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Harvest Caye (Photo:Norwegian Cruise Line)
Harvest Caye (Photo:Norwegian Cruise Line)
2019 Top-Rated Cruise Line Private Island Destinations
4.5 / 5.0
Cruise Critic Editor Rating

Dori Saltzman
Cruise Critic Senior Editor

Port of Harvest Caye

Harvest Caye is a 75-acre eco-friendly port in southern Belize comprising two adjoining islands in the Stann Creek and Toledo districts. The $50 million purpose-built island was developed by Belize Island Holdings, a subsidiary of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd., to be used by ships from the cruise company's three brands on Western Caribbean itineraries. It's a clean, easy-to-navigate and beautifully designed island with lots to do, as well as easy access to the mainland.

Harvest Caye offers much that will appeal to visitors featuring four bars, a four-segment zipline (including a thrilling Superman-style segment), a ropes course, exclusive beachfront villas and poolside cabanas, a 7-acre beach with 2,500 loungers, a nature center with three tours daily, a lagoon with kayaks and pedal boats, an outpost of Jimmy Buffett-affiliated LandShark Bar & Grill, a variety of ship-sponsored shore excursion options to the mainland and one of the largest pools we've ever seen.

Less chintzy and more focused on supporting the local economy than other private ports, Harvest Caye shows Norwegian's commitment to Belize by hosting native performances, displaying pieces by Belizean artists and offering space for local businesses to sell their wares in the island's shopping area. You'll find a handful of national brands like Del Sol, Cariloha and Harley Davidson as well, but all other shops, bars and restaurants (including LandShark Bar & Grill) are locally owned -- even the duty free store is owned by a local company. Most materials used in constructing the island -- decorative flora for landscaping and hardwoods used for building exteriors -- were also sourced from within the country.

The construction of Harvest Caye, which was nearly four years in the making, employed hundreds of local workers for the building phase and some 400 locals continue to work on the island in cruise passenger-facing jobs, while the behind-the-scenes supply chain employs hundreds more.

To be clear, Harvest Caye is not a private island in the same way that Great Stirrup Cay is (or Labadee for Royal Caribbean or Half Moon Cay for Holland America). Though owned by a subsidiary of Norwegian -- and so far only a port of call on the itineraries of ships operated by Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings' three brands -- Harvest Caye is a completely separate entity. All on-island venues are staffed by locals and all food and drinks have to be paid for in cash or with a credit card.

Activities (like the zipline, ropes course, kayak or pedal boat rentals) as well as beach or poolside cabanas or beach clamshells can be charged to your shipboard account. (All on-island activities -- but not cabanas -- are free of charge for passengers on Regent Seven Seas ships.) Norwegian-sponsored shore excursions can also be charged to your onboard account, either ahead of time on the ship, or at a tour desk on the island. Tickets for an independently operated ferry that goes back and forth from the island to the mainland can also be charged to your ship account, or paid for in cash. (Cruisers are welcome to book with third-party operators for excursions on the mainland, but they'll need to take the ferry to the mainland to meet their tours there.)

Shore Excursions

About Harvest Caye


Lots of on-island activities including a zipline with four elements, ropes course and a lagoon


Food isn't free; passengers must pay to eat at one of the restaurants ashore or go back to the ship

Bottom Line

Plenty to do on the island, including cultural activities, or grab an excursion/ferry to the mainland

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Good to Know

The sun and heat can be brutal in Belize, and there's not a lot of shade on Harvest Caye. Although small touches -- mist-blowing fans, shade canopies and even air conditioning -- have been added throughout the island to help with the heat, be sure to bring sunscreen, sunglasses, a hat and water (you won't find free water, not even water fountains anywhere) -- and seek respite indoors during the midday sun if you're prone to burning or overheating.

In addition, it's a decent trek from your docked ship down a long (but mercifully shaded) pier and through the shopping area to the beach -- farther still if you've rented a cabana. Factor in time for getting from place to place on foot, or wait for one of the golf cart shuttles to whisk you from ship to shore.

What Sets It Apart

The biggest difference between Harvest Caye and other purpose-built islands is its commitment to the local economy. It's more of a partnership between Belize Island Holdings and the government of Belize than strictly a business venture, which is why food costs extra and beverage packages do not carry over from ship to shore. The project also aims to give back to the community by volunteering, donating supplies and providing jobs to mainland residents, some of whom commute more than five hours round trip to work on the island.

Another one of Harvest Caye's notable attributes is that it's more wheelchair accessible than other private islands because it's not a tender port. Although the dock is long, shuttles are offered for those with mobility issues. A small fleet of special wheelchairs with large rubber tires is available for those wishing to spend time on the beach, as are lifts for getting into and out of the pool.

Currency & Best Way to Get Money

Cruisers visiting Harvest Caye on Norwegian ships can only charge activities and shore excursions to their onboard accounts. All food and drink must be paid for in cash or with a credit card; U.S. and Belizean dollars are both accepted. There are no ATMs on the island.


English is the primary language spoken in Belize, including on Harvest Caye.

Harvest Caye Awards

Cruisers’ Choice Destination Awards

2019 Top-Rated Cruise Line Private Island Destinations