Best Exclusive Excursions

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Disney Cruise Line

There are beautiful islands all over the world, but some of the most exclusive are only accessible by a select group. We're talking fantasy islands serving up fun-in-the-sun, with snorkeling in clear turquoise blue seas, lounging on white sand, dancing to calypso bands while bartenders serve up icy rum drinks, and even unwinding with open-air massages. The catch: it's all for cruise passengers only.
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Best Exclusive Excursions

There are beautiful islands all over the world, but some of the most exclusive are only accessible by a select group. We're talking fantasy islands serving up fun-in-the-sun, with snorkeling in clear turquoise blue seas, lounging on white sand, dancing to calypso bands while bartenders serve up icy rum drinks, and even unwinding with open-air massages. The catch: it's all for cruise passengers only (with the cruise lines investing millions to assure you a fine beach experience). No wonder daylong stops at these little slices of heaven are some of the highest rated ports of call. Several of the islands are in the Bahamas, which overflows with 700 islands and 2400 cays, while others reside elsewhere in the Caribbean. But even in exotic Tahiti there's an islet reserved for just you and your fellow cruisers.

Best Exclusive Excursions

Holland America developed a small stretch of this Bahamas Island, formerly known as little San Salvador, in 1997. But the rest of the island is still a wild bird sanctuary operated by the Bahamian National Trust. And that's what really sets this place apart-nature. In addition to water sports, hammock lounging, and shopping at the straw market, you can hit the network of hiking trails and spot birds including terns, shearwaters, and Bahamian pintails. Don't want to walk? Head off on horseback or bike. Other fun activities include getting cozy with stingrays on the Stingray Adventure, or, for the more timid, glass-bottom boat tours to see marine life.
www.hollandamerica.com
www.carnival.com

Best Exclusive Excursions

Royal Caribbean's private beach retreat, Labadee, is on the north coast of Haiti, about 60 miles from Port-au-Prince. The peninsula is so secluded from the devastation of the earthquake in January that it was up and running after just three days (the cruise line took some flak, but Haitian officials actually asked them to keep operating as a source of employment). The 260-acre island has five beautiful beaches, nine bars, restaurants, and a shopping zone. Coral reefs can be explored by snorkeling offshore and there's an Aqua Park with a water trampoline and slides. The real adventure is getting high with parasailing, whizzing away on Waverunners, taking a plunge on the new rollercoaster, or riding the 2,600-foot zipline over the sea.
www.royalcaribbean.com
www.celebritycruises.com

Best Exclusive Excursions

Grand Turk may be the capital island of Turks and Caicos, but, no, Carnival did not buy the whole thing. Thanks to a $5 million project, cruise passengers have exclusive access to an 800-foot beach at the newly opened Grand Turk Cruise Center. Enjoy a beach-side massage or snorkel at Reef Balls, where 18th century cannons and anchors are submerged. Shore excursions like horseback riding let you explore the rest of the island as well.
www.carnival.com

Best Exclusive Excursions

NCL became the first cruise line to have its own private island paradise for passengers back in 1977. The small island is part of the Bahamas chain known as the Berry Islands and had previously been a military outpost and a pirate haven. There's a lighthouse that dates back to 1863, but the focus today is clearly fun-in-the-sun. Dance to Calypso beats, indulge at the beach BBQ, rent a boogie board, or snorkel to see the starfish and other marine life in the surrounding coral reef. And don't miss a zoom down the world's largest inflatable slide, or the opportunity to grab a hammock and just relax. Another piña colada, please!
www.ncl.com

Best Exclusive Excursions

This private Bahamian island, formerly known as Little Stirrup Cay (it's a little sister to NCL's Great Stirrup Cay), is only 140 acres and a totally secluded tropical paradise. It's more low-key than Royal Caribbean's Labadee, but thanks to a recent $20 million update there are plenty of fun-filled activities, including an Aqua Park with floating climbing walls and trampoline. and a giant inflatable waterslide. A separate area also provides a playground for tykes. You can snorkel to see colorful fish and wrecks (including a replica of Blackbeard's flagship), explore nature trails, or chill on one of three sandy beaches.
www.royalcaribbean.com
www.celebritycruises.com

Best Exclusive Excursions

As if cruising through the exotic South Seas islands is not amazing enough, Motu Mahana provides passengers with an unbelievable, isolated paradise. When you are on this islet off Tahiti you'll feel like a castaway, albeit with a luxury bent. The tiny isle has quiet beach stretches perfect for a picnic for two (there's also a lavish beach BBQ in the main beach area). Or head to the open-air massage huts for relaxing treatments. You can also get active by water skiing, kayaking, or wind surfing from the water sports platform of your ship, anchored just offshore.
www.pgcruises.com

Best Exclusive Excursions

This 40-acre span on the southwest coast of the Bahamas out-island of Eleuthera has been a private day resort for Princess since 1992. Tender into the Love Boat Marina and head off to explore the shores in kayaks, or relax on the white sand beach. The water is shallow for about 100 feet and is a great place to wade and beach comb. Certified divers can also explore a section of the world-class Eleuthera wall. And don't worry about the kids-they'll be off climbing in the fortress or searching for buried treasure.
www.princess.com

Best Exclusive Excursions

Roatan is part of the Bay Islands that are less than 40 miles off the north coast of Honduras and serve up plenty of white sand beaches and crystal blue seas. The line's $62 million Mahogany Bay Cruise Center has a six-minute chair lift (similar to a ski lift), bringing passengers up and over the sea to the private island with a beautiful 825-foot stretch known as Mahogany Beach. When you get there you'll find beach volleyball and water sports, as well as eight cabanas you can rent for even more private beach access. The cruise center is filled with shops and restaurants and you can also book an excursion to go swimming with dolphins.
www.carnival.com

Best Exclusive Excursions

The Dominican Republic is a must-visit for its beautiful beaches and first-class golf courses, but not everyone gets to spend time on Catalina Island. That pleasure is reserved for passengers aboard a Costa Cruise. The Italian line has a long-term deal with the D.R. government to rent the small island, visited by Christopher Columbus in 1492, and the line has spent millions creating an idyllic private resort. There are quiet beach areas including one for topless sunbathing (Costa does attract an international cruise crowd, after all). Other activities include meringue dancing, exploring the breathtaking barrier reef, and visiting the nature reserve.
www.costacruise.com

Best Exclusive Excursions

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