Two ports down, one to go! For this post, I’ll focus on day 3, which saw us spending time in Labadee, Haiti. This stop was a first for us. We’d stopped at a Royal-owned private island in the past, Great Stirrup Cay, which we had fun at, but Labadee blew that out of the water.
For this stop, we’d booked spots for the 11:30 zipline time, and planned to just hang out on the beach the rest of the day. After getting off the ship, we headed over to the zipline desk to check in (which you should do right away no matter how late your scheduled time is). After getting the waivers filled out and getting our “flight time” wristbands, we walked over to Columbus Cove to set up camp. We chose this based on other reviews indicating that it’s the least busy of the beach areas due to distance, and were glad we did. It’s a pretty short walk over there if you take the correct path, and when we arrived, one of the attendants arranged some beach chairs beneath a couple of palm trees just a couple of feet from the water for us.
We spent some time hanging out in the water, which was the perfect temperature, and resting on our chairs before heading over to the zipline for our scheduled time. Side note: When we left Columbus Cove, we did leave some of our stuff on our chairs, since we planned on coming back, and nothing was touched while we were gone. Arriving at the zipline area, we did get a locker to store the two bags we carried with us from the beach, and that locker cost $8. Granted, you get access to it for the whole day, but we only used it while we were on the zipline.
Once everyone on your tour arrives, they get you set up with your harness and give a quick talk about what’s going to happen before they lead you over to the practice course. This short run gives you a chance to see how the harness works, what the two positions for flight are (torpedo and sitting up) and how the braking at the end of the run will feel. That part’s a rush in itself due to how fast you stop when you hit the end. Once everyone finishes the practice run, it’s time to load up in the trucks and head up the hill to the top of the real zipline. That’s where the fun really begins 🙂
On arrival, you walk up to the platform area and they split the group in to two sides. You do get to ride with the people in your group/family, as the 5 of us all got to ride at the same time. Just like the practice run, they give you the instructions on how to launch, whether or not you need to change positions in mid-flight (based on weight and the wind speed, you may or may not need to be in “torpedo” the whole way down). Once that’s out of the way, it’s time to fly. I have to say, I’m not a huge fan of heights, but this never once bothered me. Maybe it’s the nature of the harness, or maybe because you have no control over your launch, but this was far more fun than a traditional multi-traverse zipline to me, and standing on and launching off of that big platform didn’t bother me a bit. See for yourself!
After the zipline, we hopped the tram back over to Columbus Cove. On the way there, we got a taste of why that beach is a better option than the ones closer to the ship. When we passed the first set of beaches on the truck up to the zipline and again on this tram, we saw a couple of really long lines for the buffet at that location. Arriving at our beach, there was no wait to get food, and we had no issues getting a picnic table. Seriously, this beach is like a 6-8min walk from the ship if the tram’s not available, and it’s worth it. Far less crowded than the ones right along the main area closer to the ship.
Anyway, we enjoyed the bbq, all provided at no additional cost. Since we have soda packages, we were also able to refill our soda cups at no charge while there. My package includes all non-alcoholic beverages, so I got a virgin Labadoozee for Jen, and purchased one with rum for me. Good stuff!
After lunch, we spent a couple more hours both in the water and laying on our chairs before deciding to call it a day. I have to say, Royal really knows how to get people on and off these large ships. We had no wait to get off right when disembarkation started in the morning, and even though quite a few people were getting on at the same time as us, we got through security fast, and were back in our room in a short matter of time.
Side note – The soda cup that came with my drink package went missing while we were on the beach here, and since I really wanted to keep using the Freestyle machines, I went to guest services to get a replacement. They sent me to the café, where I had to purchase another one for ~$10. I get it, they have no way to know who really lost it/had it stolen vs who’s trying to get an extra soda cup without paying for the whole package, but having to pay another $10 for a replacement didn’t sit that well with me. An easy fix would be to actually tie the chip in the cup to the guest, so if it’s lost it could be deactivated. Then charge a smaller fee if one absolutely has to be charged. Obviously that would mean having to set all bars up with chip readers to be sure cups they’re handed are valid, but still, it seems like a better solution to me.
Anyway, dinner tonight was delicious. It was Italian night, which for me meant some antipasti and lasagna. Both delicious! The sticky bread pudding that accompanied it for dessert wasn’t too shabby either. I have to say, the food and service in the MDR have been outstanding thus far. Can’t say enough good stuff about our waiter Gerson and his assistant Rydon.
We were all pretty tired after a day on the beach, but somehow managed to stay up for “Who wants to feel like a millionaire” and the “Love and Marriage” show. The former was just okay, and since it was held in a bar that was showing game 4 of the NBA finals, there were several ticked off patrons when they turned the game off at the end of the first quarter for the game show, but it happened anyway. The “Love and Marriage” show was pretty funny, and is one of our favorites on any sailing.
That pretty much ended day 3 for us. Next up, my recap of day 4’s stop in Jamaica!