Royal Caribbean’s CocoCay is welcoming visitors again after the devastation of Hurricane Dorian. Sara Macefield paid a visit before the hurricane hit
“Come on, Mum – don’t be such a wimp.” My 16-year-old twin daughters, Dani and Holly, are full of bravado, whereas I’m desperately trying to forget that I’m at the top of the towering 41-metre Daredevil’s Tower waterslide, the tallest in North America.
As screams ring out from riders plummeting down the tube, my nerves fail me and, much to my daughters’ embarrassment, I make my excuses and scuttle back down the stairs as they take the plunge.
But I know I’ll never live it down if I don’t attempt at least some of the hair-raising rides at the much-lauded Perfect Day at CocoCay resort – Royal Caribbean International’s private island in the Bahamas, which reopened on 7 September following Hurricane Dorian (I was here visiting before it hit).
Check out CocoCay’s many rides and features on this video tour
This $250 million Bahamas mega-resort also has plentiful chill-out zones perfect for couples looking to escape. A focal point is the vast Oasis Lagoon, the largest freshwater pool in the Caribbean with swim-up islands, a swim-up bar and even underwater music.
There are a trio of idyllic beach areas with Chill Island offering snorkelling and jet-skiing; and South Beach, where active types can join in volleyball, beach basketball and soccer or try paddle-boarding, before swimming out to a floating bar to cool off with a drink. With its waterfall and fountain, Harbor Beach is a relaxing spot to watch zip-liners swoop in on the final leg of the 488-metre course that crosses the island.
The beaches have luxurious cabanas for hire, accommodating up to eight people, complete with an attendant. At up to $1,500 for the day, however, they don’t come cheap. For sky-high views, clients can jump in the Up, Up and Away helium balloon, which rises up more than 135 metres, making it the highest vantage point in the Bahamas.
It’s also worth hopping on the complimentary tram that regularly trundles between the waterpark and South Beach if clients don’t feel like walking – though nothing in Perfect Day is more than a few minutes away.
With 6,000 of us having come onshore for the day, the park is busy, but not packed. However, queues build up quickly for the most popular water slides where, just 20 minutes after opening, the wait for Daredevil’s Tower located near the main entrance is more than an hour long.
Come December, Perfect Day will expand further with the opening of another beach area, an oceanfront pool and the first overwater cabanas in the Bahamas, with whispers of more waterslides in the long term too.
But with the prospect of two Oasis-class leviathans visiting simultaneously, bringing a potential total of 12,000 guests, extra capacity will be sorely needed.
Our day here was perfect fun. However, I wouldn’t want to share it with any more people than we did – even though longer queues would give me the perfect excuse to dodge the most terrifying waterslides!
Book it: A seven-night round-trip sailing from Miami on Symphony of the Seas – calling at Roatan, Costa Maya, Cozumel and Perfect Day – costs from £4,694 for a family of four, departing on 11 April 2020, excluding flights. cruisingpower.com
Getting there: Departures are from Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Port Canaveral, Tampa, New Orleans, Baltimore, Galveston and New York onboard ships including Navigator of the Seas, Mariner, Independence, Anthem, Oasis and Empress. Royal Caribbean has also introduced late-night stops plus four-night sailings that include two visits to Perfect Day.
Saving costs: Complimentary attractions include the Splashaway Bay waterpark for young children; Captain Jill’s Galleon loaded with slides and a water cannon; and most dining venues.
Storing items: Free lockers are available on a first-come, first-served basis and are essential for storing valuables.