Caribbean cruises are already considered the peak of luxury by many, but some cruise lines have amped up the wow factor with incredible private islands. These stunning islands in the sun are packed with amazing activities, gorgeous scenery and fantastic food. But best of all, access to them is exclusive to passengers of the cruise line that owns them.
How many Private Islands does the Caribbean have?
The 1.06 million square miles that make up the Caribbean contains over seven thousand islands. With only about a hundred of these islands being inhabited, that leaves plenty to be bought and privately owned- which is likely why the Caribbean makes up 40% of the global private island market. But which Caribbean islands have cruises?
Does Royal Caribbean have their own Private Island?
The cruise line most synonymous with Caribbean Cruises boasts not one but two private islands!
Perfect Day at CocoCay
Probably the most famous of the Cruise Line Private Islands, Royal Caribbean’s CocoCay in the Bahamas is a dream holiday destination. Adrenaline junkies will adore the Thrill Waterpark, which boasts the 135 foot tall Devil’s Peak, North America’s tallest waterslide.
Those wanting to reach new heights in a more relaxed manner can take in magnificent views of the island from the Up, Up & Away helium balloon. And for complete serenity, pay a visit to Chill Island and book one of CocoCay’s floating beach Cabanas.
Hunger is never an issue on CocoCay, with a beach barbeque, three snack shacks, and the delicious offerings of Captain Jack’s Bar.
As if all that wasn’t enough, CocoCay also offers the largest freshwater pool in the Bahamas and the largest wave pool in the Caribbean. If a private island isn’t quite exclusive enough for you, you can also book into the ultra-exclusive Coco Beach Club.
Located on the North Coast of Haiti, Labadee is a capable rival to its Bahamas based brother. Soar over the island on the 2, 600 foot Dragon’s Breath zipline or scream with terror on the Dragon’s Tail coaster.
Make sure to pay a visit to the Arawak Aqua Park, shop at the island’s own Haitian flea market, and take advantage of the amazing water-sports opportunities on the island. If you’ve ever wanted to try parasailing, now is the time!
And no day at Labadee would be complete without sipping their signature beverage – the Labadoozie.
Do MSC cruises have their own private island?
As of 2019, MSC cruises have been the proud owners of one of the Caribbean’s newest private islands.
Despite being a newcomer in the world of Cruise Line islands, Ocean Cay already offers a range of fabulous activities and attractions. Enjoy their luxurious spa with yoga and fitness classes, indulge in a wonderful frozen treat at their ice cream parlour (make sure to order your dessert in a fish-shaped cone), or swim in their saltwater lagoon.
If you like to stay active abroad, you’ll love their sports zone and activities like paddle boarding, kayaking and snorkelling.
A day at Ocean Cay is always topped off with a sensational light show from the island’s very own lighthouse.
Do Princess Cruises have their own private island?
Whilst not technically a full island, Princess Cruises lays claim to 40 beautiful acres on the southern tip of Eleuthera.
Princess Cays offers something for everyone, whether you want to zoom over the waves in a banana boat or peruse a quaint craft market. There are water-sports for athletic types and a beach barbeque for foodies. And you can overlook the spectacular scenery of the island from Princess Cays’ very own observation tower.
However, the crowning glory of Princess Cays is the exclusive beach parties.
Do Disney Cruises have their own private island?
The filming location for Disney’s Splash is now their exclusive Caribbean Cruise destination.
A private island with a twist, Castaway Cay has your favourite Disney characters roaming around. But that’s not the only incredible offering of the island.
Castaway Cay also brags a snorkelling lagoon, a sports beach, and a games pavilion. And more energetic cruisers can start their day with a 5k run in the morning (don’t worry- it’s optional).
Castaway Cay is exceptional in its ability to cater to all ages. For kids, they offer fantastic wet play areas, Pelican’s Plunge and Spring-a-Leak, as well as Lilo and Stitch dance parties. But whilst Castaway Cay has wonderful family beaches, grown-ups wanting peace and quiet can retreat to the mile long adults-only Serenity Bay. Teens have their own private zones too.
Does Norwegian Cruise Line have their own private island?
Like Royal Caribbean, Norwegian Cruise Line has two private Caribbean islands for their passengers to enjoy.
Great Stirrup Cay
One of the Bahamas oldest private islands, Great Stirrup Cay is rich with amazing things to see and do. Take an eco-boat tour around the island, relax in their spa, seek thrills at their water park, or dine at their multiple restaurants. One of the starring attractions of Great Stirrup Cay is snorkelling in their impressive underwater sculpture garden. Visitors also love Great Stirrup Cay’s straw market and the yummy fare of the complimentary Abaco Taco taco bar.
This glorious Southern Belize island is ideal for lovers of natural beauty. Swim in the world’s second largest barrier reef and get close to incredible wildlife in their nature centre.
The island also possesses a 15,000 square foot pool with a swim up bar, a saltwater lagoon and a shopping village.
For a thrilling way to bask in this island’s brilliant views, take on Harvest Caye’s 3,000 foot zipline ‘The Flighthouse’.
Tips for enjoying Cruise Line Private Islands
You’ll undoubtedly want to make the most of your time on one of these island paradises, so we have a few tips to help you do just that.
- Know what’s included and what’s extra
Not all of the delights of private islands are included in the cost of your cruise. Umbrellas for shade, certain eateries and water-sports can all cost extra, so make sure you know which amenities charge an additional fee before you go. If you want to avoid paying any extra fees, consider bringing your own equipment like snorkels, beach toys and means of shade.
- Book in advance
If you dream of relaxing in a private cabana or beach villa, you’ll need to reserve one ASAP, either whilst on-board the ship or before you even embark on your cruise. Beach umbrellas and water-sports equipment should be reserved as early as possible too.
- Lotion up
Don’t let the excitement of a private island distract you from the cardinal rule of any holiday in the sun. Apply sun cream as often as possible to prevent your amazing day being marred by sunburn or sunstroke.
- Choose your spot carefully
Picking a spot on the beach to set up camp requires a lot of consideration. Areas of beach nearest to where the ship docks will become chaotic and busy in moments- so catch an open air tram to a more suitable location. You should also think about how shaded you want your spot to be, and what island amenities you’d like to be nearest to.
- Bring insect repellent
Bug bites might be the only negative of Caribbean Cruises- avoid them by regularly spraying your ankles with insect repellent.
- Wear Cotton
One of the biggest appeals of Caribbean cruises is the glorious heat- but that heat can become stifling if you aren’t wearing a breathable material like cotton.
If you’re itching to experience the wonders of one of these exquisite islands, our expert cruise concierge service has a number of Caribbean Cruise deals to make all your dreams come true!