Having an unforgettable family vacation comes down to finding just the right balance—just ask Cara Loren Van Brocklin, founder of the popular, self-titled lifestyle and fashion blog, Cara Loren. The beauty of cruising, even with two young boys and a baby, meant Cara and her husband didn’t have to worry about where to eat and when, finding things to do, or unpacking and re-packing as they traveled from one place to the next. Her main focus was to make sure she and her crew had the ideal combination of adventure and relaxation. Enter Perfect Day at CocoCay, Royal Caribbean’s reimagined private island in The Bahamas.
After a $250 million transformation of the destination exclusive to Royal Caribbean guests, Perfect Day now boasts an array of experiences that include North America’s tallest waterslide, panoramic views from up to 450 feet in the air on a helium balloon ride, Splashaway Bay (our beloved kids’ waterpark, on land for the very first time) and a beaches packed with thrilling activities. With so many ways to experience the island, Cara—who recently traveled to Perfect Day with her family, husband Brody, Hanes (7), Arrow (4) and Echo (6 months)—is sharing how to make the most of all there is to see and do in this Q&A.
Q: What were your initial thoughts when you first arrived at Perfect Day at CocoCay?
Cara: Oh my gosh, it sounds silly, but it was an “awe” moment! The kids saw it from the balcony of their rooms on the ship and couldn’t get out there fast enough.
Q: There’s so much to see and do—how did you decide what to tackle first?
Cara: As soon as our kids caught a glimpse of the waterslides—who could miss 13 waterslides?—their excitement went through the roof. It was absolutely infectious, so we just had to get to Thrill Waterpark immediately. We spent a lot of time there, and actually couldn’t tear the kids away from the obstacle course [at Adventure Pool]; it was the first thing they ran to. Eventually, we went to try out some of the other slides. My favorite by far was “The Slingshot” at Splash Summit, the one where we were all in a huge tube together! After that, we definitely wanted some down time. That’s what was so great about the island: You could have an action-packed morning followed by a relaxing afternoon all in one place.
Q: Was there a particular activity in Thrill Waterpark that your family loved most?
Cara: There are so many things to do, it’s tough to choose a favorite. My kids loved the Wave Pool and stayed in that forever, and they probably raced each other down Splash Speedway at least 12 times. My husband went down Daredevil’s Peak—the tallest waterslide in North America—and said that was definitely his favorite. As for me, I was excited for a little alone time on a lounger by the pool. It was nice because the entire island never felt crowded anywhere; we never had to wait to do something.
Q: What was one thing about Perfect Day that surprised you?
Cara: We hadn’t realized just how amazing the beach on Chill Island would be. I was in awe because it’s such a stunning slice of paradise and, again, it felt almost as if we had it all to ourselves. It made me smile to see the boys playing in the ocean, and the whole family had the best time: We built sandcastles and raced each other on the beach, and it was so helpful that there were a ton of umbrellas and loungers to sneak away to the shade after playing in the sun. We had so much fun.
Q: What are your essential items for traveling with a family?
Cara: Sunscreen is obvious, but also a camera. You’ll want to document as much as you can. We were having so much fun together, I’m grateful we captured those memories. It’s also smart to pack a portable charger in your bag, in case you decide you’re having too much fun to head back to your room to give your devices some juice. I find that it helps you stay in the moment.
Q: It seemed like everybody found something they loved. Was there any experience you got to share as a family that was particularly special?
Cara: The Up, Up & Away helium balloon was so cool and special. Together, we got to see everything from high above—I thought the kids would’ve been nervous, but they weren’t at all. It was an incredible thrill, and we also felt really safe and relaxed the whole time. Up in the balloon, the kids were able to walk around, point out the different slides below and say, “Oh we rode down that one and that one!” Truly, they had the best seat in the house.
Oasis Lagoon was really nice, too, because we could bring Echo in. It’s rare to feel comfortable bringing your 6-month-old to a pool, but there were plenty of spots where I felt she was totally fine. She came into the water and was sitting and splashing, and just loving it. It was a great opportunity for us all to be together.
Ready for the ultimate family vacation in The Bahamas? Head here to discover all that awaits you at Perfect Day at CocoCay.
The Van Brocklin family sailed with Royal Caribbean as part of a paid partnership.