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Best Cruise Line Private Islands

04 December 2013

Updated: June 2024

In recent years, several cruise lines have been introducing their own private islands to their sensational itineraries. Havens of exciting activities and pure relaxation, these tropical islands are scattered throughout the world – from the Bahamas and Haiti to Belize and Abu Dhabi – and you'll find stunning scenery on them all. Owned by major cruise lines with some of the biggest ships in the world, from Royal Caribbean to Disney Cruise Line, these islands boast fantastic features tailor-made for cruisers and elevate any getaway to the next level.

If you're looking to take advantage of the latest cruise deals and you like the sound of stopping off and sipping something sweet on a private island, keep reading to find out more about the must-visit private islands owned by cruise lines and what you can expect from each one.

Best Cruise Private Islands

In no particular order, here's a selection of the best cruise line private islands – with everything you need to know about where they are in the world, which cruise line you can sail with to visit them, and what you can get up to when you arrive.

Castaway Cay, Disney Cruise Line

Found in the crystal clear Bahamian waters, Castaway Cay is almost like a mini Disney World resort in the middle of the ocean. With Disney Cruise Line only having developed roughly 10% of the stunning island, packing it with fun activities and excitement for all the family, you'll be able to enjoy sensational scenery while you soak up the sun here.

Castaway Cay
Castaway Cay, Disney Cruise Line

If you're looking for something more active, though, you can enjoy kayaking and snorkeling sessions, parasailing, stingray experiences, and more on Castaway Cay. Pelican Plunge, a floating platform with two waterslides, is a great way to make the most of the warm waters and kids of all ages can enjoy Teen Beach and Scuttle's Cove – both offering games and activities to enjoy.

Activities and excursions available in Castaway Cay include:

Lookout Cay at Lighthouse Point, Disney Cruise Line

Built on a peninsula of the Bahamian island of Eleuthera, Lookout Cay at Lighthouse Point is a new Disney Cruise Line private island that offers a unique experience for anyone sailing on a Caribbean itinerary with this cruise line. With the preservation of the environment and the celebration of the local culture at the forefront of the design and operation of this tropical resort, Lookout Cay at Lighthouse Point offers guests a wonderful blend of Disney magic and Bahamian culture; from the design of the cabanas to the incredible events, everything will be a balance of both and fun for all the family.

Lookout Cay at Lighthouse Point, Disney Cruise Line

When it comes to activities, you can expect to enjoy impressive performances from local Junkanoo groups – which will give everyone the chance to experience an authentic Junkanoo Rush Out with Mickey, Minnie, Donald, and Daisy all in attendance – to a fantastic Fun in the Sun Beach Bash – where you'll be able to have fun with games like Goofy's Good Day Limbo and Pluto's Pineapple Ring Toss!

Activities and excursions available in Lookout Cay at Lighthouse Point include:

Labadee, Royal Caribbean

Located on Haiti's north coast, this Royal Caribbean private island is one of the most breath-taking destinations you can visit with Royal Caribbean. This sun-drenched stretch of sand is lined with beautiful turquoise waters, sky-scraping mountains, and lush jungles. It really does drop you right in the middle of the ultimate Caribbean paradise.

Labadee
Labadee, Royal Caribbean

It's also home to an extensive array of exciting activities, including the Dragon's Breath Flight Line (the world's longest zipline over water), the Dragon's Tail Coaster, the Arawak Aqua Park, and more. Though this island is largely tourist-orientated, you will find a Haitian market and Haitian culture in Le Village – an authentic Haitian village perfect for anyone wanting to learn more about the island's rich history and colourful culture.

Activities and excursions available in Labadee include:

CocoCay, Royal Caribbean

Another Royal Caribbean private island, CocoCay (and the accompanying adults-only Hideaway Beach) offer a sensational stop on any Caribbean cruise with Royal Caribbean. With all the activities you'd expect to enjoy on a cruise line's private island and – in particular – some of the most sensational snorkeling sights around, you'll be spoilt for choice when it comes to things to do and sights to see when you stop of at CocoCay.

CocoCay
CocoCay, Royal Caribbean

From the Thrill waterpark, which features 13 exciting slides, to the Up, Up, and Away, a 450-foot high helium balloon ride, CocoCay is a haven of fun things to do. You'll be pleased to know that there's an abundance of eateries and places to grab a drink, too. So, you'll never be too far away from refreshment while you relax. And, as touched upon above, Hideaway Beach is the perfect place to party (or put your feet up) if you're looking for an adults-only experience.

Activities and excursions available in CocoCay include:

Half Moon Cay, Holland America Line

This award-winning Holland America Line private island is a stunning slice of pure paradise in the Bahamas; the island itself is so impressively untouched that the Bahamian National Trust actually made it an international wild bird preserve. So, if you're looking to enjoy some spectacular Caribbean scenery, this is certainly one private island you should endeavour to visit.

Snorkelling in the Caribbean
Half Moon Cay, Holland America Line

That doesn't mean there isn't going to be anything to do when you arrive, though. With miles of powder-soft white sands to stroll in and crystal-clear water that's absolutely perfect for swimming and snorkeling, there's going to be more than enough to enjoy when it comes to activities. There's even a waterpark on this Holland America Line private island that's just perfect for kids, making this one of the best family cruise destinations when it comes to private islands. Other cruise lines do stop off at Half Moon Cay, but when Holland America Line is in the port, guests on this ship will have exclusive use of the island.

Activities and excursions available in Half Moon Cay include:

Great Stirrup Cay, Norwegian Cruise Line

This sun-drenched island in the Bahamas is an exclusive getaway for Norwegian Cruise Line customers that you won't want to miss out on. With a fantastic selection of dining options, plenty of places to grab a drink or two, and an abundance of activities, Great Stirrup Cay doesn't just boast reputation as the first cruise line private island, it's also one of the best. It really doesn't get much better than a day or two on this Norwegian Cruise Line private island.

Great Stirrup Cay Norwegian Cruise Lines
Great Stirrup Cay, Norwegian Cruise Line

Like other private islands, the activities available here include snorkeling, parasailing, and kayaking. You can also enjoy some sensational waterslides, if you're looking to fill your time in Great Stirrup Cay with fun. Those of you looking for a more laid-back experience will be pleased to know that there's private cabanas available and plenty of sunny shores to sunbathe on. If you're an animal lover, you'll also be able to swim with Bahamian pigs – certainly an experience unique to this part of the world.

Activities and excursions available in Great Stirrup Cay include:

Harvest Caye, Norwegian Cruise Line

Another Norwegian Cruise Line private island, Harvest Caye in Belize is something of an oasis in a beautiful bright-blue ocean, offering all the amenities and activities you would expect from a private island paradise. With 12 Norwegian Cruise Line ships stopping here, you should have no trouble finding the perfect Central American cruise – which includes a stop here – for you.

Harvest Caye, Norwegian Cruise Line

From swim-up bars and snorkeling to ziplines and sandy beaches, Harvest Caye really does have it all. Uniquely, you'll also be able to venture further inland and explore the Mayan Temple of Nim Li Punit, and go rainforest river tubing – a refreshing and scenic way to see this part of the world.

Activities and excursions available in Great Stirrup Cay include:

Princess Cays, Princess Cruises

An exclusive port of call for Princess Cruises in the Bahamas, Princess Cays is a truly sensational stop on any Caribbean cruise itinerary. With a tranquil beach practically overflowing with things to do and – rather uniquely – access to its own airport, this Princess Cruises private island is the perfect place to create lasting memories – and, of course, kick-back and relax with a refreshing drink.

Princess Cays
Princess Cays, Princess Cruises

When you arrive, you'll be met with a market full of local crafts and a large lunch spread well worth enjoying. Then, of course, there are all the watersports and activities you would expect from a private island in the Caribbean for you to enjoy – kayaking, snorkeling, and paddle-boarding among them. The Observation Tower, a unique feature for Princess Cays, is a fantastic way to see the sights and offers an unrivalled look at the island and the ocean around it.

Activities and excursions available in Princess Cays include:

The Beach Club, Virgin Voyages

Giving guests a true taste of the rockstar lifestyle, Virgin Voyages' private island is an unmissable part of Caribbean cruises with this adults-only cruise line. Located in Bimini, the Bahamas, the Beach Club is the perfect place to both 'retox' and 'detox' with a fantastic selection of recreational activities and opportunities to relax.

The Beach Club
The Beach Club, Virgin Voyages

From diving down to the SS Sapona shipwreck to guided meditation, you'll have more than enough to do during the day – especially if you embark on the interactive Bimini Heritage and Cultural Tour. Then, when the sun sets, the Beach Club transforms into the most extravagant pool party; dancing the night away is the perfect way to end a day exploring this sensational spot in the Caribbean.

Activities and excursions available on the Beach Club include:

Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve, MSC Cruises

MSC Cruises' private island, the Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve, might be the most unique private island on this list – and it's certainly one of the best. An artificial island located just off the coast of Bimini in the Bahamas, this relatively untouched island offers an abundance of vibrant wildlife onshore and spectacular marine life – making it a sensational spot for snorkeling.

Ocean Cay
Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve, MSC Cruises

On top of this, Ocean Cay is perfect for enjoying all the watersports you'd come to expect from a cruise line's private island – kayaking and parasailing chief among them. It also offers award-winning spa treatments, private beach cabanas, and an action-packed schedule of fun things to do – including beach volleyball and soccer, dance classes, and even beachside stargazing (when the sun sets, of course). MSC Cruises' exclusive slice of paradise may be one of the smaller slices in the Caribbean, but Ocean Cay will transport you to ultimate serenity and you'll be left with an unforgettable experience when you visit.

Activities and excursions available in Ocean Cay include:

Sir Bani Yas Island, Abu Dhabi

While not technically a private island, Sir Bani Yas Island is one of MSC Cruises' private island destinations and it's clear to see why. The MSC Beach Experience on offer is sensational, with a wide array of activities to enjoy in a truly spectacular section of this island just a stone's throw away from Dubai.

Sir Bani Yas Island, Abu Dhabi

Here, you'll be able to enjoy anything from snorkeling in clear blue seas to bouncing around on an inflatable water park above them. There's also a whole host of eateries available, plenty of places to grab refreshment, and an abundance of areas to lounge in the sun. It's everything you could want from a cruise line private island and more.

Activities and excursions available on Sir Bani Yas Island include:

Future Cruise Line Private Islands

This is just the start of all the exciting new cruise lines islands you'll be able to enjoy in the coming years. Here's a quick taste of some of the confirmed upcoming destinations from major cruise lines.

Disney Lookout Cay at Lighthouse Point, Disney Cruise Line

Opening in Summer 2024, Disney Lookout Cay at Lighthouse Point is an exciting new Disney Cruise Line resort that celebrates the Bahamas and Bahamian culture while sprinkling that Disney Magic on the complete cruise line private island experience. With the Bahamian Art and Culture Pavilion alongside several unique installations created in partnership with local artists, you'll be able to enjoy delicious eateries, a plethora of activities, and even an exclusively adults-only beach when you visit.

Disney Lookout Cay at Lighthouse Point, Disney Cruise Line

Royal Beach Club Paradise Island & Cozumel, Royal Caribbean

Royal Beach Club Paradise Island (opening in 2025) and Royal Beach Club Cozumel (opening in 2026) bring Royal Caribbean's signature style to two new exciting private island destinations in the Bahamas and Mexico respectively. With all the activities you would expect (such as kayaking and snorkeling) available alongside swim-up bars and private beach cabanas, these new resorts promise the ultimate escape during your Royal Caribbean cruises through Central America and the Caribbean.

Royal Beach Club Paradise Island, Royal Caribbean

Celebration Key, Carnival Cruise Line

Set to open in July 2025, Celebration Key – the first Carnival Cruise Line private island – promises an unforgettable experience in the Bahamas with fun and adventure at its heart. In an effort to cater to every cruiser it can, Carnival Cruise Line's Celebration Key will feature areas specifically for families, exclusive adults-only areas, a Private Club offering a more luxurious experience, and an area effortlessly showcasing Bahamian culture and cuisine. There will be 18 ships sailing to Celebration Key when it opens, so you won't have any trouble finding the right itinerary for you including it.

Starfish Lagoon, just as a taster of what you can expect from Celebration Key, features two 350-feet long racing water slides, the Guppy Grotto splash pad perfect for young children, floating 'AquaBanas' (floating family-friendly beach cabanas) and a swim-up bar – among other exciting activities and a variety of dining options while ashore.

Celebration Key
Celebration Key

Read more about Celebration Key on our blog - Top 5 Things to do on Carnival Cruise Line’s Celebration Key.

Perfect Day at Lelepa, Royal Caribbean

Located a few thousand miles off the coast of Australia, Lelepa is Royal Caribbean's next Perfect Day destination and it's set to offer a unique private island experience to anyone who visits. Unlike CocoCay, this Perfect Day resort is being built with sustainability and conservation at the forefront. So, while still offering sensational scenery and stunning sandy beaches, it will also create unique educational opportunities and be the perfect place things like kayaking, snorkeling, and scuba diving.

Lelepa
Perfect Day at Lelepa, Royal Caribbean

What can you do on a Private Island?

While these stunning destinations have really taken off in the cruise industry, you may still be wondering what you can actually do on a private island and why you should care about one on your itinerary.

From decadent restaurants showcasing local cuisine to stretches of sensational beaches, cruise line private islands offer an array of activities including:

Paddle-boarding in the Caribbean

You will find that each private island offers it's own unique selection of the above and, in some cases, activities and amenities wholly unique to that location and cruise line. It's always best to check what specifically is on offer when you get your cruise itinerary through; then, you can plan on what to wear when you arrive and starting thinking about how you're going to spend your days in these lavish locations. We also have more tips on cruising in the Caribbean right here.

Book Your Next Caribbean Cruise with Iglu Cruise Today

If you want a 'true' Caribbean Island experience – without being in a commercialised, busy port – a getaway stopping at a cruise line's private island is the best way to get that. You'll be able to relax and enjoy the lush scenery, and enjoy any number of activities, without the crowds of tourists you might encounter in other popular ports. So, whether you're travelling alone, with a group of friends, or as a family, be sure to check out the latest cruise deals right here for a Caribbean holiday to suit your needs, tastes, and budget.

Or, if you want to know a little more about cruise ships and cruising in general, here's some of our blog posts well worth reading:

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