January 22, 2003
Though CocoCay, Royal Caribbean’s private Bahamian island, is not visited by all of its ships, the company nevertheless announced today it’s completed some $20 million worth of enhancements. Ships that visit the island include Royal Caribbean’s Majesty of the Seas (3- and 4-night trips Miami) and Sovereign of the Seas (3- and 4-night sailings Port Canaveral). Sister cruise Celebrity has one ship -- Galaxy, on its ten-day seasonal Caribbean itineraries out of Baltimore --that stops at CocoCay. Among new and updated features on the 140-acre private island, part of the Bahamas' Berry Islands chain, include: Two new bars: Junkanoo Jacks and On the Rocks, to complement three existing bars. A third, Stir-it-up, was extensively refurbished. A nature trail, stretching for three miles around the entire island (which is one mile long and 1/4 miles wide). The new Snorkel Shack and Diver’s Den have gotten new facilities which basically offers more selection in rental gear as well as in underwater programs. A Nassau-inspired Straw Market. This one evokes a Bahamian village and contains various huts selling the usual souvenirs (t-shirts, conch shells and baskets) -- with a twist. In a series of artisan huts, Bahamian craftspeople are ferried out to the island on days when ships are in port to showcase (and sell) their handmade creations. Not on the list of “new additions” is a set of portable cots though on one cruise last fall the island could have used them. In November, CocoCay made headlines when waters got too rough to allow passengers on Majesty of the Seas, which tenders folks in to a floating dock, back onboard. Instead, more than 1,400 of the ship’s 2,200 guests spent the night, “roughing it,” on lounge chairs and wrapped in beach towels (not to mention blankets, comforters and pillows sent over from the ship) on CocoCay. Many of the ”stranded” passengers found the once-in-a-lifetime experienced, however impromptu, of camping on a private island quite an adventure (Royal Caribbean’s offer of a full refund and a certificate for a free four day cruise to those impacted didn’t quash spirits either). In fact, some are trying to convince the cruise line to schedule another CocoCay overnight during a Majesty of the Seas voyage -- this one on purpose, of course. A Royal Caribbean spokesman is coy, however, about any plans to do so.