Since the 1990s, cruise lines have been investing in land-based private islands that allow them to offer passengers exclusive beach time as an extension of the onboard experience. As cruise lines continue to build out new exclusive destinations and upgrade their longtime island enclaves, it can be difficult to know which lines are associated with which swaths of land. Check out our cruise line private islands guide below.
1. Castaway Cay, 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 might also remember it as the spot where Tom Hanks finds his mermaid (Daryl Hannah) in "Splash."
2. Half Moon Cay, Holland America Line
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. Carnival ships also make use of the port.
Wonder of the Seas Construction Update: Sea Trials
Wonder of the Seas Completes Sea Trials
NCL's Restart: What It's Like On The First Norwegian Cruise Ship Back in 16 Months
Here's What It's Like Onboard the First Large Cruise Ship to Alaska in 21 Months
Perfect Day at CocoCay: Here's How We Spent 2 DAYS at Royal Caribbean's Private Island
Freedom of the Seas: What's It Like Onboard a Test Cruise? (Cruise Critic & Royal Caribbean Blog
‘Top Chef’ Winner Kristen Kish Joins Holland America Line’s Award-winning Culinary Council
Live From Adventure of the Seas: What's the Same, What's Different and What's Better?
Here's What We Packed For Our Royal Caribbean Cruise (June 2021)
Celebrity to Restart from U.S. Homeport, PLUS Royal Caribbean Given Green Light for Test Cruises!
LIVE Interview with Frank Del Rio, NCLH President and CEO, About Company's "Safe to Sail" Campaign
Odyssey of the Seas -- From Steel Cutting to Delivery 2021
Video Of Odyssey Of The Seas Conveyance March 2021
Rudi Sodamin Makes A Special, Thanksgiving-themed "Food Faces" Video For Cruise Critic
Royal Caribbean Group Announces E-muster, Keyless Cabin Check-in And Other App Improvements
Silver Cove At Norwegian Cruise Line's Great Stirrup Cay
Norwegian Encore - Hull Art Reveal - Artist Eduardo Arranz Bravo
Disney Cruise Line Announces Disney Wish
Royal Caribbean Odyssey Of The Seas Steel Cutting At Meyer Werft
4 Cool Features on Holland America's Nieuw Statendam
Shipyard Tour: Royal Caribbean’s Symphony Of The Seas Gets Its Finishing Touches -- Video
Star Wars Day At Sea On Disney Cruise Line
Norwegian Bliss Virtual Tour - Why You Should Be Excited About Norwegian's Newest Ship
Harmony Of The Seas Video Tour – Inside Look At One Of Royal Caribbean’s Most Popular Cruise Ships
Symphony Of The Seas Video Tour
Norwegian Breakaway Photo Tour
Royal Caribbean’s Spectrum Of The Seas Celebrates Keel Laying
Sea Beyond: An Innovative Cruise Experience By Royal Caribbean
Sneak Peak At Symphony Of The Seas
The Waterfront On Norwegian Cruise Line - Video
What’s Your Size? Royal Caribbean's Oasis Class Vs. Majesty Of The Seas - Video
Norwegian Getaway Photo Tour
Best Spots For Adults On A Disney Cruise Ship
Inside Look: The Haven On Norwegian Cruise Line
Royal Caribbean's Oasis Of The Seas Photo Tour
Spectrum Of The Seas Steel Cutting At Meyer Werft
Royal Caribbean's Enchantment Of The Seas Highlights
Norwegian Escape's Ropes Course - Are You Brave Enough?
Photo Tour of Regal Princess
Inside Look at Norwegian Sky In Cuba
Norwegian Escape Attractions - 7 Free Things You Have To Try - Video Tour
Sneak Peek: "Beauty And The Beast" On Disney Dream -- Behind The Scenes Video
Sneak Peek: Disney Fantasy Highlights For Kids - Video Tour
4 Exclusive Spots On Norwegian Escape - Video Tour
Harvest Caye Cruise Port Video Tour
Carnival Corporation Introduces the Ocean Medallion at CES
Norwegian Escape Photo Tour
Photo Tour of Royal Caribbean's Allure Of The Seas
4 Types Of Cruisers Who Would Love Holland America's Koningsdam
What It Means To Be Loyal To Royal
3. Perfect Day at CocoCay, Royal Caribbean International
Perfect Day at 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 Royal Caribbean or sister line Celebrity Cruises.
4. Great Stirrup Cay, Norwegian Cruise Line
Norwegian Cruise Line's Great Stirrup Cay -- located in the Bahamas' Berry Island chain, 130 nautical miles due east of Fort Lauderdale -- is a 250-acre island. The cay features dining and bar areas, private beachfront cabanas, a straw market, a kid-friendly Aqua Park and more.
5. Harvest Caye, Norwegian Cruise Line
Harvest Caye opened in 2016 and represents a partnership between the cruise line and the government of Belize, which owns the island. It serves as a private outpost for Norwegian, Oceania and Regent passengers cruising through the Western Caribbean. While Harvest Caye has typical private-island amenities like beachfront villas (and unique additions like a nature center and an enormous pool), one notable difference between the island and other private islands is that there is no free buffet lunch ashore. Ships dock rather than tender, so it's easy for cruisers to head back onboard for lunch.
6. Labadee, Royal Caribbean
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 might include snorkeling, filling up a plate or two at the all-you-can eat barbecue, zipping across the water on the 2,600-foot-long Dragon's Breath Flight Line or snoozing soundly in a beach chair.
7. Princess Cays, Princess Cruises
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.