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Are Disney’s Castaway Cay cabanas well worth the worth?


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Twelve days earlier than my household and I had been set to embark on our first Disney cruise, I acquired an electronic mail that set my coronary heart pounding. We had secured the holy grail of Disney Caribbean cruises: a cabana on Castaway Cay.

For these of you unfamiliar with this cruise ship non-public island phenomenon, a cabana is a non-public seashore hut that you would be able to hire for the day. Cabanas vary from primary wooden setups to full-on luxurious buildings with bedrooms, air-conditioning and indoor plumbing. Most include extras like snacks, devoted food and drinks service or entry to an unique seashore space.

After doing a victory dance in my workplace (good factor I do business from home), I began to daydream about what I may anticipate from this VIP island expertise. Would shade, a stocked fridge and a quieter seashore be sufficient to warrant the hefty price ticket, or had been there different, sudden upsides of the Castaway Cay cabanas?

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Here is what I discovered, in addition to every little thing you want to find out about Castaway Cay cabanas.

The way to e book a cabana on Castaway Cay

Castaway Cay cabana. CHLOE RICE/DISNEY
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There is a cause I referred to snagging a Castaway Cay cabana as discovering the holy grail. The cabanas promote out in a flash and normally go to individuals with excessive standing in Disney’s Castaway Membership loyalty program or individuals staying in concierge-level suites as a result of they’re allowed to e book shore excursions earlier than the remainder of their shipmates can.

The early reserving alternative is among the methods I used to be in a position to persuade my husband that we must always shell out for a concierge suite. He wasn’t laborious to persuade as a result of the opposite advantages of crusing in a concierge suite — just like the non-public solar deck, day by day glad hour with free drinks and a assure that we would not have to take a seat with anybody however our household at dinner — are fairly compelling. Getting a greater shot at a quiet and cozy day on Castaway Cay was simply the icing on the cake.

I notice that it is presumably irresponsible and a bit of foolish to pay additional for a concierge room so as to pay additional for a cabana, however we did it anyway. Name it “Disney math.”

Concierge friends can e book their cruise actions 123 days upfront of crusing, whereas common passengers with out standing in Disney Cruise Line’s Castaway Membership can e book 75 days upfront. Castaway Membership members who’ve Platinum standing can e book 120 days upfront.

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Here is the factor about reserving a cabana as a concierge visitor: You are not really reserving the cabana 123 days out. As a substitute, 123 days earlier than your embarkation date, you’ll be able to electronic mail the concierge group, they usually’ll e book your cabana for you when the 120-day window opens up. Concierge friends are in competitors with the Platinum members of the Castaway Membership, however concierge friends have concierges making the reservation, which can or might not confer a bonus.

Word that you probably have not paid on your cruise in full by the point your reserving window opens, you will be unable to make a reservation, so make that ultimate cost early. That is very true should you booked and are paying by means of a journey agent. It may take just a few days for the cost to register with Disney if it is going by means of a 3rd occasion, and that delay may forestall you from reserving shore excursions as early as your room class or standing within the Castaway Membership permits.

The reserving window is predicated in your crusing date, not the date your cruise stops at Castaway Cay, so mark your calendar accordingly.

The on-shore concierge group despatched an electronic mail 4 days earlier than reservations opened with all the main points we would have to request a cabana, in addition to pricing. Reserving opened at midnight, and we simply wanted to electronic mail our requests to the group. I scheduled my reply electronic mail (“CABANA PLEASE!”) for precisely midnight and waited. And waited.

After two days with no reply, I emailed once more, and the concierge group instructed me that we had been on the waitlist. That is proper — regardless of reaching out on the earliest attainable second for any cruise passenger, we did not initially get a cabana. I opted to remain on the waitlist and maintain out hope, which in the end paid off.

How a lot do Castaway Cay cabanas value?

Household seashore cabanas. KENT PHILLIPS/DISNEY

An everyday household cabana on Castaway Cay prices $797.30 for as much as six friends, with extra friends costing $56 a head, although friends below the age of three are free. You may have as much as 10 friends in a daily household cabana. The grand household cabana prices $1,127.50 and may host 10 individuals. As much as six extra friends could be added to a grand household cabana for $56 per particular person.

Although I did not expertise Serenity Bay, the adults-only space of Castaway Cay, as a result of I had my children with me, cabana leases there are a bit cheaper at $493.90 for as much as 4 friends and $56 per particular person for every extra visitor, with a most of 10 individuals per reservation. All friends have to be over the age of 18 to entry the Serenity Seaside space and its cabanas.

What’s included in a Castaway Cay cabana?

Castaway Cay household cabana. KENT PHILLIPS/DISNEY

A Castaway Cay cabana comes with sunscreen, towels, a big bowl of fruit, some gentle snacks, sand toys and a fridge stocked with water, tender drinks and chilled towels. There’s additionally a Bluetooth speaker, so you’ll be able to play your individual music. Not having to lug snacks, drinks, towels and sunscreen to the seashore was an enormous plus (and I think about it might be a good greater plus for somebody with youthful children).

Cabana friends get free snorkel gear and bicycle leases, and the cabana seashore has loads of floats for friends to make use of. It is very nice that these are included, as these rental prices can actually add up, particularly you probably have a big group.

In fact, the cabana itself can be included. We had household cabana quantity 12. The cabana itself is rustic, particularly when in comparison with the villas at Silver Cove on Norwegian Cruise Line’s non-public island. My household rented a villa on an NCL cruise in January 2023 and our villa had air-con, a full non-public lavatory, a tv with a number of free movies and a non-public bar and buffet.

In distinction, a Castaway Cay cabana is an easy wooden construction that might be at house at any summer time camp. It doesn’t have air-con, solely a ceiling fan. Home windows have picket shutters, however no glass or display screen. One aspect of the cabana is open to the attractive seashore, although there are folding doorways you’ll be able to shut.

Inside, the cabana has a snug sofa and chairs, in addition to a small curtained-off altering space. A small closet with a protected is a brilliant addition as a result of there is no actual approach to safe the cabana itself. However, it is fairly foolish to carry any valuables to the seashore. (All purchases on Castaway Cay are made together with your cruise card, so that you need not carry money or bank cards.)

The cabanas all have a porch that overlooks the seashore and personal cabana-only cove. The porch has two loungers and a chair with an ottoman. Every cabana additionally has a hammock and outside freshwater bathe, in addition to extra lounge chairs on the seashore. Cabanas should not have non-public bogs, although a cabana-only restroom is a brief stroll away. Cabana friends get lunch on the similar buffet (Cookie’s Too) as friends on the household seashore.

Every cabana additionally has a button you’ll be able to push to get service, akin to drinks or snack refills. The cabana attendants had been largely concierge employees, so we acknowledged their pleasant faces. We did not use the button to get additional service on our cabana day, however the identical crew members we noticed working within the cabana space supplied wonderful service once we had been on the ship. I can solely think about they had been equally useful and attentive on the island.

Here is one factor that isn’t included in a cabana on Castaway Cay: crowds. As I floated blissfully alone within the water of the cabana seashore, I may see the adjoining household seashore. It was a madhouse. After we walked to lunch later, my impression was that the household seashore was extraordinarily loud and crowded. Against this, the cabana space was quiet and serene.

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Who ought to e book a Castaway Cay cabana

Castaway Cay cabana. KENT PHILLIPS/DISNEY CRUISE LINE

Since there are solely 4 of us in my household, the cabana was an indulgence. For bigger teams, a cabana would make your seashore day a lot simpler. You’d have loads of seating shut collectively in addition to a gathering place. Plus, a bigger group may extra simply share the fee.

Should you’re touring with somebody who wants a daytime nap, a cabana can be an enormous plus. I can attest to that as a result of I took a nap on our sofa. It wasn’t laborious to make the cabana quiet, cool and darkish. Whereas I may hear some seashore noise, it was quiet sufficient for me to sleep. In case you have a white-noise app in your cellphone, you possibly can join it to the cabana’s speaker to dam outdoors sounds.

Whereas there is no air-conditioning to blast in a Castaway Cay cabana, it is a superb approach to calm down from the Bahamian warmth. Should you’re touring with somebody who’s delicate to warmth and solar (like yours actually), a cabana might be the distinction between a full seashore day and heading again to the ship early.

What’s not nice a few cabana on Castaway Cay

Castaway Cay cabana. KENT PHILLIPS/DISNEY

Our cabana expertise was not solely Mickey bars and Dole Whip. It missed the mark in just a few respects.

For one, sure cabanas are set shut collectively. As a result of it is so laborious to e book a cabana, it’s a must to take what you may get. We may hear different households of their cabanas, and I noticed a number of youthful children going to the unsuitable cabana after they left the water.

The altering space can be not essentially the most non-public. It is within the nook with a curtain to cowl the 2 open sides, but it surely’s additionally subsequent to a window, with a giant hole between the curtain and the wall. It wasn’t a giant deal to shut the window, however theoretically if somebody actually, actually wished to, they’d be capable of see in. Do not anticipate to lounge round in your birthday swimsuit.

Disney thoughtfully shares cabanas with sunscreen (together with a baby-friendly formulation), so friends do not must lug it from the ship. Sadly, the Coppertone sunscreens supplied weren’t reef protected. It is disappointing that Disney wasn’t fascinated about defending ocean reefs — particularly seeing as they promote snorkeling on Castaway Cay.

Lastly, the method for getting a cabana — and your odds of getting one — are additionally a draw back. There’s clearly an enormous demand, and I want Disney merely had extra of them. Here is hoping that Disney Cruise Line’s new island, Lookout Level at Lighthouse Cay, has extra cabanas than Castaway Cay does, so extra passengers can have the cabana expertise.

Are Castaway Cay cabanas price it?

Castaway Cay cabana. KENT PHILLIPS/DISNEY

For my anti-social household, the cabana on Castaway Cay was 100% price it. To have a quiet seashore and never fear about discovering shade or a lounge chair or dropping sight of our youngsters within the crowded water was properly well worth the worth of admission. The stocked fridge and snacks had been additionally extra “price it” than I anticipated. We did not must stroll to one of many buffets on the island to get a drink or one thing to eat outdoors of lunch. Additionally, the fruit within the fruit bowl was insanely good.

My daughter and I ran the Castaway Cay 5k that morning, and with the ability to drop our belongings on the cabana, run, then come again and alter was extremely handy. My husband and son may benefit from the seashore whereas we ran, moderately than keeping track of our stuff. With the ability to rinse off the sand and salt within the freshwater bathe was additionally so handy and made for a pleasing stroll again to the ship, moderately than a sticky, sandy hike.

Though I’ve skilled extra luxurious seashore cabanas and villas, a cabana on Disney Cruise Line’s Castaway Cay is the most effective expertise I’ve had. The relative quiet of the cabana seashore, ease of accessing snacks and never having to lug every little thing we would have liked for a full seashore day made the day really feel like an precise seashore day. We left our Castaway Cay cabana feeling relaxed and recharged.

In case you have the standing or the suite and may get a cabana in your Disney cruise, I encourage you to go for it. It is undoubtedly well worth the cash.

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