Friday, March 1, 2019

[Day 3] Navigator of the Seas - Labadee

Rachel likes to sleep with the balcony door open.  I know this is generally frowned upon because it messes up the balance for the air conditioning, but we do it anyway (my sincere apologies to the mechanical engineers and environmentalists of the world).  And because our stateroom was a lower deck than normal, the waves at night were LOUD.  Around 7 AM we woke up to the ship pulling into port in Labadee.  Soon after we were greeted by an incredibly untalented Caribbean band BLARING Caribbean tunes.  Rachel got up to shut the door.  But we could still hear them.  Especially the piercing woodblock.  It was like a metronome for every song they played.  *PING-PING-PING-PING-PING-PING-PING-PING*  Uggghhhhhhh someone make it stop!!!!  It is too early for this.  We tried to sleep in, but the woodblock haunted my dreams.

Labadee is one of Royal Caribbean's two private islands.  We've been here a few times before.  At the moment, Labadee is more developed than CoCo Cay.  However, CoCo Cay is under construction and will receive a lot of new facilities like a water park, so it may soon be the nicer Royal Caribbean island.

Labadee

There they are, the terrible Caribbean band, located in the prime location also known as directly underneath our balcony.

Labadee



I think this boat takes people on a snorkel tour -

Labadee

Labadee

For the first time, we had booked a shore excursion on Labadee. My dad had found a good deal on Black Friday and decided to purchase the zipline excursion.

Navigator of the Seas

They also have a dance crew on the island -

Labadee

Just waiting on the excursion, minding my own business when *PING-PING-PING-PING-PING--* Aughhh!!!!!! The woodblock is haunting me!!!!

Labadee

So there are two different types of zipline (errr... "Flight lines") in Labadee. Both fly over the ocean and have approximately the same path. The difference is the harness style - for "Dragon's Breath Flight Line" you sit upright, and the other you take off horizontally, like Superman. We did the Superman-type flight, called "Dragon's Fire Flight Line" -

Labadee

You have to sign a bunch of waivers guaranteeing that you're in good health and that you won't sue them if you happen to die. Easy stuff. They have lockers that you can rent to put your belongings in while you go on the zipline. We rented one locker for our valuables (my camera bag and everyone's phone/wallet) and then put our beach bags in lounge chairs.

To get to the takeoff platform, they load you up in a truck that has a bunch of bench seats in the bed and drive you up the mountain. At the top, you're given a harness and a quick safety presentation.

Now, things are a little different for me now because my job focuses on construction and attraction safety. A younger more naive Victoria would say, "Oh, cool, zipline!!!" Older, more knowledgeable Victoria says... "I really don't trust the foundation of this structure. What building department do you think they submitted to? Any? Who approved this??"

One thing for sure is that I would never ride that bobsled rollercoaster for safety concerns. That thing looks janky! I have serious concerns as to whether they considered the amount of rainfall and type of soil when designing the foundation for it. But more importantly, I seriously doubt that it is properly maintained, and maintenance is critical, especially in that climate. I also seriously doubt that it has been inspected by the Department of Safety and Health (DOSH). So there you have it - I, a professional in design, safety, and construction of theme park attractions, do not recommend that you risk your life on the bobsled rollercoaster.

Zipline, however.... whatever, let's risk it.

Labadee Zipline

I was a little dissatisfied with the safety presentation and continued to ask questions because from what they were telling us, we were in control of breaking, and at the end we had to move into the landing position so that we wouldn't hurt ourselves. Rachel thinks that the landing position was so that if you for some reason aren't stopped, your neck is just snapped and you die.

Is my safety talk convincing you to do this excursion, yet??

This is the platform for the Dragon's Breath Flight Line. It has a larger capacity, launching 4 people at a time, verses the Dragon Fire Flight Line which launches only two at a time -

Zipline Takeoff

Zipline Takeoff

Navigator of the Seas

Rachel took a video of the takeoff -

Zipline Takeoff

Here we go....

Zipline Platform

So the worst thing about strapping to the zipline is that you have to do a little trust fall forward while staying straight like a board. That's really the scariest part of the entire experience. Well, that and looking at that horrifically jank-looking bobsled coaster.

The zipline was so much fun!!! I was surprised that I went really, really fast. Usually I kind of slug behind on things that require body-weight momentum because I am rather small. But they knew our weights and must have done some sort of calibration. I started off behind Rachel, and then I flew past her!

Sooo... you know how we put our cameras and cell phones in the locker? Well, we brought one phone with us, and that was Dad's. Leaving Dad in charge of photography, I wasn't expecting enough. he is notorious for his comically bad photos. Well, the first thing he says is, "I thought I was taking a video, but I was taking photos. I don't think I got anything!"

I think this is me...

Me Flying I Think

Didn't die!

Zipline Finish

Rachel apparently forgot to do her landing position, so it's a good thing the brakes caught her.

Zipline Finish

Okay, now time to beach!

Labadee

Labadee

You can't swim at all of the beaches on the island  Adrenaline beach is rocky, and swimming isn't permitted.  After a few past visits accidentally locating ourselves at a beach we couldn't swim at, we finally realized that the beach we wanted to go to is Nellie's Beach.  It's a short tram ride away.

Labadee

Labadee

Labadee

Labadee

Okay, so one big difference that I believe to be a significant downfall of Labadee in comparison to other cruise line private islands (specifically Norwegian's Great Stirrup Cay and Disney's Castaway Cay which I have been to most recently) is a lack in bar service.  The bars on Labadee are not a full bar setup - no taps for beer and no blenders.  What's a Caribbean island bar doing without a blender for frozen drinks?!  Rachel was at the bar and a woman ordered a pina colada, and the bartender responded, "Haaa!  You'll have to get back on the ship!"

They offer one "frozen" drink on Labadee, and it's called the Labadoozie.  More like the Labadookie.  It's a blend of pina colada mix and orange juice.  They make it in advance and store it in large coolers that they literally scoop from (I really can't believe I didn't photo-document this).  If you're buying it from one of the bartenders on the beach with souvenir cups you'd never know... but if you visit the bar, you will experience the slosh-scooping firsthand.  They prepare it without alcohol so that they can sell it virgin.  Then if you order the alcoholic version, they just take the lid off of the souvenir cup and pour rum on the top.

Labadee

Christmas tree looking a little tipsy....

Labadee

Labadee

The window for the buffet is short, so don't miss it!  Lunch is served from 11:30-1:30.

Labadee

We arrived around 1:00 I think and there were no plates.  We just stood there waiting while someone went to retrieve plates.

Beach BBQ

Beach BBQ

The food, like I've been saying, is not bad, but it's not good either.

Beach BBQ

*PING-PING-PING-PING-PING-PING-PING-PING-PING*  Nooooo!!!!  My favorite woodblocker and his Caribbean band came and set up right next to us while we were eating.  I really was being haunted.

Haunting of the Wood Block

After lunch we decided to do a little island exploring and came across the Adrenaline Floating Bar -

Adrenaline Bar

Looks like a party!

Adrenaline Bar

Recognize those hotties?

Adrenaline Bar

Adrenaline Bar

Adrenaline Bar

This bar was pretty lit. They had a speaker playing music from an uncensored playlist, and everyone was pretty hammered.

Adrenaline Bar

Adrenaline Bar

No, my camera isn't waterproof. I'm just very brave.

Floating Bar

Notice that I also made it out to the floating bar in my cover-up. Which... by the way... do you think I look like Mexican Donald Duck?

Floating Bar

So on the island, they were using paper straws because straws are evil, right? WELL... we were floating on the water and I was served a drink with a... PLASTIC STRAW?!

Adrenaline Bar

See... island bar, paper straw!

Labadee

Okay, bye floating bar, enjoy the party!

Adrenaline Bar

That round, metal cage-thing sticking out of the trees is the janky bobsled rollercoaster I'm referring to.  Don't trust it.

Adrenaline Bar

IMG_0549

Back to Nellie's Cove to wait it out until we are among the last people back on the ship -

Labadee

Labadee

Back to the ship!

Labadee

Labadee

Labadee

Bye, Labadee!

Labadee

Soo.... Royal Caribbean is one of those stingy cruise lines that makes you rent towels for a refundable "deposit" - I think it's $25. So you can take as many towels as you want, but they are attached to your room number, and if you don't return them by the end of the cruise, you'll be charged $25 per towel. This is so that people don't take them off the ship and then abandon them. And also probably so that people don't take them home as a souvenir. I get it. But it's also really annoying when you have to go and check in/out your pool towels. On Norwegian, which also requires a towel deposit, you can leave your used towels in your room, and the stateroom attendant will exchange them for fresh towels. It's a nice convenience, and the only time you have to worry about the towel return is at the end of the cruise, or if you're on the pool deck and would like to exchange wet for dry. This is apparently not the case on Royal Caribbean... or at least not anymore. Maybe something happened. But our stateroom attendant not only wouldn't exchange them for us, but he didn't want them in the room. And it's just really annoying to have to carry a wet towel up to the pool deck when you're dry to exchange it for a clean towel. Am I a diva? Probably. But it's vacation. Trade my towel for me, please!!

No In Room Towel Exchange

I forgot to take a photo of my menu for reference, so I will just have to guess/remember the food I ordered/ate/photographed.

Crab Cakes!

Crab Cake

Idk some ravioli? This doesn't look like something I would order. Probably Mom's and she said, "Want to take a picture?" And I said, "Yes."

Ravioli

Salmon. This was my entree. I went with a lot of seafood entrees that week.

VIC_1646

And one of my favorite desserts, Grand Marnier Souffle.

Grand Marnier Souffle

Night, guys!

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