This was one of our least favorite ports. There wasn't a lot to do, but it was the first port so that was fine with us. We felt very uncomfortable by the fact that Labadee is the private area literally fenced-off from the rest of the island. Although they do a good job trying to hide it, people were begging all along the fence. From one of the two main dining areas the people would climb the hill and sit and watch all the people eat. It was very uncomfortable to be eating as much food as you wanted while the people on the other side of the fence sat there hungry. We were also approached by a very aggressive man while we were walking back from the beach. He wanted to show us something in his backpack. We have done a great deal of traveling in various areas all over the world and still felt VERY uncomfortable here.
We had been here before so we knew what to expect. We went to both of the forts, one of which was having a kite festival, and mostly just walked around the town seeing more of the cultural sights. There were several bands/local performers in different areas which was great. Lots of the cafes and shops have closed down in the old part of the city, leaving many places for rent. Definitely a good place to get off the boat for a few hours to explore.
We booked the Orient Bay beach excursion through the cruise line. The tour guide was excellent. The bus was also very nice for Caribbean standards. We arrived at the beach and they showed us our designated section. There were about 50-75 chairs packed in to a tiny section of beach. We felt like sardines. We weren't allowed to go to any of the other sections, also owned by this company, to use their chairs. There were also umbrellas already set up that you had to pay for, or else the beach attendant would come remove. We were bombarded by literally HUNDREDS of locals selling their souvenirs. This was definitely not an enjoyable experience. Lunch was included, but was inedible. We did walk along the beach for a while and got in the water. The beach itself was beautiful and quite enjoyable, if you can get away from the excursion. They gave you the option on the way back to drop you in the shopping area called the boardwalk. We aren't really shoppers but we enjoyed walking around in this area before getting back on the boat.
We were scheduled to go snorkeling here but were unable to because of illness. We did get off the boat to see the area a bit. It is such a poor area. Many people were commenting that it was very sad to even get off the boat. We walked around a bit, trying to find a beautiful church we had seen from the boat. It is closed down because the inside is in ruins, so we walked back towards the boat. There we did have some very nice homemade ice cream which was delicious (it was right by the boat). We couldn't really find anything else to do so we got back on the boat.
This was probably our favorite port. We got off the boat and asked where a nice beach was within walking distance. The man from the tourism stand just told us to go left off the boat and walk, there would be many. We walked along the sand and every beach we passed was nicer than the previous beach. The water was clear and the beach was very nice. We walked and came across a little bar/snack stand called "Coconuts". We highly recommend it. The drinks were very cheap and we had some delicious nachos. Many of the workers from the boat were there, also... probably a good sign. After walking some more and enjoying relaxing on many of the beaches we headed back to the main part of the town by the boat to go to a place we had read about in a magazine, "Polly's at the Pier". We highly recommend this place, the custom grilled cheeses are delicious.
Well, it all started when we went out to meet our transportation vehicle... I know the big deal in St. Thomas is the taxis that are basically benches in the back of trucks, but this one was self-made. It looked like it barely was held together. We used this to go up hills and around tight corners to Magens bay beach. We tried to stop twice at scenic viewpoints but one was too crowded. The other we just got out in the middle of the road while our driver tried to find a place to park. We got to the beach and had two hours. It was packed! We walked all the way down to the far end where it was a bit less crowded. We ended up not getting in the water for two reasons: there was a LOT of dead vegetation in the water (someone can probably explain that a lot better than me, but it didn't look very clear and we don't like lots of stuff hitting our legs) and there were these dive-bombing birds trying to fish. We noticed there were a LOT more people on the beach than in the water. The little restaurant there was pretty good but very overpriced. We only had two hours before heading back. We definitely wouldn't go back to this beach again, and we would probably recommend that anyone wanting to just take a taxi over there. There area lots of taxis waiting to head back and we found that many of the tour taxis, including ours, would take extra people back with them for a fee. We walked around the town a bit when we got back and found a cute little place where we had homemade lemonade and a frozen cappucino. It was called "Bumpa's." The people were very friendly and the food (sandwiches, etc.) looked good also.