What makes a private island such a sought-after destination? Cruise experts at CruiseCompete say private islands rank “number one” on cruisers' to-do lists for five reasons:
1. A unique opportunity for relaxation: Private islands offer cruisers an escape from the pressures of everyday life.
2. The chance to live like royalty: On an island like Holland America’s Half Moon Cay, the staff caters to guests' every need. For a fee, passengers can reserve private cabanas where they will be attended to by private butlers. The butlers fill beverage glasses, prepare foods, and even offer cool cucumber to sooth eyes against the hot sun.
3. Ramp up the adrenaline: Private islands offer an array of activities including water sports, jeep tours and island explorations. Families are welcome as there is plenty to do for all ages.
4. The makings of an epic travel story: Between the beauty of the islands and the potential adventures available, cruisers will have all components for a memorable trip.
5. Paradise on Earth: The Caribbean waters, coral reefs, and beaches combine for some of the most beautiful scenes in the world.
Cruise Lines’ Private Islands
Costa Cruises: Costa Cruises guests visit Catalina Island, off the coast of the Dominican Republic. The island offers activities such as volleyball, snorkeling and massages on the beach. Cruisers can also rent jet skis, go for banana-boat rides or just relax on the beach.
Disney Cruise Line: Disney’s Castaway Cay provides plenty of fun for all ages. The island has cruise ship docking capabilities which allows guests to easily travel back and forth to their ship. Attractions include: Castaway Family Beach, Serenity Bay for adults, a teens-only activity area, and supervised programs for children.
Holland America: Holland America’s Half Moon Cay has been ranked “Best Private Island” by Porthole Cruise Magazine for 16 consecutive years. The island, located on Little San Salvador Island in the Bahamas, allows guests to feed stingrays, enjoy water sports, and have access to private cabanas with butler service.
MSC Cruises: MSC Cruises is currently developing their own reserve island, Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve in the Bahamas. Ocean Cay will offer a 2,000-seat amphitheater, restaurants, bike rentals, zip lines, and a pavilion for weddings and celebrations. Ocean Cay is set to open to guests in October 2018.
Norwegian Cruise Line: Norwegian’s private island, Great Stirrup Cay is located in the Berry Island chain of the Bahamas. The island offers an array of water sports including snorkeling, paddle boats, sailboats and kayaks. The cruise line also stops at Harvest Caye in Southern Belize.
Princess Cruises: Princess Cruises ships visit Princess Cays, located on the southern portion of Eleuthera Island in the Bahamas. Cruisers can rent aqua bikes, seaboards, paddleboats, sailboats or rafts. The island has umbrellas, tiki huts and hammocks for beach-goers.
Paul Gauguin Cruises: Paul Gauguin visits Motu Mahana, part of the Society Islands. The island offers local crafts and cuisine, music, and vanilla plantation tours.
Royal Caribbean and Celebrity Cruises: Coco Cay, designed exclusively for Royal Caribbean and Celebrity Cruises passengers, boasts a 20,000 square foot aqua playground named Caylana’s Castle Cove. The two lines’ second island getaway, Labadee, features seven different “neighborhoods” that have individual offerings.