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

Twelve days earlier than my household and I had been set to embark on our first Disney cruise, I received an e-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 could lease 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 foods and drinks service or entry to an unique seashore space.

After doing a victory dance in my workplace (good factor I make money working from home), I began to daydream about what I might 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, surprising upsides of the Castaway Cay cabanas?

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This is what I realized, in addition to every little thing it’s good to find out about Castaway Cay cabanas.

Find out how to guide a cabana on Castaway Cay

Castaway Cay cabana. CHLOE RICE/DISNEY

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 often 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 guide shore excursions earlier than the remainder of their shipmates can.

The early reserving alternative is likely one of the methods I used to be capable of persuade my husband that we must always shell out for a concierge suite. He wasn’t exhausting 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 blissful hour with free drinks and a assure that we would not have to sit down 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 understand that it is probably irresponsible and a bit foolish to pay further for a concierge room as a way to pay further for a cabana, however we did it anyway. Name it “Disney math.”

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

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This is the factor about reserving a cabana as a concierge visitor: You are not really reserving the cabana 123 days out. As an alternative, 123 days earlier than your embarkation date, you possibly can e-mail the concierge crew, they usually’ll guide your cabana for you when the 120-day window opens up. Concierge company are in competitors with the Platinum members of the Castaway Membership, however concierge company have concierges making the reservation, which can or might not confer a bonus.

Word that when you have not paid in your cruise in full by the point your reserving window opens, you won’t be able to make a reservation, so make that last fee early. That is very true should you booked and are paying by a journey agent. It might take a number of days for the fee to register with Disney if it is going by a 3rd social gathering, and that delay might 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 crew despatched an e-mail 4 days earlier than reservations opened with all the small print we would have to request a cabana, in addition to pricing. Reserving opened at midnight, and we simply wanted to e-mail our requests to the crew. I scheduled my reply e-mail (“CABANA PLEASE!”) for precisely midnight and waited. And waited.

After two days with no reply, I emailed once more, and the concierge crew informed 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 finally paid off.

How a lot do Castaway Cay cabanas price?

Household seashore cabanas. KENT PHILLIPS/DISNEY

An everyday household cabana on Castaway Cay prices $797.30 for as much as six company, with further company costing $56 a head, although company underneath the age of three are free. You may have as much as 10 company in an everyday household cabana. The grand household cabana prices $1,127.50 and might host 10 individuals. As much as six further company could be added to a grand household cabana for $56 per individual.

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 company and $56 per individual for every further visitor, with a most of 10 individuals per reservation. All company should 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 mild snacks, sand toys and a fridge stocked with water, gentle drinks and chilled towels. There’s additionally a Bluetooth speaker, so you possibly can play your personal 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 company get free snorkel tools and bicycle leases, and the cabana seashore has loads of floats for company to make use of. It is very nice that these are included, as these rental prices can actually add up, particularly when you 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 dwelling 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 possibly can shut.

Inside, the cabana has a cushty sofa and chairs, in addition to a small curtained-off altering space. A small closet with a secure is a brilliant addition as a result of there isn’t any actual strategy to safe the cabana itself. Then again, it is fairly foolish to convey any valuables to the seashore. (All purchases on Castaway Cay are made together with your cruise card, so that you needn’t convey 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 out of doors freshwater bathe, in addition to further lounge chairs on the seashore. Cabanas should not have non-public loos, although a cabana-only restroom is a brief stroll away. Cabana company get lunch on the similar buffet (Cookie’s Too) as company on the household seashore.

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

This is one factor that’s not included in a cabana on Castaway Cay: crowds. As I floated blissfully alone within the water of the cabana seashore, I might 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. In contrast, the cabana space was quiet and serene.

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Who ought to guide a Castaway Cay cabana


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 might extra simply share the fee.

In case 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 exhausting to make the cabana quiet, cool and darkish. Whereas I might hear some seashore noise, it was quiet sufficient for me to sleep. In case you have a white-noise app in your telephone, you possibly can join it to the cabana’s speaker to dam outdoors sounds.

Whereas there isn’t any air-conditioning to blast in a Castaway Cay cabana, it is a wonderful strategy to settle down from the Bahamian warmth. In case you’re touring with somebody who’s delicate to warmth and solar (like yours really), a cabana could possibly be the distinction between a full seashore day and heading again to the ship early.

What’s not nice a couple of cabana on Castaway Cay

Castaway Cay cabana. KENT PHILLIPS/DISNEY

Our cabana expertise was not totally Mickey bars and Dole Whip. It missed the mark in a number of respects.

For one, sure cabanas are set shut collectively. As a result of it is so exhausting to guide a cabana, you need to take what you will get. We might hear different households of their cabanas, and I noticed a number of youthful children going to the mistaken cabana after they left the water.

The altering space can be not probably 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 needed to, they’d have the ability to see in. Do not anticipate to lounge round in your birthday swimsuit.

Disney thoughtfully shares cabanas with sunscreen (together with a baby-friendly method), so company do not must lug it from the ship. Sadly, the Coppertone sunscreens offered weren’t reef secure. It is disappointing that Disney wasn’t serious 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. This 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 value it?

Castaway Cay cabana. KENT PHILLIPS/DISNEY

For my anti-social household, the cabana on Castaway Cay was 100% value 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 nicely definitely worth the worth of admission. The stocked fridge and snacks had been additionally extra “value 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 might benefit from the seashore whereas we ran, reasonably 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 nice stroll again to the ship, reasonably than a sticky, sandy hike.

Despite the fact that I’ve skilled extra luxurious seashore cabanas and villas, a cabana on Disney Cruise Line’s Castaway Cay is the very best 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 might get a cabana in your Disney cruise, I encourage you to go for it. It is positively definitely worth the cash.

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