A Day At The Beach: Cruise Line Private Islands

A Day At The Beach: Cruise Line Private Islands

Talk about a Caribbean cruise, and one of the first images that jumps to mind is a sun-drenched beach where children splash in the clear, blue water while adults watch and relax, alternating between sips from refreshing beverages and dips in the gentle surf. Quite understandably, people love the idea of a peaceful tropical paradise where the only pressing concern is how much sand is stuck to their feet when they slip back into their sandals.

The idyllic beach day may be a favorite image associated with Caribbean cruising, but the fact is that the typical week-long cruise actually includes very little time dedicated to sun and sand. At major Caribbean ports like Nassau, St. Thomas or Cozumel, ships disgorge passengers for shopping, strolling or shore excursions. While some of the excursions offer activities that allow you to get wet, fairly few would be classified as “a day at the beach.” Enter the private island.

  • Only a handful of cruise companies feature a long day docked at a private island, providing one of the favorite days of the trip for many passengers. In fact, private islands have proven to be so popular that some itineraries feature two stops at private islands. These islands are owned (or leased) and operated by the cruise lines for the exclusive use of their guests.
  • Because private islands typically cater to only one ship a day, they serve as a perfect paradise that’s free of the crowds and the hassles that occasionally diminish the quality of visits to other ports of call. A day on a private island is a relatively hassle-free day, as there are no shuttles to meet or schedules to keep – other than catching the last tender back to the ship. Meals on the island are included, and anything else can be billed to the shipboard account.
  • A big plus for parents: The cruise lines run complimentary kids’ programs for each age group, making it easy for adults to grab a little time for themselves. The kids and teens are just as enthusiastic because they can hook up with friends they’ve made on board, joining a beach volleyball game or a treasure hunt. They can eat all they want when they want without needing money or parental supervision.
  • Besides providing a picture-postcard setting complete with beach chairs, umbrellas and shaded hammocks, the private islands are set up for every sort of fun that can be organized on a public beach. The cruise lines provide beachside bar service specializing in tropical mixes, and they also offer a multitude of water sports, ranging from snorkeling to parasailing. Frequently, there are massage and spa services available, and a band will provide a pleasant soundtrack.
  • But perhaps more importantly, the private islands are notable for what they lack. On the private islands, cruise passengers will get none of the hard-sell from street peddlers who are often working other stops on a Caribbean cruise. And as the islands accommodate one ship at a time, with few exceptions, congestion and overcrowding are not problems.

Cruise lines that operate private islands: Celebrity Cruises, Costa Cruises, Disney Cruise Line, Holland America Line, Princess Cruises and Royal Caribbean International. Disney Cruise Line calls at its private island, Castaway Cay, on itineraries from Port Canaveral.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.