Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.
— Mark Twain
Day Six – Labadee
We got to sleep a little later on day six because we weren’t going to get to port at Labadee, Haiti, until 9:30. Labadee is Royal Caribbean’s private port, so only Royal Caribbean ships can dock there. And it was sunny again!
Breakfast at Johnny Rockets
We went to breakfast at Johnny Rocket’s again. And again we were seated promptly and the waiter didn’t take long to get to us. I had orange juice and hot tea, plus a breakfast sandwich with whole wheat toast, fried egg, cheese, and mayo, and a side order of potatoes. He had the Eggs My Way, which consisted of two eggs over easy, sausage, toast, and potatoes, along with orange juice and coffee.
I really do like Johnny Rockets for breakfast. Breakfast is complimentary, lunch and dinner are not, so we haven’t tried it during the rest of the day.
Docking in Labadee
The door sign to have our room made up wasn’t up yet because we wanted to go back to the room after breakfast and put on sunscreen, and get whatever else we needed. We bring stainless steel water bottles with us, because we never go to port without extra water, and we bring the electrolyte type liquid drink mix with us, and add that to the water for flavor.
While we were in the room the ship was docking in Labadee, and we watched it off of the balcony. I hadn’t known how they got the huge mooring ropes from the ship to the dock. It looks like they attach line with weights to the end of the rope, and then they actually shoot the line out over the dock so the dockworkers can grab it. Then they keep pulling the line until they get to the rope, then the rope is put over the mooring. Interesting. I did take a video of it which I’ll post on my Facebook page.
We left the ship soon after that. We weren’t planning on swimming, we’re not really beach people, but we wanted to walk around and maybe do some shopping. I wasn’t sure about that because I hate the straw market on Labadee. I’d been there before and did not feel safe.
Around the area
Labadee is a beautiful area, and I saw no hurricane damage there. Royal Caribbean did a great job of restoring everything after the hurricanes. Off to the right is the area where they do the water based shore excursions. Off to the left is a long walkway that takes you to all the beaches, the zipline, the coaster, and the market area. There is a tram that will take you all the way to the end and back.
There are plenty of restrooms along the walkway, there are plenty of beach chairs. I haven’t used a beach chair, but I’ve heard that if you let a local help you with your chair, or anything else, a tip is expected. You can get them yourself. You do not have to bring a beach towel, you can get them from the ship. Just be sure to bring them back because they do charge you if you don’t. They will scan your ship card and that’s how they know who has them.
The zipline apparently wasn’t working because we didn’t see one person come down. I could see some of the little coaster cars coming down. It’s more like a bobsled ride. Looks like fun, but way too expensive for me. On the right as you walk there are beach areas set aside for Diamond club and the other higher levels of passengers who have cruised quite often on Royal Caribbean.
We walked quite a ways to the market area. On the right, just before you get to the market area, there is a large shop. If you shop in this area, they will not hassle or pressure you, and they will not negotiate on price. But for me, it’s a much better shop because I hate being followed around and pressured, I’d just as soon pay the marked price.
My least favorite Straw Market ever
Once you get into the market area, you will see men in orange colored t-shirts everywhere. Now remember, I’m a quiet cruiser, and this was very intimidating to me. It was as though they were waiting there to pounce on me. I’ve been to straw markets in a lot of ports, and this one to me is the worst. I just felt very uncomfortable there.
And just as I expected, as soon as my husband and I got close to the market they came in like vultures. I understand that Haiti is a poor country, and that they need the money, but they need to understand that not everyone likes to be bombarded with people wanting them to buy. They’ve got to be losing business because if my husband hadn’t been there, they wouldn’t have gotten any money from us. And the spiel with every one of them was exactly the same. “Where do you come from boss lady? No pressure…..”
Every shop had almost exactly the same items and they’d say “Come see what I made with my own hands.” If they would actually be a bit unique, they’d sell more. So, that’s my rant on this straw market. Needless to say, I went out onto the paved street area and walked as far away from the market as possible, while my husband looked around.
As you get to the end of the very long market area, there is another beach on the right side. I believe it was called Columbus beach. It seemed quieter and more relaxed, and there seemed to be plenty of beach chairs there. The surf didn’t seem as high. The tram goes to this area, it’s the furthest stop, I believe.
Sending my husband to bargain
After we walked back to the beginning of the market area my husband decided that he wanted to do some shopping at the market on his own. Apparently the shop owners will bargain, and he wanted to go back and get something that the shopkeeper had promised him a good price on.
I decided to shop at the no pressure shop at the beginning of the market place instead. They had some very nice items there that were made by the women of Haiti, and I wanted to support the country a bit. There are quite a bit of different items in this shop. It was very crowded, but no one came at me trying to sell to me. I could just look around and find what I wanted. They have hand carved Haitian wood, clothing, honey, rum punch, Christmas Tree Decorations, etc. After I finished up at the store, I hopped on a waiting tram and headed back to the ship.
Lunch in the Windjammer instead of in port
My husband and I had decided to meet up in the room at 12:30 pm for lunch. They do have lunch at port if you prefer, but we decided to cool off a bit and go to the Windjammer. As I was headed to our room I stopped at the Park Cafe for a drink. They have this really good Strawberry flavored water, and while there I saw my old friend who just happened to be cruising with us. We talked for awhile and she invited us to sit with her for lunch, but he wanted more than a sandwich, so we headed to the Windjammer.
It wasn’t crowded at all, a lot of people were eating at port, so we found a seat easily. The food wasn’t bad. The best was the jerk chicken and I liked the fried plantains but he didn’t. Ships just don’t have the knack of making plantains, they don’t let them sit around long enough to get really sweet. While I was there I heard “Hello Miss Kathy”, and it was Kadek, our assistant waiter in the main dining room. He’s been good, and he’s very sweet.
Pictures on the ship
After lunch we decided to head back outside for awhile to walk around. If you go to the right of the first lunch buffet building, back towards where it says Spa, there is a lookout point that is a great place for taking pictures. We got some pictures, and a nice gentleman offered to take a picture of both of us together. Then we walked a bit more. He wanted to go back to the market and get some t-shirts. I decided to come back to the ship and write my blog.
After relaxing awhile, showering, and changing for dinner, we went to the main dining room. We sat in our regular seat. Even though we’ve had Your Time Dining, they have put us in the same table, and mostly with the same people. This way we’ve gotten to know the waiters a bit. It’s gotten to the point that we sometimes have to tell the person taking us to our table where it is. They have a lot of tables to memorize.
We always enjoy getting to know people a bit on the ship, and it’s nice that we’ve been able to do it this time also. Dinner for me was a really good pork BBQ taco, Steak Diane, which is steak with mushroom sauce, delicious! And for dessert Cherries Jubilee. Not flaming though, guess that would not be a good idea on a ship.
Late for the show…not a good idea on Oasis
After dinner we had some time before the show that I thought started at 8:30 pm. So, we went down to the Central Park and sat and listened to the violins playing Christmas music. A very peaceful place to be. While there we ran into my friend again and talked to her a while.
I thought we had enough time to get to the show, which was Fly With Me. We got there at 8:00, and I guess I was wrong on the time because it started at 8:00 and the lights went out. And not a seat to be found. So, we watched that show standing up behind the upper balcony. Not really comfortable. I’m not really sure what I thought of that show. It was okay, but really not my thing. And maybe it was because we were uncomfortable watching it. I just didn’t get the story line.
After that we called it a day. A cruise can really wear you out.