Private islands - relax and enjoy time away from the busy life
By Ilona Kauremszky
There are cruise ships and then there are cruise ships with bonuses. The arrival of private islands either as a shore excursion or as some plum real estate acquired by a cruise company has upped the cruise caliber for discerning clients.
No lively locals ready to sell you stuff. No need to find a cab to whisk you to an island attraction, and no need to jump inside a bus for scheduled sightseeing tours.
Here are Five Perfect Private Islands designed to please:
Castaway Cay, Bahamas
Disney Cruise Line
Designed like a castaway community this exclusive port located near Great Abaco Island is home to the first private island in the cruise industry where the ship docks alongside so guests do not have to tender to land. Fun finds: a special post office with “Castaway Cay” stamps; parasailing and fishing charters with Marge’s Barges; and sand between your toes with beach sports like volleyball and soccer courts. This Disney island fun is reserved exclusively for the company’s Bahamian and Caribbean cruises.
Half Moon Cay, Bahamas
An award-winning private island voted “Best Private Island” for 17 consecutive years, Holland America purchased a never ending lease for the larger part of Little San Salvador in ’96 and renamed it after the sailing ship of Henry Hudson. Part of a nature reserve, see local birds amid the crystal clear waters. A favourite also with cruise passengers of its parent company Carnival Cruise Lines, activities include swimming, snorkelling, hiking, biking, horseback riding and a glass bottom boat cruise.
Great Stirrup Cay, Bahamas
Norwegian Cruise Line
It’s time to stir up some fun at Great Stirrup Cay. This Bahamian romp which recently completed a major makeover is located in the Berry Island chain. It’s great fun for everyone. Games on the beach, a new underwater sculpture garden for snorkelers or snag one of the 3,000 lounge chairs so you can relax to your heart’s desire.
Discover world-famous yachting destinations aboard the Crystal Esprit where luxury cruisers can take a bite out of luxury island living like nobody else can. Acquired by ‘the’ one and only, British billionaire Sir Richard Branson whose other secret luxe hideaway Necker Island is just two miles away, Crystal VIP guests can enjoy private excursions to this unspoiled British Virgin Island. A stunning recreation area features a pool, pool bar, beach house and dining pavilion. There are new salt ponds, home to young flamingos and a sanctuary for endangered ring-tailed lemurs.
Paul Gauguin Cruises
Welcome to Paradise Island. Off the coast of Taha’a in the Society Islands of French Polynesia lies this secluded slice of life where castaway dreams turn into reality. Think white-sand beaches, palm trees, a coral reef and lapping waves of the cerulian sea. Guests of Paul Gauguin Cruises enjoy a day of blissful island life and get to immerse in a Polynesian fantasy world like the ship’s namesake artist did centuries ago but with all the luxurious creature comforts.