Let us Cruise to the Bahamas…

Posted June 4th, 2009 by Deepa and filed in Travel
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Photos:  Bahamas Trip

Bahamas_139While I was transferring all my entries from my previous format into this new wordpress page, I realized that I had not written anything about our Christmas cruise to the Bahamas in 2008. Although this is delayed, I want to note down my impressions (or memories) of the cruise.  We went on a 4-day cruise on the Royal Caribbean ship called “Monarch of the Seas” to Nassau, Bahamas. This trip was planned as a “test–drive”. We wanted to see if we liked a cruise vacation before we went to Alaska next year.  And of course warm Bahamas sounded like a great place to visit in the winter.

I had no previous experiences of  how a cruise ship should be so I was pretty impressed with the humungous ship with its many lavishly decorated lounges. The food was delicious– there was both quantity and variety.  Almost all the dining rooms had free food— there was a few restaurants where we needed to pay but given the choice in the dining rooms and buffet area—we didn’t try any. Most of the ship’s employees were Indians: the guy who checked our tickets, some of the ship’s photographers, the dining room staff and a lot of the kitchen crew.  Three out of the four waiters at our table (bread waiter, head waiter, wine steward) were Indians. In fact our head waiter was from Bombay— Vile Parle to be precise. He was excited to know that we were from Bombay , and immediately said “Let me tell you my name, You will like it”.  His name was Anthony Gonsalves

Bahamas_226The ship was supposed to take us to a private island the next day. However the weather did not cooperate and we were taken directly to Nassau. To compensate, the ship organized a poolside barbecue. Most of the ship’s entertainment was eminently forgettable— to tell the truth, I have forgotten what it was all about. Since we got an extra half a day in Nassau, we decided to explore Nassau’s famous resort—The Atlantis .  This is a luxurious, even extravagant resort with several activities some of which are limited to guests staying at the hotel. We didn’t have the time for any of the dolphin adventures but we did some time walking around & taking a guided tour of the huge aquarium with huge manta rays – huge sting rays that are around 25 feet across.  They also had a lost city exhibit that I thought was rather tacky but the sealife exhibit (sharks, turtles, sting rays, colorful fishes)  truly made up for it. We lingered there till it sunset & then headed back to the ship for dinner.

The cruise generally offers many excursions at each port of call.  We decided to book ourselves for a snorkeling trip for the next morning. This was a bit of an adventure as both Seejo and I are not swimmers. I can manage a few strokes in a calm waters, Seejo can’t swim or float! The next day, the sea was rough, the water was around 40 feet deep and we jumped into the water clutching bright orange life vests. 79130005 (1) The very nice and helpful guide helped us get used to the water.  However the magic was when we put finally put our face in the water and we were transported into a completely different world of brightly colored tropical fishes. It was quite simply out of the world. However we were being thrown up and down by the rough waters, and I knew I would feel every muscle in by body the next day. After that adventure, we spent the rest of the day doing some local shopping near the harbor. There was a huge market set up by local shopkeepers selling their wares at wildly inflated prices. But like all good tourists we brought a few knick knacks & made our way back. We also tasted an incredibly tasty rum cake, sampled some local rum , brought some for ourselves at half the price it is sold in US.

That night was Christmas eve. Santa came visiting bringing gifts for the little kids. Everyone sang Christmas Carols — I remember that it was all a very warm and fuzzy feeling. To add to all that, there was a midnight feast on the upper deck.Bahamas_319

We were supposed to spend the whole of Christmas day cruising back to Orlando. It was a pleasant day—I spent most of it at the poolside deck with a drink in one hand and a book in the other.  All in all,  It was a great experience and a relaxed vacation.  I am not sure we would do this again, both of us prefer a little more active participation in our vacations but I am glad we went on a cruise at least once!

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