Have an upcoming Norwegian cruise that’s headed to Harvest Caye in Belize? The private island that’s just for NCL passengers has become one of the more popular stops among many cruisers.
So what’s so special about Harvest Caye?
When many people think of cruising, they likely envision a beautiful white sand beach, plenty of space, a cold drink in hand, and beautiful sunshine. Truth is, however, that many ports of call make this sort of experience hard to have without spending a small fortune. For instance, going to the beach in Cozumel involves catching a taxi, paying admission to a park or resort, and then sharing a relatively small space with tons of other cruise passengers.
Harvest Caye, on the other hand, offers all tons of space, beaches, a pool — and a lot more — so that cruise passengers have a once-in-a-lifetime experience of being on a private Caribbean island.
We recently took a trip to the island aboard the Norwegian Jade. Here are some of our favorite things about Harvest Caye in Belize that we think you’ll like too…
There Are Lots of Free Things to Do
Are you the sort of cruise passenger that wants to have a great time in port but doesn’t want to spend a lot of money? After all, how much should it cost to have a beach day? Fortunately, Harvest Caye fits the bill. The island offers numerous things to do, and while some are paid adventures, many things are completely free. For example, you can hang out on the beach (complete with chairs and umbrellas), swim in the huge pool, play beach sports, explore the island, see wildlife, and more without spending a cent. There is also a free splash pad for kids. Things like ziplining or renting a cabana do see an extra charge.
The Beach Is Great
We’ll be the first to tell you that if you are expecting electric blue water, then you might be disappointed. The sea is a bit murky. The good news is that the beach is among the nicest we’ve ever seen in the Caribbean. It stretches along with beautiful white sand that’s cleaned regularly by the staff on the island. Because the beach is so long, there’s also plenty of space to spread out. The chairs nearest to the ship (shown above) at the start of the beach fill up fastest, but just a short walk down will give you plenty of empty chairs if you prefer a little privacy.
The Pool Is Even Better
If you’re wanting clear blue water, look no farther than the massive pool on Harvest Caye. The pool can hold hundreds, and there is ton of seating all around. Centered on the island, it’s a main focal point for passengers, so we suggest getting there early to claim your spot.
What’s especially nice is that in addition to the pool’s size, it has a lot to offer all passengers. For instance, there is a shallow end that slopes gently into the water for little kids to play. There is also an in-pool bar for the adults. Being able to hang out by the pool in paradise — for free — is hard to beat.
There’s a Variety of Things to Do
We mentioned some of the free things to do on Harvest Caye. You can hang out poolside, enjoy the white sand beach, and even visit the wildlife exhibit that features macaws and other animals. That’s just the start, however. There are so many more things to do.
There’s a splash park for kids (free), and paid items like zip lines that take you all over the island, paddleboard rentals, and even luxury cabanas for your own private space. That’s in addition to the shopping and restaurants (complete with beachside service). If you were going to spend a week on Harvest Caye you might eventually get bored. But a one-day port of call offers plenty for everyone in the family to do.
There’s Plenty of Shade and Cool Spots
One of the smart things that Norwegian did when designing the island was to add plenty of shady and cool spots. From misters that greet you at the entrance of the island to shady seating areas located strategically around the island, there are many spots to help you keep comfortable. It’s a good thing because despite often having a sea breeze, the sun and humidity mean your day on Harvest Caye can be hot. Be sure you stay well-hydrated and give yourself plenty of time out of the sun.
Harvest Caye Is Not Too Big
There’s been an uptick in the size of cruise ships, with the largest ships ever being built right now. Meanwhile, some cruise lines like Royal Caribbean have upped the size of their private islands (and the things to do on them). One thing we liked about Harvest Caye is that it’s big enough, but not too big. You can walk the entire island in about 20-30 minutes. Most of the time you will only be a 10-15 minute walk from the ship. It makes it easy to enjoy yourself and experience everything without spending a ton of time walking in the heat.
Coke Is Served in the Restaurants/Bars
If you aren’t a Coke drinker then you might think it’s a silly thing to love, but Harvest Caye offers up Coke products in its bars and restaurants. That’s a big deal because Norwegian Cruise Lines only serves Pepsi. If you have a craving for Coke, you can get your fill on the island. Just don’t think you can bring it back on board with you; no drinks are allowed on the ship unless you’re holding them until the end of the cruise.
Harvest Caye is Dedicated to Cruise Passengers
Cruising can take you to some exotic places to explore. And while that’s exciting, sometimes it’s nice just to have a spot to relax and enjoy the beach without having to plan an excursion or shell out a ton of cash. That’s one of the nice things about Harvest Caye — it’s built by the cruise line specifically for cruise passengers. In other words, it was built with you in mind.
For instance, there are lockers in several locations to store your items so that you don’t have to leave them unattended on the beach. There are also tons of signs to help you navigate the island and lots of great spots for photo opportunities.
Everything is laid out conveniently, you’re never far from the ship, and those on the island see you as a guest — not a piggy bank.
It’s Easy to Go Back to the Ship
Want to explore for a couple of hours and then head back for a nap on the ship? Or maybe you are forgetful and didn’t bring the sunscreen. No matter the reason, it’s easy to head back to the ship on Harvest Caye. The pier is on one end of the island, but most places are only about a 10 minute walk. It means if you want to head back for a bite to eat (and save on eating on shore) or simply want to call it a day early, there’s no long trek back to your cabin.
Want to know more about visiting Harvest Caye? See our complete guide to the island here.