Cruise Private Islands
Guest Post by Jenni Fielding – family cruise blogger from CruiseMummy.co.uk
More cruise companies are providing a unique experience for their passengers. In this post Jenni describes 6 private islands you can only visit by cruise ship.
Royal Caribbean has recently announced plans to build a private island in the South Pacific, which will cater solely to cruise ship guests. Named Perfect Day at Lelepa, the island is located in Vanuatu, 1,200 miles northeast of Brisbane. It will be a carbon-neutral paradise, offering cruise ship guests their ‘Perfect Day’ ashore. Of course, this isn’t the first private island for Royal Caribbean. The cruise line recently invested $200 million in the development of its Perfect Day at CocoCay island in the Bahamas and has plans to develop at least three more ‘Perfect Day’ islands by 2024.
But it’s not just Royal Caribbean which has its sights on private islands as the future of cruising. Several other cruise lines also feature private islands which are only accessible by cruise ship. Here are six of the best…
Perfect Day at CocoCay – Royal Caribbean
Top of the list is the first of Royal Caribbean’s ‘Perfect Day’ resorts – Perfect Day at CocoCay. This island promises just that – a perfect day, no matter your style. Guests can choose to chill in a private cabana, stroll along the pristine beaches or swim in the largest freshwater pool in the Caribbean. Thrill seekers can enjoy their perfect day here too, with the tallest waterslide in North America, a 1,600-foot zipline and a helium balloon which offers the highest viewpoint in the Caribbean.
The revamped island has been open since May 2019, with phase 2 being completed in December. This will see the addition of another beach and Maldives-style private over water cabanas with slides.
Ocean Cay Marine Reserve – MSC Cruises
Another new private island resort is MSC Cruises’ private island, which is due to open in November 2019. Ocean Cay Marine Reserve is part of the Bimini chain of islands in the western Bahamas. Promised to be eco-friendly, the focus of this destination is very much on connecting with nature. Motorised water sports are banned – instead guests can enjoy activities which are gentler on the coral reef, such as snorkelling, paddle boarding and kayaking. Cruise ship guests can cleanse their body and mind with spa treatments, beachside yoga and fitness classes.
Castaway Cay – Disney Cruise Line
Disney Cruise Line’s private island of Castaway Cay is also located in the Bahamas, close to Great Abaco. As expected, there’s loads for kids to enjoy, including meet and greets with Disney characters, a dance party with Lilo and Stich and a host of water play areas. However, even Disney-fans without children will find plenty to enjoy on Castaway Cay. Serenity Bay is a secluded, adults-only area where over 18s can enjoy open-air massages under the shade of palm trees, frozen cocktails and a barbecue.
Great Stirrup Cay – Norwegian Cruise Line
Like most islands in the Bahamas, Great Stirrup Cay is a snorkeler’s paradise with warm crystal-clear waters filled with colourful fish and turtles. Located in the Berry Island, Norwegian Cruise Line’s private island resort offers the ultimate in relaxation. Guests can enjoy luxurious hideaway villas with panoramic views and access to the beach, relax in a hammock or paddle a kayak. The popular Swimming Pigs of Treasure Island are just a ten-minute boat ride away, should you wish to take a special shore excursion during your time here.
Harvest Caye – Norwegian Cruise Line
Not content with one private island, Norwegian Cruise Line also owns Harvest Caye – an incredible 75-acre resort in Belize. Here, you’ll find a huge pool with a swim-up bar and waterfall, saltwater lagoon for water sports and a whopping seven acres of beach. Thrill seekers can try out the 3,000-foot zipline which offers spectacular views from up to 136 feet above the ground. If you prefer to relax, find yourself a hammock, hire a floating beach mat or you can even play a game of giant chess. Harvest Caye is also open to guests of luxury lines Oceania and Regent Seven Seas.
Half Moon Cay – Holland America Cruise Line
This Bahamian island gets its name from its crescent moon-shaped bay which hosts two and a half miles of beautiful beach. This pristine island paradise has been voted ‘Best Private Island’ by Porthole Cruise Magazine for 17 consecutive years. As well as the sparklingly cleat water and powdery white sands, guests on Half Moon Cay can enjoy activities such as horse riding in the sea, snorkelling and a children’s water park. There’s even a chapel for weddings or vow renewals. Should your budget not stretch to luxury cruise with Holland America Line, the island can also be accessed by ships of sister cruise line Carnival.
Other cruise private islands resorts
As well as these stunning private islands which can only be accessed by a cruise ship, some cruise lines also have private island resorts which are part of larger islands. Princess Cays, for example, is Princess Cruises’ island resort which is located at the southern end of the island of Eleuthera in the Bahamas. Another example is Royal Caribbean’s resort of Labadee, which although is sometimes describes as an island, is actually a peninsula contiguous with the Caribbean island of Hispaniola.
These islands all look like a great experience, which one would you choose? Let us know in the comments below!
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