Perfect Day at CocoCay

Photo of the Day: CocoCay beach


Photo by hortonheardawho

Carnival cruise ships to make stops at Royal Caribbean's private island of CocoCay


Carnival Cruise Lines has announced on select five-night sailings of its Carnival Fascination will swap out a stop at Key West for the private island of Little Stirrup Cay, which is better known to Royal Caribbean fans as Coco Cay.

The Fascination sailings that will stop at CocoCay are scheduled for 03/11/2013, 04/08/2013, 05/06/2013, 05/27/2013, 06/10/2013, 06/24/2013, 07/08/2013, 07/22/2013, 08/05/2013, 08/19/2013, 09/02/2013, 09/16/2013, 09/30/2013, 10/14/2013, 10/28/2013, 11/25/2013, 12/09/2013, 01/20/2014, 03/03/2014, 03/17/2014, 04/14/2014 & 04/28/2014.

The news of Carnival stopping at Coco Cay came via emails sent to Carnival passengers that had booked the cruise previously.

The exact details of the agreement between Carnival and Royal Caribbean are unknown at this time.  Royal Caribbean has an existing agreement with the Bahamas for exclusive access to the island via its lease.  Many are speculating that Carnival will pay Royal Caribbean for access to the island because Carnival's private island of Half Moon Cay is booked up already.

Royal Caribbeans private island CocoCay awarded Gold-level Eco-Certification


Royal Caribbean's private island in the Bahamas, CocoCay, was awarded the Sustainable Tourism Education Program (STEP) Gold-Level Eco-Certification for its attractions and tour operations.

The award was presented by Sustainable Travel International, a leading nonprofit that support sustainable tourism development.  The certification is the top-tier program and  is among the first global standards to be formally recognized by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC), and CocoCay is the first operation of its kind to receive the certification.

All on-island tours and island operations, including workplace practices, guest communications, and environmental management policies were assessed by a third-party independent of Sustainable Travel International and Royal Caribbean. Royal Caribbean demonstrated an ability to successfully apply its outstanding on-board sustainability initiatives to its shore excursion operations.

Royal Caribbean met certain criteria to receive the award, among them were these distinctions

  • Royal Caribbean performed extremely well on all policy and documentation criteria.
  • The CocoCay team performed “above and beyond” in areas of guest communications, guest education, group-size policy and visitor code of conduct.
  • All on-island vendors sell locally sourced and produced products from the Bahamas, such as artwork and locally-made crafts.

Royal Caribbean Associate Vice President for Safety and Environmental Stewardship, Rich Pruitt, commented on the award, "We are very proud of our CocoCay team and the incredible work they do every day. It is through their dedication to sustainability initiatives that CocoCay has been awarded this prestigious certification that further emphasizes our commitment to environmental stewardship. By working with organizations such as Sustainable Travel International, Royal Caribbean continues to focus on providing an incredible vacation experience both onboard its ships and its private destinations like CocoCay.”

Freedom of the Seas Video Blog - Eastern Caribbean Itinerary


In our second video blog, we preview the Eastern Caribbean itinerary aboard Royal Caribbean's Freedom of the Seas.   We preview each of the three islands: CocoCay, St. Thomas & St. Maarten, including what the islands are known for and what the good excursions are.  Joining me on today's episode is Kaleigh Lay from CruizeCast.

Let us know how you liked the video and any suggestions you have for our cruise!

For more videos, subscribe to our Royal Caribbean Blog channel on YouTube.

Royal Caribbean reopens private island after Hurricane Sandy damage


Hurricane Sandy went through Royal Caribbean's private island of CocoCay and despite some damage, the oasis for Royal Caribbean cruise passengers is open again.

Royal Caribbean spokesperson Cynthia Martinez talked about the damage the storm did to the island, "The island of Coco Cay was impacted by the storm, with damage being sustained to some of our facilities and the beach areas. Our Coco Cay team has been working diligently to prepare the island for our guests arrival."

Despite the damage, Majesty of the Seas called on CocoCay yesterday as scheduled and Monarch of the Seas is expected to also call on CocoCay today.

Bahamas Ministry Of Tourism director of cruise development, Carla Stuart, claims that Hurricane Sandy had cost Nassau alone a collective $927,000 in lost cruise spend and taxes.

Ms Stuart noted that vessel cancelations between Thursday to Saturday last week cost Nassau an estimated $742,000 in passenger spending, plus $185,000 in likely departure tax.

First report of Hurricane Sandy damage to Royal Caribbean private island


Royal Caribbean is starting to take a look at the damage Hurricane Sandy has done to its private island of CocoCay in the Bahamas.

"The impact to the island of CocoCay from Hurricane Sandy was not severe, but requires a significant cleanup effort ahead of guest arrival. Guests will be able to enjoy most of the island, however due to significant beach erosion in one area of the island, that area will unfortunately not be accessible to guests. The majority of our shore excursions will be available."

The good news is the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism says things are nearly back to normal in Nassau and Freeport, where minimal damage was sustained.  

Tropical Storm Isaac changes more Royal Caribbean ship itineraries


Royal Caribbean is announcing two more of its ships are being affected by Tropical Storm Isaac.  

Both Majesty of the Seas and Monarch of the Seas will not stop at Royal Caribbean's private island of CoCo Cay this weekend due to concerns of the storm.

This change is in addition to the previous announcement that Allure of the Seas will change from an eastern Caribbean itinerary to a western Caribbean itinerary.

As of 11 a.m. ET, Isaac was 165 miles south-southwest of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic and moving to the west-northwest at 14 miles per hour. The storm has maximum sustained winds of 60 miles per hour. 

Vendors on CocoCay happy with new Royal Caribbean store


Recently there was a dispute between the local vendors on Royal Caribbean's private island of CocoCay and the cruise line after Royal Caribbean announced plans to open a store on the island that would sell Royal Caribbean goods.

It now seems the locals are okay with the plan after the store opened and the only merchandise being sold is branded Royal Caribbean gifts.  

Our friends at Cruise Radio submitted this on-location report confirming that the locals have come to terms with Royal Caribbean's decision.

Bahamian vendors upset over Royal Caribbean store on CocoCay


Vendors on the Berry Islands of the Bahamas are upset with Royal Caribbean over a newly opened signature store on its private island of CocoCay.  These vendors claim the new store has cost their revenues to be slashed by 75%.

Mary Neely-Knowles, a spokeswoman for the Coco Cay vendors, claims the vendors cannot compete with Royal Caribbean's store despire the store being open for only two weeks.

“We are selling T-shirts with the Coco Cay logo on it and they are selling T-shirts with the Coco Cay logo on it and Royal Caribbean . . . their t-shirts are $10, ours is $18."

“And we can’t sell any lower [because] most of our T-shirts come from the States or Nassau [where] they start from $7 to $8, so you have to sell $15.

“So why do they need to sell the same straw items, the hats, T-shirts, lotion, sunglasses and things that we are selling? We can’t compete.”

Neely-Knowles went on to claim that workers have noticed a shift in the purchases passengers have been making.  In addition, Royal Caribbean's cashless system of purchases has further created problems for the vendors as many passengers are now disembarking without cash.

A letter obtained by the Guardian Business shows Royal Caribbean received approval from the Bahamian  Director of Investments, Gaydene McClain for the store under the condition the items sold in the store would “have Royal Caribbean’s logo” on it.

The vendors believe that the distinction wasn't enough and that their items overwhelm the vendors with similar goods.

The fact of the matter is governments in the Caribbean enter into these agreements with cruise lines as a way of constructing state-of-the-art cruise facilities, which in turn guarantees long-term cruise traffic.  Officials from the Bahamas government assert it would very difficult for the Bahamas to maintain or grow its share of the cruise industry without such competitive incentives.

CocoCay open again after Hurricane Irene damage is repaired


Hurricane Irene caused enough damage to Royal Caribbean's private island of CocoCay in the Bahamas that Royal Caribbean officials had to cancel three stops over the weekend to the island.  The damage has been repaired and CocoCay is open for business once again.

Royal Caribbean's Monarch of the Seas was able to stop today at CocoCay.  Royal Caribbean said it made all the repairs it needed and  that “the site is back to business as usual.”