Coco Cay (Little Stirrup Cay), Bahamas History
Most of the Bahamian island cays are long and narrow due to the Caribbean currents and rock/reef structure that they are formed from. In 1985, Admiral Cruises originally purchased the lease to own and operate Little Stirrup Cay as an "Out-island" for its cruises after Norweigan Cruise Lines successfully purchased and operated the neighboring Great Stirrup Cay as the first private cruise destination in 1977. Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., which owns Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises and Azamara Cruises, assumed the lease of the island upon acquisition of Admiral Cruises in 1988 and renamed it Coco Cay. Admiral / RCL was one of the first cruise lines to lease islands for their exclusive use. Unlike some of the other Bahamian island that have much more exciting and colorful pasts, CocoCay is a relatively small island and has seen little use or excitement until purchased by Admiral Cruises.
In 2018-2019, Royal Caribbean International invested $250 million dollars to transform Coco Cay in “Perfect Day at Coco Cay”. This transformation included adding a cruise ship pier that allows multiple cruise ships to dock at the island without the need for tender boats. They also added a full water park (Thrill Waterpark) with multiple slides, a wave pool and an adventure pool with in-pool rock wall and ninja-warrior style challenge areas. They also added a large freshwater pool (the largest in the Caribbean) to the island dubbed the “Oasis Lagoon” with a swim-up bar and underwater music. The pool has a padded beach entry and is vinyl lined to be smooth and comfortable on your feet. They added a hot air ballon “Up, Up and Away” to provide rides for guests who want to get some altitude and check out the island from above and a 1300+ foot long Zip-line circuit that takes thrill seekers throughout the island. The food options including restaurants and bars have also been revamped on the island to accommodate the number of guests arriving from multiple ships in a single day (including the largest ships in Royal Caribbean’s Oasis class) that were previously unable to visit Coco Cay due to their size and inability to tender the number of passengers to the island. In late 2019, overwater cabanas will be added to the south side island for daily rental as well as providing a Tahitian resort style area “Coco Beach Club” which will be an extra charge to access.