Norwegian Cruise Line's private resort in Belize — which opened in November 2016 — has all the allure of a faraway tropical isle but the conveniences of a cruise line-owned beach. The white sand stretches for seven acres, where you can swim, snorkel, and parasail. Up for adventure? You'll find plenty of that here too, from zip-lining and a ropes course to excursions to Mayan ruins. Or, just order an ice-cold michelada from the Jimmy Buffet-affiliated LandShark Bar & Grill, then stake out a lounger by the pool (yes, unlike most cruise line islands, there's actually a pool!).
What We Love
The Nature Center: The NGO-run menagerie isn’t huge, but it’s precious: each of the species featured (think colorful toucans and fluttering butterflies) has a story tied to Belize’s cultural identity and eco-system, which the chief naturalist will gladly share.
Shaded Spaces: In this neck of the woods, it’s easy to soak up way too many rays — but the Caye’s many canopies and awning-covered benches provide shelter from the sun.
Accessible Excursions: Itching to leave the island? You can delve deeper inland — easily — thanks to a nearby landbase in the town of Malacate, where you can depart to explore Mayan ruins or spend a day river rafting or tubing.
Best Known For
Fun in the Sun: In this department, Harvest Caye delivers: the pool — rimmed with loungers — spans an immense 15,000 square feet and has a swim-up bar. Plus, the beach — the fine, soft and white variety — stretches on for acres.
Island Culture: Think of Harvest Caye as an intro to Belize, a sample-size taste of a rugged, beautiful country marked by both Central American and Caribbean cultures. A garifuna band enlivens the ambiance; you can order local brews, sausage, and ceviche; you can shop for Mayan jade and handwoven baskets. Even the buildings are made with Belizean purple heart and cabbage woods.
Find a Cruise
Who It's Best For
Sun Worshipers: Claim a chair at the beach or the pool, and slather on the sunscreen. This is a spot where swimmers and sunbathers (and paddleboarders and snorkelers) can feel in their element.
Adventurers: The island has just as many ways to keep active as it does to laze and lounge. Anti-beach-bumming types can tackle a ropes course, rent a kayak or motorized boat, or zoom down ziplines from the top of a lighthouse.
Don't Say We Didn't Warn You
No Free Lunch: Unlike other cruise line islands, there are no complimentary dining options here. Don’t forget to pack your key card, credit card, or cash before you leave your cabin. The good news? Because ships dock directly at the pier, you also have the option to re-embark for a meal you already paid for.
More Fine-Tuning and Features to Come: Harvest Caye debuted in November 2016, and although the impressive facilities are up and running, there are still some tweaks to be made. For example: establishing a better way for guests to descend the 136-foot-tall zip-lining platform (right now, they have to be rappelled down to the ground).
Lisa Cheng is a New York-based writer for ShermansCruise who also writes for Travel + Leisure.