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Simone Clark's MSC Ocean Cay Experience

9th January 2020

After spending a week on MSC Seaside to celebrate the new year, I enjoyed a day on MSC Cruises' newly opened private island, Ocean Cay. Transformed into a flourishing, biodiverse nature reserve with fabulous sandy beaches, this sustainable private paradise is ideal for a day of total relaxation on the beach. [More]

Royal Caribbean Private Islands

19th November 2019

Famed for their unrivalled passion for adventure, Royal Caribbean’s private islands are no exception. Each offers something for families, couples and solo cruisers, boasting exhilarating activities from North America’s tallest waterslide to a number of outdoor pursuits. [More]

Head to CocoCay for the Perfect Day

11th June 2018

We are thrilled to bring you the news that Royal Caribbean have opened another fabulous island resort in the Caribbean; CocoCay.



The destination offers the whole package for singles, couples, and families, boasting exhilarating activities like North America’s tallest waterslide, and great spaces for relaxing in the form of over-water cabins. As soon as you step off your cruise ship and on to the island you’ll be met with a little piece of heaven, with a boardwalk across the clear sea guiding you toward idyllic palm trees peppered across white sands, the sound of birds soaring overhead, and the sight of huts, sun loungers, pools, slides, and more. Some of our favourite features of CocoCay are;


  • The wave pool – the largest in the Caribbean, the island’s wave pool is sure to provide fun and laughter for all ages
  • 400ft balloon – guests can climb aboard and take in the gorgeous views in this stationary balloon; the highest vantage point in the Bahamas
  • Beach side cabanas – these provide a peaceful haven for those looking to relax, but also boast an attached slide for quick and easy access to the sea!


    Spend the day doing all the things you love, whether that’s dining on some freshly barbecued food, soaking up the rays while lounging with a book, testing your limits on some daredevil waterslides, or meeting new people in a great game of beach volleyball. Other CocoCay features to make the most of include;


  • Swim-up bar
  • Biggest freshwater pool in the Bahamas
  • Zip line
  • Renting beach equipment such as snorkelling kit, paddle boards, and even jet skis
  • A range of bars and restaurants
  • Take a look at our Royal Caribbean cruises in the Caribbean and start thinking about your own perfect day.

    8 Must-visit cruise line private islands

    4th December 2013

    The Caribbean is the most popular cruise destination, however due to the increasing popularity and a growth in passengers visiting, some cruisers started to worry that these stunning destinations may lose their tranquil paradise feel. With this in mind, cruise lines responded with the ideal solution and started to invest in their own exclusive private islands.

    These stunning destinations have really taken off in the cruise industry and cruisers love them. While most of them offer similar amenities, many boast unique features that give them an edge over the others. Here are some of the most popular private islands:


    Castaway Cay, Disney Cruise Line

    Disney Castaway Cay

    • Great for families and kids
    • Adult-only beach available

    Set in the crystal clear Bahamian waters, Castaway Cay is like a mini Disney World in the middle of the ocean. Disney has only developed less than 10% of the island but in that 10% lies a stunning island jam-packed with fun activities and adventures for everyone.

    You can enjoy an array of exciting activities including kayaking, water sports, snorkelling, stingray interactions and water parks. Twenty premium furnished cabanas can be hired on both Castaway Family Beach and on adult-only Serenity Bay Beach to have your own exclusive base for the day. In true Disney style the popular Disney characters enjoy time on the private island too and host various beach activities, so don’t forget to grab a photo when you see them!

    Labadee, Royal Caribbean International 

    • Great for families and kids
    • Adventurous, action-packed entertainment

    A 260-acre private beach located on the northern coast of Haiti, Labadee is one of the most breath-taking private islands. This sun-drenched area is lined with turquoise blue water, sky-scraping mountains and lush jungles, putting you right in the middle of paradise.

    Labadee is home to an extensive array of activities, including a zipline, roller-coaster, water park, sand-dune trips, jet-skis, parasailing, snorkelling and much more. Though the island is completely tourist-oriented, locals will present a Haitian market for guests to purchase beautiful handmade souvenirs. When it is time for lunch you do not need to head back to the ship either, as a huge BBQ is laid out on the island with everything from grilled meat to salads, pastas and desserts.

    CocoCay, Royal Caribbean International

    CocoCay Royal Caribbean

    • Great for snorkelling
    • Amazing for sea life and diving

    CocoCay is another one of Royal Caribbean’s private islands and also lies perfectly in the Bahamian Sea. Although smaller than Labadee, it still offers an array of fun activities including water slides, jet-skis and pedalos. The snorkelling at CocoCay offers some of the best underwater sightings around with a sunken plane wreck that attracts an array of distinctive marine life. After an exhausting day of fun-filled activities, hire a floating beach mat and simply relax in the unbelievably crystal clear water.

    Perfect Day at Lelepa, Royal Caribbean International

    • Great for adventure
    • Amazing for snorkelling and cave exploration

    Created with sustainability at the forefront of the South Pacific island, Lelepa is a paradise of stunning ecosystems, outdoor adventure and relaxation. By developing a partnership with the community of Vanuatu, Oceania, Lelepa showcases the unique diversity of the island while creating employment and educational opportunities. Perfect Day at Lelepa will have a distinct feel from CocoCay, creating more choice for guests to relax in their ideal destination.

    Catalina Island, Costa Cruises

    • Ideal for couples
    • Peaceful and intimate setting

    Located off the coast of the Dominican Republic, this relaxing paradise is home to a long stretch of picture-perfect beaches with pure white sand and swaying palm trees. There’s no shortage of activities for the adventurous on Catalina Island, such as jet ski and banana-boat rides, while you can also sit in the shade and learn how to hack into a coconut, or embrace the sun onboard a catamaran.

    Engines are banned on Costa Cruises’ section of the island, creating a perfect oasis of peace and quiet for guests to relish in. Wildlife also thrives here, so keep an eye out onshore and among the gorgeous barrier reef which is hugely popular for diving.

    Half Moon Cay, Holland America Line

    Snorkelling in the Caribbean

    • Travel Weekly’s Readers’ Choice Award winner
    • Great for families and kids

    Half Moon Cay is said to be the highest-rated port of call for Holland America Cruises’ fans wanting to cruise the Caribbean. Located on the Little San Salvador Island in the Bahamas, it boasts over 2,400 acres of paradise.

    This is definitely one of the most picturesque of the private islands and is so unspoilt the Bahamian National Trust made it an international wild bird preserve. Miles of powder-soft white sand is lined with crystal-clear water that is perfect for swimming and snorkelling in but don’t forget to leave time for horseback riding, kayaking and deep-sea fishing. With a waterpark for children, this is the perfect destination for families, and for couples, be sure check out the chapel for weddings and vow renewals!

    Other Carnival Corporation cruise lines do stop off at Half Moon Cay, but when Holland America Line is in port HAL guests have exclusive use of the island.

    Great Stirrup Cay, Norwegian Cruise Line

    Great Stirrup Cay Norwegian Cruise Lines

    • Many dining and bar options
    • Great for families and kids

    This sun-drenched island is part of the Berry Islands in the Bahamas. Norwegian Cruise Line brought the island in 1977 and have developed it over the years into a popular tropical haven.

    Like the other private islands, a wide selection of activities are available including snorkelling, jet-skiing, para-sailing and the world’s largest water slide. A complimentary beach BBQ is held at lunchtime, as well as a selection of bars scattered around the island to grab your favourite cocktail. Reserve a beautiful private cabana to enjoy with friends and family as you gaze out onto relaxing views of Bertram’s Cove, and for animal lovers, don’t forget to take a swim with Bahamian pigs and grab plenty of snaps for Instagram!

    Norwegian Cruise Line was the first cruise line to introduce a private island and also recently developed another private island, Harvest Caye in Belize.

    Princess Cays, Princess Cruises

    • Water sports rental activities
    • Great for families and kids

    Princess Cays is situated on more than 40 acres and extends over half a mile of sandy shoreline. Located in the pristine islands of the Bahamas, it offers a tranquil beach bursting with fun amenities and even has its own accessible airport.

    A market is laid out for you to purchase local crafts with a large lunch spread on offer. A unique feature on Princess Cays is the Observation Tower where you can relish the spectacular views of this stunning island, while there is also no shortage of rental opportunities so you can take part in water sports. For romantic getaways, enjoy a private, air-conditioned bungalow near the beach, creating your own little corner of paradise.

    The Beach Club, Virgin Voyages

    • Adults only
    • 'Retox and detox' mantra
    • Exclusive DJ Mark Ronson appearances on select dates

    To give guests a true taste of the rock-star lifestyle, Virgin Voyages take guests onboard Scarlet Lady’s Caribbean itineraries to an exclusive beach club in Bimini, the Bahamas. This island will show you how to ‘retox and detox’ with lazy days on a beach, diving to the SS Sapona shipwreck, yoga and meditation, followed by wild pool parties. Whether you decide to catch the sun with your favourite cocktail every day or get out and about on thrilling excursions, this island is a paradise for everyone.

    On top of this, on select 2020 sailings, Grammy award-winning DJ Mark Ronson will provide the soundtrack to your holiday of a lifetime. Dance the night away as the sun goes down over an extravagant pool party at the lagoon, with plenty of refreshing drinks and delicious cuisines on offer, or settle down at a beach bonfire with the soundtrack of the ocean and acoustic tunes.

    Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve, MSC Cruises

    • Great for environmentally-conscious activities
    • Perfect for relaxation and enrichment

    Designed to give guests the chance to get in touch with nature, Ocean Cay boasts lush natural surroundings with an abundance of vibrant wildlife and marine life.

    After undergoing a transformation, the island is now home to 64 square miles of marine reserve, making for great snorkelling opportunities. As well as enjoying watersports, guests will also be able to indulge in award-winning spa experiences at The Spa Ocean Cay. With white-sand beaches and a stunning sunset providing the backdrop to a peaceful yoga session, Ocean Cay will truly transport you to ultimate serenity.

    Why a private island should be your next destination

    A private island will take you to the 'true' Caribbean so you can experience the unique scenery and distinct Caribbean flare without being in a commercialised and busy port.

    Whether you’re travelling with friends, family or going solo, there is a private island idyllic for you with something for everyone to do. Make lifelong memories at an exclusive destination, enjoy a range of delicious dining options and take part in thrilling activities you won’t find anywhere else. Combined with multiple stunning destinations along the journey, a stop on a private island is the cherry on the cake of a fantastic cruise holiday. Take a look at our Caribbean cruise deals and experience a private island for yourself.

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