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Cruises to Great Stirrup Cay

Great Stirrup Cay (Photo:Roman Stetsyk/Shutterstock)
Great Stirrup Cay (Photo:Roman Stetsyk/Shutterstock)

About Great Stirrup Cay

Perhaps the most famous occupant of Great Stirrup Cay -- located in the Bahamas' Berry Islands chain, 130 nautical miles due east of Fort Lauderdale -- was Captain Bertram of the British Navy. Native Americans, pirates and members of the Spanish and American armed forces have also inhabited the cay throughout its history.

Norwegian Cruise Line purchased the 250-acre island in 1977 and has invested in several significant updates throughout the years, including the introduction of a zipline and exclusive villa area in 2019. The sun, the food, the vibe (lots of rum cocktails are served) and the snorkeling make this a perfect day off the ship.

The ship anchors outside of port and uses tenders to transfer passengers to and from shore. The tender journey lasts approximately 10 minutes and once ashore, it's less than a two-minute walk from the dock to the information kiosk, where excursions can also be booked. Restrooms and beach wheelchairs are located nearby.

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DAY 1: Miami

4 Night
Cruise to Great Stirrup Cay

Leaving:
Miami
Visiting:
Freeport, Great Stirrup Cay ...
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Cruise Line:
Norwegian Cruise Line
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DAY 1: Miami

12 Night
Cruise to Great Stirrup Cay

Leaving:
Miami
Visiting:
Great Stirrup Cay, Cartagena ...
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Cruise Line:
Norwegian Cruise Line
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DAY 1: Miami

7 Night
Cruise to Great Stirrup Cay

Leaving:
Miami
Visiting:
Puerto Plata, St. Thomas ...
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Cruise Line:
Norwegian Cruise Line
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7 Night
Cruise to Great Stirrup Cay

Leaving:
Port Canaveral
Visiting:
Cozumel, Grand Cayman ...
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Cruise Line:
Norwegian Cruise Line
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5 Night
Cruise to Great Stirrup Cay

Leaving:
Tampa
Visiting:
Key West, Freeport ...
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Cruise Line:
Norwegian Cruise Line
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7 Night
Cruise to Great Stirrup Cay

Leaving:
Port Canaveral
Visiting:
Puerto Plata, St. Thomas ...
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Cruise Line:
Norwegian Cruise Line
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7 Night
Cruise to Great Stirrup Cay

Leaving:
New York
Visiting:
Port Canaveral, Great Stirrup Cay ...
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Cruise Line:
Norwegian Cruise Line
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9 Night
Cruise to Great Stirrup Cay

Leaving:
Miami
Visiting:
Grand Turk, Puerto Plata ...
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Cruise Line:
Norwegian Cruise Line
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10 Night
Cruise to Great Stirrup Cay

Leaving:
Port Canaveral
Visiting:
Aruba, Curacao ...
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Cruise Line:
Norwegian Cruise Line
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11 Night
Cruise to Great Stirrup Cay

Leaving:
New York
Visiting:
Puerto Plata, Aruba ...
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Cruise Line:
Norwegian Cruise Line
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10 Night
Cruise to Great Stirrup Cay

Leaving:
Port Canaveral
Visiting:
Curacao, Aruba ...
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Cruise Line:
Norwegian Cruise Line
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7 Night
Cruise to Great Stirrup Cay

Leaving:
Miami
Visiting:
Puerto Plata, St. Thomas ...
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Cruise Line:
Norwegian Cruise Line
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9 Night
Cruise to Great Stirrup Cay

Leaving:
Port Canaveral
Visiting:
Great Stirrup Cay, San Juan ...
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Cruise Line:
Norwegian Cruise Line
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Cruise Critic Favorite

24 Night
Cruise to Great Stirrup Cay

Leaving:
Miami
Visiting:
Puerto Plata, San Juan ...
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Cruise Line:
Regent Seven Seas Cruises
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7 Night
Cruise to Great Stirrup Cay

Leaving:
New York
Visiting:
Port Canaveral, Great Stirrup Cay ...
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Cruise Line:
Norwegian Cruise Line
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27 Night
Cruise to Great Stirrup Cay

Leaving:
Southampton
Visiting:
La Coruna, Porto ...
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Cruise Line:
Oceania Cruises
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5 Night
Cruise to Great Stirrup Cay

Leaving:
Port Canaveral
Visiting:
Key West, Great Stirrup Cay ...
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Cruise Line:
Norwegian Cruise Line
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4 Night
Cruise to Great Stirrup Cay

Leaving:
Port Canaveral
Visiting:
Nassau, Freeport ...
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Cruise Line:
Norwegian Cruise Line
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3 Night
Cruise to Great Stirrup Cay

Leaving:
Miami
Visiting:
Great Stirrup Cay, Nassau ...
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Cruise Line:
Norwegian Cruise Line
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Cruise Critic Favorite

10 Night
Cruise to Great Stirrup Cay

Leaving:
Miami
Visiting:
Cozumel, Roatan ...
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Cruise Line:
Oceania Cruises
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15 Night
Cruise to Great Stirrup Cay

Leaving:
Southampton
Visiting:
La Coruna, Porto ...
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Cruise Line:
Oceania Cruises
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4 Night
Cruise to Great Stirrup Cay

Leaving:
Miami
Visiting:
Nassau, Freeport ...
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Cruise Line:
Norwegian Cruise Line
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3 Night
Cruise to Great Stirrup Cay

Leaving:
Miami
Visiting:
Nassau, Great Stirrup Cay ...
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Cruise Line:
Norwegian Cruise Line
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7 Night
Cruise to Great Stirrup Cay

Leaving:
Miami
Visiting:
Puerto Plata, St. Thomas ...
see more
Cruise Line:
Norwegian Cruise Line
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10 Night
Cruise to Great Stirrup Cay

Leaving:
Port Canaveral
Visiting:
Puerto Plata, Aruba ...
see more
Cruise Line:
Norwegian Cruise Line
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Why go to Great Stirrup Cay?

Pros:

Norwegian's privately owned Bahamian island features an underwater snorkel garden, massive zipline, taco bar and upscale villas

Cons:

Having to share the island with thousands; no dedicated kids play areas

Bottom Line:

Its white-sand beaches and turquoise sea are heaven for a day of R&R in the sun

Good to Know?

There are plans to install lockers on the island, but for the moment it's best to leave valuables on the ship. A medical center is centrally located, not far from the buffet.

To avoid nasty cuts and scrapes underfoot, it's worth packing some water shoes in your luggage. Great Stirrup Cay is famed for its coral and while it's pretty to look at, if you go swimming or snorkeling, it's dangerous to stand on.

Your room key is needed to buy drinks and shore excursions during your stay on the island. However, the local straw market is cash only. If you'd like to shop, make sure to bring small denominations of Bahamian or U.S. dollars. Credit cards won't be accepted on the island and there are no ATMs.

What Sets It Apart?

With the addition of swanky Silver Cove and a lack of dedicated kids areas, Great Stirrup Cay is decidedly more teen- and adult-focused than private islands from other cruise lines. (It presents quite a contrast to the towering brightly colored water slides visible at Royal Caribbean's Perfect Day at CocoCay next door.) The overwater swings found throughout the island are clearly intended for playful adults taking selfies than frolicking children -- and bars are plentiful.

Amenities?

Rentals:

Beach loungers are available to all, but if you want shade, you can rent an umbrella or clam shell.

Snorkel gear, foam floats and stand-up paddle-boards are available to rent at the Rental Center, close to the tender piers. Towels are not available on the island; you must bring them from the ship.

Transportation:

Terrain is largely sandy, but a concrete boardwalk runs across most of the island. No shuttles are available unless you need have booked a villa at Silver Cove or a spa treatment at the Mandara Spa.

Kids Club:

There is no kids club area or babysitting on Great Stirrup Cay, but children will enjoy playing on the beach, making use of water toys and racing down the zipline. There are kid-friendly activities and shore excursions, but no water slides, kid pools or playgrounds.

Wedding Packages:

At this time, passengers cannot get married on Great Stirrup Cay.

Wi-Fi:

Wi-Fi is not available on Great Stirrup Cay.

Accessibility:

Passengers with mobility issues can be met at the tender dock with a beach wheelchair by request.


Great Stirrup Cay Cruise Reviews

Norwegian Sun
mariposa224
Sail Date: Sep 2019
We had an excursion scheduled, but due to an impending tropical storm, we did not get to go to Great Stirrup Cay.... Read More
Norwegian Sun
MisElainieous
Sail Date: Jun 2019
We actually did not do anything on Great Stirrup Cay, just rode the tender back and forth several times. We are older and have done the beach and sand scene enough. Although we talked to several and they did enjoy... Read More
Norwegian Dawn
cmiloz
Sail Date: May 2019
Love Stirrup Cay. Very clean and water is beautiful and clear. Plenty seating for everyone, they have food set up in pavilion and it was never crowded and the food was very good. Also, plenty picnic table style... Read More
Norwegian Sky
Djflores139
Sail Date: Apr 2019
Due to bad weather, we were unable to visit Stirrup Cay. We spent a day at sea which was still nice.... Read More
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