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Royal Caribbean’s CocoCay vs Carnival Cruise Line's Amber Cove: Which is better?

24 Jun 2023

If you’ve cruised to the Caribbean, you more than likely visited a cruise line’s private island or destination. Nearly every major cruise line, including Royal Caribbean, Carnival, Disney and Norwegian, have a private destination for guests to enjoy. 

CocoCay Cover

Carnival Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean are two of the biggest (and most popular) cruise lines in the world. As such, if you’ve sailed on one of these cruise lines, there’s a very good chance that your itinerary included a stop at the cruise line’s private destination. 

Most would agree that Royal Caribbean has one of the best private islands in the cruising industry. Perfect Day at CocoCay is the cruise line’s private island in the Bahamas - and it’s exclusively used by Royal Caribbean guests. The idyllic paradise is the result of a $250 million investment, which transformed the island into a tropical oasis. Here, guests will find a variety of waterslides, bars, lounges, beaches, pools, cabanas and more. 

In fact, more than 2 million guests visited Perfect Day at CocoCay each year. The island’s dock is able to accommodate two Royal Caribbean ships each day, bringing thousands of guests to CocoCay daily. This number is only likely to increase with Royal Caribbean’s fleet expansion with Icon of the Seas and Utopia of the Seas. 

However, competitor Carnival Cruise Line also has private destinations for guests to enjoy. This includes the very popular Amber Cove resort, which is located in the Dominican Republic. While this is not an island, the resort area - conveniently located to Puerto Plata - is exclusively available for cruise guests. 

Amber Cove

With a whopping $85 million investment, Carnival transformed this pocket of paradise into Amber Cove in 2015. The destination now hosts around 250,000 passengers each year. Because Carnival’s ships are not as big as Royal Caribbean, Amber Cove does not accommodate nearly as many passengers. However, the hefty investment is nearly 3x more per visiting guest as Royal Caribbean’s investment in CocoCay. 

I recently visited Amber Cove for the first time while sailing onboard Carnival Mardi Gras - and I was very surprised to see similarities to CocoCay. After visiting CocoCay in January of this year, it was pretty easy to draw comparisons between the two resort-style cruise experience. 

Here is how my recent experiences at Royal Caribbean’s CocoCay compared to visiting Carnival’s Amber Cove private destination. 

Initial Impressions

I’ve visited CocoCay a few times over the years, as I sail almost exclusively with Royal Caribbean. My very first visit to CocoCay was actually back in 2009, when the island was barebones with not much to do. More than a decade later, I visited CocoCay again - with low expectations based on my earlier visit. 

Much to my surprise, Perfect Day at CocoCay blew me away! I appreciated the ultimate convenience of everything. We spent all day in the Oasis Lagoon listening to the DJ blast pop tunes across the island - with a cocktail in hand, of course. There were so many beaches, pools, eateries and bars to explore!


While thrill-seekers can enjoy the waterslides, hot air balloon and zip-line, beach bums can enjoy multiple places around the island scattered with soft sand, floating tiki bars and crystal clear waters. 

As mentioned above, my first visit to Amber Cove was a few months ago while sailing on Carnival Mardi Gras. I am not necessarily a loyal Carnival cruiser, so I was excited to see what the private destination had to offer. Unexpectedly, Amber Cove reminded me a lot of CocoCay.

I had not done any prior research to my visit, but I had heard a few experiences from other cruisers. While some had enjoyed their time at Amber Cove, others said it was mediocre. Therefore, I wasn't entirely sure what to expect.

Amber Cove

While there isn’t striking resemblance, the convenience, ambiance and amenities are certainly similar with Amber Cove. We found there to be pools, bars, cabanas and tons of loungers in the resort area to enjoy. Additionally, there was a splash pad area for kids, a waterslide and a zip-line. Similar to CocoCay, I also enjoyed listening to the DJ play party tunes throughout the day. 

Additionally, Amber Cove was much bigger than I anticipated! The area was expansive and didn’t feel crowded during our day docked there. With plenty to do, including activities and amenities, it was a great place to spend the day.


Amber Cove is located in the Dominican Republic, which is located right outside of the bustling city of Puerto Plata. Carnival’s private destination is on the northern point of the Dominican Republic, which is mountainous and luscious. Not to mention, the water is strikingly blue, making the island absolutely gorgeous! 

Amber Cove

For history lovers, you might recognize this city as the location of where Christopher Columbus established his first settlement in the Americas. As such, there is a lot of history in the area, which could be perfect for those interested in history. Carnival’s Caribbean itineraries feature Amber Cove stops frequently. If the private island vibe isn’t your cup of tea, you can take a quick visit into Puerto Plata since it’s just 20 minutes away. 

Amber Cove

In comparison, Royal Caribbean’s Perfect Day at CocoCay is, indeed, a private island. This means you aren’t able to spend your time anywhere else. Instead, your entire time is spent at CocoCay because you are not able to venture from the island. 

Further north from Amber Cove, you will find Royal Caribbean’s Perfect Day at CocoCay in the Bahamas. The private island has plenty of local flair throughout. More precisely, you can find CocoCay about 55 miles north of Nassau in The Berry Islands. 


Less than a mile wide, CocoCay is a private island that covers nearly 130 total acres of white sand, blue water and palm trees. Your odds of visiting CocoCay are pretty high, as most of Royal Caribbean’s itineraries in the Caribbean feature a stop at the island. 

Both private destinations feel like a tropical oasis, although CocoCay features more natural beauty throughout the island. You will feel relaxed the minute you step ashore!

Beach Access

If you’re a beach lover, you definitely will not want to visit Amber Cove. This is where the two destinations vary the most. You might be envisioning that Amber Cove is beachy, but this isn’t the case. Because Amber Cove is not a private island, the area has absolutely no beach access. 

Amber Cove

Of course, you are still surrounded by the ocean and the mountains, but you won’t be finding any beaches at Amber Cove. 

On the contrary, CocoCay has multiple beaches for Royal Caribbean guests to enjoy - and these beaches are fabulous. As the name implies, you can have a perfect beach day at CocoCay. The private island features complimentary beach access throughout with loungers and soft sand. The ocean water is gorgeous and blue - perfect for swimming. You can even swim to a floating tiki bar at CocoCay!


I found that both of these destinations had tons of complimentary sun loungers for guests to use. Those who prefer the shade can also snag a complimentary umbrella as well. Amber Cove’s loungers are located throughout the pool area while CocoCay has loungers located around the pools and beaches. 

Those looking to visit these destinations will want to determine if beach access is a priority, as CocoCay will be the better choice for beach goers. 


Since Amber Cove does not have beach access, you can instead find a large pool to enjoy throughout your day. This massive pool, which holds 300,000 gallons of water, includes a swim-up bar, pool loungers and even a lazy river that loops around the resort.

Amber Cove

Similar to CocoCay, you can also find a DJ playing party music throughout the day. This creates a very fun, loud and upbeat atmosphere for cruise guests. Many people enjoy their day in the pool, listening to music with a cocktail in hand from the nearby bar!

Families will definitely enjoy all of the pools at Amber Cove as well! Kids (and adults alike) who are looking for thrills can enjoy the nearby waterslide (for a fee, discussed below). Smaller children will definitely want to spend time at the complimentary Wet Zone and Splash Pad, which features a few mini slides and a splashing bucket. 

Kiddie Pool

Amber Cove showcases one large pool for guests to enjoy, while Royal Caribbean’s CocoCay has three different pools that expand across the island. Because CocoCay is nearly four times the size as Amber Cove, Royal Caribbean has utilized its space to offer multiple pools for cruisers. 

Oasis Lagoon is the main pool at CocoCay. In fact, this is the largest freshwater pool in the Caribbean! Royal Caribbean has made Oasis Lagoon as a complimentary pool for guests to use. Those who want to spend their day here can take advantage of the DJ playing music and the swim-up bar for easy drink access. 

Oasis Lagoon

Those who purchase access to CocoCay’s exclusive club, Coco Beach Club, will find another pool to use. This infinity pool is relaxing and serene. After visiting Coco Beach Club earlier this year, I can confirm that this pool is as amazing as it looks in pictures! The entire space feels like a secluded tropical paradise. I don’t think I’ve ever swam in a more beautiful pool!


Finally, CocoCay has a third pool in Thrill Waterpark, which is a Wave Pool. This waterpark is not complimentary and requires daily admission. Those who love waterslides will want to consider a visit here, as you will find some of the wildest waterslides in all of North America! Thrill Waterpark is a full-scale waterpark with multiple pools, slides and rides. 

Those who want to spend their day poolside will find that Amber Cove and CocoCay are both great choices! Because of CocoCay’s size, you can find more pools throughout, including the more serene experience at Coco Beach Club. 

Unique Activities

If you prefer to spend your vacation being active, you will enjoy many activities at both CocoCay and Amber Cove. Because CocoCay is so much larger, guests will find more unique activities at Royal Caribbean’s private island. However, I was surprised to find a number of activities at Amber Cove as well, including zip-lines and jet skis. 

Perfect Day at CocoCay is packed with so many activities, you won’t even know where to start. There’s so much to do on the island that Royal Caribbean created distinct neighborhoods: Oasis lagoon, Thrill Waterpark, Coco Beach Club, Chill Island, South Beach, Up Up and Away, and Arrival’s Plaza. 

Those looking for an adrenaline rush will want to try CocoCay’s zip-line, as it spans across the entire island. The Up, Up and Away helium balloon is another unique feature of CocoCay, which takes guests soaring to new heights with a tethered balloon ride. Of course, Thrill Waterpark allows guests to try some of the craziest waterslides in North America. Finally, CocoCay has snorkel equipment, jet skis, paddle boards and kayaks to guests to rent.

While there is plenty to do for free on CocoCay, everything listed above is not complimentary and requires an additional fee. Complimentary activities on the island include volleyball, basketball and other beach games to be enjoyed on the sports court. 

Similarly, Amber Cove also has no shortage of activities for cruisers to enjoy. Two of the biggest activities include a zip-line that spans across the pool area and a large waterslide.

Amber Cove

These both include unlimited rides for a set price, which was $20 during the time we visited. Similar to CocoCay, guests can rent paddle boards, hydro bikes, kayaks, snorkel equipment and more. 

Amber Cove

Finally, a unique experience at Amber Cove that you won’t find at CocoCay is swimming with dolphins! The Ocean World Adventure Park allows guests to feed and play with dolphins during their visit. This is one of the largest man-made dolphin encounters, which also includes sea lions and tropical birds.

Regardless of how you spend your day, you will tons of activities and fun things to do in 

Drinks and Food

Amber Cove doesn’t even compare to CocoCay when it comes to complimentary dining. CocoCay knocks it out of the park in terms of dining. Additionally, you can use your Royal Caribbean drink package at CocoCay, which is a huge perk of this private island. 

While CocoCay has many different places to eat for free, you won’t find any complimentary dining during your time at Amber Cove. Also, if you have purchased a Carnival drink package, you won’t be able to use it at Amber Cove either. You will be expected to pay for drinks out of pocket, along with food.

Amber Cove

Those wanting to eat and drink during their day at Amber Cove will find delicious options, including a few local vendors as well. There is a marketplace at Amber Cove with Coco Cana Bar and Restaurant. In addition, you can enjoy the poolside bar with a swim-up portion. There is also Sky Bar and Cabana Bar at Amber Cove. 

Amber Cove

On the contrary, CocoCay is filled with places to eat and drink. One of the most popular bars at the private island is Oasis Lagoon’s Swim-Up bar. Here, you don’t even need to get out of the water because you can swim right up to the bartender and grab aborter drink. You can also find something very unique at CocoCay - a floating tiki bar off the coast of South Beach. This is a vacation experience you do not want to miss!

Chill Grill

If you’re looking for complimentary dining, you can enjoy Snack Shacks throughout the island. Here, you can snack on chicken sandwiches, funnel cakes, brownies, mozzarella sticks and more. CocoCay's Chill Grill buffet is a larger dining space that is also complimentary options for visitors. Surcharge dining spots include Skipper’s Grill and Captain Jack’s. 

Cabana Rentals

Those looking for a more luxurious experience can find cabana rentals at both Amber Cove and CocoCay. Cabana rentals can create a very unique experience during your time at a private island or destination. Why fly all the way to the Maldives when you can rent an over-the-water bungalow right in the Caribbean?! Both destinations have cabana rentals that will transport you to a truly private and tropical paradise - all to yourself!


Royal Caribbean has some incredible cabanas to rent at CocoCay. These cabanas can be rented at Chill Island, Oasis Lagoon and Thrill Waterpark. Cabana rentals are perfect for those who want to have a quiet space to retreat to during their time at CocoCay. With a cabana rental comes complimentary snacks, water, concierge service and more. 

Additionally, Coco Beach Club cabanas include access to the beach club while Thrill Waterpark cabanas provide access to the waterpark. 


Prices range greatly for renting a cabana at CocoCay. Guests can look to spend $299 to $999 for cabanas in Chill Island, Oasis Lagoon and Thrill Waterpark. The more lucrative cabana rentals are the floating cabanas located in the beach club. These are priced anywhere from $1,000 to $2,5000, but pricing is based purely on demand. 


I was surprised to see Amber Cove feature a number of cabanas that could be rented as well! These cabanas are categorized as Ocean, Grand, Poolside and Hillside cabanas, which is based on their location. Those who want to rent one of these cabanas will enjoy a refrigerator stocked with drinks, snacks and water throughout the day. Additionally, you will receive cabana service, including a waiter who will help get you drinks throughout the day. 

Amber Cove

Amber Cove cabanas also include showers, Wi-Fi and lounge chairs for guests to use. The Poolside cabanas feature air-conditioning while the Ocean cabanas sit over the beautiful ocean, similar to an over-the-water bungalow. Amber Cove also has a Grand cabana that features a private dining room and furnished living room.

Prices range from $500 to $2,000 at Amber Cove, which is dependent on which cabana you choose to rent. 

Environment and Design

Both Amber Cove and CocoCay offer vibrant and fun atmospheres. Both of these private destinations have great party vibes throughout the day. Those looking to let loose will certainly enjoy both of these destinations. 

Amber Cove

CocoCay and Amber Cove are stunning destinations surrounded by lush greenery and beautiful, blue water. Everywhere you look, it feels like a tropical vacation. The environments are very upbeat with many places to not just have fun, but also kickback and relax. You are on vacation, after all!

Because CocoCay is four times the size of Amber Cove, you will find more bars, pools, eateries and amenities. Royal Caribbean’s sizable investment does not go unnoticed, as I would argue that CocoCay is a bit more upscale. You can also find unique spaces like Coco Beach Club and Thrill Waterpark, meaning there’s a little something for everyone. 


I was still pleasantly surprised by Amber Cove, perhaps because I had low expectations. I kept referring to the space as ‘a mini version of CocoCay’ during the day. There are many parallels between the two destinations, such as the DJ playing poolside party music, the swim-up bar, the massive pool, loungers, activities, cabanas and more. 

It does feel like CocoCay has an edge on Amber Cove because of its size and location. There’s also a vibrant energy across the expansive space. With more space, you can find multiple pools and beaches; on the other hand, Amber Cove is much smaller and features just one main pool. 

Amber Cove

CocoCay also allows guests to utilize their drink and internet packages from onboard, which is a big perk for Royal Caribbean’s private island. You can also find more complimentary eateries around CocoCay, which creates a more laidback and all-inclusive feel. 

This isn’t to say that I did not enjoy my time at Amber Cove. I was impressed by the space and enjoyed how much was included. There was still a great vacation feel at Amber Cove - everyone was having a fun time for sure. Also, some of the amenities at Amber Cove were much more affordable than CocoCay. For just $20, you can ride the zip-line or waterslide an unlimited number of times. 

At the end of the day, it would be pretty tough not to enjoy your time at both of these private destinations. What’s not to love about the warm sun, palm trees and the sea breeze?!

5 things I loved about Chill Island on Perfect Day at CocoCay

30 Mar 2023

Royal Caribbean's expansion of Perfect Day at CocoCay has added a lot of compelling spots to spend your day, but there's something about Chill Island that I really love.

Chill Island beach at Perfect Day at CocoCay

Since the Perfect Day makeover, I've visited Royal Caribbean's private island dozens of times and tried every beach and pool they have.  Each has its advantages, but on my most recent visit, I wanted to go back to the original beach at Chill Island.

Maybe it was because this was the last day of our Wonder of the Seas cruise and I was just ready for a relaxing day, but the idea of laying on a lounge chair under an umbrella sounded perfect to me.

Chill Island sign

I also felt a sort of nostalgia for the Chill Island beach because before Royal Caribbean renovated and improved the island, this was the beach everyone went to and part of me missed going here. 

So while I won't complain about going to the Coco Beach Club or South Beach by any means, I really like Chill Island for a few good reasons.

1. The serenity

Beach at Chill Island

Maybe this is a sign I'm getting older, but I greatly appreciate the fact that Chill Island is advertised in its name and is pretty tame compared to other areas of CocoCay.

I enjoy a pool party as much as anyone, but I have to be in the mood for loud music at the pool.  With my kids in tow, the pool scene at Oasis Lagoon isn't always my jam.

Plus, I really like how much shade there is, between the umbrellas at every group of chairs and lots of palm trees.

Chill Island with ship in background

Being that it was the last night of a 7-night cruise, I was also ready for a wind down beach day.  Royal Caribbean designed Chill Island to be the quiet option.

If you look at a CocoCay map, the general idea is as you go from left to right, the island transitions from "chill" to "thrill". 

beach chairs

If you value serenity over energy, Chill Island is the spot for you.

2. The ocean

Ocean water at Chill Island

I really like the inlets Chill Island has, because of the rocks that protect the beach from the waves.

While you wont confuse CocoCay's ocean water with St. John or Aruba, it's still pretty and before a lot of other guests there later in the day, the clarity is lovely.

Chill Island beach with ships in background

There's also a few swim platforms near Chill Beach, which provides a challenge to get out there.  The furthest out platform is really a dare to guests to try to make it out there.

The north end of the beach seems calmer and more secluded, which means you can find the right area for your taste.

Essentially, the ocean around Chill Island has more "character" than the beach elsewhere on the island.

3. Wacky Seagull bar

Wacky Seagull bar

I remember the first time I went to fetch a drink from the Wacky Seagull bar and thinking to myself, "this place is really nice."

Rather than run back to my lounge chair, I sat down in one of the Adirondack chairs and enjoyed the view.

Because the bar has a roof, there's lots of shade and the breeze seems to always kick up a bit more here than back in my chair.

I'm a sucker for shade, a drink, and a stiff breeze, so I've returned to the Wacky Seagull just to sit and watch the ocean as I sip on my beer or cocktail.

4. Best beach cabanas outside Coco Beach Club

Chill Island cabanas

If I had to rank the beach cabanas you can rent at CocoCay, I think the Chill Island cabanas are the best outside the Coco Beach Club.

The Chill Island cabanas are further set away from the general part of the beach, but they aren't as remote as the beach cabanas at South Beach.  It's still a short walk when you need to venture out.

Each cabana accommodates up to eight guests and comes with attendant service. 

Row of cabanas

Another benefit to the Chill Island cabanas being somewhat isolated from the rest of the beach is that they're quieter and the couch inside any of them is quite inviting for a nap.

While the price of a CocoCay cabana has been steadily going up, if you're in the market for a beach cabana, I would always consider the Chill Island cabanas first.

5. Lots of other things close by

Chill Grill

It's a short walk to many other things to do at Perfect Day at CocoCay from Chill Island and I think that makes a difference.

Since it's always about food, Chill Grill is directly behind Chill Island.  Not only is it a short commute to eat lunch, but I can send my kids to get a drink, ice cream, or fruit without worrying they'll get lost along the way.

Chill Grill serves up salads, sandwiches, build-your-own tacos, fruit, and lots of grilled food (chicken, burgers, hot dogs).  My favorite is to make a taco bowl and load it up with salsa, guacamole, and lots of veggies.

And the best part, it's free!

CocoCay straw market

There's also the straw market for some light shopping.  Unlike the artisan market in Labadee, there's no sales pressure here and a convenient place to pick up a Bahamas souvenir.


There's also the snorkeling and excursion meetup right behind the Chill Island cabanas, and if you're looking for a hammock, there's a few on your way back to the ship.

How to get to Chill Island

Chill island sign

There's two ways to get to Chill Island: on foot or by tram.

If you want to walk, as you get to the Arrivals plaza, take a left turn and follow the sea green path across the bridge and you'll enter Chill Island.

Chill Island as seen from ship

Alternatively, you can hop on the complimentary shuttles located near Thrill Waterpark and it will give you a grand circle tour of the island, culminating with a stop at Chill Island.

Common Chill Island questions

Beach chairs

Is Chill Island on CocoCay free?

Yes, there's no admission cost to Chill Island. 

All the chairs and umbrellas are first-come, first grabbed and there's no extra cost to access the beach.

There are cabanas and day beds you can rent for an additional cost at Chill Island.


How much is a Chill Island cabana?

Prices for a cabana will vary from sailing to sailing, but they usually begin around $899 and can go for as much as $1399 per cabana.

The cabanas feature curtain closures on three sides, with comfortable sectional seating inside, four beach loungers outside for sunning and an umbrella-shaded dining area with four tables and chairs.

Entrance to Chill Island

Is Chill Island adults only?

No, Chill Island is open to all guests of all ages.

Hidewaway Beach is the only adults-only beach at CocoCay.

I booked an $1800 floating cabana in the Bahamas. While Instagram-worthy, here are 6 reasons why I don't recommend it to everyone

04 Mar 2023

We paid $1,800 for a floating cabana at Royal Caribbean’s private island in the Bahamas. It was unquestionably luxurious—with an over-the-water hammock and exclusive lunch—but I wouldn’t recommend it to every traveler.

Perfect Day at CocoCay, Royal Caribbean’s private island, has twenty private bungalows “floating” over the island’s turquoise waters. These cabanas are, by far, the most opulent way to spend a day on the island.

On my recent cruise, my travel party and I reserved a floating cabana for $1,800. There were eight of us sharing the cabana, which broke down to $225 per person. It wasn’t the cheapest way to spend our day by any means, but we were hopeful the cost would be worth it.

And while I certainly enjoyed myself during my eight hours on the island, I left with a few key takeaways I think others should be aware of.

From increasing prices to unexpected sea creatures, here’s why I wouldn’t recommend Perfect Day at CocoCay’s floating cabanas to everyone.

What is a floating cabana? Let’s take a tour

Royal Caribbean's floating cabanas are located within the Coco Beach Club, an exclusive area of Perfect Day at CocoCay that must be reserved in advance.

Related: Coco Beach Club: cost, tips & review

The beach club has its own infinity pool, Mediterranean restaurant, bar, and seating areas, along with private beach access. Floating cabana guests are free to use any of the Coco Beach Club’s facilities in addition to enjoying time at their private cabana.

As you walk along the Coco Beach Club’s lush, flowery paths, you’ll reach the entrance to the floating cabanas. There are two sets of ten cabanas on the island, which are located on opposite ends of the beach club.

Your cabana attendant will guide you to your cabana for the day. Cabana attendants act as your personal concierge and can deliver drinks, food, and anything else you may need directly to the cabin.

A covered living space in the cabana includes a plush couch and two lounge chairs, along with a coffee table. A screen is located on the wall next to the couch, where you can control the music from your cabana’s speaker and call your cabin attendant.

Also under the covered section of the cabana is a sink and mini fridge. Drinks in the mini fridge cost extra, but are included in Royal Caribbean’s drink packages.

The cabana also features a freshwater shower. Snorkeling equipment is found inside the shower area, which is complimentary for cabana guests.

Outside from under the roof of the cabana are four pool chairs, which are perfect for sunbathing between dips in the ocean. An umbrella can be opened between the pool chairs for extra shade, and a cooler with complimentary water bottles are found here as well.

Next to the pool chairs is a dining area. This area is perfect for enjoying lunch from the Coco Beach Club restaurant, which you can either get delivered to the cabana or eat in the restaurant itself.

Suspended over the crystal clear, turquoise Bahamian waters is a netted hammock, which is arguably the best place to relax in the entire cabana.

Of course, we can’t forget about the slide. Each cabana features a neon green slide launching guests directly into the ocean. This slide is especially popular for kids, but is fun for guests of all ages.

Are the floating cabanas worth it? Here’s why I wouldn’t recommend them to everyone

Whether or not something is “worth it” on a cruise is highly subjective, as it ultimately depends on your travel style and budget. For some cruisers, booking a $700 drink package may be worth the cost whereas others may prefer saving that money for an upgraded stateroom or shore excursion.

Nonetheless, here are six takeaways I took from my experience in the floating cabana that you should consider when choosing whether to book one or not.

For $1,800, we got a good deal on the floating cabana, but prices are increasing

While we paid $1,800 for a floating cabana, it’s not uncommon to see prices as high as $3,000 for a one day reservation. Prices at Perfect Day at CocoCay have been increasing due to high demand, so it’s unlikely you’ll see pricing lower than $1,800 for the cabana.

In fact, on my upcoming sailing on Icon of the Seas, the floating cabanas are priced at a whopping $3,799! Even if you split the price with eight guests, it’s nearly $500 a person.

It’s hard to justify spending over $3000 for an eight hour cabana rental, even if it provides an unforgettable day. That $3000 could easily be put toward other onboard expenses like drink packages, dining packages, or spa treatments.

It could even cover the cost of a weeklong cruise in a balcony room!

The cabana is fun with a large group, but may be unnecessary for just two people

Cabanas are priced per cabana and not per person, so you’ll pay the same amount whether sharing the cabana with your spouse or with seven of your friends.

Unless you’re celebrating a special occasion—such as a honeymoon or 50th anniversary—or you really don’t care about the cost, I would argue the cabana is almost too much space for just a few people.

If I were traveling with just one or two other people, I might opt for a different kind of cabana on the island. Outside of the floating cabanas are private cabanas on land at the Coco Beach Club, Thrill Waterpark, and Chill Beach. Not only are these priced lower, but they still offer a private, luxurious way to spend the day.

Related: Guide to Thrill Waterpark at Perfect Day at CocoCay

Even if cost isn’t a factor, the floating cabanas have so much space and amenities that it’s hard to take advantage of everything in just one day, especially if there are so few people in your travel party.

There’s so much to see at Perfect Day at CocoCay

Perfect Day at CocoCay has no shortage of free, fun things to do. From Oasis Lagoon pool to kids splash areas and a variety of beaches, there’s really no need to spend anything extra on the island.

While I certainly loved my time at the cabana, I found myself just as happy on previous trips to Perfect Day at CocoCay where I enjoyed only complimentary areas. I spend most visits to the island lounging in a chair at Chill Beach, where I spend $0 extra and still have an incredibly relaxing day.

Perfect Day at CocoCay beach

Even if you do want to book something extra, there’s a lot more than just the Coco Beach Club. Consider trying the zip line, booking a jet ski excursion, or renting snorkeling gear for the day. A quiet day at the cabanas is not for everyone when there are more adrenaline-filled activities elsewhere on the island!

The cabanas are a great choice for adults, but your kids might be bored

If you’re cruising with kids, a floating cabana may not be the best idea. While you may appreciate the peaceful, private atmosphere of a cabana, they aren’t the most kid-focused activity.

Related: 50 best cruising with kids tips & secrets

Many families prefer spending the day at Thrill Waterpark, the Oasis Lagoon pool, or Splashaway Bay. These areas of the island are exceptionally family-friendly and provide endless fun for kids of all ages.

The Coco Beach Club offers incredible amenities, but you don’t need a cabana to experience the club’s best perks

The Coco Beach Club is an excellent place to spend your day at Perfect Day at CocoCay. The club’s infinity pool, lounge areas, and beach access is perfect for guests in search of a peaceful atmosphere.

In lieu of reserving a cabana, you can always choose to buy a day pass to the Coco Beach Club. Day passes can be reserved on the Cruise Planner for around $150-250 depending on the sailing, and they include access to all areas of the club aside from private cabanas.

Related: The Ultimate Guide to the Royal Caribbean Cruise Planner site

Day pass access also includes lunch at the Coco Beach Club restaurant, which offers a more upscale menu compared to other food options on the island.

I’d argue that the amenities and hangout spaces of the Coco Beach Club almost rival that of the floating cabanas. During our day in the cabana, I found myself wanting to use the beach club’s amenities, but I felt almost obligated to spend time in the cabana we reserved due to the price we paid.

If you book a floating cabana, be prepared for some unexpected guests in the water

As soon as I got to the cabana, the first thing I did was climb up the slide and slide into the water below. If I had known about the unexpected guests we’d receive later in the day, though, I might have decided against it.

On our way back from lunch at the Coco Beach Club restaurant, we spotted a nurse shark swimming below the cabanas. Later in the day, a few members of our group were in the water when a stingray swam right past them!

Look, I know you should expect to encounter fish and other sea creatures in the ocean, but if you’re afraid of swimming in close proximity to sharks and other large sea creatures, you might be better off spending the day in more shallow waters!

Would I book a floating cabana again?

Even though I wouldn’t recommend Royal Caribbean’s floating cabanas to everyone, I wouldn’t be opposed to booking one again for the right price.

Whether or not I would book the cabana again would come down to a few factors:

  • Group size: Splitting the cost of the cabana with a large group is much more affordable than booking it for just 2-4 people
  • Overall price: I definitely wouldn’t spend over $3000 for the cabana, but if I found it for $1800 again, I would consider making a reservation
  • Purpose of vacation: If I were sailing to celebrate a milestone or special occasion, enjoying the island in a cabana would be an enticing option

Overall, having a “home base” on the island was definitely a nice perk, and the cabana was a fun way to splurge and enjoy quality time with our travel party.

I went to CocoCay for the first time, and here's what I'd do differently

19 Jan 2023

I went to Perfect Day at CocoCay for the first time, and I learned some things that will enhance my experience when I return to the island.


The first (and last) time I visited Royal Caribbean’s private island CocoCay was in 2010 when I was eleven years old. Since then, a lot has changed. In 2019, it received a $250 million renovation and was renamed to “Perfect Day at CocoCay.”

Royal Caribbean focused on adding incredible thrills, including a 1,600 foot zip line, freshwater pool, helium balloon, and waterpark that features one of the tallest waterslides in the world at 135 feet.


The island’s beaches are brimming with beach chairs and umbrellas for passengers who would rather spend the day soaking up rays on the beautiful beaches. If you’re willing to spend the money, private cabanas are also available for rent.

Pricing varies based on sailing, but they usually start at $999 for a cabana on Chill Island, Oasis Lagoon, and South Beach.

Additionally, they added a colorful pier to the island, meaning that guests no longer have to tender ashore. The walk time from ship to the Arrivals Plaza is about six minutes, and every attraction can be reached in another ten minutes from there. There are also trams that escort guests throughout the island.

I had such a great day hanging out on the revamped island for the first time, but here are my thoughts on what I’ll do differently next time!

Stick to one main activity


From zip lining, splashing around at the waterpark, sunbathing on the beach, and snorkeling, to kayaking and swimming with pigs, there’s so much to do and so little time to do it all.

Since it was my first time visited the renovated island, I wanted to see and do as much as possible.

I booked the full day pass for Thrill Waterpark, and I was so excited to ride Daredevil’s Peak, one of the tallest waterslides in the world.

Both Odyssey of the Seas and Symphony of the Seas were docked on the day I was there, so the waterpark was busier than I thought it would be. It took about an hour and a half just to ride two waterslides!

There were other rides that I wanted to try, like the Sling Shot and Twister, but the lines were about an hour long each, and I was looking forward to relaxing on the beach for awhile.

The next time I visit CocoCay, I’ll stick to one activity, whether that’s the waterpark, beach, or hanging out at Oasis Lagoon.

Get off the ship early


I wish I had disembarked the ship as soon as I could, as I waited about an hour to go ashore.

By the time I got the waterpark, most rides had a wait time of at least thirty minutes. Unless, that is, you were willing to ride the Screaming Serpent (I wasn’t!).

I think that if I had gotten off early, I would have been able to sneak a few extra rides in, but even if the lines would have been the same length as when I arrived, it would have been nice to hangout in the wave pool before it got crowded.

By the time I got to Chill Island, it was impossible to find a vacant chair, so I ended up placing my items on my towel off to the side because I didn’t want to spend a long time scouting for one.

If you want a front row lounger, it’s crucial that you get off the ship as soon as you can to secure your spot for the day! Plus, why wouldn’t you want to spend as much time as you can on the island? You can always head back in early if you get tired or want to enjoy the ship’s amenities with fewer people onboard.

Buy shore excursions in advance


I am a huge fan of purchasing everything in advance via the Cruise Planner, but since this was technically a work trip and I didn’t know what my schedule would entail, I refrained from doing so.

I made some friends onboard who had booked the Thrill Waterpark, and I spontaneously decided to tag along; I didn’t buy my pass until the night before, so I paid a whopping $149!

They, however, got a Black Friday deal and paid around $50 each.

While I thought riding Daredevil’s Peak was both nerve-racking and incredible, I don’t think it was worth the nearly $150 price tag, especially since I only rode one other slide before we all headed to Chill Island for some much needed relaxation. 

Looking ahead at my future cruises that visit CocoCay, I can purchase a pass for $79.99 and $88.99, which seems much more reasonable to me.

Plan ahead and book your shore excursions for CocoCay beforehand! This is not only a way to save money, but some experiences tend to sell out quickly, like the cabanas and Coco Beach Club.

Bring snorkel equipment


While I was hanging out on Chill Island, I kept hearing people talk about all the fish that they were seeing! Usually, I only snorkel on dedicating snorkeling excursions; however, I want to start carrying a mask with me in case the opportunity presents itself!

I’m familiar with the traditional beach warning flags (i.e., red for high hazard, yellow for medium, and green for low), but I didn’t know that purple meant presence of marine life. They had a purple flag blowing in the breeze, so I feel I missed out on seeing some neat stuff!

I was a bit bummed that I wasn’t able to see the “huge” fish and stingray that everyone was talking about!

I also visited Honeymoon Island on this cruise and having snorkel equipment would’ve been great there, too.

Check the times for the Snack Shack (and other dining venues)


Here at Royal Caribbean Blog, many are fans of the mozzarella sticks at CocoCay, so I was planning on giving them a try while I was there!

Unfortunately, I didn’t check the operating times for the Snack Shack, and it was already closed when I got there around 3:30pm. Our all aboard time was 5:30pm, so I assumed that they would have remained open a little bit later.

I was frustrated that I didn’t get to see if the mozzarella sticks lived up to the hype, so this is first on my list of things to do when I return in a few weeks.

I saw a lot of people carrying around funnel cakes, and they looked tasty, too!


Thankfully, though, I was able to eat a delicious meal at the Chill Grill, so I wasn't left hungry and disappointed. I enjoyed being able to make my own tacos, and I thought they were much better than El Loco Fresh onboard. 

Overall thoughts on Perfect Day at CocoCay


I don’t remember all that much about the island from my first visit years and years ago, but my dad said that he enjoyed a day ashore with only the ship's guests. 

The beaches are pristine, and the day can be whatever you want to make of it.

Personally, I prefer it over Labadee by far. I never feel the need to purchase an excursion there; I’m content just finding a place to hangout on the beach.

I love how Perfect Day at CocoCay's activities are meant to appeal to a wider range of people and interests; you can go to a waterpark, ride a helium balloon, hang out and listen to music at the swim up bar in Oasis Lagoon, or relax on the beach all day.

Plus, the market is also much more relaxed. You can walk in and out of the individual stores without feeling pressure to buy anything.

I’m so glad that I finally got to experience it, as I’ve been wanting to visit since it was revealed nearly three years ago.

Couple gets married in helium balloon 450 feet above Royal Caribbean's private island

17 Dec 2022

Destination weddings took on a whole new meaning last week as two Royal Caribbean cruisers tied the knot at Perfect Day at CocoCay. But the newlyweds didn’t get married on the island… they got married above it!

CocoCay helium balloon

Thomas and Nancy Budzyn were wed at the top of Royal Caribbean’s Up, Up, and Away helium balloon at Perfect Day at CocoCay. While weddings on a cruise are nothing new, this may be the most unique cruise wedding we’ve seen yet!

The Up, Up, and Away helium balloon at Royal Caribbean’s private island takes guests 450 feet in the air for 360 degree views of this Bahamian paradise. As the highest vantage point in the entire Bahamas, the helium balloon provides a view of the island like no other.

On December 9, 2022, two Royal Caribbean cruisers were married on the helium balloon. We wanted to learn more about their special day.

The newlyweds

Thomas and Nancy Budzyn live in Naples, Florida and are frequent Royal Caribbean cruisers, both of whom hold Diamond Plus status in the Crown & Anchor Society.

While the pair had met years ago, their relationship as a couple began after the cruising restart, and they took their first cruise together in July 2021. As the two both work remotely, they can cruise often and have been on thirteen cruises together since the restart.

I couldn’t help but ask how the idea of getting married on the Up, Up, and Away helium balloon came to be.

“We have been to CocoCay so many times together and always have a great time,” Thomas mentioned. “Plus, it’s so beautiful there. It just seemed like the perfect place to have our perfect day.”

Thomas and Nancy were the first couple to get married in the balloon, although another couple had previously gotten engaged there!

“Everyone always does the same thing. We wanted to do something different and hopefully be trendsetters.”

After a trial run in the balloon during a cruise over Thanksgiving, Thomas and Nancy were ready to return in a few weeks for their special day.

The ceremony

One of the main issues with the Up, Up, and Away helium balloon at Perfect Day at CocoCay is that rides are weather dependent. Weather conditions must be ideal–with very little wind and no rain–for the helium balloon to run.

Thomas explained how this was a potential issue for their special day.

“The only concern was the wind, as that could cause the balloon not to go up. We were mentally prepared for a last-minute venue change, either the wedding pavilion or somewhere on the beach.”

Luckily their wedding day brought sunny blue skies. They were notified 30 minutes before the ceremony that the balloon ride would take place.

The ceremony was small, with six attendees: the couple, the island’s Entertainment Manager, the balloon operator, the officiant (Nancy’s best friend), and another friend that took photos. The Up, Up, and Away helium balloon can accommodate thirty people in total.

“The balloon ride is short,” Thomas said. “The whole thing from boarding to unboarding was around 12 minutes. We had a short, simple ceremony to fit within the time constraint.”

After the wedding

After the ceremony, the wedding party headed over to Oasis Lagoon and each had the island’s signature drink, the Coco Loco. They took several photos on the bridge over the lagoon before heading back to the ship.

A private tram escorted the newlyweds back to Symphony of the Seas, where they took a few photos with the island’s dancers and band.

Once back onboard, Thomas and Nancy headed to the casino (a little post-wedding luck, perhaps?) before enjoying champagne and cake.

Thomas mentioned how the staff was excellent during the planning process and wedding ceremony.

“The staff were all just as excited as we were. The crew, both on the island and on the ship, made us feel like they were part of our wedding and our family.”

The only caveat with getting married at Perfect Day at CocoCay? The heat.

“One does not realize how hot it is,” Thomas joked, “until you walk from the ship to the balloon in a tuxedo!”

Thank you to Thomas and Nancy for sharing their story with us at Royal Caribbean Blog. Congratulations and we wish you many happy years together!

Royal Caribbean updates: CocoCay adults beach construction, Icon of the Seas sale date & more

21 Sep 2022

Cruise news has been a bit slow lately, but we have a few important tidbits and updates to share.

Ship at CocoCay

In order to keep everyone informed, here's a look at various pieces of news that have crossed my desk during the past week.

If you ever have a news tip, feel free to email it to [email protected] for possible inclusion in a future update!

Icon of the Seas will go on sale in October?

Icon of the Seas construction aerial photo from September 2022

While we may not know anything yet about Icon of the Seas, a lot of people are ready to book a cruise on her anyway.

It looks like bookings might open up for Royal Caribbean's new cruise ship in October.

Icon of the Seas construction aerial photo from August 2022

According to a travel agent that was on an update call, "mid-October" is the time when bookings will open up.

From what I understand, Royal Caribbean National Account Sales Manager Joseph Casal, told agents on the call Icon of the Seas is expected to open for bookings in mid-October.

Hideaway Beach construction photos

It's been a while since we shared construction photos of the new adults-only beach area coming to Perfect Day at CocoCay.

RoyalCaribbeanBlog reader Steve Cohen took photos of the area while sailing on Harmony of the Seas.

He said while no buildings are under construction, a lot more trailers and construction equipment has moved in since the last time he was there.

Dr. Pepper on Texas cruises

Galveston cruise terminal construction

If you love Dr. Pepper soda, you'll have to cruise from Texas in order to enjoy it on a Royal Caribbean cruise.

Travel agents on a webinar call on Wednesday were told cruises sailing from Galveston will soon serve Dr. Pepper in addition to the Coke products the line always carries.

Dr. Pepper is a soda brand based in Texas and due to local demand, Royal Caribbean will begin serving it as well.

No timeline was given on when it will begin being offered, but the information was shared with the context of Allure of the Seas and the new cruise terminal opening in November.

Icon of Vacations

One more Icon of the Seas update comes in the form a trademark filing.

Royal Caribbean Group filed a trademark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office on September 15, 2022.

The trademark is for, "Icon of Vacations" which sounds like a marketing slogan tied to the new Icon of the Seas cruise ship.


Royal Caribbean trademarks names for Perfect Day at CocoCay expansion areas

02 May 2022

Royal Caribbean has filed two new trademarks that are likely intended for areas of its private island in The Bahamas.

Perfect Day at CocoCay aerial of South Beach

It's no secret that Royal Caribbean intends to expand Perfect Day at CocoCay, having already talked publicly about plans for an adults-only area of the island.

Trademarks filed last week with the United States Patent and Trademark Office confirm one name and signal the name of potentially another new area.

Here's what Royal Caribbean filed and what it could mean, keeping in mind that not everything Royal Caribbean trademarks ends up being used.

Hideaway Beach

Already announced by Royal Caribbean as a project, Hideaway Beach was formally trademarked with a filing on April 27.

Hidewaway Beach will be an adults-only expansion of Perfect Day at CocoCay. It will be located west of the island’s pier, adjacent to CocoCay’s Thrill Waterpark

Royal Caribbean International President and CEO Michael Bayley confirmed the area will be an adults-only area. In March 2022, Royal Caribbean's Senior Vice President and Chief Product Innovation Officer Jay Schneider said the timeline for opening is mid to late 2023.

The trademark filing describes Hideaway Beach simply as, "Recreational services, namely island resort services". Trademark descriptions are usually quite vague.

Little else is known about what this new area will offer beyond the fact it will be limited to adults.

Secret Cove

Royal Caribbean also filed a trademark for Secret Cove on April 27.

Just like Hideaway Beach, the trademark lists in the description Secret Cove as being, "Recreational services, namely island resort services."

Royal Caribbean has not announced or referred to anything yet named Secret Cove, but a crew member YouTube video might share insight into what it could be.

Martina, a Royal Caribbean crew member onboard the Serenade of the Seas, posted a YouTube video from December 2021 that refers to an area of CocoCay beyond South Beach called "Secret Cove" that was being used as a crew member-only beach.

"This is the place to relax, to be ourselves, and to get a little bit away from the work," she says in her video.

She describes it as a place for crew members to hang out and enjoy time off.

Whether or not Secret Cove is intended to remain crew-only or become another new expansion area for cruise ship guests remains to be seen.

It's also entirely possible the trademark refers to something else completely unrelated to CocoCay.

My Impressions of Perfect Day at CocoCay: Revisiting 13 Years Later

16 Mar 2022

If you’re a loyal cruiser with Royal Caribbean, you know it’s pretty rare to find a Caribbean sailing that doesn’t stop at Labadee or CocoCay. Both of these ports are actually private islands owned by Royal Caribbean and are frequent stops for the cruise line when sailing the Caribbean.

To be honest, anytime I saw CocoCay as a port stop for a cruise, I’d scowl at the thought of wasting a port stop at Royal Caribbean’s private island in the Bahamas. There were plenty of other islands that I’d rather spend my time and money visiting. 

Lackluster First Experience

Back in 2009, I cruised with my family onboard Royal Caribbean’s Majesty of the Seas on a weekend cruise to the Bahamas. One of our stops was CocoCay - and to say it was pretty lame is an understatement. 

After tendering to the island from the cruise ship, my family and I walked onshore to find an underdeveloped island surrounded by rocky shores. There were some lounge chairs scattered around the beach. We found a few places to shop while walking around the island.

Overall, It was pretty dull and lackluster. I was just 14 years old and my sister was 12 at the time. There wasn’t much to do on the island, so my parents bought us tickets to ride the waterslide. 

After a few less-than-thrilling rides on the blowup waterslide, we tendered back to the ship and opted for lunch at Johnny Rockets. The whole family agreed that the island was nothing special and we certainly wouldn’t go out of our way to return. 

Because of our underwhelming experience, we’d avoided any itineraries with stops at CocoCay. For years, we would look for cruise itineraries that didn't include CocoCay.

Second Chances

Fast Forward to February 2022, my family had a cruise planned onboard Harmony of the Seas with stops in St. Maarten, St. Thomas and - yup, you guessed it - CocoCay! 

After Royal Caribbean’s major renovations were finalized in 2019, it appeared that the private island received a well-deserved facelift. We were excited to give the renovated island another chance after our first visit more than 13 years earlier.

The bar was set pretty low based on our prior visit, but we had heard from many people that the island had been transformed into a great port stop. Seeing beautiful pictures and videos of Perfect Day at CocoCay made the island seem like a new Caribbean island oasis. 

First Impressions

40 Perfect Day at CocoCay tips, tricks and secrets | Royal Caribbean Blog

As we sailed into port, we could easily spot the Up, Up and Away balloon soaring above the blue sea. The colorful flags from the port could be seen blowing in the wind. It was a beautiful, warm day for our last port stop. 

The island looked as bright and vibrant as the many pictures and videos I had seen online. We could already see from the ship that the island was way more developed than before. It almost felt like we were pulling up to a resort!

My mom is notorious for choosing to stay on the cruise ship when we dock in ports that she’s uninterested in. She said that CocoCay was so lame before that she might stay on the ship. Luckily, we convinced her to give the island a try, as she could easily head back to the ship if she wasn’t enjoying her day. 

Wonder of the Seas Live Blog - Day 7 - Perfect Day at CocoCay | Royal Caribbean Blog

As we walked along the pier under the colorful awnings, we were immediately impressed by the new CocoCay. The island was glistening with white sand along the ocean.  There was a shuttle running from the ship to bring guests to the amenities; however, we enjoyed walking along the ocean.

To start, it was a welcome change that we didn’t need to tender to the island this time. It saves so much time when you can just walk off the ship and get your day started!

Oasis Lagoon

Perfect Day at CocoCay photo update | Royal Caribbean Blog

With a little research, we decided our first stop would be Oasis Lagoon. Plenty of signage helped direct us towards the lagoon, which is actually the large freshwater pool in the Caribbean.

Even better, there was a swim-up bar in the Oasis Lagoon. My sister snagged a lounge chair that was partially submerged in the lagoon. There was great music pumping from the DJ across the lagoon. 

We were amazed at how large the lagoon was! There were tons of chairs and umbrellas surrounding the pool. The swim-up bar was our first stop after getting settled. The day called for pina coladas!

One of the perks of visiting Royal Caribbean’s private island is that you can continue to access your internet and beverage package! We were ready to indulge in our daily allowance of 5 Diamond + drinks. 

The Oasis Lagoon was so much fun, we ended up spending most of the day here. With great music and plenty of drinks, we were having a great time relaxing.

Even more fun - we had an unexpected Royal Caribbean Blog staff meeting! As fate would have it, Matt himself was cruising with his family onboard the Freedom of the Seas and docked right next to our ship. This was actually our first time meeting in person, so it was a fun coincidence.

Funnel Cake

Perfect Day at CocoCay photo update | Royal Caribbean Blog

After a few drinks at the pool, it was time to find something for lunch. We walked through the large buffet area on our way to the Oasis Lagoon, but we were looking to try something a little different. 

We’d heard Snack Shack was a great place to grab lunch, so we headed towards South Beach. Having so many options for food was another welcomed change. Everywhere we looked, there was either a bar, buffet or ice cream machine!

We ordered chicken sandwiches at the Snack Shack, along with mozzarella sticks and french fries. But, we were all the most excited about the funnel cakes! That crispy, powdery cakey goodness hit the spot on our last day of vacation.

Everything we ordered at the Snack Shack was delicious. The chicken sandwich with pesto mayo tasted like a Chick-fil-a sandwich.

An insider tip - don’t leave your food unattended! My dad sat down with his french fries and hot dog before getting up to snag some ketchup. About 15 birds swarmed the table and tried to steal as many fries as they could. 

Shops and South Beach

While enjoying our lunch, we marveled at everything CocoCay had to offer. South Beach had so many activities for those looking to do more than have a cocktail at the beach. You can find activities like volleyball, basketball, snorkeling, paddle boarding and ping pong. 

We also enjoyed shopping around the many stalls that adorned touristy shirts, magnets and beach bags while polishing off our funnel cake with an ice cream cone. There were plenty of shops for those looking to support the local economy, as the stalls were all operated by locals. 

Final Thoughts

Perfect Day at CocoCay blew all of us away! The whole family truly enjoyed our day at CocoCay. Even my mom, who typically hates spending her day at the beach, said she loved the island and was very impressed. 

It was obvious that Royal Caribbean invested heavily in making its private island a destination that cruisers will want to visit. I can totally understand how people love to visit CocoCay repeatedly. 

The entire day was very laid back and relaxing. Everything at CocoCay is so easy, making it feel like a true day of vacation. There was no need to worry about transportation or logistics - you walk right off the ship and you’re right where you need to be! 

I loved being able to use my daily drinks at the island too. Oasis Lagoon was the perfect place for us to spend the day relaxing w drinking and dancing Next time, I’d love to visit the floating bar on South Beach. 

We saw so many families having a great time too, which is easy to do with all the waterslides, waterparks and activities. CocoCay is certainly a great spot for families with kids of all ages. 

I honestly wish I could transport my 14 year old self to the new CocoCay! That big blowup waterslide from the old CocoCay couldn’t even compete with all the new amenities offered.

If you haven’t visited the new Perfect Day at CocoCay, or you’re avoiding it like we were, think again! I promise you’ll be impressed by everything that Royal Caribbean has done to make the island an amazing destination. 

Royal Caribbean updates: adults-only beach update, new Covid testing partner & more

26 Jan 2022

There's a smattering of Royal Caribbean news to share from this week of interest to most cruise fans.

Harmony of the Seas 2017 Live Blog - Matt's Cruise Preview | Royal Caribbean Blog

Just halfway through the week, and I have news tidbits to share.

New partnerships, construction updates, and deployment changes are all changes that can easily be summed up in this post as a quick way to catch you up on what's happening.

If you ever have a news tip, feel free to email it to [email protected] for possible inclusion in a future update!

New Covid testing partner

Royal Caribbean has a new Covid-19 testing partner in Quest Diagnostics.

Royal Caribbean has incorporated Quest Diagnostics as a pre-cruise and return home testing option. Quest Diagnostics is a lab with over 1,800 locations throughout the United States available to support testing needs.

You can visit for information on testing options.

The cruise line says guests can expect Quest to provide test results for most Royal Caribbean guests electronically (via email or through Quest’s secure patient portal, MyQuest) in 48 hours or less.

Hideaway Beach construction update

Construction is continuing at Perfect Day at CocoCay on a new adults-only beach.

Hideaway Beach is a new expansion on Royal Caribbean's private island that is scheduled to open at the end of 2022.

RoyalCaribbeanBlog reader twangster shared photos while Odyssey of the Seas visited CocoCay on January 24.

Wonder of the Seas is scheduled to begin sailings on March 4, 2022 from Fort Lauderdale.

Singapore cruises to expand to regional ports

Royal Caribbean announces new Singapore sailings on two cruise ships | Royal Caribbean Blog

Singapore was the first place Royal Caribbean was able to restart cruises after the shutdown of 2020, but they've only been short sailings to nowhere.

The Singapore Tourism Board (STB) said yesterday that Singapore is working with various governments of countries in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) to allow cruises to visit ports.

Up until now, cruises on Quantum of the Seas from Singapore have been limited to "cruises to nowhere" that have no port stops.

First look: Royal Caribbean cruise ship begins sailing again in Singapore | Royal Caribbean Blog

Royal Caribbean has cruises on sale for sailings from Singapore to Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam on board Spectrum of the Seas. 

The Spectrum of the Seas cruises are scheduled to sail beginning on October 21, 2022, with the voyages between three and nine nights, subject to receiving the relevant governmental approvals.

Royal Caribbean returns to Jamaica

Good news to share that Harmony of the Seas docked in Falmouth, Jamaica today.

Photos by Wayland Hostetler

This is significant because Harmony is the first Royal Caribbean cruise ship to visit the island since 2020.

Perfect Day at CocoCay beach bed review

24 Jan 2022

There are many ways to plus your visit to Perfect Day at CocoCay, such as renting a bed bed for the day.

Beach beds are an optional rental you can purchase to use while visiting Royal Caribbean's private island for the day. reader Shannon Ford tried one out on a recent Freedom of the Seas cruise, and shared her thoughts on what to expect if you get one.

Beach bed review

My family and I recently rented a Beach Bed at Chill Island at Perfect Day at CocoCay. This was a last minute decision that we booked 3 days before we set sail. The price is typically $199, however, about 2 weeks before our sailing, the price dropped to $149, which is the price we paid.

There are two areas with Beach Bed Rentals. The first are the Chill Island Day Beds, which is where we were. When looking at the map of CocoCay, these are at the bottom lefthand corner.

The second area are the Breezy Bay at Chill Island Day Beds. These are behind the Oasis Lagoon near the Floating Cabanas.


Upon arriving to the area, there was a stand where we checked in and received our wristbands. Each Day Bed receives 4 wristbands, and yes, children count.

We were given a quick lay of the land and were on our way. The Day Beds are pre-assigned and we were given Bed #12, which was a perfect location.

Of the 30 Day Beds in this area, 21 had been rented and they were accepting walk-ups for the remaining beds. With two ships in port, 15 beds were allocated per ship. Beds 1-5 were for Freedom of the Seas, Beds 6-10 were for Harmony of the Seas and so on and so forth.

The beds have a roof but no walls, however there are white curtains on two sides for privacy (and shade). They proved very helpful for our nap later in the day.

The rental also includes 2 loungers, 2 floating mats and a cooler filled with ice and 4 cans of spring water. Your name is also written on a chalkboard on your assigned day bed. I think this is done for two reasons. One, so you can easily find your bed and two, so crew know which beds are not rented.

We did see a couple lay out in the bed directly behind us (#29) which had not been rented. A crew member came over and politely inform them that the day beds needed to be rented in order for them to be used.

Bartenders typically walk the area and will serve you at your day bed. However, due to Covid, we were told upon check-in that they were extremely short-staffed and not to expect them. We never saw a bartender in the area. This was not an issue for us. If you do plan to drink, the closest bar is The Wacky Seagull and is fairly close.

Unlike the cabanas, the day beds do not have a safe to store any personal belongings. However, you can store any items you like in the lockers nearby, free of charge. We never felt the need to do this and just let down the curtains when we went to get food and left whatever we had on the bed. With that said, we didn’t leave anything of real value either.

That leads us to the food. Unlike the cabanas, no one is there to serve you lunch, you need to go and get it yourself. Again, this was not an issue for us. Our original plan was to bring our food back to the day bed to eat, but it’s a good walk, so we decided just to eat at the picnic tables at the Chill Grill. Considering what a messy eater my 6 year-old is, this was a wise choice.

And finally, the beach area for this section of Chill Island was perfect. Our son enjoyed building sand castles (more of a sand house), playing in the water and lounging on one of the floating mats.

It also seemed to be the area for snorkeling, as we saw many many snorkelers in the area. If you have young children, this is a great area as there are no waves. My son who absolutely loves the Splashaway Bay on CocoCay, never wanted to leave the beach, so we never made it over to that area.

We finished off our time at the Day Bed with a family nap. It was amazing! I had set my alarm to make sure we didn’t miss the ship, but there was also a crew member checking each of the beds to make sure everyone was awake.

We had to be back on board by 5pm and we left the area around 4:20pm. There are nearby showers and bathrooms which we all visited before heading back to the ship.

Final thoughts

Breezy Bay at Chill Island vs chill island day bed on coco cay - Shore Excursions - Royal Caribbean Blog

So do you need to rent a Day Bed? Absolutely not. Loungers were plentiful all around the island. Will we rent a Day Bed again. Absolutely!

Having the day bed just made our day at CocoCay better and simply Perfect (pun intended). We currently have an Oasis Lagoon cabana booked for our March cruise that we booked on Black Friday, but we are considering switching to a Day Bed Rental if they become available. Currently, they are sold out.

We paid $149 which was an excellent value, but would I purchase it at $199? I think so. It just makes the day easier, especially with a child and I’ve spent $200 on stupider things.

When you also factor in, the dedicated loungers, the two floating mats and a cooler, it all adds up.

In my opinion, the Chill Island day beds are a great choice for smaller families that want a private, dedicated area with easy access to the beach.

Check out Shannon's YouTube channel for lots more travel information & tips.

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