The perfect day
Perfect – a word that means complete and correct in every way – and if you’re bold enough to attach it to your name, then things better live up to it. When Royal Caribbean International (RCI) needed a name for their private island in The Bahamas, they knew the waterpark they would develop would be perfect, so they simply named it just that – Perfect Day at CocoCay, because, well, they were aiming for perfection.
CocoCay has since become RCI’s number one destination, across the 270 destinations the cruise line sails to, according to Michael Bayley, president and chief executive officer, at the official opening of the perfect day destination recently.
I happened to be a part of the delegation that flew into the island to view the destination that is said would take adventure to a whole new level with one-of-a-kind thrills and chills – and I was excited for the experience. We flew into the Berry Islands and were ferried over to CocoCay. (Note well, this isn’t how it’s done – to experience the Perfect Day at CocoCay you have to take a Royal Caribbean cruise to the island).
The private island was visually stunning. And I immediately set about cataloguing the experiences I wanted to have once all the official goings on were out of the way. If I did nothing else, I was going to hop into the helium-filled balloon to scratch that off my bucket list. The Zip Line Takeoff (another experience I wanted to have, but didn’t on the day), involves testing your adrenaline threshold as you soar over the island and splash through the fountain on a wild ride. And I had to think long and hard about whether I had the nerve to build up the gumption to face the Daredevil Tower.
The helium-filled balloon experience takes up to 30 guests up to 450 feet into the sky for 10 minutes. While the ride up is gentle, you still feel the thrill as you ascend high above the island where the view is spectacular with panoramic views above crystal blue seas and sandy shores. (To my disappointment, on the day of my visit, the balloon was grounded due to high winds, so that bucket list must-do did not get scratched off). But those riders that do get to experience Up, Up and Away get to experience the highest vantage point in The Bahamas. Prior to RCI’s helium balloon experience, the highest point in The Bahamas was Mount Alvernia (also known as Como Hill) in Cat Island. It rises 206 feet and is topped by a monastery called The Hermitage.
As for that Daredevil’s Peak, the tower that soars 135 feet into the air is currently the tallest waterslide in North America. (Gulp!) According to the Coco Cay thrill meter, this isn’t for the faint of heart with a max thrill threshold. (My heart is a little faint!)
Alas, I did not get not get to experience any of them. The balloon was grounded due to high winds on the day (safety first), and as it turned out, I didn’t have time to hit the 1,600-square-foot zipline across the harbor as time ran out and I had to catch the plane back to New Providence, and “building up the nerves” to traverse the tower stairs to come down that tube on the tallest waterslide didn’t pan out either. (Which meant I didn’t chicken out in front of my colleagues).
CocoCay’s aquatic adventure park is a destination that takes adventure to a whole new level with one-of-a-kind thrills and chills. It features something for all experiences across Thrill Waterpark, Harbour Beach, Oasis Lagoon (the largest freshwater pool in the Caribbean) and Chill Island.
At Thrill Waterpark, it’s the place for adrenaline-seeking guests with giggle-worthy tides to shriek-inducing slides and lots to test your bravery. It’s where Daredevil’s Peak is located, along with the Dueling Demons which features two drop slides that launch riders 75 feet from a vertical position. And then there’s the Green Mamba, a 50-foot-tall slide with lots of twists and turns that the thrill meter has pegged as all-out adrenaline. The Screeching Serpent is a 50-foot-tall, fully vertical speed slide; again, this is another max thrill threshold experience. If I’d had the opportunity to test my mettle, the Manta Racers on which riders race down twin open flume slides with a thrill meter reading that suggests you up your game, would probably have been my first stop.
Thrill Waterpark also features Captain Jill’s Galleon, a splash-worthy ship loaded with slides, water cannons and more. Then there’s Splashaway Bay, an aqua park with five waterslides, fountain pools and two massive drench buckets for young adventurers.
At Splash Summit, the action centers around six awesome slides where the Sling Shot, Splash Speedway and Twister are the stars. On the Sling Shot, four riders soar on a raft into a zero-gravity moment before plummeting back down. On Splash Speedway, four riders race each other down individual 40-foot-tall mat racer slides. Both are up-your-game thrills on the meter which I would find perfect, but again, due to time constraints didn’t get to experience. And on Twister, two riders slide down a winding tube on a tandem raft that’s all about cool coasting, according to the thrill meter key.
Chill Island is just like what its name suggests – you chill at the beach with all your beach day favorites, and kick back to the sounds of the waterfall and fountain on a sandy beach surrounding Harbour Lagoon at Harbour Beach. And you can gear up for snorkeling.
Oasis Lagoon is the largest freshwater pool in the Caribbean. You can make your way through the different coves of Oasis Lagoon, each with a vibe all its own.
With larger-than-life thrills or unwinding at a peaceful waterfront chill spot, there’s adventure to be had at Perfect Day at CocoCay. You can bounce, climb and swing your way through the obstacles in Adventure Pool; get swept up by the biggest wave pool in the Caribbean; whatever your threshold, you’ll find firsts to test your bravery.
The jaw-dropping Perfect Day at CocoCay is officially open, but the only way to experience it is by hopping on a Royal Caribbean cruise. And it’s not complete yet. Coco Beach Club (a VIP area with overwater luxury cabanas) and South Beach (where you can stay active with kayaking or relaxing along the shore with beach beds and bungalows; with a sports court that will feature hard courts and sand courts for basketball, volleyball, bocce ball and more, including table tennis and tailgate games) are scheduled for a December opening.
Non-stop action and pulse-pounding excitement are Perfect Day at CocoCay. The experience is all about wild hairpin turns, bracing zero-gravity drops, big-time tide riding and more to satisfy every adrenaline threshold and something for every level of daredevil. And when you’ve had your fill of thrill – kick back and relax.
While I didn’t get the chance to find out whether I was brave enough to partake in any of the towering slides and rushing tides in this drench-a-minute thrill-athon for every adventurer, or scratch a balloon ride off my bucket list, it was still a perfect day just taking it all in, and living vicariously through the people I was able to watch partake in the activities.
Shavaughn was appointed as the Lifestyles Editor a few years later.