Disney’s private island of Castaway Cay was a relaxing haven during my recent short cruise on Disney Dream. While new crew members strapped on life jackets to exercise safety drills in the sea near the quay, passengers strolled in the sun or took a tram ride to Scuttles Cove and Pelican Point or the adults-only beach at Serenity Bay.
With temperatures in the high 70s it was perfect for swimming, snorkelling, or just lazing on sun-loungers and on the clean, combed and sifted sand – though it must have got uncomfortably hot for the cast posing for pictures in the costumes of Minnie Mouse and Goofy.
Just as on board the ship, there are several stations dispensing unlimited quantities of Coke, Sprite, iced tea and other soft drinks at no extra charge, and to cope with the extra numbers that Dream will bring, a second barbecue buffet restaurant has been opened as part of the resort’s expansion.
Only 100 of the island’s 1,000 acres have been developed; the remainder is a wild reserve, some of which can be explored by bicycle. One beach on the island was the film location for Tom Hanks’s first encounter with Daryl Hannah in the film Splash, and in 1950, two treasure hunters discovered a 70-lb silver ingot from the time of King Philip IV of Spain, who ruled in the 17th Century.
There are boats, floats and cabanas for hire, and crew come ashore from the ship to serve in the bars.
Passengers remain in the Disney cocoon throughout the day, and it is no surprise that those who have visited on Disney Magic and Wonder consistently vote it their favourite port of call.
But there’s still room for caution, particularly for those whose swimming experience has been limited to hotel pools and do not realise that even in the Bahamas the tide comes in and out twice a day.
Hence the stark warning on this notice:
SWIM AT YOUR OWN RISK!
Children Should be Supervised
Please Be Aware of Possible
Ocean Conditions Which May
Involve But Not Be Limited To:
Sharks, Barracuda, Jellyfish
Sea Lice, Sea Urchins
Sea Anemone, Fire Coral, Etc
Please Stay Off Rocks!
Water Depth Changes
Throughout the Day
Talk about nanny state! I’m only surprised that Disney haven’t thought to have the warning presented by Mary Poppins.