Friday, March 11, 2011


Trip Report

Monday, December 22, 2008 at 2:52pm
Last week, Anna and I sailed to three islands in the Bahamas, as well as a stop at Port Canaveral before returning to Charleston, SC. We selected this cruise because the price was a heckuva bargain. NCL has already sold this ship (the oldest and smallest in their fleet), so between the economy and the fact that this ship is on the way out, they were making incredible deals. We had sailed on this ship in 2005 (missing the WVU victory over Georgia in the Sugar Bowl), but the itinerary had changed so we went for it.

The first stop was at the cruise line's private island. I got to play beach volleyball for awhile, and did OK for being the oldest on the court. Later, Anna and I took a long hike around the island perimeter. We especially enjoyed finding colorful fish captured in tidal pools. Picking and choosing the best path to take over the rocks was somewhat similar to hiking creeks in WV, despite the extreme difference in surroundings.

The second stop was at Nassau, where we had never been before. We had previously arranged for a tour through a government forest on Segways. These two-wheeled vehicles are incredible! I had previously ridden one at the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix in 2004, but Anna was a bit concerned as to how well she would take to these unique devices. She ended up doing fine, and we had a wonderful time whizzing through the "jungle" on these futuristic machines.

While at Nassau, we also ventured up to Fort Fincastle via the Queen's Staircase. It was built by Lord Dunmore, who (after serving as Virginia's colonial governor) landed a nice gig following the American Revolution as the governor of the Bahamas. We also toured a wonderful Pirate Museum (very well done) and the Bahamas Historical Society museum. We wandered around the commercial district, but neither of us are big on shopping.

We did not go to the Atlantis Resort (but got a good view from the fort), having decided to save it for a future visit. As we learned the next day on the news, if we had gone we might have been there for the shark which jumped onto the waterslide, and later died from the chlorinated water (

Next we returned to Freeport, a port we had visited on previous cruises. This time we booked an excursion to the Lucayan National Park, where we kayaked up a crystal clear creek, from its mouth at the beach (next to the lot where much of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies were filmed) upstream through a mangrove forest. There were several narrow sections not much wider than the kayak, so I was glad to have had some prior experiences with kayaks (albeit in West Virginia waters, not mangrove thickets).

After an hour and a half of kayaking, we hiked to a beautiful beach for lunch, before hiking again to see some of the sinkhole caves on the island. We were fortunate enough to have the man who made them famous, Ben Rose, as our guide. He became well-known for dive trips through the underwater cave system, and thus the best cave is called "Ben's Cave" in his honor.

Our last port of call was Port Canaveral. As a former NASA employee, touring NASA's Kennedy Space Center was a "must" during our first visit here a few years ago. Rather than duplicate that, we decided to just take the shuttle bus to Cocoa Beach for the day, including the famed Ron-Jon Surf Shop.

Needless to say, we also ate incredibly well on the ship. We even won the ship's trivia competition three out of five times! All in all, we had a wonderful trip.

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