Visiting Labadee for a Number of Reasons, Including a Site Visit of the Citadelle

by 583

On Friday, for the first time since October, Richard Fain and I visited Labadee. We had three goals for the trip. One, to meet our local management team and express our support for our people and their country. Two, for Richard to pursue the concept of building a school to serve the surrounding area. Three, for me to visit the Citadelle and understand what needs to be done to enable our guests to visit it when the ships call at Labadee. Joining us throughout the day were Minister of Tourism Patrick Delatour and one of President Clinton’s top advisers in Haiti, plus Craig Milan, John Weis and Maryse Kedar.

The site looked great and was in full stride with Independence of the Seas at the beautiful new pier.

I’ve been talking about the Citadelle for a long time so it made sense to actually go and see it for myself. It’s extraordinary. It is the largest fort in all of the Americas and it sits on top of a 3,000 foot mountain. How people in the early 1800’s got the rocks and munitions up that big hill is mind boggling. It was great getting the tour from the Minister of Tourism. Apart from his position in government, Minister Delatour is a historian/architect who has been personally involved in the restoration of the Citadelle since 1972. He explained, for example, that the cannons with Latin inscriptions are French, whereas the cannons with French inscriptions are British. Go figure. Each cannon has its own story. Many are still on their wooden mounts that allow the cannon to swivel and aim from various angles, waiting silently for the French invasion that will never come. The 360 degree view is phenomenal.

The tour to the Citadelle would be an all day affair with a lot of travel logistics. The decision to take the tour would be a decision to forego the normal Labadee experience. Whenever this tour gets going it will be in the category of adventure tour with a relatively high (> $100 per person) price point. The site needs to be enhanced from a safety standpoint before we could consider bringing our guests there. With the right funding from international donors and a concentrated effort to get the site ready, it could be ready within a few months. But until work actually begins, there is no way to project when this will happen. We are determined that it will eventually happen.

Back in South Florida, we corrected an oversight from the Oasis of the Seas naming by bringing back godmother Dara Torres, this time accompanied by her lovely four year old daughter. Although Dara is of a different social media species than I am – she constantly tweets, I occasionally blog – a good time was had by all. Her daughter liked the H2O zone the best but was also excited to see her mommy’s picture by Guest Relations.

  • Annette Pentecost

    If Royal Caribbean is able to allow passengers safe travel the Citadell; I will be on the first ship there. I was so dissappointed that it wasn’t accessable when I went on my honeymoon in Sept. 2007.

  • Bob & Jane Lorrey

    We love Labadee especially with the addition of the new pier but we would jump at an opportunity to tour the Citadelle.

  • Don Hyatt

    This is a little self serving because I’m booked on the cruise but I think the pre-inaugural voyage of the Allure of the Seas on Dec 1 would be an excellent time to test a shore excursion to the Citadelle :-)

  • Mark Bonsky

    Adam, I know this does not apply to the post but I thought I would ask here to get a better response then I was getting on the phone. I am a Diamond member and have sailed over 18 times on RCCL. I started on what I thought was the biggest ship ever the Nordic Empress. But I just sailed in January on the Oasis and boy was I wrong about the Nordic. But I digress, The reason for my post is this. I am in the process of booking on the Liberty for January 2011 and was excited to see that it was one of the cruises offered in my coupons as a crown member. So I booked my typical 2 balcony’s (big family) and wanted to apply my coupon but was told I could not apply the coupon with my discount from the Crown and Anchor. So I am VERY confused. 1st – Why send them to C&A members if you cant use them? 2nd – why would I ever use a coupon if its less then my balcony discount. I feel this is a bit slimey and misleading. The PAGES of coupons could never be used by any diamond (your must loyal) members. Please explain to me why you do this. Either send me coupons I can use or dont bother sending me anything! Thanks for your time in addressing this problem and I look forward to hearing your solution. Thanks, Mark Bonsky Diamond Member and RCCL loyalist since 1990!

    • Adam

      Mark, thank you for your comment. In regard to our coupons we allow our guests to select which coupons offer the most value for them which is why we continue to send you all coupons that apply to you.

  • Jane hopson

    Mark, I have to agree with you! We are shareholders, Diamond members and obviously frequent cruisers on RCCL! We bought shares of RCCL after learning that you get a discount on cruises. That was immediately discontinuted after we made that purchase. We always get a Grand Suite, so the coupons are usless to us also. Even the future cruise purchase onboard is of no value since that now provides no incentive to go on and book that next cruise. So, how is RCCL going to be able to incentivise its most loyal cruisers to keep rebooking with them? I heard a lot of talk in the Diamond “lounge” on our last cruise about switching loyalty to another line because of all of the downgrading that RCCL has done to the Diamond members including excluding them from the Concierge Club! Surely there is something that can be done for Diamond members and shareholders to keep their loyalty. My suggestion about the proposed shore excursion is to add an overnight at Labadee so that everyone can enjoy Labadee as well as the new excursion. There are other ports that could be eliminated – like Samana, on my last cruise. Labadee is so much better and there is the pier!!!!

  • mario

    mark i totally agree with you i was going to ask the same question. We are also diamond and our discount is greater than any coupon so why have them available to diamond and above members.

  • mario

    MARK I agree as we are diamond also and always wondered why we were offered coupons that we could not use because our diamond discount was greater. Adam maybe we could get some kind of explanation , Iknow that this isnt the proper place for this subject but we cant get an answer anywhere else. THANKS.

  • Carol

    I understand Mark’s confusion. He will realize as so many Diamond C&A members have that the only recourse to the shabby treatment we have received is to cruise with a different cruise company. It’s great to be appreciated again on NCL or Carnival. RCI doesn’t even respond to former loyal passengers.

  • Craig

    Adam,,,did you know that there is a real spanish galleon in 20′ of water with beams and cannons visable just 4 miles from labadee. I can show you

  • Madelyn smyth

    Perhaps if those of you have commented on the change in benefits for the Diamond & Diamond Plus members should read Adam’s Blog from May 27, 2009 wherein he explained quite explicitly why these changes were made. We don’t necessarily have to like them, but they are explained.

  • Marvin

    Madelyn is right. We don’t have to like it; and we don’t have to cruise with Royal Caribbean either! If she is satisfied with the blog response I’ll bet she buys a lot of bridges in Brooklyn.

  • Pingback: Tweets that mention Visiting Labadee for a Number of Reasons, Including a Site Visit of the Citadelle « Why Not? --

  • Gail Cousin

    I wish there were volunteer excursions available whike visiting Labadee, Haiti. My husband is taking me on the Oasis for my birthday and I feel like I just can’t hang out and have fun while so many are still suffering in Haiti. I noticed that there was one volunteer opportunity in Mexico…why not Haiti?

    • Adam

      Gail, thank you for your interest in Haiti. We appreciate your concern and have taken your suggestion into consideration.

  • Yves roseus

    I agree with Jane. The ships should spend more time in Labadee.I understand that there are logistic problems. From WOW of the oasis or allure to the citadelle, what a trip that would be!I hope on my next cruise I can visit the citadelle. It has been my dream to visit that 19th century architectural century wonder.

  • Joan Terrone

    In agreement with Madelyn on this subject, they explained why they had to do it. I am just happy that they GIVE this to us.

    • Adam

      We appreciate your feedback, Joan. Thank you for commenting.

  • Stefan

    I am booked for a Royal Caribbean Cruise in March 2016 on the Navigator of the Seas, and Labadee is a port of call. I and my travel companions are not beach people and would love to have the opportunity to visit the Citadelle and the Palace. I hope that the logistics can be resolved before then as seeing such an historic UNESCO site would be a wonderful treat.