Exclusive to Princess Cruises passengers on Eastern, Southern and Western Caribbean itineraries since 1992, Princess Cays -- located 70 miles east of Nassau, on the southern tip of the island of Eleuthera, one of what's known as the Bahamas' "Out Islands" -- comprises 40 acres that offer more than 1.5 miles of white-sand beaches, food, water sports and even shopping.
Although Princess uses a section of the island, the rest of Eleuthera is inhabited by a population of about 11,000 residents. The cruise line does run excursions to some of the smaller villages outside the complex, such as Rock Sound (known for its bottomless blow hole) and the picturesque fishing village of Tarpum Bay. (Although it's Eleuthera's best-known tourist draw, Harbour Island, with its tony shops and restaurants, is too far away to visit.)
But, for most people, Princess Cays remains a guilt-free beach day, where you can rent water toys, sign up for a snorkel excursion or simply hang out in a private cabana. Bring water shoes, as the shoreline by the water can have sharp rocks and coral fragments.
Feel like relaxing? Find a spot on the beach, plop yourself down on a hammock or chair, and enjoy some sunbathing. If you're feeling more active, go for a swim in one of two protected swimming areas on the north and south beaches, rent scuba or snorkel gear, ride on a banana boat, or take an aqua bike for a spin. Water noodles and floats, see-through sea boards, aqua chairs, sailboats, standup paddleboards, windsurf boards, paddleboats, sailboats and two kinds of kayaks -- ocean and transparent hull -- are also available for rent.
Additionally, you can hit up the volleyball court or take in live music. A picnic area and the Crow's Nest Lookout tower are also located on Princess Cays, along with Pelican's Perch, a supervised sand playground for kids.
In the way of shore excursions, passengers can book coastal tours by boat, deep-sea or surf fishing, glass-bottom boat rides and sightseeing tours of Eleuthera.
For those who are hoping for some quiet time on land, private cabanas and bungalows are available for rent, including several within the adults-only Sanctuary area. Meant for groups of four (up to two additional people can come by paying an additional per-person fee), the cabanas are air-conditioned, and each comes with a ceiling fan, table and four chairs inside, two sun loungers outside, and an outdoor, open-air shower. Other perks include priority tender tickets, transportation to the cabana if required, two free float rentals, a staff member to take drink orders and light snacks. You can order a "gourmet lunch" for an extra fee.
"Clamshell" beach chairs for two that provide some sun protection can also be booked for a fee. Selection is on shore, on a first-come, first-served basis.
Princess Cays offers five bars throughout its section of the island. The Reef Runners Bar is on the south end, while Coconuts, Palm Groove, Banana Beach Bar and Bahia Bar are north of the Marina.
Princess' Tropical Treasures boutique is located on the island and sells all manner of souvenirs. Local crafters also sell their wares and offer services like hair-styling.
Grab a bite at one of two complimentary barbecue pavilions offering hot dogs, hamburgers, chicken, salad, fruit, cookies and a variety of other refreshments.
Visitors can use their onboard accounts for things like beverages, locker rentals, shore excursions, water sports equipment rentals and souvenirs from the Tropical Treasures boutique. Cash is required by local vendors.
See photos of Princess Cay from a Regal Princess cruise.
Unlike other cruise line-owned private islands, this one is partially inhabited. As part of Eleuthera, it also has an accessible airport. Visitors may want to check out Eleuthera's annual pineapple festival, which happens in June.