Nassau is the most unique of the four Caribbean ports we visited. It is flat like Fort Lauderdale, being made of layers of limestone deposits with out the benefit of volcanoes and earthquakes. Kinda blah, but the Bahamans have made up for that by building beautiful resorts and private homes often using that limestone.
We bought a shore excursion for this port. It was listed as an easy walk and that fit our needs and those of another couple on crutches. That easy walk was a very looooong walk and the guide set off at a very fast clip. We were led through the Festival Place where a very clever vendor had tubs of iced bottled water for sale. Thinking we were boarding our excursion boat on the otherside of the building we paused to buy some. Water is precious and it was much cheaper here than on board the cruise ship. Bill was not able to keep pace and I walked keeping an eye on him and an eye on the group way ahead. He managed to get there just as we were finished boarding. The other couple turned back and got a refund. Advise: look that salesperson in the eye and ask if it is reallllly an easy walk before buying tickets.
The excursion was a glass bottom boat ride. The first part of the ride was between Nassau and Paradise Island. We saw fabulous private homes of such celebrities as Oprah Winfrey, Nicholas Cage, Michael Jordan and Meyer of Meyer's Rum fame. We also saw the huge pink Atlantis Resort and luxury condos and high-rises bordering it. On the other side of the ship where the typical marine areas, boatyards and mail ships.
Our glass bottom excursion boat was part of the Sunshine Cruise line. There was an inclosed viewing deck and an open air viewing deck for the trip out to "Fish City". This was our nickname for the part of the bay where we ended up. The crew invited everyone to go below deck and enjoy the view through the glass windows. There was a waist to chest high rail around the windows that provided stablitly and kept fingerprints off the windows. Here is my piece of advice about fish viewing from a glass bottom boat: When you see brochures or aquariums the fish are viewed from the side and you can marvel at the coloring and shape. In a glass bottom boat you are looking down at their spine. They are very narrow and at first I had trouble seeing them from the background of seaweed and antler coral. But once I caught on, it was fascinating to watch them move around. The colorful coral were the scene stealers. They had a wide range of shapes and colors from deep purple and orange to pastels.
When we returned to the dock, Bill opted to do a slow walk back to the cruise ship. I zipped around the shopping areas looking for something Caribbean. The StrawMarket is a huge building with many stalls. Each one a repitition of the one before it. The vendors were as agressive as the ones on Antigua. I moved on. The rest of the shops along Woodes Rodgers Walk were tacky. T-shirts with off-color suggestions, not even the coffee mugs (one of my favorite souvenirs) were tacky. I skipped Bay Street where the ship shopping lady told me all the good jewelry stores are.
On a side street I found the Tortuga Rum Shop. How could you miss it with that pirate standing out front? I bought a small bottle of rum and a six pack of flavored rum cakes (Key Lime, Banana, Pineapple, Coconut, Chocolate and Original). The sales clerk had been handing out samples and it was yummy. If I have a chance to buy more I will buy the original, it is outstanding.
My time was limited so I returned to Festival Place. It was crowded and lively with a band performing in the central area. I made two passes around the shops to make sure I didn't miss something good. Then I also returned to the ship.
There were three Carnival ships and one from another cruiseline docked today. I was very careful not to get on the wrong one. Always referr to your ship by its name (Freedom) as if you just go by the cruiseline name (Carnival) you could end up in the wrong place.
As we departed Nassau we had a lovely sight. There is a small lighthouse near the end of Paradise Island. The island seperates the aqua colored waters of ithe inlet from the ultra-marine colors and beyond the grey colors of the Atlantic Ocean. Very striking view to see the changes. Another point of interest is a breakwater made of cylindrical shaped pieces of concrete or limestone borings. From a distance it looks like a flotilla of wine corks.