Last week, Travel Agent spent a day at Royal Caribbean International’s new private island, Perfect Day at CocoCay, fresh from a $250 million renovation and update. Many features are up and running, just in time for summer fun. Others, including the first-ever overwater cabanas in the Bahamas at the island's Coco Beach Club, will debut in December.
Check out our slide show above with over 20 photos. It truly was a perfect day weather-wise. Traditional Bahamian Junkanoo entertainers in costume greeted us at the island's arrival area.
Top draw? Guests couldn't wait to get off the ship and get their thrills on the 135-foot Daredevil’s Tower slide. Twelve other slides,as well as the Wave Pool with its undulating waves and zero-level entry, were also high on guests' "must do" lists.
At Adventure Pool, “Captain Jack” and a female pirate encouraged tweens, teens, adults and even younger kids who splashed, jumped and braved their way across the pool's obstacles. We watched one young boy jumping from raft to raft in a journey across the pool … and suddenly, oops, into the water he splashed as his feet failed to make the next raft. But Captain Jack offered words of encouragement -- urging him to try again.
Thirteen slides and those two pools are located within the Thrill Waterpark ($59.99 per person). Separate fees apply to the Up, Up and Away helium balloon ride ($49.99 per person for adults, $34.99 for kids 4-12), and the zip line experience ($89.99 per person).
Much of the island, though, is complimentary. Clients seeking a fun and inexpensive beach day can grab a beach lounger, hit the water and have lunch at several complimentary dining venues.
The usual fees apply for any options, including water toys, scuba/snorkeling equipment and cabanas, as well as any shore excursions from the island.
Complimentary attractions include Captain Jill's Galleon to explore (and play in) close to the arrivals area; a humongous Oasis Lagoon freshwater pool; a smaller kids’ waterpark area; and more.
Complimentary shuttles provide gangway-to-island arrival transport, and a separate shuttle service takes people from that arrivals area to South Beach on the other side of the island; one shuttle has a fold-out ramp to accommodate cruisers using wheelchairs.
Top Advice? Take the Map
The number one comment we got back from talking with guests who went ashore? They all loved the island day. At the same time, many felt it was “almost overwhelming” in terms of knowing where to go and what to do.
Several said they should have done their homework ahead of time, much as they would before heading to any Orlando theme park. Let’s just say this isn’t your grandfather’s private island beach experience – there are a lot of things to see, do and experience.
To make the most of the day ashore, the shore team advised guests (in a shore video presentation we watched on our stateroom TV) to “take the map.” The shore excursion brochure in our stateroom had one. Or, guests can either print one in advance from the Royal Caribbean online site and bring it on the ship, or just look at the map on their Royal Caribbean app.
We arrived for our visit via the recently revitalized Navigator of the Seas' four-night cruise from PortMiami, but the line has multiple ships headed there from several East Coast ports. Most recently, it also decided to bring another ship back to the U.S. from Southampton, U.K., specifically because of strong consumer demand for Perfect Day at CocoCay.
We'll talk more about this and other lines' Caribbean private island experiences in the July/August issue of Travel Agent magazine.