Cruisers visiting the private island destination of Princess Cays are likely arriving via Princess Cruises, though vessels from Carnival Cruises and Holland America will occasionally visit this Bahamian port of call as well.
Princess Cays, The Bahamas is located on the southern point of the island Eleuthera, just 70 miles east of Nassau. This Bahamian Island has a few small villages that appeal to curious travelers: Bannerman Town, Rock Sound and Tarpum Bay.
The latter two aren’t particularly close to the Princess Cays beach, nor is it easy to flag down taxis for hire, yet in years past some Cruise Critic members have reported purchasing a Princess Cruises excursion, "A Taste of Eleuthera," to see a bit beyond the immediate beach facilities.
More likely, cruise guests arriving at Princess Cays will look forward to private beach amenities ideal for relaxation or outdoor adventure. If you're looking for fun in the sun, Princess Cays weather patterns can be welcoming year-round.
Whether you arrive on a Princess or Holland America ship, or are having a Carnival Princess Cays adventure, here are the top five excursions and activities to try on this Bahamian Island.
The most popular Princess Cays shore excursion is the Stingray Beach Encounter, where passengers ages 15 and up can get in the water with stingrays to pet and feed them. The one-hour tour tends to be budget-friendly, has multiple departures to accommodate interested parties and leaves plenty of time to enjoy a beach day.
For a different approach to sightseeing on the Princess Cays island, book the Dune Buggy Adventure, where two people can board an off-road vehicle to explore Eleuthera. You'll drive through Bannerman Town, a historic -- and possibly haunted -- village that used to hold slave auctions during the 1700s.
On a buggy drive beyond Princess Cays Bahamas, you'll pass ruins of houses and the 18th-century Anglican Church of the Assumption. You'll also have some time to explore a private beach. Drivers must be 21 or older with a valid driver's license and passengers must be 10 years of age or older.
A glass-bottom boat ride is a great way to see marine life in Princess Cays without gearing up to snorkel or scuba dive. This tour is also a recommended option through Princess' partnership with the Discovery Channel.
The one-hour tour is kid- and adult-friendly, and an onboard guide will help you identify different species of fish and coral as you survey the underwater world through large glass windows. Morning departures mean you have the entire afternoon to get in the water yourself afterward or enjoy the above-sand world on Princess Cays.
A large portion of the "shore excursion" options on Princess Cays are actually equipment and toy rentals to enhance your beach day, and many passengers take advantage of these options to use throughout various swimming areas.
You can rent snorkeling equipment, pool noodles, mat-like floats, sea boards with transparent viewing panes and aqua chairs (semicircular inflatable tubes with mesh seats that keep your bottom half in the water and your top half out).
Or, if you're not keen on getting wet, rent beach chairs with shady clamshell coverings, so you can stay out of the unrelenting sun while you read or nap on the beach.
Limited in number, Princess Cays bungalows are so popular that they usually sell out before the cruise sets sail. All bungalows are air-conditioned cabanas that come with a table and chairs inside, two lounge chairs outside, two floats and an outdoor shower. An on-call attendant will bring you snacks, drinks and a "gourmet" lunch (i.e., not the main beach barbecue) on request (extra fees apply).
Choose from the main Princess Cays beach bungalows -- good for families -- or the Adults Sanctuary Bungalows in a private, 18-and-over area of the beach. All bungalows accommodate four, and two extra passengers can be added for an additional fee.
These are great options for folks who want to spend the entire day on the island but want a cool retreat to escape the heat of the sun or the crowds of the main beach.