Really, any cruise line private island could be on this list of the best: all of them are lovely tropical getaways designed to provide a relaxing experience. While cruise line private islands have that in common, each has unique features, and focusing on the differences enabled us to make these picks:
Castaway Cay, Disney Cruise Line. We rate this 1,000-acre island in the northern Bahamas highly for its wonderful array of family activities, combined with serene adults-only spaces. There’s a splash playground for the youngest guests, a club for school-aged kids and a teen hideout. Everyone can enjoy kayaks and paddleboats, foosball and table tennis in the Game Pavilion, and snorkeling in the crystal-clear lagoon. Rent a cabana – in the family area or at adults-only Serenity Bay – to enjoy comfortable lounges, a stocked mini-fridge, your own shower, beach gear and butler service. Guests rave about the quality of the food at Castaway Cays’ beach buffet, too.
CocoCay, Royal Caribbean. Royal Caribbean recently spent $250 million to refurbish this island in the Bahamas, and the results are fantastic. The centerpiece is a waterpark with North America’s tallest water slide (the 135-foot Daredevil’s Peak), a giant wave pool, and a helium balloon that will take you 450 feet up in the air. Grab a bite at the Chill Grill, or enjoy upscale fare at the Coco Beach Club. Visit the swim-up bar at Oasis Lagoon, then lounge on a swim-up island. Rent a clamshell chair or a cabana on the sand; or, try Bali-style luxury in an over-water cabana with bottled water, fresh towels, a USB outlet and a Bluetooth speaker for your music.
Harvest Caye, Norwegian Cruise Line
Harvest Caye is distinctive because it’s one of few cruise ship private islands outside the Bahamas. Just a quick ferry ride off the coast of Belize, Harvest Caye has a resort vibe, with a 15,000-square-foot pool, a seven-acre beach, and a splash playground for little ones. Glide across the caye on a zip line; paddle across the lagoon in a kayak; and visit macaws, toucans and other tropical friends in the nature park. Shady cabanas equipped with air conditioning, bathrooms and Wi-Fi are available for rent. Surprisingly, there’s no buffet: instead, select from locally-operated island bars and restaurants.
For more information about these and other private islands – including Princess Cays, Norwegian Cruise Line’s Great Stirrup Cay and MSC Cruises’ Ocean Cay – talk with Anita, your professional travel advisor.
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