This month, Royal Caribbean opened up a new private island, CocoCay, with a "Perfect Day" that has something for everyone in the family to get excited about. Last week we were lucky enough to be aboard the Mariner of the Seas, one of the first ships to visit the island. Some cruise excursions and destinations have a reputation for long lines and crowded beaches, but this was not the case at CocoCay. At the time we visited there was just one other ship visiting (Navigator of the Seas) with plenty of open space, beach chairs, tables, and few if any lines for the attractions or food.
For the kids, the big attraction was Thrill Waterpark with North America's tallest waterslide, the biggest wave pool in the Caribbean, and many more waterslides and attractions. Admission to the waterpark was extra, but since only a certain number of passes were sold, there was rarely any waiting, which made it much more fun and a better value than a crowded waterpark on the mainland. TIP: Since the limited number of Thrill passes sold out, I would recommend purchasing your passes in advance during one of the pre-cruise sales.
For young children and toddlers, Splashaway Bay is a free waterpark with smaller slides, a pirate ship with water canons, different sized pools to choose from, and the calm water of Oasis Lagoon.
Adults (without toddlers to watch!) will enjoy the swim-up bar and the pineapple drinks served at any of the beach bars. The food is also especially good and "beachy." Snack shacks and restaurants sprinkled around the island served up everything from BBQ to tacos--without a wait and without having to pay extra. Removing the hassle and extra cost of procuring lunch and snacks throughout the day for the family was a huge plus!
Although there were several pools and beaches (including an infinity pool and private cabanas), my favorite quiet spot was a chair under the palms at Chill Island, right behind the snorkel shack and close to a walk-up bar. Snorkel equipment was available for rent, but you could also just swim out to see the fish circling a shipwreck just offshore. TIP: Arrive early to claim an umbrella with chairs close to the water and if packing space allows, bring your own mask and snorkel.
Between toting big bags of beach gear, finding food, and making inconvenient trips to the restrooms, its usually hard to relax on a beach vacation with kids, but the Perfect Day at CocoCay is changing that. From the first walk off the ship onto the dock (no hassling with shuttle boats), everything from restrooms to beverage stations were easy and accessible. We'd never cruised before, but based on the easy-on/easy-off pleasures of this cruise, we will be back. The only drawback to the day was that it had to end: 2 Perfect Days would definitely have been better than 1!
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this blog are entirely my own and do not reflect those of Royal Caribbean. We paid for the cruise ourselves and did not receive any monetary compensation from Royal Caribbean for this blog. All rights reserved to GoKidTrips.com (c) 2019.
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