CASTAWAY CAY OVERVIEW
Castaway Cay is Disney’s private island in the Bahamas and is always a highlight of their Caribbean cruises.
If you’re expecting a Mickey-shaped island with black, red, and gold umbrellas, guess again. While this is the tropics a’la Disney, its serene setting is the perfect accompaniment to your cruise.
The first thing that you’ll notice is that Castaway Cay has its very own dock. No tendering to this island – you step off the ship and you’re there.
The next thing you notice is a pristine beach lined with colorful umbrellas. Each umbrella is the centerpiece for two adjustable lounge chairs and two beach chairs. There are a few hammocks scattered about for your use as well.
What you’re looking at is the Family Beach which all are welcome to use. For guests 18 and over, Serenity Bay is the Adult Beach and there’s also a Teen Beach.
As you step off the ship, a friendly crew member hands you two towels. From there you can walk to the beach or you can head to the Tram Station. Here you’ll be transported to the Family/Teen Beach. For guests wanting to visit Serenity Bay Adult Beach, there’s a second tram that will take you there.
Not only is the water crystal clear, it’s comfortably warm for most of the year and since it’s sheltered, the tide comes and goes with barely a ripple.
What’s the Caribbean without snorkeling? There’s a trail dedicated for this purpose that you’re welcome to explore. Another popular tropical venue is the Stingray Adventure where you can book an excursion and interact with these fascinating sea creatures.
There’s something about sunshine and salt water that makes everyone hungry. Listen for the announcement that Cookie’s and Cookies Too are both open and serving lunch. (This is included in your cruise fare.) There will be an array of seasonal fresh fruit and barbecue favorites including hamburgers, chicken, hot dogs, and the best potato salad you’ve ever tasted.
RELATED: What’s for Lunch on Disney’s Castaway Cay?
If you’re still hungry, soft serve ice cream is the perfect beach dessert. There are covered pavilions with row upon row of picnic tables for you to dine at. (Serenity Bay has its own buffet so you don’t need to traipse back from there.)
Keep your Key to the World card handy if you want to order those fantastic tropical drinks. The signature Castaway Cay Konk Kooler is a favorite of Disney Cruise Line devotees.
White sand beaches, turquoise water, sherbert-colored umbrellas, music in the air, lush vegetation, can this be Disney? Why yes, look there’s a couple of stores called She Sells Sea Shells and Everything Else and Buy the Sea Shore. Exclusive Castaway Cay merchandise is sold here as well as any essentials you may have forgotten (sunscreen, hats, sunglasses, etc.) There are also stores that sell Bahamian handicrafts but be forewarned, the prices are much higher here than if you make your purchases at the other ports.
There’s a real working Post Office if you want to mail the “I’m here and you’re not” postcards back home. This is Bahama-run and gives new meaning to “island time.” You’ll be back from your trip well before the postcard ever arrives.
Here’s a tip: The Post Office requires cash, that green and silver stuff that you stashed in your room safe and forgot about since you got onboard. Do yourself (and the people standing behind you) a favor and either have change or small bills. They’re not equipped to break a steady stream of large denomination bills.
Hair braiding can be scheduled while at Castaway Cay. While it is popular, I’ve seen more than a few tears when the little girls find out it requires a lot of tugging and pulling of their hair.
Adults can book the ultimate in pampering. Over at Serenity Bay, there are open-air massage cabanas. Just head to the Vista Spa onboard the ship and schedule yours.
There are a ton of excursions to choose from. You can go on a guided jet ski tour, a Banana Boat Ride, rent bikes, parasail, etc. Just about everything you can expect to do at a beach destination is offered.
If you’re reluctant to spend a full day in the sun, Groupers Pavilion is a sheltered area where you can play foosball, ping pong (and I promise, unlike the table on the ship, this one doesn’t move just as you’re about to make your game-winning serve), basketball, golf wiffleball, monster chess, and checkers.
Throughout the day you may spot a few of your favorite Disney characters making appearances. Keep your camera handy as you’ll also want to take some spectacular pictures of your ship.
There’s only one downside to Castaway Cay; you have to get back on the ship!!! This idyllic day always seems to fly by. This is the type of experience that you wish you could bottle and open again, especially when you’re shoveling snow.
The weather is usually picture perfect. Here’s hoping for blue skies during your visit to Disney’s island paradise!
CASTAWAY CAY FAQS
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CASTAWAY CAY ACTIVITIES
Castaway Cay 5K
The Castaway Cay 5K is a great activity for folks who enjoy a more active start to their morning on this private island in The Bahamas. There is currently no official sign-up or start time for the race; you can complete it at your leisure any time during your time at Castaway Cay. The route is the same as it has always been; guest services can draw you a map if you need one. When you get back on the ship, stop by Guest Services for your finisher medallion.
Image: Elaine Edwards
Scuttles Cove (Kids & Teens)
Children’s Program Area – If you want your kids to take part in the kids’ programs on Castaway Cay day, you will check them into the program right at Scuttle’s Cove. (The program counselors have laptop computers with the check-in information). This area is located AWAY from the water and the counselors will not take the children near the water.
The fun, sandy play area features Monstro Point, a “whale dig” site complete with jumbo-sized whale bones. Several activities for the different kids’ age groups are planned throughout the day here. The programming closes down at 3:30 so the counselors can move from the island to the ship.
Teen Beach (Kids & Teens)
The Teen Beach includes Goofy’s Sand Lot with tetherball and sand volleyball courts. Special teen activities also take place here. For teens looking for a little more adventure, Wild Side is a Castaway Cay excursion just for them, featuring kayaking, cycling, snorkeling and exploration of the island. Sign up for this excursion in advance, at the Shore Excursion Desk.
Castaway Family Beach
Fun for the whole family, this beach features lounge chairs, beach umbrellas, sand chairs, and even a few hammocks. Go early for the best selection.
Pelican Plunge at Castaway Cay is within swimming distance of the shore. The attraction features a 2,400-square-foot floating platform with 2 water slides – one is an enclosed corkscrew slide and the other is a 140-foot-long open slide into the ocean. The platform also includes a giant bucket that dumps hundreds of gallons of water on guests, as well as four water cannons to shoot targets placed in the water.
You’ll also want to check out a 2,400-square-foot play area called Spring-a-Leak. This water playground is made to look like it was hit by a storm, with leaking pipes and broken plumbing squirting water all over the guests. One of the focal points of the area is a splash pad with water jets to squirt and spray the guests. This area is partially shaded with broken parts of the structure, so it’s a great place for the kids to play!
The Snorkeling Lagoon is located here, and features a snorkeling path to follow to see tropical fish and special buried hidden treasure. Snorkeling is best early in the day, before the sand has been kicked up by all the swimmers.
Your inclusive lunch is served at Cookie’s Bar-B-Q and features a buffet with ribs, chicken, hamburgers, salads, corn on the cob, fresh fruit, soft-serve ice cream, and other picnic-style fare.
Serenity Bay Adult Beach
Located on the far northwestern end of the island is Serenity Bay, a secluded beach for adults 18 and older only. This is where adults can enjoy the pampering of an open-air cabana massage, sip a drink, or relax and enjoy the quiet of the beach with no children around. A buffet lunch is served.
ARTICLE: Castaway Cay Cabana Couples Massage
Several bars are interspersed throughout the beach areas, and they serve a variety of tropical and soft drinks. A favorite is the Konk Kooler, a libation made with light and dark rum, orange juice, passion fruit and coconut cream (it can be made without the rum) that can also be purchased in a souvenir glass.
PRIVATE BEACH CABANAS
Castaway Cay offers guests the luxury of renting one of 20 private cabanas. These 325-square-foot cabanas are divided between Castaway Family Beach and Serenity Bay Beach. On the family beach, the cabanas are located on the far side of the beach, offering a little more seclusion, along with a great view of the ship from the cabana’s front deck.
Cabanas are furnished with cushioned chairs, chaise lounges, side tables and a dining table. Also included are a refrigerator, lockable storage unit, outside fresh water shower and a shaded deck. When you rent a beach cabana, you will receive non-alcoholic beverages, suntan lotion and towels. Other packages with special services, food and beverage options are available. For an additional fee, guests can also reserve the services of a private cabana host.
Cabanas can be reserved online ahead of time or at the Port Adventures desk while onboard the ship. They will hold a maximum of 6 guests. On the Family Beach, they can be rented for $549* per day.
The Serenity Bay Beach cabanas are $399*.
A Grand Family Cabana is available and can hold up to 16 guests. The price for 10 guests is $966.43*, but 6 more can be added for $53.75* per person. This cannot be booked online.
*All pricing is subject to change at any time without notice.
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CASTAWAY CAY SHOPPING
Visit one of the island’s shops, She Sells Sea Shells everything else, or Buy the Seashore for Castaway Cay logo merchandise, sand toys, beach towels, sunscreen, postcards, and other small sundries including sunscreen. Cultural Illusions sells authentic Bahamian arts and crafts.
CASTAWAY CAY RENTALS
Snorkeling equipment and floating mats/tubes can be rented in advance and picked up at Gil’s Fins and Boats or Flippers and Floats near the Family Beach. A variety of small boats and water craft, as well as bicycles (with child seats if desired) can also be rented on the island.
- Snorkeling Equipment — $34 for adults, $18 for children for the entire day
- Float Rentals — $13 for the entire day
- Bicycle Rentals — $13 per hour
- Castaway Cay Getaway Package – includes snorkeling and floats for the whole day and a 1-hour bike rental, $46 for adults, $26 per child
- Strollers, complimentary on a first come basis
- Sand wheelchairs complimentary on a first come basis