The scoop on the Cruise Line’s Private Islands

Lots of My Vacation Lady‘s clients enjoy cruises— as do we.  Once of the most relaxing ports of call are when the cruise ship is stopping at their private islands in the Bahamas.  As we tell our clients, bring your sunscreen, a beach towel and just get off the ship at your leisure and enjoy the day.  There are beach lounge chairs available (some may have cabanas for rent), a beach BBQ is set up, there are wait staff to bring you drinks and there are lots of activities to do on the islands if you want, or you can just relax and do nothing at all.  The choice is yours.

So what makes each “private island” a bit different?

Labadee Beach

Labadee Beach
















Great Stirrip Cay- Norwegian Cruise Line

NCL has owned Great Stirrip Cay since 1977 and it became the first cruise line to offer a private island experience exclusively for its guests. You’ll get to spend a day enjoying a range of facilities and activities. including a beautiful beachfront for swimming and snorkelling, dining and bar facilities, kids area, floats, hippo slide, a straw market and an area with private cabanas. You can enjoy parasailing, kayaking,  jet skiing, beach volleyball, water sports and even swimming with stingrays.

Half Moon Cay- Holland America Line and Carnival.
Holland America is committed to keeping almost 98 % of this island  natural and it’s been voted “best private island” by Porthole Cruise Magazine 8 times.  Half Moon Cay offers everything you need for a day of fun in the sun on your Caribbean cruise.  Half Moon Cay lies south east of Nassau on is on Little Sand Salvador Island and is visited by both Holland America and  many Carnival itineraries.  Facilities and activities include a two mile crescent shaped white sand beach, nature trails and birding walks, windsurfing, sailing, snorkeling, scuba diving, kayaking and  bicycle tours, horseback riding, swimming with stingray, Aqua Park, Club HAL children’s playground and supervised swimming area, private beach side cabanas, beach side massage,  and a Bahamian Chapel which is a great spot for destination weddings.

Princess Cays- Princess Cruises and Regent Seven Seas
Located in the southern portion of Eleuthera Island in the Bahamas, Princess Cays is a great retreat for snorkeling with its beautiful coral reef and schools of fish. You can also enjoy seaboards, aqua bikes, Hobie Cat sailboats, Sunfish sailboats, paddle wheelers, banana boats or really neat kayaks with transparent hulls which are all available at the water sports pier.  You can climb up to the Crow’s Nest Tower for panoramic views, or shop for local handicrafts.  The kids and teen programs have their own area with a replica of a pirate’s galleon.  There are plenty of beach umbrellas and even some hammocks for relaxing.  Of course, you can enjoy a  barbecue lunch and there are plenty of staff members to get you your favorite drink.

Labadee- Royal Caribbean, Celebrity Cruises
This private reserve is not really an island but a more of a secluded coastline, separated from the rest of the island by a ridge of mountains.  Labadee has a breathtaking setting with the spectacular mountain backdrop, lush tropical foliage and a coral reefs which make for good snorkeling. In addition to swimming and snorkeling, enjoy kayaking, parasailing,  rent floating beach mats, jet skis, enjoy a kid’s aqua park, try zip lining, check out the hiking trails and , of course there are shops. Kids will get a kick out of  Luc’s Splash Bash where they can become a pirate for a day .  Let them battle other buccaneers with water cannons aboard a pirate ship and explore the treasure map trail.  There is a beach BBQ and plenty of wait staff to fill your drink orders.  This is one of our favorite private islands!

Coco Cay- Royal Caribbean and Celebrity Cruises
This 140 acre private island provides a spectacular setting with its white-sand beaches fits the bill for an exceptional day at the beach. Coco Cay  was recently updated with new aquatic facilities, nature trails and lots of places to relax. There is a new 20,000 square-foot Caylana’s Castle Cove, a fun-filled floating aqua playground.   Otherwise, you can enjoy jet skiing, snorkeling, parasailing 400 feet above Coco Cay, relaxing in a hammock and enjoying a beach barbecue. Of course there’s swimming and snorkelling to see coral reefs and colourful tropical fish.  Bring water shoes here since there were some parts of the beach that were a bit rocky.

So if you are thinking about an Eastern Caribbean cruise with a great of just fun and sun on the beach, an itinerary with a private island stop may be a good choice for you.   My Vacation Lady can help you sort out the options and help plan your cruise vacation experience.

By |October 24th, 2014|Categories: All|Tags: , , |Comments Off on The scoop on the Cruise Line’s Private Islands

About the Author:

Mindy Gilbert of My Vacation Lady has been helping clients, just like you, plan their dream vacations, cruises and honeymoons since 1994.