Saturday, April 1, 2017

Living the Dream- Nassau

A Cold Plunge
Thursday, March 16, 2017

This was an amazing day exploring Nassau from the land and sea. As the weather was nicer than the day before it was still COLD but that did not stop us from snorkeling in the gorgeous Bahamian waters off the coast of Paradise Island and then exploring downtown Nassau. The day ended with great entertainment on the ship.

We woke up incredibly early for a cruise at 6AM in order to get ready and eat breakfast before our 7:30AM shore excursion. We got dressed and ready and took our bags and stuff with us to breakfast thinking there would be a line to get food or to even get off the ship. We experienced no lines or rush at either and had a very laid back breakfast time. Blue Iguana was not open that early but the buffet was decent and got us on our way.

The Day 5 Towel Animal Parade on the Carnival Dream. 

Good Morning from Nassau. Bahamas

We were off the ship once again in record time and settled on the pier by 7:15AM. It was not even 60* at that time in the morning and we were waiting in a "wind tunnel" between 2 ships which made for a very frigid wait time. Around 7:20AM the Royal Caribbean Majesty of the Seas left Nassau which allowed the wind to not be as bad and by that time the sun had come out so we were beginning to warm up but it was not the "escape from the winter temperatures" type of day thus far.

Welcome to Nassau!

Majesty of the Seas departing Nassau around 7:30AM. 

We waited with a large group for our "Catamaran Sail and Snokel" shore excursion for nearly 30 minutes before we finally started making our way down the pier towards the catamaran at nearly 7:45AM, 15 minutes late. Then we waited longer in line as this shore excursion had well over 300 people participating.

Finally at 8AM we were on the catamaran and sailing to our snorkel site. This was a very nice catamaran which offered a "netting" area at the front and a lot of passengers opted to sit up there despite the cold. We stayed at the back on the benches and were still cold but not as cold. The workers passed out the snorkel gear and had us sign waivers while we waited.

We are on board and ready to snorkel! 

We enjoyed the commute to the site as it allowed us to see parts of Nassau we have never seen, including the remote Paradise Island which Atlantis is housed on. Some parts were so industrious and we saw people hard at work and then you would turn your head to look behind and would see 2-3 story MANSIONS. It was a very unique sail for sure.

A view of Atlantis from our catamaran. 

A view of the ships in port at 8AM (left to right)- Carnival Dream, NCL Breakaway, RC Anthem of the Seas.

We got to our site and the captain took several tries and minutes to get parked and anchored. Finally at 8:55AM the captain dropped the anchor and started to give us a brief meeting and overview of the snorkel site. We snorkeled at "Angel Fish Reef" on the SE corner of Paradise Island near Nassau. He explained the rules and then said your 45 minute snorkel time starts NOW. There were well over 150 people on the boat so it took at least 20 minutes just to get off.

 The water was crystal clear and for the most part it was smooth and not a lot of waves, however there were a total of 5 catamarans out there during our snorkel time so each time one would arrive the wake would make our snorkeling a little shaky. We saw all kinds of coral and fish of many kinds and colors. Our kids have not snorkeled before and I think they are still a little young but I think they would have really enjoyed it.

Chris was very anxious to get in the water but there was a pair of children who delayed him and in getting in by about 10 minutes. 

Our catamaran anchored at the snorkel site. 

Chris LOVES snorkeling and so do I. 

Snorkel selfie!

Snorkeling Video #1

One last picture before I have to go back to the boat! 

Snorkeling Video #2

Snorkeling Video #3

The captain kept giving us 5 minute warnings, each of which lasted about 1 minute before finally calling us all in around 9:30AM. I got back on the boat as one of the last from our vessel at 9:38AM which was barely 25 minutes. Many passengers were upset about the little amount of time in the water but it was too late at that point, the captain was already headed back to the cruise pier. We snorkeled for about 25 minutes when it was all said and done.

TIP- This excursion was called "Catamaran Sail and Snorkel" and was offered via Carnival. It was $69/ per person and included the round trip sail to the snorkel site, snorkel gear (which was nice and clean) as well as drinks on the return trip. While we enjoyed this excursion, it was VERY over-priced for the amount of time spent in the water. We also would have liked a less crowded venue as there were literally 5 catamarans (all carrying about 100 pax each) and it was not the peaceful snorkeling one would hope for. The drinks were excellent and not watered down at all, which was a surprise to us from the previous day but that was still not worth $69 a piece.

On our return trip we sailed closer to Paradise Island and got to see the mansions of many celebrities including Tom Cruise, Oprah Winfrey, Tiger Woods and Christian Aguilera. We also sailed to a different drop-off point on the other side of the cruise pier which allowed for us to see the other 3 ships in Nassau on that day: Royal Caribbean Anthem of the Seas, Norwegian Breakaway and the Carnival Pride. This would be our 3rd (or 4th) time to see the Anthem in port and it is now on the near top of our "bucket list" cruise ships. It truly is a Gaudy Monstrosity.

Tiger Woods Mansion... the captain said it now belongs to his ex-wife! 

Oprah Winfrey Mansion. 

Left- Christina Aguilera. 

Celebratory rum punch for the sail back to the ship.
This was a lot of fun and they did not water the drinks down. 

A sail by Paradise Island

Another view of Atlantis. 

Sialing back to the ship! 

The ships in port at 10AM (left to right) -Carnival Price and Carnival DreamNCL BreakawayRC Anthem of the Seas

A view of the front of the ships... I LOVE the NCL haul designs! 

The Anthem of the Seas... I WILL sail on her. Not sure when but I will!

Sailing by the Anthem of the Seas in Nassau.

A video view of the 4 ships in port on March 16, 2017! 

We got back to Nassau and got ready to get off the catamaran and luckily I asked where the underwater camera was becasue it was not in our bag. It had fallen down between the benches and if I would not have asked where it was we would have left it and never seen it again!

Peace Out Nassau... see you in a bit! 

We got off the ship and then walked back to the cruise pier to get back on the ship to clean up and eat lunch before venturing out back in Nassau for the afternoon. We dropped our bags and then enjoyed a nice cool breeze before picking up some lunch around the Lido deck. Unfortunately, our favorites, Guy's Burgers and Blue Iguanna, were not open for lunch on port days so we ate from the Pizzeria and Deli for lunch.

We got back off the ship around 1PM ship time and made our way through the streets of Nassau towards Senor Frogs and the Straw Market. TIP- The Straw Market in Nassau is one of the best souvenir places I have found in the Caribbean as the sellers will really go down on their prices. However, this also means they will barter and push you to buy but if you are patient, it works to your advantage. I walked away with several good bargains but the best was a $55 priced bag I paid $10 for. It was also a moment I was reminded that I have money and can afford to go on this cruise while these people work this market in and out everyday for every dollar they earn.

Welcome to the Bahamas (again)!

We (well I) really do LOVE Nassau! The waters are just GORGEOUS! 

We only spent an hour shopping before getting back on the ship as we knew all 4 remaining ships in port were leaving at 4PM. We got back on the ship around 2:30PM and there was still a crazy long line just to get through the gate. We got back on board and grabbed a light snack and then laid out until nearly 5PM.

After laying out for a few hours we felt as if we were getting burnt so we made our way back to our room to get ready for the evening. After getting ready for dinner we made our way back to the Lido deck to watch another incredible sunset. 

Dinner this evening would once again be in the Main Dining Room and we were looking forward to a good menu and food. The food and service were exceptional as usual but we did experience a first. One of the waitstaff dropped a tray of nearly 16-20 prepared food items in the revolving door and they all broke. Then the door kept trying to revolve for about 5 minutes. It was an awkward and eerie silence within the dining room and slowed down the service quite a bit. Both the waiter and the revolving door were just fine. 

After dinner we prepared for a full night's entertainment by starting with the gender showdown in the Encore Theater. We did not participate as we did not want to lose our seats but we did have fun. The evening's main entertainment was "The Flying Scotsman" 1 man show. He was performing only 1 show and all alone for the ship. It was an incredible show and just better proved how much of an entertainer this guy really is. I left speechless and in total awe (and also wanting to quit my job to become a Cruise Director... I think this EVERY cruise). TIP- If you are ever on a cruise with Chris Williams as you CD, you HAVE TO GO TO THIS SHOW!

Anytime a show starts with "Don't Stop Believing" it is a GREAT show! 

Audience Participation- he even ran to the balcony... TWICE! 

My all time favorite... Don't Stop Believing by Journey

Part 2 of his opener- AC/DC 

Another Journey classic... Faithfully! He did a great job! 

The Flying Scotsman/ Chris Williams... We LOVE YOU! 

We walked the Lanai talking about this show and how much we enjoyed him as our cruise director and then went back to the Theater for one of our favorite shows, the Love and Marriage show. We always try to get on this show but have not had any luck and this streak continued as we were not chosen. The show itself was funny but we have seen funnier.

The route we were taking to get from Nassau back to New Orleans... Seemed strange to us! 

It was past 11PM and we decided to close the night out in the room and complete our traditional 1 order of room service. TIPThe food was pretty good for Carnival room service and the service was the best we have ever had. From the time we called the order in to the time it arrived was less than 10 minutes, Usually with Carnival it takes nearly an hour.

Nothing like a BLT at midnight! And the chips weren't even stale! 

This was a day full of excitement, cold waters and excellent entertainment but we would not have it any other way. We took the cold plunge into the Nassau waters and loved every minute of it.

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

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