Cruise lines' private islands, with their aquamarine lagoons, barbecue lunch, live entertainment and activities, usually figure as passengers' favorite port of call on guest feedback forms. Recently, the cruise lines have been adding a greater dimension of privacy to their private islands with the introduction of cabanas that are available for rental during the port day. The cabanas can come with a variety of amenities: from complimentary use of water toys to butler service, and probably best of all, provide a private space for "upscale Robinson Crusoe" fantasies.
The most recent cabana addition was Norwegian Cruise Line's on its 250-acre private island of Great Stirrup Cay in the Bahamas. Announced this spring, "Cabanas on the Cay," are exclusive private cabanas with VIP service and amenities, that are now available on Great Stirrup Cay. The launch of "Cabanas on the Cay" marked an addition to the island as part of a $25 million dollar enhancement project. Located to the west of the island's main beach, these private cabanas cost $249 per day. Each accommodates up to six guests and is furnished with lounge chairs, tables, cooler, beach towels and a shower. Cabana rental also includes a $50 food and beverage credit; up to six all-day passes to the Hippo Waterslide, a $120 value; and one large float, a $25 value, for guests to enjoy during their time on the island.
Guests who reserve one of the 10 "Cabanas on the Cay" enjoy priority tender service to the island and, upon arrival to their private cabana, will receive six complimentary bottles of water and a fruit basket. As they relax on one of the lounge chairs, guests can use their $50 food and beverage credit towards pre-ordered "Cabanas on the Cay" food and beverage selections.
Norwegian has prepared a menu for Cabana guests consisting of seafood, charcuterie, sushi and fruit platters. Guests who choose to dine at the island's complimentary barbecue can use their credit towards one of the beverage packages available for Cabana guests, or towards other beverage purchases on the island.
Each of the 10 Cabanas on the Cay are available on a first-come-first-served basis and can be pre-booked as a shore excursion on www.ncl.com or through the Shore Excursion Desk on board.
Norwegian Sky makes year-round stops at Great Stirrup Cay on her three and four-day cruises from Miami. Norwegian Gem visits Great Stirrup Cay during her seven-day Bahamas & Florida itinerary from New York. Beginning in October, Norwegian Jewel will also stop at Great Stirrup Cay on her seven-day Bahamas & Florida cruises from New York. Norwegian Pearl will also visit Great Stirrup Cay this winter on her seven-day Western Caribbean itinerary from Miami. Norwegian Breakaway, Norwegian's newest ship launching next spring, will visit Great Stirrup Cay on seven-day cruises from New York to Bahamas & Florida beginning in mid-October 2013. Visit www.ncl.com.
More Cabanas To Consider
-- Disney Cruise Line -- Disney Cruise Line's private 1,000-acre island, Castaway Cay in the Bahamas, offers private cabanas that look like small Bahamian houses, both at Serenity Bay, the adults-only beach and at the Family Beach. On the Family Beach there are 17 cabanas (with one being wheelchair accessible) and 4 cabanas are located on Serenity Bay. Each 325 square foot cabana is furnished with comfortable seating, a beverage refrigerator, safe, ceiling fan, eight plush towels, cool face cloths, a selection of magazines and sunscreen. Outside, at the patio, chaise lounge chairs, a freshwater shower, hammock and sailcloth shade are the guests' to enjoy along with offshore views. Fresh fruit and snacks (granola bars and chips) are included as well as unlimited bottle water and soft drinks. Dedicated beverage service is provided. Alcoholic beverage packages are available for purchase onboard at the Port Adventures desk for an additional cost. Each cabana includes the use of snorkeling equipment, float or tube rental, sand toys and one hour of bike rental (Family Beach Cabanas only). Pack n Plays are available on Castaway Cay for Family Cabana Guests with an infant in the party (Family Beach Cabanas only) Adult cabanas: price for up to four guests: $399 (adult 18+). Family cabanas: price for up to six guests: $499 (all ages). Visit www.disneycruise.com.
-- Holland America Line -- Half Moon Cay, this line's private island in the Bahamas, offers 15 cabanas on its beach and one Grand Cabana situated off to the side a bit. Guests who rent a cabana can board the first tender ashore, or have priority tender use to maximize time on the private island. Cabanas are fitted with a refrigerator, ceiling fan, air conditioner, table and chairs inside, and deck chairs and a misting shower on the private terrace. Guests are provided with fresh fruit, vegetables with dip, chips and salsa, an assortment of soft drinks and bottled water. Beach towels, floating mats and snorkel gear are included for use throughout the day. Cabana rental is $299 per day for four people. Parties larger than four must book a "Private Cabana Package - Extra Person Surcharge" tour for each additional guest. Guests may choose to upgrade their cabana stay by selecting the Butler Service Upgrade Package for up to four guests ($270 additional) Visit www.hollandamerica.com.
-- Royal Caribbean International -- Royal Caribbean features 20 cabanas on its private beach enclave, Labadee, on the north coast of Haiti. While each cabana is the same in size, amenities and services there are four different types with associated prices depending on location: four overwater cabanas, two waterfront cabanas, five hilltop cabanas and nine palm cabanas. Cabana rental fee includes use of furnished cabana equipped with a fan, service by a cabana attendant, complimentary bottled water, complimentary floating mats and snorkeling equipment, Barefoot Beach Club beverage menu (prices charged accordingly), and upgraded lunch menu at private barbecue facility. Cabanas are available to reserve onboard through Guest Relations or Concierge on a first-come, first-served basis (limited availability). Rental fees are $150, $175 or $200 depending on cabana location. Visit www.royalcaribbean.com.Copyright © 2015, CT Now