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Princess Cays is a private cruise ship resort on Eleuthera, Bahamas.
Updated: March 2019
On the second day of our Caribbean cruise aboard the Caribbean Princess, we stopped at the port of Princess Cays. Princess Cays is Princess Cruises’ tropical island resort, which is actually a small section in the south of Eleuthera island in The Bahamas.
Princess Cays is situated on 40 acres of land with over a half-mile of white sandy beaches. The resort provides cruise ship guests with a great opportunity for a beach day with the chance to participate in an assortment of beach activities: swimming, snorkeling, kayaking, riding a banana boat, paddle boarding, and jet skiing (note: jet skiing at Princess Cays is no longer offered. This might change in the future and I’ll try to update the post if it does!). Alternatively, you can soak up the sun, park yourself at one of the thousands of beach loungers, and curl up with a good book.
Princess Cays Video
If you’re interested in seeing Princess Cays resort in all its splendor, there’s no better way than watching our travel video. You’ll see exactly what to do in Princess Cays: relax at the beach and go snorkeling. Not pictured in the video: Princess Cays food (see down below for more details!) or any other excursions. We didn’t participate in any excursions and didn’t rent out any water toys, but you can totally do that here. I’ll explain more in a bit. Enjoy watching our day at Princess Cay!
More About Eleuthera, Bahamas
The island of Eleuthera lies about 50 miles east of Nassau. It is the fourth most populated island in the Bahamas with approximately 11,000 residents. Eleuthera is a very long and thin island, stretching 110 miles north to south, but only 1 mile across.
The original natives, the Taino people, were deported by the Spanish. Their population died out by the 1550s. Eleuthera was believed to be unoccupied until the first European settlers arrived from Bermuda in 1648. Much of the quaint New England architecture here was influenced by the British Loyalist settlers and was adopted by other Bahamian islands. Eleuthera is quite possibly the birthplace of the whole country.
Eleuthera is most known for its white and pink sand beaches, lush tropical greenery, and pineapples. You’ll find some of the sweetest pineapple in the world there. The island celebrates this delicious fruit at their annual Pineapple Festival every June.
If you’re not traveling from a cruise ship and you’re interested in visiting Eleuthera, you can fly directly to the island and stay at a hotel. That way, you can take advantage of the beautiful beaches and water sports for a relaxing or adventurous holiday. Click here to check out the hotels and accommodations (hotel reviews available by clicking here), and you’ll be able to find a great flight deal here.
Our Day At Princess Cays
Our cruise ship, the Caribbean Princess, docked off the shores of Princess Cays beach from 9:00am – 4:00pm. The last tender left at 3:15pm. Unfortunately, this didn’t give us much time to explore all that Eleuthera had to offer. However, it’s enough time to have a fantastic beach day at Princess Cays. My sister and travel buddy, Robyn and I went swimming, snorkeling, and soaked up the sunshine.
Approaching Princess Cays by Tender
We woke up fairly early at 7:30am to get ready for our beach day at Princess Cays. The ship anchored off the coast of Eleuthera and we had to take tender boats across to the island. As there were a limited amount of tenders, we took tickets and waited our turn in one of the dining rooms. Before long, our numbers were called we boarded the tender and sailed towards Princess Cays.
Our first glimpses of Princess Cays were wonderful sights: white sandy beaches, turquoise waters, and tall palm trees. As we were among the first groups of passengers to arrive at the island, we had our choice of loungers. From the main dock, we walked to the left along a path that meandered past a few small shops, the barbecue lunch area, the bar, and the snorkel rental area. A BBQ buffet lunch was included as the island served as an extension of the cruise ship. You could also use your ship card for any alcoholic drinks and purchases in the shops.
Relaxing and Swimming
We found a perfect spot at Princess Cays beach. There were two loungers in the sunshine, right by the water. It was near a small pier where people sat to observe the fish in the water below. That also happened to be a fantastic spot for snorkeling, so I’m glad that we had two chairs close by. The sun was shining brightly and it was an ideal temperature for sunbathing and swimming.
The water was very refreshing with that ideal “not too hot, not too cold” feeling. I really loved relaxing and enjoying the changing views. The cruise ship was resting off in the distance. Every so often, a speed boat flew past, towing screaming girls across the water on rafts. Otherwise, our view was purely the glistening turquoise waters perhaps with a person or two splashing about in the distance.
Snorkeling at Princess Cays
If you’re looking for what to do in Princess Cays, it’s a fantastic destination for snorkeling. While there are numerous fish and perhaps not the greatest variety, it’s very easy to snorkel here. Robyn and I went snorkeling for a little while. There are two great Princess Cays snorkeling spots. One is right by the dock. You can see so many fish, even if you merely walk up to the edge of the dock and look down into the clear waters.
Next, if you walk beyond the dock to the other side of the island (where you’ll see many shaded clam shells), the snorkeling is perhaps even better. To get to the better snorkeling spot from the tender dock, walk to the right instead of the left, and enter the water at that section of beach. Swim out to the rocks on the left side (while facing the ocean) and you’ll discover many varieties of fish. It’s also less crowded here than the main beach area.
Order Drinks in a Monkey Head
After snorkeling, Robyn and I were relaxing at Princess Cays resort on our loungers. She overheard some other people ordering a “Coco Loco” and decided that it sounded good, not knowing what it was. Within moments, our server walked over with a tray filled with wooden monkey heads and handed two of them over! He said that he had to carry the monkey heads separately from the drinks themselves, and the drinks would be over shortly. A “Coco Loco” ended up being a pina colada served inside a wooden monkey head that you could bring home with you as a coin bank! I had one already from a past cruise, so now my two monkey heads sit together on the shelf, side by side.
Dining at Princess Cays: Barbecue Buffet
The day went as follows: laying in the sun, swimming, snorkeling, more sun, more snorkeling, and repeat! Finally, it was time for lunch. I didn’t have super high expectations for finding vegan food at the BBQ. I knew that they did have veggie burgers, though honestly, the veggie burgers served on Princess Cruises aren’t very good. I’m not sure why. I haven’t really had a “bad” veggie burger until I tried Princess’ one! It is just flavorless, has an odd mushy texture, and doesn’t really taste good. I haven’t had one of their veggie burgers in years, so I decided to give it another try, hoping that either my tastes or their recipe had changed. Thankfully, there were some other vegetarian options at the barbecue buffet, including baked beans, a corn salad, and corn on the cob.
I hate to say it, but the veggie burger was the same and I didn’t end up finishing it. The other Princess Cays food was really yummy as I really enjoyed all of the side dishes.
Walk Around the Island
Of course, if a Princess Cays beach day isn’t your idea of fun, you can always go for a walk. Walking up and down the shore is a great way to get some exercise. While there aren’t a huge variety of tourist attractions, I’m certain that you’ll escape the crowds and see some unique scenery.
Try Water Sports
Princess Cays has a huge amount of water sports to try with equipment rentals right on the beach. I recommend that you reserve your water sports in advance while on the cruise ship. You will have your booking in advance and you won’t have to worry about it once you get to the island. Simply take your Princess Cays excursion ticket to the water sports rental office, and you’ll be good to go.
There are a variety of water sports and equipment rental options at Princess Cays:
- Aqua Chair Rental
- Water Noodle Rental
- Float Rental
- Ocean Viewing Sea Board Rental
- Banana Boat Ride
- Snorkel Equipment Rental (although I recommend bringing your own to save money)
- Ocean Kayak Rental
- Stand Up Paddle Board Rental
- Aqua Bike Rental (2 person maximum)
- Paddle Boat Rental (2 person maximum)
- Ocean Kayak Rental for 2 people
- Paddle Boat Rental (4 person maximum)
- Hobie Wave Sailboat Rental
You can also rent lockers at Princess Cays to store your belongings while you’re out on the water. Furthermore, you can also rent clam shells and private bungalows if you are traveling with a group or want some extra privacy.
Princess Cays Excursions
While Robyn and I didn’t book any Princess Cays excursions, you can always book a tour through the cruise ship. Book these in advance on the cruise line website before you sail or at the shore excursions desk on board. Here are a few sample activities:
- Island Bike Adventure: a 90 minute bike tour around Princess Cays
- Princess Cays Coastal Cruise: a 60 minute cruise in a small boat along the shoreline
- Clear Bottom Kayaking Adventure
- Glass Bottom Boat Cruise
- Snorkeling Tour for Experienced Snorkelers
- Dune Buggy Cultural Heritage Tour
Travel Tips for Princess Cays
Here are a few travel tips to have the best day possible at Princess Cays Bahamas:
- Don’t bring any money with you. Just bring your cruise card. As Princess Cays resort is an extension of the cruise ship, you can use your cruise card for any purchases like souvenirs or alcohol.
- The BBQ buffet is free and included with your trip, so you don’t need to worry about packing snacks or buying food.
- Bring your own snorkel gear with you to avoid paying to rent them.
- Booking an excursion is not necessary. The most alluring aspect of Princess Cay is the spectacular beach. A trip to Princess Cays resort is best left as a beach day or a way to try a new water sport. If you’re looking for what to do in Princess Cays, you might be overthinking your day!
- Don’t wait until the last moment to head back to the ship. We waited until the end and the lines to board the tenders were insanely long. Everyone was trying to board at the exact same time, and we just had to wait patiently for a long while. I’d head back a little bit earlier than the crowds so you can enjoy your time on the ship and not in a massive line.
Want to see more photos? Check out every picture from our day in Princess Cays Bahamas. From our travel photos page, you can purchase prints, canvas, housewares, and more, all made from our travel photos.
My sister and I had such an enjoyable day at Princess Cays Bahamas. There’s nothing quite like relaxing, swimming, and snorkeling. All in all, it was a fabulous beach day, similar to what would be experienced at an island resort. After our day at Princess Cays, we headed back to the cruise ship for an evening of fun aboard the Caribbean Princess.
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