Sunday, November 29, 2015

Bahamas Cruise: Day 5

Nassau, Bahamas
November 11, 2015
Day 5 of our Bahamas Cruise

Day 5 was spent at Port. We were nearly docked when we awoke that morning, and simply needed to pull into port. After breakfast (another round of eggs and sausage I am sure) and Mark and I were ready to hit Nassau.
All I knew about Nassau Bahama's was I needed to get to the International Diamond store and score my free Tanzanite earrings. I had taken the on board shopping course offered earlier in the week and been informed about the MUSTs of shopping in the Bahama's. I waited in a long line for my free earrings VIP card and was set to hit the shops. I was not set to buy anything despite how much off my little VIP card would take. I was however as suggested ready at 8am to get my shopping game on. Okay so I was not told to go to the shops at 8am, but I was told to go early. Mark and I are notoriously EARLY for everything and as in the past...early has really paid off and it did this time too.
Pulling into port...can you see Atlantis?

It all looks so beautiful. Pretty soon the captain announced we were able to go on shore and off we went,
There was almost no one who at the gates when we left. Unlike when we entered into the tender the day before we simply walked up slid in our cabin key and checked off the boat. And Hooray we were in Nassau.

We were told that there were a few other cruise ships scheduled to dock on the same day as us. One such ship is the Escapes newer and larger brother (or sister) of the Breakaway, If this was any indication of what kinds of crowds we would be looking at for the day...we better get a move on.

Here is picture of our ship next to it's larger brother,.....
We walked along the pier and were able to catch a picture under the Bahamas sign, It was littered with stickers. I think I once would have thought that was pretty cool. Now I just thought that sucks you can barley read the words.

If you notice the area surrounding us in these photos. Take note it is like a ghost town, There is nearly no one around. (I wish I could have taken a picture of this same area later in the day...) when we returned later in the day it was difficult to walk as there were so many people.
We made it through customs with out any concerns. Soon we were bombarded with peddlers offering to take us on tours, get us items etc. As earlier mentioned I was interested in the shops. I was informed that the stores do not open for another 2 hours. Okay so what can we do instead? Lets go to Atlantis.

We found a nice driver, and we were almost taken away by at least three other drivers as our driver went to retrieve his van. Mark thought it was funny how these drivers would attempt to scam tourist away from already claimed cab drivers. They even broke out in full blown arguments. After a bit of confusion and some "larger" promise's from a few "certified" tour guides we stayed with our cabbie and headed off to Atlantis with two other couples.
Nassau is an interesting place and if my camera had not run out of batteries after our Atlantis visit I would have had more pictures (Still not used to this new camera...) to offer a better explanation.
Now for a little history about the Island,
When we first arrived and were easily scooped off in the cab we had been in the market area district. Shops line the streets, nice buildings budding with everything a tourist would want. The development is supportive of the tourist, as many hotels and casinos inhabit the areas in cable beach, Nassau was once called Charles Town, which had burned to the ground, re-developed in the 1600's and named Nassau, Culturally the area has been influenced by the British, Scotland, Ireland, Spanish and and later overtaken by Pirates. America made its claim during the revolutionary war where loyalists moved with their slaves to harvest many plantations. The international slave trade ended in 1807, and many freed African slaves relocated here as well.
Pink, and turquoise houses line the streets. Between nice upscale housing was poor areas of huts barely looking livable.
We made it to Atlantis within a few minutes paid our $8- and a tip transportation fee. (totally worth it), and entered into perhaps the most well known hotel/resort in the Bahama's.... ATLANTIS!!! BEAUTY is the only word to describe this AMAZING place.
Our arrival was so early in the day that most of the entertainment was not even open. We had not planned to pay for any of the adventures (The prices were insane) anyway, and had foregone the Cruise excursions, one which included a day at the waterparks at Atlantis and private beaches. (These prices were also insane.) We did however take advantage of the early hours and simply explore the resort. I'm not sure if this is the million dollar piece of work, (above) or if it was one of the many other glass sculptures but they were all incredible.
This was taken in the Casino.
Mark and I had to get a picture sitting in the Thrown. Kings and Queens would have been impressed with this place for sure.

Not an area was spared of the beauty, Art and design spread throughout this place, and it kept going and going.
Mark and I gingerly walked through the casino and into the Hotel lobby before we steppedd outside to the resort grounds. The scenes continued to impress.

We entered into a cave, which lead to a beautiful aquarium.

These guys were pretty creepy looking.

We exited back into the hotel and realized that we had just explored a paid adventure. Opps!!!! I guess that's what happens when you go in through the out door. Mark and I have a habit of wondering into locations that often cost money without realizing it. When we were in Nashville several years ago, we toured Rymen Theater (the original Grand Old Opry) independent of a tour guide and at zero dollars before we were "caught" or rather realized it was a paid admission and exited the building. We also saved ourselves a parking fee at Disney's Epcot when we entered to an open gate and no tellers several years ago. Is is my blonde hair or being sneaky???? I honestly must say we don't do these things on purpose. At any rate, we continued our exploration of the grounds oblivious to the fact that we were or should have been carded at the gates. (It was not like people didn't see us, we said hello often to people who clearly work there.)
We continued to stroll and saw some of this resorts beauty.

We eventually made it to the private beach, where had we known we could have easily taken a dip. (Free of charge....the actual cost was outrageous.) We continued on passing the water parks that we just beginning to show signs of life, walked to the towers (an additional hotel on the property), walked past the dolphin adventure and circled back towards the main resort. It was HUMID and the water was certainly alluring.

It was at this time I realized my camera battery was dead.....I wanted to cry. I missed so many more great photo opportunities. It was also about this time that we realized people were being carded as they entered into the areas we were now exiting. Okay....we really had been in areas we should have been paying for. OPPS!!!! No more pictures and it was getting HOT!!! We returned to the main resort and made our way back to the casino where we eventually did piss some money into the air! I guess they got our funds anyways. We began to see drowns of people entering into the building, some recognizable as people from our ship. The excursions were underway. I knew that those once serene private beaches and free flowing water slides would soon be swallowed up by the hundreds of people (who had paid). So grateful we had been able to view the grounds without the herds. The lines of people just kept coming too. (The vast number of people on the cruise was my only disappointment of the entire Cruise experience.)
We had noticed in our search for some refreshments that cigarettes cost a whopping $12 plus dollars a pack and our juice and snapple cost over $8-. The same bag I had been eyeing on the ship cost 3xs as much at this resort too. (Do NOT buy anything at Atlantis if you can avoid it.) Having had such a great adventure and our fill of this amazing place.(Loosing at the casino generally lets me know its time to go, and now the CROWDS...) we exited the front door in search of a cab back to the market district. To our surprise and thrill we were hailed a LIMO!!!!!(I was just able to get the last bit of battery juice from my camera after taking and re inserting my battery's to get this picture of Mark and me in the limo.)
We were returned to the market and spent the next few hours walking the streets and enjoying the stores. By now the area was flooded with people. Every store was jammed packed with tourists. We did eventually find the store with the FREE tansonnite (sp) earrings. (We got two pairs). We also found a few fun souvenirs. I enjoyed the "police" in their very formal uniforms and the street performers. (So wished I had a charged camera.). We tried rum buns and Mark purchased a Cuban cigar. I got myself an Anne and Alex Bahamas bracelet and a refrigerator magnet. We also entered into the street market and were attacked by sales people wanting us to "look" at their items. We couldn't get away from the peddling fast enough. The other tourists however were the worst part....some people can be so incredibly RUDE. I found myself biting my lip often.
Soon we had our fill. Mark and I are not much for shopping anyways, and we were strongly suggested to stay in the cruise provided map areas, which we had exhausted. Increased security alert. This was the same day that Paris was attacked. We had no idea at the time. Exiting the Island was much more traffic then we had seen earlier in the day. Getting from one place to the next was people dodging. I couldn't believe the NUMBERS. I had hoped to explore the area just outside the port authority before returning to the ship, but there were so many people it made it difficult to get from one booth to the next, so I gave up. We made it through the gates and were soon making our way back towards the port. The port itself was FULL of people. Recall the picture above of us under the Bahamas sign. Upon our return you couldn't even get close to it with all the people. We actually had to detour quite a distance around part of the pier just to get past the massive lines of people. SOOOO GLAD Mark and I were up early and done with what these people were just about to start. At last we made it back to the ship. We got back on fairly easily and headed to our now familiar home away from home. suit up and had some time to relax minus many of the crowds. I was surprised to see however several people still on the ship as I had plans to enjoy the pools. They were quite crowded as well. I did take a dip as Mark enjoyed the sunshine. It was incredibly refreshing. Sometime in between we had our late lunch, by passed the Port celebration that was happening on the pier...(Which was fine with us.) and before long it was evening.
We had dinner in one of the dining rooms (Again either Taste or Savor). As we ate we heard the not accounted for few names of people who we can only assume did not make it back to the ship over the speaker. Shortly after we set sail into the night. We were told later that four people had missed the ship. Apparently this is for REAL!!!! If you don't get back they do not wait for YOU!!!! One couple told us a story of this older couple who were trying their best to get to the ship they said they could actually see them walking on the port trying to catch it as it sailed off without them. I WOULD LOOSE MY MIND IF THIS HAPPENED TO ME!!!!
Dinner was good and desert was amazing too. I had chocolate crepes.
After dinner we entered the cigar bar where Mark had his Cuban cigar, We meet and enjoyed the company of a few others that had been in the bar. One gentleman discussed and cursed his decision to take the meal plan over the drink plan. He reported he had already spent $800- on drinks. and the meal plan was not worth the extra money. We kept our secret Casino special on the DO NOT TELL, didn't want to really make him mad.  $800- is more then what we spent for the entire Cruise.
We heard stories of the days adventures from others who had gone on excursions, went to the beaches or survived the market crowds. One women reported she had enjoyed the day snorkeling as an excursion and this seemed to go well. Her boss had paid for her trip on the cruise and the excursion, so she had no complaints, another couple had complained about being hassled at the beach by peddlers. I am thinking we had the most successful day however.
Later that evening we made our way to the front upper deck, The area called H2O Splice. (an area that I was not aware of and had I found this the first day there would have been many a repeat trip.) We went after an invitation to the 80's PARTY to be held that evening.  I LOVED this area and it has to be one of my two favorite locations on the ship.
The 80's party was super fun. We started the evening enjoying old videos in nice chairs before the dancing and we were visited by some 80's stars..

Out came Madonna

and KISS, we even had a visit from Tina Turner.

I have to say I just loved the 80s!!!!

After the 80s party we headed back to the main pool area for some alternative music.
I am not sure what they said or sung, it was all in either Russian or perhaps Norwegian.....
It had been a long day and we were ready for some down time so off to our little cabin for some much needed rest.