CRUISE TIPS + 9 VIDEOS: More cruise ships are sailing now which is great news, but not all countries are open to visit yet. That makes cruise line private islands more important than ever to be ‘safe-bubble’ paradises for you to enjoy. Some cruise ships may even stay overnight so you can enjoy a two-day visit and double your fun. Here’s information and videos on the best cruise line private islands in the Caribbean.
These gorgeous cruise line private islands – plus a few that are not islands but rather private resort areas of a country – will spoil you with sandy beaches to sink your toes into, a chance to swim in the warm sea, exciting watersports, enjoyable excursions and much more.
Here are the best cruise line private islands and resorts to enjoy – some that will be opening soon if all goes well.
Be sure to check your cruise itinerary closer to your departure as to whether these best cruise line private islands are open.
Perfect Day at Cococay
Royal Caribbean’s private island Perfect Day at Cococay is famous for its incredible features such as beautiful beach areas, huge pool, wave pool, the tallest waterslide in North America, a hot air balloon that takes you up 450 feet in the air for great views and much more.
Royal Caribbean spent more than $250 million developing the island and there’s so much to do on you would need two days to see it well. Some food, drinks and items like beach chairs, umbrellas and towels are complimentary, but some other features have a cost. This includes Thrill Waterpark, zipline, hot air balloon, Coco Beach Club, snorkel equipment and similar items. The overwater floating docks and cabanas reminiscent of Tahiti’s overwater bungalows are in high demand for the luxurious experience and private, peaceful atmosphere and they too have a cost – in the hundreds of dollars per day range. Prices can change so be sure to check. Learn more from this Royal Caribbean Perfect Day at Cococay video from 2020.
Half Moon Cay
Holland America Line
Half Moon Cay gets its alluring name from the shape of its beach and explorer Henry Hudson’s ship called the Half Moon. The island is well-known for its nine-mile beautiful, sandy beach and pristine waters – spreading over 2,400 acres so there’s plenty of space to avoid the crowds. Enjoy beach activities such as horseback riding on the beach, kayaking, watersports as well as nature walks, excursions, straw market and more. It’s a peaceful place that’s even designated as a wild bird preserve. Click here for a video about Half Moon Cay from this 2021 video.
Great Stirrup Cay
Norwegian Cruise Line
Great Stirrup Cay in the Bahamas is a 250-acre island with a history and a few sites to explore. There’s a lighthouse built in 1863 and the island used to be an active military base. Stirrup Cay is all the better for it to add as it adds to its authenticity. You’ll also find all the watersports you’ll need and you’re feeling adventurous, try an excursion. Consider the stingray encounter or take a 10-minute speedboat ride to Treasure Island where you can swim with pigs – for an unforgettable photo to share with family and friends. Learn more about Great Stirrup Cay in this video from 2021.
Beach Club at Bimini
Virgin Voyage’s private resort at Bimini boasts white sand beach that’s like talcum and an atmosphere of private exclusivity. Enjoy cabanas, loungers and hammocks both on the beach and by the pool as well as six bars. There are quiet areas to enjoy yoga and meditation, as well as fun areas for beach games and watersports. For cruise guests staying in the RockStar Quarters on the ship, there’s a private VIP area. Afternoons can be spent listening to music and later on, enjoy a mellow evening around a bonfire. Check out this video of Virgin Voyages Beach Club at Bimini from this 2019 video.
Ocean Cay Marine Reserve
Ocean Cay Marine Reserve is a beautiful ecological-friendly cruise line private island that offers both serene and fun activities. Your ship can dock at this 64-square-mile island and you can enjoy watersports on one of the eight beaches. When you want to take a break from the sun and sea, visit the marine reserve, attend a yoga session or have a massage. There’s no waterpark here in keeping with the ecological theme. Learn more about Ocean Cay Marine Reserve here from this 2019 video.
Disney Cruise Line
All things Disney are sure to be fun and Disney Cruise Line’s Castaway Cay, a 1,000-acre private island, delivers. The ship docks on the island to make it easy if you have a stroller. True to its theme park origins, Castaway Cay and its crew have creative roles to play and the buildings set the scene of those who were ‘shipwrecked’ – albeit quite happily based on the beauty of this place. Several beaches offer the choice of adults-only space or beach areas for kids and teens. With waterslides, snorkelling, parasailing, volleyball, cycling, nature walks, trips and more, Castaway Cay is a lovely change of scenery from the ship. Check out this video of Castaway Cay created in 2016.
PRIVATE CRUISE LINE RESORT AREAS
Norwegian Cruise Line and Belize
Harvest Caye is the result of a partnership between Norwegian Cruise Line and Belize. Ships can dock at Harvest Caye which has a lot of natural beauty. Enjoy a riveting view from the 136-foot tall Flighthouse for aerial activities such as 3,000-foot zipline. Or go kayaking, play mini golf and have tons of fun on the beach. The pool is about 15,000 square feet and has a waterfall, and there are about 2,500 lounge chairs. Click here to learn more about Harvest Caye from this 2016 video.
This 260-acre private beach resort is located on the northern coast of Haiti and offers five beaches with sun and sea activities. There’s also a 2,600-foot zipline for gorgeous views and a mountain coaster for a fast 30 mph thrill ride. Also visit the artisans’ market to buy souvenirs from hats and bags to T-shirts and crafts. And don’t forget to get a drink at the floating bar before you leave. Click here for a video about Labadee from 2017.
Princess Cays isn’t a cruise line private island but rather a private area at the tip of Eleuthera island reserved for Princess guests. Enjoy the beach, watersports and much more such as an excursion to a stingray encounter or glass-bottom boat tour. Also check out the Crow’s Nest Tower for great views. Get more information on Princess Cays from this 2018 video.
Be sure to check if the best cruise line private island or region is currently open for your cruise during these constantly changing times.
Sources: YouTube videos and information courtesy of each cruise line.
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