According to private islands continue to be among the most popular Caribbean cruise stops


Uninhabited islands, pristine
beaches, tropical landscapes and island frolicking make the private islands
operated by cruise lines some of the most popular port-of-calls in the
Caribbean region.

“For many cruisers, the highlight of their voyages comes when their
ships visit an exclusive private island for the day,” said Bob Levinstein,
CEO of “User feedback tells us private islands are the
favorite part of the cruise. Other than on a cruise, most people never have
the experience of lounging all day on an exclusive, beautiful private
island in the Caribbean. The cruise lines have done a fabulous job of
turning these islands into magical experience.”

If a person’s idea of pampering is an air-conditioned, open-air beach
cabana with a private butler and chilled appetizers, Holland America offers
these amenities on their island, Levinstein said. Or maybe an active day on
the island sounds fun? Then Royal Caribbean’s private island beachside zip
lines, volleyball courts and floating aqua parks are ideal. How about
family fun, plus a secluded beach just for adults? Disney may have some
magic in store for you, he added.

The following is a rundown of several of the Caribbean cruise
industry’s most popular private islands:

Royal Caribbean — The cruise line operates two separate, distinct private
island getaways. Cruisers taking seven-day trips from Miami visit Labadee,
Haiti, a 260-acre peninsula at Pointe Ste. Honore on the mountainous and
secluded northern coast of the island. Settled as a trading post hundreds
of years ago, the peninsula has been restored exclusively for the use of
Royal Caribbean guest. It now features five beaches, secluded coves,
nature trails, open-air dining and beachside refreshment bars, artisan
markets and more. Water activities include the Dragons Flight Zip Line, a
4,000 foot-long trip over the water of Dragon’s Tail Beach, snorkeling,
waver runners, kayaks and parasailing. Its Arawak Aqua Park features
floating trampolines, inflatable iceberg slides and other fun.

CoCoCay is a 140-acre island located in the Bahamas’ Berry Island chain
between Freeport and Nassau. It is a tropical oasis for Royal Caribbean
guests taking 3-4 day voyages out of Port Canaveral or Miami. CocoCay
features three white sand beaches, coconut palm groves, coral reefs,
trails and a sunken replica of Blackbeard’s flagship “Queen Anne’s
Revenge”. There are plenty of water activities, including scuba diving and
snorkeling, inflatable water slides, a glass bottom boat and Caylana’s
Aqua Park, featuring a floating sand castle.

Holland America — Half Moon Cay, considered by many to be the most
beautiful of the cruise lines’ private islands, is located about 100 miles
south of Nassau, in the Bahamas. Holland America has made a great effort
to maintain the natural beauty of the island, with only 45 acres of the
2,500-acre island developed. All parts of the island are accessible,
however, via tram and hard-surfaced walkways. Horseback riding is hugely
popular. Half Moon Cay was built on a crescent-shaped white sand beach
several miles in length. Its protective bay makes for ideal swimming
conditions in the calm waters. Holland America has one of the most
comprehensive water sports programs of the private islands, where guests
can snorkel with stingrays, enjoy kayak lagoon tours or parasail, among
other activities. The Half Moon Lagoon Aqua Park is another popular stop.
One can also just relax beachside, with a soothing massage and private
butler catering to your needs. Regent Seven Seas has made special
arrangements with Holland America so Regent cruisers also have the
opportunity to visit this tropical locale during their visits to the

Princess Cruise Line — Princess Cays is situated about 30 miles from
Nassau, at the southern point of tiny Eleuthera Island in the Bahamas.
Two-miles wide, it is one of the best snorkeling and dive spots the cruise
lines offer, with a coral reef surrounding the island. Its white sand
beaches provide for all kinds of water and beach activities are available,
including aqua bikes, sailboats, kayaks and more. Guests are welcome to
climb the Crow’s Nest Tower for panoramic views of the landscape. For
those whose goal is to relax, there are plenty of beach umbrellas, tiki
huts and hammocks slung between Mangrove trees.

Norwegian Cruise Lines — Great Stirrup Cay, located 120 miles east of
Fort Lauderdale in the Berry Island Chain of the Bahamas, was the cruise
industry’s first private island paradise. Surrounded by a reef, the waters
of this peaceful cove are filled with coral and fish. There are two
maintained beaches on the island, plus several other more isolated
beaches. In addition to a wide array of water activities, guests enjoy
participating in special cruise line beachside Olympic competitions. Palm
trees, hammocks, loungers and a private mansion complete the landscape.
The island also features it own lighthouse.

Disney Cruise Line — Castaway Cay provides plenty of island magic for
people of all ages. For kids and teens, the cruise line compares it to
Never Land; for adults, it is Shangri-La. The three-mile long island, of
which only ten percent is developed, provides plenty of opportunities for
guests to enjoy its natural beauty. Castaway Family Beach features an
aquatic playground, snorkeling and plenty of other family-oriented fun.
Serenity Bay is a secluded beach for adults, with soothing calm waves
lapping the shore. Teen Beach gives older children their own place to hang
out and relax. Scuttle’s Cove, built for kids ages 3-12, has bountiful
water and beach activities for kids this age, including the change to
“dig” for massive whale bones. Plus, see the Flying Dutchman pirate ship
from Disney’s popular Pirates of the Caribbean, Dead Man’s Chest.