Royal Caribbean's family-friendly private island is about to get more crowded with Gen Xers - 4 minutes read

On April 21, Gen X-beloved Celebrity Cruises will voyage to Royal Caribbean International's Perfect Day at CocoCay for the first time, marking the start of a Celebrity-CocoCay bonanza: The premium cruise line plans to visit the family-friendly getaway 47 more times before the end of the year.

According to Celebrity, these itineraries will both double its year-round Caribbean offerings and launch its first weekend cruises. And travelers are hyped: A handful of these sailings are halfway or close to selling out.

Fares start at about $277 per person for a three-day roundtrip cruise from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, in which the Caribbean island is the only destination on the itinerary.

Travelers familiar with Celebrity and CocoCay might be scratching their heads

Royal Caribbean has invested $350 million into Perfect Day at CocoCay.

Brittany Chang/Business Insider

Royal Caribbean and Celebrity share the same parent company, Royal Caribbean Group.

For the most part, that's where their similarities end.

Royal Caribbean's private island is a tropical dream for cruising families dotted with sprawling beaches, clubs, a zipline, and a waterpark. The private destination is colorful, loud, kid-friendly, and generally the antithesis of what travelers might find on Celebrity's ships.

The Celebrity Apex has upscale spaces like the Eden bar and restaurant.

Brittany Chang/Business Insider

Celebrity's stylish vessels do offer children and teen programming. But if you want the exciting water slides, fun rides, and rock climbing walls of the popular mass-market ships, you're better off looking elsewhere.

Compared to Royal Caribbean's ships, Celebrity is best if you want to be on a premium, trendy, and more subdued cruise.

If it's not obvious, the two brands are vying for different guests. Royal Caribbean goes after multi-generational families, while Celebrity's target demographic is Gen Xers, Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, the then-CEO of Celebrity Cruises, told Business Insider in 2021.

Celebrity sails to 300 ports on all seven continents — why this sudden push for the private Caribbean island?

The Celebrity Apex.

Brittany Chang/Business Insider

In short, cruisers love Celebrity's upcoming Caribbean destination.

Last year, Michael Bayley, president and CEO of Royal Caribbean International, told analysts that CocoCay had seen robust demand, including from repeat travelers.

About two-thirds of Royal Caribbean's Caribbean-bound guests will stop at CocoCay this year. And most of them aren't complaining: "The vast majority of people love the islands," Patrick Scholes, a lodging and leisure research analyst at Truist Securities, told Business Insider in March.

Celebrity's 2024 cruises to Perfectt Day at CocoCay range from three to seven-night​​s.

Brittany Chang/Business Insider

But for the two brands' parent company, there are more benefits to private island cruising besides guest satisfaction.

CocoCay is one night's sailing from Florida's major cruise ports, reducing the visiting ships' fuel consumption and costs.

More importantly, these private destinations keep more profits in-house.

Perfect Day at CocoCay's Thrill Waterpark has amenities like a wave pool and 14 waterslides.

Brittany Chang/Business Insider

A day pass to CocoCay's waterpark can exceed $100 per person. Entry to the recently opened Hideaway Beach costs up to $89 per person. Nearby, an afternoon at the more luxurious Coco Beach Club could be shy of triple that cost.

Even the complimentary parts of the island have splurge-enticing amenities like rentable cabanas and snorkeling gear. And because there's no need to rely on other excursion operators, Celebrity's parent company gets to pocket more profits.

Most of Celebrity's 2024 cruises to CocoCay will be on two of its largest ships: the 3,849-guest Celebrity Beyond and 3,480-guest Celebrity Reflection. That's plenty of guests ready to spend big on the popular private island.

But that doesn't mean Celebrity cruisers will be fighting kids for beach chairs

Adult-only Hideaway Beach has several bars, one swim-up.

Brittany Chang/Business Insider

It is possible to escape the hoards of families at Perfect Day at CocoCay. For example, the new Hideaway Beach is rowdy, boozy, and thankfully adult-only.

While not kid-free, on the other side of the island, the Oasis Lagoon pool has become the de facto hot spot for afternoon ragers "packed with intoxicated people having a really good time" on one end, and children on the other end, Bayley told reporters in late January.

If nothing else, at least there won't be any kids drinking at the island's more than 10 bars.

Source: Business Insider

Powered by