When holidaying in an archipelago such as the Canary Islands or Balearics, there’s always the option to take a moment to lay claim to a small island after adventuring out by boat, though few can say that they have actually been on a privately owned island. However, while this may seem quite far-fetched, some cruise lines do own their own islands where guests can experience a life of luxury. Thrilling water-parks, high-flying hot air balloons and temperatures above 30°c all add to the excitement that keep guests coming back year after year.
Since 1997, Disney Cruise Line has owned Castaway Cay on a 99-year lease and is using the Caribbean island to entertain thousands of guests each day. On the 1,000-acre island, only 55 acres are currently being used to create an extraordinary resort. Facilities include a post office allowing guests to send postcards that feature the renowned ‘Castaway Cay’ postmark around the world, two-submarine ride vehicles forming the original 20,000 leagues under the sea ride, snorkelling, parasailing and play areas for children. On the island, there are around 60 permanent residents that work for Disney Cruise Line maintaining the park.
Situated in the Bahamas, Cococay (Little Stirrup Cay) is one of the Berry Islands and is exclusively owned by Royal Caribbean. Around a mile long, the island has been given a $200 million dollar transformation to allow the cruise line to offer the ‘Perfect Day at Cococay’. The island will now feature ‘DareDevil’s Peak’, the tallest waterslide in North America at a staggering 135-foot tall; a wave pool with a surf simulator; ‘Oasis Lagoon’, famed for being the Caribbean’s largest freshwater pool; and ‘Coco Beach’, an exotic infinity pool with swim-up bar and its own dedicated club. Finally, as one of the main attractions of the Island, ‘the up, up, and away’ experience takes guests up to 450-feet above the island for the perfect holiday picture.
Open to all Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas cruise ships that are sailing through the Caribbean, Harvest Caye has been owned since 2016. Some of the island’s main features include the 15,000 ft2 pool, a zip line from a lighthouse to the beach, snorkelling, kayaking, a nature centre and seven acres of white sand beach for guests to enjoy. One of the main differences Harvest Caye offers compared to other islands is the ability for the ship to anchor close by so that guests can dine on board or on the island.
Previously known as Little San Salvador, Half Moon Cay has recently become one of the highest-rated private islands in the Caribbean. Catering mostly towards adults, there is a relaxed atmosphere in which guests can retreat to their own private beach. There are many ways to explore the island (horseback, bike ride or a tropical kayak tour) and spotting some of the beautiful birdlife is a rewarding experience. If you would prefer to cool down in the sea, stingray adventures and snorkelling out in the open ocean are amongst the popular activities. Lastly, barbeque food is served throughout the day near the beaches for all Half Moon Cay guests.
Stretching more than 40 acres on the thin island of Eleuthera, Princess Cays isn’t actually a privately owned island, but it still offers more than 1.5 miles of white-sand beaches. This secluded area contains facilities and activities including restaurants, snorkel equipment, kayaks, paddlewheelers and bungalows that can all be reserved. If you want to escape and recharge your batteries, the island has many walkways allowing families and couples to find tranquillity. Finally, if you need a souvenir to take home with you, the island has shops that are open during the day.
Each remote island provides travellers with the perfect way to escape the bustling cities and enjoy warm beaches, open waterparks and a variety of other activities.
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