Disney’s new cruise line private island destination opens this week

On June 6, 2024, Lookout Cay at Lighthouse Point joins Castaway Cay as a Disney-exclusive island attraction offering one-day excursions with family fun.

The cruise industry overall surged in popularity last year following a rebound from the pandemic.

Cruise Lines International Association captures this growth in its annual State of the Cruise Industry report. In its latest findings, cruising surpassed pre-pandemic levels in 2023, reaching 107% of 2019 levels. Those levels include 31.7 million passengers globally, with 18.1 million cruising in North America, Disney Cruise Line’s primary market. 2024 shows more growth, with 34.7 million global passengers projected to sail on the high seas this year.

Disney Cruise Line’s current expansion plans include the addition of four new ships to its fleet between 2022 and 2025 and a new private island destination that opens this summer.

Leaning into authentic Caribbean culture

Disney selected the Bahamian island of Eleuthera as the home of Lookout Cay at Lighthouse Point. Eleuthera sits along the island’s southern shores, and the guests will note Bahamian influences throughout its architecture, dining, and character costumes, among other elements. These influences concentrate around the Goombay Cultural Center. Centrally located at Lookout Cay, the center features local artists and other activities to immerse guests into the Bahamas.

Lindsay Brookshier, content director of Mickey Visit, shares her thoughts on Disney’s approach to designing Lookout Cay. “They are working to create a destination authentic to the Bahamas culture that showcases the area’s natural beauty. The concept artwork that I have gotten to preview has been stunning. This looks like it will be a fantastic addition to the existing Castaway Cay private island destination.”

Lookout Cay embraces the spirit and culture of the Bahamas, even featuring an array of bright, vibrant flavors at its several eateries. In addition to classics like burgers and salads, dining options include Bahamian Pigeon Peas & Rice, Plant-based Island Curry, and Bahamian-style Lime marinated grilled snapper.

Mickey, Minnie, and the rest of the gang will sport new, island-exclusive apparel. Mikkel Woodruff, Editor of Sometimes Sailing, highlights these as one of the exciting and unique aspects of Lookout Cay. Woodruff explains, “I can’t wait to take photos with Mickey and Minnie in their colorful cruise outfits designed by Bahamian fashion designer Theodore Elyett. Only Disney could bring this to the Bahamas!”

Paradise for all ages

Like other Disney destinations, Lookout Cay offers fun experiences and amenities for adventurers of all ages. A day at the private island includes character meet-and-greets and lively entertainment. Lookout Cay’s multiple water play areas, including Rush Out Gush Out Water Play, keep little ones occupied. Two shows — RUSH! A Junkanoo Celebration and Disney Fun in the Sun Beach Bash — blend Bahamian culture with classic Disney entertainment.

Local experts offer guided tours of the island, and bold voyagers can traverse trails and utilize bicycle rental services to trek around Eleuthera. Family-friendly beaches boast beautiful cabanas rentable by those seeking a soothing, subdued stay, whether parents vacationing without kids or traveling solo.

North of the family area at Lighthouse Point will be an adult-exclusive beach — a glorious stretch of sun-drenched serenity complete with a dedicated dining area for convenient access to food and drinks throughout the day, plus six private cabanas available by reservation. (Disney)
North of the family area at Lighthouse Point will be an adult-exclusive beach — a glorious stretch of sun-drenched serenity complete with a dedicated dining area for convenient access to food and drinks throughout the day, plus six private cabanas available by reservation. (Disney)

Freelance journalist and theme park expert Megan duBois says she anticipates “enjoying the adults-only spaces, which are a quiet area away from all the controlled chaos of the family beaches.” The adult-exclusive areas of Lookout Cay include a beach and separate dining areas.

High expectations from cruisers

Disney first announced Lookout Cay at Lighthouse Point in 2019. Anticipation grew as the cruise line industry bounced back following the pandemic.

Sarah Gilliland, founder of On the Road with Sarah and Managing Travel Editor for Wealth of Geeks, emphasizes the stiff competition. She notes, “It all sounds good on paper, but the real test will be seeing how the island’s first visitors receive it. So far, it looks a little more exciting than Castaway Cay but not as exciting as Royal Caribbean’s CocoCay. It’s difficult to complete with a water park!”

To impress avid cruisers, duBois says Disney is rising to the occasion. “Lighthouse Point will exceed expectations compared to Castaway Cay and even other cruise line private islands. Disney has learned a lot over the years of operating Castaway Cay, and that knowledge is finally being used by finalizing Lighthouse Point.”

Disney Cruise Line’s initial itineraries include Lookout Cay at Lighthouse Point on 3-, 4-, and 5-night Bahamian Cruises out of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and 10-night Southern Caribbean cruises out of Port Canaveral, Florida.

This article was produced by Media Decision and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.

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