A longtime favorite port of call for guests sailing on select Eastern and Western Caribbean itineraries, Royal Caribbean International’s private beach destination of Labadee, Haiti now boasts extensive new infrastructure enhancements and amenities for guests. This multi-year development project will be completed in time to welcome Royal Caribbean’s newest and most innovative cruise ship, Oasis of the Seas, on the ship’s December 1, 2009, special voyage.
Refurbishments at the exclusive island destination located on the north coast of Haiti began in the summer of 2007 as a joint venture between the Haitian government and Royal Caribbean International. The primary areas of focus under the development plan included renovations to the island’s pier to allow for the accommodation of Royal Caribbean’s Freedom- and Oasis-class ships, an overhaul of the facilities and dining venues, and a complete revamp of Labadee’s upland areas, including the construction of new bars and the renourishment of area beaches.
To date, all renovations to the pier and dining venues have been completed, establishing a 57 percent growth in dining capacity and introducing a new pier area that stretches 1,300 feet (Pier and Trestle) in length and allows the berth of the 225,282 GRT Oasis of the Seas.
Two areas new to Labadee and central to the redesign of the destination are Dragon’s Plaza and Labadee Town Square, both of which offer convenient meeting places where guests can enjoy the rich Haitian culture and take in shopping, shows, cultural activities and other memorable experiences. Within Dragon’s Plaza, Columbus Cove Beach offers family-friendly attractions including water slides, which complement the area’s aqua park. Labadee Town Square boasts an expanded version of the popular artisan market and a festive atmosphere that comes alive with music, folkloric dancers and more.
Adventure-hungry guests will find a fresh variety of activities and redesigned public areas elsewhere on Labadee, including the new Dragon’s Tail Coaster, offering a high-speed ride through 2,232 feet of the destination’s tropical flora and rock formations. Upland-area favorites like Barefoot Beach Club, dedicated for the use of Royal Caribbean’s suite guests, offers enhanced food and beverage services, and a total of 20 private cabanas are available for rent along the water’s edge and within the hillside areas. The spa facilities at Barefoot Beach have also been revamped to provide an Oasis-like feel, and an expanded area has been set aside for yoga classes and other spa services.
“Oasis will offer a new dimension to our onboard guest experience,” said Adam Goldstein, President and CEO, Royal Caribbean International. “These new major additions to Labadee will further expand offerings for our guests, and we couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate the first sailing of Oasis of the Seas than with a special cruise to our already popular private beach destination.”
The new adventures join a list of already popular activities, including the Dragon’s Breath Flightline, which was introduced in 2007 and offers pristine aerial views of Labadee’s coral reefs and crystal blue waters for individuals brave enough to take the ride down the 2,633 foot cable zip-line. Labadee’s Wave Jet Adventure also is still available, offering guided journeys down one of the wildest coasts in the Caribbean via personal SeeDoo watercrafts.
Naturally, with Oasis of the Seas introducing additional calls to Labadee and other ports on the ship’s Eastern Caribbean itinerary, shore excursions and tour capacities at each stop have increased. On Labadee guests can discover and engage with the area’s picturesque landscape no matter what their tolerance for adventure may be with newly-introduced tours including the High Speed Coastal Cruise & Swim excursion and the Discover Haiti Coastal Cruise.
Visits to St. Maarten, St. Thomas, and Nassau also offer new ways to explore each of the islands, with at least two new excursions available at each port of call. Golf fans can tee up for a 9-hole round at One&Only Golf Course in Nassau, exclusively offered for Royal Caribbean guests and those visiting Atlantis, Paradise Island; adventure seekers can pay a visit to “The Extreme” – a 930 foot cable zip-line suspended 120 feet in the air, and a new addition to St. Maarten; and guests to St. Thomas can now enjoy three new snorkel excursions or sign up for the new St. Thomas Spotlight 5-Star Island Tour – the first island tour in the Caribbean to offer headset commentary for visitors. These tours will be offered exclusively for Oasis of the Seas guests for the first six months of the ship’s operation, after which they will be introduced to all Royal Caribbean guests on ships that call on these ports.