Family Cruise Travel Planner, 2019 Edition

2019 Family Cruise Travel Planner

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Chapter VI- Private Islands Make Fabulous Memories for Families

Private butlers and other luxury amenities cater to those who want to be pampered, while plenty of island activities appeal to people on the go.

A recent visit to Half Moon Cay, Holland America Line’s private island in the Bahamas, illustrates the cruise travel industry’s ongoing effort to exceed the expectations of its guests. Air-conditioned, open-air beach cabanas are available just a few steps from warm, blue, pristine waters. Private butlers magically appear (for a small fee) from nowhere to fill one’s beverage glass; others prepare hot and chilled appetizers, as well as cool cucumbers to soothe guests’ eyes from the tropical sun.

Is this heaven? Not quite, but these breathtaking private islands are surely memorable for cruisers who want to enjoy total stress reduction.

Many Caribbean cruises include a stop at some of the Caribbean Sea’s most picturesque islands. Turquoise waters, stunning coral reefs, beautiful beaches, and native fauna and wildlife draw the awe of visitors. For the more active crowd, a variety of optional island exploration and water sports activities keep people busy all day long.

Beach umbrellas, cabanas, and other shady spots are available to those who want to step out of the sun. Beachside massages soothe the senses. Guests who want privacy are invited to visit many of the islands’ more isolated and secluded beaches. Families are more than welcome, with plenty to do for all ages, including aqua parks, hiking trails, and other kid-friendly activities. Many areas on the islands are handicap accessible.

Here’s a rundown of the private island ports of call by cruise line:

Costa Cruises Costa Cruises guests visit Catalina Island, off the coast of the Dominican Republic. It features activities such as volleyball, beach Olympics, snorkeling, and massages on the beach. Cruise passengers can also rent jet skis, go for banana-boat rides, or relax on a long beach edged with palm trees. Music and barbecues complete an idyllic day and, for the tourist-minded, visitors can purchase jewelry, beachwear, and other souvenirs.

Disney Cruise Line Disney’s Castaway Cay provides plenty of magic and fun for people of all ages. The three-mile-long island, of which only ten percent has been developed, provides plenty of opportunities for guests to enjoy its natural beauty. The island caters to guests in true Disney style. This is one of the only private islands featuring cruise ship docking capabilities (as opposed to shuttle boats between the ship and the island). This allows guests to come and go as they please. Attractions include the Castaway Family Beach, Serenity Bay (for adults), Teen Beach and Scuttle’s Cove (for kids), plus numerous water sports, snorkeling, and water tour excursions.

Holland America Line Holland America’s Half Moon Cay has been ranked “Best Private Island” by Porthole Cruise Magazine for 17 years running, and is located on Little San Salvador Island in the Bahamas. (The island must remain 98% undeveloped as an international bird sanctuary.) The Cay’s 700-acre lagoon allows guests to feed stingrays and enjoy various water sports, a children’s aqua park and a buoyed personal watercraft course. The new Lobster Shack will offer Caribbean dining and drinks. Other features include private beachside cabanas with private butler service, showers and misters and eco-tours by glass-bottom boat.

MSC Cruises MSC Cruises has developed Ocean Cay MSC Marnie Reserve. Located in the Bahamas, Ocean Cay offers 6 beaches, a lagoon, and a variety of aquatic sport activities. The Ocean Cay Yacht Club beach and facilities is for Yacht Club guests. Spa services are offered in sea view cabanas.

Norwegian Cruise Line Travelers set foot on Great Stirrup Cay, located 120 nautical miles east of Fort Lauderdale in the Berry Island chain of the Bahamas. There are two maintained beaches on the island, plus several other, more isolated ones. Visitors enjoy native animal and marine life at every turn. Water sports include snorkeling, paddle boats, sailboats, kayaks, and parasailing. Special cruise line “Olympic” competitions are frequently held on the island for guests. In 2017 Norwegian will offer a new lagoon retreat with a pristine beach, new dining options, beach villas, and a family beach area.

Norwegian Cruise Line also stops at Harvest Caye in Southern Belize. The 75-acre island features a pool, a water sports lagoon, a 7-acre beach with private cabanas, shopping, as well as activities such as zip lining and snorkeling.

Princess Cruise Line Princess Cays is located on the southern portion of Eleuthera Island in the Bahamas, featuring white sand beaches and turquoise waters great for snorkeling. Island activities include seaboards, aqua bikes, Hobie Cat and Sunfish sailboats, paddle wheelers, banana boats, and transparent-hull kayaks at the water sports pier. Enjoy a beach barbeque, at which a full staff of drink servers is ready with cocktails and soda. For those who just want to relax, there are plenty of beach umbrellas, tiki huts, and hammocks slung between shady trees.

Royal Caribbean and Celebrity Located in the middle of the Caribbean is the secluded 140-acre private island of Coco Cay, reserved exclusively for Royal Caribbean and Celebrity guests. The tropical paradise was recently updated with new aquatic facilities, nature trails, and numerous places to relax. A favorite attraction is the new 20,000-square-foot Caylana’s Castle Cove, a fun-filled floating aqua playground. Other popular activities include SeaTrek adventure wave runners, snorkeling, and parasailing 400 feet above Coco Cay. The sandy beach and coral reefs of Labadee, their second private island, are also wonderful places to relax and have fun. Activities include kayaking, snorkeling, parasailing, and bike riding. Become a pirate for a day, ride a waverunner, or just lie on the beach and relax.

Beginning in 2019 Royal Caribbean in will introduce many new offerings on Coco Cay. You’ll find the Thrill Waterpark featuring over 13 slides, including the 135-foot-tall Daredevil’s Peak, which will be the tallest waterslide in North America. Oasis Lagoon fresh water pool, 1,600-foot zip line, Up, Up and Away helium balloon ride, and 2 new beaches. Coco Beach Club will be an upscale option with overwater cabanas.

The lines’ second island getaway, Labadee, has seen recent enhancements, and now features seven different “neighborhoods” (Buccaneer’s Bay, Dragon’s Plaza, Labadee Town Square, Adrenaline Beach, Columbus Cove, Nellie’s Beach and the Barefoot Beach Club) that have individualized offerings. Play at the aqua park in Columbus Cove or lounge in one of 20 private cabanas at the Beach Club (an experience exclusive to guests residing in a Grand Suite or above).

Whether you are in the planning stages of life, expecting a baby, travelling with children or college students, or planning an event or family reunion, there are plenty of wonderful private island cruise options and choices. Enjoy!

Private butlers and other luxury amenities cater to those who want to be pampered, while plenty of island activities appeal to people on the go.

A recent visit to Half Moon Cay, Holland America Line’s private island in the Bahamas, illustrates the cruise travel industry’s ongoing effort to exceed the expectations of its guests. Air-conditioned, open-air beach cabanas are available just a few steps from warm, blue, pristine waters. Private butlers magically appear (for a small fee) from nowhere to fill one’s beverage glass; others prepare hot and chilled appetizers, as well as cool cucumbers to soothe guests’ eyes from the tropical sun.

Is this heaven? Not quite, but these breathtaking private islands are surely memorable for cruisers who want to enjoy total stress reduction.

Many Caribbean cruises include a stop at some of the Caribbean Sea’s most picturesque islands. Turquoise waters, stunning coral reefs, beautiful beaches, and native fauna and wildlife draw the awe of visitors. For the more active crowd, a variety of optional island exploration and water sports activities keep people busy all day long.

Beach umbrellas, cabanas, and other shady spots are available to those who want to step out of the sun. Beachside massages soothe the senses. Guests who want privacy are invited to visit many of the islands’ more isolated and secluded beaches. Families are more than welcome, with plenty to do for all ages, including aqua parks, hiking trails, and other kid-friendly activities. Many areas on the islands are handicap accessible.

Here’s a rundown of the private island ports of call by cruise line:

Costa Cruises Costa Cruises guests visit Catalina Island, off the coast of the Dominican Republic. It features activities such as volleyball, beach Olympics, snorkeling, and massages on the beach. Cruise passengers can also rent jet skis, go for banana-boat rides, or relax on a long beach edged with palm trees. Music and barbecues complete an idyllic day and, for the tourist-minded, visitors can purchase jewelry, beachwear, and other souvenirs.

Disney Cruise Line Disney’s Castaway Cay provides plenty of magic and fun for people of all ages. The three-mile-long island, of which only ten percent has been developed, provides plenty of opportunities for guests to enjoy its natural beauty. The island caters to guests in true Disney style. This is one of the only private islands featuring cruise ship docking capabilities (as opposed to shuttle boats between the ship and the island). This allows guests to come and go as they please. Attractions include the Castaway Family Beach, Serenity Bay (for adults), Teen Beach and Scuttle’s Cove (for kids), plus numerous water sports, snorkeling, and water tour excursions.

Holland America Line Holland America’s Half Moon Cay has been ranked “Best Private Island” by Porthole Cruise Magazine for 17 years running, and is located on Little San Salvador Island in the Bahamas. (The island must remain 98% undeveloped as an international bird sanctuary.) The Cay’s 700-acre lagoon allows guests to feed stingrays and enjoy various water sports, a children’s aqua park and a buoyed personal watercraft course. The new Lobster Shack will offer Caribbean dining and drinks. Other features include private beachside cabanas with private butler service, showers and misters and eco-tours by glass-bottom boat.

MSC Cruises MSC Cruises has developed Ocean Cay MSC Marnie Reserve. Located in the Bahamas, Ocean Cay offers 6 beaches, a lagoon, and a variety of aquatic sport activities. The Ocean Cay Yacht Club beach and facilities is for Yacht Club guests. Spa services are offered in sea view cabanas.

Norwegian Cruise Line Travelers set foot on Great Stirrup Cay, located 120 nautical miles east of Fort Lauderdale in the Berry Island chain of the Bahamas. There are two maintained beaches on the island, plus several other, more isolated ones. Visitors enjoy native animal and marine life at every turn. Water sports include snorkeling, paddle boats, sailboats, kayaks, and parasailing. Special cruise line “Olympic” competitions are frequently held on the island for guests. In 2017 Norwegian will offer a new lagoon retreat with a pristine beach, new dining options, beach villas, and a family beach area.

Norwegian Cruise Line also stops at Harvest Caye in Southern Belize. The 75-acre island features a pool, a water sports lagoon, a 7-acre beach with private cabanas, shopping, as well as activities such as zip lining and snorkeling.

Princess Cruise Line Princess Cays is located on the southern portion of Eleuthera Island in the Bahamas, featuring white sand beaches and turquoise waters great for snorkeling. Island activities include seaboards, aqua bikes, Hobie Cat and Sunfish sailboats, paddle wheelers, banana boats, and transparent-hull kayaks at the water sports pier. Enjoy a beach barbeque, at which a full staff of drink servers is ready with cocktails and soda. For those who just want to relax, there are plenty of beach umbrellas, tiki huts, and hammocks slung between shady trees.

Royal Caribbean and Celebrity Located in the middle of the Caribbean is the secluded 140-acre private island of Coco Cay, reserved exclusively for Royal Caribbean and Celebrity guests. The tropical paradise was recently updated with new aquatic facilities, nature trails, and numerous places to relax. A favorite attraction is the new 20,000-square-foot Caylana’s Castle Cove, a fun-filled floating aqua playground. Other popular activities include SeaTrek adventure wave runners, snorkeling, and parasailing 400 feet above Coco Cay. The sandy beach and coral reefs of Labadee, their second private island, are also wonderful places to relax and have fun. Activities include kayaking, snorkeling, parasailing, and bike riding. Become a pirate for a day, ride a waverunner, or just lie on the beach and relax.

Beginning in 2019 Royal Caribbean in will introduce many new offerings on Coco Cay. You’ll find the Thrill Waterpark featuring over 13 slides, including the 135-foot-tall Daredevil’s Peak, which will be the tallest waterslide in North America. Oasis Lagoon fresh water pool, 1,600-foot zip line, Up, Up and Away helium balloon ride, and 2 new beaches. Coco Beach Club will be an upscale option with overwater cabanas.

The lines’ second island getaway, Labadee, has seen recent enhancements, and now features seven different “neighborhoods” (Buccaneer’s Bay, Dragon’s Plaza, Labadee Town Square, Adrenaline Beach, Columbus Cove, Nellie’s Beach and the Barefoot Beach Club) that have individualized offerings. Play at the aqua park in Columbus Cove or lounge in one of 20 private cabanas at the Beach Club (an experience exclusive to guests residing in a Grand Suite or above).

Whether you are in the planning stages of life, expecting a baby, travelling with children or college students, or planning an event or family reunion, there are plenty of wonderful private island cruise options and choices. Enjoy!

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