Great Stirrup Cay: Norwegian’s Private Island Getaway

NCL's Great Stirrup Cay is a cruise private island

Just over a hundred miles off the coast of Florida, there is a private island in the Bahamas called Great Stirrup Cay. This tiny, inconspicuous island is owned and operated by Norwegian Cruise Line, and is a common stop on their voyages to the Caribbean and Bahamas. White-sand beaches, impeccable service, and beautiful skies are just a part of why this island is worth booking a cruise for. Afraid you are missing out on something? Read on to find out just how much you are!

Getting to Great Stirrup Cay

With its close proximity to Florida, there are no shortage of Caribbean cruise routes that stop at Great Stirrup Cay. It is usually either the first or last stop on the itinerary for these voyages, and you can usually expect to spend more time here than you will get at other ports. You will notice that there is no pier for the ship to dock at, so tender boats are required to get to shore. The ride to shore is quick, but you’ll still want to sign up for a tender ride as soon as you can so you can get to the beach as soon as the ship arrives. There is a lot to do, and you’ll want plenty of time to take it all in!

The Beaches of Great Stirrup Cay

Soft white-sand beaches and crystal clear waters are what await at Great Stirrup Cay, and they truly are the star of the show. The first beach you will see is just a short walk from where you disembark the tender boat, and this will be the most populated beach during your stay here. If you continue down the island a bit, you can find less crowded and quieter beaches. Some days, there will be more than one ship at port, but the island is big enough that you should be able to avoid the crowds if that is more your style. Beach chairs are provided at the island, so you’ll want to secure a choice spot as soon as you arrive.

Opportunities for Stunning Photography

It goes without saying that the pristine beaches, sparkling waters, and clear skies all conspire to make the perfect setting for some highly grammable photography. With the ship anchored out at sea, it’s the perfect time to get a family photo with the ship as your backdrop to commemorate the experience. There’s a rocky area to the right of the main beach for some more dynamic photos, while The Bacardi Bar also offers a great area for photos with the beach and the ship in the background. There’s a beautifully painted lighthouse on the East side of the island that you’ll want to grab a picture of, and there are also double swings around the island for a good couples photo. Our favorite spot is the swings over by Abaco Taco with the ship docked in the background. And if you aren’t too confident in your own photography skills, fear not! Norwegian also brings their photographers to the island, so you can get a nice professional looking photo to remember your time here.

Even More Dining Options

If the seemingly endless dining options on the ship aren’t enough for you, there are even more to try while you are on the island. The restaurants at a cruise private island are also included as they would be on the ship, and drink packages carry over as well. Jumbey Beach Grill, which is similar to the buffet on the ship, is the largest food venue on the island and offers items such as salads, burgers, hot dogs, chicken and more. Head over to the Bacardi Bar where you can grab a pina colada or check out Bertram’s Bar for a refreshing slush drink. If margaritas are more your style, there’s also a Patron bar right by the main beach. But our favorite spots to eat on the island are the food truck and the taco bar! Abaco Taco and Tropic Like it’s Hot are a little quieter because they aren’t in the main dining area, and they both offer something a little different to experience.

Exploration and Adventures

Another benefit of being on a cruise private island is that everything is there specifically for you to explore and experience. Get a birds-eye view of the beaches by jumping on the zipline and flying over the island. Rent snorkel gear from the snorkel center and check out the underwater snorkel garden where you’ll swim with tons of fish. You may even see some lobsters, shrimp or oysters. Excursions you can book on the island include some pretty wild stuff too. Get a jet ski tour of the island, or try for a stingray encounter. And of course you’ve got to go swimming with the pigs, a staple of any good Bahamian adventure and yet another unskippable photo opportunity!

Rest and Relax, the Great Stirrup Cay Way!

Relaxation is what you came for, and Great Stirrup Cay delivers just that. Rent yourself a cabana that overlooks the Silver Cove Lagoon’s overwater swings, the Silver Cove Restaurant and Bar, and the Moet Champagne Bar. Or rent a whole villa, so you and your whole group can unwind in style. The Mandara Spa also has a location on the island near Silver Cove, where you can treat yourself to a wide variety of offerings with the ocean view as your backdrop. The service you get at Silver Cove will be the same as on the ship, so lay back, grab a drink, and prepare to be pampered!


Can’t wait to see Great Stirrup Cay for yourself? Visit Cruises.com — we can help you book the smart way! We give you our exclusive bonus offers and all qualifying Norwegian Cruise Line offers, plus all of the Latitude Rewards Club loyalty program benefits. Book online at Cruises.com or call 800-288-6006 today.

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