I was looking at short cruises within driving distance today and came across something unusual. It appears Carnival Fascination will be stopping at Coco Cay (Royal Caribbean's private island) starting mid-March and going forward for over a year on the 5-night cruises. They are using the official name "Little Stirrup Cay". I did some research and apparently this has to do with the Navy not wanting cruise ships using their Key West dock anymore, which would leave the docks near Mallory Square as the only available piers in Key West. The city and Navy could not reach agreement on using the Outer Mole pier (the Navy dock).
Obviously Carnival was in a bind looking for a port to use on these cruises. I'd love to know how much Royal is charging for these Thursday visits to Coco Cay.
I was looking at the August 19 cruise for the Fascination and there it was. I started digging and saw there were many other cruises stopping there, all of the Monday departures starting on March 11 and running until April of next year. Of course, that might change if Key West can strike a deal with the Navy.
This is some news. I thought Coco Cay was a totally neat little island...Yes, I can imagine the charge for the use of this private island....My one and only visit to Key West, I was not impressed with using the Navy dock. You then had to use a bus to get out of the area and get the bus back to the ship....
I also found it today - the new Carnival Fascination Bahamas itinerary to visit Nassau combined with CocoCay - strange, most strange, absolutely unusual!
these are my information sources on this one:
about the new 5-day Bahamas itinerary change and Carnival Funville Forum, and this is the new "CocoCay" Carnival Fascination Jacksonville Bahamas cruise schedule 2013-2014 sailing dates. The forum link also shows the "confirmation email" from Carnival. By the way - this new call port could be the first step towards the Carnival and Royal Caribbean companies merging into one, right? If they start sharing their properties - one thing leading to another, right? )))
It is indeed significant, given Carnival is easily Royal Caribbean's biggest competitor. I wonder what Royal got, other than money, in the deal? It has to be more than a 'hey, we are glad to help you out.'
What's more, since Coco Cay has permanent employees under contract to Royal Caribbean, that makes it even more curious, if not humorous.
flower, did you hear about the new Royal Caribbean tipping guidelines 2013 freshly fresh baked (effective March 1)? By the RCCL's new gratuities policy you'll have your prepaid tips with the "option" to reduce or even remove them completely if the onboard service in not that great as it supposed to be ) This is almost a copy of the Carnival's tipping guidelines but from what I read it's obviously not a nice thing to get back your tipping money - these are actually the staff's salaries, and most of the service staff on America lines ships is poorly poor - "sad but true", and definitely without the lyrics
I wonder if there is more to the story then just Royal wanting a tenant and Carnival wanting to add a private island for their cruisers.
Coco Cay is really nice though I still prefer Labadee over Coco Cay...more to do....
I believe the new tip system on RC is not prepaid in advance but they charge your seapass card each day while on the cruise...prepaid in advance still applies to My Time Dining.
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Last edited by thecruisequeen; February 23rd, 2013 at 07:56 AM.
Odd that they are not using Princess Cayes or Half Moon
Maybe those are all filled up.
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They are using Halfmoon Cay on the other 5-night cruises which leave on Saturdays. Only the Monday departures are using Coco Cay. It is a usage issue. Halfmoon has other ships there on Thursdays, but Coco doesn't.
Now here is another thing to consider - if Thursday was a routine 'off-day' at Coco Cay where the live-in crew could relax, or perhaps do maintenance and upkeep, when will that be done now?
Personally, Key West is not a great port stop unless the ship can stay into the night, and how often does that happen? Getting there at 7am and leaving at 2 or 3pm just doesn't get it.
Possible conversation at RCI Headquarters: "Mr. Goldstein, you'll never believe who just called to ask about sub-leasing Coco Cay..." Uproarious laughter ensues followed by "maybe we use Carnival's money and start stocking the escargot again, like we promised last fall".
I sure miss the Rhapsody of the Seas that used to stay until midnight in Key West.
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Dave, the only 2 places I found offering some information on Carnival itinerary changes (as to Key West being replaced as a call port by Coco (Little Stirrup) Cay - the Fascination and Ecstasy in particular) are the cruisemates place and on a site about some of the cruise lines itineraries http://www.cruiseshipitinerary.com/c...asy-itinerary/
about the Fascination itinerary changes there are some responses at Funville, but nothing about Ecstasy and definitely noting official from/at Carnival.com. Where did you get the information, and what about the sailing dates - all over the cruise sites the itinerary with Key West for both ships stays - as the only one. And also is the Key West being replaced on all sailings or only on selected?
Tanx in advance, Dave!
The Outer Mole pier, at which Carnival ships often dock when calling on Key West, is not within the Key West Harbor.
As such, it has not been shut down by the Navy and is open for cruise ship calls.
Past Cruises: Explorer of the Seas 2008 Explorer of the Seas 2007 Carnival Victory 2007 Explorer of the Seas 2006 Legend 2005 Miracle 2004 Disney Wonder 2004; Pride 2003 Legend 2002 Disney Wonder 2002 Destiny 2001 Victory 2000 Triumph 1999 Jubilee 1998 Imagination 1997 Imagination 1996 Fascination 1995 Ecstasy 1993 Fantasy 1990 Jubilee 1990 NCL Seaward 1989 Jubilee 1988
Last edited by MrPete; February 25th, 2013 at 05:30 PM.
I think there is confusion with the pier names. I know I am confused. The Outer Mole apparently isn't the pier at the Naval Station Annex but is the one north of it near the Westin Hotel, which the city of Key West is now saying was not closed. At least that is what I found doing a search. But this doesn't address the pier on the 'finger' outside of the inner harbor at the Naval Annex...the one where you have to use the Conch Train to come and go, with walking to town and back not allowed.