Harvest Caye, a $50 million purpose-built island developed by Norwegian Cruise Line for its Western Caribbean itineraries, is a 75-acre eco-friendly port comprising two adjoining islands in the Stann Creek and Toledo districts of southern Belize.
Featuring four bars, a zipline, exclusive beachfront villas, a nature center, an outpost of Jimmy Buffett-affiliated LandShark Bar & Grill, a variety of ship-sponsored shore excursion options and one of the largest pools we've ever seen, Harvest Caye offers much that will appeal to visitors.
Less chintzy and more focused on supporting the local economy than other private islands, 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. 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 more than 400 will continue to work on the island in cruise passenger-facing jobs. On days when they aren't working, those employees will be paid to perform various community service projects on the Belizean mainland.
What's also interesting is that Norwegian has created a hybrid that's part port of call and part private island. For example, Norwegian plans to open the island to cruise lines outside the Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings family eventually, and a day on Harvest Caye isn't necessarily an extension of the onboard experience. Passengers will find locals manning the island, rather than ship crew, and most cruisers will have to pay for food and most activities. (Note that this does not apply to Regent passengers; everything is included in their cruise fares, with the exception of beach villas and pool cabanas, which are offered at a discounted rate.) On the other hand, visitors from Norwegian Cruise Line, Regent Seven Seas Cruises and Oceania Cruises -- all of which visit the island -- can still use their cruise keycards for purchases ashore, and the only shore excursions offered are those booked through a cruise line.
Regardless of how you choose to classify it, Harvest Caye is a clean, easy-to-navigate and beautifully designed island.