My thoughts on Labadee

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Private Islands
Disney's Castaway Cay, Carnival Corp.'s Grand Turk & Half Moon Cay, RCI's Labadee & Coco Cay, Princess Cays etc.
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McPherson, Kansas
782 Posts
Joined Apr 2004
My DH and I have been to Half Moon Cay and Princess Cay also, so we were really excited to go to Labadee. We were on the 2nd tender first thing in the morning. That went well and we got to the beach and it was pretty large with lots of trees for shade. We hiked all the way over to Hideaway beach on the end because we were told it was quieter here. We were lucky enough to get a palupa. I thought it couldn't get better than this. Then we hit the water. There were so many rocks and shells and high surf we couldn't even get in the water. We tried several times to get in but the surf kept slamming us around till we were woried about getting cut on our feet. We got out and decided this was the wrong beach so we went back to barefoot beach. This was slightly more bareable so we set up here under a tree. By this time the beach was getting crowded. We walked over to the other side where there were signs that warned "swim at our own risk" We barely could get in the water here either the waves were too high. We went back to our loungers and laid back to relax only to have 2 large groups of people set down next to us and just chattered away. We actually decided after 2 hours of this place we were through, and went back to the ship. I was so dissapointed because we love beaches and exploring. We had never had this bad of a beach experience.
On our tender back was a young man who almost drown in the high surf. The medical team was there to meet the ferry. They were extremely concerned and very attentive to him. So kudos to the medical staff. Also I can't say enough about Royal Caribbeans Service. Everyone was so friendly and helpful. I have read so many comments about calm waters but for us it was not calm at all. Maybe all the recent rains and weather activity had something to do with it, I don't know. One thing we did enjoy was the Market. They had some lovely things for sale. We did choose to go around the back to the fixed priced market and took home some items at what I thought was a very fair price. The Kids activities looked awesome and all the waverunners and ziplining looked great for a family.
In the end we will never go back to Labadee, but it is just our opinion. If the surf had been calm I maybe would have a complete different attitude about it. I am sure it would suit others really well, but for us it just didn't meet our expectations.
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Philly burbs, PA.
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Joined Sep 2008
Sorry to hear of your disappoinment. We've been there several times - and will be there again this December - and it is one of our favorite places! You must have had some rougher seas than normal - at least it sounds like it. I do know that the "ocean side", which is opposite from the cove and docks where the ship tenders, can be rougher and is less pristine. However, we always go to the beach furthest out on the cove side and have always had good experiences. The water there is usually calm and manageable. Unfortunatly the sand off the shore is not like it is at Orient or Meagans beaches, but we've not found it to be too rough on the feet. True, as you say, it can get a bit crowded and it helps to get there early. But we've always found that to be a relaxing day. This is also closest to the pavillion for lunch! With the new addition of the Dragon's Breath zip line, the activiies there certainly take on a new perspectve - we've booked my son and I on that. (Not sure we'll get my wife and daughter to sign on with us, however.) Not everyone has the same experience and opinion of any island, but hopefully your experience was not typical for there. It least it hasn't been that way with us. Give it another shot on another cruise - after all, how can anything be bad on a cruise?
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793 Posts
Joined Apr 2000
Sorry you did not like it. We always go to the beach to the left of the tender area, it is great, the water is great and it is sandy. Have never seen more than a ripple in the water. The back side of the beach is the only place that I have seen waves but have never seen anyone in the water there. You need to be in the area of the ship to have great beaches and water.
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McPherson, Kansas
782 Posts
Joined Apr 2004
By everything I am hearing from others it must have just been the day, because even the Cruise Director mentioned calm water in the show and I took that to mean he actually was not on the island that day because there were waves and the undercurrent was strong. I think that was why there were so many rocks and shells. We did try all the beaches to try to find one that was better than the other and it seemed barefoot beach was the best.
But by the time things were so crowded we didn't beel like sharing with that many people.
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Wow, we have been there many times. I have lost count. The water has always been like a bath tub. Sorry you had such rough waters.
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1,611 Posts
Joined Oct 2003
We were on Labadee 2 weeks ago. The right side of the island (as you get off the tenders) does have rough water and lots of waves. There are signs to be careful and not go in too far. The side to the left is very calm and beautiful as it's protected.

We were disappointed only because hideaway beach area was closed. We were off the Liberty so what we got was a very crowded beach with hideaway closed. There were just too many people at the calmer water beach area. When we go again we'll be off the Jewel with less people and may try to find an area away from the calm beach. I don't know why hideaway is closed. Is it because of the talk of pier construction (we saw none yet) or damage from a hurricane?
Woodbridge, VA
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Joined Nov 2008
My wife and I went to Hideaway Beach from on cruise on the Freedom of the Seas and found it absolutely wonderful. Made us a little nervous when we found people hanging around on the hillside above us.
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Hideaway is closed due to the construction of a pier to accommodate the new Oasis of the Seas
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Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin
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Joined Mar 2006
Do we know the timetable for completion of the new pier? We are visiting Labadee in two months have been there twice and love it..
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baltimore, maryland, USA
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Joined May 2004
We went to labadee 1st time as a diversion during hurricane 3 yrs ago. Loved it. Went again last year & have to say it was just ok. We like the side with waves/ better beach- but the water (even w/ the rocks & stuff) was dirty. I'm not saying it wasn't clear- I'm used to that from the East Coast. It was actually dirty- a lot of trash, debris- kind made us unsettled so didn't go back in. The calm side is nice, but the beach is so, so tiny. Also kind of a bummer to have the zipline buzzing along entire length of the "pretty" beach. It does take away from the natural beauty. We're going again in Jan. Is the beach any better on the "rough side" further to the right??

I think the island itself is breath taking.
Myrtle Beach, SC
272 Posts
Joined Nov 2006
Originally posted by mercuryfan
Do we know the timetable for completion of the new pier? We are visiting Labadee in two months have been there twice and love it..
I heard construction was to be completed late summer of 2009 or early fall, but who knows for sure.
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Wow, twice now we've been to Labadee and never experienced such high seas as you describe. We love it there. Sorry you missed out.
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Labadee was "okay", we aren't really the type to sit on the beach. I loved the craft markets as I collect art with birds on it and everything was dirt cheap. The sellers are pushy but nothing I wasn't used to having lived in the Middle East.
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