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Castaway Cay, formerly Gorda Cay, is an ultra-tidy 1,000-acre splash of sun and sand located near Great Abaco Island. Owned by the Walt Disney Company, the island is used exclusively for passengers of its cruise line -- though alert cinephiles may also remember it as the spot where Tom Hanks finds his mermaid (Daryl Hannah) in "Splash." Before becoming one of the cruise line's most popular more ...
 
Leave it to Disney to ensure that everyone -- including teens (Teen Beach), solace-seeking adults (Serenity Bay Beach, a sprawling expanse of white sand tucked on the island's northwest edge), active volleyball junkies (Sports Beach) and families (Castaway Family Beach) -- has his or her own play area. Pelican Plunge, is a 2,400-square-foot floating platform packed with rope swings, water slides and a "bucket dump" that deluges fun-seekers with hundreds of gallons of water. Off the beach, a play area called Spring-a-Leak includes a massive fountain area that the little ones can play in, while an observation platform located amid the forest offers a bird's-eye view of the environs. (It's a long haul from the main drag, so prepare for a hike, or rent a bike.) Chill at a beach bar, get a rubdown in one of the massage huts, hit the game room for some Ping-Pong, or simply nab a hammock and take a nap. For those who want to flex the spending power of their key cards, shore excursions include parasailing, a Stingray Adventure and fishing; in addition, 20 for-fee beach cabanas come replete with chaise lounges, dining tables, refrigerators, non-alcoholic beverages and mucho privacy.
 
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 tethering 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 one 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.
Castaway Cay 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.
 
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 which 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. Castaway Cay Adults can book the ultimate in pampering. Over at Serenity Bay there are open air massage cabanas. Just head to the Vista Spa on board the ship and schedule yours.
 
There are a ton of excursions to choose from. You can go on a guided jetski 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 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 Activities
Castaway CayScuttles 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.
 
Castaway Cay Teen BeachTeen 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 BeachCastaway 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.
 
Another change coming to the island is 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 BeachSerenity 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.
 
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 or for $399 on the Serenity Bay Beach.

Cabanas on Castaway Cay can be found on Castaway Family Beach and the adults-only Serenity Bay Beach. Each 325-square-foot cabana is furnished with comfy seating, a beverage refrigerator, a safe, a ceiling fan, eight plush towels, cooled face cloths, magazines and sunscreen. Outside, you'll find chaise lounge chairs, a freshwater shower and private hammock. Fresh fruit, snacks and unlimited bottled water and soft drinks are included. Adult cabana users may purchase an alcoholic beverage package, as well. On the family beach, the rental price of $499 for up to six people (including infants) includes the use of snorkeling equipment, float or tube rental, sand toys and one hour of bike rentals. The price for seven to 10 people is $50 per person ages 3 and older, with no charge for children younger than 3, though they are still included in the party size.
 
Castaway Cay Rentals
Castaway Cay RentalsSnorkeling 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.
 
Rental prices are as follows:
Snorkeling Equipment -- $29 for adults, $14 for children for the entire day
Float Rentals -- $10 for the entire day
Bicycle Rentals -- $10 per hour
Castaway Cay Getaway Package - includes snorkeling and floats for the whole day and a 1-hour bike rental, $39 for adults, $19 per child
2 Person paddle boats $14, 30 minutes
4 Person paddle boats $18, 30 minutes
Hobie kats $27, 30 minutes
Sea cycle water bikes $24, 30 minutes
1 Person sea kayaks $14, 30 minutes
2 Person sea kayaks $18, 30 minutes
Strollers, complimentary on a first come basis
Sand wheelchairs complimentary on a first come basis
 
Eating Out
Food is complimentary island-wide at two spectacularly clean, well-laid-out, covered dining spaces. Cookie's BBQ is an outdoor eatery with burgers, barbecued chicken and ribs, while Cookie's Too BBQ is a family lunch buffet with all-you-can-eat barbecue, island-spiced rotisserie chicken, burgers, grilled fish, fresh salads, flatbreads and ice cream. Nonalcoholic beverages, beer, mixed and frozen drinks -- including the island's signature Konk Kooler -- are offered at the island's four watering holes, including the Sand Bar and the Conched Out Bar, located on the busier beaches. Heads Up Bar, offering specialty drinks, cocktails and beer, is located near Pelican Plunge. For something a little more sedate, consider the Castaway Air Bar on Serenity Bay.
 
There's something about sunshine and salt water that makes everyone hungry. Listen for the announcement that Cookie's and Cookies Too is 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.
 
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.

Castaway Cay Shopping
Visit one of the island's shops, She Sells Sea Shells & everything else or Buy the Sea Shore 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.
There's no chaotic straw market on Castaway Cay. Instead, expect a few shops offering Disney merchandise (including Buy the Sea Shore and She Sells Sea Shells) and an area offering Bahamian crafts.




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