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CocoCay Basics

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Scenes of CocoCay

Fast Facts: CocoCay


CocoCay is Royal Caribbean's own Bahamian island, located about 45 miles north northwest of Nassau. Before being re-christened CocoCay by Royal Caribbean, the island was known as Little Stirrup Cay. It really is a deserted island; the locals who sell arts, crafts, souvenirs and knick-knacks in the straw market reside on nearby Great Harbor Island, and commute to CocoCay whenever a ship comes into port. In CocoCay, Royal Caribbean has created an idyllic world to enjoy, transporting you away from all the cares in the world.

CocoCay is adjacent to Great Stirrup Cay, the locale of NCL's private island. From your ship, you'll be able to see the NCL vessels anchored off the larger island. If you take the parasailing excursion, you'll get a good lay of the land of the two islands.

CocoCay has a tropical marine climate, with year-round daytime temperatures ranging from the low to high 80s F. The dry season begins in November and lasts through April, while the rainy season commences in May and extends through October, with the heaviest rains taking place from June through August.


CocoCay Map


First Impressions


CocoCay Shops
©2009 UpstateNYer, under cc-by-sa 3.0 license

CocoCay is a small, flat island at the north end of the Berry Island chain. It's just a stone's throw from Great Stirrup Cay, which is owned and operated by NCL. There's not much going on at CocoCay save for the Royal Caribbean facility.

Your ship will lay anchor off CocoCay, and you'll take a tender aboard a double decker tender boat; the tender takes between 5 to 10 minutes to bring you from ship to shore. You'll disembark at the island's Tender Landing, located at the marina basin on the east end of the island. From there, it's a short and easy walk to any of the island's four beach areas. All shore excursions depart from within a short walk of the main shore complex.

It's best to get an early tender ticket from your ship if you want to enjoy the maximum amount of time on the island.

Throughout your time on CocoCay, a reggae band will be playing music to get you in the mood of having fun. If you're hungry, a BBQ lunch and snacks are served at Blackbeard's and Bahama Jack's Grilles, and you can enjoy your repast al fresco on picnic tables under the palm trees. If you're thirsty, you can buy adult beverages at the Wacky Seagull, Junkanoo Jack's, Wacky Seagull Jr., Bahama Jack's, Island Oasis and Coconut Willies bars. Non-alcoholic beverages are readily available.

CocoCay seems to resemble a Caribbean-flavored Disney park, decorated as it is in pastel hues and run in a highly efficient manner. You'll be sharing the island with between 2,000 to 4,000 other guests; if you'd like to get away from the crowds, make your way to Barefoot Beach, which is a 5-minute walk from the central area. The sand on Barefoot Beach is actually softer and less gritty than the sand to be found at the island's other beaches.

Guests really enjoy their time on CocoCay. Your time on the island is what you make of it--the watchword is having fun!


Time Zone


CocoCay is on Eastern Time, five hours earlier than Greenwich Mean Time during Standard Time, and four hours earlier than GMT during Daylight Savings Time.

Bahamas flag CocoCay Local Time
 


Language


English is universally spoken in CocoCay. Other languages are spoken by Royal Caribbean and Celebrity staff members.


Dealing with Money on CocoCay


Currency



dollar bill

While the Bahamian Dollar is the Bahamas official currency, on CocoCay you'll be buying your drinks, souvenirs and excursions, and renting equipment, on your SeaPass or Sign & Sail Card. And for most cruises, the functional currency is the US dollar.

Banks and ATMs

Hey, you're on a desert island in the middle of nowhere. Banks or ATMs? Fuggedaboutit!

Just remember to bring your SeaPass Card (Royal Caribbean and Celebrity) or your Sign & Sail Card (Carnival) to pay for your drinks and other items. And if you plan on shopping for some straw goods, bring cash.

Using US Dollars in CocoCay

US dollars are widely accepted at the Straw Market in CocoCay; just bring smaller denomination bills. For all other purchases, you've got to use your SeaPass or Sign & Sail Card.


Weather


Sea grape
©2011 Pinus, under cc-by-sa 2.0 license

CocoCay enjoys a warm, agreeable climate that varies little year-round. Cooled by the trade winds that blow almost continually throughout the islands, winter temperatures (November through April) range from lows of mid-60° F at night to afternoon highs in the low- to mid-70s° F. Summer high temperatures (May through October) average between the mid-80s to low-90s F.

It's humid in CocoCay, especially in the summer months. Wind speeds are, on average, below 10 knots. In winter months, periods of a day to two of north and northeast winds of about 25 knots may occur.

Rain showers can occur any time of the year, but the rainiest months are May to October. In CocoCay, rainfall averages a little more than one inch a month from November to April, and three and a half inches a month from May to October. Rainfall comes mainly in the form of heavy showers or thundershowers, which clear quickly.

Sea surface temperatures normally vary between 74° F in February to 83° F in August.

Hurricane season lasts from June through November, although most hurricanes track south and west of CocoCay. The peak months for hurricanes are August and September. The Bahamas have about a one-in-five annual risk of being affected by a hurricane.

Average Temperatures

Average Precipitation



Local Holidays & Festivals


Look for the following local festivals, holidays and events taking place in CocoCay in 2017:

Since this is Royal Caribbean's own island, and they set the rules, there's no guarantee that any of the following holidays will be celebrated on CocoCay during your visit. If they're not, you may want to personally organize a toast to the holiday and create your own festival.

  • New Year's Day, Sunday, January 1. National holiday celebrated with dances and festivals. Because New Year's Day falls on a Sunday, the holiday is observed on Monday, January 2.

  • Majority Rule Day, Tuesday, January 10. A national holiday celebrating the date when the Bahamas achieved self governance through democracy in 1967.

  • Good Friday, Friday, April 14. A public holiday.

  • Easter Monday, Monday, April 17. A public holiday.

  • Labour Day, Friday, June 2. A public holiday that celebrates the contributions of workers, and in the Bahamas is named after Randol Fawkes.

  • Whit Monday, June 5. This holiday is celebrated the day after Pentecost, a movable feast in the Christian calendar.

  • Stamps
  • Independence Day, Monday, July 10. A national public holiday that commemorates the independence of the Bahamas from the British that took place on July 10, 1973.

  • Emancipation Day/August Monday, Monday, August 7. A national public holiday that commemorates the official abolition of slavery in 1838. Look for a Junkanoo, a traditional African street parade of music, dance, and art held in Nassau.

  • Discovery Day/ National Heroes Day/ Columbus Day, Monday, October 9. A national holiday that commemorates the discovery of America by Christopher Columbus.

  • Christmas, Monday, December 25. A public and religious holiday celebrating the birth of Christ.

  • Boxing Day, Tuesday, December 26. A public holiday.

  • Junkanoo
  • Junkanoo, Tuesday, December 26. The Bahamas' Christmas celebration, with party-goers dressed in masquerade costumes parading in the streets in celebration of their West African and slave heritage.

Cruise Port Schedules


Monarch of the Seas
©2011 Chris Gent, under cc-by-sa 2.0 license

CocoCay is a very popular port for cruise ships making 3-, 4- and 7-day cruises to the Bahamas from Florida ports as well as from Charleston, Baltimore and New York.

Your ship will anchor offshore, and you will arrive on the island via a tender.

As a general rule, ships arrive at the island's tender anchorage at 8:00 am, and depart at 5:00 pm. In 2017, visitors will spend an average of 8½ hours on the island.

In 2017, CocoCay is slated to host 707,000 passengers sailing on 260 ships. For further information, see our CocoCay Cruise Ship Schedule - 2017.


Cruise Lines Making Port on CocoCay



The following cruise lines will make port in CocoCay in 2017:

Royal Caribbean icon Royal Caribbean Celebrity icon Celebrity Cruises
Azamara
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