Yesterday was a major success: I managed to complete about three days worth of work, after the article on the Allure was written and sent to be published.
A powerful sensation of Super-Woman drive, replaced the ennui of earlier that morning, and I became the Energizer Bunny, folding, packing, and cleaning, all with the speed of a cartoon character. Matilda tilted her head to the side, watching me with an interest she usually reserves only for the most titillating of things.
For the sake of complete honesty, I must confess that I added an extra treat to my bag of tricks: after the article was sent out, I wondered, what if I reward myself with a repeat performance on the Allure? I went to the Kosherica website, to look for the perfect trip. There were two ‘must have’ conditions: It had to be on board The Allure of the Seas, and it had to infuse the North-eastern winter with warmth and sunshine.
My trip to Israel this year couldn’t be considered a sunny break, since the only day off I had from being ‘Florence Nightingale’, was the magnificent snowy escapade I stole to visit Jerusalem. The rest of the time was spent indoors, if inside doctor’s offices, hospitals, or at home, the weather was something one stared at through glass, like a fish in an aquarium.
It took no time at all to find the answer to my quest: on the 24th of January 2016, the Allure had a seven-day Kosher cruise from Fort Lauderdale. It went to Labadee, Haiti, to Falmouth, Jamaica and Cozumel, Mexico.
I didn’t hesitate a moment. Picked up the phone and made the reservation, at which point I got a shot of energy so profound, that working on my mundane tasks, turned into a fun (would you believe it?) and productive magic act.
I have been too Haiti before, but this will be my first time in Labadee.
At night, before sleep, I read up all I could on this Caribbean paradise, which, though legally, part of Haiti, is a private resort, a peninsula of breath taking beauty, is leased to the Royal Caribbean International by the Republic of Haiti, until 2050. The resort is separated by wire from the rest of the country, surrounded by a fence and guards, to keep arriving passengers safe.
Haiti is poor, the government is often corrupt, and despite having some assistance from Humanitarian resources, has constant unrest, corrupt governments and the aid sent to help, goes into the wrong pockets. The country is immensely lovely, with a tropical climate, and French and Creole Heritage, but it’s people are struggling to survive in this contradictory place, which was graced by great beauty cursed great hardship and violence. This is the reason for the guards and fences, which are there to protect Labadee and to make it an isolated, safe haven. The resort is completely tourist oriented and it is impossible to enter the paradise-like resort, unless one arrives on one of the contracted luxury cruise ships. This is, so tourists can enjoy the exquisite peace of the place. All food and drink supplies, come from the docking liners, and passengers are not allowed to leave the area and venture out into the rest of Haiti. For a taste of the Hispaniola Island, the resort has a Haitian flea market, where tourists may buy goods made locally.
All sources I perused, reported that the place, located on the North coast of Haiti, is stunning, elegant, with an exclusive beach front, embracing arriving seafarers in a cradle of great beauty. It combines the best nature has to offer: turquoise waters, white sandy beaches surrounded by beautiful, sloping mountains and exotic foliage.
· The coral reefs are legendary both for diving and snorkelling.
·The place offers full-service, upscale cabanas, in a private setting, for a luxurious relaxation, which includes a sea view, overlooking the action of Nellie Beach. Each cabana rental includes two floating beach mats, to allow you to soak up the sun while floating over the gentle waves. Everyone in the ‘Kosherica’ group gets their own picnic box, stuffed with delicacies, to provide food fit for royalty. (Of course, you get that, regardless of what you choose to do with your day). The water cooler with 6 bottles of water, use of the beach towels and the excellent service of the cabana attendants, are all part of the rental package.
There’s a vast a milieu of sport activities, designed to satisfy both dare-devil/speed junkies and families with members of all ages, who just want to play together.
There’s a whole list of sport structures, some of which
I’ll mention briefly: All manner of water sports, a Zip line and a roller coaster type ride, among many more. For a more detailed list, click here. You’ll get the names and prices of the different apparatus, and pictures that are always worth a thousand words.
In 1986, Royal Caribbean entered an agreement with the Haitian government, paying $10 per tourist then increasing the sum to $12.
They gave steady employment to 300 Haitian citizens, and allowed another 200 to sell their wares on the premises.
Since the resort is entirely tourist oriented, a fence and a private security force were put on the resort’s boundaries, to keep the visitor safe, by guarding it from undesirable visitors.
All food and drink supplies, come from the docking liners, and passengers are not allowed to leave the area and
venture into Haiti. There is a Haitian flea market, water sports, a Zip line and a roller coaster type ride.
In early 2001, a crewmember was attacked in an apparent robbery. Then, during the 2004 political unrest in the country, Royal Caribbean suspended using Labadee as a port of call. Peace and safety have returned, making the resort a most desirable place to dock. So much so, that in 2009, 55 million dollars went by RC into upgrading the facilities, plus for making it a possible docking place for the enormous new liners, the Oasis and the Allure, both created and owned by the company.
Another million was donated to help Haiti survive hunger, famine and poverty. The 500 Haitians, who work on Labadee, reap the much-needed benefits of the visiting cruise ships.
The place is named after the marquis de La Badie, a French nobleman who made his home in the area in the area in the 17th century. The village and peninsula were spelled Labadie, but Royal Caribbean changed it to Labadee, for easier pronunciation.