Great Stirrup Cay is NCL’s private island in the Bahamas, this little slice of paradise offers a low cost port for those who whish. As you can imagine just like any other privately owned port, everything here is controlled by Norwegian. So you wont be able to find any non-NCL tours to book outside of what is offered in NCL’s website or the cruise ship. This is not always a bad thing, in this case the port is so small that it actually works great for them.
We visited Great Stirrup Cay on the NCL Sky, and this was our very first cruise ship port ever. So as you can imagine we were very excited just to be on Great Stirrup Cay on the first place. I had done my research, and in order to avoid the lines of the tender I decided to rent a Clam Shell to get tickets for the tender. As you arrive to Great Stirrup Cay you notice that it is fairly small, although it is currently in development and they are expanding the beach area. Of course for you that means that reaching some of the quieter beaches require a longer walk further away. When you walk in to your right there are a few local vendors who travel by boat early in the morning and set up to sale some local crafts and cloths. The prices in Great Stirrup Cay are pretty much non-negotiable, so if you’re planning to find a bargain I suggest you wait for another port like Nassau.
Great Stirrup cay local stores
The main beach area in Great Stirrup Cay is to your right just passed the vendor area, that is also where they setup the clam shells. I seriously suggest not renting a clam shell, as they are so packed together that the views are just horrible, and what is even worse is how hot they get. We were forced to ditch our clam shell, and find shade of a palm tree. The main beach is kind of small, and also slightly rocky in my opinion, although not as bad as Labadee. We also found a very strong smell, almost like the smell you experience from contained water in a sewer, I kid you not. Maybe not as strong, but still noticeable. Maybe it had to do with some water that was too stuck to the right of the main beach area, they should consider draining that, and building a drain for when it rains. Snorkeling in Great Stirrup Cay is just about average, with a normal variety of fish, but nothing out of the ordinary. I suggest you bring your own Equipment to avoid paying the rental fees, although you will be forced to rent the vest for “extra safety”, I think it’s just a way for them to make extra money.
Since Great Stirrup Cay is a private island you can use your key card to purchase drinks at the bars, and it will be billed to final cruise account. Another benefit is that all the food is included in your cruise fare, and they have an extensive buffet to show for it. You will find your usual BBQ food, and some other additional items. We were satisfied with the food that day, I had a big hamburger, and my mom had a bit of chilly and some beef.
Great Stirrup cay float rentals
- Fancy Snorkel Adventure $29
- Wave runner rentals $69
- Parasail $79
- Cabana Rental $299
- Kayak Tour $44
- Hyppo Water Slide $15
- Stand Up Paddle Board $19
While no where near as much activities as other ports you will visit, it is still enough in Great Stirrup Cay to keep you entertained for the day. But this port is essentially a lazy beach day, in my opinion, and good place to enjoy with good company. Just to add they also offer rent floats right next to the snorkel equipment center. They are great for those who have children, and did bring any with them.
Great Stirrup cay paddle boards
Keep in mind Great Stirrup Cay is a tendering port, so there are some limitations. Another thing to note is that large ships like Breakaway, might make the tendering process longer than on smaller ships. You might want to think into reserving a float, just so you don’t have to wait for the tender ticketing to begin, and you can just board whenever you feel like it. It will be interesting to see how 4600 people spread out in this small island. I thought that Great Stirrup Cay already felt slightly over crowded with a ship like the Sky that has a capacity of 2,009 people aboard. I guess time will tell. I plan on adding more Great Stirrup Cay Photos in the near future.
Great Stirrup Cay Map
Great Stirrup cay view from the ship.