The Private Islands of Cruise - Cruise Ship Hospitality Expo America

The Private Islands of Cruise

A recent article in TradeWinds made the argument that private islands, rather than ships, could make the difference for a cruise line in the return to sailing. As a controlled environment, managed entirely by the cruise line, private islands would be a far safer stop-off point than any on-land ports. Cruises would be able to commence with no stop-off points other than the private island, and the possibility of contamination would be massively reduced. With this in mind, we thought we’d take a look at the offerings from the big four’s Bahamian private islands: CocoCay from Royal Caribbean, Half Moon Cay from Carnival (owned by Holland America), Great Stirrup Cay from Norwegian Cruise Line, and Ocean Cay from MSC Cruises. Dive in…


Royal Caribbean – CocoCay

Royal Caribbean are well known for building the biggest cruise ships at sea. That ethos is well and truly translated into their private island, CocoCay, which contains the tallest waterslide in North America (at 135ft), a manned helium balloon, and the largest wave pool in the Caribbean.

When not looking for thrills at the Daredevil’s Tower, Zip Line, or Adventure Pool, a guest at CocoCay can relax at Oasis Lagoon, with a swim-up bar; Chill Island, made for sunbathing; or the Coco Beach Club, where you can find the first floating cabanas in the Bahamas.


Carnival Cruise Line, Holland America – Half Moon Cay

One of Carnival Cruise Line’s five private islands, Half Moon Cay is owned by Holland America Line and located in the Bahamas. Suited to nature-lovers, the island is a significant nesting area for waterfowl. Activities on Half Moon Cay include swimming with stingray, kayaking, horseback riding by land and sea, biking and hiking, snorkelling, and more.


Norwegian Cruise Line – Great Stirrup Cay

Great Stirrup Cay, NCL’s private Bahamian island, invites guests to explore paradise in as many ways as they desire. With most of the amenities situated around one large strip of beach, Great Stirrup Cay offers a wide range of places to eat and drink, including Abaco Taco, where guests can build their own tacos; Tropic Like It’s Hot, a food truck for pre-beach snacks; and the Patron Bar, the beachfront bar for margaritas.

When it comes to activities, Great Stirrup Cay doesn’t disappoint. With an island-spanning zipline, jet skiing, and kayaking for those looking for adventure, or the Silver Cove, Mandara Spa, and overwater swings for those looking to relax, Great Stirrup Cay has something for everyone.


MSC Cruises – Ocean Cay

With a total of 8 beaches and an on-island lighthouse, Ocean Cay is MSC Cruises’ Bahamian island paradise. Upon disembarkation from a number of MSC’s ships (including Meraviglia, Seaside, Divina, and Armonia), guests to the island are greeted by the Arrival Plaza, a palm-tree lined, tiled promenade leading toward the Welcome Pavilion. Here, amongst other things, excursions can be booked.

Ocean Cay by night

Located in the Bahamas in the district of Bimini, the island is fit for all the excursions and activities you’d expect from a private island. These include paddle-boarding, massages, snorkelling safari, boat tours, scuba diving, stargazing, beach sports, and more. On the beachfront, yacht club cabana’s are available for rental, while slightly further inland, multiple bars, restaurants, cafes, and food trucks are available for snacks, sit-down meals, and drinks.


Could you provide your services on a cruise ship’s private island? Get in contact with the team today!


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