Disney shares fresh looks at its new Bahamian experience

March 12, 2024, 4:52 PM · We are just about three months away now from the opening of Disney's new private port of call in The Bahamas.

Disney Lookout Cay at Lighthouse Point on the island of Eleuthera will open to Disney Cruise Line guests in June. The new port of call joins Disney's Castaway Cay as exclusive DCL destinations. While Imagineers designed Castaway Cay as an idyllic day on a tropical beach, for Lookout Cay, Imagineers have worked with local artists to provide Disney's cruise guests with a sampling of Bahamian culture during their time on shore.

To that end, Disney today released a video of the Junior Junkanoo on Eleuthera, a student celebration of The Bahamas' cultural identity. Disney has been supporting Junior Junkanoo on Eleuthera during its development on Lighthouse Point.

Back at Lighthouse Point, Disney also is sharing photos of new construction at Lookout Cay, including the soon-to-be-decorated tram stop where Disney Cruise Line guest will begin their Lookout Cay experience.

Tram Stop

Disney also shared a photo of the seashell-inspired canopies that will provide shade for guests as they lunch at Lookout Cay's True-True Too BBQ.

True-True Too BBQ

Finally, work continues on the upcharge Mabrika Cove Cabanas, designed by Bahamian artists, that will be available to Disney Cruise Line guests.

Mabrika Cove Cabanas

For more about this new port of call, please check out Disney looks to celebrate Bahamian culture in new port of call.

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Replies (8)

March 13, 2024 at 9:56 AM

I'm not a cruiser, but my parents are, and don't give a lick about a line's "private island" when making decisions on their next voyage. I get the idea of having a port of call that's completely under your control to offer a curated experience, but given how big and advanced the newer ships are these days, it seems superfluous to plow all this money into private beaches and the like that are occupied maybe 80-100 days a year.

March 13, 2024 at 10:49 AM

Russell's questioning the wisdom of a Disney expansion. Okay then. Let me just peruse the comments over at the most recent TPI BlogFlume regarding Disneyland Forward and see what's going on over there.

March 13, 2024 at 11:15 AM

@TH - My point being that cruisers don't typically make decisions on a single port of call, particularly when it's a private island common to shorter Caribbean itineraries. Ultimately, cruise passengers are a "captive audience" whether they're on the ship or on a private island, so what's the point of creating these fancy resort-style beaches that are only used a third or a quarter of the year at most (and only represent a small percentage of a guest's itinerary). I just don't see the return on investment here even if Disney has 2 ships cruising the Atlantic/Caribbean, which would at most utilize this POC 3 days a week (assuming constant turnover with one ship doing 3/4 day itineraries and the other doing 7-day voyages).

March 13, 2024 at 3:21 PM

I have a long essay planned for Lookout Cay when it opens (want to actually see it before committing to it, of course), but I suspect that Disney is trying to create demand for something relatively new for the cruise industry here - a curated "authentic" cultural experience.

We'll see how it works.

March 14, 2024 at 5:41 AM

Ah well RM, what are you gonna do? Since the company announced it, some have can't understand why "Disney is still pushing this rock uphill". I'm sure developing Lookout Cay "baffles" some people.

March 14, 2024 at 8:12 AM

@TH - I think there's a pretty big difference here. Disneyland is a resort that has limited growth opportunities because of the current restrictions on expansion of the property, thus pushing the DisneylandForward proposal unlocks a massive opportunity to increase the capacity and draw of that resort. If these new properties were not to become available, Disneyland would be stuck playing musical chairs trying to improve the resort with very little space to truly expand the parks. Disney is "pushing that rock uphill" because the PR campaign needed to win the approval of DisneylandForward means the California resort will be able to grow and evolve into the next decade.

With Lookout Cay, Disney is plowing money into a development that would not even 50% utilized (Disney doesn't have enough cruises/ships to discharge passengers at the island every other day of the year). It's certainly not unprecedented for cruise companies to own their own island, and in fact Disney already owns one that is a common Port of Call for their Caribbean itineraries (Castaway Cay), and those facilities essentially allow cruise lines to pad their revenues by controlling every potential activity cruisers can do during a shore day. However, did DCL really need another private island, and can this new Port of Call really provide the same ROI as a theme park expansion or even a new cruise ship?

Obviously, I'm not going to do anything about this. The die is cast, and Disney has already invested in Lookout Cay, but as a theme park fan and a close watcher of what The Walt Disney Company does as a leader of that industry, it seems that the money being spent on Lookout Cay will not provide the same return as what they will get from what they may spend on DisneylandForward.

March 14, 2024 at 10:17 AM

The people that go on Disney cruises don't care where the ship stops. Its not even a consideration they just care about how much the cruise will be and if its a Disney ship or not.

March 14, 2024 at 2:04 PM

@francis: I think you hit the nail on the head. People who are Disney “lifestylers” and want to remain in the bubble of a Disney-curated experience while on vacation would be much more apt to splurge on all the magical upcharges this Port of Call will undoubtedly offer. And I would wager that a majority of the passengers on a Disney Cruise are those who would consider themselves to be the “lifestylers” stated above. More serious cruisers or veteran travelers of other cruiselines I would wager might want to indulge more in the local flavor of a regular port of call as opposed to a Disney beach.

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