub. Bar near the Pier Entrance.
- Floating Bar. Signature bar on Adrenaline beach.
- Schooner Bar. Bar on Adrenaline beach.
- Nellie’s Tavern. Bar on Nellie’s beach.
- Columbus Cove. Bar on Columbus Cove.
There are three main shopping venues with souvenirs, local crafts, and products. The tradings posts sell mainly beachwear (t-shirts, sunglasses, hats, and so on). The Artisan’s Market is a large covered building with the best shopping in Labadee. The Artisan’s Village is a large open-air area with dozens of local artisans selling handicrafts like wooden carvings, paintings, decorative objects, and souvenirs. Purchases have to be paid in US$ cash.
- Trading Posts:
Buccaneer’s Trading Post, Barefoot Trading Post and Columbus Trading Post.
- Artisan’s Market.
Among others here are some of the shops in the market. Harry’s (fine carved statues and tableware). Les Ateliers Toggart (tapestries, exotic fabrics, and wall hangings). Connie’s (handmade pottery, jewelry, and paper maché). Rum of Haiti (world-famous Barbancourt rum and liqueurs). Carlos (hand-decorated skirts, dresses, shorts, and shirts). Gallerie Trois Visages (distinctive art by some of Haiti’s best).
- Artisan’s Village.
It is great fun to see some of the artisans work on their handicrafts. In particular, those carving wood or painting. Be prepared to haggle with the artisans to get a better deal but have in mind the dreadful life most have on the other side of the fence.
Shore excursions and tours
Because Labadde is an area for the exclusive use of Royal Caribbean cruise ships and its sister brands, private online services and local tour operators do not offer shore excursions in Labadee.
Must-know: language and currency
Currency and purchases
The US dollar is the only currency accepetd in Labadee. You will need cash to pay for purchases in the Artisan’s Market and the Artisan’s Village. For all other puchases passengers need to pay with their boarding card.
You may hear french creloe spoken by the artisans in the Village but everyone else speaks english.
Passengers with beverage packages can use these in Labadee. All other passages can only pay for beverages with the boarding card.
Water in the restrooms is NOT intended for drinking. Drinking water is available at all bar locations and cafés, where lunch is served.
Unlike what happens onboard your cruise ship, you will not find towel stations in Labadee. Remember to bring yours from the ship and not leave it behind.
Just as onboard your cruise ship, lounge chairs are complimentary. This also applies to hammocks found throughout the beaches in Labadee.
There are floating mats available for rent at Nellie's beach and Columbus Cove. Price: US$ 19.00
Health and First Aid
There is a First Aid Station in Labadee manned throughout the day.
There are designated smoking areas throughout Labadee. In particular close to tram stops.
Safety, US travel advice and basics
For comprehensive and updated information about traveling to Haiti see the U.S. Department of State website page evolving advisory.
Covid-19 advise for cruises to Labadee (Haiti)
Although the private resort is fenced off from Haiti, 100's of local residents are employed by Royal Caribbean to work at the resort. Surelly, measures to prevent Coronavirus in Labadee will be implemented and enforced prior to cruise ships docking. But it doesn't hurt to have more updated info and travel advice - more about Covid-19 at the bottom of this article.
For updated coronavirus (Covid-19) information and travel advice to Labadee and Haiti visit the website of the U.S. Embassy in Haiti. For more Traveler's Health advice to Haiti see the CDC Website travel to Haiti information.