Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Pros & Cons to Cruising to Private Islands

If you're taking a cruise that visits a new port of call just about every day, you can feel overwhelmed by all the sightseeing opportunities. Sometimes it's nice to have an excuse for a beach day, where fun and relaxation are the only priorities.

That's why the major cruise lines have purchased private islands and placed them on their Caribbean itineraries. With tons of resort-style activities to do, they're a great place for couples, families, and even the solo traveler just looking to relax on the beach.

Which Cruise Lines Operate Which Private Islands?

Here's the list...

  • Catalina Island -- Owned by Celebrity Cruises, first used in 1995, located in the Dominican Republic
  • Serena Cay -- Owned by Costa Cruises, first used in 1996, located in the Dominican Republic
  • Castaway Cay -- Owned by Disney, first used in 1998, located in the Bahamas
  • Half Moon Cay -- Owned by Holland America, first used in 1997, located in the Bahamas
  • Cayo Levantado -- Owned by MSC Cruises, first used in 2005, located in the Dominican Republic
  • Great Stirrup Cay -- Owned by Norwegian Cruise Line, first used in 1977, located in the Bahamas
  • Princess Bay -- Owned by Princess Cruises, first used in 1986, located in Mayreau, Genadines
  • Princess Cays -- Also owned by Princess Cruises, first used in 1992, and located in Eleuthera, Bahamas
  • Coco Cay -- Owned by Royal Caribbean International, first used in 1990, located in the Bahamas
  • Labadee -- Also owned by RCI, first used in 1986, and located in Haiti
If your cruise includes a trip to one of these islands, here's what you can expect:

Benefits/Pros of Private Islands
  • No natives, so no crime to speak of
  • Crystal clear waters and great beaches
  • Plenty of water activities such as snorkeling and scuba
  • No one trying to hawk their wares at you
  • No reservations to make or worrying about catching taxies
  • Small boats and floating mattresses to lounge in the water on
  • Hammocks and sometimes cottages where massages are available
Downsides/Cons of Private Islands
  • As with anywhere else, you'll have to pay for most of the activities (even to rent a hammock)
  • You'll be sharing your "private island" with everyone else on the ship (up to 3,000 passengers)
There aren't too many downsides to a day on a private island though so if your itinerary stops by one, plan on enjoying yourself.

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