Thursday, March 30, 2017

Living the Dream- Freeport

Our First to the Worst
Wednesday, March 15, 2017
As we anxiously awaited arrival in Freeport, we quickly noticed this was not a port high on the Caribbean wish list of many cruisers. This port turned out to be much more industrious than we would have thought and the whole day was a big flop. We still made the best of it and had a good time for sure but I can now see why Freeport is often voted the "worst port in the Caribbean".

Morning
We woke up early on this day and decide to go out and enjoy a nice cool breeze before getting ready for our day in this new port. We grabbed our usual breakfast quickly so we could go to the Lanai and watch the approach into Freeport. It was very cold, windy and the temperature was about 60*. It was here that we realized that Freeport was not a "beach destination" at all but more of an industrial area. In fact, we were able to see the Grand Bahama Dock where most cruise ships go to have dry-dock work done. The Norwegian Jade was there getting refurbished and it was fascinating to see all of the cranes moving to get stuff on and off of her. The Grand Bahama Celebration cruise ship was also in port with us on this day. This was an old Carnival cruise ship that had been sold to a 3rd party and revamped into a 2-3 night ship. This is also the ship that is typically offered for the $199/ couple cruises offered on sites like Groupon.


Our 1st view of Freeport as we approached from the harbor. 


The Norwegian Jade in dry-dock. 


The entrance to the harbor... now THAT is gorgeous! 


The actual cruise ship terminal. 


The Grand Bahamas Celebration cruise ship out of Miami!

We heard the all clear announcement and made our way to the gangway to get off. This turned out to be the easiest we have ever gotten off a ship in all 10 cruises as we literally just walked right off (again, most cruises who have been here already know to just stay on the ship, that should have been our 1st clue).

We got off the ship and made our way to the end of the pier for our excursion: "All Inclusive Beach Getaway". TIP- This was an excursion offered through Carnival and provided us with transportation to Port Lucaya beach outside of Freeport, all you can drink sodas and cocktails, lunch buffet and use of facilities at the beach. It is priced at $79/ per person and is WAY over priced, see below!


Welcome to Freeport, Bahamas!

We were some of the last to load the bus to get to our beach and oddly enough we got prime seats at the top of the open air bus. As we were leaving the terminal area our bus driver hit a fellow Bahamian man with what turned out to be the side mirror on the bus. Chris and I could not see anything but we felt and heard a thud. That made for a pretty interesting and scary ride through the streets of Freeport for the next 30 minutes.


We're on the bus and ready to go!

As we got to the beach it was very organized as this was the beach that not only housed the "all inclusive" option but other excursions such as snorkeling, SCUBA and more. The hostess explained the facilities to us and how the "all inclusive" would work and within minutes we were situated with a gorgeous view of the Bahamian waters.

The view of the beach area from the bus! 


I've got my chair and it is time to soak up some... sun? Well, soak up the view at least! 


Let's get this party started... with KOOL-AID?!


The beach area and "clubhouse". 


More beach and lounge area. 


This beach did offer an obstacle course FREE of charge with entry.
Unfortuneatly, it was so cold we did not venture out there! 

The temperature was still hovering around 60* and the water was freezing cold so we opted to stay in our beach chairs, enjoy some drinks and soak up the view. The chairs were not "chaise loungers" which quickly became uncomfortable. Our waitress, Keisha, was exceptional and kept the drinks coming but unfortunately they tasted like kool-aid and were VERY watered down. These drinks left us feeling bloated and tired instead of happy and go-lucky. And at $79/ per person we should have walked away feeling like a million bucks! 

I eventually made it into the frigid waters but not for long as the sun was not out and it was just too cold. Looking back I wish I would have just taken the plunge and enjoyed the water but we did have a great time just relaxing and enjoying the view for a few hours.

Greetings from Port Lucaya Beach! 


The water was "refreshing" (COLD)! 


Beach selfie #1!


I love you Chris Davis! 


Happy Anniversary Chris! I love you! 

Afternoon 
The lunch buffet was the best part of this excursion and it was still just sub-par. TIP-It offered a very large variety of items including locally caught fried fish and conch fritters. They also offered salad, local side dishes like red beans and rice as well as cheese quesadillas for the kids. They opened this buffet around 11AM and oddly enough there was not a fight to get to it like we have seen in the past. For the most part these cruise ship passengers were very polite and civilized which made the whole experience better for everyone.

After many shore excursion meals in the Caribbean, this one was not "too" bad! 

We enjoyed our lunch and then laid out some more before getting ready to go back to the port. I made a pit stop at the "straw market" section of the Port Lucaya beach area and it was nice but very over-priced compared to the actual straw market in Nassau. TIP- Do not waste your money here... shop at the Straw Market in Nassau just outside of Senor Frogs.  Our bus ride back to the terminal was much less eventful but we did get to see some of the scenery of Freeport from the recent September 2016 Hurricane Matthew. There were parts of the island we passed that were still completely torn to shreds. Roofs and walls had not been replaced and the landscaping was just terrible. It was a great reminder of how good I have it and what a blessing it is to tour a place like this and not live in it. The entire cold and windy drive back to the pier I was saying prayers of Thanksgiving and mercy for these Bahamian community.

Even the beach area was still torn up and dismayed becasue of Hurricane Matthew.
In fact, it was closed for nearly 8 weeks during the aftermath. 




One of hundreds of "homes" we saw with roof and structural damage from the storm.
God have mercy on this community! 



The video is not the best but it gives you an idea.

TIP- The Freeport terminal and harbor itself is not very large or well kept but there are a few shops and the locals will try to push you to buy things, we just ignored them. We got back on the ship around 2:30PM and quickly went and dropped off our stuff before settling in at the Serenity Area in the only HOT hot tub on the ship. We met several other cruise passengers and oddly enough they were teachers and from Oklahoma so we had some great conversations to pass the time.


Freeport- Our first and THE worst! 


This pretty much sums up not just my "cruising life" but my life.
When I am on a ship, I truly feel AT HOME! 

We sat in the hot tubs for nearly 3 hours before getting out and going back to the room. We showered and once again sat down to review our plans for the evening and fell asleep to the sounds of the ocean. Our room steward, Arnold, woke us up by accidentally knocking on the door but I am glad he did as we were out cold and could have slept until the following morning. Tip- If you want an uninterrupted sleep or nap, be sure to put out your SNOOZING sign as to not be disturbed.

Evening
We recovered from our late afternoon nap and got ready for dinner. We made a pit stop out on the Lido deck to watch the sunset over the Caribbean. This was a cruise for the record books as far as sunsets go. Each and every one was beautiful and took our breath away.

Chris doing his "I'm ready" dance in his Caribbean attire!

Another GORGEOUS sunset over the ATLANTIC waters heading towards Nassau! 


Oddly enough, we had to travel north just to go south towards Nassau. 

Once again we ate in the Main Dining Room with our excellent server, Selvin. This particular menu is the one we wanted to miss but it didn't work out that way. However, we had a feast on the appetizers as they were the hit of the menu. In fact, Chris ended up eating 5 appetizers. That is one for the record books. TIP- Keep in mind that in the MDR you can order as many items as you would like. We often order multiple appetizers and even entrees sometimes. You are on vacation so the calories don't count, right? (Ha... as I sit here typing this post sipping on my protein shake trying to get rid of the 10 pounds I must have gained).

The rest of the evening was jam packed with great entertainment brought to us by our cruise director, The Flying Scotsman. We absolutely LOVED the Michael Jackson (MJ) showdown in the atrium with the cruise director. Then we went to the late show of "80's Pop Tribute" which was entertaining to say the least. I think we sang nearly every word. We were tired so called it a night early at 11:15PM.

Our GOLD pins from this Cruise! 


Trying to stay awake tonight after dinner! 


MJ Showdown was AWESOME! 


My favorite after dinner drink... A Kiss on the Lips! 

Despite the lack-luster port of Freeport and the disappointing over-priced shore excursion we still had a great time on this day. Our experience in Freeport may not have been optimal but our time on board was once again excellent.

Thanks for following along! Be sure to check back for tomorrow's post! 

2 comments:

  1. Loving your trip report. You are a very good writer. Great pictures,too. I love your cover photo of your family.

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    1. Thank you so much for your kind words. I think secretly I have always wanted to be a journalist! Thanks for following along!

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