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Exploring the Benefits of Including a Private Destination in Your Cruise Itinerary

NCL, Norwegian Cruise Line, GSC, Great Stirrup Cay, The Bahamas, Private Island Experience
Great Stirrup Cay | Photo Credit: NCL

In the last 30 years in the cruise industry, we have seen the rise of the private destinations. From private islands, to private day-resorts, more and more cruise brands are opening exclusive spaces that are designed and built specifically for their cruise guests. These types of itinerary stops have grown in popularity in recent years, with cruise fans booking specific sailings based off of stops at these exclusive day-resorts.


While occasionally there are private ports such as Icy Strait Point in Alaska, and Harvest Cay in Belize; the majority of the private destinations are located in the Bahamas and the Caribbean- optimizing the incredible weather and relaxing beach-resort feel. The benefits of stopping for a day at one of these incredible private islands or day-resorts are huge, which is why they are such popular options for many guests. Here are a few of our favorite reasons why we prefer a private destination on our cruise itinerary.



Royal Caribbean, Perfect Day at CocoCay
Perfect Day at CocoCay | Photo Credit: Royal Caribbean
Fewer Crowds

Because you are getting off in a private destination, there are limited crowds to have to navigate. Many public ports accommodate several cruise ships at once, and in addition to the passengers for all those ships, there will be other tourists and locals in the area as well, contributing to more congestion, lines, and wait times. At the private destinations and islands, you will only find passengers from your ship and possibly one other, and not everyone gets off at the same time, or at all. These conditions allow for less traffic, and a more relaxing experience.



Royal Caribbean, Perfect Day at CocoCay
Perfect Day at CocoCay | Photo Credit: Royal Caribbean
Free Lounge Chairs

Something most people might not consider, but is actually a huge perk, especially at a beach-y destination, is the free lounge chairs. Many beaches around the world that may have loungers available to the public would charge a pretty penny by the hour or for day-use, and resorts that provide them are expensive just to get a day pass. Not only is the cost of the private island experience included in your cruise-fare, but once you get off, you can grab a lounge chair for no additional price, and enjoy a relaxing beach experience under the palm trees. Many private destinations offer first-come-first serve hammocks as well, another great free option for ultimate relaxation.


In addition to the free lounge chairs and hammocks, most private island destinations do have day-beds and cabanas for an additional cost, if you prefer an even more private and relaxing time.



NCL, Norwegian Cruise Line, GSC, Great Stirrup Cay
Great Stirrup Cay | Photo Credit: NCL
Easily Accessible

A major perk of the private island destination is the accessibility around the space. Larger islands and resorts will have shuttle services as well as walking trails to get around, and it is very easy to get from one area to another with minimal effort. At public ports and cities, you would have to worry about lines for taxis and ride services, paying to get from one place to another, and having to worry about traffic times. At a private destination all that worry is out the window, because everything you need is right there, you don't have to pay to get from one spot to another, and you will never miss you cruise ship departure because of traffic coming back from an excursion.



Royal Caribbean, Labadee
Labadee | Photo Credit: Royal Caribbean
Endless Nearby Activities

Another fantastic reason to choose a private island destination as part of your cruise vacation is the activities. While most come at an additional price, or are listed as an excursion, they are close by, and easy to navigate as soon as you disembark the ship. Many islands and destinations have snorkeling, wave-runners, and other water-based excursions at their beaches. Mountain coasters and zip-lines are not far off, with easy shuttle service for any activities that need it. There are amazing shore excursions to other nearby spots- a great example being swimming with the pigs in the Bahamas, which is always a popular experience. In these situations the boats to take you there head out right from the private island, and are operated by the cruise line, ensuring promptness so that you will always be back before your cruise ship departs.



NCL, Norwegian Cruise Line, Harvest Cay
Harvest Cay | Photo Credit: NCL
Included Dining

Another reason why a day on the private destination is a more affordable option than a city or other public port is the included dining. While there are almost always some up-charge dining options, the majority of food you will come across will be included with your cruise fare. You will find large buffets with all your favorite options open throughout the day so you can enjoy a meal whenever you like. Some islands have snack carts and soft-serve stations for those moments when you are craving a savory or sweet snack. Not having to shell out additional money for food throughout the day is a big plus, and because the destination is run by the cruise line, you know you will be getting the same delicious and quality food that you have been enjoying onboard.



Booking Your Cruise

Now that you are ready to book your cruise to a private island or private destination, reach out to the experts at Harr Travel. We know the port stops inside and out, and have an amazing relationship with many cruise lines in the industry. Our advisors will craft the fun-filled vacation of a lifetime for you, your friends, family, or group at an exceptional rate, and give you the Harr Travel signature service every step of the way.



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