Royal Caribbean’s recently re-opened its Bahamas private island following a $250 million makeover,giving the cruise line’s guests a wide range of activities for playing, dining, drinking and relaxing.
Already it looks like expansion is in the near future.
Perfect Day at CocoCay will get bigger and better with a Phase 2 expansion planned for 2020. After Phase 2, Royal Caribbean’s private island destination will be ready to welcome three ships per day. Given the size of Royal Caribbean’s vessels, that means as many as 12,000 passengers will visit CocoCay daily.
In addition, the cruise line is slated to have a total of five “Perfect Day” concepts located around the world within the next five years.
All of this information comes from a recent article in Seatrade Cruise News about the cruise line’s plans to capitalize on Perfect Day at CocoCay’s success.
Longer Visits & More Ships Visiting
Since opening earlier this month, the feedback on CocoCay has been overwhelmingly positive. As a result, Royal Caribbean has looked at ways to give passengers even more.
For instance, a surge of booking interest in voyages visiting CocoCay prompted Royal Caribbean to revise Independence of the Seas’ 2020 schedule, canceling plans for the ship to sail out of Southampton next year. Instead the ship will continue sailing from Florida to CocoCay.
Mark Tamis, Senior Vice President of Hotel Operations for Royal Caribbean International, recently told Seatrade that ships calling at the private island may pay longer calls, enabling guests to play on the island well into the evening. Some ships may even linger in the port overnight, with concerts provided at the island to entertain guests. Other ships might have itineraries which include two stops at CocoCay on the same cruise.
Already plans are in place for ships from ports other than Florida to make trips to the island. Enchantment of the Seas will visit from Galveston, and Oasis of the Seas will sail to the private island from Cape Liberty in New Jersey. There are also plans for Allure of the Seas and Rhapsody of the Seas to call on CocoCay during trans-Atlantic re-positioning voyages.
More Perfect Day Destinations in the Works
Perhaps most interesting is that Tamis also told Seatrade Cruise News that Royal Caribbean will open a total of five new Perfect Day destinations over the next five years, including locations in Asia and Australia, as well as Labadee in the Caribbean. Each of the new Perfect Day locations will have special features based on its location.
Tamis also noted that the cruise line has found a hugely successful combination of “Royal Amplified” vessels (older ships that have received modernization) plus calls at CocoCay. In his words, guest satisfaction has been “record-setting” and that “the boost was almost mind-blowing.”
Planning, Partnership, and Sustainability
For Royal Caribbean, the popularity of Perfect Day at CocoCay is the payoff for a project that required years of planning and challenging logistics. Since the island is situated in an area known for storms, structures like the 135-foot-tall waterslide Daredevil’s Tower had to be designed, built and tested to withstand a category 5 hurricane.
Tamis attributes part of the success of the island to the company’s cooperative relationship with The Bahamas government. Over 350 Bahamians now live and work on CocoCay.
The cruise line also made sustainability a priority in building the attraction. CocoCay features solar-powered trams, dining areas utilizing biodegradable cutlery, and food waste is incinerated into ash used for fertilizer. The island received approval from the Bahamas Environment, Science & Technology Commission (BEST). An environmental officer even lives full time on CocoCay.
Attention to Details Helped Ensure Success
So much of the success of the island appears to be due to Royal Caribbean’s attention to detail. In planning Perfect Day, Royal Caribbean sent team members to visit waterparks around the world to observe and learn best practices. The company used scientific studies to plan visitor flow, making sure that each person has adequate space.
In relaxation areas such as the Oasis Lagoon, careful attention to paid to seating and shading. Beach umbrellas are provided free of charge because the company saw how important having shade is to the guest experience. The planning team also made a point of providing adequate signage and hiring a large enough staff of lifeguards for the high number of visitors.
In short, Royal Caribbean is setting a high bar for the competition. While everyone has focused on building bigger and better ships, Royal Caribbean has taken the cruise “arms race” to land.
What are your thoughts on Perfect Day at CocoCay? Do you plan to book an RCI voyage in order to visit their private island destination? Are you one of the lucky ones who have already been to the island since its re-opening? We’d love to hear your comments.