Note: Cruzely was invited to sail on Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas during her simulated voyage from Bayonne, New Jersey. Each day I will cover the experience, giving you an inside peek at what it’s like to sail a test cruise aboard one of the largest cruise ships in the world.
You can read each day here:
- Day 1: Boarding and Sail Away (With Big New Rules)
- Day 2: Sunny Sea Day to Try New Things
- Day 3: Casino, Casitas, & Robot Drinks
- Day 4: A Stormy – But Fun – Day at CocoCay
On the Oasis of the Seas simulated voyage, it’s a six-day cruise with only a single stop: Perfect Day at CocoCay.
To say that I’ve been looking forward to the port would be an understatement. It’s always one of my favorite destinations. The revamp that was done several years ago elevated the port of call to something special. It’s no exaggeration to say there is something for everyone, whether you want a lot of activities (e.g. Thrill Waterpark) or just to hang out on the beach (e.g. Chill Beach) or the pool.
If you haven’t visited, it’s definitely a stop you have to make. But, it’s also nice if you can get the weather to cooperate. That wasn’t quite the case for Oasis on her visit today, but it was still a lot of fun.
The ship docked first thing this morning and already the wind was whipping with squalls moving through. While everyone was supposed to be let off the ship at 8 a.m., the weather meant the crew couldn’t prepare the island — and it was just too nasty to enjoy time ashore anyway.
Instead, it was decided to wait out the weather and get an update at 10 a.m. Around then, things had eased. It was still windy and cloudy, but it wasn’t stormy like earlier in the morning. Still, we weren’t able to go ashore until 11 a.m., with an all-aboard at 4:30 p.m. It’s disappointing for sure that the weather didn’t cooperate, but sometimes that happens. You just have to take it in stride.
The first thing I did once I went ashore was just do a lap around CocoCay to see what had changed. The last time I was here, South Beach and the Coco Beach Club were still under construction. As well, the Up, Up and Away balloon wasn’t available due to the wind. This time both the beach club and South Beach were now open, but the balloon — while inflated — wasn’t operating due to the weather.
So while I will have to come back again to ride the balloon, I was able to cross one place off my list — Coco Beach Club.
The club is a newer section of CocoCay, opening just before the health crisis. That means a lot of people haven’t had a chance to visit. It’s a separate area of the island, with a charge to enter. You can purchase a day pass, rent a beach cabana, or rent one of the over-the-water cabanas.
Prices vary based on Royal Caribbean’s “dynamic pricing,” so I can’t tell you exactly what each option costs for your cruise. I did hear people mention about $80 for a day pass, a few hundred for a beach cabanas, and into the thousands for one of the 20 over-the-water cabanas.
I can tell you that if you want to spend the money, you will not be disappointed.
The club is a bit hidden past a winding path lined with trees and foliage, providing privacy from the rest of CocoCay. As you enter, the club area opens up. To the right is a large open-air restaurant. As part of the admission price, you have lunch served here (more on that in a moment). Then there is a large infinity pool for guests, a bar, and a private beach with loungers.
If you rented a cabana, an attendant will personally walk you to your “home” at the club. Each cabana features high-end loungers, a couch, chairs, a stocked mini-fridge, cooler with unlimited Evian, a ceiling fan, and even a Bluetooth radio where you can hook up your phone for music. The over-the-water cabanas also feature a waterslide, fresh-water shower and a sink. Renting one of these cabanas will definitely make you feel like a VIP.
While drinks are an extra charge even in the beach club (although they are included if you have the beverage package), lunch is included, and it is fantastic.
Your options start with appetizers ranging from hummus to ceviche to shrimp cocktail. For the main entrees, you can have everything from filet mignon to tiger prawns to grouper. But the dish that you have to see is the grilled Bahamian lobster. It almost looks too good to eat:
Again, this is all included with your day pass (or cabana rental), so you want to factor that in when figuring out if the price is right for you. If you do want to go, then it’s a good idea to book as early as possible. Space is limited, as are the number of cabanas available.
Thankfully, while spending some time exploring the Coco Beach Club and having lunch, the rain held off.
But before I can say I visited CocoCay, I had to ride Daredevil’s Peak. That’s the tallest slide in the Thrill Waterpark, and the tallest in North America at 135 feet. For the test cruise, everyone got free admission to the waterpark, which is normally an extra charge.
As luck would have it, just as I made my way from the beach club to the waterpark, it started raining a bit. No big deal, right? I’m going to get wet anyway.
I ducked under some cover for a bit during the heaviest of the rain, things lightened up, and I kept heading to the slide. Next to the waterslides is a small building with lockers where you can store your things while you enjoy the waterpark. As I put my shoes and towel away, the bottom of the sky just dropped out.
It began pouring, while the wind whipped as the tropical squall pushed through. In effect, I was trapped for about 10 minutes before things lightened up to a sprinkle.
I started up the steps. All around were nothing but grey clouds — you could tell it was going to start back raining hard again soon. But what I didn’t really think about was the wind.
I continued to climb the steps to 135 feet in the air, all the while the wind got stronger as there was less to block it. While the tower didn’t sway (that thing was solid), you could feel the vibration of the wind in the handrails. I considered turning back several times. If you think riding the tallest slide is a thrill in itself, try doing it while the wind is whipping and it’s spitting rain.
Reaching the top, I got the instructions on how to slide and launched down the tube. This is without a doubt one of the biggest thrills you’ll find anywhere. The ride itself is insanely fast, and you are constantly in a turn, fighting to keep your eyes open with the spray. I’ve never ridden another slide like it and couldn’t stop from laughing crazily all the way down.
I reached the end of the slide just in time to start walking back to the locker and see that the waterslides were now officially closed due to weather. I had gotten my one ride done just in time.
By that time it had been raining off and on for about an hour, and the sky around showed no signs of it ending any time soon. Combined with the wind, it made it hard to enjoy everything CocoCay has to offer, but I was able to get a few hours in. After getting off the ship around 11 a.m., I was back aboard (along with most other people) at 3 p.m.
Spending just four hours in port on a six-day cruise isn’t ideal, but sometimes Mother Nature has other plans. One good thing about being on Oasis of the Seas is that there is so much aboard, that having the extra time on the ship is ok by me.
One final word about the feel of the island in regards to the new COVID protocols. Since everything on the island is outdoors or open-air, masks aren’t required. And while there are signs asking for distancing, given the amount of space available, that’s no issue. In my mind, it felt like cruising before the pause. Of course, getting back on the ship meant masks back on!
Leaving tonight, we have two days at sea to enjoy the ship as we sail back to Cape Liberty.
Random Thoughts and Observations
- I had dinner in the Solarium Bistro, and it was wonderful. The area offers a buffet-style meal, but in a more upscale setting than the Windjammer. I especially recommend the fried calamari.
- Currently the ship is sailing, and it’s dark. In the distance are amazing flashes of lightning from a thunderstorm. It’s a cool thing to watch from the balcony as you relax.