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I'm a first timer here on the NCL boards. I've been loyal to Royal for the past few years, but now have my first NCL cruise planned for November on the Pearl. I was just looking for some opinions from those that have been to both NCL and RCCL's private islands in the Bahamas.
Sovereign of the Seas 4/03 - Carnival Triumph 2/04 - Enchantment of the Seas 11/04 - Mariner of the Seas 8/05 - Explorer of the Seas 4/06 - Jewel of the Seas 11/06 - Mariner of the Seas 8/07 - Sovereign of the Seas 3/08 - Freedom of the Seas 11/08 - Navigator of the Seas 2/09 - Liberty of the Seas 2/10 - Freedom of the Seas 2/11 - Celebrity Millenium 2/12 - Celebrity Reflection 2/13 - Allure of the Seas
The one difference that stands out in my memory is the difference in the swimming area. NCL's swimming area has a nice depth to it and if I remember correctly you had to walk out quite a ways to get to some depth at Cococay. Everything else on Cocoay is nicer I feel. But I'll take either one right now.
Overall, I think Coco Cay has better facilities than Great Stirrup Cay but then again it's newer. I first went to GSC in 1982 and little had changed when I was last there 3 years ago.
The bigest problem with Great Stirrup Cay is that it was built by NCL when the Norway was their biggest ship. Unless you're going there on one of NCL's smaller ships, I suggest you try to get the first tender to the island escpeically if you want chairs under an umbrella. (Don't yell. I'm not a chair hog and will use my chair all day except when I'm in the water or having lunch.)
I do think the snorkeling is better on GSC. Once again you have to get to the island before he majority of the passengers. The more that are in the water, the fewer fish you're going to see.
But overall, they're both nice and are worth leaving the ship if you like the beach. Private islands are always one of my favorite stops no matter what the cruise line.
"Mother, Mother Ocean, I have heard your call.
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54 cruises since 1981
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I have been told that CoCo Cay has all sorts of water activities (slide, iceberg, trampolines, etc) for the kids to use. I don't believe that GSC has anything like that, but I am not positive!
You are correct about Coco Cay. There is a water slide on land and floating inflatable icebergs to climb in the water. They have a small track with little put-put cars for small kids to ride on and now they have some cabanas.
We haven't been to GSC so have no idea what to expect but based on the notices it gets here, we plan to get off early and grab one of the few shaded chairs.
__________________ Past Cruises: RCL (Allure, Oasis, Freedom, Liberty (x2), Adventure, Navigator, Mariner, Brilliance, Enchantment (x2), Majesty (x2), Sovereign), Celebrity (Constellation, Century, Solstice(x2), Eclipse), HAL (Westerdam), NCL (Sky, Star), Princess (Sapphire Princess, Ocean Princess), Carnival (Dream)
Upcoming: Celebrity Reflection - November 2013 * Quantum of the Seas - January 2015
We have been to both, I would give the lead to Coco Kay, I found GSC to be very crowded, guess thats because it's small. It looks like Coney island on a hot summer weekend. As a side note I found HAL's Half Moon Cay to be the best of all.
I found Coco Cay to be much nicer looking than Great Stirrup Cay just in the way it was built up with their colorful buildings and signage. Beachfront area was nicer there too.
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Coco Cay has been fully remodeled. Their facilities are very nice, we just came back from a short weekend cruise that stopped there. Plenty of Beach Chairs, hammocks, etc. Very colorful and cheery. Great Stirrup Cay is also nice, just a bit older.
Do they have an adult beach and a family beach? or is it all one beach.
I can understand that umbrellas get taken quickly but how about chairs? Is there enough chairs for everyone?
NCL Gem 2/2013
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RCCL Explorer of the Seas 8/2007
Costa Mediterranea 2/2006
Disney Magic 8/2004
Disney Magic 5/2002
Recent reviews have said the umbrellas are gone and there are few chairs in the shaded area. They suggest you head to the right when getting off the tender instead of to the left where all the action is. It's less crowded for beach sitting but farther from the BBQ and bathrooms, etc. They also suggested you take hook on umbrellas (that hook on your chair) or something similar if you think you will want shade. See the Private Islands section in Ports of Call for the actual reviews. I think we will be taking our own blow up rafts also, the ones in a flat package that all we have to do is blow up. (Dh's job) At $10 a pop - $40 we can get those blow ups for less than $10 for all 4 at wal-mart. Anybody know of good deals on the hook on umbrella's?
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