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5 Private Islands for Cruise Passengers

  • Cruise Travel & Life/Alamy

    Beautiful Islands Reserved for Cruise Guests

    An island cruise: Think snorkeling, open-air massages, bountiful food and drink as you lounge on powdery white sand under swaying palms. But a port of call on a private island? There are, indeed, some islands available only to cruise passengers. No local culture but plenty to entertain you, including water parks, nature trails, bars, shopping areas and even trams to shuttle you around.

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  • Danita Delimont/Alamy

    Castaway Cay

    Disney Cruise Line purchased this 1,000-acre Bahamian island, part of the Abacos chain, in 1984, and it's become one of the line's top-rated ports of call. It's so perfectly configured for beach fun that you might think a dose of pixie dust was involved in its creation. There's an expansive beach for families, a separate one for teens and a quieter swath for adults. Splashy entertainment includes a floating play area called Pelican Plunge, which is decorated in faux flotsam and jetsam and equipped with water slides and water cannons.

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  • Cruise Travel & Life/Alamy

    Half Moon Cay

    Holland America Line maintains a two-mile crescent-shaped beach for its passengers on the line's Caribbean and Panama Canal sailings, as well as for passengers on Carnival Cruise Lines ships. Expect the normal beach and water activities. But here's what's special: The rest of the island, formerly known as Little San Salvador, is a bird sanctuary operated by the Bahamian National Trust. Nature lovers can hike, horseback ride or bike the network of bird-watching trails.

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  • Norman Wharton/Alamy

    Great Stirrup Cay

    Norwegian Cruise Line passengers can play Gilligan on the northernmost island in the Bahamian Berry chain. Norwegian purchased this former World War II military outpost in 1977. Once you're on the island you can nap on the beach in a hammock; get a massage; go snorkeling, kayaking or parasailing; or take an ecotour.

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  • Amy Cicconi/Alamy

    Coco Cay

    This private Bahamian island, formerly known as Little Stirrup Cay, is tiny at only 140 acres. But Royal Caribbean makes the most of the space. Activities include glass-bottom-boat rides and snorkeling around a replica of a Blackbeard ship. There are also nature trails to explore and a re-created Bahamian village in which to shop.

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  • Roberto Soncin Gerometta/Alamy

    Motu Mahana

    The most remote of the island cruises takes you to a gorgeous islet in the Society Islands of French Polynesia. Thanks to Paul Gauguin Cruises, you can play South Seas castaway in style — complete with strolling beach musicians and drinks served in coconuts. The sand is powdery white, and the snorkeling is fine. You can explore by kayak and drift up to a floating bar.

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  • Cruise Travel & Life/Alamy
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