Sunday, March 20, 2022

[LITTLE STIRRUP CAY] Perfect Day at CocoCay

While there might be many other things these islands should be known for, the Bahamas’ Berry Islands always tend to be remembered as those private playgrounds leased to cruise ship companies. The MO is to lease them and be developed into an exclusive stop in some of these cruise ships’ routes. In the case of Royal Caribbean, the island leased is named CocoCay (Perfect Day) which stands on Little Stirrup Cay. The main attraction is a water park with several slides not appropriate for acrophobic people.

Entry to the island is included in what you pay for your cruise. However, access to several of the island’s facilities and attractions must be booked separately. The water park, for example, can cost $90 upwards depending on how early you book the ticket via Royal Caribbean’s website. By the time the booking reservation deadline approached a day before my cruise, the price being shown on my account was $130, which I am just too much of a cheapskate to pay, to be honest. And so, I said skip.

While some itineraries will put CocoCay towards the beginning of the cruise before heading to Nassau, ours was the opposite. It was the second pitstop before heading back to Miami AFTER Nassau. Since the island is small and can be navigated easily on foot, Royal Caribbean only gives you between 8 AM to 5 PM to go onshore and access it. If you bought a ticket for the water park, I suggest you take advantage of the lead time given how you will be contending with one or two cruise ships full of people for those slides.

During our trip, Royal Caribbean’s Allure of the Seas was also docked next to ours, which meant A LOT of people. You don’t have to worry about ships from other lines docking here. As mentioned, CocoCay is exclusive to Royal Caribbean. Norwegian has their own exclusive island on Big Stirrup Cay, I believe. Anyway, for those who are not big fans of walking, the island provides a regular tram service that goes around the island on regular intervals. If you are not in a hurry, better let the oldies take those trams instead.

The main attraction at the Thrill Waterpark is called Daredevil’s Tower, which includes what is touted as North America’s tallest waterslide, Daredevil’s Peak. The lines were long when I was there. The area is also separated from the rest of the island by picket fences. You have to scan your sea pass card to get in. If you didn’t purchase the ticket in advance, the gates won’t open. Up, Up and Away is another attraction which requires its own admission fee. It’s a giant helium balloon which offers a bird’s-eye view of the island.

Other paid facilities include a zipline as well as some exclusive lounges. Most of the beaches are free for everyone to access, although I wasn’t able to verify if the reclinable chairs were complimentary. Food is served for free at the grills where you can have unli-hotdogs as well as several choices of drinks from the fountain. South Beach is up north while Chill Island is on the western side. Both offer private cabanas that can be reserved in advance for a fee. Harbor Beach is a natural inland lagoon connecting to the Caribbean and just partially enclosed by the bridge leading back to the entrance.

Overall, I did not really feel the need to pay for anything to enjoy CocoCay. Taking a stroll and watching people have fun was already enough for me. Had I been traveling with family and/or friends, then I would have taken advantage of the time and reserved some activities and venues for us but since I was alone, I decided to just spend an hour tops touring the island and checking out the facilities before heading back early to the ship.

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