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Why this cruise line just opened a new $250 million private Caribbean island

Brian Sozzi
Editor-at-Large

Royal Caribbean Cruises (RCL) apparently isn’t just a pro at building massive new cruise ships... it’s also pretty adept at sprucing up gigantic private islands.

The cruise line operator is fresh off a weekend debut of its transformed new private island in the Bahamas. Dubbed CocoCay, Royal Caribbean spent $250 million to renovate the island (which it already owned for a while) into an insane oasis for its guests.

Some of the island’s amenities sound more like Six Flags Great Adventure than a stop for travelers on board a cruise. They include:

  • Waterpark with 13 slides. One of the slide’s peak, at 135 feet high, has landed it the title of being the tallest waterslide in North America.

  • A 1,600-foot zip line that crosses the island.

  • A helium balloon that gives passengers a look at the island, from 450 feet up in the air.

“We have converted the island from a laid back experience to something exciting,” Royal Caribbean Chairman and CEO Richard Fain told Yahoo Finance. “Demand [for the island experience] has been extraordinary.”

Royal Caribbean bets big on China

Besides welcoming guests to a swanky new private island, Fain’s other big bet right now is China.

“If the Chinese economy is slowing down, we aren’t seeing it in our bookings there,” Fain said.

Fain is putting his money where his mouth is following a year in which industry capacity in China declined sharply as companies pulled ships from the market due to the country’s economic growth slowdown. When Royal Caribbean’s all-new 168,000-ton Spectrum of the Seas hits the waters in two weeks, it will head directly to the China market, Fain said.

What U.S.-China trade war?

Brian Sozzi is an editor-at-large and co-host of ‘The First Trade’ at Yahoo Finance. Follow Brian Sozzi him on Twitter @BrianSozzi

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