castaway-cayClose your eyes and try to envision your perfect tropical paradise. Chances are it would look like Castaway Cay, a private island off of the Bahamas where I stopped recently while onboard the new Disney cruise ship, Fantasy.

Cast Away in Style

I had the enviable job of exploring Castaway Cay with a new camera phone I was checking out—Verizon’s HTC Rhyme. All these photos were taken with a camera phone. One of the funnest settings on the HTC Rhyme is panorama— check it out:

beachscene

Castaway Cay has plenty of your typical Caribbean island amenities— beach chairs with colorful umbrellas you can lounge under, boats and snorkeling gear to rent. Yet there are plenty of whimsical features that makes this island uniquely Disney.

disneycharsMostly, you don’t see the Disney gang. There were no costumed characters roaming about— that’s saved for the ship. Here on Castaway Cay, you really feel like you’re in the Caribbean. However, Disney has added special features that you wouldn’t find on most Caribbean islands. There are special areas for families and even a special section of the beach just for teens. Just follow the signs to the Hideout.

serenitybayIt’s about a 20 minute walk from the ship to my favorite spot, Serenity Bay. Here I found a tiki bar sitting up against crystal blue waters. When I was there in March the ocean temperature was perfect— warm, yet refreshing. Don’t feel like making the walk? There are shuttle buses that bring you to different areas of the island.

signpostsAs is typical with Disney, they’ve made everything easy for their guests. You don’t have to bother walking back to the ship for lunch. Nope, Disney brings it right to you on the island.

Goodbye Paradise, Hello Fantasy

seeyaOn our way back to boarding the Disney Fantasy cruise, we departed Castaway Cay in classic Caribbean style.

I sure hope to be back soon.

Andrea Guthmann is a freelance journalist focusing on family travel. She spent many years as a writer and producer for WTTW-TV, the PBS station in Chicago. Her travel stories have been published in the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times, Chicago Parent and on-line travel sites.