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Our Ultimate Guide To Cruise Line Private Islands

Our Ultimate Guide To Cruise Line Private Islands

Imagine stepping off your cruise ship onto the soft sands of a secluded island, where the sun glistens on crystal-clear waters, and adventure awaits at every turn.

Welcome to the world of cruise line private islands, exclusive havens that offer guests unique experiences, unparalleled relaxation, and memories to last a lifetime. Whether you’re a beach-lover, adrenaline enthusiast or serenity-seeker, there’s a perfect cruise line private island for you.

If you’d love an experience like this for your next holiday and are wondering which cruise line has the best private island, we’ve got the details to help you decide.

In our guide below, you can discover what makes the best cruise line private islands so enticing and what you can expect when visiting one.

Which Cruise Lines Have Private Islands, And How Can I Visit Them?

Private islands owned by cruise lines are exclusive retreats, offering a unique escape into paradise. These islands not only enhance the cruise experience with their secluded beaches, bespoke activities, and personalised services but also allow you to immerse yourself in a day of relaxation or adventure in a safe environment.

Top cruise lines boasting private island resorts include Carnival Cruise Line, Norwegian Cruise Line, Disney Cruise Line, Princess Cruises, Royal Caribbean, and Virgin Voyages.

Visiting these islands is typically a seamless experience, with transfers often provided directly from the ship to the shore, allowing you to maximise your time in these idyllic settings.

Which Cruise Line Has The Best Private Island?

Choosing the best cruise line private island for you will depend on what makes your ideal day at shore, whether that’s relaxing on an idyllic beach, discovering some of the island’s unique underwater delights or experiencing the thrill of some of the best private island water parks in the world.

To help you find your favourite, we share what some of the top private islands owned by cruise lines offer below:

Carnival Cruise Line – Half Moon Cay

Half Moon Cay, Carnival Cruise Line’s private island in the Bahamas, is a slice of paradise known for its stunning crescent-shaped beach, crystal-clear waters, and exciting excursions.

For beach lovers, Half Moon Cay is undoubtedly one of the best cruise line private islands with ten miles of powder white sand. Sway gently in one of the hammocks, enjoy the shade under the clamshell sunshades or indulge in some next-level luxury by renting a cabana for the day.

Visited by Carnival Cruise Line and Holland America Line, Half Moon Cay is the largest of all the cruise line private islands. Therefore, when it comes to activities, there’s plenty to do. From horseback riding by the sea to snorkelling with vibrant marine life or discovering the picturesque nature trails, Half Moon Cay offers a perfect mix of relaxation and adventure.

Access to Carnival Cruise Line’s Half Moon Cay is by tender boat.

Norwegian Cruise Line – Great Stirrup Cay

Great Stirrup Cay, located in the Berry Islands in the Bahamas, is Norwegian Cruise Line’s private island sanctuary.

This piece of paradise offers guests white sandy beaches and immaculate, turquoise waters, just perfect for snorkelling. With a beautiful underwater sculpture garden to explore, there are plenty of opportunities for close encounters with turtles and iridescent tropical fish. Or, for something utterly unique, take a boat ride to meet the Swimming Pigs of Treasure Island!

If you prefer an adventure on land, you can find some of the island’s best views from its impressive zipline courses that take you flying up to 2,975 feet right over the water. Alternatively, for a more chilled-out day, check into Silver Cove, an exclusive private retreat, where luxury villas offer air-conditioning, on-demand movies and access to the upscale Silver Cove Buffet.

Access to Norwegian Cruise Line’s Great Stirrup Cay is by tender boat.

great stirrup cay

Disney Cruise Line – Castaway Cay

Castaway Cay is Disney Cruise Line’s private island in the Bahamas, where magic mingles with moments of bliss. This island is a family haven, offering activities for every age, from a fantastic children’s play area to serene adult-only beaches.

On the family beach, nearest to where the ship docks, children can have fun on the giant floating platforms, water slides, and spray cannons. At the Snorkelling Lagoon, you have the chance to swim with the fish while searching for Disney’s underwater hidden treasures.

Teens can hang out in their own adults-free hideaway, while in Serenity Bay, you can enjoy an adults-only relaxation area with open-air massages and speciality frozen drinks.

For Disney Cruise fans, look out for its brand-new cruise line private island, Lighthouse Point, which is due to open to visitors in summer 2024.

Access to Disney Cruise Line’s Castaway Cay is via the dock.


Princess Cruises – Princess Cays

Princess Cays, located on the island of Eleuthera in the Bahamas, is a private resort area offering over half a mile of pristine, sandy beach. Exclusive to Princess Cruises’ guests, the island features complimentary beach barbecues, a unique shopping bazaar and an observation tower offering breathtaking, panoramic views.

There are plenty of water sports for you to enjoy here, too, with the clear waters and coral reefs providing perfect snorkelling opportunities. Learn how to interact with the stingrays, zip across the water on a banana boat or try surf fishing off the rocky shore. Of course, simply relaxing on the beach and soaking up the glorious views under a beach umbrella is also an enticing way to spend the day.

Access to Princess Cruises’ Princess Cays is by tender boat.


Virgin Voyages – Bimini Beach Club

Virgin Voyages offers a chic and modern take on the private island experience with the Bimini Beach Club in the Bahamas. While more of an exclusive resort than a private island, the Bimini Beach Club is the place to go if you love relaxed, party vibes.

Exclusive to Virgin Voyages’ ‘Sailors’, the club features an oceanfront lagoon, cabanas, DJs, and bonfire parties, encapsulating the Virgin brand’s flair for creating unique and unforgettable experiences.

Wellbeing is also on the menu at Bimini Beach Club, with morning yoga and meditation sessions and food groves serving local specialities. Explore the island of Bimini, and you’ll also find opportunities for swimming with stingrays, scuba diving with shipwreck exploration, and cultural tours to discover the island’s rich history.

Access to Virgin Voyages’ Bimini Beach Club is by tender boat.

Royal Caribbean – Perfect Day at CocoCay

Perfect Day at CocoCay is Royal Caribbean’s answer to the ultimate private island experience, boasting thrill and chill adventure.

If you’re seeking the best private island water park, Perfect Day at CocoCay is unquestionably the place to go. The Thrill Waterpark is a fun-filled, adrenaline adventure for all, home to the tallest waterslide in North America, colourful obstacles in the Adventure Pool, and the biggest wave pool in the Caribbean. The excitement continues with helium balloon rides, taking you 450 feet above land and ziplining at speed across the park.

But it’s not all about the thrills, there is plenty for those looking to chill too: the adults-only Hideaway Beach, the Oasis Lagoon with the Caribbean’s largest freshwater pool and the delicious beach barbeque at Chill Grill. Often celebrated as the best cruise line private island, this island truly has something for everyone.

Royal Caribbean is also developing a new cruise line private island in Nassau, in the Bahamas. The opening was delayed, but it is reported to now be on track for launch in 2025.

Access to Royal Caribbean’s Perfect Day at CocoCay is via the dock.

Celebrity Cruises – A Luxury Retreat

While Celebrity Cruises does not own a private island in the traditional sense, it does offer exclusive experiences on CocoCay (in partnership with Royal Caribbean), along with unique shore excursions on various private islands and beaches, ensuring a captivating and luxurious day ashore.

Each of the private islands owned by cruise lines offers its unique flavour of escapism, yet they are all designed to elevate your cruise holiday into something extraordinary. From the adrenaline-fuelled thrills of water parks to the tranquil embrace of secluded beaches, we’re sure you’ll find your perfect piece of paradise with a private island experience tailored just for you.

If you have any questions about cruise line private islands, please get in touch with our cruise specialists.

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