Castaway Cay | Cruise port of call | CruiseBe
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Castaway Cay

Castaway Cay is a private island in the Bahamas which serves as an exclusive port for the Disney Cruise Line ships. It is located near Great Abaco Island and was formerly known as Gorda Cay. In 1997, The Walt Disney Company purchased a 99-year land lease for the cay from the Bahamian government, set to expire in 2096, giving the company substantial control over the guest experience on the island.

The island is still largely undeveloped: only 55 of the 1,000 acres (4.0 km2) are being used. Castaway Cay now has 90-140 permanent residents who keep the island running daily; the numbers fluctuate between the busy season and off season.

History

Gorda Cay was first settled in 1783. Gorda' airstrip (now Castaway Cay Airport) was once used as a stop in the 1930s for bootleggers then for drug runners.

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Castaway Cay

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Castaway Cay is a private island in the Bahamas which serves as an exclusive port for the Disney Cruise Line ships. It is located near Great Abaco Island and was formerly known as Gorda Cay. In 1997, The Walt Disney Company purchased a 99-year land lease for the cay from the Bahamian government, set to expire in 2096, giving the company substantial control over the guest experience on the island.

The island is still largely undeveloped: only 55 of the 1,000 acres (4.0 km2) are being used. Castaway Cay now has 90-140 permanent residents who keep the island running daily; the numbers fluctuate between the busy season and off season.

History

Gorda Cay was first settled in 1783. Gorda' airstrip (now Castaway Cay Airport) was once used as a stop in the 1930s for bootleggers then for drug runners.

Gorda Cay had also been used for filming in 1983. The beach where Tom Hanks first encounters Daryl Hannah in Splash is on the island. Part of the film, Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, was filmed on the island.

In 1996, the Disney Cruise Line purchase Gorda Cay as the line's private island and renamed it Castaway Cay. The company spend $25 million while construction took 18 months This included dredging 50,000 truckloads of sand from the depths of the Atlantic Ocean. The pier and its approaches were constructed to allow the Disney ships to dock alongside, thus removing the need for tenders to get the passengers ashore. To create the mooring site for the ships, workers dredged sand and used explosives to blast coral, and form a 1,700-foot (520 m) channel about 35 feet (11 m) deep and ranging from 200 to 400 feet (120 m) wide.

On February 26, 2015, a passenger drowned in the sea near the island and a near drowning occurred the next day. A death from a medical condition occurred on March 1 of that year on a ship docked at the island.

Facilities

A post office on the island has special Bahamian postage specific to Disney Cruise Line, and a "Castaway Cay" postmark. The island is developed in the theme of a castaway community, with buildings made to look as if they had been improvised after a shipwreck. The facilities are maintained like any other Disney theme park, and the shops accept guests' stateroom keys for payment. The food service is operated as an extension of the cruise package. A variety of activities are available to guests including bicycle hire, personal watercraft rental, massages overlooking the ocean, snorkeling, para-sailing, volleyball and basketball. There are monkey bars and a rope for children to climb across set about 30 metres (98 ft) in the ocean on one beach and a slide about 25 metres (82 ft) into the ocean on another beach. There are three beaches for guests: one for families, one for Cabana guests, and another exclusively for adults, called Serenity Bay.

Two submarine-ride vehicles from the now-closed 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea: Submarine Voyage ride at Walt Disney World lie underwater in the snorkeling area. The Flying Dutchman pirate ship, from the Pirates of the Caribbean film series, was formerly on display in the lagoon, but as of November 2010, it had been removed and taken to another location on the island where it was dismantled.

Castaway Cay has facilities for the exclusive use of the ships' crews, including beaches and recreational areas. A staff of 145 custodians, boat captains, drivers, landscapers, and maintenance personnel live on the island, and are supplemented by crew from the ship when one is in port. Food and other supplies are brought in by the ships themselves. Sea water is desalinated for drinking with reverse osmosis water processors.

Castaway Cay Airport (ICAO: MYAG) is a private use airport located on the island. The airport is infrequently used, although it is still listed as active.


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Castaway Cay: Port Information


Cruise ships dock at the pier. Everything is within walking distance.  

Get around Castaway Cay


At Castaway Cay, there is a tram service that has two different lines. One line goes from the harbor to Pelican Point, with a stop in between at Scuttle's Cove. The other line goes from Pelican Point to Serenity Bay, and requires a transfer between trams at Pelican Point.

Bicycles can be rented near the Pelican Point tram stop to get around the island. There is also a marked 5K running course.

What to see in Castaway Cay


Beaches are amazing! Spend a perfect day at the beach.

What to do in Castaway Cay


If sunbathing is too boring for you:
  • Try a glass bottom boat
  • Send a post card to your friend and family from the post office
  • Go snorkeling

What to eat and drink in Castaway Cay


Food and drinks included, for non-included drinks you can pay with your cruise card.

Shopping in Castaway Cay


The shops on-board and at Castaway Cay are duty-free. A seminar is available, usually during the first day of the cruise, that will explain the ins and outs of shopping on a Disney Cruise. While it applies especially to the ports of call, its Customs restrictions apply to on-board shopping as well.

All shopping on-board and at Castaway Cay requires your room key or Key to the World card, with expenses charged to your room account. Most shops in Nassau take American currency, as the Bahamian dollar is pegged to the American dollar. Just make sure you get your change in American currency; Bahamian coins come in some rather exotic denominations, and of course are not legal tender in the United States.

Safety in Castaway Cay


The island is quite safe.

Language spoken in Castaway Cay


English, and most employees speak Spanish.

LOCAL TIME

12:03 am
December 15, 2018
America/Nassau

CURRENT WEATHER

25.66 °C / 78.188 °F
light rain
Sat

23.76 °C/75 °F
light rain
Sun

23.83 °C/75 °F
moderate rain
Mon

24.09 °C/75 °F
sky is clear
Tue

24.52 °C/76 °F
light rain

LOCAL CURRENCY

BSD

1 USD = 1 BSD
1 EUR = 1.13 BSD
1 GBP = 1.26 BSD
1 AUD = 0.72 BSD
1 CAD = 0.75 BSD

Latest travel blogs about Castaway Cay



Photo by Warfieldian/Wiki/CC BY-SA 3.0

Disney Cruise Private Island: Virtual Tour of the Bahamian Paradise


Dear friends, it’s time for another virtual tour of the Bahamian paradise. This time we’ll visit romantic Castaway Cay, the Disney Cruise private island . It’s time to get some inspiration! Photo by Warfieldian/Wiki/CC BY-SA 3.0 As we’ve mentioned, Castaway Cay is a private cruise port of...