Cruisin’: Where are the umbrellas?

Our cruise had all three port days in a row, so right after our Florida beach day we had our Coco Cay beach day. Since this is Royal Caribbean’s private island, excursion options were limited. We opted against any of the floating water park time or other activities and all decided to just spend the day on the beach. My daughters were particularly excited for the blue water they’d been dreaming about.

One of my mom’s friends is a frequent Royal Caribbean cruiser. She advised us to get on to Coco Cay early to ensure seats with umbrellas. That seemed simple enough! So, we had an early breakfast at Cafe Promenade. The cafe was pretty empty at 7:30, so we were able to eat, get ready and be on line by 8:50. Since Coco Cay doesn’t have an actual port, tenders took us from the ship to the island. We weren’t the first tender out, but I think we were the second or third.

Very few people were on the island, so we had our pick of seats. The only problem-no umbrellas! “Of course they don’t just PUT out umbrellas when they could charge us,” we thought. “We’ll just rent some.” But, no, there were in fact no umbrellas. I think the official word was that it was too windy. In any case, we tried our best to scope out shade under some palm trees. They were pretty tall, so the shade was sparse.

My husband and the girls decided they wanted to try snorkeling. I agreed to cough up the money to rent them, but we agreed to only rent two sets. This way my husband could better watch the daughter he was with. This was both girls’ first experience snorkeling. Although I’m not sure how good the conditions were, they had a lot of fun. They really liked the “shipwreck” and “plane wreck”. I put those in quotations because I think it’s suspicious that Royal Caribbean just happened to purchase an island less than 200 feet away from two wrecks. A lack of historical plaques or information lead me to believe they were planted in order to attract fish.

With the savings from the snorkel sets, my cynical self decided to rent a kayak with my brother. A half hour was $26. This seemed like more than enough time and money. We had fun, but it was very hard to paddle against the tide!

Since it was the cruise line’s island, they had a buffet lunch set up. I remember it being mostly barbecue-style food. It was fine, but there was no shade and tables were limited. After finding a table, you had to guard your food against very aggressive sea gulls. We ate as quickly as we could, then hit the water again. We also browsed the small shop village, but nothing caught our eye.

After a while, we saw people walking around with pineapples. This seemed appropriately tropical and we hailed ourselves a few drinks. There were both alcoholic and non, so everyone could partake.

I think we made our way back to the ship around 3 pm. We all felt like we’d had enough sun and needed some shade. We also wanted to take advantage of a less crowded ship. This really worked out in our favor. Getting to the island early and leaving early really allowed us to take advantage of many usually-crowded ship activities.

The Flowrider was not busy, so Sport was able to ride 3 times. My dad and I rode the two slides at the same time. The slide had a clear part, and this was over the water. I thought I’d be scared, but I went by so fast I didn’t really have time to think about it. We also had time to grab some of the self-serve ice cream, play mini-golf, and enjoy the hot tub.

After dinner at the Windjammer Cafe (Caribbean themed), my parents took the girls to see the ice show. My husband and I had a mini-date night. We enjoyed some wine and watched the sunset. According to everyone, the ice show was impressive. It’s a pretty small rink, so it must have been difficult for them to perform.

Even with the typical glitches, our day was a lot of fun.

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