Cruise Line Enhanced Private Islands
Most large cruise lines, offering cruises in the Caribbean, have one or more private beach areas or whole islands to cater to their cruise passengers. Is it an effort to keep passengers safely segregated from the perils of foreign travel or an effort to keep more of the profits from shore side visits for themselves?
Carnival Corporation has invested millions of dollars into private guest areas in Grand Turk Cruise Center (Turks and Caicos) and Mahogany Bay Cruise Center (Roatan Honduras); spending $62 million in Mahogany Bay alone. Cruisers may exit the Cruise Center areas and visit the island but some report being discouraged by high cost taxi’s at the Cruise Centers or by having to leave the Cruise Center grounds to hire a taxi.
Pros and Cons for private islands
The islands are owned by the cruise lines and are for the exclusive use of their guests during their visit. The islands are not crowded so each guest can relax in their own private slice of paradise. Whether you are there for adventure or relaxation, these private islands offer everything you need for a day in paradise, shimmering turquoise waters, glistening white sandy beaches, chair side delivery of the drink of the day, sports, snorkeling, jet skiing, zip lines, shopping at ‘authentic’ markets and food galore. On the private island the food is generally supplied by the cruise line and free to the passengers. The newer Cruise Center require a trip to Margaritaville, seaside bar or restaurant for food and drinks, which are not free.
Due to private islands’ exclusive nature, most cruisers do not feel the true Caribbean culture except the limited interactions permitted by the cruise line. Passengers are sheltered from many aspects of the island’s culture such as local cooking, language, and social activities. By not participating in such activities the passengers are not adding to the islands economy by purchasing food, beverages, tours and souvenirs’ from the locals. I think this is an important part of visiting other countries. Give back to the people of that island by eating in their restaurants and purchasing their goods.
On the other hand, being on a private island, cruise lines have the upper hand at security and cleanliness. Staff on the island is predominately from the ship, allowing only select locals to participate in the experience. The islands are swept clean of most litter and storm debris before passengers set foot off the ship.
All this being said; I love being pampered on the private islands but I also make a point to spend time with locals when visiting other ports of call. I have a meal at a local restaurant or stand; I try not to visit the gigantic chain restaurants or stores.
Safety is the most important factor when visiting any port of call, listen to that little voice in your head if it says danger, go elsewhere. Your number one priority is to stay safe w hen you travel. Check the US Governments website for travel safety updates Click here--->State Department Travel Warnings
The following cruise lines have private islands for their guests:
Castaway Cay, Bahamas - Disney Cruise Line
Half Moon Cay, Bahamas - Holland America Line
Great Stirrup Cay, Bahamas - Norwegian Cruise Line
Princess Cays, Bahamas - Princess Cruises
CocoCay, Bahamas - Royal Caribbean
Labadee, Hispaniola - Royal Caribbean
Cayo Levantado, Dominican Republic-MSC
Catalina Island, Dominican Republic-Costa Cruises
The following cruise lines have private areas for their guests:
Mahogany Bay Cruise Center, Roatan Honduras- Carnival Corporation
Grand Turk Cruise Center, Turks and Caicos-Carnival Corporation
Do you like private cruise destinations? We would like to hear from you!
Feel free to leave comments!
Start Planning Your Vacation Today!