Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Travel Blogging IV

Falmouth, Jamaica:  We visited Labadee, Haiti, yesterday. Today it's Falmouth, Jamaica, a port used by Royal Caribbean which is near Montego Bay. The Allure is one of two RC ships in port today, the other being the Independence OTS. It isn't a pretty day and I've decided to stay onboard, the other DrC has gone ashore with friends Pam and Sam.

About Labadee, it turns out RC only leases it, albeit long-term. We were told the Haitian government gets ten dollars for every passenger RC brings here. Our ship alone would represent $60,000 to Haiti. What a lovely source of graft. I wonder how much of RC's payment ends up in numbered accounts in Switzerland or the Caymans?

RC has made impressive improvements in the facility. There are two zip line rides, each with several parallel cables. One is quite long and crosses an ocean cove. There are beaches, cabanas, cantinas, bars, various transportation options, trinket shops, etc. All consumables come from the ship, I believe, including importantly, bags of ice. 

The workforce is Haitian, from the village of the same name across the bay, brought in by boat daily IF a ship is in port. I'd estimate employment of maybe a couple of hundred locals, possibly more. It was Labadee Village's lucky day when RC arrived. I have seen the private cays of both Princess and Norwegian; Royal Caribbean's Labadee is head and shoulders above the rest. 

Last night we saw the water show Ocean Aria which consists of diving, tumbling, gymnastics, trampoline, and some aerialist bits, done with music to resemble a Cirque show, with the odd French comedy-of-the-grotesque downplayed. We actually watched it twice, as standees in back. We liked it.