Peter Greenberg is the
winning travel editor
for CBS News and host
of The Travel Detective
on public television
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cial oversize-tire wheelchairs for use on the sand.
Special tip: Be sure to grab one of the two-person hammocks on the beach.
Half Moon Cay, Bahamas. Book a horseback
ride that includes a dip in the sea. Much of this
island is a nature preserve and international bird
sanctuary, so bring your binoculars. The cay’s
;;;-acre lagoon allows guests to feed stingrays
and enjoy various water sports. Plus, there’s an
aqua park for the kids.
Special tip: You can get married in the nondenominational Bahamian church and throw a
reception—or just have a beach party for
friends—at the Private Oasis, an air-conditioned
pavilion with a hot tub, waterslide, showers, butler and personal chef.
Labadee, Haiti. Royal Caribbean leases this
self-contained hideaway from the Haitian gov-
ernment. The cruise line has worked hard to
maintain the beautiful beaches, which are sur-
rounded by lush mountains. In addition to water
sports and an aqua park with trampolines and
slides, there are two spectacular rides: The
;,;;;-foot-long Dragon’s Breath Flight Line zips
down the side of a mountain, while the Dragon’s
Tail Coaster races along at ;; miles an hour,
offering stunning glimpses of the ocean.
Special tip: Bring cash to purchase arts and
crafts from vendors approved by Royal Caribbean
and give a small boost to the Haitian economy.
Bartering is customary.
A personal tip: Remember, there’s no requirement to visit the private islands. No matter what
cruise line you choose, and as much fun as the
islands can be, if you stay onboard, the ship almost
becomes your private yacht. Enjoy an uncrowded
pool and your choice of lounge chairs. C
O W Treasure islands
Cruise lines and their private getaways
THE TREND of cruise lines stopping at their
own private island resort started in the late ;;;;s
and has heated up in recent years as cruise lines
have sought ways to differentiate the experiences they offer. These private spots offer a wide
variety of activities and special experiences.
Here are some of the top private island stops,
activities and experiences they offer, and tips for
getting the most out of your visit.
Norwegian Cruise Line
Great Stirrup Cay, Bahamas. Reggae and
calypso bands get you in the mood for palm trees
and barbecue at this former pirate hideout and
U.S. military base. Enjoy snorkeling, paddle-
boarding, kayaking and parasailing. Sign up for
a guided encounter with stingrays. A must for
families is the ;;-foot-high, ;;;-foot-long Hippo
Special tip: Pre-book for a beachside cabana.
Harvest Caye, Belize. This new tropical destination, though technically not an island, offers
private pristine white-sand beaches, a pool for
kids, a zip line and a shopping village featuring
local arts and crafts. Visit the nature center,
which offers a butterfly garden, reptiles and birds.
Paddle through the lagoon amid the mangroves.
Post a letter at the British-style red postal box, an
homage to Belize’s history as British Honduras.
Special tip: Sign up to visit Mayan ruins.
Castaway Cay, Bahamas. The names here say
it all: They include Castaway Family Beach,
Serenity Bay (adults only) and the Teen Hideout
(teens). There are supervised programs for chil-
dren at Scuttle’s Cove, though the whole island is
for children, big and small. And yes, the tradi-
tional Disney touches abound—Disney charac-
ters greet guests.
A snorkel trail is dotted with sunken treasures, such as a replica of the submarine from the
classic ;;,;;; Leagues Under the Sea and a
statue of a famous mouse. Traveling with a little
princess? Stop by Olaf’s Summertime Freeze, a
nonalcoholic-drink stand, for a “Let It Go.”
Strollers and wagons are available, including spe-
Costco Travel offers cruises
on the cruise lines mentioned
in this article, as well as others.
To learn more, or to book a
cruise, click “Travel” at Costco.
com or call 1-877-849-2730.
Costco Executive members
can now earn a 2% Reward
when they book hotels, vacation packages, cruises and
rental cars through Costco
Travel. Using the Costco Anywhere Visa Card by Citi adds
another 3% cash-back reward.
Photo at top: Princess Cays, located in the Bahamas,
is the private port belonging to Princess Cruise Line;
it features water activities, land sports, shopping,
and casual and ;ne dining opportunities.