CocoCay

Sneak peek at Perfect Day at CocoCay construction progress

In:
Category: 
08Feb2019

We have the first official images from Royal Caribbean of what the final Perfect Day at CocoCay experience will look like, as the cruise line makes progress towards launching the revamped private island experience.

First up is a view of the bridge over Oasis Lagoon with landscaping already added. Royal Caribbean promises Oasis Lagoon will be the Caribbean’s largest freshwater pool.

Photo credit Royal Caribbean International.

In addition, the first water slides being installed on Splash Summit. Splash Summit is part of the Thrill Waterpark area, and will include six multi-rider slides, including The Twister, a winding tube slide for two sharing a raft; The Slingshot, a zero-gravity slide for four; and the four-lane Splash Speedway racing slides.

Photo credit Royal Caribbean International.

Royal Caribbean expects to open the first phase of Perfect Day at CocoCay in May 2019. Perfect Day at CocoCay is the first in Royal Caribbean's recently announced private island collection. With a $200 million makeover, Perfect Day at CocoCay will feature Thrill Waterpark, Oasis Lagoon, Up, Up and Away helium balloon, Chill Island beach, and the action-packed South Beach with sports, paddle-boarding, glass-bottom kayaking and more.

Kayak Adventure at CocoCay excursion review

In:
04Feb2019

Growing up in Florida, I’ve been canoeing a few times, but I’ve never been on a kayak before. Some of my former co-workers used to go kayaking a lot, and I thought I might enjoy that. When I saw a Kayak Adventure excursion on Coco Cay, I booked it hoping to find out if kayaking around the Florida mangroves would be something I could spend my weekends doing.

I almost don’t want to mention the start of the adventure being the very tedious tender process from ship to Coco Cay. However, I will mention it in the context of Royal Caribbean addressing this low point in the experience. Royal Caribbean is almost done with building a pier large enough to accommodate two ships simultaneously as part of the Perfect Day at Coco Cay project. I enjoyed my time on Coco Cay. Getting me on the island faster will let me enjoy it even more.

The tour group met near Coconut Willie’s at a shack set up to rent floats and lockers. I signed the waiver and rented a locker to store my towel and other belongings. Because I registered for the tour by myself, I was given a one-seat kayak while most other people on the tour were given two-seat kayaks. I would be providing all the power and all the steering on my own. After we all donned floatation vests and picked out our paddles, we got some paddling and steering instructions. Our guide also gave us tips on how to get back into the kayak if it flipped. He said with no wind out today, if someone flipped in their kayak, they were trying to flip it. We were ready to drag the kayaks off of the beach and into the water.

​​​​Royal Caribbean Coco Cay Kayak Adventure tour

Now in a kayak for my first time, our tour guide led us out into the shallow water around the beach. The water was surprisingly clear. As we paddled out, we saw the grass growing out of the sandy floor. Our guide encouraged us to reach in and pick up a conch if we saw one. Some people picked up a conch shell that turned out to have a hermit crab inside. I spotted a few fish swimming in a school along with sponges.

Once we paddled out farther from shore, our guide got into the water and picked up a small starfish for the group to pass around. A short distance away, we saw a slight disturbance in the otherwise smooth water. We were told it was a shark, but a harmless one — probably a nurse shark. Our guide got back in the water after he spotted a much larger starfish. He picked that one up and passed it around. The outside felt like spiky concrete. I’m surprised the animal can move with a body so hard and seemingly inflexible like that. It was also very heavy for its size, which is probably due to it having such a dense exterior.

After getting a ways from shore, all the while still in water that could not have been more than five feet deep, our guide noticed a jellyfish in the water. I looked around and saw a couple of other jellyfish in that area. That one I didn't need to pick up; it could stay in the water. While paddling out to the undeveloped part of Coco Cay, we could see the construction equipment behind some trees that let us know this part of the island would be developed as part of the Perfect Day at Coco Cay project.

With almost no wind that day, the water was very smooth and easy to see through, except for one moment when the surface of the water started boiling. We could see little fish coming up to the surface in a frenzy. I joined a couple in a two-person kayak and one of the other solo kayakers paddling like mad out to the disturbance to get a closer look. The fish, or maybe the shark feeding underneath them, must have seen us coming. Once we got within ten feet of the rippling action, it all subsided and the water returned to calm.

Royal Caribbean Coco Cay Kayak Adventure tour

Approaching the southern tip of the island, we made a turn back to the shore and pulled our kayaks up onto the beach. We all got into the water and relaxed for a bit before getting back in the kayaks. On my way to shore, I spotted a sea urchin next to a rock (another creature I knew better than to pick up). While sitting in the water just a few feet from the beach, a couple of fish swam up to me and investigated the area. They were the largest fish I had seen on the tour, but even they could not have been more than eight inches long. I also spotted a striped fish about an inch and a half long staying in close proximity to the shelter of a rock with a big hole in the side. He let me get pretty close before he’d duck into the hole. Then if I stopped, he swim back out again keeping one side of his body up against the rock. If I took a step, he’d dart back into his hiding place. It was adorable and felt like something out of Finding Nemo.

After our rest, we got back into the kayaks and made our way along the shoreline back to our starting point. Our guide called out some stingrays, but they weren't near me. I might have seen the tip of a stingray’s wing, but it was so quick, it may have just been the seagrass moving. I did spot a much slower-moving creature. I looked down to see a sea cucumber plodding along a grassless patch leaving a trail of compressed sand excrement behind him.

Our final wildlife encounter was with the least predictable of all the animals in the water — the fellow resort guest. Even seeing a squadron of kayaks approaching, almost no one made any attempt to get out of the way. Two ladies in their 60’s saw me heading towards the beach, then turned their back to me and walked right into my path as I made my wobbly return to shore. I called out “sorry, I don’t really know how to steer this thing.” They looked up and took two steps to the side.

I pulled my kayak up to beach, returned my paddle and life vest, and retrieved my towel from the locker. I was pretty beat after an hour or more of paddling, and at that point I just wanted a shower. I’m glad I tried kayaking. When I return to Coco Cay, I might do some other activity so I can experience more of the resort. After the fun I had on the Kayak Adventure, I would kayak again, but I’d prefer to get a second person to join in.

When a cruise ship docks at a public port, you have the option of booking excursions through the cruise line or through an independent tour operator. Because Royal Caribbean owns and operates Coco Cay, all the excursions are organized by the cruise line. This means that the Cruise Planner is a one-stop shop for all the excursions and activities at the resort.

The Kayak Adventure on its own is $43, but it can be purchased as a Kayak Adventure and Snorkel Combo for $72. If you opt for the combo, when you check in for the Kayak Adventure, you'll be given a wristband. Show that wristband at the snorkel shack after your kayak tour, and you can pick up snorkel equipment to use for the rest of the day.

Royal Caribbean Coco Cay Kayak Adventure tour

Royal Caribbean Coco Cay Kayak Adventure tour

Royal Caribbean Coco Cay Kayak Adventure tour snorkel

Royal Caribbean Coco Cay Kayak Adventure tour

Have you been kayaking on Coco Cay? Have you done any of the other excursions on the island?

Royal Caribbean talks Perfect Day at CocoCay impact, booking trends, smart phone app impact and more

In:
30Jan2019

Royal Caribbean held a call with investors to go over their record 2018 financial results and provide guidance for the coming year.  Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd earnings beat Wall Street expectations, benefiting from higher demand for its Caribbean cruises and passengers spending more money on activities while on board.

Between the fiscal anecdotes and figures shared, cruise fans could glean a few tidbits of interesting information.

Two powerful booking trends

At the beginning of the call, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. Chairman and CEO Richard Fain started off that two powerful trends are dominating bookings for Royal Caribbean: experiences over material possessions and favorable demographic shifts.

Mr. Fain spoke about what he is seeing in the market, "As we have been very vocal about two important and positive consumer trends. First, the trend in favor of experiences over material possessions, and second, the favorable demographic shifts.

We've been talking for a long time about how people have shifted their focus from buying TVs, cars, etc to buying memories or experiences. And that shift has become so powerful that I think it's now obvious to everybody.

At the same time, the demographic makeup of our population keeps shifting in our direction. 

These two trends have become increasingly powerful, and our company and our brands are well-positioned to benefit from these trends."

The first two weeks of Wave season have been fantastic

For those unaware, Wave season is the sales period that has historically taken place between January and March and stands out because a large percentage of cruisers book their sailings in the early months of the year. This year, Royal Caribbean has seen a record Wave season take place.

Richard Fain mentioned it at the top of the call, "Happily, the record-breaking start to Wave validates our confidence. And with Wave off to a wonderful start, our already good booked position continues to strengthen.  Bookings have been at higher levels than last year, and in fact we received more bookings during the first week of Wave than we have in any other week in our history...except for the second week in Wave, which was even better."

Royal Caribbean Chief Financial Officer Jason Liberty also touched on the great start to the year, "Over the past three months, bookings have been higher than the same time last year.... In fact, two out of the past three weeks have been record-booking weeks for the company."

Perfect Day at CocoCay facts

With the launch of Perfect Day at CocoCay coming up in just a few months, Royal Caribbean sounded quite bullish on the impact it is already having and will have on the cruise line's bottom line.

Richard Fain commented on the impact Perfect Day at CocoCay will have on the cruise industry, "The island development will really shake-up the short-term cruise market, and I am confident that our guests will love it."

Royal Caribbean International President and CEO Michael Bayley also had some interesting facts to share about Perfect Day, "When you look at Royal Caribbean International, we have I think 13 ships operating in the Caribbean during the year, and then when you look at the deployment of those ships to Perfect Day in 2019, I believe ten out of the thirteen ships are calling to Perfect Day.  Our projections are that by 2020, we will be taking just shy of two million guests a year to Perfect Day.

And then of course the other element is the sales associated with the experience of Perfect Day, and we've seen our sales of activities and experiences really take off on our pre-cruise sales for the experience, so we're up by a factor of close to nine, I think, for our Perfect Day sales."

Smart phone app investment return

Naturally investors want to hear that a company's investment in a piece of technology or a new initiative is driving home a return and Royal Caribbean is happy to report that despite its major tech initiative, code named Project Excalibur, has not fully launched yet, already the cruise line is reaping some benefits.

Mr. Liberty explained that essentially, the cruise line is seeing guest satisfaction rising quickly because the app and other tech advances remove friction from the guest experience.  That in turn provides higher yields for Royal Caribbean.  In the future that will make it easier for the consumer to buy things from the cruise line.

"There is a strong relationship to where guest satisfaction scores go up, and people pay more both for their ticket as well as onboard. Certainly ships that we have put Excalibur on we are seeing those benefits."

Perfect Day at CocoCay construction progress photo report - January 2019

In:
Category: 
07Jan2019

We are getting closer and closer to the much-anticipated launch of Royal Caribbean's CocoCay private island makeover.

Royal Caribbean Blog reader Kayla Hildebrandt recently visited the island and shared these photos of the progress being made.

In addition, Caran Popowitz shared these photos from her recent trip to CocoCay.

Royal Caribbean currently estimates the pier for its private island to open in March 2019.

Royal Caribbean posts new Perfect Day at CocoCay opening schedule

In:
Category: 
02Jan2019

Royal Caribbean has updated its website with a new timeline for when different phases of its transformation of private island CocoCay.

Perfect Day is a $200 million transformation of Royal Caribbean's private island in the Bahamas. Here is the new timeline posted today:

  • The new pier will begin welcoming guests to the island in March 2019.
  • Thrill Waterpark, the Zip Line, Splashaway Bay aqua park, Up, Up and Away helium balloon, Captain Jack’s Galleon, Skipper’s Grill dining, Captain Jack’s dining, Chill Island, Chill Grill dining, and Oasis Lagoon freshwater pool will open in May 2019.
  • South Beach, Coco Beach Club and the overwater cabanas will open in December 2019.

The primary change in the timeline is the pier completion date has been pushed back yet again.  The pier completion date has slid a few times since the project was originally announced.  Prior to today, it was expected that the pier would be complete in January 2019.

The other dates remain unchanged.

Spotted: Funnel cakes in CocoCay

In:
Category: 
10Dec2018

As you stroll down the beach at Royal Caribbean's private island of CocoCay, you might find yourself craving a funnel cake (naturally!). When that happens you’ll want to stop by the new funnel cake kiosk.

Royal Caribbean Blog reader Lauralee Best spotted (and sampled) the funnel cakes while visiting CocoCay this past weekend on an Enchantment of the Seas cruise.

The best part about them (other than the sugar on top) is that there is no additional cost to enjoy one of these treats. It is included with your cruise fare.

Perfect Day at CocoCay construction progress photo report - November 2018

In:
Category: 
03Dec2018

We are getting closer and closer to the much-anticipated launch of Royal Caribbean's CocoCay private island makeover.

Royal Caribbean Blog reader Scott Ullerly recently visited the island and shared these photos of the progress being made.

We start off with a look at the new pier.  Royal Caribbean CEO Michael Bayley indicated recently he expects the pier to be done in January.

A member of the island staff mentioned work had had recently completed staff housing. This may be one of the photos from further back on the island.

A great deal of work is occuring on several buildings near the pier. 

Perfect Day at CocoCay will open in phases, and May 2019 marks the first phase opening.

View the Perfect Day at CocoCay map

In:
Category: 
03Dec2018

Royal Caribbean plans to open the first major phase of its major overhaul of private island CocoCay in May, and we have a look at the layout of Perfect Day at CocoCay.

Perfect Day is a $200 million transformation of Royal Caribbean's private island in the Bahamas that is scheduled to open in May 2019.

Thanks to David Beers for alerting us to the map.

What are you most excited to experience in Perfect Day at CocoCay? Share with us in the comments below so we can all get excited together.

Dredging begins at Perfect Day at CocoCay

In:
Category: 
05Nov2018

Dredging boats were spotted at Royal Caribbean's private destination of CocoCay in the Bahamas, signaling the start of a pivotal milestone in creating a pier for ships to dock.

Majesty of the Seas visited CocoCay this past weekend, and dredging vessels were onhand to indicate work had begun recently.  

Dredging is a form of excavation carried out underwater to provide a waterway for cruise ships to access the pier that is under construction. Once the new pier and dredging are complete, Royal Caribbean's cruise ships can visit CocoCay by docking instead of tendering.

Royal Caribbean International CEO Michael Bayley estimates out of all the sailings to CocoCay, about 10 or 11% would be missed due to unfavorable tendering conditions. With the new pier, he believes the missed calls will drop to about 2%.

CocoCay construction progress photo report - November 1, 2018

In:
Category: 
03Nov2018

Royal Caribbean is hard at work to transform its private island of CocoCay in the Bahamas to Perfect Day at CocoCay, and we have a look at the progress that has been made recently.

Royal Caribbean Blog readers Brian and Elizabeth Robison visited CocoCay while on Mariner of the Seas and provided these photos.

The new pier is expected to open around the end of this year.

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