CocoCayAddress CocoCay, The Bahamas
A number of cruise lines have private islands, most of which are located in the Caribbean. While a few of these tropical oases feature modest splash pads and a couple of small water slides, Royal Caribbean’s Perfect Day at CocoCay boasts a full-fledged water park packed with an incredible array of slides—including one of the tallest in the world.
Boasting a price tag of $250 million, the refuge is quite impressive and has proven so popular, the cruise line offers 80 itineraries that include stops there. The water park makes the biggest splash, but there are many other things to experience on the island. Let’s run down what you could expect when you spend a “perfect day” at CocoCay.
Getting to and Around Perfect Day at CocoCay
There’s only one way to visit the Bahamian island, and that’s by booking a cruise aboard Royal Caribbean. There are a number of ships that stop at the getaway, including ones that originate from ports in Florida and elsewhere with itineraries ranging from two to nine nights. The ships dock at the island, so there is no need to transfer using a tender.
CocoCay is large enough to offer a wide variety of activities spread among a number of areas, but small enough to easily get around on foot. Nothing is more than about a 10-minute walk away. For guests that prefer hitching a ride, there is a tram that winds its way around the island.
How to Experience the Water Park Areas
There are three water park areas at CocoCay, all located adjacent to one another. Two of them are complimentary, while the third, which Royal Caribbean refers to as “Thrill Waterpark,” requires an additional fee. The cost varies from $54 to $99 per person depending on the season. Passes can be purchased onboard at the ship’s excursions desk.
Thrill Waterpark has two water slide towers. The one that pierces the skyline is the 135-foot-tall Daredevil’s Tower. At the top of the tower is Daredevil’s Peak, which earned Royal Caribbean bragging rights as the tallest water slide in North America. (While that was true when it opened in 2019, it’s since been eclipsed by a 142-foot-tall slide at DreamWorks Water Park, part of the American Dream complex in New Jersey.) Daredevil’s Peak is undeniably tall, but it may not be as thrilling as you might expect. Because the slide winds around the tower instead of heading straight down, sliders don’t accelerate to especially fast speeds.
If you're looking for bigger thrills, you'll get them on two of the other slides down Daredevil’s Tower. For Dueling Demons, which starts at the 75-foot-level, passengers get into one of two launch chambers. After a countdown, a trap door opens and you'll drop, in a near-vertical position, into the slide. Between the anticipation of the launch and the zippy ride down the slide, Dueling Demons is plenty nerve wracking (in a good way). Likewise, Screeching Serpent will get your adrenaline pumping; the speed slide, which starts at a nearly 90-degree angle, is a straight shot 50 feet down. The tower’s other two slides are fairly mild: Green Mamba, a typical enclosed body slide, includes some twists and turns, while the two open flume slides on Manta Racers only have a 40-inch height requirement and are especially tame.
The park’s other tower, Splash Summit, has three water slides. On the most extreme one, Sling Shot, four passengers board a cloverleaf raft, drop down an enclosed tube, and soar up and down a halfpipe element before being deposited in a splash pool. Splash Speedway is a multi-lane mat racing slide, and Twister sends sliders down an enclosed tube on two-person rafts. Rounding out Thrill Waterpark is a wave pool—billed as the largest in the Caribbean—and an activity pool with swing ropes, lily pad walks, and a climbing wall.
Just outside the park is Splashaway Bay and Captain Jill’s Galleon, two interactive water play areas with tipping buckets, fountains, water cannons, and small slides. Both areas are geared to younger children.
By the way, the water park fun doesn’t end when the ships pull away from CocoCay. Onboard slides and attractions vary by ship. Royal Caribbean’s Navigator of the Seas, for example, offers an uphill water coaster, a single rider mat slide, and a FlowRider that generates waves for boogie board surfing.
Top Activities at CocoCay
Thrill Waterpark notwithstanding, it should be noted that most of the activities (including most of the food served) at CocoCay are complimentary. Cruise line passengers who don’t want to test their mettle on the wacky slides can still enjoy the island without spending an extra dime. There are, however, a couple of intriguing extra-charge attractions they might want to consider.
If the summit of Daredevil’s Tower doesn't get you high enough, you could soar some 450 feet above CocoCay aboard Up, Up, and Away, a tethered helium balloon. The 10-minute experience offers commanding views of the island, the docked cruise ship, and the Bahamian waters. The ride is gentle and should be accessible and enjoyable for nearly everyone, except those who have a crippling fear of heights or vertigo. Fees, which vary seasonally, are approximately $39 for adults and $24 for children 4 to 12.
Guests can also get a bird’s-eye view of CocoCay by giving its zip line a whirl. The 1,600-foot course traverses the water park and the island’s harbor. Prices are about $79.
Other upcharge excursion activities at CocoCay include wave jet tours on Sea-Doo personal boats as either a driver or passenger, parasailing, reef snorkeling, kayaking, a glass-bottom boat tour, and an opportunity to hop into the water with swimming pigs.
Spend a Perfect Day by (and in) the Water
There are plenty of places throughout the island to stake out a lounge chair and enjoy the water. Wrapping around the eastern side of CocoCay is the largest beach, Chill Island, which includes a series of coves with breakers to keep the surf from anything more than “chill.” Other places to catch some rays and dips into the ocean are Harbor Beach and South Beach.
For those who would prefer to avoid salt water, Oasis Lagoon offers an enormous pool—the largest in the Caribbean, according to the cruise line—with a large swim-up bar.
The chairs and umbrellas are complimentary, but guests could opt to rent a floating beach mat, a beach bed, or, for beaucoup bucks, a cabana that accommodates either six or eight people. For even more pampering, the island offers Coco Beach Club. To access the exclusive area, visitors have to rent either a beach or an overwater cabana that accommodates eight, with prices starting at $999. Coco Beach Club includes an infinity pool, a private clubhouse, and dining with more upscale fare than is offered at the island’s other restaurants.
Where to Eat, Drink, and Shop
There are four dining locations around the island that serve up complimentary fare—including sandwiches, BBQ, and salads—sourced and prepared by the ship's culinary crew. The bars and dining spots at CocoCay honor Royal Caribbean’s beverage packages. Note that the eateries only serve lunch (breakfast and dinner are available on the ship).
There are a surprising number of shops at the island’s Straw Market and other locations. Items include CocoCay-branded T-shirts, hats, and other merchandise, as well as Bahamian crafts and beach gear.
Tips for Perfect Day at CocoCay
- The lines for the major slides at Thrill Waterpark, especially Daredevil’s Peak, can get long; try to avoid the mid-morning crowds by disembarking as soon as the ship's crew allows you to, typically at 9 a.m.
- There aren’t a ton of hammocks on the island, but there are a few, and there is no additional charge to use them. You can find some behind the Snorkel Shack on Chill Island as well as behind Oasis Lagoon at Chill Beach.
- Chill Beach is also where you can find a volleyball court, cornhole, and other games. There are also a bunch of beanbag chairs for lounging.
- Be sure to bring footwear. Some of the beach sand is coarse and contains small rocks and shells. There are bins to stow shoes at the water slides.
- Some of the the shops only accept cash, so you might want to bring money.
- If you are planning to experience the zip line, bring closed-toe shoes. They are required to ride.
- Consider purchasing Thrill Waterpark passes and other extra-charge activities in advance. You might be able to score deals prior to your cruise. Check to see if Royal Caribbean has any special offers, including discounted packages that combine water park passes with other on-island activities such as its zip line or helium balloon experience.