|Its all about ships
PHOTO TOUR AND
Coco Cay is a private island leased by Royal
Caribbean Cruises Ltd, which is a frequent port of call
on cruise to the Caribbean and/or the Bahamas by ships
of Royal Caribbean International and Celebrity Cruises.
One of the small islands and cays that make up the
Berry Islands, Coco Cay is located in the Bahamas and
is approximately 50 miles north of Nassau. The
neighboring island is Great Stirrup Cay, which is easily
visible from Coco Cay. Since that island houses
Norwegian Cruise Lines’ private resort, NCL ships and
tenders are often on the horizon. (See photo tour)
The island was known as Little Stirrup Cay when the
first cruise line to use the island Admiral Cruises
operated a private beach there. However, following
that line’s acquisition by Royal Caribbean, the island
was re-named Coco Cay. Royal has invested millions
of dollars upgrading the island.
Access to the island is via tenders, which take the
guests from the ships anchored a mile or so offshore to
a sheltered cove on the north side of the island. These
are generally not the ship’s lifeboats but rather boats
based on Coco Cay. The tenders deposit and retrieve
the guests from a pier that was built for this purpose.
The landing is in the more developed part of the
island. Directly ahead of the disembarking guests are
the shops. Nearby are the Adventure Ocean children’s
facility, the dining areas, and most of the bars, sports
facilities and popular beaches. These are interspersed
amongst tall palm trees, which shade the sand.
The water surrounding the island is remarkably clear
even in the more developed part. There is lots of thick
white sand. However, Royal Caribbean cautions that
guests should be mindful that there is rough coral
One can use the beaches, lie in the deck chairs and
enjoy a barbecue lunch for free. There are charges for
some of the equipment, activities and services on the
island. All such charges, with the exception of charges
for hair braiding (cash only – U.S. dollars), are
charged to the guest’s shipboard account.
Amongst the equipment that can be rented are Hobbie
Cats, Paddle Boats, wet suits, kayaks, snorkeling
equipment and floating beach mats. In addition, there
are various organized activities, such as parasailing,
scuba diving, and tours that are available through the
ship’s shore excursions offices. (See tours from one
RCI cruise; See tours from one Celebrity Cruises
The further one gets away from the tender landing, the
less developed the island becomes. Walking along the
south side of the island the beach gradually gives way
to a rocky shore. The vegetation shifts from tall palms
to a thick tropical covering about ten feet in height.
There is a nature trail that winds its way through the
otherwise undeveloped area out to the eastern tip of the
island. Alternatively, one can take a tractor train along
a service road to get to the same point.
Coco Cay is only about a mile long by 200 yards
wide. Still, the less developed end of the island can be
quite isolated. Apart from the Royal Caribbean
facilities, the island is uninhabited.
Coco Cay is not unidimensional but rather presents
guests with alternatives. One can be with the crowd or
be alone. One can have an active physical day using the
sporting equipment or lie in a hammock. One can drink
and party or one can study nature. Plenty of ways to
have a day in the sun.
The lighthouse is a landmark on Coco
Sandy beaches and tall palms are
hallmarks of the eastern end of the
Coco Cay has a Bahamian style market that
sells souvenirs and clothing.
The vegetation on the western part
of the island is lower and more
dense (above) and the shore
becomes more rocky (below)
The ships anchor offshore and tenders take
the guests to and from the island (right).
The water around Coco
Cay is very clear. For
the most part, the bottom
is sandy but there are
rocks, especially at the
far end of the island.
The administrative offices on the island, such as the Island
manager's office (left) blend in with the general atmosphere.
Similarly, facilities such as the showers (above) are done in
bright, tropical colors.
The tenders arrive at a pier in a sheltered bay
with ramps that extend out to the boats. The
landing is in the midst of Coco Cay's developed
Cruise ship port photo tour - - Coco Cay - - Royal Caribbean Celebrity Cruises - - page 1
Scattered around the island are umbrellas
and chairs where one can pause, relax
and enjoy the view.