Family vacations can take a lot of planning — especially when you have small children. There are so many details to consider, from researching destinations to checking transportation. It’s no wonder more families are looking to cruises as the ideal way to spend their time off together. When it comes to kid-friendly activities and destinations, nobody does it like Royal Caribbean. And ever since the cruise line introduced its newly reimagined private island Perfect Day at CocoCay, a Royal Caribbean cruise is hands-down the best way to get away with kids.
One of the best things about cruising with Royal Caribbean is that everything is taken care of. Your cruise fare includes access to award-winning shows and entertainment on every ship, lots of kid-friendly onboard activities — like record-breaking slides and rides — and plenty of delicious dining options designed to please even the pickiest eaters. What’s more, you don’t even have to worry about shoring up vacation days or waiting until the kids are out of school. Royal Caribbean offers fun-filled three- and four-night sailings out of Miami, Fort Lauderdale and Orlando that each offer so much more than the average weekend staycation. The best part? Many of these shorter itineraries stop at the Royal Caribbean private island, Perfect Day at CocoCay, now open for adventure. Filled with brand new attractions and spaces for guests of all ages, it’s easily one of the best kid-friendly vacation destinations out there.
No matter where or when you choose to sail to Perfect Day at CocoCay, each ship that visits this
unforgettable destination has a Windjammer restaurant. One of the most kid-friendly dining options
onboard, it’s the best place to grab breakfast before exploring the island. Plus, its sweeping glass
windows offer a birds-eye view of Perfect Day at CocoCay when the ship is in port, so you can easily
get the lay of the land before venturing ashore.
Perfect Day at CocoCay typically opens at 8 a.m., and with all the incredible things to see and do onshore, you’ll want to get an early start. Once you’ve walked the pier and arrived at the entrance to the island, you’ll have the option to choose between three colored paths. The green path leads to the island’s more tranquil and secluded spaces, like Chill Island. The blue path leads to Thrill Waterpark, home of the tallest waterslide in North America, and the largest wave pool in the Caribbean. If you just want to take your time exploring the island first, take the orange path.
Most families traveling with small children will tell you that Captain Jill’s Galleon and Splashaway Bay are two of the top things to do with kids at Perfect Day at CocoCay — and they’re both complimentary. The galleon is an Instagrammable splash zone for little ones, complete with interactive water cannons, slides, a splash pad and more. And Splashaway Bay, the cruise line’s signature aqua park for kids, is brimming with fountains, sprinklers, geysers, five slides and two massive drench buckets. There’s plenty of seating around the perimeter too, perfect for parents who want to keep an eye on their little explorers while they splash around.
If your kids are thrill seekers, you’ll definitely want to hit Thrill Waterpark. You can purchase admission to the waterpark onboard before you arrive or at the park itself —once you do, you’ll get a wristband that grants access to all of the rides, slides and attractions in the park. The key thing to remember here is that there are two towers: Daredevil’s Tower and Splash Summit. Daredevil’s Tower has the fastest slides, including the 135-foot Daredevil’s Peak — the tallest waterslide in North America — the Dueling Demons twin drop slides, a fully vertical speed slide called the Screeching Serpent, and so much more. Splash Summit is more about riding with friends — all of its slides are built for two or more riders. The height requirement to ride most of the slides at Thrill Waterpark is 42-48 inches. If you’re visiting the waterpark with little ones who don’t quite make the height requirement, they can still have a great time at the largest wave pool in the Caribbean and the Adventure Pool obstacle course — both allow swimmers under 48 inches as long as they’re wearing one of the park’s complimentary swim vests.
Looking for somewhere you and your little ones can burn off some serious energy? South Beach is just the spot. Newly opened on the northeast side of the island, this wide sweep of golden-sand beach has all kinds of fun activities for explorers of all ages. There’s a beachside basketball court, a volleyball court, ping-pong, and great snorkeling. Parents will be happy to know the fan-favorite Floating Bar is located just offshore, so grabbing an ice-cold brew or tropical cocktail in between activities is super easy. South Beach also has day beds and cabanas available for rent, so you can reserve your own private slice of paradise without wandering too far from all the action.
No matter where you go on the island, your kids will find so much to get excited about. But if you want to infuse your family beach day with some major luxury, you should definitely check out the new Coco Beach Club, open to guests of all ages. When you purchase day passes for this one-of-a-kind beach experience, you and your family will enjoy access to exclusive areas, like a private beach and oceanfront infinity edge pool, a restaurant serving elevated fare like grilled Bahamian lobster and filet mignon, premium amenities and concierge service. And that’s not all — it’s also home to the first Floating Cabanas in The Bahamas. Each cabana has an overwater hammock that’s big enough for two, and a private slide that plunges right into the ocean. The vibe here is more tranquil than South Beach and Thrill Waterpark, but kids will still find plenty of opportunities here to have the best beach day ever.
At lunch time, you won’t be hard-pressed to find a wide range of options no matter where you are on the island. Skipper’s Grill is a definite fan-favorite. Located right next to Splashaway Bay, it serves complimentary BBQ, fresh salads and tacos with a side of harbor views. Home of the famous Shack Burger, the Snack Shack at Thrill Waterpark also offers plenty of kid-friendly grilled favorites, tasty finger foods and fresh vegetarian options, not to mention decadent desserts your kids will love, like homemade cookies and gooey brownies.
Once you’ve refueled and are ready to conquer more adventures, take your family adventure sky high with a helium balloon ride in Up, Up and Away. Located on the north end of the island next to Oasis Lagoon, this first-of-its-kind Royal Caribbean experience sends guests soaring up to 450 feet in the air, making it the highest vantage point in The Bahamas and yielding unbeatable views of the entire island and surrounding turquoise waters. But the aerial adventures don’t stop there — if your kids still haven’t quite gotten their adrenaline fix, you can treat them to the ride of their lives along 1,600 feet of zip line crisscrossing Perfect Day at CocoCay and zipping through the fountain.
No matter how old your kids are or how big your group is, a three- or four-night Royal Caribbean cruise to Perfect Day at CocoCay is without a doubt one of the best options for an unforgettable family vacation your kids will love. With so many different ways to play onshore, they’ll never want to go anywhere else. And since all the planning is taken care of by the cruise line, all you need to do is focus on making memories.