CocoCay, also known as Little Stirrup Cay, is a delightful private Royal Caribbean Island that's undergone a significant refurbishment since 2018. The brand made a smart move, with many cruisers opting for itineraries that include a day on this little slice of paradise. No matter what kind of traveler you are or how old you are, you'll find what you need for an ideal day off the ship. This guide is a taster of CocoCay's various areas so you can hit the ground running.
CocoCay used to be a sleepy Royal Caribbean-owned private island. But the company plowed around $250 million into a major overhaul, including adding a pier to eliminate the need for tender boats. The renovated island opened to passengers in 2019. An industry first, the results provided a greater return on investment than anticipated and spurred competitors to create their own exclusive private island experiences. Customer feedback led Royal Caribbean to create more adult-only spaces on the island to coincide with the launch of Icon of the Seas, the world's largest cruise ship.
Thrill Water Park is a big part of what makes Perfect Day at CocoCay attractive to a coveted younger demographic. The park features Daredevils' Peak, the tallest water slide in North America, an assortment of other slides, a wave pool, and private cabana areas. For the shortest queues, enter the park before 11 am. Lines get quieter after 3 pm too. Try to book in advance to lock in an early-bird discount on the entry fee.
This tethered helium balloon ride is a popular add-on because of the awesome views cruisers get from 450 feet above the island. The best pictures of the day often come from this lofty perch, so you know where to go if you want a winning selfie. Plan to ascend early in the day when the winds tend to be the calmest. If the weather isn't amenable, this attraction closes, so if you don't want to miss out, schedule the first slots.
The in-demand zip line also requires an extra admission cost, but it's worth it for the beginner zip liner. Whizz across three separate zip lines with unique vantage points of all the action below. The zip line course is 1,600 feet long, and you'll fly over the harbor. You'll need closed-toe shoes and, as with the water slides, you must meet certain height and weight restrictions. Specifically, you need to be at least 48 inches tall and between 75 and 275 lbs.
Ahoy there, matey! Captain Jill's Galleon is a complimentary freshwater splash and play area you'll see not long after you arrive on the island. It's right next to the water park. Little ones love spending a few hours at this pirate ship with its mini slides and climbing areas. The water cannons are a highlight.
Splashaway Bay is another complimentary area for younger kids, and it's also located close to the pier. Watch your munchkin get soaked with geysers, drench buckets, upside-down umbrella roundabouts, and movable water sprays. Lifeguards are available to encourage toddlers and middle schoolers down slides, and this age group will find plenty of amusement. Kids need to be at least 42 inches tall and no more than 200 pounds.
Sure, CocoCay has amusement park vibes, but the emphasis isn't only on action-packed fun. If you're looking for some quiet time to swim leisurely, sunbathe, nap, or read a book (which is often impossible at hectic ports of call), follow the green path and head for complimentary Chill Island. This relaxed nook will take you away from loud music and pools so you can hear the sounds of water lapping against the shore. Chairs and umbrellas are free, but you may want to pay for a private cabana, daybed, or floating mat. Build sandcastles in the soft white sand, or go snorkeling to keep the turtles and brightly-hued fish company. Jet skis and paddle boards are available too.
Seats at the swim-up bar in Oasis Lagoon fly like hotcakes, but they're not essential. Aim to get here early via the orange path if you want more room in the pool, and then make your way to the beach later when the crowds arrive. This is the largest freshwater pool in the Bahamas (33,175 square feet, to be precise), and it's all about good vibes with a DJ, including underwater. You can move away from the center if you need a break from the music, and accessibility is enhanced by pool lifts. Oasis Lagoon can feel a little cooler in the winter, but you'll need to take a dip to find out how tolerant you are of the slight temperature difference.
Exclusive Coco Beach Club opened in 2021, and children are welcome. It can sell out, so book early if you want to secure your spot at the infinity pool. Current pricing can go up to $180 for admission. Arrive early, too, using the tram or the orange path to trek across the island, and you'll get the most out of the experience and claim a daybed or in-pool lounger. The restaurant here serves more refined dishes like surf and turf. Splurge on an overwater cabana with a hammock, shower, and sea slide if you want to treat yourself.
South Beach is further away from the pier, next to Coco Beach Club, so it's excellent for R&R. Access is free, and you can get here with the help of the tram. You'll find a floating tiki bar nearby for basic drinks. For the more active, volleyball courts and rentals for glass-bottom kayaking, zorbing, and SUPing are available. You may also be able to participate in a fitness class at no extra charge.
Chill Grill, Skipper's Grill, and Snack Shacks all provide complimentary food like burgers, hot dogs, sandwiches, tacos, and barbeque chicken to keep hungry cruisers happy. You'll get soft-serve ice cream at the former. Snack Shacks also do mozzarella sticks and Greek salads. Enquire about secret menu items. Gluten-free and vegetarian food is available, but you'll only get kosher food on the ship. The Coco Beach Club admission fee includes access to the restaurant with its slow food menu and salad and starter buffet. The club is the only place on CocoCay where a light breakfast is served in the form of coffee and pastries.
Plan your Perfect Day at CocoCay to suit your budget, and prebook to cut costs. Prices vary by season and are available on the Cruise Planner site. If you have snorkel gear, carry it, and you'll save money. Many amenities on the island are complimentary, but if you're traveling in a group of 4 to 6, upgrades like a waterpark cabana can be a no-brainer. You'll get shade, privacy, and other perks.
The biggest tip is to get an early start. Wake up to catch the sunrise and try to be among the first people to make landfall and lock in prime real estate. Or head out after 2 pm when many merrymakers return to the ship. If you feel you need an internet connection, buy an onboard Voom package, and use your beverage package via your SeaPass card. Souvenir hunters should carry cash money for the local market. The island is wheelchair-accessible via paths and trams.
Perfect Day at CocoCay employs a water specialist to use treated water from Thrill Waterpark to keep the island's gardens and landscaping lush. Desalination helps Royal Caribbean ships produce 90% of the freshwater used onboard and at the water slides. These are just two of the many ways the company serves as an environmental steward.
You can have the Perfect Day at CocoCay by doing a little planning beforehand. Know where you want to go and how you want to spend your time by familiarising yourself with a map of the island and learning about the wide range of activities on offer. Try new things, put your phone away for a bit, make small talk with strangers who become friends, and snap pictures on the bridge.