A number of the larger cruise companies own or lease their own paradise islands and retreats, giving passengers exclusive access to golden stretches of sand and cool azure seas. Pulling into these luxurious retreats, cruise passengers will know they’ll have no problem finding a prime spot on the sands with the beaches reserved for the cruise line’s guests. Here we have a look at five of the best private islands and retreats boasted by luxury cruise lines.
Cruise Line: Royal Caribbean
CocoCay is an island offering 140 acres of private beaches, activities, shopping and luxury off the east coast of Florida, leased by Royal Caribbean. The island offers everything you could ever want from a luxury resort including coral reefs, coconut groves, Watersports and even Aqua Park – the water-based playground for kids, big and small.
With three private beaches on the island, relaxation is never far away and the expert mixologists in the many beach bars can whip up something delicious for you to while away the day with.
Best Deal: Freedom of the Caribbean
Great Stirrup Cay
Cruise Line: Norwegian Cruise Line
Great Stirrup Cay has a rich history from the days when pirates ruled the Caribbean. Pirates, Native Americans, Spanish Armed forces and even Captain Bertram of the British Navy have all called the island home over the years. However, since Norwegian Cruise Line purchased the island in 1977, life has been much more serene. The 250-acre island in the Bahamas plays host to five beaches, private cabanas and an incredible array of water tours.
The island was the first to be owned by a cruise line to offer passengers a private island retreat.
Best Deal: Bahamas & Florida from New York
Cruise Line: Princess Cruises
The eponymous Princess Cays is located on the southern tip of the island of Eleuthera. The 40 acre resort offers 1.5 miles of white sandy beaches, Watersports and more. The island has 11,000 year-round residents outside of the resort and has a number of incredible features well worth a visit including the beautiful Hatchet Bay caves and an annual pineapple festival. The spiked fruit is a delicacy on the island, so make sure you sample some during your visit.
The locals will welcome cruise passengers, offering them the opportunity to purchase their locally-crafted wares.
Best Deal: Caribbean Adventurer
Half Moon Cay
Cruise Line: Holland America
In 1997, Holland America Line purchased Little San Salvador for $6m, rebranding it as Half Moon Cay, which now serves as a private retreat for their cruise guests. The 2.5 mile long crescent shaped beached (which gives the island its name) is Half Moon Cay’s main attraction and the epicentre of activity.
Just 2% of the island has been developed since the investment, creating a beautifully natural atmosphere.
Best Deal: Southern Caribbean Holiday
Cruise Line: Royal Caribbean
A 260-acre beach resort located off Haiti’s forested north coast; Labadee is reputed to have been discovered by Christopher Columbus is the 15th century and since 1986 leased by Royal Caribbean. The coast benefits from naturally-occurring lagoon-like bays, offering incredible views and unparalleled luxury in the Caribbean.
Labadee is ideal for families with a selection of fun activities including Dragon’s Breath – the 2,600ft long zip wire.
Best Deal: Eastern Caribbean New Year
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Images sourced via Flickr Creative Commons. Credits: James Willamor, A. Duarte. Jackie, Derek Hatfield, Aaron Keene, Brian Holland