We spent our second full cruise day at Castaway Cay, Disney Cruise Line’s private island in the Bahamas.
- As we got off the ship we were given towels. Disney Characters and other photo options along the way made the ¼ mile walk to the beaches feel much shorter.
- I had booked a “Getaway Package” prior to arriving so we were able to easily participate in a few things that weren’t included in the cost of the cruise. We Snorkeled in Discovery Cove to see tropical fish, sting rays, and sunken Disney objects. This was Alice’s first time snorkeling, and it was a great way for her to learn in calm and safe waters. Later in the day, we rode bikes on a short paved trail around the island (some visitors use it to run a 5-K).
- Alice spent time in the Scuttle’s Kids Club while Alex and I spent some time at the adults-only Relaxation Cove. This section of the island has a smaller beach with a restaurant and bar. We rode the tram, but we could have walked or used bikes for access.
- The Pelican Plunge slide area was a popular spot; Alice was able to ride three times in roughly an hour.
- The BBQ lunch lacked many vegetarian options, but there were multiple salads and fresh fruits available.
- While the Island officially closed at 4pm, it was nearly empty by 3pm when all of the kiosks shut down.
We disembarked at Punta Langosta (Lobster Point) and our guide walked us quickly through the tourist mall and through a kiosk center. We boarded our open-air vehicle and headed across the southern part of the island. We saw the other tourist destinations and resorts for half the drive, followed by an unscenic stretch of highway.
We were a little apprehensive when we arrived at the park; the overcast skies and seaweed-filled water didn’t give us the impression that the snorkeling would deliver as promised. After the rain subsided we were given a quick introduction on how to use the equipment, and made our way into the water. Of our party of six adults and four children, our family was the only one able to actually navigate the waves to swim out to the reef, so I wouldn’t recommend the excursion to anyone with children who aren’t experienced swimmers. The natural reefs were worth the effort; we saw a variety of sea life, including blue tang, angelfish, and a Caribbean lobster.
After swimming, we changed in the somewhat rustic restrooms and dined with the rest of our party at the restaurant. The highlight/lowlight was that one of the island’s residents, a Cozumel raccoon (a critically endangered species only found in this part of Mexico), tried to share our meal with us. We were both startled and amused as small paws appeared through the wooden slats underneath the decking. Before departing the beach, our guides entertained the kids with a piñata filled with Mexican candies.
Two stops remained on the excursion; the first was the Celarain Lighthouse and the second a small area of Mayan ruins with a nearby boardwalk to the crocodile viewing area. We learned that there are over 100 crocodiles in the eco-park, and were thrilled/terrified to see one swimming slowly about 50 yards away. In the clear waters of the lagoon we also saw barracudas and other sea life.
Overall, we were glad we had booked this excursion. Although the cloudy skies made for a less picturesque beach, they did make for much more pleasant temperatures. We were also thankful for our small group, as we saw much larger tours trying to navigate the reefs while snorkeling, boardwalks, meals, and other attractions in the eco-park. With more time after the tour, we would have also explored the town of San Miguel before returning to the ship.