Royal Caribbean’s Perfect Day at CocoCay represents an ambitious evolution of the traditional private cruise destination. The cruise line spent $250 million to transform the spot, formerly known simply as CocoCay, into a dazzling resort and waterpark unlike anything seen before in the industry.
Perfect Day at CoCoCay features beaches, restaurants, swim-up and floating bars and a number of thrilling activities, including a waterpark area with 13 waterslides.
To fully enjoy your time here when you arrive on a Royal Caribbean cruise, it helps to have a good strategy. Cruise Fever got the inside scoop while traveling to the revamped island as guests of Royal Caribbean on Symphony of the Seas.
Here are five tips to enjoy your Perfect Day at CocoCay.
Go to Thrill Waterpark
You have to pay an admission fee. Full-day prices are $45 to $99 depending on the season, and half-day option is available ($39 to $74). It’s worth it if you love waterslides and wave pools. You see the Daredevil’s Tower looming over the park as you enter, and this is the highlight for thrill seekers.
The structure features seven waterslides (there are 13 overall in the Thrill Waterpark), and the highest and fastest slide requires a very long walk up the staircase to the top.
Daredevil’s Peak is 135 feet high and the tallest waterslide in North America. The park has a variety of slides that send riders out on tubes or mats, on tandem rides or virtual free falls — screaming in delight all the way.
A massive wave pool churns refreshing water while pumping out tunes as people splash around and cool off. The waterpark area also offers an Adventure Pool with an overwater obstacle course, plenty of loungers with umbrellas and a nearby Snack Shack and bar cart for food and drinks.
Symphony of the Seas was in port from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. during our cruise, and we got off right away. We were told this is the best strategy to avoid the lines that start to build throughout the day at the waterslides, and it paid off big time.
Go straight to the waterpark, and you’ll be able to get in several runs on numerous slides with no waiting at all. Your only limitation will be how tired you get while taking the steps back up the towers to the slides each time. It was a blast to get in so many exhilarating runs without standing in long queues.
I should note that the lines never got annoyingly long during our visit. Our longest wait was about eight minutes to ride the fun Slingshot tandem tube ride.
A zipline and the Up Up and Away helium balloon ride are new attractions at Perfect Day at CocoCay. They come with a separate fee, and we tried them both. The zipline course consists of a three-line course that traverses the island, giving a nice bird’s-eye view of the property from high above. I would rate the ride as OK but probably not worth the hefty price of $79 to $139 (varies by season). You also can buy a combination zipline and Thrill Waterpark package ($99 to $179).
The balloon ride ($39 to $99) rises 450 feet above the ground. The balloon is tethered to a base, and the ride availability is subject to having the right wind conditions. If it’s too windy, Up Up and Away won’t be open. I thought this was such a unique activity that the price is worth it to try once, if only to get the amazing pictures from what is touted as the highest viewpoint in the Caribbean. You can see the entire island, your ship at the pier and a fantastic view of neighboring Great Stirrup Cay (Norwegian Cruise Line’s private cruise destination).
Perfect Day at CocoCay also offers kayaking, jet-ski rentals, snorkeling, parasailing, glass-bottom boat tours and other excursions. We recommend that you plan to do the waterpark early and the other activities in the afternoon.
Chill Out and Cool Down
Perfect Day at CocoCay also features a number of beach areas and pools that are included in your fare. Visitors can hang out at Chill Beach and South Beach to swim in the sea or wade out to the floating bar. The massive Oasis Lagoon pool offers umbrellas and lounge chairs and a swim-up bar. This place gets packed, so plan to get here early to get your preferred seat if you want to hang out here all day.
The beach areas also have sports activities available, such as mini-golf, basketball and volleyball.
Your drinks and WiFi packages work on the island, too. This is a fabulous amenity and differs from what many cruise lines are doing on their private islands. Our VOOM internet service remained connected from ship to shore, and we found the signal just as strong as we enjoyed our day at CocoCay.
Food is available at Snack Shack (three locations on the island), which offers burgers, fries, chicken sandwiches and more. You also can dine at Skipper’s Grill or Chill Grill, which are buffets offering burgers, tacos, hot dogs, salads, fruits and cookies. Complimentary drink stations offer kiwi-strawberry and tropical mango flavored waters as well as iced tea and lemonade.
And the destination continues to evolve. Perfect Day at CocoCay is still getting more attractions and features in the phased rollout. South Beach, Coco Beach Club and the floating cabanas are under construction, and the completion date is scheduled for January 31, 2020.
John Roberts is a freelance writer and operator of InTheLoopTravel.com. He writes about cruising and active travel, highlighting how people can connect with the world and other cultures through rewarding travel experiences.