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Cruise companies create their own private destinations. Some companies add to the infrastructure already on the island (like Carnival in Grand Turks), while others buy and develop their private islands. Coco Cay in the Bahamas is Royal Caribbean’s private island and resort. Only cruise ships owned by Royal Caribbean stop here – Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, and Silverseas. So why is it called “A Perfect Day in Coco Cay?” And is it really a perfect day? Here is everything you need to know to enjoy CocoCay.
What Is CocoCay?
Little Stirrup Cay, one of the Berry Islands in the Bahamas, is better known as CocoCay. The facilities were re-branded on May 4, 2019, as “Perfect Day in CocoCay.” If you visited before then (like me), you’d be surprised at the size and improvements made.
CocoCay can be super crowded or paradise, depending on the number of ships docked. On a recent sailing, our Jewel of the Seas, with about 2500 passengers, was the only ship onshore. It felt like our own private island!
HOT TIP: To avoid the crowds, plan on going to CocoCay before 11 am or after 3 pm.
What Is Included in CocoCay?
You don’t need to spend any money on CocoCay! Because Royal Caribbean owns the island, you can easily spend a day without additional expenses. There is no admission fee – so enjoy!
Beaches, Beaches, and More Beaches!
CocoCay features several distinct beach areas, each with its own character.
If you visited years ago, Chill Island is the main beach area as you enter CocoCay towards the left. Chill Island is where most visitors come to relax. It is a popular area for snorkeling and floating on mats.
This is the beach for those looking for a floating bar. Due to its location farther away from the pier, South Beach is also fairly quiet. The floating bar plays music, but it isn’t too loud. This area also features beach volleyball and basketball courts. Or opt to try a stand-up paddleboard. This beach has a good mix of chill and active.
Coco Beach Club
As a private beach, there is a fee associated with visiting this beach. See below for more information.
This beach is more protected from the currents and features calmer waters. Harbor Beach is ideal for those who wish to be close to the grills.
Not a fan of salt water? No worries! The Oasis Lagoon is a freshwater option for you. You’ll still be able to enjoy lounge chairs and the sand, but without the irritation of salt water. You’ll find a swim-up bar, and there is a DJ playing all day.
Coming in 2023 will be Hideaway Beach, an adults-only area.
Chairs and Umbrellas
Hurray for included chairs and umbrellas! Find your perfect area and grab a chair and umbrella! According to Royal Caribbean, CocoCay boasts 6000 lounge chairs and 1200 umbrellas, so a chair should be available for just about everyone!
Your drink package is valid in Coco Cay. You’ll need to bring your sailing card (which you need to disembark the ship anyway) to access your drink package or charge drinks if you don’t have a drink package. Don’t forget to try the Coco Loco (with rum), the local frozen drink. Non-alcoholic versions are available as well.
If you purchased the Voom (internet) package, you could use it here for free. Make sure you keep your phone on airplane mode, or your cell phone provider may charge you an international daily rate.
You can bring the ship’s pool towels to use on Coco Cay. While you may get them from your cabin attendant or the pool deck ahead of time, chances are that there will also be a station on the deck as you get ready to exit the ship.
Like on the ship, your food is included in your cruise ship cost. You can find food at one of four food outlets: Chill Grill, two Snack Shacks, and Skippers Grill. Eat breakfast before arriving, though, since the food options are geared toward snacks or lunch. The good news is that there is a variety, from burgers and hot dogs to pizza, tacos, and salads. The grills both have soft-serve ice cream as well.
Free lockers are available to store your belongings if you plan on moving around. Located near the entrance to most areas, they are first-come, first-served basis.
The island is relatively small and well-marked, with well-maintained pathways and signs. If you have mobility issues or simply get tired, a tram will connect you from the pier to the various areas of the island.
HOT TIP: Ride the tram around CocoCay upon arrival to get a feel for the layout of the island. Don’t forget that you are not restricted to one area – feel free to move from the pools to the beach and all around.
What Fee Options Are Available?
For an additional fee, visitors to CocoCay can experience thrilling adventures. Royal Caribbean holds sales on excursions and packages before sailing, so purchase these at least several days before the cruise to save money.
Coco Beach Club
Coco Beach Club dining is more elevated than other island options. For example, you can find lobster, steak, ceviche, and much more. Day beds and pool loungers are first-come, first-served, so get there early. They even have plushier towels, so don’t bring yours from the ship.
Day passes for Coco Beach cost between $80 and $180 per person (depending on the sailing date). So why pay for this if so much is included otherwise? Think of this as an exclusive club – only a few hundred people can buy passes. We’re talking about a light breakfast, branded towels, private beach access, floating mats, beach chairs and umbrellas, and elevated menu offerings.
If you plan on participating, you’ll need closed-toe shoes. There are three zip lines around CocoCay, but IMHO, they’re a bit pricey unless you MUST zip line or have never zip lined before.
Up, Up and Away Helium Balloon
This tethered balloon ride lifts you 450 feet into the air. You get great views and can take fabulous photos. Since drones are not allowed on CocoCay, this is the only way to get aerial shots.
A waterpark on a private island? Yes! Daredevil’s Peak is the tallest waterslide in North America – at 135 feet high. The largest wave pool in the Caribbean is here. There are 13 slides – the most of any waterpark in the Caribbean. So if you’re a fan of waterparks, this is a good one!
HOT TIP: If you’ve got younger kids, you don’t need to buy waterpark access! Various splash pads and smaller water slides throughout the island are entirely free.
These tend to be pricey, so I don’t recommend paying for a cabana unless you’re a group willing to split the costs. Sure they give you privacy, but then you’ll feel like you have to spend your time here to make it worth it. Their location over the water and private service make them a splurge and a better option when there are several ships at once.
The island is well-equipped. You can rent snorkel equipment to see all the sea life or visit an airplane wreck. For a nominal fee, you can rent a floating beach mat. Jet skis and kayaks can be rented, but these are through the shore excursions available before cruising or on the ship.
This restaurant serves wings and fries, but it comes with a cost. Do you need wings and fries to have a perfect day? If so, then this is a good option. If not, use the free options around the island.
What to Bring to CocoCay
The good news is that your ship is right there, so if you forget something in your cabin, you can easily retrieve it. But save yourself some aggravation and bring the following:
- Sail pass (you need it to get off and on the ship and to order drinks and services)
- Cash (if you want to buy crafts or for tips)
- Swimsuit (including rash guard if you’re going to spend the day outside)
- Towel (from the ship)
Is a Perfect Day at CocoCay Worth It?
With so many beautiful Caribbean island destinations, why would you book an itinerary with a Perfect Day at CocoCay? Almost every Royal Caribbean itinerary from Florida includes a stop at CocoCay, so it may not even be an option.
The beach is gorgeous. The facilities are fabulous. You can experience a perfect day during your relaxation-filled cruise – or adventure thrilled. It is up to you! And the best part is that this is one stop where you don’t have to spend an extra dime during your cruise. This is a good deal!
Have you visited CocoCay? Did you enjoy the experience, or would you rather have another Caribbean stop?
Check out these additional posts about Caribbean stops:
- What To Do in a Port Day on Your Caribbean Cruise
- Is Dunn River Falls overrated?
- 6 Caribbean Ports with Beautiful Beaches
- 14 Cruise Tips and Tricks Every Cruiser Should Know
Annick, The Common Traveler
Great article on everything you need to know about CocoCay! I loved reading about all the different beach areas and the variety of activities available. The information on how to avoid the crowds and the tips on what’s included on the island were especially helpful. I also appreciate the mention of the upcoming Hideaway Beach for adults. I am planning a cruise with Royal Caribbean and this article has given me a lot of insight on what to expect on CocoCay. Thanks for sharing your experience and knowledge!
I’m so glad this was helpful! Enjoy CocoCay!