Cruise line private islands offer uncomplicated beach days for cruisers. These slivers of land, either owned or leased by major cruise lines, offer certain staples across the board, from BBQ buffet lunches to water-based shore excursions.
But beyond their cookie-cutter similarities, they have evolved over the years to include playgrounds, waterparks, bars, shopping areas, nature trails and even tram systems that shuttle visitors to and fro.
Whether you're itching to know which line offers the biggest and best or you're just wondering what to expect on your next private port call, read on to check out our six private island port reports.
The Line: Disney Cruise Line
Castaway Cay is an ultra-tidy 1,000-acre splash of sun and sand located in the northern Bahamas. Owned by the Walt Disney Company, the island is used exclusively for Disney passengers -- though alert cinephiles may also remember it as the spot where Tom Hanks finds his mermaid (Daryl Hannah) in "Splash." Read the full Castaway Cay cruise
Ships Visiting Castaway Cay
The Line: Royal Caribbean
The Low-Down: CocoCay, formerly Little Stirrup Cay, is a Bahamian island located between the popular cruise ports of Freeport and Nassau. In 1990, Royal Caribbean started leasing the 140-acre plot of land, which features beaches, shopping venues and activities exclusively for passengers sailing with RCI or sister line Celebrity Cruises. Read the full CocoCay cruise guide.
Ships Visiting CocoCay
Great Stirrup Cay
The Line: Norwegian Cruise Line
The Low-Down: Norwegian Cruise Line's Great Stirrup Cay -- located in the Bahamas' Berry Island chain, 130 nautical miles due east of Florida's Fort Lauderdale -- is a 250-acre island. The cay features dining and bar areas, private beachfront cabanas, a straw market, kid-friendly Aqua Park and more. Read the full Great Stirrup Cay cruise guide.
Ships Visiting Great Stirrup Cay
The Line: Princess Cruises
The Low-Down: Exclusive to Princess Cruises passengers on Eastern and Western Caribbean itineraries since 1992, Princess Cays -- located 70 miles east of Nassau, on the southern tip of the island of Eleuthera -- comprises 40 acres that offer more than 1.5 miles of white-sand beaches, food, water sports and even shopping. Read the full guide to the Princess Cays cruise port.
Ships Visiting Princess Cays
Half Moon Cay
The Line: Holland America
The Low-Down: In 1997, Holland America Line purchased Little San Salvador from its previous owners for $6 million. Today, the 2,400-acre island is known as Half Moon Cay and serves as a private retreat for passengers on the line's Caribbean and Panama Canal sailings. Read the full guide to the Half Moon Cay cruise port.
Ships Visiting Half Moon Cay
The Line: Royal Caribbean
The Low-Down: Royal Caribbean's Labadee is a 260-acre private beach resort carved out of Haiti's rolling, densely forested north coast. A typical day in port may include snorkeling, filling up a plate or two at the all-you-can eat BBQ, zipping across the water on the 2,600-foot-long Dragon's Breath Flight Line or snoozing soundly in a beach chair. Read the full guide to the Labadee cruise port.
Ships Visiting Labadee