The little paradise is teeming with fun activities, from snorkeling to banana boat rides to bike rentals and more. There are multiple beaches with swimming and lounge chairs, as well as play areas for the kids and restaurants to enjoy a seaside bite. But before there was Castaway Cay, there was another island…one that FAILED.
Back before the days of Disney Cruise Line, Disney had a partnership with Premier Cruise Lines. Premier was started by two men who wanted to make the cruise industry more accessible for families, because, at that time, it was mostly a vacation for the wealthy. Premier started its journey in 1983, subsequently buying the Oceanic and refurbishing it in a “not-so-luxurious” fashion.
Around that time, Disney was looking to add some variety to vacation offerings, so they partnered with Premier Cruise Lines to offer “Land and Sea” vacations at Walt Disney World. Then in 1985, Disney characters began making appearances on the Oceanic (commonly known as “The Big Red Boat”), and Disney-themed onboard activities were offered. Eventually the land and sea vacation model became so popular that they added two new ships — the Majestic and the Atlantic.
With this popularity, Premier Cruise Lines was in need of more hot-ticket destinations for sailing. They had stops at Freeport and Nassau, but the next step came in the form of a private island at Great Guana Cay in the Bahamas. The place was named Treasure Island, but it had some problems right from the start.
In order to create a channel for the ships to get close to the island, Disney and Premier Cruise Lines had to dredge the bay. However, the dredging was unsuccessful, because the tides just kept refilling the dredged area with silt over and over again. Therefore, Disney abandoned the island, leaving the structures behind that had been built there.
Disney went on to build Castaway Cay in the late 1990s and the Disney Magic set sail in 1998, joined by the Disney Wonder shortly after. Premier Cruise Lines struggled after Disney pulled out, due in part to their older, smaller ships. The company went bankrupt in 2000. However, they started a trend of family cruising that has made the entire tourism industry more accessible for families to this day!
And now, Disney’s in the process of constructing a SECOND private island. Lighthouse Point will also be situated in The Bahamas, located in Eleuthera, where you will able to explore the natural world around you. With this new construction, Disney is taking a special interest in conservation, creating good economic opportunities for the area, and strengthening the community.
Lighthouse Point construction began earlier this year, and the website for the island notes that it’s scheduled to be operational in the first half of 2024. We can’t wait to check it out on a Disney Cruise Line sailing in the future. The concept art has definitely piqued our interest!
We’ll continue to watch progress on Lighthouse Point, hoping that it’s a bigger success than Disney’s old Treasure Island. With more ships being constructed for Disney Cruise Line and more destinations added, there are a lot of reasons to sail these days.
Disney just launched the Disney Wish in the summer of 2022, and it has been quite popular since. The new ship has new dining options, entertainment, and activities for a variety of guests. We got to sail on the ship before its maiden voyage, so check out our coverage if you’re interested in the Disney Wish as a vacation option!
Have you ever been on a Disney Cruise? Tell us in the comments!