The Boatyard is a beachfront club located on Carlisle Bay in Barbados. A close location to Bridgetown makes the club a popular port activity for cruise ship passengers. What is a visit to this beach club like?
The general vibe of The Boatyard is fun, with beachy music playing and beach chairs scattered over the sand. Drinks are available for a reasonable price at the bar and inflatable water toys are available to keep kids engaged. For a quieter experience, a visit to Harbour Lights might be a better choice for cruise visitors. Guests staying on the island of Barbados will want to avoid the Boatyard on cruise ship days. We visited as a port stop on a Royal Caribbean cruise.
Crowd Levels at the Boatyard
The beach was absolutely packed when we visited The Boatyard, with four cruise ships in port.
Passengers wanting to go to this club should disembark their ship as soon as possible in the morning, as the club reaches maximum capacity by mid-morning and will turn away guests it cannot seat. We were among the last people to get chairs at 9:45 am! The capacity limit did keep the club from getting overcrowded, though booking the snorkel tour was a little fraught with time limits for returning to our cruise ship.
What is the Beach Like?
The sand is extremely fine and slightly tinged with pink. The water is among the clearest water I have seen anywhere, and was like swimming in a pool. There were some small fish and sea turtles in the general area.
How Much Does The Boatyard Cost?
The admission price in 2021 is $25 per person, and includes 2 chairs with an umbrella, a welcome drink, a snorkeling trip with the sea turtles, use of all water toys, and a taxi trip returning to the cruise port.
What Activities are Available?
1) Inflatable water toys (including an iceberg climber and a giant trampoline).
2) A rope swing into the sea.
3) A high dive platform into the sea.
4) A snorkeling tour to snorkel with sea turtles, including equipment.
I don't have any close-up pictures of the iceberg climber or the trampoline, but you can see them in the video below of Nolan swinging from the rope swing (shot vertically, unfortunately):
Our boys spent a lot of time on this swing and really enjoyed this element from the pier. The high dive platform is located just beyond the rope swing and everyone tried this at least once. Nolan enjoyed this the most, as he is our thrill seeker.
The snorkeling tour is included with admission and we signed up for our time slot - we obtained a time slot of 2:30, which was close to the last time we could take for a safe return to the cruise ship. We had to be back on board by 4:30, and we didn't want to cut it too close! We received our snorkels and masks and were taken to an area where many other boats were crowded around sea turtles that frequent the area. For a snorkeling experience alone, I wouldn't recommend this as we often had to battle crowds of people to see a sea turtle. Since it was included in the admission price, however, it was a fun extra to participate in. We did get to see a baby sea turtle that showed up underneath us when we were away from the crowds, and that was a highlight.
The Food and Drink
The food and drinks available at the beach club are well prepared and delicious.
We quite enjoyed the food available at the beach club. We ate lunch here and I had a fantastic penne pasta with bread and salad.
Dennis had the club sandwich, and it was definitely enough food for the both of us! The boys both ordered sandwiches, too. Judging by the lack of anything left over, they definitely enjoyed their meal! We sat at the restaurant to eat our food, as we didn't really want to get sand in anything.
I had the "Shark Bite" as my free drink, and it was a perfect beachy cocktail. It was wonderful to sit with toes in the sand, enjoying the balmy weather in Barbados while weather in the negatives was blasting our home in New York. I will take sand over snow any day (unless I am on a ski slope)! Activities completed, food digested, and cocktail(s) finished, it was time to head back to our cruise ship! Since many others had a similar time to leave, there was a small wait for the taxi.
Free Taxi Return to the Cruise Port
A taxi van was waiting and filled, and another van pulled up and was also quickly filled. Fortunately, we don't leave our port departures for the last minute, so we had enough time to wait for the taxis to drop off their passengers and return for us. Since the return taxi is included in the admission price to the beach club, there was no cost. We returned to the port in plenty of time and watched the ship depart the port from the Windjammer Café, ice cream in hand.
Is The Boatyard Worth the Cost?
For our family, the beach club was worth every penny. We had set chairs, activities for the kids, and excellent food.
The soft sand and calm, clear water of Carlisle Bay are beyond compare and the sea turtles were an added bonus. Without children with us, we might opt for a quieter location, but the water toys were a major benefit enjoyed by both boys for the duration of our stay. We highly recommend The Boatyard for those who want a beach that will satisfy both adults and active kids!