Cruise Lines Upgrade Private Island Retreats

Soon there will be two new options for water-play fun on the island. One will be located in the youth activity area, known as Scuttle's Cove, offering pop jets and geysers on a soft, wet deck area that's shaped like a captain's wheel. This area is for kids only; Disney's youth counselors supervise the water play.

The second, Spring-a-Leak, is a splash park families can enjoy together. Parents not wanting to get wet can also watch their kids from shaded seating areas surrounding the venue (perhaps with a frozen Margarita in-hand?). Spring-a-Leak is being built to look like a storm-ravaged beach house, complete with dripping pipes, leaky faucets and "leftover" pieces of a corrugated steel roof.

Added Island Improvements: One of the most eye-catching changes will be the addition of Pelican Plunge, a 2,400-square-foot floating platform (within swimming distance of shore), where you can slide your way into the lagoon from two massive slides, shoot water cannons and get soaked when a giant bucket tips over. Best part: Unlike at Royal Caribbean's Labadee, this water park is free.

In order to accommodate the larger Disney Dream -- and host the extra 1,000 to 1,500 passengers (kids included) -- Castaway Cay's horseshoe-shaped Family Beach will be extended by more than 700 feet. And Disney "Imagineers" are making good use of the expanded space, adding a second lunch-buffet restaurant, a new beach bar, an additional tram stop and a second rental shack -- making it convenient to get food, drinks or water equipment on either side of the beach.

Cabana Bonanza: The new swath of beach will also be home to 16 new cabanas that look like mini Bahamian houses. Each will have a large front patio deck (with great views across the bay, plus its own little beach), cushy lounge chairs, a refrigerator, lockable storage unit and an outdoor (fresh water) shower. Best part: Raise the flag on your personal flagpole to alert a bartender when it's time for a drink.

Adults-only Serenity Bay will receive a handful of new cabanas, as well as new open-air massage cabanas. And, in Disney fashion, everything from the cabanas to the new splash parks will be tastefully decorated in muted pastels and nicely themed with tattered sail cloths, nautical rope and buoys to continue to give the island that "castaway" feel.

According to Disney officials, cabana rental rates have not yet been set; however, a variety of packages will be offered and will include everything from suntan lotion to a personal host.

Old Favorites: Families have enjoyed paddling out for a closer look at The Flying Dutchman, which appeared in Disney's Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest. Kids can still dig for (faux) whalebones and build race rafts at Scuttle's Cove. Fun and cheeky shops like "She Sells Sea Shells" sell Disney paraphernalia, which you can charge to your onboard account. The adults-only Serenity Bay area will remain blissfully quiet and serene.

Renovation Status: Work on all of the above is already underway and scheduled to be complete by summer 2010, in time for special five-night cruises aboard Disney Wonder, which will include two stops at Castaway Cay. In addition, Castaway Cay's existing dock is being lengthened to accommodate the new 2,500-passenger Disney Dream, which is scheduled to begin sailing in early 2011.

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