I am going to be the unpopular dissenting opinion here, but the stop at Castaway Cay was the only disappointment of our Disney cruise. While the island is beautiful, it is clear that Disney is more concerned with protecting themselves from lawsuits than they are about their guests having a nice time. Everything is HIGHLY regulated. There are signs everywhere warning guests of possible dangers (sharks! sea lice! rocks!). To snorkle, you have to wear these huge flourescent yellow lifevests, and if you don't the lifeguards will yell at you "SNORKLER! YOU MUST WEAR A YELLOW LIFEVEST TO SNORKLE!" You have to stay inside very strict areas which are roped off - anyone who attempted to move outside of the ropes was quickly chased down. As someone who travels and snorkels often, this was highly annoying. I was also yelled at by a lifeguard for gettiing too close to the rocks. Apparently I might slip and crack my head open and sue them??
The jet ski rentals were a joke and I am glad I did not spend my money on this tour. You could see these tours from the cruise ship, and in a straight line, everyone follows the guide, going a safe and slow speed, around a bend and in a circle - clearly this is for people who have never been on a jet ski? When I rent a jet ski (and pay $120/hour to do so), I want to go where I want and as fast as I want (safely, of course).
Lastly, they crowd the entire ship in to a very small area. It was like being at a bad waterpark. I had rented snorkles, hoping we could walk to a more secluded area where there weren't 4,000 people standing in the water, but no, this small beach area is the only place to go. There is an "adult" beach around the corner but we did not want to leave our kids - they like to snorkle as well. So I actually returned my snorkle and asked for my money back as the water was cloudy from everyone in it and clearly no fish would be in the area where hundreds of people are spashing and screaming.
The lunch buffet was small but good and the drinks at the little bar on the hlll were excellent (with a great view). I really wish this stop was not so regulated and that Disney was not so concerned with liability. I felt like I was being treated like an idiotic child. I had visions of roaming this beautiful island and finding a little spot for my family to snorkle and enjoy the beautiful beach, but alas, this was not the case at all. We actually all headed to the ship early after getting yelled at (again) by the lifeguards who looked miserable and angry. When I complained to a staff member she actually agreed with me that the rules and regulations were over the top. So unfortunately, I did not enjoy this island as much as I had hoped to. They do have some fun activities (the slides, the bikes) and the island itself is very beautiful, but we did not really enjoy our visit here as much as we had hoped.
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