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Cruises to Great Stirrup Cay

1,377 Reviews
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.

  • More about Great Stirrup Cay

  • Why go to Great Stirrup Cay?

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Norwegian Sky
Norwegian Sky

4 Night
Bahamas - ShortDetails

2,078 Reviews
Leaving:Miami
Cruise Line:Norwegian Cruise Line
Nov 27, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Norwegian Sky
Norwegian Sky

3 Night
Bahamas - ShortDetails

2,078 Reviews
Leaving:Miami
Cruise Line:Norwegian Cruise Line
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Norwegian Sky
Norwegian Sky

3 Night
Bahamas - ShortDetails

2,078 Reviews
Leaving:Miami
Cruise Line:Norwegian Cruise Line
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Norwegian Sky
Norwegian Sky

9 Night
Eastern Caribbean - MiamiDetails

2,078 Reviews
Leaving:Miami
Cruise Line:Norwegian Cruise Line
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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10 Night
Bermuda - New YorkDetails

3,107 Reviews
Leaving:New York
Cruise Line:Norwegian Cruise Line
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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8 Night
Bahamas & Florida From New YorkDetails

3,107 Reviews
Leaving:New York
Cruise Line:Norwegian Cruise Line
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8 Night
Bahamas & Florida From New YorkDetails

3,107 Reviews
Leaving:New York
Cruise Line:Norwegian Cruise Line
Mar 18, 2023
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12 Night
Repo - TransatlanticDetails

3,107 Reviews
Cruise Line:Norwegian Cruise Line
Jun 3, 2023
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9 Night
Eastern Caribbean - MiamiDetails

2,351 Reviews
Leaving:Miami
Cruise Line:Norwegian Cruise Line
Dec 9, 2023
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7 Night
Eastern Caribbean - Port CanaveralDetails

2,886 Reviews
Cruise Line:Norwegian Cruise Line
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7 Night
Eastern Caribbean - Port CanaveralDetails

2,886 Reviews
Cruise Line:Norwegian Cruise Line
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4 Night
Bahamas & Florida - TampaDetails

1,974 Reviews
Leaving:Tampa
Cruise Line:Norwegian Cruise Line
Jan 12, 2024
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Cruise Critic Favorite

9 Night
Eastern Caribbean - MiamiDetails

2,078 Reviews
Leaving:Miami
Cruise Line:Norwegian Cruise Line
May 17, 2023
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5 Night
Western Caribbean - Port CanaveralDetails

3,107 Reviews
Cruise Line:Norwegian Cruise Line
Apr 26, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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9 Night
Eastern Caribbean - Port CanaveralDetails

3,107 Reviews
Cruise Line:Norwegian Cruise Line
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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More about Great Stirrup Cay

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
Great Stirrup Cay (Saturday) – I first visited this island in 1987 on the Norwegian Caribbean Lines (now Norwegian Cruise Lines) Skyward, and remember the tender running up on the beach and lowering the ramp. It seeRead More
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Kamfish642
We really enjoyed the Great Stirrup Cay, NCLs Private Island. We had to tender to the dock, which took maybe 30 minutes to include waiting on the ship. We were the only ship so there was plenty of seating combing theRead More
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SpringsGuy
The tender process didn't make any sense, since we didn't have an excursion booked, had to go to a different part of the ship. They made us wait on the stairwell for the tender which I felt wasn't as safe as waiting Read More
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VeroBeachGirl
We had a great time relaxing at private island. Drinks were good food wasn’t. Weather was great and plenty to do if you wanted. Read More
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hairyinny

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