Woman on Cruise Private Island

10 Cruise Private Island Mistakes You’ll Regret Making

I must confess going to the cruise line’s private island is hands down my favorite part of a Caribbean cruise. I am one of those people who enjoy the private island cruise more than the other ports. However, there are some mistakes that can ruin your day on the private island. To avoid this, let’s take a look at some common mistakes you should steer clear of.

Mistakes to Avoid at the Cruise Private Island

1. Not Renting Umbrellas in Advance

It’s important to remember that when you’re on a cruise private island, one of the biggest mistakes you can make is not to rent umbrellas or lounge chair covers. Don’t assume that you can easily get an umbrella or clamshell cover on the island because sometimes they sell out. 

Although you can try to find free shade by moving your lounge chair under palm trees, there’s no guarantee that you’ll find shade. It’s important to remember that the Caribbean sun can be intense, and you don’t want to regret not having any shade at all. 

The last thing you want to do is waste time at the beach looking for shade. If you pre-book your umbrella, you can simply show up at the rental huts and pick up your reserved umbrella—it’s that easy!

Cruise Private Island Mistakes

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2. Not Realizing the Cruise Beverage Package is Not Included

It’s important for cruisers to check in advance what’s included in their beverage package before heading to the private island. Assuming that the drinks that you order at the private island are part of your drinks package can be a major mistake because sometimes they aren’t. 

Different cruise lines have different policies, which may vary depending on the island. For example, Norwegian Cruise Line’s Unlimited Open Bar Package and Premium Plus Beverage Package allow you to order drinks at their private island Great Stirrup Cay but not at Harvest Caye. So, do your research beforehand to avoid any confusion and unexpected expenses.

3. Missing the Private Island BBQ Lunch

Make sure not to miss out on the private island BBQ buffet lunch when you visit. It’s one of the best parts of the cruise private island experience and beats heading back to the ship for lunch any day. 

The open-air buffet usually features local dishes, BBQ items, and island music that will make you feel like you’re on a Caribbean vacation. It’s a more laid-back atmosphere that you definitely don’t want to miss.

4. Not Bringing Your Own Snorkel and Beach Toys

I always bring my own snorkeling gear and beach toys whenever I visit a cruise private island. It doesn’t make sense to spend money renting snorkeling equipment when I can easily bring my own. I also always bring a bag of beach toys for my kids. I like this sand toy set that comes with collapsible buckets to minimize luggage space.

5. Skipping the Private Island

Don’t make the mistake of skipping the cruise private island. Believe me, it’s one of the best stops on a Caribbean cruise! Sure you can avoid the crowd if you stay on the ship while everyone else goes to the private island, but you’ll be missing out on an amazing day at the beach. 

There’s so much to do from the white sand beach and snorkeling in the turquoise water to the BBQ buffet. Plus, every cruise line’s private island will have attractions like zip lines, water slides, and horseback riding on the beach that you won’t want to miss.

Cruise Private Island Mistakes

6. Settling for the First Lounge Chair Closest to the Ship

It can be tempting to grab the first available lounge chairs close to the ship and relax. However, that spot is likely to be the busiest and most crowded since many people coming off the ship will have the same idea. I suggest you take your time and explore a bit further before settling down. By doing so, you can find a more peaceful spot on the beach to relax and spend your day.

7. Not Reserving the Water Equipment

It’s important to plan ahead if you’re heading to a private island. If you have your heart set on kayaking, it’s a good idea to reserve your kayak in advance. 

These cruise private islands have a limited supply of kayaks, beach mats, snorkeling gear, and stand-up paddleboards, which can sell out quickly. To avoid disappointment, it’s best to book your equipment in advance. 

8. Not Book Shore Excursions

Many of these cruise line’s private islands have shore excursions that do sell out. If you want to do a particular shore excursion, make sure you book it in advance that way you reserve your spot and won’t be scrambling trying to find an available shore excursion at the last minute!

9. Not Bringing Water Shoes

A common mistake that people make when they go on the cruise line’s private island is they don’t bring water shoes. Trust me, you’ll be more comfortable in water shoes when you get in the water because it will protect your feet. 

Flip flops won’t work because they float so you’ll end up chasing after them half the time or worse, losing them. If you’re cruising with kids, it’s smart to bring water shoes to protect their little feet. You don’t want to have to buy water shoes at the island shops. Save your money and pack water shoes!  I personally don’t like the look of water shoes, so I always bring these water shoes that look like loafers!

10. Forgetting to Pack Essentials

It’s common for people to forget to pack essentials like sunblock, hat, sunglasses, etc. when going on a cruise private island. As a result, they either have to trek back to the ship or end up buying these things at the island shop. 

To avoid this hassle, I have a cruise private island packing list to help make sure I pack everything I need for the day. Below, I’m sharing my cruise private island beach bag packing list as a free printable so that you can make the most of your private island visit without worrying about forgetting something. Check it out!

Packing List for Cruise Private Island Beach bag

Free Cruise Private Island Bag Packing List

Sign up once and you will get access to ALL exclusive content on this website. After unlocking the printable, just save the printable image and then print it. Use it as a checklist to pack your cruise private island beach bag so you don’t forget anything! I hope you like it!

Packing List for Cruise Private Island Beach bag

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