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40 Perfect Day at CocoCay tips, tricks and secrets

In:
17May2021
By: 
Matt Hochberg

Will your cruise ship visit Perfect Day at CocoCay? 

Royal Caribbean sought to deliver the ideal private island experience with its expansive offerings at CocoCay, with plenty for guests of all ages to enjoy.

Before you hit the beach, pool, or slides, here is everything you need to know about Perfect Day at CocoCay!

1. What is Perfect Day at CocoCay?

CocoCay is Royal Caribbean's private island in the Bahamas, which means only Royal Caribbean cruise ships can go there.

Just like any port your cruise ship will visit, your ship docks there and it is up to you if you want to get off and visit.

There is no cost to walk around and explore the island, and much of the offerings are complimentary, such as the beaches, pool, and food.

Basically, the island is one enormous shore excursion run by Royal Caribbean that you do not have to spend any extra money (although you certainly can in some cases) to enjoy a fun day at the beach.

2. What's new at Perfect Day at CocoCay?

You might be wondering what is the difference between Perfect Day at CocoCay and the "old" CocoCay, if you happened to visit that in years past.

In 2019, Royal Caribbean expanded and refurbished the entire island. To say there’s a lot more to do now would be an understatement.

Guests can now choose among a great variety of activities, including:

  • Multiple beaches
  • Water park (extra admission cost)
  • Freshwater pool
  • Zip line (extra admission cost)
  • Private beach club (extra admission cost)
  • Various dining options (nearly all included)

In short, there are many more choices of how to spend your day.

3. What should you bring?

Since Royal Caribbean operates the island, there is a bit less to have to bring than to a regular cruise port.

The most important things you should bring to the CocoCay are:

  • SeaPass card
  • Cash: The artisan market only takes cash.  Tipping cabana attendants also requires cash.
  • Sunscreen
  • Closed-toe shoes: If you are going on the zip line, these will be needed.
  • Beach towels: You can get these from the ship.  If you are in a cabana or Coco Beach Club, towels are provided for you.

4. Your drink package works at Perfect Day at CocoCay

If you purchase a Royal Caribbean drink package for your cruise, you can use the drink package benefits while at Perfect Day at CocoCay.

This means if you have the Deluxe Beverage Package, you can enjoy unlimited alcoholic beverages, along with bottled water, sodas and more. Likewise, the Royal Refreshment and Soda Package benefits extend to Perfect Day at CocoCay.

Just like on the ship, souvenir cups or drinks served in pineapples/coconuts are not included with your drink package benefits.  If you have the Deluxe Beverage Package, you can get a discount on the souvenir cup.  Or you can ask for the drink in a regular cup to pay no additional charge.

5. Your Voom package works at Perfect Day at CocoCay

If you have a Voom internet package, you will have internet connectivity at Perfect Day at CocoCay.  

WiFi coverage extends across the island, which means you can stay connected and share photos or videos with friends back home.  Heck, you can even post updates on our message boards!

6. Best times for shortest water slide lines

Thrill Waterpark is home to Perfect Day at CocoCay's incredible water slides, and as you might imagine, a lot of cruisers are going to want to try them all.  While lines for the slides are usually quite manageable, here are the best times to try the slides to have a minimal wait:

  • Before 11am
  • After 3pm

7. Secret menu item at Snack Shack

Snack Shack serves up some great food, but they also have a menu item that is not listed on the printed menu. If you ask nicely, you can get a chicken parmigiana sandwich that is essentially a cross between the crispy chicken sandwich, mozzarella sticks and marinara sauce.

8. Buy Thrill Waterpark admission before the cruise to save money

If you want to go to Thrill Waterpark, you will absolutely spend less money if you pre-purchase it before your cruise.

Royal Caribbean sells its waterpark passes via the Cruise Planner site and regularly puts the tickets on sale.  If you want to save money (that is everyone), buy your tickets before you board the ship.

9. There is lots to do that costs nothing extra

There is a lot of attention for the activities on Perfect Day at CocoCay that costs extra, but there is a lot of fun things to do that costs absolutely nothing extra.

First and foremost, you can walk around Perfect Day at CocoCay without paying extra.  Just like any port of call, you can walk off the ship and explore on your own.

Here is a list of things that is included with your cruise fare when you visit Perfect Day at CocoCay:

  • Splashaway Bay
  • Captain Jill's Galleon
  • Skipper's Grill
  • Chill Grill
  • Snack Shack
  • Oasis Lagoon pool (Beach  chairs, umbrellas and towels)
  • Chill Island (Beach  chairs, umbrellas and towels)
  • South Beach (Beach  chairs, umbrellas and towels)
  • Sports Courts
  • Fitness Classes
  • Freshwater showers
  • Tram service
  • Beach access wheelchairs

10. Free tram service around the island

Keep an eye out for the complimentary trams that are found around Perfect Day at CocoCay.

Beginning when you walk down the pier, you will find tram service to take you down the pier to save some steps (you will have plenty at Thrill Waterpark).

Once on the island, there is complimentary tram service that can take you all corners of Perfect Day at CocoCay. 

As a bonus, many of the trams are solar powered!

11. If you want a quiet spot, go to Chill Island

If your idea of a fun day is quiet time getting away from it all, head to Chill Island.  Chill Island is accessible via the green pathway that is towards the left side when you walk onto Perfect Day at CocoCay.

Once at Chill Island, keep to the left side of the area for pristine ocean views that has no music or the sounds of people at the pool or water park.  Instead, you will find only the sound of the ocean waves.

12. DIY Ice cream sandwiches

You will find self-serve soft serve ice cream machines at Perfect Day, along with chocolate chip cookies.  See where I am going with this?

Grab two cookies, dispense ice cream between the two and combine for an awesome dessert.

13. Keep an eye out for chickens, iguanas and birds

This is a fun tidbit, but Perfect Day at CocoCay is home to more than just beautiful views.  If you walk enough of the island, it is not uncommon to see wild chickens roaming the grounds, along with iguanas that sometimes get close to the dining areas to see if any scraps of food rolled away.

Seagulls can also be found flying around, so be sure to keep an eye on your food.

Regardless of the animal, please do not feed any of them.

14. Got kids? Don't miss the free slides

It is easy to gravitate towards Thrill Waterpark, but Royal Caribbean provides two water splash areas for kids that costs absolutely nothing extra.

Captain Jill's Galleon and Splashaway Bay are located immediately at the entrance to the island from the pier.

If you have younger kids (elementary school age or younger), you may find these areas a great fit for kids, with seating around both areas for adults to supervise.

Both of the splash zones include small slides, water cannons, geysers and more.  

Children up to 42″ and 200lbs are able to use these areas.

Given there is no cost to go here, and many of the slides in the waterpark have height requirements, families with younger children may prefer Splashaway Bay and Captain Jill's Galleon.

15. Chairs & umbrellas cost nothing extra

You don't have to worry about hustling to find a spot at CocoCay.

There are chairs and umbrellas in every region of the island, with plenty to go around. If you visited CocoCay in the past, you may recall shade being at a premium, but Royal Caribbean has added a ton more seating and umbrellas to go with it.

The only seating that truly goes quickly are the seats at the swim-up bar in Oasis Lagoon, but it is easy enough to swim up and place an order without a chair.

16. Don't miss the floating bar

Located near South Beach, Royal Caribbean operates a floating bar in the ocean.

It is less of a swim-up bar, and more of a wade-up bar, but once you get to it, you climb a short ladder to get onboard the tiki bar and enjoy drinks in the ocean.

The floating bar has a limited selection of drinks, and no blender, so plan on beers or basic mixed drinks.

17. Your SeaPass card works almost everywhere

Just like on the ship, Royal Caribbean designed Perfect Day at CocoCay to be reliant on the SeaPass card instead of cash.

Your SeaPass card will get you into Thrill Waterpark, Coco Beach Club, and any shore excursion you book. Don’t worry about losing shore excursion tickets. Everything is loaded to your SeaPass card. 

It is also how you pay for drinks or souvenirs.

The one place your SeaPass card does not work is the Artisan Market, so bring cash for that.

18. First visit strategy

Is it your first time to Perfect Day at CocoCay? Here is what you should consider when planning your day.

First and foremost, get up and and out to the island as early as you can. By being ashore early, you can beat the crowds that descend later on.

Since there is so much to see and do on the island, it may make sense to try a few places out during your visit, rather than commit to just one.

Keep in mind that you can't do it all in one visit. While you can certainly knock out a few big parts of the island, don't try to visit every inch in one visit. Plan to come back again!

A good idea is start with the Oasis Lagoon pool first, and then hit the beaches after.  The pool tends to get busier as the day progresses, so going to Oasis Lagoon earlier means you can enjoy more of the space without as many people.

Once you get your fill of the pool, decide on a beach to visit, or perhaps beach hop to get a sense of what each offers.

Chill Island and South Beach are the two most popular beaches. Chill Island is closer to more activities (and the ship), so if mobility is an issue, it may be a better choice.

Thrill Waterpark and the Coco Beach Club are extra cost options, and if you elect to book one of them, plan on spending most of your day there. If you do book one of these, be very certain to get onto the island as early as you can to maximize your time.

I would not recommend booking Thrill Waterpark and Coco Beach Club for the same day, because there is not enough time to enjoy both options.

19. There is no breakfast on CocoCay

I advocate getting off the ship as early as you can to take advantage of your time there, but make sure you grab something to eat on the ship first.

There is no breakfast option on the island, and food does not open up until the lunch offerings begin later in the morning.

The Coco Beach Club is the one exception, and offers coffee and pastries to its guests.

20. Book a Thrill waterpark cabana if your family is going to the waterpark

Whether or not you should book a cabana for the day is a tough decision usually, unless you are going to the waterpark.

If you have at least 3 or 4 people that want to buy admission to Thrill Waterpark, you should take a hard look at the Thrill Waterpark cabanas.

Not only does a Thrill Waterpark cabana offer a relaxing and private spot for your family to enjoy, but it includes admission to the waterpark for up to 6 guests into the waterpark.

If you have 4-6 guests, then the decision becauses a near slam dunk to get the cabana, in my opinion, because the extra cost of the cabana will be substantially less since you were going to pay for the waterpark passes.

21. Will it be too cold if I am visiting in December, January, or February?

Generally speaking, the tropics do not experience the same kind of winter temperature swings found further north.  It remains mostly temperate, if not warm, throughout the winter months.

That being said, cold fronts can certainly make their way down to the Bahamas, and it is not unheard of for the temperature to drop into 70s at times.

The good news is the ocean temperature does not change much, and will remain warmer for longer periods of time after the air temperatures drop.  

Oasis Lagoon can be on chillier side during winter months, but one person's "cold" is another person's "you just have to get used to it".

I have found CocoCay to be more than enjoyable in the winter months, including the swimming options. If you are coming from somewhere that has snow during winter, CocoCay in December through February will feel divine.

22. Is it worth it to rent a cabana?

If you can afford it, a cabana rental is a great way to splurge during your day.

Cabanas offer privacy, shade, fantastic waiter service, and a "home base" for your family during your day. Your cabana attendant will bring you complimentary food throughout the day, as well as take drink orders.

Of course, cabanas have an extra cost and they are not cheap.  Not to mention you may feel a sense of obligation to stay in the cabana to "get your money's worth".

The reason to book a cabana is for the privacy and service it provides.  There is plenty of umbrellas and shade around the island, so don't worry about that.   

The more people you have, the more compelling a cabana is to book. If you have 6-8 guests, the price per person makes the choice far more reasonable.  If you can split the cost between two families, then you really have a great value.

23. Where should you eat at Perfect Day at CocoCay?

One of the unheralded improvements Royal Caribbean made to CocoCay is the upgraded dining choices.

The days of only having burgers and hot dogs are gone (although you can get them still), and there is a wide variety of complimentary food on the island.

The two main areas to eat are Chill Grill and the Snack Shack.

Chill Grill is like the island's Windjammer, with the most variety of food  to pick from, along with shaded seating nearby. You will find salads, burgers, sandwiches, tacos, and much more.  Chill Grill is also where to go to get soft serve ice cream.

Skipper’s Grill is centrally located and very similar to Chill Grill.

The Snack Shack offers more grab-and-go choices, such as chicken sandwiches, mozzarella sticks, burgers, and even a light Greek salad. Snack Shack is the only restaurant inside Thrill Waterpark.

The Coco Beach Club has its own restaurant and you will not find burgers, hot dogs and other typical island fare here.  Instead, there is lobster, steak, grilled fish, ceviche, babaganoush and plenty more to enjoy.

Moreover, you can order unlimited entrees at the Coco Beach Club restaurant, so feel free to try a couple of dishes while you are there.

Captain Jack's is an extra cost restaurant near the pier, which has wings and fries. Unless you are craving chicken wings and would be disappointed not to get them, you can skip this.

24. Day beds at Coco Beach Club go very quickly

If you bought admission to the Coco Beach Club, plan to get there as early as you can for prime seating.

There are a handful of day beds and in-pool loungers at the infinity pool that are available to whomever claims them first.

While there are plenty of beach lounge chairs and umbrellas to go around, seating around the pool goes very quickly.  So if you want one, plan to arrive early.

25. Early bird water slide access

Before the cruise industry shutdown in 2020 due to the global health crisis, Royal Caribbean offered a way to get more rides on its water slides with less waiting.

It is not clear if this will be offered once cruises resume in 2021 or 2022.

The Rise & Slide Pass offered guests an extra hour in the morning before Thrill Waterpark officially opened to enjoy slides with minimal waits.  They even included complimentary breakfast.

26. No rash guards on slides

Something you should know about is the lifeguards are pretty strict about not wearing rash guards while going down the water slides in Thrill Waterpark.

You can certainly take off the rash guard and hold it as you go down, and then put it back on, but in my experience I had to do this every time I went down a slide without a raft in the water park.

Why? Because rash guards (or shirts) cause drag on the slide, and can slow you down to the point you could actually stop.

27. You can snorkel at CocoCay

Whether you bring your own snorkel equipment or rent gear from Royal Caribbean, there is a spot for snorkeling.

You can use your own snorkel gear and not have to pay anything to access the snorkel area.  Alternatively, you can rent gear on the island.

There is even a lifeguard on a platform near the deeper part of the snorkeling area, and you will see plenty of marine life, including fish, stingrays and perhaps even a sea turtle.  

There is a plane wreck under water, which attracts marine life too.

28. Excursions available too

If you want to mix in some fun excursions to your day in the sun, you can find a few interesting choices.

The two most popular add-ons are the zip-line and Up, Up & Away Helium Balloon Ride.

The Up, Up & Away Helium Balloon Ride takes you up to 450 feet above the island on a tethered balloon.  Not only are the views amazing, but it provides the best photos while visiting.

The Perfect Day CocoCay Zipline takes you across three zip lines around the island, and it is a really fun experience, perfect for anyone that has never zip-lined before.

Keep in mind you need to be at least 48 inches tall, and weigh between 75 lbs and 275 lbs to go on the zip line.

There are also a few other excursions you can book:

  • Jet ski rental
  • Floating beach mat rental
  • Scuba diving
  • Kayak rentals

29. Water slide height restrictions

Before you book a pass to Thrill Waterpark, you should know about the minimum height and maximum weight restrictions to ensure there are no unexpected surprises later.

HEIGHT AND WEIGHT REQUIREMENTS
ATTRACTIONPLATFORM HEIGHTHEIGHT REQUIREMENTMAXIMUM WEIGHT LIMIT
Daredevil's Peak® waterslide135 feet48 inches minimum300 lbs.
Dueling Demons waterslides75 feet 48 inches minimum300 lbs.
Screeching Serpent waterslide50 feet 48 inches minimum300 lbs.
Green Mamba waterslide50 feet 48 inches minimum300 lbs.
Manta Raycers waterslides25 feet40 inches minimum300 lbs.
The Slingshot waterslide60 feet 48 inches minimum or 42 inches with swim vest and supervising adult companionMax single person: 300 lbs.
Total raft weight limit: 550 lbs.
The Twister waterslide60 feet48 inches minimum or 42 inches with swim vest and supervising adult companionMax single person: 300 lbs.
Total raft weight limit: 400 lbs.
Splash Speedway waterslides40 feet 42 inches minimum 300 lbs.
Adventure PoolN/AGuests under 42 inches  must wear a swim vest at all timesN/A
Wave PoolN/AGuests under 42 inches  must wear a swim vest at all timesN/A

30. Lost? Look for signs

While Royal Caribbean provides you with a nice Perfect Day at CocoCay map in your cabin before your visit, I think you can leave the map in the room.

There are lots of signs throughout CocoCay to tell you where to go, and navigating is a lot easier than you might imagine.

When you get to the Arrivals Plaza, the pathways are color coded:

  • Light green: Chill Island
  • Orange: Oasis Lagoon, Coco Beach Club
  • Light blue: Thrill Waterpark

As you walk around the island, there are directional signs you can refer to as well to get your bearings. In addition, the Royal Caribbean app has a map you can refer to while on the island.

You can also hop on one of the free trams for a tour!

31. Free lockers you can use

Need somewhere to put your stuff? There are free lockers to use around Perfect Day at CocoCay.

Lockers can be found near the entrance to Thrill Waterpark and zip lines, Chill Island (north and south), and near the  helium balloon.

 Lockers are first come, first serve.  

32. Is Perfect Day at CocoCay accessible?

Yes, most of the island is accessible, although there are af ew exceptions.

  • Oasis Lagoon freshwater pool and the infinity pool at Coco Beach Club have pool lifts
  • Wave Pool in Thrill Waterpark is wheelchair accessible
  • In Thrill Waterpark, the towers to the slides have stairs
  • The tower to the Zip Line has stairs
  • Accessible trams are available on regular rotation throughout the island

33. Do the helium balloon ride early in the day

The weather changes a lot, especially at CocoCay, so if you want to ride the Up, Up & Away Helium Balloon Ride, plan to ride it early.

Depending on the winds, the balloon may only go up part of the way, and in general, winds are calmest in the morning.

Your best strategy for taking a ride up with best chance at it not being delayed/cancelled is to book it as early in the morning as you can.  

Royal Caribbean will shut it down if the winds are not favorable, and there's no guarantee it will reopen later.

34. Looking for a party?

If your idea of fun is a drink in hand, splashing around with some tunes, head to the Oasis Lagoon pool.

Near the swim up bar is a DJ that plays plenty of pumping music to enjoy.  There are even in-water tables and coves to enjoy it from.

If the music is too much for you, either end of the pool is sufficiently far away from the DJ.

You can even hear music underwater in the largest freshwater pool in the Caribbean, which is a neat feature.

35. Want live music?

If you prefer live music, head to Captain Jack's, where there is usually a live guitarist performing for part of the day.

The bar even has rope swing seats you can enjoy, and the whole area is covered, which means lots and lots of shade.

36. Try the Coco Loco

The official drink of Perfect Day at CocoCay is known as the Coco Loco, and it is really tasty.

The Coco Loco is the kind of frozen concoction that is sure to put a smile on just about anyone's face.

It comes with rum, but you can get non-alcoholic version as well for the kids.

37. Life jackets are available for no cost

If your child does not know how to swim, or just is not a very strong swimmer, swim vests are available to use throughout the island.

38. Drones are not allowed

While an aerial shot of the island would be pretty darn sweet, Royal Caribbean prohibits the use of drones at Perfect Day at CocoCay.

You are allowed to bring a drone on the ship to use in other ports, but drones are not to be operated onboard the ship at any time, nor on Royal Caribbean’s private destinations: Perfect Day at CocoCay, Bahamas or Labadee, Haiti.

39. Some people actually live on the island

Nearly all of the supplies and personnel you see around CocoCay come from your cruise ship, but there is a contingent of Royal Caribbean employees that live there.

Before the cruise industry shutdown, Royal Caribbean had up to 375 employees living on CocoCay.  That number likely changed with there not being cruises operating, but there are dormitories on the eastern end of the island, where crew return to after a day working on the island.

You can see these buildings from the top of the water slide towers, or if you go up on the zip line.  They are located behind Thrill Waterpark.

40. Perfect Day at CocoCay Fun facts

Impress your friends and family with these fun facts about CocoCay!

  • Daredevil's Peak at 135 feet high it's the tallest waterslide in North America.
  • There are 6,000 lounge chairs on the island
  • There are 1,200 umbrellas dot the island
  • Thrill Waterpark has the biggest wave pool in the Caribbean
  • Thrill Waterpark also has 13 waterslides – the most anywhere in the Caribbean
  • Upgrading the island to Perfect Day at CocoCay cost Royal Caribbean over $250 million.