Cruisers Say Visits to Caribbean Private Islands Make Vacations Truly Memorable

Private butlers and other luxury amenities cater to those who want to be pampered, while plenty of island activities appeal to people on the go.

DES MOINES, Iowa, April 27 /PRNewswire/ — A recent visit to Holland America’s private island in the Bahamas — Half Moon Cay — illustrates the cruise industry’s ongoing effort to find yet more outrageous ways to pamper its guests. Not only are air- conditioned, open-air beach cabanas available just a few steps from the warm, blue, pristine waters, but private butlers magically appear from nowhere to fill beverage glasses, prepare hot and chilled appetizers and even provide cool cucumbers to sooth the eyes. Is this heaven? Not quite, but these breathtaking private islands surely are memorable for cruisers wanting to enjoy sun, sand and breezy relaxation.
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In addition to Holland America, during the past several years most other major cruise lines have purchased large tracts of land and developed exclusive tropical getaways on some of the Caribbean Sea’s most picturesque islands. Turquoise waters, stunning coral reefs, beautiful beaches and native fauna and wildlife draw the awe of visitors. For the more active crowd, a variety of optional island exploration and water sports activities keep people busy all day long.

Nobody will confuse these private islands for the next Survivor television locale. Exquisite beach barbeques, entertainment, food pavilions and beverage services keep people fed and refreshed all day long. For those who want to get out of the sun, beach umbrellas, cabanas and other shelters are available. Beachside massages sooth the senses. For those who want more privacy, some islands offer more isolated and secluded beaches. Families are more than welcome, with plenty to do for all ages, including aqua parks, hiking trails and other kid-friendly activities. Many areas on the islands are handicap accessible.

“The cruise lines are continually looking for new ways to exceed their customers’ expectations and their private islands have been a huge hit,” said Bob Levinstein, president of Cruise Compete LLC ( ). “Surveys of cruise travelers often indicate their favorite stop on a cruise was their visit to the private island. There’s no question this is a wow factor that brings them back on another cruise.”

A number of the largest cruise lines offer private island stops, including:

Holland America

( – Rated the “Best Private Island” by Porthole Cruise Magazine, Half Moon Cay is located on three mile-long Little San Salvador Island in the Bahamas, only two percent of which has been developed. Half Moon Cay was built on a crescent- shaped white sand beach more than a mile in length. Island attractions include horseback riding, snorkeling with stingrays, personal watercraft tours, kayak lagoon tours, parasailing and the Half Moon Lagoon Aqua Park. Your private butler will attend to virtually any need during your stay.

Disney Cruise Line

( ) – Disney’s Castaway Cay provides plenty of magic and fun for people of all ages. The three-mile-long island, of which only ten percent has been developed, provides plenty of opportunities for guests to enjoy its natural beauty. The island caters to guests in true Disney style. This is the only cruise line private island featuring cruise ship docking capabilities — versus shuttle boats between the ship and island — allowing guests to come and go as they wish. Attractions include the Castaway Family Beach, Serenity Bay, Teen Beach, and Scuttle’s Cove for kids plus numerous water sports, snorkeling and water tour excursions.

Royal Caribbean

( ) – Located in the middle of the Caribbean is the secluded 140-acre private island of Coco Cay, reserved exclusively for Royal Caribbean and Celebrity Cruise guests. The tropical paradise was recently updated with new aquatic facilities, nature trails and a ton of great places to relax. A favorite attraction is the new 20,000 square-foot Caylana’s Castle Cove, a fun-filled floating aqua playground. Other popular activities include SeaTrek adventure waverunners, snorkeling and parasailing 400 feet above Coco Cay.

Princess Cruise Line

( ) – Princess Cays is located on the southern portion of Eleuthera Island in the Bahamas, featuring white-sand beaches and turquoise waters. Island activities include seaboards, aqua bikes, Hobie Cat sailboats, Sunfish sailboats, paddle wheelers, Banana Boats or transparent hull kayaks at the water sports pier. For those who want to just relax, there are plenty of beach umbrellas, tiki huts and hammocks slung between shady trees.

Norwegian Cruise Line

( ) – Travelers set foot on Great Stirrup Cay, located 120 nautical miles east of Fort Lauderdale in the Berry Island chain of the Bahamas. There are two maintained beaches on the island, plus several other more isolated beaches. Visitors enjoy native fauna, animals and marine life at every turn. Water sports activities include snorkeling, paddle boats, sailboats, kayaks and parasailing. Special cruise line “Olympics” competitions are frequently held on the island for guests, as well.

“Soak in tropical sun, snorkel beautiful coral reefs, parasail high above the ocean and explore the island with your family, then enjoy a great Bahamas- style barbeque,” said Steven Gelfuso, president of ( ), one of the largest family-owned cruise-only travel agencies in the country. “Many of our customers comment to us how they are always pleasantly surprised at the new experiences and attractions found on the private islands. This is just another example of why people think cruising is so much fun and a great value.” ( ) saves consumers time and money by enabling them to secure price quotes for cruises from multiple travel agencies without having to contact each one separately. To date, more than 120,000 customers have accessed ( ) to request cruise prices from nearly 100 member travel agencies around the country. Cruise Compete, LLC, is an independent company not owned or affiliated with any travel agency.

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