10 Cruise Line Private Islands to Unwind on Exclusive Beaches
The Bahamas is known for its clear blue water. It also is known for its assortment of lovely beaches that are many a sunbathers’ paradise. Aside from these, the great regional music, and the wonderful people, it also has the greatest number of private islands that make very lovely holiday resorts; the picturesque kind that look a lot more like they are meant for postcards. Some of these private tropical islands are either leased out or owned by major cruise lines. The majority of these exquisite islands owned or leased out are in the Bahamas with a few others spread over the tropical islands of the Caribbean. However, there are some that require a journey further afield to enjoy their exclusivity, such as Mohu Manata, owned by the Paul Gauguin Cruises and located in the South Pacific islands.
Escape to the following islands, where you’ll have paradise all to yourself. With so many tantalizing options, you’re sure to discover your own place in the sun. Let’s take a closer look at these cruise line private islands.
Great Stirrup Cay
Great Stirrup Cay is another beautiful place that made the cut to be considered one of the private islands in the Bahamas. It does lie adjacent to Perfect Day at CocoCay and is part of Berry Islands as well. In 1977, the island changed hands from an oil company to Norwegian Cruise Line and thus its status as a port of call was established. The northern edge of this island has a wonderful beach with rocky outcrops and an equally amazing snorkeling area.
Norwegian’s private island has it all: restaurants, spas, and beach-side bars where you can enjoy a refreshing cocktail while listening to the sounds of the surf. Lined with trees on one side and plenty of sand on the other, Great Stirrup Cay is waiting to welcome you.
Relax in a private cabana, or grab some ceviche from the food truck, Tropic While It’s Hot. There’s even an underwater snorkel garden, where you can discover numerous hidden sculptures.
For those of you who prefer to engage in more strenuous activities than sipping and sunbathing, there are Wave Runners and kayaks available. You can also sign up for a zip-lining tour to better enjoy all that the island has to offer. Learn more about Great Stirrup Cay!
Half Moon Cay
Are you looking for cruise line private islands that offer adventure and rejuvenation in equal measure? Look no further than Half Moon Cay. It is owned by Holland America Line which is a subsidiary of Carnival Corp., therefore it is visited by Carnival ships as well, and this little slice of paradise is ready to welcome you.
Half Moon Cay, which is arguably one of the best private islands in the Bahamas, rests some 100 miles southeast of the capital, Nassau. It probably is one of the few places where you can combine snorkeling, jet skiing, scuba diving, deep sea fishing, and parasailing all in one outing.
You’ll also have the chance to kayak among the mangrove trees, spotting many exotic bird species along the way. When you’ve had your fill of paddling, visit the stingray cove, or hike to the ridge to take in the island’s splendid views.
If you’re visiting with kids, be sure to check out the multi-level play structure. They’ll never want to leave—and neither will you. Learn more about Half Moon Cay!
If you’ve ever taken a Disney vacation, chances are you’ve heard of the Disney Cruise Line private island, Castaway Cay. In true Disney fashion, this island is geared to appeal to families, singles, and couples alike.
Disney exclusively owns Castaway Cay, and this property near Great Abaco Island is one of the most popular private islands in the Bahamas. Disney Cruise Line managed to secure a 99-year lease for the island. This arrangement allows the cruise line to manage every aspect of entertainment on this private island including guest experience.
Castaway Cay has its own dock, so there’s no need for tendering. This will put you in relaxation mode before you’ve even set foot on the pristine main beach, which is punctuated by comfy lounge chairs and hammocks. There’s also a Teen Beach for older kids. If you’re looking for an adults-only escape, Serenity Beach is just a short tram ride away.
Stroll through the shops and pick up a souvenir or two, then pore over your purchases while sipping on a custom beverage. For Disney fans in the mood for a tropical escape, Castaway Cay is as good as it gets. Learn more about Castaway Cay!
Labadee on the Haitian North Coast is another port of call worth mentioning. It is different from the others as it is a peninsula that forms part of the larger Haiti. It is fenced off and tourists aren’t allowed out of the property. This private resort is leased out to the Royal Caribbean International. Some of the possible fun things to do in Labadee include watersports and a rollercoaster ride. Guests can also wander into the Haitian Flea Market as well as the sandy beaches.
Labadee is tailor-made for those of you who have a hard time deciding whether you want to visit the beach or the mountains on your next vacation. The island features coral reefs, jungle-covered hilltops, and enticing lagoon-like bays.
Haiti’s rich and fascinating culture is sure to draw you in. Here, you’ll find no fewer than five beaches, all lined with gorgeous white sand giving way to turquoise waters. If you’re looking for a burst of adrenaline, challenge yourself with a zip-line tour over the ocean. Learn more about Labadee!
Princess Cays is an exclusive port of call owned by Princess Cruises. It can be found on the southern tip of Eleuthera Island in the Bahamas, a famed tourist destination.
Situated on more than 40 acres, the private resort at Princess Cays is home to an observation tower where you can take in the unmatched views of the Caribbean Sea. While there, you’ll enjoy a beach barbecue, complete with volleyball and a host of other recreational opportunities.
Princess Cays has some of the best banana and paddle boating locations in the Bahamas. Visitors can also snorkel, swim, parasail, as well as enjoy games on the beaches. Learn more about Princess Cays!
Perfect Day at CocoCay
CocoCay formerly called the Little Stirrup Cay and located just north of Nassau, is another gem of cruise line private islands. This isle is owned by Royal Caribbean International and is one of the many cays that make up the Berry Islands.
The island was renovated in 2019 and now the Royal Caribbean cruise line offers up the Perfect Day at CocoCay, which will earn you bragging rights in addition to cherished memories. For adventurers, this experience represents a perfect day indeed.
Conquer the tallest waterslide in North America, ascend to the heavens in a helium-powered balloon, then relax at the freshwater pool’s swim-up bar. You can even rent an Overwater Cabana if you’re craving a Pacific Ocean vibe. Cruise Line private islands don’t get much better than this. Learn more about Perfect Day at CocoCay!
Norwegian Cruise Line’s private Belizean island has everything you’re looking for in a Caribbean escape. The pool alone, with its lush waterfall, swim-up bar, and private cabanas, will make you feel as if you’ve ascended to heaven as soon as you arrive. Better still, the shops offer plenty of traditional Belizean crafts for you to take back home.
While visiting, don’t forget to drop in at the Lighthouse. You can choose between zip-lining, quick jumps, or mere observation—but why not try all three? Once you’re back on the ground, explore the island from the water by renting a kayak or stand-up paddle board. Learn more about Harvest Caye!
Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve
When you book a cruise with MSC, you’ll have the opportunity to visit Ocean Cay, the cruise line’s private island. This vaguely star-shaped retreat offers something for everyone, from the Lighthouse Bar to the Discover Scuba Diving Center.
Planning a wedding? The island is home to a glamorous pavilion that’s sure to make all your bridal dreams come true. It’s conveniently located next to the spa, so you can enjoy a mani-pedi treatment on the big day. And naturally, there are beaches galore, each one waiting for you to arrive and dip your freshly painted toes in the sand. Learn more about Ocean Cay!
Tucked into the Caribbean Sea off the Dominican Republic, Amber Cove is the exclusive domain of Carnival Cruise Lines. It takes its name from the local amber that can be found here, which is some of the clearest in the world. As cruise line private islands go, this one is a gem.
Kids and adults alike will be enticed by Fort San Felipe, which was originally built to deter pirates. You can swim with sharks, dolphins, and stingrays at Ocean World, or stay dry by taking an ATV Adventure tour through the backcountry. Or better yet, just snooze in a hammock on the secluded beach.
Whether you’re looking for history, adventure, or old-fashioned relaxation, Amber Cove is sure to exceed your expectations. Learn more about Amber Cove!
When you embark on a voyage with Paul Gauguin Cruises, you’ll enjoy a host of amazing amenities. One of the highlights of the trip is the stop at Motu Mahana (Taha’a, Society Islands), a tropical getaway that’s accessible only to the passengers and crew of the M/S Paul Gauguin ship.
As cruise line private islands go, Motu Mahana is a crown jewel. Fringed by alabaster sand and swaying palm trees, surrounded by turquoise seas, this is truly paradise on earth. As lovely as the other ports of call might be, this island is likely to stand out as the favorite.
During your visit, you can visit vanilla plantations to learn how this exotic spice is grown and harvested, engage in a game of beach volleyball, or enjoy tropical cocktails from the floating bar. The attentive staff hosts a barbecue lunch and sets up massage tables for anyone who’s interested. Other possible activities include kayaking, snorkeling, shopping, and just plain relaxing. Learn more about Motu Mahana!
Have Paradise All to Yourself with Cruise Line Private Islands
With so many options to choose from, you might find yourself booking your next cruise before you’ve even embarked on this one. Cruise line private islands offer the perfect blend of pulse-pounding activity, gorgeous views, and relaxation.