Thursday, June 16, 2011


We leave Freeport in the late afternoon and set sail for Nassau arriving the next morning. At dinner during our sail, we plan our activities for Nassau. The kids are going snorkeling off shore. John & Linda want to try the glass bottom boat excursion. After dinner we all get our tickets and  spend some time playing on the ship before getting ready for Nassau.

Next morning after capturing some fabulous sunrise photos and slipping in a quick breakfast, we all head for our excursion meeting places. It's a short walk to the boats and we're off. We motor past all the luxury homes on Paradise Island and get a good view of Atlantis from the water. I remember when Paradise Island was mostly deserted and you could only get there by private boat. I never went but several girls on our post college cruise did.

We get to see a pretty good variety of fish and wreckage on our little trip and coming back we round the bend by the Paradise Island lighthouse.

We have time before the kids are back. We wander through the straw market. It's crazy crowded. After that Donny & I head for Starbucks and John & Linda back to the ship. We experience a sudden downpour and duck into a conveniently located shop. It is one of the better ones. A shop with a bar at the rear. We'll tell the group about it. When we do meet later we learn that they discovered Sharkeez on their own and were impressed too. Typical tropical shower is over as fast as it started. Before we leave Sharkeez we buy a pirate theme golf ball for Colleen.

I am set to see some of Nassau. Fort Charlotte sounds interesting as does the Queen's Staircase. The staircase is close. The fort farther. An information guide tells us how to get to the fort by foot and a good place to eat near there. We start off. We walk and walk and walk. It's hot but there is some shade. Mostly the scenery is picturesque. We are walking along West Bay Street. It skirts the beach like so many in California where you can just walk right out onto the beach. The palms are beautiful, but the walk is seemingly endless. Finally we spot the shop complex where Twin Brothers is located and find it. Lunch at last. Conch fritters and burgers and just about anything else conch. Their daiquiris are world famous. I have strawberry. It is fun months later to see this tiny hole in the wall spot begin the Top Chef All Stars 2011 season finale, complete with a not planned grease fire.

We opt for a cab back to the ship. Time is short and we've walked the walk. We meet up with the group at the port authority shops and do some last minute shopping before boarding for our trip back to Charleston.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Freeport, Grand Bahamas

Daybreak sees us on the Sun Deck ready to capture the sunrise at sea. Lewis & Lauren are to meet us here but we get there first. They straggle up the steps a few minutes later. It's fairly quiet, the pool side just below us is completely empty. That will all change in just a few hours. Island music, free flowing drinks, smells of suntan oils and cooking foods all joined by a low hum of idle chatter and pool side splashing accompanied by hundreds of sun seekers will cover the decks and side lounges. But for now the ship is in its tranquil state.

We get some nice photos and Donny & I head for breakfast. Two professionally whipped and flipped omelets later, we are satiated and ready for a day in the Grand Bahamas.

The area where the ships dock is very industrialized and depressed looking beyond the gates of the harbour facility. You either get a cab or a specifically designated tour bus to take you to Freeport, one of the many beaches, or any other destination to your liking. We have decided to take the Garden of the Groves tour. The gardens are beautiful and there is plenty of shade. The labyrinth is very impressive. We try to walk it, but it's located in direct sunlight and so quit after a few rows. We get local beer from the snack bar after our tour is over. And Lewis tries to catch a baby duck but they're too quick for him.

We do some shopping in the gardens craft shops before it's time to board the bus for to our next stop, Port Lacaya Marketplace with its adjacent beach. Lewis, Lauren & I decide to take a dip in authentic Caribbean waters at last. The rest are going to shop at the many market stores leading to the beach. Donny & Linda elect to do neither. They are content to sit in the shade and watch sipping ice coffee. The water is warm and the fine sandy bottom is so nice. I just lazy swim and float around. L&L have their fins and masks and venture further out.

We have only a little time before we're due at the bus for our return. After the bus drops us off, we take turns taking group pictures in front of the welcome to Freeport sign. Then we shop a bit and finally board the ship and make plans to meet for dinner. I've lost track of the menus, but every meal is beyond amazing, our only problem being which selection to go with.