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More private ports for two cruise lines


If the trend continues, it may soon be possible to cruise the Caribbean with several port calls but no actual local ports as cruise lines create more and more private destinations for their customers. Disney and Royal Caribbean are each building their second destinations.

Both new projects are in the Bahamas, with Disney's on Eleuthera Island and RC's on Paradise Island, opposite Nassau. They will open in 2024 and 2025 respectively. Using private destinations may miss local culture, but it also misses crowds jammed into small port towns.

Disney is building Lighthouse Point, which was planned in 2019 but delayed by the pandemic. The company is developing a relatively small part of the acreage it controls, and is deeding part of it to the Bahamas government. Facilities will include waterplay areas, an adults-only beach, supervised kids clubs and rentable cabanas, as well as activities focused on the island's habitats. There will also be shore excursions run by local tour operators.

Disney also has a private island, Castaway Cay, about 140 miles from Lighthouse Point. Princess Cruises also has a 'private island,' Princess Cays, that is actually part of Eleuthera, but can only be reached by ship and doesn't allow passengers to explore other parts of the island. RC's original private island, Perfect Day at CocoCay is also in the Bahamas, and it has a private beach in Haiti.

RC's new project, dubbed the Royal Beach Club, will be at the western end of Paradise Island on a 17-acre site. It's a joint venture with the Bahamian government, which will retain 49% of the revenue, with local operators providing most of the activities.

The best part of every trip is realizing that it has upset your expectations

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