The Crown Princess, of Princess Cruises, holds more than 3000 passengers on any given cruise. That sounds like a lot of people and you may wonder just how one can manage to find some peace, quiet, and privacy when going ashore.
Princess Cruises owns a private beach port in the Bahamas, Princess Cays. It offers activities, food, fun, a beach bungalow, and can be crowded in some areas, but don’t dispair if you’re looking for a hidden spot. My husband and I recently experienced this private area for cruise ship passengers and we explored the entire to bring back the best first-hand information for you.
The Hustle and Bustle
Passengers are transported to Princess Cays by tender. A tender is a small passenger vessel that sails back and forth between the cruise ship and the port stop. This is used in shallow waters or if there isn’t a large port for the ship to dock.
If you use a tender and want to be the first one on Princess Cays, then line up early. Otherwise, I would suggest waiting until those that are impatient to leave the ship for the day have been moved out of your way. Remember, you’re on a cruise vacation, a time for relaxing.
Once off the tender, passengers are shuffled to the left, where pictures with pirates, small shops, and music can be found. The activities desk is right in front of you, making your pre-booked shore excursion easy to find.
Tip: Book your shore excursions as far in advanced as possible. You can always change your mind later, but early bookers are assured their first choice of activity.
The beach bungalows can be reserved for up 6 passengers and are one of the first offerings that run out. The bungalows provide a private area for small groups to each lunch, get out of the sun, take a nap, or just for all around privacy. They are colorful and dotted along the pathway on the north side of Princess Cays.
Tip: If you are expecting your bungalow to be right at the beach, keep in mind a sidewalk divides the bungalows from the other passenger beach chairs.
Food and Drink
Lunch is included for every passenger of Princess Cruises with a Princess Cays port stop. It is served from 11:30 to 1:30 and includes such offerings as burgers, hot dogs, jerk meats, and plenty of sides.
Beach bars are dotted along the beach sidewalk and offer a variety of tropical drinks and buckets of beer. For an extra charge, visitors can purchase a souvenir monkey brain, which is a carved coconut shell with a tropical drink served inside. A cruise ship unlimited coca cola card is not valid at Princess Cays. Soft drinks are an extra charge.
Tip: The crowds are lined up and ready to eat as soon as the buffet line opens up. Wait until the first rush subsides and then the buffet is all yours!
Many people think cruises are just ships of people corralled like cattle from place to place. If you are like me, and you enjoy getting away from the crowds, then you’ll want to venture to the south side of Princess Cays past the basketball courts. There is an area of beach chairs on this undeveloped part of Princess Cays. My husband and I took a walk along the beach and only saw one other couple. It is also a great place to collect a few keepsake shells.
Tip: The south side bar, buffet area, and restrooms are also less crowded, meaning no lines for that next drink or bathroom break.
The two of us really enjoyed our romantic escape at Princess Cays. While families and groups enjoy this stop just as much as couples, we didn’t have our children on this visit. There is a supervised children’s play area, Pelican Perch, but we did not utilize this facility. I was pleasantly surprised that my expectation of a crowded beach was really a destination where anyone can find what they’re looking for in a beach visit to Princess Cays.
Special thanks to Princess Cruises for providing us the opportunity to experience Princess Cays for research purposes.