Royal Caribbean Opens Revamped Private Island at CocoCay

Courtesy Royal Caribbean

By The Maritime Executive 05-07-2019 10:58:49

Royal Caribbean's new $250 million private island theme park, dubbed "Perfect Day at CocoCay," opened this weekend to great fanfare. As its centerpiece, the new CocoCay has a waterpark with the tallest waterslide in North America, the 135-foot "Daredevil's Peak." For those who prefer smaller slides, there are 12 others nearby, plus a wave pool. Other adventurous attractions include a 1,600-foot-long zipline and a helium balloon, which carries passengers up as high as 450 feet.

Coming soon, the island will also have a resort section - the Coco Beach Club - with overwater cabanas and a half-mile-long infinity pool. 

The park's biggest attractions come at an additional charge for cruisers: water park admission is about $45-100 per day, depending upon season, and the zip line is about $80-140. The island can only be reached by booking a cruise with RCCL, and as of early May, prices started at about $320-$330 for a 3-4 night cruise departing South Florida for the Bahamas. 

The concept is good business, according to the cruise line's leaders. "As you walk around the island or you scroll through videos on Instagram, you'll hear the familiar catch phrase, 'I love this place.' I have to say that all that love from our guests is turning in a nice return for our shareholders too. Itineraries that include Perfect Day . . . are up double digits versus the same time last year," said Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. CEO Richard Fain in the firm's first quarter earnings call. 

The island's capacity could grow, too. According to Royal Caribbean International CEO and president Michael Bayley, the facility can now handle about 10,000 visitors at a time - enough for two ship calls per day. But Royal Caribbean has only developed one-third of the island, and there could one day be enough capacity for three ship calls at once. 

The cruise resort concept is well-established in the industry. In 1977, Norwegian Cruise Line became the first to build a cruise line private island, also called an "out island" or "private port," when it bought Great Stirrup Cay in the Bahamas. Its competitors have all introduced similar destinations, like Princess Cruises' Princess Cays and MSC Cruises' new Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve. Royal Caribbean has operated a resort at CocoCay (Little Stirrup Cay) since 1988.