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Friday, September 10, 2021

[Day 2| Part 1] Freedom of the Seas - Thrill Water Park at Perfect Day CocoCay

Guest Post by Rachel Shingleton

Sing it with me!
Lovely day, lovely day, lovely day at CocoCay! Those who have visited Perfect Day CocoCay already have the song stuck in their head now. You’re welcome! For those who haven’t – Perfect Day CocoCay has its very own theme song to the tune of Lovely Day by Bill Withers. It is quite catchy, but am I the only one who wishes they would’ve use Perfect Day by Hoku instead? I mean after all, it’s not called Lovely Day CocoCay 😉

I woke up in time to see us pulling up to the pier at CocoCay, and I was surprised (okay, a bit annoyed) to see the Adventure of the Seas already docked. When I was trying to decide which day to purchase our Thrill Waterpark passes, I checked Cruise Mapper to see if we would be sharing CocoCay with any other ships. Cruise Mapper showed us being the only ship there on Tuesday, and we would be joined by the Mariner of the Seas on Thursday. I actually went back and double-checked to make sure I didn’t read it wrong – 


I know from reading other Cruise Critic trip reports that the Adventure of the Seas does back-to-back days at CocoCay. For whatever reason, Cruise Mapper only shows her there on the first of those two days. 

“What are they doing here?!” -Judy


I’ll go ahead and say it – sharing the island with the Adventure had no impact on our Perfect Day. The island still felt prettyyy empty! 

 Coco Cay Pier 

Based on my false information from Cruise Mapper, I opted to book our Thrill Waterpark passes for our first day at CocoCay to minimize crowds and lines for the slides. I also liked that this gave us the flexibility to reschedule to the second day should our first stop be affected by weather. I purchased our waterpark passes for $74.99 each, which seemed like a great deal, as I remembered that Victoria had purchased our passes for $99 each on Black Friday for our Harmony Cruise. The very next day the price dropped to $70.99 each, so I cancelled and repurchased. I know it’s only $8, but it’s the principle of it! I’d love to know more about how Royal Caribbean determines pricing for CocoCay excursions for each sailing, because based on my Cruise Critic reading, the lowest price that passengers on the Adventure of the Seas reported seeing for Thrill Waterpark was $88.99. On the other hand, I believe they were offered a much better price for Coco Beach Club. For us it never dropped below $150, which was much more than I was willing to pay! Maybe it’s a strategy to disperse crowds? Or perhaps it’s based on the age demographic of passengers? I’d love to hear your thoughts! 

On a pre-pandemic Perfect Day at CocoCay, I would’ve been rallying the Shinglebells bright and early and insisting we get off the ship right at 8am to beat the lines at Thrill Waterpark. Even with our surprise friend in port, we weren’t too concerned about lines, so we started our day with a lovely room service balcony breakfast. 

 Balcony Breakfast 

We then made our way up to deck 12 to get our first glimpse of Perfect Day CocoCay - 

Perfect Day CocoCay 

We received this “Tips to Know Before You Go” in our stateroom along with our Day 2 Cruise Compass and map of Perfect Day CocoCay. You’ll notice that it mentions that Thrill Waterpark is busiest at 10:00am. 

 CocoCay Know Before You Go

Blame it on blog research, or maybe just on that balcony breakfast, but we decided to test the theory by arriving at Thrill Waterpark at 10:15am. The pier was bustling with people as we made our way to the entrance. We were already nervous…should we have been here at 8am?! 

 Perfect Day CocoCay Entrance 

A very questionable decision to stop for photos. The lines are building by the second!!! What are you doing?! 

 Questionable Decision to Stop for Photos 

 We waited about 30 minutes in this line at the entrance - 

 Thrill Water Park 

 Okay, okay, enough of my sarcasm. As one would probably expect, and as I already spoiled at the start of today’s report, there were no lines. We might have even welcomed some lines as a little breather as we huffed and puffed our way up all of those stairs for the slides. But alas, we are completely spoiled by how empty it was that day. 


 We started off easy with a dip in the wave pool. Amateur blogger here – I totally forgot to take a picture of the wave pool, but both Judy and I really enjoyed it! I had fun bouncing around in the waves, and Judy liked staying in the shallow area and letting the waves crash on her feet. After getting acclimated to the waterpark mindset, we decided we were ready for some slides. 

There are two towers of slides – Splash Summit and Daredevil’s Tower. Splash Summit has 3 different styles of slides, all of which require a tube or mat. Daredevil’s Tower features 5 body slides. We decided to start off easy with Splash Summit. 

 Splash Summit and Daredevil's Tower 

There wasn’t a lot of direction about which tubes were needed for which slides, and there weren’t any people around for us to follow. We noticed that there was a conveyor system that lifted pink rafts up the slide tower, so we decided to just walk to the tower entrance and start with that slide. There was a lifeguard at the base of the tower who asked us what slide we wanted to ride, and we told him ever-so-educated-ly “the one with the pink raft”. He had us step onto a metal square that I assume was a scale that determined our combined weight, and then we embarked on what would be our first of many treks up the stairs. It turns out the slide with the pink rafts is called the Sling Shot, and it is not exactly an “easy start”. It was, however, mine and Judy’s favorite slide hands-down, and I would buy Thrill Waterpark tickets again solely for this slide! I won’t share any details because the element of surprise is part of what makes it so fun, but guys – you gotta do it! 

We did the Sling Shot several more times as well as the other slides at Splash Summit – Twister, which you can ride in a single or double tube, and Splash Speedway, a series of four racing-style slides that you ride on a mat. After several trips down each slide, we decided we were ready for some lunch. 

While I was researching for our cruise, I came across a vlogging couple called @ViewsandQueues who had recently shared their voyages on the Adventure and the Freedom. They are so fun and energetic and offer a great perspective on cruising – I highly recommend checking them out on YouTube if you’re looking to get pumped for an upcoming cruise vacation! Anyway, they raved about the Snack Shack Crispy Chicken Sandwich, and I knew from their videos that I could trust their food recs. I’d also heard great things about the Mozzarella Sticks from the Snack Shack. There’s a Snack Shack conveniently located inside Thrill Waterpark, so our lunch spot was a no-brainer. 

 Here’s the infamous Shack Crispy Chicken Sandwich. It fully lived up to the hype –

  Shack Crispy Chicken Sandwich 

But guys…these mozzarella sticks… 

 Mozzarella Sticks 

 What the heck are these?! 

 Mozzarella Sticks 

I am far from a foodie, which is why I can confidently tell you guys that these were not mozzarella sticks. It was actually kind of funny – right before I bit into one of these so-called mozzarella sticks, I said to Judy “I love when cruise lines do simple foods like mozzarella sticks. Everybody loves them, and it’s impossible to mess them up.” HAHAHA! I made Judy take a bite and she said “Oh I think they served these in the Diamond Lounge on the Harmony.” At this point, we thought Royal Caribbean didn’t know what mozzarella sticks were and they were trying to pass off these cheese croquettes as mozzarella sticks. Thanks to our second day at CocoCay, we were able to piece together that this was not the case. Stay tuned for Day 4 to find out how… 

 Cheese Detective 

After lunch we were ready to tackle Daredevil’s Tower. We started with the Manta Raycers. I don’t really know why they describe this as a “race down twin open flume slides,” because these slides were entirely different, and only one of them was an open-flume slide. The other was fully enclosed. I remember this because Judy is not a huge fan of dark enclosed spaces, so I took the enclosed slide while she took the open-flume slide. The enclosed slide was pretty short and not too claustrophobia-inducing, so I convinced Judy to switch with me for a second trip down the Manta Raycers. From there we moved on to the Screeching Serpent and the Green Mamba. These take off from the same loading platform, but again, are entirely different slides. We had the lifeguard explain them so we could figure out which one would be the best choice for Judy. He described the Green Mamba as “long, dark, and really hot.” Green Mamba for Rachel it is! I remember thinking how odd it was to describe a water slide as “hot.” Odd, and as it turned out, wildly accurate. This actually ended up being an issue for all of the enclosed tube slides in Thrill Waterpark, but Green Mamba was the worst offender. It was uncomfortably hot, and it was long enough that I started to panic a little bit – get me out of here!! It was also the first slide where I discovered another issue that plagued nearly all of the enclosed tube slides – low water pressure. There was so little water flowing through the slide that the skin on my calves and booty kept scraping against the dry interior of the slide. ICK! This seems like a really easy issue to fix, so I’m hoping this was just a one-off experience. Offending dry slides included Green Mamba, Dueling Demons, and Daredevil’s Peak. 

I knew without a doubt that Judy would not enjoy Green Mamba, so she took a break while I did the Screeching Serpent. This one was a thrill! We then both headed back up Daredevil’s Tower to tackle the Dueling Demons. These are the slides where the floor drops out from under you. Judy and I know and love these from the Norwegian Breakaway! We both found the Dueling Demons to be a bit rougher than the drop slides on Norwegian. The lifeguard told us to keep our heads back, which rule-follower Judy did. I’m a nose-plugger, so I always tuck my chin forward so I can hold my nose while keeping my arms in the proper crossed position. Because of this, I did not experience the intense head-banging that Judy described. But I did experience lots of hip and booty banging that left me with some lovely bruises. Maybe the slides were rough, or maybe we’re just getting old! My theory is that on the Norwegian slides, due to space limitations, the slide immediately shoots you up over a vertical hill to slow down your momentum from the initial drop. At Thrill Waterpark, space isn’t an issue, so the slide winds you down several large loops to slow you down. On that first loop, you’ve got a lot of momentum from your drop, so you kind of bounce around in the slide, resulting in that roughness we experienced. 

Mom had no interest in Daredevil’s Peak, so I made the long trek up the stairs by myself. The view from the top is totally worth it! The slide? Not so much. It was another long, hot, dry enclosed slide that I don’t need to do again. But despite the lack of water throughout the slide, the landing bay has no shortage of intense water pressure. Daredevil’s Peak? More like Daredevil’s Colonoscopy. 

After conquering Daredevil’s Tower, we made our way over to the Adventure Pool. 
Adventure Pool

Adventure Pool 

Adventure Pool 

This stuff is harder than it looks! We went for one more round of sliding at our favorite Splash Summit slides, and then decided to call it a day at Thrill Waterpark and go explore other areas of CocoCay! 

I have lots more pictures and stories to share, so I’m going to break up the Day 2 fun into two posts. Check back in soon to see how we rounded out our Perfect Day!

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