There’s something about the Bahamas that always fascinated me, so when I was first introduced to this island country, as I wrote about in Grand Bahama Island with Royal Caribbean – Where to Go: Taino Beach in Freeport, I was ecstatic. During the cruise to the Bahamas, we went to three places: Freeport in Grand Bahama, Paradise Island in Nassau, and CocoCay. Since I decided to save Paradise Island as my last post about the Bahamian islands despite it being our second stop in the Bahamas, this post will be about our trip to Royal Caribbean’s private island: CocoCay.Located about 55 miles north of the capital – Nassau, is a series of cays and small islands called Little Stirrup Cay, where the island of CocoCay sits as a private island paradise for Royal Caribbean passengers. While RC is still in the process of building a harbor on the island wherein ships could directly dock as part of their revamp plan marketed as the Perfect Day at CocoCay, our ship tendered a few meters out, from where we took a small ferry to the island. It’s important to note that the night before, you’re supposed to get ticket vouchers, as announced by the tour excursions team, that would be required for you to exit the ship and enter CocoCay. In case you’re one of those who availed of one of their tour excursions like we did, then the tour excursion ticket would suffice. As we arrived in CocoCay, we were greeted by gorgeous weather and clear skies. Right by the entrance to the island, you’ll find the retail areas of the island, namely: the Straw Market, the Coco Loco Shop, and the Shore Excursions booth. Since we previously booked a full-day beach bed rental, we then proceeded to one of the golf carts, call the Cocolimo, as directed by the island crew. From the main area, we were driven to the South Beach, where the private beach bed and bungalow rentals are located. There are areas that you can stay in free of charge as well – from common beach chairs, to outdoor amenities like a volleyball court, and a buffet grill lunch, where complimentary food is served; pictured below are some of the complimentary common areas. As soon as we arrived in South Beach, we knew we were in for a VIP experience, as only a handful of us were welcomed to the concierge and were given wristlets that had “VIP” noted on it. Beach towels were handed out, together with the beach bed number we were assigned to.
- Price (per beach bed / maximum 4 people) – US$157.00
- Duration – At your leisure; also depending on your cruise ship schedule
- Inclusions – Return transfers from Main Area to South Beach; two beach chairs and floating beach mats; a cooler with four bottles of Evian, beach towels, and complimentary lunch
Making our way to the beach bed we were assigned to, I was astounded at how deserted this part of the island seemed to be, in a good way that is – despite it being a private island for Royal Caribbean, there were about 2,400 passengers on board, so I was expecting a lot more people; but since we paid a premium for the beach beds, I figured that this area might have been one of the more exclusive areas on the island. True enough, we felt this way the whole time we were there. Seen in the photos below, we truly were getting the most out of our money’s worth. Aside from the beach bed, we also had two beach chairs, two floating beach mats, and a cooler filled with my favorite water label – Evian. During the day, we simply enjoyed relaxing by the sea, enjoying the fresh cool breeze of the Bahamas mixed with the warm sun. It was so relaxing that I actually got a few minutes of eye-shut several times; it truly felt like a vacation from a vacation. Another thing to remember is that within the premises of South Beach, there is a bar, where you could order a few refreshments and more importantly, alcohol. A local favorite that I had quite a few servings of was the Coco Loco priced at US$10 per drink + 8% service charge. It’s rum with coconut cream, a few other fruit juices, and grenadine – an absolutely refreshing drink that you must not miss out on while in CocoCay. The complimentary lunch was served an hour before noon. Two days before arriving in CocoCay, you’ll be given a menu checklist on the ship by your stateroom attendant, by which you have to fill-up based on the dish orders you would want together with the quantity. We might have over-ordered for two people, as seen in the photo below; nevertheless, we still devoured everything. They’re served in packs, making it easier to eat on the beach bed, versus having it on plates.
Note that the complimentary lunch is included for everyone on the ship – regardless of whether or not you paid extra for a tour excursion. Ours was just served in a different manner that didn’t require us to line up to get the food or battle with others, as we were spoiled with having the food delivered right at our beach bed. After lunch, we proceeded to exploring more of South Beach, as we walked around the area, enjoying the exclusivity and pureness of CocoCay. Looking back, I have to say that the Bahamas definitely has some of the best beaches in the world. At the end of the day, we unfortunately had to say goodbye to this island paradise, as we took one last look at this fantastic secluded beach and rode the last Cocolimo from South Beach to the main area.When we got to the main area, we walked around a bit more before getting on the ferry to get back on the ship. By this time, I believe most of the passengers had gone back to the ship, which explains the mostly deserted areas of CocoCay, as we were leaving. Nevertheless, the island was at its finest, with the gorgeous water surrounding the fine-sand beach; even better, the whole island looked well-kept and clean, evident in each and every section of CocoCay. From afar, we caught a glimpse of a Carnival Cruise Ship, as the cruise line’s private island called Half Moon Cay neighbors CocoCay.Before departing CocoCay, we also got to see the beautiful ship that had been our home for several days from afar- the stunning Grandeur of the Seas, depicted below.As you exit the island and before getting on the ferry, you’ll have to go through airport-like security, like you would – had you come from any other port of call, complete with x-ray machines and all. As we bid adieu to this island paradise, I couldn’t help but wish to be back one day – specially once the full revamp for their new branding Perfect Day at CocoCay is completed. We’ll surely be back for that!