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Dave Beers February 22nd, 2013 04:57 PM

Carnival To Use Royal Caribbean's Coco Cay
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.

Trip February 22nd, 2013 05:58 PM

STOP THE PRESSES!!! What a shocker.....They have to be paying through the nose, but I am shocked they are even doing this!!

Dave Beers February 22nd, 2013 06:51 PM

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.

Donna February 22nd, 2013 07:12 PM

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....

Stivorino February 22nd, 2013 07:16 PM

oopsie daisy

Stivorino February 22nd, 2013 07:24 PM

Carnival Fascination itinerary change
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? :))))rofl

Dave Beers February 22nd, 2013 08:01 PM

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.

flowers February 22nd, 2013 09:00 PM

As a RCL cruiser, I actually preferred Labadee to Coco Cay, been to both multiple times. Ladadee you can hike paths and its a bigger area.

But I would not say no to going to Coco Cay. Probably will be a popular itinerary.

I dont see there is a chance that the two largest cruiselines would ever be allowed to merge. It would be stopped because of the lack of competition. (imo)

Stivorino February 23rd, 2013 04:16 AM

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

thecruisequeen February 23rd, 2013 07:50 AM

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.

MTL February 23rd, 2013 09:19 AM


We've been to Little Stirrup Cay a few years back with Norwegian Cruise.
This place is near Coco Cay.
Nice weekend.


green_rd February 23rd, 2013 09:40 AM

Odd that they are not using Princess Cayes or Half Moon

Manuel February 23rd, 2013 10:16 AM


Originally Posted by green_rd (Post 1465429)
Odd that they are not using Princess Cayes or Half Moon

Maybe those are all filled up.


Dave Beers February 23rd, 2013 10:57 AM


Originally Posted by MTL (Post 1465428)

We've been to Little Stirrup Cay a few years back with Norwegian Cruise.
This place is near Coco Cay.
Nice weekend.


I think you mean Great Stirrup Cay if on NCL. It is a few hundred yards from Little Stirrup Cay (Coco Cay). Norwegian is doing major upgrades to Great Stirrup Cay, by the way.

Dave Beers February 23rd, 2013 11:02 AM

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?

Dave Beers February 23rd, 2013 12:00 PM

Carnival Ecstasy will also be using Coco Cay.

Dave Beers February 23rd, 2013 01:17 PM

More to the story, with this article about the Navy base commander's decision.

BernieG February 23rd, 2013 02:54 PM

Oceania uses Princess Cays on some itineraries too. Would be interesting to see what they charge

Donna February 23rd, 2013 04:00 PM

Thanks DAve,
That does explain some things.....Big loss for Key west and cruiseships....

Dave Beers February 23rd, 2013 04:55 PM

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".

Snoozeman February 24th, 2013 01:24 AM

I do wonder how those negotiations came about.

I sure miss the Rhapsody of the Seas that used to stay until midnight in Key West.

Stivorino February 24th, 2013 09:43 AM

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

about the Fascination itinerary changes there are some responses at Funville, but nothing about Ecstasy and definitely noting official from/at 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!

Dave Beers February 24th, 2013 10:31 AM

Look here at the Cruise Radio site.

JoeMo February 24th, 2013 12:17 PM

Carnival owns or controls lots of piers, maybe a mutual trade made in cruise heaven ??

MrPete February 25th, 2013 05:20 PM

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.

Aerogirl February 25th, 2013 05:32 PM


Originally Posted by Dave Beers (Post 1465495)
Look here at the Cruise Radio site.

Good site!

Dave Beers February 25th, 2013 06:33 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.

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