Travel Insights from Codie Liermann, managing editor of The Compass
One of the biggest perks to traveling via cruise ship is that you get to visit several different locations in one vacation – without having to unpack and repack each time. You’re able to get out and explore during the day, and rest and recoup overnight while the ship conveniently and comfortably transports you to the next place. When it comes to the larger cruise lines, many of them have private islands that end up on the itineraries, especially in the Caribbean. If the idea of stepping foot on a private island in The Bahamas intrigues you, here are a few you might want to consider checking out.
Great Stirrup Cay
Do it all or nothing at all at Norwegian Cruise Line’s Great Stirrup Cay. This island is exclusive to NCL guests and offers endless amounts of activities to partake in. Water lovers can snorkel, kayak, paddleboard and even take a Wave Runner out for a spin. Those looking for a bit more adventure can take in the views from above during a zipline ride.
There are also plenty of ways to relax at Great Stirrup Cay. Guests can visit one of the many restaurants or bars, grab a book and find a spot on the beach or reserve a private villa at Silver Cove. A visit to Mandara Spa for a massage is an ideal way to top of a day of serenity before heading back to the ship.
Perfect Day at CocoCay
If going to a water park is your idea of a good time, you’ll want to plan a visit to Perfect Day at CocoCay. Exclusively for Royal Caribbean guests, the private destination is a water park lover’s dream as it’s home to Thrill Water Park. Here guests can enjoy 35 seconds of joy sliding down Daredevil’s Peak, the tallest waterslide in North America, or splash around in the largest wave pool in the Caribbean.
Other adventures on this island include ziplining and taking a ride in a helium balloon up to 450 feet in the air. Those looking to relax can do so on the beach, by the pool, at the swim-up bar or in their own Overwater Cabana.
Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve
Designed to show MSC Cruises’ appreciation for the environment, Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve puts sustainability front and center. This island allows guests to connect with natural surroundings, learn about preserving the oceans and coral reefs and relax along the way.
Unique excursions and activities to enjoy during a visit to Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve include a lighthouse climb, beachside stargazing, a sunrise mimosa cruise and a shipwreck snorkeling getaway. Guests can also kayak, paddleboard, shop or simply enjoy the beach.
Owned by Carnival Corporation, the private destination of Princess Cays (located at the southern end of Eleuthera Island) is accessible to guests of both Princess Cruises and Carnival Cruise Line. There are several activities to do here including kayaking, playing volleyball and enjoying a complimentary beach barbecue, and all the facilities are linked by walkways providing easy access.
Other unique activities offered during a stop at Princess Cays include stingray encounters, banana boat rides, fishing and biking. Some guests might choose to simply wander along the half-mile of stunning white-sand shoreline while taking in the views.
An exclusive island for Disney Cruise Line ships, Castaway Cay has a place for everyone. After exiting the ship, adults looking for a relaxed area can head straight to Serenity Bay Beach. Adults with children will find Family Beach, and there is also Teen Beach, which is located on the far west side of the family area.
Visitors can choose to rent equipment to use or join one of the many excursion options. This stop is also where cruisers will find the Castaway Cay post office, a place to purchase a special Disney Cruise Line stamp and send out postcards to friends and family with the Castaway Cay postmark on them.
About the Author
Codie Liermann is the managing editor of The Compass. She began her career in the industry as a travel advisor prior to working as an editor. With a passion for creating valuable content for travel advisors, she aims to develop meaningful relationships with all types of travel companies in order to share their unique messages with the travel agency community.
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