Private Islands on Your Cruise Itinerary – Yay or Nay?

Oct 20, 2015 | By Lauramay LaChance

What’s your take on private islands on your cruise itinerary?


Some cruisers love them and some can do without them. On a recent cruise, we stopped at Princess Cays, the private island owned by Princess Cruises. We asked three different cruisers what they thought about their experience, and here’s what they said.


Girls’ Getaway

Early 40s from Massachusetts

I cruised with: a group of girlfriends.

I typically cruise: This was actually my first cruise, but my girlfriends cruise about three times a year.

The highlights of the island were: the ease of getting from the ship to the island, the tasty lunch they served and the abundance of fruit available.

I wish we had gotten to: go on an excursion that didn’t cost an arm and a leg. Because it’s a single-owner market, the prices were quite high for things like renting kayaks and other water sports. I find sitting on the beach a bit boring and would have liked to do it but didn’t want to pay a ton to have an activity.

Private islands are good for people: who love sitting on the beach and having relative peace and quiet.

Why did you choose a cruise with a private island on the itinerary? It happened to be the only one that met my timing/budget requirements; truthfully, I probably wouldn’t pick one that only had a private island stop in the future, unless I had my kids. They love playing in the sand and would have been content to sit there all day.


First-time cruiser with a service dog

Mid 60s from Colorado

I cruised with: my wife, Kathy, and my service dog, Solo

I typically cruise: My wife is a seasoned cruiser, but this was my first cruise — Solo’s too.

The highlight of the island was:  different for all of us. Solo loved the fact that it was dry land, and I liked the tropical feel of the island.

I wish we had gotten to: experience a real island in the Bahamas. Because it was just a three-day cruise, this was our only port of call on the itinerary.

Why did you choose a cruise with a private island on the itinerary? We chose this itinerary because it was a short itinerary but not because of the private island. I wanted to see how Solo, my service dog, would react to cruising and also if I would like cruising. I’m not a fan of enclosed spaces, but I found it wasn’t an issue for either of us.


Solo cruiser

Early 30s from Miami

I cruised: by myself.

I typically cruise..: three to four times a year. Sometimes I cruise with friends, but living so close to Port Miami it’s easy to get away for a long weekend.

The highlight of the island was: the fact that I didn’t feel like I was missing something. I always feel like I’m going a million miles a minute when I’m cruising, but the lack of things to do on Princess Cays forced me to just relax. It was just what I needed.

I wish I had gotten to: go snorkeling. I don’t like to rent snorkel equipment for sanitary reasons and there were lots of colorful fish right off the pier.

Private islands are good for people: who love being outdoors. Princess Cays doesn’t have a hiking trail, but Disney’s Castaway Cay does and you’re outside the entire day. Another benefit of the private island is you can come and go as you please and it feels exclusive. It’s like sharing a private island with 3,000 of your closest friends.

Why did you choose a cruise with a private island on the itinerary? I needed a day of complete relaxation. Yes, I live in Miami, but there’s always something happening or I feel like I need to check my email. At Princess Cays I shut the world out and caught up on some much-needed me time.

We are getting lots of comments about this topic from our fans on Facebook.

Here's what they're saying:

Lily W. – "YAY! The island is not as crowded. It is just a lazy, in the shade, umbrella in a drink, kinda day."

Mary Ann H."YAY! We have found that private islands are the perfect part of a cruise. You can be active (jet ski, prararsail, swim, relax in the water, sun bathe on the beach, eat, drink, sleep. It is perfection. Less crowded, no one walking around selling things, very well kept. We just love them, and I am sure I left some things out. It is heaven!"

Tara M. – "I just went on a cruise last month and went to a private island Half Moon Cay in the Bahamas and it was great... There is so much to do on the cruise and so much to do at all the other ports it forces you to actually relax and take in the sand and water. I loved it!"

Tell us what you think about private islands in the comment section below.

Did you book a cruise?
Sign up for SailAway and we’ll send you everything you need to prepare.