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Sirlancelot

2020 Brilliance: Cozumel port replaced by CocoCay and Nassau

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Just got a "here is " new ports email from Royal via my travel agent changing 3 days on the 5 day Brilliance out of tampa in Feb and Mar 2020 as follows:

WAS:

"7 pm Key West Departure, 1 sea day, Cozumel"

 

IS NOW:

"5 pm Key West departure, Nassau 11-10 then Cococay 7-5"

 

They only refund Cozumel shore excursions.  Here is the whole email received today June 24 2019

 

Dear Guest,

We have a few itinerary changes to share with you for our upcoming Brilliance of the Seas sailing.

Over the past few months, we’ve been hard at work transforming our private destination, CocoCay, into Perfect Day at CocoCay and we’re excited to share that you’ll now experience everything it has to offer. Instead of visiting Cozumel, Mexico, we’ve added Perfect Day at CocoCay and the beautiful port of Nassau, Bahamas to our itinerary! To accommodate all these exciting changes, we’ve adjusted our departure time in Key West, Florida. Below, please find our updated itinerary.

Mon Mar 2 Tampa, FL 4:00pm 
Tue Mar 3 Key West, FL 11:00am 5:00pm 
Wed Mar 4 Nassau, Bahamas 11:00am 10:00pm 
Thu Mar 5 CocoCay, Bahamas 7:00am 5:00pm 
Fri Mar 6 At Sea  
Sat Mar 7 Tampa, FL 7:00am 

Discover all that the Bahamas has to offer! While in Nassau, explore the streets and tunnels of the lost city of Atlantis! Whether you wander the city, swim with dolphins, or get a close glimpse of the 250-marine species in the underground aquarium, you won’t be disappointed.

Then, while in Perfect Day at CocoCay, you’ll see that this mighty island is packed with new thrills and even more ways to chill. With several new attractions added to our lineup, like Oasis Lagoon, Thrill Waterpark, Chill Island, plus much more, you’ll find yourself planning your next trip here in no time! 

Any pre-paid Royal Caribbean International shore excursions scheduled for Cozumel will be refunded to your original form of payment. Any affected Royal Caribbean International shore excursions booked for Key West, will be rescheduled for you by our Shore Excursions team. Within the next 3 business days, you’ll receive an email with your updated excursion details. Then, feel free to browse through our Cruise Planner for additional excursions that may interest you.

Thank you for understanding. We can’t wait to welcome you onboard your Royal Caribbean International vacation!

Sincerely,

Aurora Yera-Rodriguez
Director of Guest Service
Royal Caribbean International"

 

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That would be disappointing.  You signed up for a Caribbean cruise and won't even enter the Caribbean.

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Sounds like they want you to go to Coco Cay where they will be able to take more of your money instead of you spending it in Mexico.

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I would also be a bit frustrated by this, for two reasons - First, CocoCay doesn't appeal much to me as it is. I'm going in September, but its really more to cater to those in my travel party that were excited about it. Second, its a bummer that your time in Key West was shortened - that's one of my favorites! At least KW is still on the itinerary...

 

...One advantage to adding a port however is that your day that would previously have been a sea day will now be an opportunity to enjoy a fairly empty ship if you decide to remain onboard!

 

I'm sure you will still have a fantastic vacation, but I feel for ya on the changes!

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Yikes - that is terrible. I am in CocoCay next week on Harmony, but I'm frustrated at hearing about how you have to pay for almost everything there and the fact that other ships (Brilliance, Independence etc.) are being re-routed there instead of other destinations just seems like Royal trying to nickel and dime their guests. Disappointing.

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7 minutes ago, CruisingJoe09 said:

Yikes - that is terrible. I am in CocoCay next week on Harmony, but I'm frustrated at hearing about how you have to pay for almost everything there and the fact that other ships (Brilliance, Independence etc.) are being re-routed there instead of other destinations just seems like Royal trying to nickel and dime their guests. Disappointing.

The beach and food are still free. they have added a bunch of chairs and umbrellas (also free) and a large pool with a swim up bar which is free. If you wish to do an excursion there is will cost like any other port.

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I would also be disappointed in that change. Mariner/Navigator/Independence all stop at CoCo Cay every trip. How about one that doesn't? Plus you lose a sea day.

 

Pretty soon Royal will be like Disney. Every DCL Caribbean/Bahamas cruise stops at Castaway Cay -- every Royal Caribbean/Bahamas cruise stops at CoCo Cay.

 

mac_tlc

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34 minutes ago, mac_tlc said:

I would also be disappointed in that change. Mariner/Navigator/Independence all stop at CoCo Cay every trip. How about one that doesn't? Plus you lose a sea day.

 

Pretty soon Royal will be like Disney. Every DCL Caribbean/Bahamas cruise stops at Castaway Cay -- every Royal Caribbean/Bahamas cruise stops at CoCo Cay.

 

mac_tlc

That would not surprise me one bit

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41 minutes ago, mac_tlc said:

I would also be disappointed in that change. Mariner/Navigator/Independence all stop at CoCo Cay every trip. How about one that doesn't? Plus you lose a sea day.

 

Pretty soon Royal will be like Disney. Every DCL Caribbean/Bahamas cruise stops at Castaway Cay -- every Royal Caribbean/Bahamas cruise stops at CoCo Cay.

 

mac_tlc

Agreed.  Except Royal will first sell the cruise as going somewhere else.  At least Disney doesn't do that.

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3 hours ago, Sirlancelot said:

PS 

On Brilliance - I did a search on another non Royal website and it looks like just the 5 day "key west" Brilliances in the first 3 months of 2020 got the swap out. My Rhapsody sailings out of Tampa were not YET affected.

Unfortunately, I booked 2 of the affected ones! 

I read Independence was abruptly canceled for the UK Portsmouth  in 2020 so I feel I didn't got as bad a swap as some others. ( a separate thread under ROYAL CARIBBEAN on CC). 

 

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First time I have seen cruises departing from Tampa going to Nassau. Yuck! I would really be disappointed. 

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4 hours ago, CruisingJoe09 said:

Yikes - that is terrible. I am in CocoCay next week on Harmony, but I'm frustrated at hearing about how you have to pay for almost everything there and the fact that other ships (Brilliance, Independence etc.) are being re-routed there instead of other destinations just seems like Royal trying to nickel and dime their guests. Disappointing.

Keep seeing this in reviews/posts, folks saying that you have to pay for most of Coco Cay.  Not really true.  The beach is free.  The pool is free (and was really fun, including a great swim-up bar; if you have the drink package, the drinks are all included).  Nearly 100% of the food is free.  I think they did a great job with the island.

Edited by JCDCA

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I've sailed out of Tampa twice on a 4 day cruise, even though I live near Port Canaveral, so we could go to Cozumel instead of the Bahamas.  I would be bummed too, but that being said, I still love Cocoa Cay with all the new stuff. The Pool is awesome, food great & even more choices, and there's still the quiet side to just chill

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I really felt like we were being pushed to go onto CocoCay on our recent Mariner cruise. Cabin steward,  and bar staff all wanted to know if we were getting off. Lots of marketing in the compass as well as an additional paper and map. Nothing on the ship opened until 3pm either except the pool bar.

The shops weren't even ope which I thought they would be as it's their own island. We got off only because it was going to rain and my plan was to lay at the pool all day. We figured we would get off just to see what it looked like. It's a water park, not interested. And I don't like sand.

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I would be very unhappy with these changes due to the time of year.  I find the water in the Bahamas to be too cool in February and March, so I would not enjoy the beach on Coco Cay at that time of year.  You would have been fine in the warmer waters of Cozumel.

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I would be very annoyed since that was not what was booked. 

 

I will say, however, that I have been going to Cococay every year or so since 2000 and after seeing last week on Navigator, I was blown away. It is so much nicer and I would honestly like to go back every cruise (as long as you can still find a quiet place on the beach after plans are finished). I never cared for it before.

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Just checked our 5 day Brilliance out of Tampa in November 2020.  So far still going to Costa Maya and Cozumel. 

 

I could deal deal with the port changes, but if I wanted a Bahamas cruise, I’d be sailing Mariner out of Port Canaveral.  Much closer to home and easier drive for us. I’ll keep my eyes open for any possible changes.

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9 hours ago, mac_tlc said:

I would also be disappointed in that change. Mariner/Navigator/Independence all stop at CoCo Cay every trip. How about one that doesn't? Plus you lose a sea day.

 

Pretty soon Royal will be like Disney. Every DCL Caribbean/Bahamas cruise stops at Castaway Cay -- every Royal Caribbean/Bahamas cruise stops at CoCo Cay.

 

mac_tlc

 

 

Except that Castaway Cay is outstanding, so much so that Disney does overnights there and even double stops over two days, which are often completely sold out.  Yet I don't want to go to CoCo Kay, as the voyage I bought overnight-ed in Havana!!!!!!

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I'd much rather port at Coco Cay than Cozumel. Yes, there are some things that you will pay extra for, but in return you get beautiful sandy beaches without vendors trying to sell you their wares every two minutes.

 

And according to RCI... The Perfect Day at CocoCay will offer plenty of activities at no additional cost beyond the cruise fare, including a swimming lagoon, a water play area with slides, sports courts, groomed beaches and five complimentary restaurants.

 

The water park and zipline are just "excursions" you'd pay extra for if it wasn't an RCI port. 

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I can see changing because of weather or some other conflict, but if people select cruise base on itinerary you would expect to go there. They should not make change like this. If I want to go to Bahamamas/coca Cay I will choose too!!

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8 hours ago, gkbiiii said:

 

 

Except that Castaway Cay is outstanding, so much so that Disney does overnights there and even double stops over two days, which are often completely sold out.  Yet I don't want to go to CoCo Kay, as the voyage I bought overnight-ed in Havana!!!!!!

Having experienced Castaway Cay more than a dozen times, and the new Coco Cay three times since it opened, and a dozen or so times when it was a tender port, I'd take the new Coco Cay in a heartbeat over Disney's island. Also, AFAIK the only time Disney ever "overnighted" at Castaway Cay was when the seas were so rough that they couldn't leave the dock. When they "double dip" they also "double price". UGH

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It looks like the 5 day Brilliance sailings that go to Grand Cayman, still have Cozumel and two sea days, so if you want, you may be able to switch over to one of those sailings.

 

Also, one of the ways the cruise line benefits by doing this, is the savings in fuel cost by avoiding the long run from Key West to Cozumel and back vs Key West to Bahamas and back.  I don't know how to quantify this, but I'll bet its not immaterial to Royal Caribbean's bottom line for the voyage.  

 

Also, having just been to CocoCay last week, and having been to Cozumel several times (including KW/Cozumel on the Jewel out of Tampa in 2013), I would personally prefer CocoCay and it's not even close.  However, I think the loss of a sea day vs Nassau is unfavorable, in my opinion.  Wonder why they have added an extra port and taken away a sea day, if that would result in a net loss of onboard revenue opportunities to the cruise line based on the comments above.

 

 

 

 

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I would also be disappointed, never get tired of Cozumel even after about 20 visits.

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