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What a great little island to getaway from it all.  And while you might be sharing the island with 2,000 of your fellow Norwegian Cruise Line passengers (it is their private island) it doesn’t have to feel that way.

We took the tender (no other way to get there since they won’t let you swim from the cruise ship) along with about 350 other people and found a spot to plunk down our snorkel gear.  We had found someone who was also going snorkeling and her husband stayed on the ship so we invited her to plunk down with us.  More about the snorkeling in another post – and this time I took an underwater camera!

You take tenders between your Norwegian Cruise Lines ship and the little harbour at Great Stirrup Cay, Bahamas.

You take tenders between your Norwegian Cruise Lines ship and the little harbour at Great Stirrup Cay, Bahamas.

After some incredible snorkeling we found a few lounge chairs and put our stuff on them (along with Marion’s – our snorkel buddy for the day).  There are plenty of chairs.  In fact, it seemed like it was an island full of them.  Norwegian brings on food to the island and it is served quite nicely in a pavilion with two lines and the seemingly thousands of people on the ship all ply through the line to get their burgers and hot dogs (and ribs, which were incredibly delicious).

Drinks board at one of the little bars at Great Stirrup Cay, Bahamas

Drinks board at one of the little bars at Great Stirrup Cay, Bahamas

There were little bars and private cabanas and options for wave running, para-sailing, snorkeling of course, an eco-adventure boat tour and some other great options for spending the day.  There even was a little straw market where you can buy your usual souvenirs that you find in any of these little markets.  You could even go over toward the newly expanded beach and really feel like you got away from everyone on the ship which was really very nice.

NCL Pearl anchored off in the distance from Great Stirrup Cay, Bahamas.

NCL Pearl anchored off in the distance from Great Stirrup Cay, Bahamas.

The water was as clear as clear gets and we even saw a rather large stingray just meandering the shallow waters near the shoreline scaring unsuspecting guests.  I laid my iPhone down at lunch in a blob of bar-be-queue sauce (it was as delicious as the ribs) and so I never got some clear photos of the sting ray but thoroughly enjoyed the ribs of course.

Great Stirrup Cay, Bahamas

Great Stirrup Cay, Bahamas

The beach itself was really very nice – soft white sand and plenty of it.  They did a great job when they carved up this piece of coral and made it into a nice island.  The palm trees however seemed like they were getting too much water and looked somewhat out of place and unnatural.  In all, though, it is a great place for a stop on your cruise itinerary.  It is relaxing and at the same time fun and exciting.  There were people playing volleyball and dancing to the usual cruise music on the beach with cruise staff directing.  There were the usual buckets of beer and people who had had too many of those.

Great Stirrup Cay, Bahamas

Great Stirrup Cay, Bahamas

The private islands of the cruise industry are overall pretty cool.  Certainly much more to do on this island than there is at Half Moon Cay (Holland America’s private island).  But I personally am fine with nothing to do on a private island with gorgeous white sand, a bar and clear blue water.

The man made entrance to the little harbour at Great Stirrup Cay, Bahamas

The man made entrance to the little harbour at Great Stirrup Cay, Bahamas

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