If you daydream of owning a private island in a tropical locale, a place where worries don’t exist and the WiFi is nonexistent, we have a treat for you. Several first-rate cruise lines have developed their own private island sanctuaries in the Caribbean, with all the perks of a fantastic resort, but only for their cruise guests. There are beach barbecues, exclusive beachside cabanas with concierge service and every water sport imaginable. Ziplining, biking, walking - there’s that, too. Read on for a taste of what these heavenly havens have to offer.
It’s a private beach party all day long at this exclusive port of call on the island of Eleuthera in the Bahamas. This unspoilt, eel-shaped island is home to sparkling white-sand beaches, including a guests-only resort area on more than 40 acres and with more than a half-mile of private beach.
Within, and respectful of, this natural paradise, you can climb the observation tower for mesmerizing ocean views, fill your plate at a beach barbecue, sip a cool, frothy cocktail while browsing the craft market (full of locally made items), and engage in all manner of land and watersport.
Speaking of recreation, pick your favorite. There’s volleyball, snorkeling, seaboarding, kayaking, paddle wheeling, banana boat rides, and more. Meet stingrays with naturalists, go fishing or hide away in a private bungalow. Be sure to build in time for simply floating on the turquoise water in an aqua chair and experiencing true island bliss.
Seeking family together time? You’ll find it in spades on Castaway Cay in the Caribbean, where sparkling lagoons host colorful marine life, beaches sprawl along the shoreline, water play areas elicit giggles and open-air barbecue locations serve up complimentary meals. Get to and from with free tram transportation or along the scenic walking trails that crisscross the private island.
Check out the Castaway Family Beach, with kayaking and snorkeling along the Discover and Explore marine trails. Play volleyball or soccer at the Sports Beach. Drop the kids for supervised games at Da Shade Game Pavilion (there’s a Teen Hideout, too), then hit the secluded, adults-only Serenity Bay oasis.
Don’t miss the Pelican Plunge, a 2,400-square-foot floating platform with two twisty water slides. Or, set sail in your own boat, whether it’s a four-person paddle boat or a one-person sea kayak or a super-fun aqua trike.
Great Stirrup Cay
This white-sand hideaway has everything you ever wanted in an island paradise. And if you want to do nothing more than lounge on the beach or hang out on the Insta-worthy overwater swing, that’s OK, too. Zipline across the island. Glide along the coastline in a kayak. Snorkel with kaleidoscopic tropical fish and sea turtles.
Hungry? Grab a couple tacos at Abaco Taco. Savor street food at the island’s own food truck. Or sip a freshly muddled mojito at the Bacardi Bar. The Jumbey Beach Grill is perfect for a mid-afternoon bite or refreshing cold brew.
If you’re craving even more privacy, settle into a Silver Cove villa, an exclusive retreat with A/Z, on-demand movies, access to the upscale Silver Cove buffet, a full private restroom and, best of all, a glass wall that shows off expansive views of the beach (which you also have easy access to!).
Spend a sybaritic beach day in southern Belize at Harvest Caye, where 75 acres of natural splendor and culture await. Swim up to the bar in the massive pool, or hit the saltwater lagoon for stand-up paddleboarding and kayaking. Lounge on the private, seven-acre beach or snorkel the world’s second-largest barrier reef.
For those who seek a bit of a thrill, head for The Flighthouse, a 136-foot-high venue for aerial activities. From here, you can zip line for 3,000 feet above the island and take in the mainland views from the observation deck. Or, if you’re seeing a quieter vibe, rent a beachside cabana with food and beverage service, lounge chairs, a private bathroom and A/C.
Gather with your travel pals in the large marina’s food and bar area (this is also where you can sign up for exciting shore excursions such as rainforest river tubing and visits to ancient temples), then shop at name-brand retailers and at local Belizean craft boots in the shopping village.
Half Moon Cay
With its cheerfully painted, beachside cabanas, postcard-perfect white-sand beach, swaying palms and azure waters, this private island - known as Little San Salvador Island - is just one of the Bahamas' 700 isles. Two major cruise lines share the island, but rest assured the sense of privacy is first-class.
There are myriad adventures to be had here, both on land and at sea. Snorkel with stingrays or get to know the local marine life (from sea urchins to sharks) on an eco-lagoon tour, during which you can peer at the coral reefs from the deck of a glass-bottom boat. Ride horseback on the beach (is there anything more quintessentially Caribbean than that?), then wind along quiet trails to the island’s highest point.
Take to the seas in an AquaTrax watercraft, motoring between colorful reef formations in the shallow waters of the inlets and sand pits that make up Half Moon Cay. Or, take a leisurely bike ride about the island, learning its history and stopping at the magnificent Bone Fish Lagoon.
If these dreamy private islands strike a chord with your wanderlust, let’s chat. We can discuss various cruise lines and which experiences they offer in order to find the perfect one for you.