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YankeesFan4Life

Harvest Caye - Completely Disappointed

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Was just there last week on the NCL Breakaway.  Honestly, it was a beautiful location, very clean and seemed like a lot to do.  The 15,000 sq ft pool was breathtaking and definitely relaxing for sure.  The beach, however, was not great.  There was a lot of seaweed and very mirky, and I understand that's not their fault, its nature.  

 

I understand that they have their arrangement with the people of Belize, and I appreciate that, and all of the local made merchandise was very beautiful for sure.  What we found to be completely appalling was that NOTHING is included!  I had the Premium Plus Beverage package on the ship, but couldn't even get water on the dock with the package (the one next to the towels..) 2 beers, $20.....I understand there are plenty of excursions there like zip lining, boating, snorkeling, etc, and that's fine, but if you didn't want to spend any more money after dropping thousands on the cruise, there was nothing to do.  We went back to the ship and had free reign essentially, because everyone had taken EVERY chair possible at the pool, and didn't want to walk 100 yards or more to the beach every time we wanted to sit.....Completely disappointing...

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On 8/19/2019 at 2:11 PM, YankeesFan4Life said:

Was just there last week on the NCL Breakaway.  Honestly, it was a beautiful location, very clean and seemed like a lot to do.  The 15,000 sq ft pool was breathtaking and definitely relaxing for sure.  The beach, however, was not great.  There was a lot of seaweed and very mirky, and I understand that's not their fault, its nature.  

 

I understand that they have their arrangement with the people of Belize, and I appreciate that, and all of the local made merchandise was very beautiful for sure.  What we found to be completely appalling was that NOTHING is included!  I had the Premium Plus Beverage package on the ship, but couldn't even get water on the dock with the package (the one next to the towels..) 2 beers, $20.....I understand there are plenty of excursions there like zip lining, boating, snorkeling, etc, and that's fine, but if you didn't want to spend any more money after dropping thousands on the cruise, there was nothing to do.  We went back to the ship and had free reign essentially, because everyone had taken EVERY chair possible at the pool, and didn't want to walk 100 yards or more to the beach every time we wanted to sit.....Completely disappointing...

Gosh that sucks, was this a ship's tour? Hate it that they didn't honor your purchase of the Premium Plus Beverage deal, sounds a bit disingenuous that would be an unpleasant surprise. No chairs by the pool, that SUCKS, I try not to put myself in those situations, I was on St. Thomas last December EVERYBODY and they're sister headed to Magen's, I went to Secret Harbour just so something like that wouldn't happen best choice I made on my vacation. 

I try to avoid crowds as much as I can when I'm on any island, they get under my feet, we can only take so much. 😳

Lots of sargassum in and around Belize, I hate that for you and everyone else. 

 

 

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It does kind of suck in that many of the other private islands serve lunch food and drinks are included if you have the drink package. But a bit of research ahead of time would’ve prepared you.  Hubby and I personally enjoyed that it was clean, well maintained and locals weren’t continually trying to get you to buy things. We planned the day accordingly, spent a few hours at the pool, went back to the ship for lunch, then I returned for a few more hours at the beach. We chose not to spend extra money while there and didn’t have to. 

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Harvest Caye can be a bit difficult to wrap your head around, especially if you're used to a traditional private island from a cruise ship.

 

As you learned, Harvest Caye is not a traditional private island.

 

What it IS, is an island that (my understanding is) NCL owns, but they struck an agreement with the government of Belize in the running of this island.  NCL bought the island and paid for (most, if not all) of the construction of the island features, but it is actually run by the government of Belize, or more likely some sort of contractor company. 

 

Instead of like those private islands in the Bahamas where all the employees are cruise ship employees, all the employees on Harvest Caye are actually from Belize.  It helps their economy and NCL gets a nice docking port in Belize.

 

Yes, the island is essentially a giant touristy port, but without all the weirdness of "how do I get out from this maze of shops?"  If you buy something on the island, you're paying someone who lives in Belize for that product.

 

This certainly isn't explained well by NCL, which I think would help a lot of people enjoy their day at Harvest Caye better.  If a calm, touristy port experience doesn't sound like a fun day, then guests can make sure to schedule an excursion, take the ferry to Placencia, or simply stay on the ship.

 

Personally, I like to schedule a small excursion as I get bored easily.  Then I can wander around the island for a while, and it's up to me whether I want to spend money on the island for food and drinks or go back to the ship for munchies.

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Cruise Critic has a pretty good write-up explaining the Harvest Caye arrangement!

https://www.cruisecritic.com/ports/newport.cfm?ID=8216

 

I've found that most people who complain loudest about Harvest Caye, made little effort to research things for most of their vacation, and just don't want to understand the HC arrangement.  Therefore, they hate HC.

 

When Harvest Caye was begun, delayed by negotiations, and restarted, DH and I were disappointed that plans went from being an "inclusive-type island, such as Great Stirrup Cay" to an island that will be operated by Belize.

But, after we stopped there, saw what a great job went into the planning, development, and construction, we find things to be completely acceptable.

 

NCL cannot control the weather, so water conditions are out of NCL's control.

It's not difficult to walk back (or catch a shuttle) to the ship for a meal and some drinks, therefore we don't "get cheated!"  There are LOTS of loungers.  The grounds are beautifully landscaped!  There are palm trees and misters spraying to help with the heat.  The pool is huge and beautiful!  There are shops run by folks who travel from the mainland in order to make a living.  There's a small animal sanctuary.  There are activities you might find at other ports of call, and you have to pay to do them, just like you would in other ports of call.  Plan accordingly, and you might find that like Sam, you just might "like green eggs and ham!"

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