As more of the big-name cruise lines arrange private island access for their Caribbean sailing guests, you might be wondering what the big draw is. After all, many of the cruises already visit ports of call where beach excursions are offered. So why book a cruise where the itinerary includes a private island day? Access, amenities, and convenience.
Ease of Access
Cruise ships that make a port of call at a private island typically dock at a dedicated pier adjacent to the recreation areas. This makes getting to the beach, small shops, picnic areas, and other island activity spots fast and easy. There are no worries about language barriers and no getting lost. Passengers with mobility issues or who don’t otherwise feel comfortable with third-party excursions at other ports of call may find these private islands easier to access and enjoy. There are no busy intersections full of cars or crowds to navigate, rarely any stairs, and hardly ever uneven surfaces like cobblestones to struggle over with a stroller, walker or wheelchair.
Quality of the Amenities
When a cruise ship company has control over what goes on at its island, it can provide a level of quality and service that guests expect. Beach areas, cabanas, and rest room facilities are organized and clean, picnic areas serve buffet-style lunch that’s of comparable quality to on-board meals, and activities like bicycle rentals and zip lining are often operated by cruise line staff. There’s a carefree quality to spending the day on one of these islands, where passengers may have a higher level of trust in the operation and oversight of activities.
A day trip to a private island typically includes lunch, often served with local flavor and style. Passengers can enjoy a beach day without having to worry about finding a good place to eat or wandering off the beaten path and missing their on-board time. Day trips like this also make it enjoyable for families with young kids and others who might need to return to the ship quickly and often, such as for diaper changes, naps or scheduled medications. For elderly or other passengers who might not be able to bear the Caribbean sun, heat or humidity for extended lengths of time, a private island stay gives them a true Caribbean experience and still allows them to get back to the air conditioned ship quickly when needed.
A private island caters to one cruise line at a time, in most cases. Passengers have the run of the island to themselves, and often discover the shoreline less crowded than at some other beach excursions at popular ports of call. In essence, a cruise line’s private island is an extension of the ship, and that familiarity and comfort often provides a high level of satisfaction for passengers.