Norwegian Cruise Line’s island of Great Stirrup Cay was the first private resort created by a cruise line. Guests have been able to enjoy this small Bahamas island off the coast of Florida for decades when sailing on many of the line’s ships including Norwegian Sky, Norwegian Epic, and Norwegian Breakaway. If your next cruise has you calling at this island, you are in luck. There are a variety of things to do and see during your time ashore. The Princess and I just returned from a stop at GSC on Norwegian Sky, and we put together this list of our 10 Best Things to Do on Great Stirrup Cay to help make your cruise planning process a little easier.

10 Best Things to Do in Great Stirrup Cay

Take a Stroll around the Island

Whether this is your first visit to Great Stirrup Cay, or you have been here before, a self-guided tour of the island is a great way to spend the morning ashore. With the brand new walking path hugging much of the beach, you can stay close to the coast with ease. There is also construction taking place on the island which is expected to be completed by this fall, so take some time to explore all the new additions since your last visit to the island.

10 Best Things to do in Great Stirrup Cay10 Best Things to do in Great Stirrup Cay

Relax on the Beach

With 10 acres of beachfront property, you are sure to find your ideal spot for a little R&R. All of the lounge chairs on the island are first come, first serve, so make sure to get an early tender ticket for the best choice of seating. Basking in the Bahamas sun is a fine way to spend the day, but just make sure to pack the sunscreen and your beach towel from the ship. If you’d rather move your tanning session to the water, you can rent a floating mat ($15) to coast along the beach.

Top Things to do in Great Stirrup Cay10 Best Things to do in Great Stirrup Cay

Take a Dip in the Water

It is almost mandatory for you to at least dip your toes in the crystal clear water during your visit to Great Stirrup Cay. Swimming areas are clearly marked for safety. For families or those who need assistance swimming, floating vests can also be rented. If you are looking for a bit more adventure, you can rent a paddle board ($25) or take one of the kayak tours ($55) that give you a casual way to see the sea while visiting the Bahamas.

Explore the Depths Below

Are you ready to see what lies beneath Great Stirrup Cay? Well, head off on your own snorkeling adventure to see what marine life awaits you. You can use your own snorkel gear or rent it from a stand on the island (total with fins, vest, and mask is $29). If you’d prefer a more organized excursion, take a guided tour with the Reef Snorkeling and Sandbar Getaway ($59). During our trip, this 2.5 hour tour departed in the afternoon and included all gear and transportation, along with a 45 minute guided tour of a nearby reef.

Pet a Stingray

For those looking for a more tantalizing experience, you can spend part of your day at Stingray City ($69). Just a short boat ride away from Great Stirrup Cay, you can get face to face with a stingray. Don’t worry, you will be safe as the Southern Rays are used to interacting with people, and the guides will instruct you on how to properly feed and approach the creatures. From there, it will be time to get your underwater camera ready for some memorable photos to share on social media.

Top Things to do in Great Stirrup Cay10 Best Things to do in Great Stirrup Cay

Grab a Bite to Eat

You are bound to work up an appetite while ashore. Currently, there are a few complimentary options for dining on Great Stirrup Cay. The Jumbey Beach Grill offers barbecue lunch featuring hamburgers, hot dogs, pizza, and other light fare with a new layout that helps to reduce wait times. Brand new in 2017 is the Abaco Taco stand. Located on the northern part of the island, this casual take-out window features beef, chicken, and fish tacos with a toppings bar that allows you to customize each round (and there will be more than one).

Top Things to do in Great Stirrup Cay10 Best Things to do in Great Stirrup Cay

An Island Pub Crawl

For a small private island, Great Stirrup Cay does not skimp on the drinks. In fact, the island has 5 bars. You know what that means…Pub Crawl! The best part of this trip is there will be no bar bill if you have the Norwegian Ultimate Beverage Package. Yup, most alcoholic drinks served on the island are covered in this drink package. This is also true for those sailing on Norwegian Sky with the “open bar” promotion. Just make sure to include a few rounds of water in between your margaritas, frozen cocktails, and rum punches!

Top Things to do in Great Stirrup Cay10 Best Things to do in Great Stirrup Cay

Bring Home a Memento

If you are like the Princess, you can’t go somewhere without bringing back a little keepsake from the trip. Great Stirrup Cay includes a local’s marketplace, known as the Berried Treasure Bazaar, where you can purchase those souvenirs. These cash only stands include your typical island fare- handcrafted artifacts, t-shirts, key chains, and a selection of clothing and accessories. Even if you just like to window shop, take a hassle-free stroll through the area.

Top Things to do in Great Stirrup Cay10 Best Things to do in Great Stirrup Cay

Jet around the Island

If you want to kick things into overdrive while on Great Stirrup Cay, then a jet skis tour is perfect for you. This adrenaline-filled excursion includes about an hour of time skimming the water. Your guided tour will take you around the island for some high speed thrills. The experience starts at $99 a person for one wave runner. If you’d prefer to reach new heights, you could opt for the parasailing tour ($99) instead. These 5-7 minute flights will take you high above the island where you will get a whole new perspective on Great Stirrup Cay.

Upgrade Your Day with a Cabana

Want to really do it up in style during your day on this private island? Then, upgrade your typical beach day with a Cabana (starting at $299). These Cabanas feature optimal beach locations and include beach mats, towels, bottled water, and fresh fruit with your lush accommodations. A specialty menu is also available for you to order additional food and drinks to be delivered to you while you relax in luxury. Other options for shade include clam shell umbrellas ($29) which can be purchased beforehand or while on the island.

Top Things to do in Great Stirrup Cay10 Best Things to do in Great Stirrup Cay

There is also much more in store for Great Stirrup Cay. Recently, Norwegian Cruise Line announced several island enhancements that will be completed by the end of 2017. Among the upgrades will include a zip line and a new a la carte restaurant, the Landshark Bar and Grill. Plans are also in the works for a separate lagoon area that will feature a private restaurant and a secluded beach for guests of the Haven Suites or others who purchase day passes. You know what this means…we need another stop at Great Stirrup Cay to try out all of the new upgrades!


Have you visited Norwegian Cruise Line’s private island, Great Stirrup Cay? What is your favorite thing to do in this Bahamas port of call? Drop us an anchor below to share your favorite activities on the island.

10 Best Things to do in Great Stirrup Cay

Disclaimer: All prices listed were accurate as of the publish date of this article. For the most up to date pricing, be sure to visit

About the Author

DB & The Princess

Welcome Aboard! We are Don and Heidi, the husband and wife travel team behind We took our first cruise vacation together 10 years ago and have been hooked ever since. Follow along as we share our travel tips, cruise reviews, information on ports of call, and the latest cruise news to help you plan the ultimate cruise vacation. Are you ready to embark on your journey to “sea the world, one port at a time”? Read More...

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