Unless you’re one of those metaphysical nomads who travels solo searching for the meaning of life and writing poetry, you probably make your plans with one or more travel companions.
But there’s a problem with that – not everyone has the same idea of what makes a great vacation.
The good news is a fairly recent travel trend is gaining steam and it may help solve this dilemma by offering something for everyone.
Everyone’s dream vacation…
If you’re a typical overworked, underpaid, stressed-out, exhausted human being caught up in the modern-day rat race, this really is the vacation of your dreams
We’re talking about vacationing on a private island.
You probably think that will never happen – that it’s setting the bar too high for anyone who doesn’t happen to be a millionaire – but guess what? Some of the biggest companies in vacation travel are making this dream a reality.
All the major cruise lines have made it more and more affordable to take a vacation cruise.
There are multiple options to fit nearly every budget, and cruising has become one of the most popular ways to plan an all-inclusive trip.
Of course, one of the benefits of taking a cruise is that your room, meals, and transportation are all in one place – and you’re usually able to visit a touristy port of call along the way. Then you can say you’ve been somewhere.
Some people love cruises – but some people would rather be tarred and feathered than spend upwards of a week trapped on an enormous boat in the middle of a massive ocean with a throng of people and their trillions of germs.
Not today, Norovirus.
Taking a cruise doesn’t appeal to everyone. But spending the day on a private island? Count me in.
And so, the best of both worlds…
So you want to go on a cruise, but your spouse or BFF or the couple you hang out with aren’t really too keen on the idea.
They want to lay on a beach drinking Mai-Tais and stare off into the horizon while all the poor suckers on the cruise ships ease on by.
Major cruise liners have thought long and hard about this.
They know some people love just staying in one place where they can watch a tacky song and dance performance, go to the pool, gorge themselves at the all-you-can-eat buffet, and take a nap whenever they feel like it.
They know other people want to take advantage of the cool stuff the ship has to offer, but they’d also like to get out and do some sightseeing.
And they’d mostly like to do some sightseeing without a bunch of crowds, lines, and overpriced dining and shopping – unlike in a typical port city where your ship is docked at the same time as five other liners and thousands of people are getting out and all trying to do the same thing as you are.
Cruise lines have to stop somewhere on long voyages. They have to refuel, pick up supplies, switch out crew… there are a variety of reasons.
There are only a certain number of places that can accommodate these needs, along with being able to provide goods and services for thousands of visitors stuck there for the day.
And while cruise lines hope to offer an extraordinary experience to their guests, they can’t control whether or not they have a good time in the port city.
Four hours to wait for a table at a restaurant or to see a local attraction may not bode well for a passenger’s mood.
Control the environment and you control the people.
So these mega-cruise companies thought to themselves, “Let’s buy our own island. We can use it as a place to restock, make repairs, and provide a diversion for our guests.”
And – more importantly – it allows them to control every aspect of their guest’s stay instead of leaving their experience to chance in the back alleys of some port town.
Norwegian was among the first to do this way back in 1986 and found that it perfectly met the needs of the company and most travelers.
Now, multiple cruise lines have purchased their own islands – many in the Bahamas – and have converted them into their own mini island paradise, complete with all the conveniences of a small city.
There are banks and post offices, doctors and convenience stores. Umbrellas and hammocks and towels are provided. So are activities for the kids, spa services, and shows…
…Everything you could find on the ship with the added benefit of sun, surf, and sand.
Often, just like on the ship, all-you-can-eat buffets are included and the booze is flowing. But here, you get to do all that under the palm trees while the kids build sandcastles.
And since only one ship docks on the island at a time, the problem of crowds and lines and crime and disgruntled passengers significantly decreases.
The cruise line controls it all. They can continue to cater to their guests and ensure everyone has a good time.
Best of all for the cruise lines, passengers are spending their “port city” budget on activities and shopping on the company-owned island. Any money being spent off the ship is going right back into the cruise line’s pockets.
Pretty savvy if you ask me.
Most of the major cruise lines are reaping the benefits of owning private islands. Disney, Holland America, Princess, Royal Caribbean – and the pioneer, Norwegian – all own islands in the Bahamas.
And cruise-goers seem to be thrilled. Those who want to stay onboard and eat and nap and have some downtime will mostly have the ship to themselves. Others who want to eat and nap in the sun can spend the day on the island.
And go horseback riding, deep-sea fishing, kayaking and parasailing, enjoy live music and massages…
There’s something for everyone.
There are over 700 islands in the Bahamas Chain alone, so there’s no shortage of opportunity for cruise lines to make a private island stop for standard operating procedure on every cruise.
They’re doing their research, taking feedback from passengers, and coming up with innovative ideas every day to make the cruise/private island package as perfect as it can be.
So gather your travel companions and make your plans. Just say the words “private island” and they’ll agree to anything.