A Day in Le Havre

havre-bistrot-copy

I have my issues with port calls when cruising.

For starters, there’s the sheer size of today’s vessels. Often there are two or more visiting on any given day, each of them disgorging the population of a small town into often-small towns.

Then there are those pricey shore excursions, which in my opinion seldom give value for the dollar. Several hours on a bus, followed by an often hurried tour of some famous sites, followed all too often by a leisurely pause for shopping, followed by another few hours on the return to the ship is not my idea of a well-spent day. [Read more...]

Labadee, Haiti: Royal Caribbean’s Tropical Paradise

Royal Caribbean has created Labadee as a tropical paradise bearing its name.

On the north coast of Haiti lies a narrow spit of land that juts out to sea from the surrounding hills forming a nice little cove. Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines has carefully walled it off from the rest of the country to create a “secluded tropical paradise” for the enjoyment of passengers who otherwise would probably never visit

Since 1986 Labadee has been the largest contributor of tourist dollars to Haiti.

Haiti at all. They call it Labadee.

The original place name is Labadie, but RCCL changed it to Labadee and made the tweaked name a “Service Mark” of the cruise line and, some nondescript ruins aside, everything in it is as artificial as the new name. The closest visitors get to the real Haiti is the Artisan’s Village, where an engaging group of locals sell handicrafts and trinkets to the thousands of punters who pour off the moored cruise ship.
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