PHOTO: Views like this are available to those who rent cabanas on cruise lines’ private islands. This is the view from Holland America Line’s two-story beach villas. (Courtesy of Holland America Line)
In your vacation dreams, are you curled up in a hammock overlooking clear turquoise waters and a powdery beach? Are you in a secluded spot, palm trees gently swaying overhead, far from the noisy crowds? Is there a butler refilling your glass and serving you fresh fruit?
Last month we outlined the luxurious private cabanas you can rent on cruise ships. Today, we take a look at similarly posh cabanas available on the private islands visited by many cruise ships. Renting a cabana costs extra, of course, but based on online reviews, it’s worth every penny to many cruisers.
The cabanas give beach-goers a place to leave their belongings and get out of the sun (or rain!). Some are air-conditioned, while others have ceiling fans. Most have comfortable furnishings, and some come with food and drink.
To reserve one, guests usually pre-book in the shore excursion section on cruise lines’ websites or through the guest services or concierge desk once onboard. Sometimes you can select the exact cabana you want.
It pays to read the details and the reviews of rental cabanas because they often include important information, such as how close they are to the beach, bathrooms and barbecue lunch buffet. Some are located in secluded areas and require a walk up a hill or steps — important considerations for those with mobility issues.
Here’s an overview of the cabanas available on cruise lines’ private islands and beach destinations.
Half Moon Cay
PHOTO: Holland America Line built two-story beach villas on Half Moon Cay. (Courtesy of Holland America Line)
This private Bahamian island, which was developed by Holland America Line and ranks as its passengers’ favorite port of call, offers a variety of private cabanas for rent. Although developed by Holland America, the island is also visited by ships from sister companies, including Carnival Cruise Lines.
Cabana rentals come with priority tender service, so renters can get there first and maximize their time on the island.
The private beachside cabana has a refrigerator, ceiling fan, air conditioner, table and chairs inside, and deck chairs and a misting shower on the private terrace. It also includes fresh fruit, vegetables with dip, and chips and salsa as well as soft drinks and bottled water. Floating mats and snorkel gear are also included for the day.
Holland America offers the private cabana rental for $299.95 per day for up to four guests. At Carnival, the price is $229.99.
Last year, Holland America added five two-story beach villas that are even more luxurious. These have private bathrooms, air conditioning, a five-person hot tub, a refrigerator, a ceiling fan, dining area with table and chairs inside, a misting shower and a private sun deck. The lounge chairs are padded. Like the other cabanas, the beach villas are set up with fresh fruit, vegetables and dip, chips and salsa and soft drinks and bottled water. They also have floating mats and snorkel gear.
Holland America’s price for the day is $549 for up to eight people; Carnival’s is $499.99 for up to eight people.
For a more luxe experience, guests who book a private cabana or beach villa can enhance the experience with the Butler Service Upgrade Package for $400 for up to eight guests. This package includes alcoholic beverages (house brand liquor, all beers, soft drinks, bottled water and wine) from the bars on Half Moon Cay, a picnic lunch and a butler escort from your cabin to help carry belongings and to book shore excursions on the island.
Larger groups might consider the Private Oasis, a 1,620-square-foot house set on a point, partially over water. It includes a large covered deck and a sun deck with an eight-person hot tub. Other features include an indoor teak dining table seating six, outdoor teak lounges and bar stools accommodating 12, a barbecue area, a full wet bar and refrigerator, massage table, iPod music system, men’s and women’s changing rooms, indoor and outdoor showers with heated fresh water, a 100-foot walkway with misting stations and a privacy gate. Last year, it got a slide from the cabana deck straight into the ocean!
The Private Oasis includes the services of a butler, personal chef, and lifeguard, as well as food and drink for up to 12 people. Fresh fruit, Danish, chips and salsa are served from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. while a barbecue lunch buffet is available from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. (Think salads, burgers, hot dogs, teriyaki-glazed mahi mahi, barbequed ribs and chicken, and brownies and cookies.)
The package includes soft drinks, bottled water, juices, domestic and imported beers, house wine by the glass, tropical cocktails, and alcohol-free mocktails from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Holland America charges $1,195 for up to 12 people for the Private Oasis, while Carnival’s price is $1,495.99.
The ultimate, though, is Holland America’s aptly named “Ultimate Oasis Package Upgrade” that costs $4,800 for up to 12 guests. This upgrade is available to those who have rented the Private Oasis.
And look at what it includes: Table setting with white linen, fine china, silverware and candles. A group photo and a celebration cake. A floating bar on a surfboard with unlimited Dom Perignon champagne and other drinks. A ultimate BBQ lunch menu with unlimited Russian caviar with iced vodka, jumbo chilled shrimp with seaweed salad, iced king crab legs, grilled lobster, beef tenderloin and more. Sounds like quite a celebration!
PHOTO: One of the secluded cabanas on Labadee, Royal Caribbean’s private beach destination. (Courtesy of Royal Caribbean International)
Royal Caribbean International’s private beach destination on Haiti has 20 cabanas available for rent at the Barefoot Beach Club, an exclusive area reserved for those who book top-level suites or reserve cabanas.
Each cabana can accommodate four or five guests. All are the same size with the same amenities, but they are in four locations and so are priced differently — four are overwater, two are waterfront, five are on a hilltop and nine are on the beach, surrounded by palm trees.
The cabanas have resort furniture and a ceiling fan, and are stocked with complimentary bottled water, two floating mats and snorkeling equipment. A cabana attendant can bring drinks from a beverage menu with the prices charged. Lunch in Barefoot Beach is described as an upgraded barbecue. Prices for a daylong rental are $225; it’s $250 for the overwater cabanas.
Great Stirrup Cay
PHOTO: Norwegian’s cabanas on Great Stirrup Cay are on a secluded beach. (Courtesy of Norwegian Cruise Line)
Norwegian Cruise Line’s 250-acre Bahamian island Great Stirrup Cay offers 10 private cabanas west of the island’s main beach. Each open-air cabana is furnished with a ceiling fan, mini-fridge, lounge chairs, tables, a cooler, beach towels and a shower. It also includes use of four floating mats.
Guests who reserve the Cabanas on the Cay will get priority tender service to the island and can ride a tram to the cabana, which is stocked with six complimentary bottles of water and a fruit basket. Cabana rental includes a $50 food and beverage credit, so guests can select from an exclusive menu or dine for free at the island’s barbecue lunch for all guests. Those who do the latter can use the credit to buy beverages.
The large cabanas are located on Cabana Beach, a secluded beach adjacent to the main beach area. Pricing starts at $249 for up to eight people. Smaller cabanas for up to six guests are located on Fiesta Beach with views of Bertram’s Cove and are priced from $199.
PHOTO: Colorful cabanas are available for rent on Princess Cays. (Courtesy of Princess Cruises)
This 40-acre private beach destination on the Bahamian island of Eleuthera features a half-mile white sand beach and air-conditioned bungalows for rent in a palm grove. Each bungalow features a ceiling fan, a table and four chairs inside, two sun loungers on the deck, a private shower and two complimentary float rentals. The beach is about a three-minute walk away. Included in the rental are priority tender tickets and a ride on a motorized cart to the bungalow. Once there, attendants can take drink orders or deliver a gourmet picnic lunch for an additional fee.
Rental prices start at $199 for up to four people. Or, cruisers can choose a bungalow in the adults-only Sanctuary at Princess Cays, an extension of the onboard experience. This is limited to those aged 18 and over and costs $249 for up to four people.
Grand Turk Cruise Center
PHOTO: Grand Turk Cruise Center has cabanas around the huge swimming pool. (Courtesy of Grand Turk Cruise Center)
On Carnival’s private cruise facility in the Turks & Caicos, passengers can book air-conditioned cabanas located in a grassy area next to the massive swimming pool and near Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville Restaurant and Bar. The cabana has an outdoor shower, private deck with sun loungers and servers who deliver food and drinks (at extra cost) from Margaritaville — they’re summoned through a push of the call button. Carnival charges from $129 for the day for up to four people. Sister company Princess charges $149.
PHOTO: A ride on a chair lift is included with cabana rentals at Mahogany Bay on Roatán Island, Honduras. (Courtesy of Mahogany Bay Cruise Center)
Another Carnival Corp.-built cruise facility, Mahogany Bay encompasses 20 beachfront acres on Roatán Island, Honduras. The facility includes air-conditioned cabanas that accommodate up to four people. Set on a semi-private beach area, the cabanas have two lounge chairs, a double-size hammock, four floats, an outdoor shower and waiter service. The price of renting the cabanas includes a five-minute ride to the beach on what is called the “Magical Flying Beach Chair” and is like a ski lift-type ride found in theme parks. Carnival’s price is $225.99 for up to four people. For Princess, the rental fee starts at $199.