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Cruising to Belize? Don’t Skip the Manatees!
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Cruising to Belize? Don’t Skip the Manatees!

Porthole Cruise Magazine - August 21, 2019
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Perfect Day at CocoCay: Port Review

Royal Caribbean’s newly updated private island, aptly named Perfect Day at CocoCay, has been officially open since May. Garnering a great deal of attention from cruisers “loyal to Royal”, we too were very interested to see if the island lived up to this rather lofty title.

Unable to resist any longer, we booked a last-minute three-day cruise on Navigator of the Seas stopping at this resort. We have just returned from this quick weekend getaway and share our initial impressions of Perfect Day at CocoCay.

First Impressions of Perfect Day at CocoCay

It is Very Easy to Get around the Island

With CocoCay now divided into several distinct areas, the cruise line has ensured that passengers can easily get from point A to point B with several new pathways. Clearly marked paths, some even paved, encircle much of the new resort areas, including the children’s Splashaway Bay, the Thrill Waterpark, Oasis Lagoon Pool, and the entrance to Chill Island.

Friendly staff are also strategically located throughout the island to ensure your time ashore is as stress free as possible. There is even a tram available to assist in transporting passengers to various designated stops along the island.

Perfect Day at CocoCay

Getting around the island is easy | Photo: EatSleepCruise

There is Plenty of Space

While we were not sailing on one of Royal Caribbean’s largest cruise ships afloat, our vessel, Navigator of the Seas, still accommodates well over 3,000 guests. Although, you would not believe it given that Perfect Day at CocoCay had several areas that were largely uninhabited during our visit.

Yes, there were modest wait times for popular slides at the waterpark, and the Oasis Lagoon had a sizeable crowd. However, there were large sections of the beach that were relatively empty and there were more than enough lounge chairs and umbrellas for everyone. The usually busy spots like the bars and the new Chill Grill island buffet had virtually no crowds.

Perfect Day at CocoCay currently provides cruisers with a remote and exclusive feel with only one ship in port on many days of the week. Of course, this private island feeling would be considerably altered if Royal Caribbean decides to have two of the line’s largest ships dock at the same time, unloading 10,000+ passengers onto the island.

RELATED: Royal Caribbean Plans Major CocoCay Upgrade, Ship Enhancements for Weekend Cruises

Hassle Free Day at the Beach

While Royal Caribbean did add plenty of up-charge activities to CocoCay, there are still many complimentary options to have a perfect day on the island.

Perfect Day at CocoCay

The beaches are gorgeous | Photo: EatSleepCruise

Chill Island offers the ultimate beach escape, complete with an array of complimentary loungers and umbrellas, sandy beaches, and palm trees. Additional activities are also available on South Beach like lawn games and a sports court to enjoy at no cost.

The Oasis Lagoon, the largest freshwater pool in the Caribbean, provides the ultimate island pool party including in-water loungers, a swim up bar, and a DJ spinning top hits. This expansive pool is also complimentary for all cruisers visiting the island.

For cruisers with kids, Captain Jill’s Galleon and the Splashaway Bay aqua park provide hours of fun for those less than 42”. Your little ones can enjoy a waterpark all to themselves, without costing you a cent.

Some other nice touches on the island include the use of free lockers and a towel exchange. Though, you do still need to bring a towel off the ship with you.

Yes, your burning question has been answered. The Royal Caribbean Deluxe Drink Package is honored on Perfect Day at CocoCay, so most beverages at the island’s bars will be no additional cost if you have already purchased a beverage package on the ship.

Perfect Day at CocoCay

Ship drink packages are honored on the island | Photo: EatSleepCruise

The island even has WiFi! You can now use your ship board internet account while on the island for no additional charges to share all of the day’s adventures with the hashtag #PerfectDayatCocoCay.

You will still need to pay for use of extras such as floating mats, kayaks, jet skis, and cabanas on the island.

We appreciate that there is not as much “nickel and diming” while ashore when compared to some other private islands. You can still have a hassle-free beach day without spending any extra money.

The Thrill Waterpark Lives Up to Its Name

Then again, there are also new attractions on Perfect Day at CocoCay that are worth the cover charges!

As part of our full day on the island, we purchased a combo ticket to the waterpark and zip line adventure. The zip line course offered a series of 3 lines allowing you to soar over the island in the 45-minute tour. Having completed the course one time, we see no need to return on a future visit.

Perfect Day at CocoCay

The Thrill Waterpark delivered on it’s promise of exhilaration | Photo: EatSleepCruise

On the other hand, the Thrill Waterpark delivered on its promise of an exhilarating day experiencing one-of-a-kind rides. The namesake Daredevil’s Peak is the tallest slide in North America. Splashing down this ride a few times, I can attest that it is quite the adrenaline rush. The additional slides in the Daredevil’s Tower provide equally impressive experiences, including the Dueling Demons 75’ launch slide and the 50’ Screeching Serpent that sends cruisers straight down a vertical slide.

The Splash Summit is home to some of the more family friendly slides. Among our favorites was the Slingshot, boomerang slide, which offers moments of weightlessness.

This waterpark is also home to the Caribbean’s largest wave pool that certainly serves up some impressive white caps. The adventure pool is designed for your little American Ninja Warrior and challenges your balance and coordination with lily pads, rock climbing, and other water-based obstacles.

Perfect Day at CocoCay

The Wave Pool | Photo: EatSleepCruise

In our opinion, the Thrill Waterpark is one up-charge activity that is certainly worthy of a repeat visit.

Food and Dining Has Been Greatly Improved

The “barbecue lunch” previously offered on CocoCay was only open for a short window of time and the selections sometimes left us leaving the island early to grab a bite to eat back on the ship. Royal Caribbean must have heard our pleas, as the new dining options added to Perfect Day at CocoCay have added some much-needed diversity and convenience while ashore.

Perfect Day at CocoCay

Lunchtime at CocoCay | Photo: EatSleepCruise

Two new buffet areas, Chill Grill and Skipper’s Grill, are well positioned on the island so you are never far from grabbing a snack.

Yes, there are still hamburgers, hot dogs, and grilled chicken, but there is now so much more available. A custom taco stand lets you choose from fillings and toppings for an easy handheld meal. The new panini station now serves hot sandwiches including Cuban sandwiches and steak sandwiches. There is also a fairly large salad bar and other lite fare like fruit and cookies.

These venues are open for a good majority of the day now as well. Needless to say, there is no need to return to the ship for some food!

Adding the new and expanded dining venues to the island would have been enough, but Royal Caribbean went one step further by adding a few Snack Shacks. If you do not want to serve yourself at the buffet, you can order select items from these quick service counters. We tested out some of the options including the Crispy Chicken Sandwich, the Shack Burger, Mozzarella Sticks, and even a Funnel Cake, and we found them all to be quite tasty.

Perfect Day at CocoCay

There’s no need to return to the ship for some food! | Photo: EatSleepCruise

Virtually all of the food on the island is included, except for a few snacks at Captain Jack’s bar.

Final Verdict on Perfect Day at CocoCay

It is hard to think of another word to describe the newly updated CocoCay. While it might be rather bold to call the island “Perfect”, we are struggling to think of a different term to describe our visit to the island.

Royal Caribbean has found a way to add new attractions to CocoCay that will lure families and adventure seekers, but without losing the charm of the island.

Cruisers wanting to enjoy a relaxing day ashore still have that option. The enhanced coastline delivers a quiet and peaceful beach day, whether you stake claim at Chill Beach or South Beach. Yet, you are only a walk from the lively Oasis Lagoon pool, which has a resort-style party vibe.

Perfect Day at CocoCay

You can choose how you want to spend your Perfect Day at CocoCay | Photo: EatSleepCruise

The new up-charge attractions, dining options, and bars provide a means of spreading out the crowds. It was easy to find an ideal spot to bask in the Bahamian sun with a cocktail in hand.

Essentially, you can choose how you want to spend your Perfect Day at CocoCay. For us, that is a pretty ideal situation. Perhaps that is why we already have plans to return to the island. This time, we are bringing some friends along so they too can see if the island lives up to its new name!

Don and Heidi Bucolo are the husband and wife team behind EatSleepCruise. Fellow travelers have come to know and love their cruise reviews, cruise tips and planning advice, and social media posts for the latest updates in the world of cruising.

5 Comments

  1. Not for us. Looks like a ‘Coney Island’ for kiddies. Waaaaay too commercial. But good, I guess, for people who enjoy this ‘plastic kind of stuff.’

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