Labadee – Royal Caribbean’s Private Island Paradise. - Orlando / Florida Guide
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Over 30 years ago the first ‘private’ island was developed by Norwegian Cruise Lines, and this was a totally new concept – that of an exclusive paradise island retreat for the use of its passengers. Since then all the major cruise lines in the Caribbean have developed their own little slice of paradise.
Royal Caribbean private island of Labadee is not actually an island but more a peninsular. Advertised as being on the north coast of Hispaniola, it is more accurately described as being part of Haiti. The dreadful and tragic earthquake experienced here in 2010 has brought the use of this exclusive destination into question, but it would seem that such a venue is in much demand by passengers on their ships.
Labadee itself offers pristine beaches, and breathtaking scenery as it is surrounded by beautiful mountain slopes and exotic tropical foliage. This naturally beautiful landscape has been further enhanced by the addition of spectacular water activities and most recently zip lining. There are beautiful beaches with coral reefs which provide the perfect location for relaxing or more energetic activities such as parasailing. Whether you want to relax and chill out on the beach or snorkel in the crystal clear water which abounds in exotic marine life then this island is the place for you.
You can paddle along the coastline on a relaxing kayak tour, passing fishing villages, or become a buccaneer for a day at Labadee Luc’s Splash Bash where geysers and water archways will drench you as you battle other pirates with water cannons aboard the pirate ship. You can even explore a treasure map trail in search of buried treasure. You can soar 400 ft above the peninsular as you experience a thrilling parasailing ride or you can float on the waves on a beach mat.
There is even a modest Aqua Park with trampolines to bounce on and inflatables to slide down water chutes.
But the latest offering is zip lining, which is 2. 400 ft long and takes you from a tall hill right over the sea. The Zip Line is called ‘Dragon’s Flight’ and it is located at Dragon’s Breath Point, near to the Dragon’s Breath Bar at the exit to the ride – you may well need a stiff drink after this experience. They give you a practise run on a short line where you learn how to stop at the end of the ride. The structure itself is built of aluminium to prevent rust problems. You actually wear the seat! After the training run you are taken in a special shuttle to the top, where there is a spectacular view. There is a weight limit for this ride of 250 lbs in normal circumstances, but wind and weather conditions may reduce this limit to as little as 160 lbs. There is a weighing machine at the start of the zip line. Anyone who has booked the zip line but is found to be over the weight limit is reimbursed from the excursion desk on board. They are strict about this for safety reasons.
The photos and videos on You Tube look awesome. It seems quite fast – thought not as fast as some zip lining locations – but you can slow yourself down by putting your arms and legs out. I am a bit of a wimp where roller coasters are concerned, but I would love to try this – flying over the waves makes me think of that wonderful attraction, ‘Soarin’ at Epcot in Orlando, Florida. It looks awesome.
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