The best thing to do in Princess Cays, Princess Cruises' private island, might be to treat yourself to a relaxing beach day, with not a care in the world -- but that's not everyone's style. Some folks aren't content to simply do nothing in the sun. We reached out to a Princess Cruises shore excursion manager to get the skinny on the top Princess Cays excursions to try on your next cruise.
1. Stingray Beach Encounter
The most popular Princess Cays shore excursion is the Stingray Beach Encounter, where passengers age 15 and up can get in the water with stingrays to pet and feed them. The one-hour tour is less than $50 per person, has multiple departures to accommodate interested parties and leaves plenty of time to enjoy a beach day.
2. Dune Buggy Adventure
For a different approach to sightseeing, book the Dune Buggy Adventure, where two people can board an off-road vehicle to explore Eleuthera, the main island adjacent to Princess Cays. You'll drive through Bannerman Town, a historic -- and possibly haunted -- village that used to hold slave auctions during the 1700s. You'll pass ruins of houses and the 18th-century Anglican Church of the Assumption. You'll also have some time to explore a private beach. Drivers must be 21 or older with a valid driver's license; passengers must be 10 years of age or older.
3. Glass-Bottom Boat Cruise
A glass-bottom boat ride is a great way to see marine life without gearing up to snorkel or scuba dive, and is a recommended tour through Princess' partnership with the Discovery Channel. The one-hour tour is kid- and adult-friendly, and an onboard guide will help you identify different species of fish and coral as you survey the underwater world through large glass windows. Morning departures mean you have the entire afternoon to get in the water yourself or enjoy the above-sand world on Princess Cays.
4. Beach Toy Rentals
A large portion of the "shore excursion" options on Princess Cays are actually rentals to enhance your beach day, and many passengers take advantage of these options to use throughout various swimming areas. You can rent snorkel equipment, pool noodles, mat-like floats, sea boards with transparent viewing panes and aqua chairs (semicircular inflatable tubes with mesh seats that keep your bottom half in the water and your top half out). Or, if you're not keen on getting wet, rent beach chairs with shady clamshell coverings, so you can stay out of the unrelenting sun while you read or nap on the beach.
5. Bungalow Rentals
Limited in number, private beach bungalows are so popular that they usually sell out before the cruise sets sail. All bungalows are air-conditioned cabanas that come with table and chairs inside, two lounge chairs outside, two floats and an outdoor shower. An on-call attendant will bring you snacks, drinks and a "gourmet" lunch (i.e., not the main beach barbecue) on request (extra fees apply).
Choose from the main beach bungalows -- good for families -- or the Adults Sanctuary Bungalows in a private, 18-and-over area of the beach. All bungalows accommodate four, and two extra passengers can be added for an additional fee. These are great options for folks who want to spend the entire day on the island but want a cool retreat to escape the heat of the sun or the crowds of the main beach.