Royal Caribbean’s private island — CocoCay — is one of the most popular destinations in cruising. That popularity is for good reason. Before the pandemic, the cruise company spent millions to completely transform the spot from a sleepy beach island to full-blown destination.
Today, visitors can do everything from relax on white-sand beaches to enjoy an exclusive beach club to swim in the largest freshwater pool in the Caribbean to visit a full-fledged waterpark, complete with the tallest waterslide in North America.
And as cruising continues to make its comeback, CocoCay is proving to be a highly desired destination.
In a quarterly investor update call with management, the company shared that millions of passengers will visit the island this year.
“I think even in this year in 2022, we’ll take over 2 million guests to Perfect Day [at CocoCay] this year alone,” said Royal Caribbean International President Michael Bayley.
The comment came in response to a question about so-called “new to cruise” customers making bookings. Bayley pointed to destinations like CocoCay as being a big draw to customers who haven’t sailed before.
To put that visitor count in perspective, if 2 million people visited the island over the course of a year, that would breakdown to roughly 5,500 passengers each and every day — or about the capacity of an Oasis-class ship every 24 hours.
Two million guests would also be more than the population of Phoenix, Arizona, the fifth-largest city in the United States.
Those figures are impressive, but other details shared by the cruise line indicate that CocoCay — and Royal Caribbean in general — still has room to grow further. Namely, many ships are still sailing below full capacity.
Ships Still Sailing Below Capacity… But Some Are Completely Full
Royal Caribbean Group (Royal Caribbean’s parent company) also shared that in the first quarter of 2022, the average occupancy aboard its ships across all cruise lines, including names like Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity, and Silversea, was just 68%.
For comparison, before the pandemic occupancy levels were typically more than 100%, indicating each cabin had at least two people and some had more. The company expects occupancy to rise to 75-80% in the second quarter, and then finally reach the 100% mark across all ships by the end of the year.
Mr. Bayley did share that the company is going to see “a significant percentage” of ships sailing at 100% and more in the American market as the summer season gets underway.
In short, Royal Caribbean — like its rivals — continues to see strong demand as cruises return, but is still in the midst of a comeback.
The cruise line set new records in March for both the single largest booking day and the highest booking week in its 53-year history, according to the company’s CEO, Jason Liberty.
And those already on the ship are in the mood to spend. Shipboard revenue set a record per passenger cruise day, meaning that passengers on board are spending more on an individual basis than ever before.
Full Fleet Almost Back
While the occupancy levels across all cruise lines and ships is still lower than normal, most ships have returned to sailing. Royal Caribbean executives shared that the fleet is now almost fully returned.
“As of today, 95% of our fleet capacity has returned to service,” said new Royal Caribbean Group CEO Jason Liberty. “It’s incredible to think that our journey to full fleet operations will be complete in less than eight weeks when our 63rd ship, Celebrity Infinity, welcomes guests for the first time since March 2020.”
In other words, if the health crisis can stay under control, then between growing occupancy and higher onboard spending Royal Caribbean and the industry has room to blossom.