Take shelter from the Caribbean heat in your private, fully enclosed and air-conditioned bungalow during your day on Princess Cays. Owned by the Carnival Corporation (owner of Princess Cruises), Princess Cays is located on the Bahamian island of Eleuthera, with private adults-only and family-friendly beaches beckoning cruise passengers to spend the day soaking up the sun. There are two kinds of bungalows available on Princess Cays. Here's the lowdown to help you choose which one to book for your next cruise.
There are 25 private cabanas, called bungalows, on Princess Cays. Each one is a small hut-like structure in a different bright, tropical color, with a small deck, an umbrella for shade and an outdoor shower. There are 18 bungalows situated in the main section of the beach, and seven additional adults-only (age 18 and up) bungalows in a restricted Sanctuary area of the beach.
Though a private bungalow may be on the splurge list for your Princess or Carnival Cruise stop at Princess Cays, there are several benefits that make the reservation a worthwhile value for couples and families. For starters, you will receive priority tendering from your ship to shore, allowing you to make the most of your time on the beach before the island reaches peak crowds later in the day. If you need assistance getting to your bungalow, golf carts will transport passengers from the dock to your private retreat.
There are also servers who occasionally visit the bungalows offering drink service, though you are never far from a bar if you prefer to stretch your legs.
The standard bungalows on Princess Cays can accommodate groups of four comfortably, with reservations starting at $210. You can add an additional two people for an extra charge of $25.95 per person.
Each bungalow is equipped with four chairs, a small table and a ceiling fan inside the air-conditioned structure. The building functions as a good spot for dining or cooling off, and can be locked if you wish to leave your valuables inside while you explore the beach. There are two lounge chairs outside your bungalow on a private deck.
Your cabana comes stocked with a cooler full of soft drinks and water, as well as chips, salsa, guacamole and fresh fruit, plus towels, gear for snorkeling and two floatation rafts for relaxing in the ocean. The outdoor shower (essentially a small spigot at head -height) allows you to rinse off with fresh water after your ocean swim.
The main difference between the adults-only bungalows and the regular Princess Cays bungalows is their location in the Sanctuary, which is a roped-off area of the beach that is only accessible to passengers ages 18 and up. Your Sanctuary bungalow will additionally be equipped with water misters on the exterior of the cabana to help keep you cool.
Aside from that, they come with the same amenities and basic structure, albeit for a slightly higher price ($260) for up to four adults. An additional two people can be included for $25.95 per person.
The advantage of reserving a bungalow in the Sanctuary area is that your experience will be much quieter and more private than a bungalow on the main section of the beach.
Though you will receive soft drinks and water in your cooler, and a few snacks, if you wish to order any additional food or drinks, you'll pay extra. There is a gourmet picnic option available to bungalow guests if you wish to have a catered dining experience for an upcharge.
If not, there is a complimentary lunch buffet, and cabana guests are free to take plates of food back to their bungalow if they wish. If you have purchased an unlimited drink package on your ship, you can receive drinks through that program on Princess Cays. Drinks for non-package holders will be charged at normal menu prices.
Clamshell beach loungers and other beach equipment, such as aqua bikes and stand-up paddle- boards, will cost extra to reserve.
You can reserve your bungalow in advance of your cruise through your cruise line's booked-guest portal, just as you would make a typical shore excursion reservation. If there are cabanas still available after your sailing date, you can also book one onboard. Bungalow numbers are usually automatically assigned, but you can check with the shore excursions desk if you have a preferred bungalow to see if it's available.
If you are traveling with people under the age of 18 that wish to use your bungalow, you will have to reserve one in the main section of the beach. If you want easier beach access, booking a general bungalow here is your best bet.
Prior bungalow guests note that cabana numbers 7 to 14 are a bit more convenient to the beach than others -- and are ideal for snorkelers -- with a nearby bar and bathroom. The lower-numbered bungalows are closer to the crowds (1 through 7), while the higher numbered cabanas (16 to 18) are closer to the Sanctuary and its quieter beach. Note that the beaches on Princess Cays can be rockier than you might be used to, and it's worthwhile to bring water shoes to protect your feet.
In the Sanctuary, you are a bit farther from the beach, and your view of the ocean might be blocked by some of the thicker trees and plants there. If your goal is seclusion, however, this is an ideal choice.