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Top Tips for Having the Perfect Day at CocoCay

Annabel A.

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It is highly probable that while organizing a luxury cruise through Royal Caribbean International, your voyage will include a port call at Coco Cay, their exclusive island destination.

Read our comprehensive list below of everything you need to know to have the Perfect Day at CocoCay, Bahamas.

Coco Cay

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Coco Cay (also known as Little Stirrup Cay) is an exclusive beach experience available only to passengers on Royal Caribbean cruise ships. It is the Royal Caribbean cruise line’s private island, which means that you won’t experience this exotic and exciting destination anywhere else!

The island functions much like any other cruise port and once docked, it is up to each passenger whether or not they would like to explore everything the island has to offer. Entering and exploring the entire island is completely free, and there are many complimentary dining options. Many of the amenities and attractions are also free of charge, which means that having the Perfect Day at CocoCay doesn’t need to empty your wallet.

It is an excellent way to have a fun day at the beach.

The main appeal of Coco Cay as opposed to other Caribbean islands is its wide variety of attractions and activities within walking distance of the ship. Guests can go swimming at the waterpark or sunbathe at the beach. There is also a great selection of dining options and food stalls to choose from.

Because it is run by the cruise line, Perfect Day at CocoCay becomes an extension of your cruise – unlike other excursions that need to be arranged through a middle-man.

First Day at CocoCay, Bahamas

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If you are a first-time cruiser, there are a few things you can do to ensure you have the Perfect Day at CocoCay.

The best way to experience the island is by getting up early to explore. This gives you a chance to see everything the island has to offer without the crowds that form later in the day. Even so, it’s impossible to see everything in one trip. Because of the sheer size of CocoCay, it’s a good idea to head out early, choose a few places to explore throughout the day, en enjoy them to the fullest. You can always come back another time!

If you’re not sure where to start, many avid cruisers agree that the best starting point is the Oasis Lagoon Freshwater Pool. Much like the other island attractions, the Oasis Lagoon Pool becomes busier throughout the day, so heading there early means a more private experience.

After that, you can spend some time at one of CocoCay’s many beaches. Some of the most popular include South Beach and Chill Island Beach. However, if you’re looking for something within walking distance of several other activities, Chill Island is your best bet.

If budget isn’t a problem, you can also book the Coco Beach Club or Thrill Waterpark, both great ways to spend the largest part of your day. However, it is not recommended to book both on the same day, or you may run out of time.

Perfect Day at CocoCay Attractions

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If you are an avid cruiser, this may not be your first day at CocoCay, Bahamas. However, the island is ever-growing and constantly evolving, which means that there will be something new every time you visit.

The whole island was refurbished, revamped, and expanded in 2019, and the upgrade included many more things to do! There is a wide selection of attractions and activities, including several beaches, a freshwater pool, the CocoCay Water Park, a private beach club, a zip line, and a wide selection of restaurants, eateries, and other dining options.

Located at Hideaway Beach is the latest addition to the island, an adults-only area opened in 2023.

Perfect Day at CocoCay Packing List

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Since CocoCay is run by Royal International, there are fewer items you need to bring when you visit. However, as with any other shore excursion, you will need to take a few necessities.

One of the most important things to take with you is sunscreen! There’s nothing as bad as getting a painful sunburn, but it’s even worse when it spoils the rest of your vacation. Make sure to pack sunscreen, an SPF lip balm, and some soothing after-sun gel in case of an emergency. It’s also a good idea to bring other forms of sun protection, like beach hats or caps, rashguards, swimsuit cover-ups, and sunglasses.

You will also need some clean beach towels. These are provided on board the ship, but if you’re visiting the Coco Beach Club or renting a private cabana for the day, you can also get them there. If you’re planning on using the zip lines, make sure to pack some closed-toe shoes as you will not be allowed on otherwise.

Other necessities include your SeaPass Card and cash, for things like tipping Royal Caribbean employees or shopping at the artisan market. A good beach bag or thief-proof backpack is ideal for carrying all your valuables.

Read our list of Must-Pack Cruise Essentials Here!

Drink Package, Voom Package, and SeaPass

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Passengers who have purchased a drink package, such as the Royal Refreshment and Soda Package, will be delighted to know that their benefits also extend to Perfect Day at CocoCay. Guests with the Deluxe Beverage Package will have access to unlimited bottles of water, sodas, and alcoholic refreshments.

However, keep in mind that drinks served in coconuts, pineapples, or a souvenir cup are not included in drink packages – much as it works on the ship. If you have the Deluxe Beverage Package, the souvenir cups come at a discount. But if you’re traveling on a budget, you can also request for your drink to be served in a regular cup to avoid any extra charges.

Drink vouchers from Diamond, Diamond Plus, and Pinnacle Club guests also work at CocoCay.

Passengers with Voom Internet Packages also have connectivity on the island.

Much like on the Royal Caribbean cruise ships, CocoCay was designed for passengers to rely on their SeaPass card. The cards can be used on excursions, at the Thrill Waterpark, and at the Coco Beach Club. Guests also use their SeaPass cards to pay for drinks and souvenirs.

Keep in mind that you’ll need to bring cash for the Artisan Market.

Avoiding Long Queues at Water Slides

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Another perk of arriving early in the day at CocoCay, Bahamas, is not having to stand in long lines to get to the water slides at Thrill Waterpark.

The best times to visit the slides are before eleven in the morning. Alternatively, you can wait until late afternoon for the crowds to clear out. The best time for visiting in the afternoon is sometime after three PM.

Another way to save time is by purchasing your Thrill Waterpark admission from the Royal Caribbean’s website in advance, before even departing from Fort Lauderdale, so that it will already be loaded onto your SeaPass Card once you arrive on the island.

Snack Shack Secret Menu Item

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A great tip when you’re visiting CocoCay for the first time is to ask for the secret menu item at the Snack Shack.

While it’s not listed on the menu, passengers can request a Chicken Parmigiana Sandwich – a delicious mix between the Mozarella Sticks, Marinara Sauce, and Crispy Chicken Sandwich. If you’re lucky, the restaurant will prepare it for you!

However, if that isn’t the case, there are still many delicious menu items to try, and there are two Snack Shacks on the island.

Saving Money

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There are a variety of things to do when traveling on a budget to CocoCay. Here’s our list of the best ways to save money during your trip.

Thrill Waterpark

Passengers can purchase admission passes to Thrill Waterpark long before their cruise, via the Cruise Planner website. The tickets often sell for discounted prices, making it a great time and money-saver if you’re planning to visit CocoCay.

Be sure to check out the adventure pool, wave pool, Green Mamba waterslide, and Daredevil’s Peak while you’re there.

Thrill Waterpark Cabana

If you’re traveling in a group or as a family, especially where three or more people are involved, you should consider booking a private cabana at Thrill Waterpark.

There are some price differences between cabanas, and you may find that a floating cabana costs more to rent than an overwater cabana, etc. Booking a cabana includes Thrill Waterpark admission for up to six guests, and provides a private and welcome respite from the crowds. In this way, you get more value for your money and an even better experience at the water park.

Cabana guests can also expect complimentary food and drinks.

Free Activities

There are many complimentary activities to be enjoyed at CocoCay, and they are an excellent way to save money. Many Royal Caribbean guests find that they never need to pay extra, and can very easily spend a whole day exploring all the free options on the island.

Here’s a list of CocoCay’s free amenities and attractions:

  • Splashaway Bay
  • Oasis Lagoon Pool
  • Chill Island
  • South Beach
  • Captain Jill’s Galleon
  • Snack Shack
  • Skipper’s Grill
  • Chill Grill
  • Sports Courts
  • Fitness Classes
  • Freshwater Showers
  • Tram Service
  • Beach Access Wheelchairs

Free Splash Pads

While Thrill Waterpark is arguably the most well-known, many people don’t realize that Royal Caribbean offers several complimentary splash pads that are ideal for younger children as well.

Splashaway Bay and Captain Jill’s Galleon can be found just inside the pier entrance to the island, and they offer a variety of water slides, splash areas, water cannons, and children’s pools. Keep in mind, however, that younger kids should not be left to play unsupervised.

Free Beach Chairs and Umbrellas

In the past, shady spots were hard to come by at CocoCay. However, in recent years, Royal Caribbean International has provided more seating options. There are complimentary beach chairs and umbrellas scattered all over the island, and more than enough to provide for all guests.

Even so, there are some areas where seating is more limited, such as the Oasis Lagoon and its swim-up bar. The bar can still be used without sitting down, but if you’d like to save a seat you can do so by making sure you arrive early enough, while the area is still quiet.

Free Lockers

If you’re looking for a safe place to store your items while you enjoy rides and explore the island, there are free-to-use lockers scattered all around Perfect Day at CocoCay. Lockers can’t be reserved, and if you’d like to use one it is best to claim it early in the day – before they are all taken.

Lockers can be found in places like Chill Island, near the Helium Balloon ride, and at the entrance to the zip line and Thrill Waterpark.

Free Life Jackets

If you are traveling with small children that can’t swim yet, or are less confident swimmers, there is no need to purchase a life vest before traveling to CocoCay. The island offers complimentary life jackets to its guests, and they can be used all day.

Free Tram Service

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While CocoCay can easily be explored on foot, it is still a big area and many people prefer some form of transportation. For this reason, there is a complimentary tram service that can be found all over the island. For example, there is a tram that can take guests down to the pier.

A fun fact about this service is that many of the trams are powered by solar energy, which means that you won’t be harming the environment if you don’t feel like walking!

Chill Island

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Upon entering CocoCay, you will see a green pathway towards your left, which leads to Chill Island. This is a great place to visit if you’re looking to get away from the hustle and bustle of the rest of the island.

If you stay towards the left of Chill Island, you will be able to enjoy peace, quiet, and gorgeous ocean views.

Another great spot if you’re looking for tranquility is South Beach. While there is still some music and a floating bar, South Beach gets much less crowded than any of the other beaches because it is so far from the entrance. The number of people you will encounter gets less and less the further down you go on South Beach.

The area is also home to Harbor Beach, where visitors can enjoy a protected interior lagoon.

Floating Bar

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The floating bar can be found in the shallow waters near South Beach. It is a small Tiki bar, and visitors won’t need to swim up to it.

Because of its lack of a blender, the selection is more limited and visitors can enjoy a variety of basic mixed drinks and beer. While small, it is worth the visit just for the experience.

Few Breakfast Options

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While it is recommended to start your day at CocoCay, Bahamas, as early as possible, keep in mind that there are little to no breakfast options available on the island. Typically, food stalls and restaurants only start opening up around lunchtime, in the afternoon.

The only exception is the Coco Beach Club, where guests can have pastries and coffee for breakfast.

Be sure to grab some breakfast on the ship before heading out to CocoCay!

When To Visit

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If you’re planning a visit to Perfect Day at CocoCay during the winter months between December and February, you may be worried that it will get too cold.

However, as CocoCay is located in the Bahamas, the weather is tropical and remains temperate even throughout the winter season. In some rare cases, there are cold fronts that can make the temperature drop as low as 70 degrees. Luckily, these temperature shifts rarely affect ocean temperature.

There are some chilly areas of the island, such as Oasis Lagoon, but many people enjoy visiting CocoCay, especially during the winter months because it isn’t quite as sweltering.

Where to Eat

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When CocoCay was refurbished and upgraded, one of the best improvements made by Royal Caribbean International was to add more dining options. Visitors can get far more than hot dogs and burgers on the island, and many places offer complimentary dining.

One of the main areas for dining is the Chill Grill, where guests can enjoy tables under umbrellas and a wide selection of food. From salads and sandwiches to burgers and soft-serve ice cream, Chill Grill has it all. There is also Skipper’s Grill, which offers similar options and has a central location.

Another main dining option is the Snack Shack. The meals here are meant to be eaten on the go, and guests can enjoy things like mozzarella sticks, burgers, chicken sandwiches, and light salads. You can find Snack Shack inside Thrill Waterpark.

If you’re looking for something more chic, you can visit the restaurant at the Coco Beach Club. Here, guests can enjoy unlimited entrées, and dishes like grilled fish, steak, lobster, Baba Ganoush, and Ceviche.

Another great dining option, especially if you’re in the mood for chicken wings, is Captain Jack’s. It is located near the pier and is known for its chicken, fries, and Captain Jack wing sauce.

Coco Loco

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One thing you shouldn’t miss out on while you’re spending a Perfect Day at CocoCay is the official drink of the island.

This tasty beverage is called the Coco Loco, and it is a frosty rum drink that is sure to delight any kind of traveler. And, if you prefer non-alcoholic beverages or want to purchase some for your kids, you can order the version without rum.

You can sample one of these signature drinks at the Rowboat Bar.

Coco Beach Club Daybeds

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If you’re not on a tight budget, you may decide to purchase admission to the Coco Beach Club, where you will have private access to its restaurant, infinity pool, exclusive beach, beach chairs, umbrellas, and club house.

The infinity pool also includes a few in-pool loungers and daybeds. Keep in mind, though, that they are limited and work on a first-come, first-serve basis. Because seating around the pool fills up fast, you will need to arrive early to ensure you have a spot.


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One of the most popular activities at CocoCay is snorkeling. You can rent gear from Royal Caribbean, but if you’re traveling on a budget, it may be better to bring your own snorkel gear from the boat. Entry to the snorkel area is free.

Snorkeling at CocoCay is a great way to see some ocean wildlife, such as sea turtles, stingrays, and tropical fish. You will also be able to see marine life around the underwater plane wreck.

Near the deeper snorkeling area, there is a lifeguard on duty in case of emergency.


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Perfect Day at CocoCay offers visitors a variety of great excursions. Some of the most popular include the Up, Up, and Away Helium Balloon Ride and the Zip Line.

The Helium Balloon is a great attraction if you’re looking for stunning views of the island and pretty photo opportunities, as guests will be lifted four-hundred-and-fifty feet in the air. The zip line, on the other hand, takes visitors across three different areas of the island, and it’s ideal for adventurous tourists. There are weight and height restrictions to keep in mind in order to use the zip line.

Other fun excursions at CocoCay include renting a floating beach mat, scuba diving, renting a jet ski, or renting a kayak.

Fresh Towels

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It’s a great idea to bring fresh towels from the cruise ship to use at CocoCay, but the island also offers its own towels in case you’d like to change to something fresher. This is especially helpful if you have children and towels get used often.

Fresh beach towels can be found at towel stations, located at strategic points all over the island.

And, if you’re planning on heading to the Coco Beach Club, you won’t need to bring towels from the ship as they have their own.

Rash Guards on Water Slides

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While a swim vest can be very handy, and sometimes required, it can cause drag on waterslides. Because of this, and to avoid visitors getting stuck before reaching the end of the slide, rash guards, shirts, and vests are strictly prohibited on the slides.

If you plan on going more than once, it may be a good idea to leave your rash guard somewhere safe while you’re at the water park, and put it back on once you’re done.

Height Restrictions on Water Slides

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The slides at CocoCay also have strict height and weight restrictions, so it is a good idea to check these on the Royal Caribbean website or Royal Caribbean blog before booking admission to Thrill Waterpark.

For example, all the slides have a maximum weight limit of three hundred lbs. The only exceptions are slides where rafts are required and the pools. Height requirements range from forty inches to forty-eight inches minimum.

This means that guests shorter than forty inches, and heavier than three hundred pounds, will not be able to make use of Thrill Waterpark.

No Drones

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Much like onboard any ship in the fleet, Drones are not allowed to be operated onboard a Royal Caribbean cruise ship, at CocoCay, or any of the other private destinations this cruise line offers.

Passengers are, however, allowed to bring them aboard for use at other ports and excursions.

Island Signs

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Visitors to CocoCay will be provided with a map before exploring the island, but it may not be necessary because of how well everything is marked, making navigating the island very easy.

Upon reaching Arrivals Plaza, you will notice that all the signs are color-coded. Chill Island signs are marked in light green, Thrill Waterpark is marked in light blue, and the Coco Beach Club and Oasis Lagoon are marked in orange.

Alternatively, you can make use of the map on the Royal Caribbean’s app, or go for a tour of the island on one of the free trams.


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Most of CocoCay is accessible. There are pool lifts at the Coco Beach Club’s infinity pool and Oasis Lagoon. The trams and Wave Pool at Thrill Waterpark are also accessible. However, there are a few exceptions.

These include the slides at Thrill Waterpark and the zip line, as visitors need to climb stairs to get to the top.

Helium Balloon Ride

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As with many of CocoCay’s attractions, it is best to do the Helium Balloon ride early in the morning, before the crowds start forming. This is also because winds can affect how high the balloon goes, and there are fewer strong winds in the morning than during the afternoon.

If the weather conditions get too unfavorable, there is even a chance of the ride being shut down completely for the day, with no promise of opening up again later.

To avoid disappointment, it is best to get there early.

Parties and Live Music

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The best place to go for a party at CocoCay is the Oasis Lagoon pool. Here, visitors can enjoy a DJ playing music, a swim-up bar with drinks, and coves or in-water tables. The music can even be heard underwater.

 And, if it gets too much or you prefer less noise, you can simply swim to either end of the pool and it will take you far enough away to mute the noise.

 Alternatively, you can visit Captain Jack’s for live music. It often includes a guitarist performing live for parts of the day, and there are fun rope swings at the bar for guests to sit in. You will also find plenty of shade here, as the entire area is covered with large gazebos and umbrellas.

Fun Facts

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Look Out For Animals

If this is your first time visiting CocoCay, you may be surprised to see wild chickens and iguanas roaming the island! These animals, as well as the seagulls, typically hang around the dining areas in search of leftover food.

It is best to keep an eye on your meals so that they don’t get stolen, and remember that guests are not allowed to feed the animals – no matter how cute they are!

Royal Caribbean Staff Live on the Island

It may interest you to know that some of the Royal Caribbean staff and employees live on the island permanently. There are dormitories toward the eastern end of the island that can house over three hundred staff members. These buildings can be seen from the zip line or the top of the slides.

The employees stay on the island to keep it in good condition and running smoothly so that guests can have the best experience possible. So, next time you see one of the staff members, be sure to give them a nice big, well-deserved tip.

DIY Ice Cream Sandwiches

A fun tip that we think everyone should know before visiting CocoCay, is that you can make your own DIY ice cream sandwiches while you’re there – and they are delicious!

There are soft-serve machines all over the island, and you can easily get your hands on some soft-serve cookies. Then, you can simply sandwich some soft-serve ice cream between the two for your very own awesome dessert.

It is also something fun to do with kids.

Other Fun Facts

  • It cost Royal Caribbean over two-hundred-and-fifty million dollars to upgrade their private island of CocoCay
  • Thrill Waterpark is home to the most waterslides in the Caribbean – thirteen slides total
  • The biggest wave pool in the Caribbean can be found in Thrill Waterpark
  • The tallest waterslide in North America, Daredevil’s Peak, can be found at CocoCay and stands at one-hundred-and-thirty-five feet tall
  • Oasis Lagoon is the Caribbean’s largest freshwater pool
  • The island is home to six thousand lounge chairs and over one thousand umbrellas
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