I just got back from the Bahamas about 2 weeks ago and I miss it already! To be honest, I wasn’t as excited for this vacation as others that I have been on, but this vacation is one of the best vacations I have been on…and that’s saying something.
Its been over 5 years since I went on a cruise and we decided to see the Bahamas by cruise. To keep in the budget, we booked an inside cabin with a window through Costco.com’s travel because they gave some on board credit for drinks, gifts, etc. Another great reason to book through Costco came when I mentioned to my mom to casually call up and ask about upgrading from an inside room to a balcony room (I am spoiled, all 3 cruises I have been on have had a balcony). Lucky for us, they let us upgrade for FREE! Such a score. That made me ten times more excited to get on the boat. They also gave us an extra $35 on board credit so we had a total of $60 extra dollars. Normally, we book our excursions with travel groups associated with each port, not through the cruise ship, but this time we booked all three excursions through the cruise line.
If you have never been on a cruise before or are worried that it’s not that fun…you are WRONG! When you go on a cruise, it’s like you are constantly vacationing. You walk out of your stateroom and there is fun right outside your door. They have a constant list of things going on on the boat..did I mention you can eat any time you want?! Norwegian Cruise line is known for their freestyle cruising. That means you can eat any time you want and not be on any sort of schedule.
Anyway, the cruise was leaving out of Miami, but to save over $100 on the flight, we flew into Fort Lauderdale and took a shuttle (gomjstrans.com – Excellent shuttle service and friendly drivers who will also be your tour guide for the 25 minute ride to the port in Miami). When we got to the port, we had to go through an airport style security..only they were way more pushy and rushed us. The “priority boarding” we were initially told we got because we are a silver latitude guest…ended up being general check in with everyone else. I would say the whole check in/security was the most disappointing part of the trip. Our friends who had never traveled with NCL were not excited to cruise after that experience. They thought everyone on board would be just as rude. Oh, and BRING YOUR PASSPORT..
There is so much to talk about that goes on on the cruise ship. Almost anything you can think of, they have. My mom got a massage during one of the ports, they have several restaurants you can eat at that are included in your initial cost. They also have several restaurants you can pay a little more for. The first night we ended up going to see their introduction show while my boyfriend watched Monday night football. He was excited he could watch it on the ship and get free bar food as well.
Grand Stirrup Cay
This island is owned by Norwegian Cruise line, so the other cruise lines have their own private islands you may visit depending on your itinerary. We were informed that the previous two cruises were not able to visit this island because the water was too choppy to get the tenders over to the island. We had a paddle board excursion planned which I had never done before and was super excited about. We weren’t able to do it because the water was too rough so that was disappointing. The island made up for it though! The view is just like a postcard! We wandered further down the beach away from the crowd and discovered a lagoon that no one was swimming in yet. The cruise line also set up a BBQ on the beach with tons of food. They had a place you could buy drinks as well as beach volleyball. Other excursion options include: Wave runner, water slide, snorkel, and kayaking.
My boyfriend wanted to spend the whole day in Atlantis at the beach/water park. That type of excursion isn’t totally my thing but we booked it anyway. If you end up booking this tour through the cruise line, here is a tip: Get off the boat right at 9am and meet your tour guide. Get your Atlantis aqua adventure wrist band and instead of waiting for the whole group to get on the tour bus and leave, catch a taxi and get there 40 minutes before the crowds. We were able to take in the beauty of Atlantis with no crowd! We were told to visit “The Dig” first which is their aquarium. It took us a bit to walk there and find it, but it was amazing! It is decorated exactly as if you were at Atlantis underwater with all the sea life. It takes about 20 minutes to walk the whole thing! After that, we started enjoying the water park. We rented a small locker for $9 for the day and it held 5 people’s clothes/flip flops/cameras etc. Tip: Make sure you buy a good waterproof camera. We bought a Nikon something from Costco and LOVED it. We started off by going on the lazy river which is over a mile long! It takes about 30 minutes to get through the whole thing. It’s not too lazy though….there are huge waves, rapids and twists and turns. We went on this 2 times and it was a lot of fun!! There are several intense water slides that we let the boys go on and just snapped some pics. There were also a few other inner tube waterslides that we went on. One took you into a clear tube that went through a shark tank! After a few hours at the water park, we relaxed/napped at the beach and ate some lunch. The prices weren’t as bad as people made them out to be!
This was our last excursion and we decided to go on a snorkel adventure! One of our friends wasn’t feeling well so three of us headed out. They took us on a 15 min ride to the Lucaya Marketplace where we caught the boat. The water was a little choppy so I was nervous about getting in the water at first. I am glad I did. There was a ton to see and a bunch of colorful fish and coral. We used our underwater camera and took some great pictures. What I enjoyed about this excursion was that they let us shop around at the Lucaya Marketplace after the excursion and had shuttles coming to pick us up every 30 minutes.
Have you been to the Bahamas? What things did you do?