February 25, 2019, 3:30 PM · As attendance and revenue grow across the theme park industry, other businesses are looking at what elements from theme park experiences they can adopt to increase the appeal of their destinations. The themed entertainment design business now serves everything from museums to casinos as the public looks for unique and engaging experiences when deciding where to spend their money and time.
Add Royal Caribbean Cruise Line to the mix of travel businesses stepping up their commitment to theme park-like entertainment. The Miami-based cruise line is finishing a major refurbishment of its private Caribbean island, CocoCay, adding a waterpark and other attractions for guests who are looking for a wider variety of leisure options on their vacations.
The main phase of the Perfect Day at CocoCay project opens in May, headlined by the Thrill Waterpark — designed by WhiteWater West, which has provided slides and water rides for parks around the world, from Yas Waterworld in Abu Dhabi to Carolina Harbor at Carowinds in the United States. With 13 slides across two towers, the park will have the most slides in the Caribbean and will feature North America’s tallest waterslide, the 135-foot Daredevil’s Peak.
If that’s not high up enough for you, CocoCay also will offer the Up, Up, and Away balloon ride, taking riders 450 feet above the island for what the cruise line is calling the highest vantage point in The Bahamas. That ride is coming from Aerophile, the French builder who has provided aerial attractions at Walt Disney World’s Disney Springs and the Disneyland Paris Resort.
Coming this fall, the cruise line will open the action sports-focused South Beach on the island, with glass-bottom kayaking and paddle boarding, plus volleyball, basketball, soccer… and an inflatable Zorb ball. Also opening later in the year will be an upcharge Coco Beach Club, which also will offer the first overwater cabanas in The Bahamas.
Other attractions on the island will include the Caribbean’s largest freshwater pool, Oasis Lagoon, with a kid-friendly beach area, a swim-up bar and three swim-up mini islands. Guests looking for a more active adventure could try the Caribbean’s largest wave pool for guaranteed surf… or, of course, there’s always the beach itself at Chill Island.
Complementary attractions on Perfect Day at CocoCay will include Oasis Lagoon, Chill Island, South Beach, and the Splashaway Bay kids’ sprayground. Prices for the Thrill Waterpark will range from $44-99 per person for the day, or $39-74 for afternoon-only admission. Up, Up, and Away pricing ranges from $24-99 per person, and there’s also a Zip Line ($79-139) available that can be packaged with the waterpark. Here’s the full FAQ and price list.
Onboard its ships, Royal Caribbean also offers themed entertainment fans a variety of Broadway-style shows — including Mamma Mia, Hairspray, and Grease — plus ice shows, an Aquatheater and now escape rooms on several of its ships. (There’s probably an easy-yet-inappropriate joke to be made about an escape room on a cruise ship, but that’s what the comments are for, right?)
Perfect Day at CocoCay will be available on three-to-eight-night cruises to The Bahamas, departing Miami, Port Canaveral, Baltimore, and Cape Liberty in New Jersey, with quoted prices starting at $339 per person, including taxes and fees.
Cruise fans, what’s your take on the intersection of cruises and themed entertainment? And for those of you who don’t take cruises, what would it take to get you on board?