Great Stirrup Cay, Bahamas

Great Stirrup Cay is a tender port – Ships have to anchor off Great Stirrup Cay and tender passengers ashore by boat. When tendering is required, guests using mobility devices will not be transferred into or out of the tender. Many tender ports do not provide wheelchair access so even if the guest can board the tender they may not be able to disembark ashore. Again the shore-side facilities, movement of the tender, weather and tidal conditions can also preclude tendering.

Great Stirrup Cay, Bahamas

Join Norwegian Cruiselines on the private island of Great Stirrup Cay. Four square miles of white beaches and coconut palm trees. Great Stirrup Cay features great swimming and snorkeling. Enjoy a barbecue Bahamas-style or do some shopping at the straw market to make your island experience complete.

Great Stirrup Cay is a private island, owned by Norwegian Cruise Lines, situated in The Bahamas in the Atlantic Ocean.

Recent renovations have included new facilities such as dining and bar areas, welcome pavilion, private beachfront cabanas, children’s play area, straw market and Aqua Park. The island has five beaches, but four are unmaintained.

Shore excursions on offer include snorkelling, stingray adventures, eco-tours, kayaking and parasailing. There is also beach volleyball and ping pong.

There is one main bar and two smaller bars located at the east end of the beach.

A straw market features several stands that sell t-shirts and other usual Caribbean souvenirs.

An island barbecue is offered for free to all visitors.

The disabled cruiser visiting Great Stirrup Cay

Since the cruise ship does not dock and the disabled cruiser is tendered to the island from out in the harbor; if the water is too rough, the captain may not let the disabled cruiser off the ship. Anyone with limited mobility would have some difficulty. Anyone in a wheelchair would have to be carried on and off the tender.

Where You’re Docked

Great Stirrup Cay is an anchorage port. Passengers transfer to shore via ship’s tender.

The ship anchors outside of port and uses tenders to transfer passengers to and from shore. The tender journey lasts approximately 10 minutes and once ashore it’s less than a two-minute walk from the dock to the reception/information kiosk where excursions can also be booked. Restrooms and beach wheelchairs are located nearby.

Good to Know

There are plans to install lockers on the island, but for the moment it’s best to leave valuables on the ship. That being said, the island has a local straw market, so if you like shopping then be sure to bring some cash; small denominations work best.

To avoid nasty cuts and scrapes underfoot, it’s also worth packing some water shoes in your luggage. Great Stirrup Cay is famed for its coral and while it’s pretty to look at if you go swimming or snorkeling, it’s dangerous to stand on.

While more natural shade is now present thanks to the planting of extra palm trees, there are also clamshell sunshades available to rent. These can be purchased with your room key, which will also be needed to buy drinks and shore excursions during your stay on the island.

Getting Around

On foot: 

By car: 

By bus:


Local currency is the Bahamian dollar, but vendors at the straw market will accept U.S dollars. (The exchange rate is typically 1 to 1.) It’s important to note that credit cards won’t be accepted on the island and there are no ATMs.


The country’s national language is English. A local, Bahamian dialect does exist, but you’re unlikely to hear it on Great Stirrup.


The Berried Treasures Bazaar is a colorful straw market located close to the tender dock. It sells local trinkets and souvenirs; handwoven straw bags, jewelery, textiles, etc.; but you’ll need small denominations of cash (U.S or Bahamian dollars) for purchases. Although attractive, none of the offerings are particularly cheap.

Alcohol, souvenirs and shore excursions will cost extra. Onboard accounts can be used by passengers to purchase beverages and shore excursions but money will be required for any items bought from vendors.

Points of Interest

  • Great Stirrup Cay – a seven-

Great Stirrup Cay Accessible Excursions

Whether your cruise ship stops in 

Great Stirrup Cay Accessible Guided Tour

This 4 hour accessible