Travel Blog Writing For Imagine Cruising

Four Private Islands Only Accessible By Cruise Ship

Private islands are the epitome of exclusive holidays, usually the preserve of the super-wealthy with the means to buy their very own slice of paradise. However, some of the major cruise lines have bought entire private islands to offer their passengers the chance to experience places that aren’t accessible to any other holidaymakers on a Bahamas cruise. Although these islands may not have the local charm and culture found on other ports of call on a cruise, they boast facilities and beaches to rival any luxury resort hotel and activities that wouldn’t be out of place at a theme park.

1.      Castaway Cay

Castaway Cay is Disney Cruise Line’s private island in the Bahamas, offering some of the very best and widest range of activities of the cruise private islands. Unlike other private islands and rather handily, the four Disney ships – Wonder, Magic, Dream and Fantasy – can dock directly on the island avoiding the need for passengers to hop on to smaller boats to reach the shore.

The Castaway Family Beach offers plenty of traditional games and activities and has an abundance of shady spots and private cabanas which are welcome when the summertime temperatures reach 32°C. Adults can enjoy Serenity Bay Beach, strictly out-of-bounds for children, with its private cabanas, yoga classes and open-air massages. So that adults travelling with their children can indulge in the adults-only treats at Serenity Bay, free childcare for over 3s at the sandy Scuttle’s Cove is available, featuring a huge water play area with pop jets, geysers and bubblers.

Scuttle’s Cove isn’t the only water park on Castaway Cay. Children can enjoy two other expansive water play areas, covering a combined area of 4,800 square-foot to run, jump and splash about in. One of the water parks is a platform set swimming distance from the island with two waterslides that plunge riders into the lagoon.

On dry land, those looking to experience the natural side of Castaway Cay can hire bikes to cycle the paths around the island to spot native wildlife. Under the sea, snorkelling tours mapped out on the seabed make discovering the local sea turtles, conch and lobsters much easier. Guests can also participate in a stingray experience, where a guide teaches participants how to feed and touch them safely.

Disney ships sail to Castaway Cay all year round, and itineraries usually include at least a day to explore Castaway Cay.

2.      CocoCay

Cococay is Royal Caribbean’s and Celebrity Cruises’ exclusive stop-off on a Bahamas cruise, nestled in a collection of islands known as the Berry Islands. CocoCay is eco-certified for its environmentally friendly activities and tours that includes a guided nature walk ending at a secluded beach, one of three pristine white sand beaches on CocoCay.

Just like Royal Caribbean’s innovative and exciting activities on their ships, CocoCay does not disappoint for the fun-factor. Kids will love the aqua park, a floating playground set off the shore where they can bounce on over-water trampolines. Their parents might like to try paragliding for an aerial view of CocoCay paradise, snorkel around the coral reef, or simply indulge in total escapism and do absolutely nothing.

Royal Caribbean has a second private location, Labadee. It’s not an island, but a secluded destination on the northern coast of Haiti. Labadee’s claim to fame is the world’s longest zip line over water, 500 feet above the beaches. It also has a roller coaster to entice thrill-seekers who love the rides and flumes on-board the biggest Royal Caribbean ships like Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas.

3.      Great Stirrup Cay

Back in 1977, Norwegian Cruise Line was the first cruise line to offer a private island experience for its guests enjoying a Bahamas cruise, Great Stirrup Cay. In 2015 NCL invested $20 million in Great Stirrup Cay’s marina, which has made the process of ferrying passengers from the ship to the island much smoother. And NCL is set to continue to enhance Great Stirrup Cay more with new dining, cabanas, new family activities, entertainment and spa experiences to come.

With a distinct party vibe, Great Stirrup Cay is designed for fun, often with live music providing a backdrop to a typical Bahamian beach party atmosphere with barbeques and bars. The facilities may not be as varied as on the other islands, but there are still the obligatory water sports, hammocks for lazing in, and organised activities for children available to guarantee a great day at the beach. In summer 2017, Great Stirrup Cay will be visited by Norwegian Gem, sailing seven night itineraries from New York, and Norwegian Sky sailing three and four night itineraries from Miami.

4.      Half Moon Cay

Half Moon Cay is the private island for guests of Holland America Cruises and Carnival ships. This idyllic island has soft white sands, turquoise waters and shady palm trees, exactly what an island in the Bahamas should be. It boasts a status as an international wild bird preserve and nature trails are available to guests wanting to experience the natural environment. It offers memorable horseback rides along the shoreline and a stingray experience for guests to learn more about the sea life in and around Half Moon Cay.

This island also brings a higher level of luxury extras to its guests, offering them a butler service with their beachside cabanas. It even has an exclusive Oasis Cabana, set partially over the water, featuring a hot tub, wet bar, barbeque, indoor and outdoor showers, and dedicated massage area. A walkway from the cabana leads straight into the crystal clear sea. It also comes with the services of a personal chef, bartender and lifeguard. The Oasis Cabana can accommodate up to 25 people so it’s ideal for celebrations and large family holidays.

From November 2016, Holland America Line’s brand new ship, MS Koningsdam, will be sailing Caribbean itineraries calling at Half Moon Cay. Other Carnival and Holland America Line ships visit the island year round.

To speak to an expert about cruises that call at private islands, call 0800 840 5819 or visit Imagine Cruising for more inspiration.

Press Materials For 'Ukulele For Dummies'

Ukulele for Dummies

June 2011 – Ukulele for Dummies, the latest title from the bestselling reference series, guides wannabe ukulele players right the way through from buying their first ukulele to playing a variety of popular tunes. The small, guitar-style instrument, originally from Hawaii, has seen a huge surge in popularity – recent research showed the ukulele was the instrument that had grown most in popularity in the past year. Perhaps the biggest testament to the rise and rise of the ukulele was when the instrument featured in the season one finale of smash US hit, Glee.

A good starter ukulele can be bought for around £30-40, making the ukulele an affordable instrument to learn and its simplicity makes it ideal for first time musicians. Amy Lamé, broadcaster, writer and entertainer, is a huge fan of the diminutive instrument and will be hosting a Ukulele for Dummies session at the iTunes Festival in London on 3rd July to encourage people to take up the instrument, even if they’ve never played anything before. Lorraine Bow, respected Ukulele teacher, will be leading the session with Amy.

Amy commented, “The ukulele is a perfect instrument for musical dummies. Even if you’ve never picked up an instrument or consider yourself completely tone deaf, a few tunes on the ukulele can be mastered in no time and you’ll soon have everyone singing along camp-fire style!”

 Author Alistair Wood, is an accomplished ukulele player, transcriber and arranger. In Ukulele for Dummies, Al provides readers with easy-to-follow instructions to allow them to master simple chord progressions and play in variety of styles including Rock, Punk, Hawaiian and Reggae.

Press Materials For 'Beekeeping For Dummies'

Beekeeping For Dummies

Beekeeping For Dummies, the latest reference book that aims to Make Everything Easier, responds to a huge surge in interest in wannabe honey harvesters. Covering everything from starting a beehive, buying the right equipment and sourcing bees to maintaining a healthy colony and harvesting honey, Beekeeping For Dummies is the ideal guide for beginner beekeepers, anyone taking a beekeeping course or with a general interest in the plight of the honey bee.

In 2011, the British Beekeeping Association has 21,936 members - an impressive increase of 121 per cent in just four years.

In his new book, author and River Cottage teacher David Wiscombe explores the benefits of beekeeping, providing readers with an impressive guide on everything they will need to know about keeping bees of their own.

Inside readers can learn:

  • The latest information on the causes and effects of bee disease, colony collapse disorder, and the impact the sudden disappearance of the honeybee has on our environment and economy
  • Information on beekeeping in the UK, specifically written to address our climate
  • Buying equipment and locating hives
  • Seasonal beekeeping tasks, local beekeeping associations, and updated content on urban beekeeping
  • Techniques and tips for harvesting, bottling, packaging, and selling honey

As the practice of self-sufficiency grows ever more popular, Beekeeping For Dummies is an ideal source of information for anyone wishing to start housing their own bees and bottling their own honey.

Press Materials For 'For Dummies UK Roadshow'


For Dummies, the reference brand with the mantra to “make everything easier” will tour six cities throughout the UK over half term to host workshops based on some of the most popular books in the range. The roadshow marks 20 years of the iconic yellow-and-black brand and 200 million global book sales.

A For Dummies bus filled with some of the UK’s favourite For Dummies books will visit the city centres of Edinburgh, Newcastle, Manchester, Birmingham, Bristol and Portsmouth. In each city, three interactive workshops based on the books will be led by local experts and For Dummies authors, showing residents and visitors top tips and tricks to navigate new topics and giving them the chance to get hands-on with a new hobby. Many of the workshops are family friendly for all ages to get involved with and participants can turn up on the day to take part. iPads and Kindles will be on display in the For Dummies bus offering the chance to see e-books in action.

EDINBURGH – Castle Street – Thursday 20th October

10:00am – 12:00pm         Photography For Dummies

12:30pm – 2:30pm           Learning Spanish For Dummies

3:00pm – 5:00pm             DJ-ing For Dummies

NEWCASTLE – Grainger Street– Saturday 22nd October

10:00am – 12:00pm         Social Networking For Dummies

12:30pm – 2:30pm           Football For Dummies

3:00pm – 5:00pm             Fashion For Dummies

MANCHESTER – Piccadilly – Monday 24th October

10:00am – 12:00pm         Green Living For Dummies

12:30pm – 2:30pm           Flirting For Dummies

3:00pm – 5:00pm             Origami For Dummies

 BIRMINGHAM – Victoria Square – Tuesday 25th October

10:00am – 12:00pm         Fitness For Dummies

12:30pm – 2:30pm           British Sign Language For Dummies

3:00pm – 5:00pm             Guitar For Dummies

BRISTOL – Central Promenade – Friday 28th October

10:00am – 12:00pm         Keeping Chickens For Dummies

12:30pm – 2:30pm           Diagnosing Your Health Symptoms For Dummies

3:00pm – 5:00pm             Beekeeping For Dummies

PORTSMOUTH – Guildhall Square – Saturday 29th October

10:00am – 12:00pm         Mindfulness For Dummies

12:30pm – 2:30pm           Gadgets For Dummies

3:00pm – 5:00pm             Ukulele For Dummies

Participants at the sessions will receive a £5 voucher redeemable against any For Dummies book at any branch of WHSmith.

Press Materials For 'A Dad's Guide To Pregnancy For Dummies'

Dad's Guide To Pregnancy For Dummies

As birth rates in England and Wales reach a 40 year high, a glut of men are facing fatherhood for the first time. Dad’s Guide to Pregnancy For Dummies from Wiley is a practical information book to help navigate dads-to-be through the sometimes precarious areas of conception, visits to the doctor, women’s changing bodies, sex, labour and delivery.

Dad’s Guide to Pregnancy For Dummies is authored by Dr Roger Henderson, a practicing NHS GP for more than 20 years. Throughout the guide, Dr Henderson prepares future fathers to maximise their involvement throughout the pregnancy, birth and beyond in a frank and informal style. Highlights of the book include Ten Ways to Be a Super Dad From Day One and a very handy Ten Things She Won’t Ask For But Will Expect.

Dr Henderson said, “A man’s role in pregnancy can never be underestimated and it’s not unusual for future dads to need a few practical pointers to help understand what their partner is experiencing and the best ways to help. From the beginning, dads need to know how to help survive morning sickness, how to expect the unexpected as well as practical tips on dealing with the high costs of having a baby.”

The 2nd edition of Pregnancy For Dummies (£15.99), also publishes in October 2011. Written by Dr Roger Henderson and Dr Sarah Jarvis, the 2nd edition features new guidance on medical and nutritional information as well as changes in NHS practice to prepare and reassure mums ahead of the birth.