Recently I returned from a cruise on Mariner of the Seas from Royal Caribbean. It was a five-night Western Caribbean and Bahamas itinerary and one of the stops was Perfect Day at Cocoa Cay. This is Royal Caribbean's own private island destination in the Bahamas.
One of many things I love about cruising is a sunrise arrival into port. We arrived into Cocoa Cay at sunrise docking right after Symphony of the Seas. A brilliant orange sky and calm waters really set the tone for vacation.
Prior to the multi million dollar renovation done by Royal Caribbean, Cocoa Cay was a beautiful island but you had to tender over from the ship which took about 10 minutes or so. If the wind was too high or the seas were rough, you would miss the port. But now, they can dock and you just simply walk right off on the island.
I will say, they did a fantastic job with this island and although it does have the water park and looks a little theme park, they kept the island feel.
When you get off the ship you will head down the pier for a little bit of a hike but not bad. They do offer a trams that cover the entire island so if you have any mobility issues, don’t worry. Once you get to the end of the pier you have choices of where to go including the Thrill Waterpark, beaches, pools sport courts and of course bars and restaurants. Be sure to grab one of the maps so you don’t miss anything.
You will have your choice of beaches just depending on what kind of day you want. Do you want quiet and relaxing or lots of activity and entertainment? My morning was spent at Chill Beach on Chill Island. This is one of the first beaches you come to and one of the quietest. Its set up with three different areas, two are coves with small little jetties bordering them. This was nice for snorkeling and swimming. There is an area called Breezy Bay where it’s a little more open, but I never made it over there. There were plenty of chairs and umbrellas to go around and I really lucked out. I had two chairs and because of the position of the sun, one chair was shaded by the umbrella and the other was in the sun, I just went back and forth depending on what I wanted.
The water was a little chilly, it was January but not too bad once I was in. I tell you I do wish I had done some more snorkeling though. There were lots of these white fish, not sure what kind, swimming around the people. I did find out later, there is a sunken pirate ship about hindered yards out you can swim or kayak to for snorkeling. Next time.
If you want more activity, check out South Beach, here you will find music, sports like volleyball, cornhole and even a hard court for basketball. Plenty for the entire family to do and keep the kids busy. If you want to step it up a bit, you can check into the Cocoa Beach Club where you have your own beach, infinity pool and restaurant. But, it will come at a price, I believe around $120 per person when I sailed.
The closest beach to the ship would be Harbor Beach surrounding Harbor Lagoon. This is a huge mostly enclosed lagoon with plenty of beach chairs and Skippers Bar and Grill is right there. I think this would be great for the young kids. since its not open ocean.
In the afternoon, I headed over to the Oasis Lagoon pool billed as the largest pool in the Caribbean. Surrounding the pool are a bunch of chairs some in the shade and the sun. A DJ is playing dance music and you can grab a drink at the swim up bar. On the far side of the pool from the bar, it’s a little quieter and you will also find a zero entry area so great for young kids. There are three other pools on the island but all have a cost, the wave pool and Adventure Pool in Thrill water park and the pool at Cocoa Beach Club.
You will not starve on this island and if you do, it’s your own fault. And the best part, they are almost all included with the exception of Skippers.
This is where I had lunch right next to Chill Beach. There were lots of options from hamburgers and hotdogs to barbeque and tacos. I had a taco and hot dog and both were good. For the tacos, you had a choice of beef or chicken and all the toppings. Like the Windjammer on the ship, they do serve you here. Oh, don't forget the ice cream.
Around the island you will have three locations of Snack Shack serving hamburgers, hotdogs, salads and chicken sandwiches. I had some mozzarella sticks and they were fantastic.
Cocoa Beach Club
If you have paid for the day at Cocoa Beach Club, the restaurant is included. Not sure if you can go and eat there if you are not a guest of the club
I did not visit this go around but the island features the Thrill Waterpark. You can’t miss it when you arrive when you see the towering Daredevil Tower the tallest waterslide in North America. There are slides for the adults and for the kids plus two pools including a wave pool. Admission to the park is additional and can vary by cruise so check the shore excursions desk. I will say it was a little pricey for me at $79 per person for my cruise.
For those wanting adventure, you will find a Zipline and a hot air balloon ride both at an additional cost.
For the little ones, right after you come off the pier there are two areas just for them. Captain Jills Gallion with waterslides, water cannons and more. Just a short walk from there is Splashaway Bay for more slides, splash area and a dump bucket. Both areas are complimentary.
If you want to really step up your stay, you have a selection of cabanas to choose from all varying by price for the day. Beach Cabanas are located at South Beach, Chill Island, Pool Cabanas at the Oasis Lagoon Pool and Over the water Cabanas including a slide at the Cocoa Beach Club.
Five Things You Should Know
Perfect Day at Cocoa Cay has so much to offer there is no way I could talk about it all. Perfect day is available on most itineraries from Florida including on Mariner of the Seas, Independence of the Seas and Navigator of the Seas. For more information about Cocoa Cay or Royal Caribbean, reach out to me through email, phone or text below.
For my review on Mariner, check out my podcast Vacation Buzz.
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I have a passion for travel and believe travel is about experiences. Experiences create memories and are the stories we tell to friends and family - even with a little fudging on the facts.