cruise ship island

Cruise ship islands, often referred to as private islands or cruise line-owned destinations, are exclusive enclaves operated by cruise lines for the enjoyment of their passengers.

Cruise ship islands play a significant role in enhancing the overall travel experience for cruise passengers.

Unlike traditional port destinations, these islands are designed to provide a secluded and carefully curated environment where guests can relax, engage in various activities, and immerse themselves in the natural beauty of the surroundings.

The allure of these exclusive destinations adds a layer of excitement and anticipation to the cruise itinerary, making them highly anticipated highlights of the journey.

In this article, we will explore 11 of the best cruise ship islands from around the world, each owned and operated by leading cruise lines.

From the pristine beaches of Half Moon Cay to the adrenaline-pumping adventures of CocoCay, these islands offer a diverse range of experiences for travelers of all interests.

Join us as we delve into the unique features, attractions, and ownership details of these captivating destinations.

Private Islands Owned by Cruise Lines

cruise ship islands

Private islands owned by cruise lines are exclusive destinations reserved solely for the enjoyment of their passengers.

These islands are carefully developed and managed by the cruise lines to offer guests a secluded and immersive experience during their voyage.

Unlike traditional port stops, cruise line private islands provide travelers with a controlled environment where they can unwind, explore, and indulge in various activities without the crowds commonly found in public destinations.

Advantages of Cruise Line Private Islands for Passengers

  1. Exclusivity: Cruise line private islands offer passengers exclusive access to pristine beaches, luxurious amenities, and exciting activities that are tailored to their preferences.
  2. Enhanced Guest Experience: With fewer crowds and personalized services, passengers can enjoy a more intimate and relaxing atmosphere during their visit to private islands.
  3. Diverse Activities: From water sports and beachside relaxation to cultural experiences and gourmet dining, cruise line private islands offer a wide array of activities to suit every taste and interest.
  4. Safety and Security: Private islands provide a secure environment for passengers to explore and enjoy their time ashore, with dedicated staff ensuring the safety and well-being of guests at all times.
  5. Seamless Integration with Cruise Itineraries: By incorporating private islands into their itineraries, cruise lines can offer passengers a seamless travel experience, allowing them to enjoy the best of both worlds – the excitement of exploring new destinations and the comfort of familiar amenities and services.

Now, let’s take a closer look at the 11 Best Cruise Ship Islands:

1. Half Moon Cay (Holland America Line)

half moon cay

Half Moon Cay is located in the Bahamas, specifically in the Little San Salvador Island group.

Half Moon Cay is a pristine private island paradise boasting unspoiled beaches, crystal-clear turquoise waters, and lush greenery.

The island spans approximately 2,400 acres, with much of its natural beauty preserved for guests to enjoy.

Activities and Amenities Offered

  • Beach Activities: Visitors can indulge in a variety of beach activities, including swimming, snorkeling, and beach volleyball.
  • Water Sports: The island offers a range of water sports such as kayaking, paddleboarding, and jet skiing.
  • Nature Trails: Guests can explore the island’s scenic nature trails on foot or by bicycle, immersing themselves in the serene tropical landscape.
  • Private Cabanas: For those seeking a more luxurious experience, private cabanas are available for rent, providing exclusive access to secluded beach areas and personalized service.
  • Dining Options: Half Moon Cay features several dining venues offering delicious Caribbean-inspired cuisine and refreshing beverages.

Ownership Details (Cruise Line Owner)

Half Moon Cay is owned and operated by Holland America Line, one of the leading cruise lines renowned for its exceptional service and immersive travel experiences.

As the exclusive owner of Half Moon Cay, Holland America Line ensures that guests enjoy unparalleled comfort, luxury, and relaxation during their visit to this tropical paradise.

2. Princess Cays (Princess Cruises)

Princess Cays

Princess Cays is situated on the southern tip of the island of Eleuthera in the Bahamas.

Princess Cays is a picturesque private island destination known for its stunning beaches, clear turquoise waters, and vibrant coral reefs.

Spanning over 40 acres, the island offers guests a tranquil retreat amidst the natural beauty of the Caribbean.

Activities and Amenities Offered

  • Beach Relaxation: Visitors can unwind on the island’s pristine sandy beaches, soaking up the sun and enjoying the gentle ocean breeze.
  • Water Sports: Princess Cays offers an array of water sports activities, including snorkeling, kayaking, and paddleboarding, allowing guests to explore the island’s vibrant marine life.
  • Island Excursions: Guided island tours and nature walks provide guests with insights into the local culture, history, and ecology of Princess Cays.
  • Private Bungalows: For those seeking enhanced privacy and luxury, private bungalows are available for rent, offering exclusive amenities and personalized service.
  • Dining and Shopping: The island features various dining options serving delicious Caribbean cuisine and refreshing beverages, as well as shopping boutiques offering souvenirs and beach essentials.

Ownership Details (Cruise Line Owner)

Princess Cays is owned and operated by Princess Cruises, a renowned cruise line celebrated for its exceptional service, innovative amenities, and immersive travel experiences.

As the exclusive owner of Princess Cays, Princess Cruises ensures that guests enjoy an unforgettable island getaway characterized by relaxation, adventure, and unparalleled hospitality.

3. Castaway Cay (Disney Cruise Line)

Castaway Cay

Castaway Cay is located in the Abaco Islands of the Bahamas, near Great Abaco Island.

Castaway Cay, Disney Cruise Line’s private island paradise, is a tropical oasis known for its pristine beaches, turquoise waters, and lush landscapes.

Spanning over 1,000 acres, the island offers guests a magical retreat immersed in the enchanting world of Disney.

Activities and Amenities Offered

  • Family Beach: Guests can relax and play at the family beach, where they can swim, snorkel, and build sandcastles amidst the picturesque scenery.
  • Castaway Family Beach: This secluded area offers additional amenities such as private cabanas, waterslides, and watercraft rentals for families to enjoy.
  • Serenity Bay: Adults seeking tranquility can escape to Serenity Bay, an exclusive beach retreat offering peaceful surroundings, beachside massages, and gourmet dining options.
  • Port Adventures: From snorkeling excursions and glass-bottom boat tours to bike rentals and nature trails, Castaway Cay offers a variety of port adventures for guests of all ages.
  • Character Greetings: Meet and greet beloved Disney characters throughout the island, adding a touch of magic to your tropical getaway.

Ownership Details (Cruise Line Owner)

Castaway Cay is owned and operated by Disney Cruise Line, the premier family-friendly cruise line known for its immersive entertainment, world-class hospitality, and iconic characters.

As the exclusive owner of Castaway Cay, Disney Cruise Line ensures that guests experience the magic and wonder of Disney throughout their island retreat, creating unforgettable memories for families and cruisers of all ages.

4. CocoCay (Royal Caribbean International)

CocoCay

CocoCay, formerly known as Little Stirrup Cay, is situated in the Berry Islands of the Bahamas, near Great Stirrup Cay.

CocoCay is Royal Caribbean International’s private island destination, offering guests a perfect blend of adventure, relaxation, and natural beauty.

The island features pristine white-sand beaches, crystal-clear waters, and lush tropical landscapes, providing a paradise-like setting for travelers to explore and unwind.

Activities and Amenities Offered

  • Thrilling Water Park: The island boasts the thrilling Thrill Waterpark, featuring towering waterslides, wave pools, and a massive freshwater lagoon for guests of all ages to enjoy.
  • Beachfront Relaxation: Visitors can relax on the island’s beautiful beaches, bask in the sun, or take a dip in the refreshing ocean waters.
  • Adventure Activities: CocoCay offers a variety of adventure activities, including snorkeling, jet skiing, parasailing, and zip-lining, providing exhilarating experiences for thrill-seekers.
  • Chill Island: For those seeking a more laid-back atmosphere, Chill Island offers serene beaches, beachfront cabanas, and delicious Caribbean-inspired cuisine.
  • Perfect Day at CocoCay: Royal Caribbean’s “Perfect Day at CocoCay” program ensures that guests experience an unforgettable day filled with excitement, relaxation, and adventure.

Ownership Details (Cruise Line Owner)

CocoCay is owned and operated by Royal Caribbean International, one of the world’s leading cruise lines known for its innovative ships, exceptional service, and immersive destinations.

As the exclusive owner of CocoCay, Royal Caribbean International continues to invest in the island, enhancing its amenities and offerings to provide guests with the ultimate vacation experience in paradise.

5. Great Stirrup Cay (Norwegian Cruise Line)

Great Stirrup Cay

Great Stirrup Cay is located in the Berry Islands of the Bahamas, near CocoCay and Little Stirrup Cay.

Great Stirrup Cay is Norwegian Cruise Line’s private island paradise, offering guests a serene and picturesque retreat in the heart of the Bahamas.

The island features pristine beaches, turquoise waters, and lush tropical landscapes, providing an idyllic setting for relaxation and exploration.

Activities and Amenities Offered

  • Beach Activities: Visitors can relax on the island’s soft sandy beaches, swim in the crystal-clear waters, or enjoy beachside games and activities.
  • Snorkeling and Water Sports: Great Stirrup Cay offers excellent snorkeling opportunities, allowing guests to explore vibrant coral reefs and marine life. Additionally, water sports such as kayaking, paddleboarding, and parasailing are available for adventurous travelers.
  • Lagoon Retreat: The island’s Lagoon Retreat provides a secluded oasis for guests seeking enhanced privacy and relaxation, offering private cabanas, hammocks, and personalized services.
  • Island Excursions: Guided island tours and nature walks provide guests with insights into the island’s natural beauty, history, and culture.
  • Dining and Entertainment: Great Stirrup Cay features several dining venues serving delicious cuisine and refreshing beverages, as well as live music and entertainment to enhance the guest experience.

Ownership Details (Cruise Line Owner)

Great Stirrup Cay is owned and operated by Norwegian Cruise Line, a leading cruise line renowned for its innovative ships, diverse itineraries, and exceptional service.

As the exclusive owner of Great Stirrup Cay, Norwegian Cruise Line is committed to providing guests with an unforgettable island experience, characterized by relaxation, adventure, and unparalleled hospitality.

6. Harvest Caye (Norwegian Cruise Line)

Harvest Caye

Harvest Caye is located in southern Belize, near the town of Placencia.

Harvest Caye is a premier cruise destination developed by Norwegian Cruise Line, offering guests a unique blend of natural beauty and cultural experiences.

The island features pristine beaches, lush landscapes, and vibrant coral reefs, providing a stunning backdrop for travelers to explore and unwind.

Activities and Amenities Offered

  • Beach Relaxation: Visitors can relax on the island’s beautiful sandy beaches, soak up the sun, or take a refreshing dip in the sparkling turquoise waters.
  • Saltwater Lagoon: Harvest Caye boasts a spectacular saltwater lagoon, where guests can enjoy kayaking, paddleboarding, and swimming in a natural, protected environment.
  • Adventure Zone: The island’s Adventure Zone offers thrilling zip-line adventures, providing panoramic views of the island and surrounding seascape.
  • Cultural Experiences: Guests can immerse themselves in Belizean culture through local artisan markets, cultural performances, and culinary experiences showcasing the flavors of Belize.
  • Wildlife Encounters: Harvest Caye is home to a diverse array of wildlife, including exotic birds, butterflies, and marine life, providing opportunities for nature enthusiasts to observe and learn about Belize’s rich biodiversity.

Ownership Details (Cruise Line Owner)

Harvest Caye is owned and operated by Norwegian Cruise Line, a pioneer in cruise travel known for its innovative ships, diverse itineraries, and exceptional service.

As the exclusive owner of Harvest Caye, Norwegian Cruise Line is committed to preserving the island’s natural beauty and cultural heritage while providing guests with unforgettable experiences that celebrate the best of Belizean hospitality and adventure.

7. Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve (MSC Cruises)

Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve

Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve is located in the western Bahamas, near Bimini and Great Stirrup Cay.

Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve is a unique private island destination developed by MSC Cruises, offering guests an immersive experience in marine conservation and natural beauty.

The island features pristine beaches, vibrant coral reefs, and a rich marine ecosystem, providing a tranquil retreat for travelers to connect with nature and the sea.

Activities and Amenities Offered

  • Beach Activities: Visitors can relax on the island’s secluded beaches, swim in the crystal-clear waters, or enjoy beachside games and activities.
  • Marine Conservation: Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve is dedicated to marine conservation efforts, providing guests with opportunities to learn about coral restoration, marine life protection, and sustainable practices.
  • Water Sports: The island offers a variety of water sports activities, including snorkeling, paddleboarding, and kayaking, allowing guests to explore the vibrant underwater world surrounding the island.
  • Spa and Wellness: Guests can rejuvenate their senses at the island’s spa and wellness center, offering a range of relaxing treatments and holistic experiences inspired by the sea.
  • Culinary Delights: Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve features several dining venues serving fresh seafood, international cuisine, and refreshing beverages, allowing guests to savor the flavors of the Bahamas in a stunning oceanfront setting.

Ownership Details (Cruise Line Owner)

Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve is owned and operated by MSC Cruises, a global leader in cruise travel known for its commitment to environmental sustainability and responsible tourism.

As the exclusive owner of Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve, MSC Cruises is dedicated to preserving the island’s natural beauty and marine ecosystem while providing guests with unforgettable experiences that celebrate the wonders of the sea.

8. Amber Cove (Carnival Cruise Line)

Amber Cove

Amber Cove is located on the northern coast of the Dominican Republic, near the town of Puerto Plata.

Amber Cove is a vibrant cruise destination developed by Carnival Cruise Line, offering guests a rich blend of cultural heritage, natural beauty, and exciting experiences.

The port features stunning views of the surrounding mountains, lush tropical landscapes, and colorful architecture, providing a warm welcome to visitors from around the world.

Activities and Amenities Offered

  • Pool Complex: Guests can relax and unwind at the port’s expansive pool complex, featuring water slides, swim-up bars, and comfortable lounging areas.
  • Shopping and Dining: Amber Cove offers a variety of shopping boutiques, restaurants, and bars, allowing guests to sample local cuisine, shop for souvenirs, and enjoy live music and entertainment.
  • Adventure Excursions: From zip-lining through the lush rainforest to exploring historic landmarks and cultural attractions, Amber Cove offers a wide range of adventure excursions for guests of all interests.
  • Relaxation Retreats: Visitors can escape to tranquil retreats and private cabanas, where they can enjoy personalized service, breathtaking views, and exclusive amenities in a serene tropical setting.

Ownership Details (Cruise Line Owner)

Amber Cove is owned and operated by Carnival Cruise Line, one of the world’s largest and most popular cruise lines known for its fun-filled vacations and exceptional service.

As the exclusive owner of Amber Cove, Carnival Cruise Line is committed to providing guests with memorable experiences that celebrate the vibrant culture and natural beauty of the Dominican Republic, ensuring that every visit to the port is filled with excitement, relaxation, and adventure.

9. Belize’s Harvest Caye (Norwegian Cruise Line)

Harvest Caye

Belize’s Harvest Caye is located in southern Belize, near the Placencia Peninsula.

Belize’s Harvest Caye is a premier cruise destination developed by Norwegian Cruise Line, offering guests a gateway to the natural wonders and cultural treasures of Belize.

The island features pristine beaches, lush tropical landscapes, and a vibrant marine ecosystem, providing travelers with an immersive experience in the heart of the Caribbean.

Activities and Amenities Offered

  • Beach Bliss: Visitors can relax on the island’s picturesque beaches, swim in the crystal-clear waters, or lounge in beachside cabanas, soaking up the sun and serenity.
  • Water Sports: Belize’s Harvest Caye offers a variety of water sports activities, including snorkeling, paddleboarding, and kayaking, allowing guests to explore the colorful coral reefs and marine life surrounding the island.
  • Nature Trails: Guests can embark on guided nature walks and birdwatching tours, discovering the island’s diverse flora and fauna amidst lush tropical landscapes.
  • Cultural Encounters: From cultural performances and artisan markets to culinary experiences showcasing Belizean cuisine, Harvest Caye provides opportunities for guests to immerse themselves in the rich cultural heritage of Belize.
  • Luxury Retreats: For those seeking an elevated experience, private villas and luxury cabanas offer exclusive amenities, personalized service, and breathtaking views of the Caribbean Sea.

Ownership Details (Cruise Line Owner)

Belize’s Harvest Caye is owned and operated by Norwegian Cruise Line, a pioneer in cruise travel known for its innovative ships, diverse itineraries, and exceptional service.

As the exclusive owner of Harvest Caye, Norwegian Cruise Line is committed to preserving the island’s natural beauty and cultural heritage while providing guests with unforgettable experiences that celebrate the best of Belizean hospitality and adventure.

10. Labadee (Royal Caribbean International)

Labadee

Labadee is located on the northern coast of Haiti, near the town of Cap-Haïtien.

Labadee is a private resort destination developed by Royal Caribbean International, offering guests a serene escape amidst the natural beauty of Haiti.

The island features pristine beaches, lush landscapes, and stunning mountain vistas, providing a tranquil haven for travelers to relax and recharge.

Activities and Amenities Offered

  • Beach Relaxation: Visitors can unwind on Labadee’s beautiful beaches, sunbathe on the soft white sands, or swim in the crystal-clear waters of the Caribbean Sea.
  • Adrenaline-Pumping Adventures: Labadee offers a variety of thrilling activities, including zip-lining over the island’s lush terrain, riding the Dragon’s Breath Flight Line – the world’s longest over-water zip line, and exploring the depths of the sea on a thrilling jet ski tour.
  • Cultural Experiences: Guests can immerse themselves in Haitian culture through local artisan markets, dance performances, and historical tours, offering insights into the rich heritage and traditions of Haiti.
  • Private Cabanas: For those seeking a more luxurious experience, Labadee offers private cabanas equipped with comfortable furnishings, exclusive amenities, and stunning ocean views, providing the ultimate retreat for relaxation and indulgence.

Ownership Details (Cruise Line Owner)

Labadee is owned and operated by Royal Caribbean International, one of the world’s largest and most innovative cruise lines known for its diverse fleet of ships, exceptional service, and immersive destinations.

As the exclusive owner of Labadee, Royal Caribbean International is committed to providing guests with unforgettable experiences that celebrate the natural beauty, culture, and adventure of Haiti.

11. Isla Catalina (Carnival Corporation)

Isla Catalina

Isla Catalina is located off the southeastern coast of the Dominican Republic, near La Romana.

Isla Catalina is a pristine tropical island owned by Carnival Corporation, offering guests a secluded and breathtaking escape in the Caribbean.

The island features powdery white-sand beaches, crystal-clear turquoise waters, and lush tropical vegetation, creating a picture-perfect setting for relaxation and adventure.

Activities and Amenities Offered

  • Beach Paradise: Visitors can unwind on Isla Catalina’s stunning beaches, soak up the sun, or take leisurely strolls along the shoreline.
  • Snorkeling and Diving: The island offers excellent snorkeling and diving opportunities, allowing guests to explore vibrant coral reefs teeming with marine life.
  • Water Sports: Isla Catalina provides a variety of water sports activities, including kayaking, paddleboarding, and jet skiing, ensuring that guests have plenty of opportunities for adventure and excitement.
  • Beachside Dining: Guests can enjoy delicious Caribbean cuisine and refreshing beverages at the island’s beachfront restaurants and bars, savoring the flavors of the region in a relaxed and scenic setting.

Ownership Details (Cruise Line Owner)

Isla Catalina is owned and operated by Carnival Corporation, one of the world’s largest cruise companies, encompassing several leading cruise lines.

As the owner of Isla Catalina, Carnival Corporation is dedicated to preserving the island’s natural beauty and enhancing the guest experience, ensuring that visitors enjoy unforgettable moments of relaxation, exploration, and enjoyment in this idyllic Caribbean paradise.

Why do the Cruise Ships Own These Islands?

cruise ship

Cruise lines have invested in private islands to offer passengers exclusive and controlled environments, ensuring a unique and memorable experience during their voyage.

Major cruise lines such as Royal Caribbean International, Norwegian Cruise Line, and Carnival Corporation own private islands in various parts of the world, each with its own distinctive characteristics and offerings.

Ownership structures for private islands vary among cruise lines.

Some cruise lines have acquired existing islands and developed them into exclusive destinations, while others have undertaken significant investments to create purpose-built facilities and amenities tailored to the needs of their passengers.

These investments may include infrastructure development, environmental conservation efforts, and the creation of recreational and entertainment facilities.

Private islands play a significant role in cruise line branding and marketing strategies, serving as unique selling points that differentiate one cruise line from another.

These islands are often marketed as exclusive retreats where passengers can enjoy pristine beaches, exciting activities, and personalized services in a controlled and secure environment.

The development and promotion of private islands contribute to enhancing the overall cruise experience and attracting passengers seeking memorable and immersive vacations.

Conclusion:

As the cruise industry continues to grow, cruise lines may explore potential expansion plans for their existing private islands to accommodate increasing demand and enhance the guest experience.

These expansion plans may include the development of new attractions, amenities, and infrastructure to cater to the evolving preferences and expectations of passengers.

With the rising popularity of cruise travel, there is a growing interest among cruise lines in acquiring and developing new private islands as exclusive destinations for their guests.

The emergence of new cruise line-owned islands presents opportunities for innovative design concepts, sustainable development practices, and immersive experiences that showcase the unique culture and natural beauty of each destination.

In this article, we’ve explored twelve of the best cruise ship islands owned by various cruise lines, each offering a unique blend of natural beauty, exciting activities, and exclusive amenities for passengers to enjoy during their voyages.

Cruise line private islands represent a significant aspect of the modern cruise experience, providing passengers with exclusive retreats and immersive destinations that showcase the best of tropical paradise.

These islands serve as idyllic settings for relaxation, adventure, and cultural exploration, enhancing the overall cruise experience and contributing to the unique identity of each cruise line.

As travelers seek unforgettable experiences and meaningful connections with the destinations they visit, cruise line private islands offer a perfect opportunity to indulge in luxury, relaxation, and adventure in some of the world’s most stunning locations.

Whether you’re looking to unwind on pristine beaches, explore vibrant coral reefs, or immerse yourself in local culture, these private islands have something for everyone to enjoy.

As you plan your next cruise vacation, consider including a visit to one of these incredible destinations to create memories that will last a lifetime.

cruise ship own island

FAQ’s About the Cruise Ship Islands:

What cruise ship has its own island?

Several cruise lines have their own private islands, including Royal Caribbean International, Norwegian Cruise Line, and Carnival Cruise Line.

These islands serve as exclusive destinations for cruise passengers to enjoy during their voyages.

What is the name of a popular cruise line that visits Caribbean islands?

Royal Caribbean International is a popular cruise line that visits Caribbean islands.

It offers various itineraries to destinations throughout the Caribbean, allowing passengers to explore stunning beaches, vibrant cultures, and scenic landscapes.

What are Royal Caribbean’s private islands?

Royal Caribbean International owns two private islands in the Caribbean: CocoCay in the Bahamas and Labadee in Haiti. These islands offer passengers exclusive experiences, including pristine beaches, thrilling water sports, and cultural excursions.

What islands do not allow cruise ships?

Some islands have restrictions or regulations that limit or prohibit cruise ship visits.

For example, the Galápagos Islands in Ecuador have strict regulations to protect the delicate ecosystem, and cruise ships must adhere to specific guidelines to visit the islands.

Additionally, certain smaller or environmentally sensitive islands may have restrictions on cruise ship visits.

What Caribbean islands to avoid?

While the Caribbean is a popular cruise destination with many beautiful and welcoming islands, some areas may have higher crime rates or safety concerns.

It’s essential for travelers to research destinations and exercise caution in areas with known safety issues.

Additionally, during hurricane season, some Caribbean islands may be prone to severe weather, and travelers should stay informed about weather forecasts and travel advisories.

Has Dubrovnik banned cruise ships?

Dubrovnik, a popular tourist destination in Croatia, has taken measures to manage overtourism and preserve its cultural heritage.

While there have been discussions about limiting cruise ship visits to Dubrovnik’s historic Old Town due to concerns about overcrowding and environmental impact, as of my last update in January 2022, there hasn’t been a complete ban on cruise ships.

However, authorities have implemented measures to regulate the number and size of cruise ships visiting the port to mitigate the impact on the city and its residents.

cruise ship islands

(Island Expert)

Christian is a dynamic serial entrepreneur and a licensed real estate agent with a relentless passion for unlocking the potential of island real estate.Christian's expertise extends beyond entrepreneurship and property transactions.He possesses a profound expertise in crafting captivating content and persuasive copywriting tailored exclusively to the enchanting realm of island real estate.

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