Changes May Be Coming to a Popular Cruise Line Private Island

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Norwegian Cruise Line recently sent out a survey to a select group of past passengers with questions that may indicate changes coming to the cruise line’s private island in the Bahamas, Great Stirrup Cay, or their private island in Belize, Harvest Caye.

The survey included options for both land and water activities, some of which are already offered and many of which would be new attractions visitors could greatly enjoy.

Norwegian Cruise Line Asking Guests About Private Islands

A recent survey sent to members of Norwegian Cruise Line’s “NCL Inner Circle” asked intriguing questions about what could be additions to the cruise line’s private island facilities, from activities to events to excursions.

“Which of the following activities would you be most interested in visiting/participating in on a private island owned by a cruise line?” the survey asked.

The questions included a list of more than 35 choices of land and water activities as well as events. Among the selections were new and interesting options not yet found on any cruise line private island, such as a Ferris wheel, casino, dune-buggy racing, go-kart track, and bumper cars.

Also on the list were some items very common on all private islands, including luxury villas, snorkeling, and swimming/lounging by the ocean.

Great Stirrup Cay Private Island
Great Stirrup Cay Private Island (Photo Credit: Just dance)

Other choices included horseback riding, shopping, a wildlife sanctuary, beach bikes, kayaking, swim-up bars, and a waterpark, as well as “swim” experiences with dolphins, stingrays, pigs, or sharks. Some cruise line private islands already include these features, while others do not.

Four events were listed in the survey: a fireworks show, an adults-only pool party, parades, and a more generic “shows” without further details about the type of show. Some cruise lines do offer live music, character appearances, or other entertainment on private islands, though this could mean more extensive shows such as local dance or music performances, speedboat shows, or other unique options.

Which Island?

The survey did not clarify whether or not Norwegian Cruise Line was seeking feedback for Great Stirrup Cay, its private island in the Bahamas, or for Harvest Caye, the private island the cruise line owns in Belize. Both destinations are popular with cruise guests, and it is conceivable that upgrades or enhancements may be coming to either island, or even both.

Norwegian Cruise Line could also be investigating options to develop another private destination in a different location to give cruise passengers an entirely new port of call to explore.

Several cruise lines are currently developing brand new destinations, such as Carnival Cruise Line’s upcoming Celebration Key near Freeport in the Bahamas, which is scheduled to open in July 2025. While Celebration Key is not a complete private island – it is on Grand Bahama Island – it will be an exclusive destination just for Carnival Cruise Line.

Harvest Caye, Belize
Harvest Caye, Belize (Photo Credit: Christina Calvo)

Disney Cruise Line is also developing a new Bahamas destination, Lookout Cay at Lighthouse Point, which is being built on Eleuthera, a lengthy island already popular for resorts and tourist visits. Disney Cruise Line’s new location will be an exclusive, private area for cruise guests. Lookout Cay at Lighthouse Point is scheduled to open in July 2024.

Royal Caribbean International is also developing a new private destination in the Bahamas, the Royal Beach Club that will be a 17-acre resort on Paradise Island, making it convenient for ships visiting Nassau. Few details have been revealed yet about the destination, which is planned to open in 2025.

Royal Caribbean is also enhancing its already wildly popular Perfect Day at CocoCay with the new adults-only area, Hideaway Beach, opening in January 2024.

Surveys as a Development Tool

It should be noted that Norwegian Cruise Line has not announced any official plans for changes or additions to its private island destinations. It is not unusual for cruise lines to use surveys to gauge interest in new marketing ideas or to judge feedback on existing options.

Often, such surveys may come to nothing if the feedback does not show a clear option for the cruise line to pursue, or if further investigation shows a lack of feasibility for an idea.

Even if an idea does receive overwhelming support from respondents, it may be years before new plans come to fruition as a new offering for cruise travelers to enjoy.

What fun, new activity or feature would you like to see on a cruise line private island? Share your ideas on the Cruise Hive boards!

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