Saturday, March 21, 2015

Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous- CoCo Cay

"To Have and To Hold”- CoCo Cay, Bahamas 
Wednesday, March 11, 2015 

Happy Anniversary honey! I love you more today than EVER!
I cannot wait to see what the rest of our lives hold! 

It was our 9 year wedding anniversary and we were headed to a private island to spend the day together. The ship docked at 8:00AM and our Jet Ski excursion began at 8:30AM and met at 7:45AM so we knew it was going to be an early one. We woke up at 6:15AM and ate breakfast in the Park Café. This was surprisingly good and left us feeling full as we entered our day.  We met in the Tropical Theater at 7:45AM, and waited 40 minutes for a tender boat to show up. The seas were exceptionally choppy and the wind was considerably noticeable yet we were still able to stop in CoCo Cay. This is a private island owned by Royal Caribbean International and due to the nature of the small island the ship was not able to dock at CoCo Cay but rather “drop anchor” about 3 miles away from the island and then use smaller boats to tender the guests to the island. This is a very common thing and in fact, on every cruise we have taken we have had to tender in to an island at least 1 time. If the wind ever comes from the north then the small tender boats can not make the 3 mile trek from the ship to the island so the cruise has to "skip" CoCo Cay.

CoCo Cay, Bahamas!

The cove that is un-passable for the tender boats if the wind is coming from the north.
It looked very peaceful the day we were there. 

Since the Serenade came back to New Orleans in October and began running this route they have been scheduled to go to CoCo Cay 6 times and this was only the 2nd time they were able to make the stop! We felt VERY lucky! Thank you Lord for allowing us to stop at this once in a lifetime type of place!

We had the excursion booked through the ship, which was the only option since the island was owned by Royal Caribbean, but because of this we were able to get the VERY FIRST tender boat to the island. Lots of people opted to not purchase an excursion but rather just go and relax on the island but this meant they had to wait until all the official excursions had been taken before they could tender. I HIGHLY recommend you getting an excursion with your ship when and if you ever have to tender to your port. The most popular ports for tendering in the Western Caribbean are Belize, Grand Cayman and any cruise line private islands.

We boarded the tender with just a few people aboard and set off for CoCo Cay.  The 5 minute tender ride was bumpy, to say the least, but we both thoroughly enjoyed it. The RCI Majesty of the Seas, a much smaller ship, was also in port at CoCo Cay that day as well as the Norwegian Breakaway, a MASSIVE brand-new ship, which was tendering to the Norwegian private island. We arrived at CoCo Cay and took a brief walk to the Jet Ski excursion following some guides that tendered over with us from the ship. Approximately 85% of the workers on CoCo Cay island are crew members from the coordinating ships. This was fascinating to us and appreciated their hard and consistent work.

Royal Caribbean's private island, CoCo Cay.

The Gigantic Norwegian Breakaway.

The Royal Caribbean Serenade and Majesty tendering to CoCo Cay. 

Our Jet Skis looking back on the island.

A view  of the island from our Jet Ski starting location.

We rented a locker and put on protective life vests and after a safety video we mounted up and set out on our awesome journey.  We ripped through the waves at speeds of over 40 miles per hour.  We skirted through the barrier islands and outer banks of CoCo Cay before getting into the Atlantic Ocean.   The sea was pretty choppy, which made for a very exciting and nerve-wracking experience.  Chris was the driver of our Jet Ski and I was a passenger. Because of the reflection of the sun on the waters and the strobe-light like effect it can cause I have been advised to not drive a Jet Ski. After many years of wanting to ride on one this allowed me to do so but now I know why I would never be able to drive. 

It was in fact our actual anniversary and as we ripped through the vast ocean at nearly 50 MPH and as I was holding on to the straps of Chris’s life vest in front of me all I could think about was “To Have and to Hold until death due you part”. There were times in this adventure that I thought we would for sure capsize and die. The rush and adrenaline that came from the ride were incredible but nerve wracking to say the least. We zoomed through the ocean with several stopping points and after the 1st stop I nearly said “Never again” but by the end of the tour I was really enjoying it! Of course, I was also humming the words to “Great is thy Faithfulness” to keep me calm as well… but hey, whatever works right?

One of the very few pictures I took because I was
HOLDING ON FOR DEAR LIFE the rest of the time!

A view of the island from our 1st stopping point just on the outskirts of the cay. 

A small lagoon we stopped at to "take a dip" in the MIDDLE of the ATLANTIC OCEAN!

The island in the background is he outer part of Castaway Cay, Norwegian's private island. 

After an hour we returned back to the shore and laid out on the beach for a little while.  While the temperature was 80* it was very windy with winds coming from the east at nearly 30 miles an hour so even when the sun was out it was pretty chilly.

Around 11:20AM we made our way to the center of the island where the food would be served. This too came from the ships and was set up like the Windjammer buffet. I had read on Cruise Critic that you should arrive early to this buffet as they usually have 2 ships in port and the food can go quickly. They served the food from 11:30AM to 1:30PM and we got in line around 11:25PM. At 11:30AM they cut the ropes to allow people to get to the buffet line and you would have thought that these people had not eaten in over 2 weeks. They literally attacked the plate and utensil stations and then pushed each other out of the way to get to the food. I was appalled and flabbergasted at the disgusting-ness of it all. It’s not like they didn't just stuff their face with over 3-4 plates of food on the ship 2 hours ago. It was as bad as a black Friday shopping sale! The food however, was GREAT and the burger was one of the best of the whole trip.

The picnic area for lunch!

More of the Food Area. 

Waiting to get in line for food... Or in other words, about to get attacked!

Chris wanted to explore the island so we walked around the shoreline for a while after lunch.  When we deemed we had traveled too far, we cut into the jungle and took the nature trail back to the beach. We swam in the ocean for a while and then laid out some more.

The water inflatables in the middle of the island!
I think Natalie would have LOVED these!

Getting ready to explore the island on our own.

At the very tip of the island about 1 mile past the crowded beach... Chris wanted to continue but we were in flip flops and didn't have any watches OR sunscreen so we pulled back! 

On our nature walk. 

We did the Nature Walk in reverse we ended at the entrance. 

Swimming in the Atlantic Ocean at CoCo Cay!

Happy 9th Anniversary Honey! I could not have had a better day! 

We made our way back to the tender boat station to catch a ride back to our traveling resort but this time the tender was full with over 200 people. Once we got back on the ship we made our way back to our stateroom where they had delivered champagne and chocolate covered strawberries to our stateroom in honor of our anniversary. It was a perfect and highly romantic way to celebrate 9 years of wedded bliss.

Despite being a small island, one could still get lost so the signs were helpful!

Time to get back to our HOME!

Surprise... Happy Anniversary!

After getting ready for the evening and sipping on Champagne and strawberries we made our way down to The Chef’s Table where we would celebrate our anniversary dinner. We would be dining with 3 other couples from our Cruise Critic group, one of which celebrated the EXACT same anniversary on March 11, 2006. The couple who resided in The Royal Suite, Bruce and CeCe, were also in attendance as well as a lovely couple from Houston and A&M fans, Jim and Cindy,  of whom we grew to really like and a 4th couple from Louisiana, Erich and Nancy, who were not part of our CC group. The dinner itself was marvelous and perfect in every way. It was a 5 course meal featuring rack of lamb as well as a wine pairing with each course. This was an additional cost from the cruise fare and because of that we thought we would never do it… “Who takes a cruise and then pays extra to eat” we thought! However, this was our anniversary and much like cruises of the past we went with the motto YOU ONLY LIVE ONCE! The Executive Chef also commemorated our anniversary by presenting us with a Chocolate Sensation Cake at the end of the meal. The complete details about this AMAZING evening are posted HERE

At the aft of the ship before our romantic Chef's Table dinner.

Executive Chef David from Wales beginning our Chef's Table experience!
A true once-in-a-lifetime experience. 

The first of 3 Anniversary songs and cakes! 

At the completion of our 3 hour Chef’s Table meal we stepped out into the Safari Club to play “The Quest”, an adult scavenger hunt. We had played this game before on our previous 2 cruises and knew the items they were looking for and decided we would loosen up a little and play along. By the end of the night we were having fun like kids again and it is something we each will never forget. By the time “The Quest” was over it was nearly midnight so we went back to the room to retire for the evening.

The day started with some exciting and thrilling adventures and ended with an amazing meal, celebratory dinner and camaraderie with new friends. Besides the actual wedding day it will be a day each of us will never forget. 

Thank you Chris Davis for 9 WONDERFUL years and for allowing ME to be Mrs. Davis! I am one lucky girl… I love you!

Next up… Day 6 and Sea Day #2!
God is good… ALL the time!

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