When I booked our anniversary trip on Royal Caribbean’s Navigator of the Sea, I was thrilled beyond measure when it was announced that their newly renovated private island would be officially open! CocoCay was established as Royal Caribbean’s private island but underwent a massive $250 million re-imagining to create the “perfect beach day” for everyone, no matter their desires. I have sailed other cruise lines that offer a stop on their private island, but no other private island has set out to offer what “Perfect Day at CocoCay” offers. I knew what to expect: a private island just for those on our sailing – to play, relax, explore, and have the ultimate beach day. Or so I thought…….
I woke up, drew back the curtain on our verandah, expecting to see a beautiful island on the horizon. What I actually saw was another ship! Say what??!! I was definitely not expecting that, based on previous experiences. About that time, my husband came through the door from the gym. He saw the boat docking and started asking questions. The crew members he spoke to had never seen another ship docked at the same time. I’ll be honest, I was not happy. I knew the island was going to be too crowded and our “perfect day” was ruined before we began. We rushed through breakfast and made our way to the pier.
We wanted to enjoy the beach, relax in peace and quiet, and just feel like we had escaped the real world. After looking at the sections, I decided we would go to Chill Island. Fortunately, we saw a crew member and she directed us to South Beach. This was the BEST ADVICE EVER!!
South Beach is located at the back of the island. It was extremely quiet and calm early in the day. The official opening for South Beach will be December 2019, when the Coco Beach Club opens. Right now, there are no restaurants in this section, just the Floating Bar over the lagoon and the South Beach Bar. Despite my initial freak out over another ship, there were plenty of loungers to be found. The water was pristine and incredibly calm. We were able to walk out into the water; the deepest part came up to my hips. We saw fish, stingrays, and a lemon shark. We enjoyed a few drinks while lounging and soaked up plenty of sun. We avoided the Floating Bar because it was “the place” and either visited the South Beach Bar or took advantage of the server coming around with pre-made drinks or drink menu. There were not many people until the afternoon, when people started exploring the island more. As the beach filled, we decided to grab lunch at Skipper Grill then find a new place on the island.
Lunch was great! They had a salad bar, burgers and hot dogs, and a taco bar where they were hand forming tortillas! We found plenty of shaded seating, the food was fresh, and there was plenty of variety.
We made our way towards Oasis Lagoon after lunch. This pool features gradual entry, plenty of loungers, underwater benches, and a swim-up bar. This area was definitely more upbeat, crowded, and had a party vibe. It was a lot of fun! If you have children, I recommend keeping them away from the bar area since it got pretty rowdy at times (think the adult version of MTV Spring Break). We did have to search longer to find two loungers, but this was later in the day. By 4 pm, almost all loungers were free as people began heading back to the boat.
I cannot wait for my next stop at Perfect Day at CocoCay! I definitely want to experience Chill Island, Harbor Beach, and Thrill Waterpark. I know my kids will love Splashaway Bay!
Despite my initial freak out, it wasn’t terrible like I imagined. The two ships totaled what you would experience on the larger class ships. There are plenty of loungers and space. I recommend getting on the island early to claim your spot, especially if you want to have your pick of spaces. My day was full of sun, fun, relaxation, and serenity…definitely a Perfect Day at Coco Cay!
For more information about planning your next cruise contact me at Claire@travelwiththemagic.com. You can follow my travel adventures on my facebook page.