In May 2010, when we visited Castaway Cay, it was in the middle of several expansion projects in anticipation of the larger capacity Dream and Fantasy ships. One of the projects underway was the building of Cabanas that guests could rent.
I remember being intrigued about the soon to arrive Cabanas and wondering if I’d ever be able to afford to stay in one. A few months later reports of pricing for Cabanas came out, and I assumed I would not ever get the chance to stay. Rumor had it they were around $500 for the day. What on earth could possibly be included to make it worth $500.
Fast forward to December 2011. We were in the midst of planning for our April 2012 Fantasy cruise. Steve and Allison, one of the couples in our group of 9, had booked a concierge stateroom and had been contacted by the concierge staff about starting to make reservations for things like dining, shore excursions, and Cabanas for our sailing. Knowing that Cabanas can be hard to come by, Allison decided to snag a Cabana while available and then contacted the group to see who was interested.
I had since heard some more rumors about pricing, space, and amenities and sent Allison some questions to ask. Here’s what we learned:
- Cabanas on the family beach were $499 for 6 people, $50 for each additional person up to a maximum of 10 people.
- Cabanas were stocked with soda, water, fruit, snacks, magazines, towels, and sunscreen.
- Cabanas rental price included use of floats, tubes, snorkel equipment, and bikes.
- Cabanas had a private beach area for use only by Cabana guests.
As I mentioned before, there were nine in our group. All nine indicated interest – though there was some concern about being on the family beach – however the Serenity Bay Cabanas were for 4 people and you could add up to 2 more for a total of 6 people. We decided to go ahead and try it. You see, the cost came out to around $72 each ($499 plus $150 for the three additional people for a total of $649 for 9 of us). The Castaway Cay Getaway Package runs about $32 normally and includes snorkel, bike, and float rental. So really, we were only paying an additional $40 each for the Cabana. We all agreed, for that price it was a must to try a Cabana once – when else would we ever do it again unless traveling in a big group again?
Once we boarded the ship, Allison and Steve were contacted to find out who all would be in our Cabana and get enough bracelets for each of us. Cabana guests are issued wristbands to make it easy to identify you and your access to the Cabana area. The morning of our Castaway Cay day, we all decided to breakfast together. Then we ran back to our cabins to get our stuff and met on the dock to head to the Cabana check in as a group.
Check in went super fast, and shortly thereafter our “taxi” arrived to take us to our Cabana. It was an extra long golf cart, but still not long enough for a full group, 2 had to catch the next ride over. The ride takes us along the tramway for a bit, and then to a special entrance near the Cabanas and right up to the back door of our Cabana. We had reserved Cabana number 8 for this trip. There was an adorable little welcome sign at the Cabana with the family names of everyone in our Cabana.
Upon entering the Cabana we were impressed by the size. We had worried that the Cabana might be too small for nine of us, but assumed we’d rarely be there all at the same time so it would be fine. We were pleasantly surprised at how spacious the Cabana actually was. Inside was a closet with a safe, a counter area under which was a basket of towels and a stocked fridge. On top of it was a basket of snacks and a Navigator for the day. Inside was a sofa, two chairs, and three small tables. Outside were two lounge chairs and another small chair with an ottoman. Also outside was a small table with our suncreen basket – two different types. Just down the steps was our personal hammock. A little further down was our supply of floats and tubes. And further yet, a very empty beach with tons of chairs and umbrellas.
We all agreed that our Cabana had the absolute BEST view of any Cabana on the family ship.
After checking it out, loading up on sunscreen, half the group went for the water and half decided to go for a bike ride. As we were headed off for our bike ride a surprise was headed to our Cabana thanks to our incredible dining staff on board (more on that in a future article). We enjoyed a leisurely ride around the island (my favorite thing to do on Castaway Cay) and then came back to join the others in the water. Before we knew it, it was lunch time.
Part of the island expansion was the opening of Cookies Too. The location is FANTASTIC for Cabana guests, just outside our entry gate. We all decided that rather than find seats by cookies we’d bring our lunch back to the Cabana to eat. Upon arriving we worried momentarily about space again – but there was actually PLENTY of room for the 9 of us to eat in the Cabana. As we were wrapping up lunch we got a surprise visit from Carina (our dining room manager) and Fitz (one of the head servers) to check on us. These were just a few of the staff members on board who gave us several magical experiences and we loved the visit – even if they were there to make sure we weren’t getting into any trouble!
After lunch some of us decided to go shopping and walking, a few went parasailing, one went snorkling, and another decided to enjoy the Cabana and read a book. Then it was back in the water for the ladies. It was a windy day that day, and the wind kept pushing us toward the rope edging off the Cabana portion of the water. We fought the wind for a bit and decided to instead drag some chairs into the water and sit and visit while enjoying the views. One of the things we decided we really loved was the private beach. We could see the nearby family beach and it was MOBBED. But our private beach was delightfully bare and nice and quiet. Even more so then Serenity Bay typically is!
So, at the end of this post you are probably wondering, was it worth it and would we do it again. The answer is an absolute YES. We weren’t halfway through our day when people started commenting that we had to travel with a group from here on out so we could book Cabanas and share the cost. My favorite comment came later in the day. Allison commented to Steve that she knew a Cabana was awfully expensive for just the two of them but she was REALLY REALLY loving it. Steve responded something along the lines of “I think we can work something out”.