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Nothing screams “aspirational vacation” like an overwater villa. Despite the current political climate, the Maldives remains my go-to — the new St. Regis in particular — but this high-end trend recently made its Caribbean debut, and now an expansion of sorts is underway at Royal Caribbean’s private island known as CocoCay.

The cruise giant introduced its new Overwater Cabanas at an event at New York City’s South Street Seaport on Wednesday night.

Royal Caribbean’s first overwater cabanas will roll out at the new Coco Beach Club in the Bahamas by November 2019.

The highlight for me is the integrated hammock — it looks similar to those at the St. Regis Maldives’ overwater villas.

Unlike other overwater accommodations, these cabanas are designed for day use only — you’ll spend the night back on the ship — so lounging is limited to the sofa, chairs and hammock.

There’s also a slide — it looks arguably more impressive in the renderings than the mock-up on display at this week’s Seaport event.

Bottom Line

In addition to launching new ships, like the gargantuan Symphony of the Seas, Royal Caribbean is investing $900 million in its existing fleet, updating 10 ships over the next four years, including Oasis and Allure of the Seas. Improvements including new pools and waterpark features, refreshed restaurants and a virtual-reality trampoline experience called Sky Pad. Sounds fun!

As for the overwater cabanas themselves, Royal Caribbean hints at an expansion far beyond the Bahamas, with possible locations in Asia, Australia and more. I think pricing will significantly impact the program’s success, and it isn’t yet clear what kind of fee you’d be looking at to rent one of these. It certainly can’t be pricier than the thousands of dollars per night you’d need for comparable overnight retreats, though.

Looking for a high-end experience on the cheap? Check out 6 Ways to Use Points and Miles on a Cruise Vacation for redemption tips and more.

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