Cruisin' to the Bahamas

Nassau Travel Blog

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My cruise

This was my first cruise ever. Originally, the plan was to go on this trip with my girlfriend for spring break. Unfortunately, the trip was booked well in advance and on impulse. I regret not thinking it through more because as the weeks went by after booking, I realized more and more that my girlfriend of 6 months was not going to be in my future. So I decided to do the honest thing and tell her how I felt. That we did not have a future together. She freaked out and pulled out of the cruise trip (understandably). So now the plan changed into going on my first cruise alone after unsuccessfully trying to find someone to buy the extra ticket at a huge discount. No such takers on such short notice. So cruising alone it is. Not a singles cruise either, mind you; a Carnival cruise.

Embarkation. Departing JAXPORT for the Bahamas!


So I went into this trip excited to go to the Bahamas (one of my dream destinations) but with reservations about going on a boat alone in a crowd. First off, I live in Savannah, GA. The cruise departs out of Jacksonville, FL. Score one for the trip. The drive was short and enjoyable. It seemed to go by quickly and I enjoyed singing my favorite songs really loud the whole way. Arrive at the Jacksonville Cruise Terminal at the Port of Jacksonville (JAXPORT). The Carnival Fascination was the ship I would embark on. It was centered around a Hollywood theme. Check in and ticketing went well. It probably also helped that I arrived very early. I had the hopes of having enough time to park my car, get a taxi, and take the Busch Brewery Tour with beer samples.
But there was not enough time to do this as departure time and last manifest call were far apart. So I just decided to get on board. Upon entering the cruise initially, I think all of us guests were confused as to where to go and what to do. The Staterooms were not ready for entry until much later. So many of us wandered confused. We were directed by the friendly staff to head to the top deck for lunch and drinks. Well, I ate. I drank. I waited. And waited. Finally, I made it to my stateroom! No luggage, though. I was told that my luggage could arrive at my stateroom as late as 6pm. It was 1:30pm. I was just ready to take a shower and change into some shorts.

The first night was spent getting lost on the cruise, drinking, making new friends, and exploring the amenities of the cruise (getting lost).
A Queen Victoria monument.
The next day was a "fun day at sea". Breakfast was a buffet of Army food. I should know, I am in the Army. The eggs will make you defecate the baseball cap off your head. The uninspiring food was the biggest complaint I had with the cruise. What can you expect when you have to feed so many, though? The rest of day was spent doing many activities - watching shows, gambling, hitting up the bars and clubs, karaoke, smoking cigars, playing games, sunbathing etc.

The next morning was supposed to be our arrival at Half Moon Cay, Bahamas. A small private island owned by Carnival for their guests. Being such a small island, there is no port to dock, so the ship would have to drop anchor off it's coast and use small boats to transport the guests to and from the island shore.
Arriving at port of Nassau
This being the case, adverse weather could prevent this type of stop. And it did. I was woken up at 8am that morning by the announcement that the winds and current were too strong to be using the small boats get to Half Moon Cay. So we were back tracking to Nassau and would arrive there that night around 6pm. Another day at sea... At this point I have seen all there is to see on the cruise, and I was just ready to be on a tropical paradise island. (Who wouldn't?) Also, I missed out on pre-booked shore excursions of snorkeling and kayaking! (I was refunded and credited $20...wow) The rest of that day was spent doing the same things. Although I did kill it in karaoke with "Flake" by Jack Johnson.
Practicing breathing through the regulator


We arrived in Nassau that night and I ventured out on the humid Monday night to see that pretty much everything was closed and unfriendly looking. That is what I was greeted with upon walking out of the Nassau cruise terminal/visitor center. The area was Woodes Rodgers Walk and Bay Street. The only things open were a few night clubs. Senor Frogs was not exactly a stand up joint either. So I headed back for a try the next day. The sun was shining, the sky was blue and so was the water! I linked up with my scuba diving liaison outside the ship and we headed to the pier to get on the boat! We went from the pier off of Woodes Rodgers Walk along the channel to a shallow area in the bay with a nice little coral reef. This scuba excursion was called "Discover Scuba" for beginners.
Getting the hang of it!
So naturally, you don't want to bring the newbies to a deep, huge reef to explore.

On the way to the reef, one of the crew gave us all a class on introduction to scuba diving. As we dropped anchor, we donned wetsuits and equipment. After being checked, the instructor would then have you plunge into the water and practice breathing through the regulator at full buoyancy for a while. After you displayed that you were comfortable, he would then take you individually and go through the routine and emergency techniques taught during the class. After that, a group of 3 or 4 would go and swim around the cove with one of the instructors. It was amazing. I only wish that it would have lasted longer. The swimming around portion may have only been about 20-30 minutes.
Delicious conch fritters, sauce, and Kalik beer.
I am now very interested in this hobby and would love to get certified!

After returning from scuba I ventured out to a much more alive and friendly downtown Nassau. I ate at "The Conch Fritter", which was recommended by a police officer by the name of Inspector Johnson. A very nice fellow who said that was a good place to get some untouristy Bahamian food. I of course tried the conch fritters. The sauce that came with them was extremely tasty. I also had a Kalik beer. A brew from the Bahamas. It was crisp and refreshing. My dinner was Bahamian fried chicken, it was much like Church's Chicken. With it I had a Kalik Gold, a stronger version of Kalik. Not as tasty. I then went to the 5 star Graycliff Resort and Cigar Company. I purchased 2 cigars for about $20 a stick from the gift shop.
The Graycliff Resort and Cigar Company.
The cigars are made right there in the Bahamas! I walked to a public beach and hung out until sunset. By that time, I had to get back to the cruise to set sail again back to the US.

The next day was the same as the rest at sea. Fun, games, drinking, shows, gambling, meeting people, and eating the buffets. Woohoo. Arrive back at Jacksonville. The debarkation process went relatively smoothly. But there was a lot of human traffic going very slow, getting backed up, and bottle necking at choke points and such. All in all, I did enjoy my time on the cruise, but I would definetely not go alone again unless it was specifically a singles cruise. Also, I would go on a cruise just to go on a cruise next time...not as a means to get to a destination I'm looking forward to visiting, as the time at port seemed so short and restricted by time.

world-traveller123 says:
hi just reading this U i am on a cruise ship at moment with Norwegian, good read about Bahamas, i suggest u this
no need tobook a single cruise.
do a cruise with Norwegian ,very very solo cruise friendly and they offer meet and greet gatherings on board, check it tou
Posted on: Nov 06, 2014
babyaly1 says:
Enjoyed reading this as I am heading off on my first cruise and it is to the bahamas too ! however could you elaborate on what this means ??? The eggs will make you defecate the baseball cap off your head.

LOL
Posted on: May 27, 2012
maestorm says:
thanks so much for sharing! Can't wait to head out on the cruise... I hope we have good weather when we head to Half Moon Cay... that sucked you had to miss out...

I'm going to check out that "Discover Scuba" you mentioned. I'm certified but my friend isn't and that bummed me out,,, but now I'm delight to find out that we can go! Did you book on carnival cruise or go through a different site?

Happy travels!! TC
Posted on: Oct 12, 2010
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My cruise
My cruise
Embarkation.  Departing JAXPORT fo…
Embarkation. Departing JAXPORT f…
A Queen Victoria monument.
A Queen Victoria monument.
Arriving at port of Nassau
Arriving at port of Nassau
Practicing breathing through the r…
Practicing breathing through the …
Getting the hang of it!
Getting the hang of it!
Delicious conch fritters, sauce, a…
Delicious conch fritters, sauce, …
The Graycliff Resort and Cigar Com…
The Graycliff Resort and Cigar Co…
Nassau public beach.
Nassau public beach.
After doing scuba.
After doing scuba.
Plunge into the water, breath norm…
Plunge into the water, breath nor…
Conch shells
Conch shells
More conch shells and a catamaran
More conch shells and a catamaran
Along Wooodes Rodgers Walk
Along Wooodes Rodgers Walk
Life savers...
Life savers...
The extravagant Atlantis Resort
The extravagant Atlantis Resort
The Nassau Cruise Terminal
The Nassau Cruise Terminal
Bahamian fried chicken and Kalik G…
Bahamian fried chicken and Kalik …
Out on the open sea.  This is the …
Out on the open sea. This is the…
Sunset on the aft deck.
Sunset on the aft deck.
Woodes Rodgers Walk as seen from t…
Woodes Rodgers Walk as seen from …
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photo by: jhenthorne