Updated: Aug 8
It can’t get much better than lounging next to your cruise ship’s glistening swimming pool, frosty beverage in hand, as the sun warms your shoulders. Or can it? Today’s upscale cruise lines have upped the ante on the tropical getaway, providing respite from busy shore days and onboard entertainment by providing access to their own peaceful and private islands. These are blissful places where you can slip away to a hammock in the shade away from other guests for a while, or explore a white-sand beach with your favorite person, as opposed to an entire tour group.
Choosing a cruise that delivers you to these idyllic islands makes more sense than ever. Most of the available amenities and activities on the islands are all included in your cruise fare, allowing you stay within your budget if that is your goal. So what exactly do these private paradises have to offer? Let’s take a look at two Caribbean hot spots.
On Haiti's north coast, this Western Caribbean paradise is available exclusively to cruise guests. The stuff of daydreams, this postcard-perfect setting boasts pristine white sands, colorful coral reefs and lush, jungle-draped hillsides. Float in hidden coves and bays, like Insta-worthy Columbus Cove. Zip line high over the ocean. Find your private place in the sun on one of multiple beaches. Families giggle and play together at Adrenaline Beach, in the heart of the island, while at Nellie’s Beach, couples can kick back in a private bungalow and order refreshments right to their side.
There are alpine roller coasters through the jungle, bocce ball and basketball courts, a 300-foot-long water slide, a superhero-style flight line and more. Go parasailing to see the island from the air or zip around it on a speedboat. If you’ve upgraded your cruise experience to a top-tier suite, you’ll have the added bonus of an elevated BBQ lunch, complimentary snorkel equipment and floating beach mats.
With the tallest water slide in North America, pampering over-water cabanas and the largest freshwater pool in the Bahamas, this private cay in the crystalline waters of the Caribbean is calling your name. With everything from heart-pumping thrills to three beaches where you can find your own spot, the island checks all the boxes for a perfect beach getaway. There’s no right or wrong way to do the cay.
Go snorkeling, head out into the waves on a guided jet ski tour, indulge in fresh beachside barbecue, bounce and climb in the adventure pool and get swept away in the Caribbean’s biggest wave pool. Or, take life up a notch (literally) with a helium balloon ride over the island, snapping jaw-dropping photos from high above the water.
Slip away to the exclusive beach club for a siesta in your overwater cabana, a decadent meal of steak and lobster, and hours of mindless drifting in the infinity pool or warm ocean waters. Think overwater hammocks, an exclusive beach, beach chairs and towels, a private clubhouse and water slides right into the ocean.
Why not add a one-of-a-kind beach day in your cruise plans? It’s like having your own beach resort to yourself for a few precious hours, where everyone can find their groove before reconvening on the ship to share their best moments of the day. Let’s chat about which cruise lines have access to these fantastic spots and which are best for you.