Experiment-627: A Caribbean Double with a Wilderness Chaser

Discussion in 'Completed Trip Reports' started by GoofyIsAsGoofyDoes, Jul 17, 2011.

  1. Grooovertoo

    Grooovertoo DIS Dad #572

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    Good, so I won't have to go into the whole MCO Cruise check in process for you. Say 'Hi' to my new home. I miss the place already. I'll take the mini toilets and cramped quarters again anytime. FYI - WDW will not feel the same for you after the cruise...you've been warned. If you get to the port early, say 10:30...and Mickey is not out yet by the ship model, line up or check with the photo guy, he comes out about 10:45ish and the line gets long. Also, once you get everyone checked in, turn around and go get the kiddos checked in on the other side of the building for the Kids Clubs, they will get their wrist-bands then that can check them in and out of the Clubs. Once you get on the Ship...go get the free pasties on deck 4 at the Vista Cafe (they are free and delicious). Next, go over to the one flight up to deck 5 and they will be opening the kids clubs at about noon, this will give you and Bambi a chance to go in and play, um check everything out and get a chance to talk to some of the counselors and get a good feeling about the place. Once again, good luck!!! Have a GREAT TIME!!
     
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  3. Captain_Oblivious

    Captain_Oblivious DIS Dad #257

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    That sounds like a great week. I'll be interested to hear what you think of the cruise and Vero Beach resort as well.
     
  4. GoofyIsAsGoofyDoes

    GoofyIsAsGoofyDoes Dis Dad #469 . . . . "Nation Ford", SC

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    Bonus Feature 13:

    Nassau – Part 1





    It’s Bonus Feature time again, but… this is a “BF” with a purpose.


    What????


    [​IMG]


    A purpose? Really?


    Well… yes. What this means to you is that this time around (and possibly this time only) I’m not going to recommend that you save both your senses and your dignity by completely ignore the post. It might be that you ought to be ignoring the entire TR in the first place, but that’s a discussion that you really need to be having with your mental health specialist of choice.


    [​IMG]


    OK, first off, and as I said in the last section… Tamara and I have cruised to Nassau before and honestly, our experiences have not been all that amazing (but there are reasons for this). The first time (way back in 1991), we took a package excursion offered by the cruise line (RCCL to be specific) that took us to Fort Charlotte and then out to Ardastra Gardens. I learned a couple of things here. Namely that package tours move way too quickly and that you best have a good bit of cash on hand because the main point of a package tour is for the various guides to be able to ask you for tips along the way. Your enjoyment was completely secondary.

    The next time we came here was in 2007. The plan was to walk to a couple of venues, but… the ship arrived on what was actually the Bahamian Labor Day (who knew…) and a lot of things (and I mean a l-o-t of things) were closed. It was a nice enough walk though. And… we did see the Labor Day Parade. This could be best described as a glob of musicians and dancers (somewhere between 700 and 1000 people), randomly packed together in mass the width of Bay Street and maybe about fifty feet in length. The whole thing was bouncing and jumping and shaking and the music was ruckus and joyful. This human ameba moved… well… bounced slowly down the length of the main street. It may have been the shortest parade that I ever saw, but it was also the most intense. The walk back to the ship was via the Straw Market (which was open) and what we learned there is that if you want a badly made tee-shirt, or a “fake” designer hand bag, or a “real” Cuban cigar, then you were in luck. That’s because an average of 117 individuals per minute would do their best to get you to buy one of these three things.

    Given these experiences (and our general disinterest in the concept of casino gambling), it’s not surprising that we decided to stay aboard the Dream this time around. But that’s not quit fair to the City of Nassau and it doesn’t tell y’all much about what you can find here. Being the case, I decided to spend a bit of time researching the place to see what I might consider getting into on my own the next time I return. I’ll also talk about a couple of the major excursions as well. But (and you already know this about me) I like to start with a little bit of background (and here is where you “may” want to skip on down to the next section of this post). So here we go…


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    Nassau is the capital and hands down the largest city on New Providence Island and in the entire Commonwealth of the Bahamas. Seventy percent of the Bahamian population calls this burgh home. The original settlement was known as Charles Town, but this was attacked and razed to the ground by the Spanish in 1684. Once rebuilt in 1695, the new town was given a name that would honor of King William III (being as his lineage was through the Dutch House of Orange-Nassau). By 1713, the sparsely settled Bahamas had become a haven for rogue privateers who proclaimed it a pirate republic and established themselves as "governors".

    In 1718, the British sought to regain control of the islands and appointed Captain Woodes Rogers as Royal Governor. He successfully clamped down on the pirates, reformed the civil administration and restored commerce. Rogers cleaned up Nassau and rebuilt the forts, even going as far as using his own money to try to overcome problems.


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    Oh… did I tell you that this here Rogers bloke was actually a privateer himself… figures, don’t it? So the more correct version of that little story back there goes more like this: Wealthy businessmen back in England were very concerned about their Caribbean investments. They didn’t care about pirates attacking French or Spanish ships (that’s why they themselves sent the lot of them down there in the first place), but messing with English imports just wasn’t cricket. So… being as the wealthy made the laws and ran the government anyway (not much has changed now has it), they hired more pirates and order them to hunt down all the other pirates in Bahamian waters.


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    And once found these inconvenient soles were to be dispatch via the most efficient means available. “Do spare us the details… just make the problem go away…”


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    And away the problem did go. After the colonies had been “cleaned up” and squared away then the plantation trade really got going…


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    …and the cash once again started rolling back to Mother England (by the sack full). There were other attempt over time by various nations to take these islands from the British, but none were successful.

    Nassau's modern growth began just over 200 years ago with the influx of thousands of American Loyalists and enslaved Africans to the Bahamas following the American Revolutionary War. Many of them settled here and eventually came to outnumber the original inhabitants. When the British abolished the international slave Trade in 1807, thousands of liberated Africans freed from slave ships by the Royal Navy were settled on New Providence Island, with most settling in the "Over-the-Hill" suburbs of Grants Town and Bain Town to the south of the city.


    OK… that’s enough history for now
    (“and there was much rejoicing…”).

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    = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =


    Let’s talk about the city itself and some of the sites that cruisers can encounter within a reasonable walking distance. The ships dock at Prince George Wharf which is pretty much smack dab center of downtown Nassau. The first thing you’ll encounter is “Festival Place”

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    This is basically the tourist center of Nassau. Here you pass through security both entering and exiting the city. There are plenty of guide books and maps of the attractions of Nassau available and you can arrange an island tour, water taxi or boat excursion here. There are also a number of shops and stalls within festival place selling everything from local crafts to jewelry.

    Just outside the front door is “Woods Rodgers Walk” (remember that name?) which runs from Rawson Square just to the east, on down to the grand Colonial Hotel in the west.


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    Here you can hire one of the many surrey coaches or catch a Jitney bus if you’re planning to travel farther afield. The walk is packed with shops and Touristy venues Like Hard Rock Café, Starbuck’s and Senior Frog’s. If you go straight ahead and walk up one block farther you’ll encounter Bay Street which is the main drag east-west through town and home to most of the shopping destinations. Truth be told… this is about as far as a whole lot of folks will ever get from the ship.

    But there are other things to be seen and a good deal of it is within walking distance. Here is one possible walking tour that I’ll call the west loop. Actually this is the basic trip I attempted top make in 2007, but like I said… everything was closed that day. First… here’s a map of what I have in mind to help you get your bearings…


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    Well start off at Festival Place. If you turn right and head west down the Walk you get a wonderful view of the harbor (and some good photo-ops). There will be a number of shops and boutiques along the way (most with very familiar names). As you near the end of the walk you’ll encounter the Straw Market.


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    In the 1940's, Bahamian women started plaiting and decorating dried palm and sisal plant leaves to create such items as baskets, bags and dolls. Soon large numbers of women
    were making straw souvenirs that were sought after by visitors.


    [​IMG]


    You can still find such weaved goods here, but be cautious as a lot of them are now imported from China (the better the deal, the more likely it’s not what it seems). These days most of the market is made up of souvenir vendors and knock-off marketers. If a “Gucci” bag, an “affordable” Rolex or a Cuban cigar is what you’re looking for, you’ll certainly find it (and they expect you to bargain for it, so practice up on your dickering skills beforehand). Oh yah… one more thing… cash is king. They don’t take plastic.

    OK since you’re down this way, if you traverse the market up to and across Bay Street, then just to your left you’ll find George Street and a block or so up that thoroughfare is the Pirates of Nassau Museum


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    The Bahamas were a haven for pirates in the 17th-18th century. This little attraction is a fairly decent attempt at explaining the day to day life these folks lead.


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    There are guides, but you can also learn much form the dioramas, interpretive panels and signs along the way. This wont take more then an hour or so, but most visitors will tell you that it is worth the time.

    Admission: Adult: $12 US; Children 4 - 17: $6
    Museum Hours: Monday - Saturday 9 am - 6 pm
    Sunday - 9am - 12 noon



    After you’ve had your fill of Pirates culture, there is a little bit of a different kind of culture just across the street. At the corner Of George St. and King St is Christ Church Cathedral


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    The inside of this old and venerable structure is just as impressive as the façade and it’s certainly worth a few minutes just to look at the stained glass.

    Now if your in the mood for a bit more architecture and scenery just head a couple blocks farther down George St. until you get to Duke Street. Just across the road here is Government House

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    Well… actually the first thing you see is a small park in front of Government House with a staircase leading up the hill to a statue of Christopher Columbus…


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    …and then on up to Hill Street and the actual mansion (but it’s all worth at least a photograph. This has been the official residence of the governor-general of the Bahamas since 1801. This impressive pink-and-white building is an excellent example of the fusion of Bahamian-British and American Colonial architecture.

    Once you’ve gotten a few postcard shots of the governor’s little bungalow, you have many options. You could take the stairs up to Hill Street, turn right and head a couple of blocks over to the National Art Gallery of The Bahamas


    [​IMG]


    …and from there you could make the trip back toward the ship via Queen Street which passes by the US Embassy.

    Or… you could simply head back down the way you came on George St and right where it ends and just across Bay Street you’ll encounter this spot…


    [​IMG]


    Vendue House (and the Pompey Museum of Slavery & Emancipation)


    This small museum is named in honor of a slave who raised a revolt against the conditions on one of the larger plantations. The building was erected some time before 1769 and used as a marketplace for commodity trading which included slaves. Here you will find a small collection of photos, documents and artifacts retracing the times of slavery and emancipation in the Bahamas. Admission is only $1. Opening times are said to be Monday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

    After checking out the Vendue House, you might just as well walk on up Bay Street for a few blocks before turning back toward the wharf.


    [​IMG]


    This is the main retail section of town and the prime destination for the serious shoppers. You’ll find plenty of souvenir shops but even more jewelry stores. There are also cafés and various other shops along the way.



    Well folks that‘s a good start on my Nassau walking tour. Since I’m approaching the maximum number of images allowed in a single post, I think I’ll stop here and go ahead and get this chunk up to where y’all can actually read it. Then I’ll try to answer some of the backlog of comments from my last post and hopefully start back on the next chunk of this bonus feature as quick as I can.

    Back in a little bit!
     
  5. GoofyIsAsGoofyDoes

    GoofyIsAsGoofyDoes Dis Dad #469 . . . . "Nation Ford", SC

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    My word I got behind! We’re smack in the heart of the music competition season in our house with the state championships looming in just a couple of days. It’s been rather crazy to say the least. Let me see if I can catch up a bit and then maybe (just… maybe), I’ll be able to get the next part of my Nassau Bonus Feature up by tomorrow.


    You’ve done well to keep it a secret. The Duck is a lot of fun and I hope both of you boys get to ride. They loosened up the restrictions a little bit after the first few cruises resulted in some very unhappy kids (and parents). So long as there is an adult with the younger children, I think you’ll be good to go.


    Yep… and generally right around the time we get to thinking that we got it all figured out.

    Maybe we should send Barry up to the Bridge. Given his ability to handle a minivan, I suspect he could whip that ship in there as if it were nothing more then a jet-ski.
    :lmao:

    That would have been a good picture. The Dream is a good third to two-fifths larger then the Carnival sisters. Here are the basic numbers…

    Disney Dream
    Tonnage: 128,000 GT
    Length: 1,115
    Beam: 125 ft
    Decks: 14
    Passengers: 4,000
    Crew: 1,458


    Carnival Sensation
    Tonnage: 70,367 GT
    Length: 855 ft
    Beam: 103 ft
    Decks: 10
    Passengers: 2634 (max)
    Crew: 920

    Found a picture too...

    [​IMG]


    Word is that this particular spot may actually be only for adults (although I hope that’s just wishful thinking on the part of the wealthy folks). There will be a couple other splash areas added as well. I may need to hunt down the rest of the details and post them latter on.

    Depends on the fort. There are three of them in Nassau built back in the colonial period and all of them were expensive and ultimately unnecessary. I think that the ships were for the purpose of “showing the flag”, but the local joke is that the government can find the money to purchase the ammo needed but can’t afford the fuel to send them out.

    Excellent!!! Pictures nemesis, pictures!



    Believe it or not. The ship serves the purpose I suppose. Once the stairwell leads you up and into the side of the rear funnel, there are some illustrations that tell the story of how Huey, Dewy and Louie built the coaster, and Uncle Donald jumped on it before they were completely finished, but that’s about it.

    :lmao:


    Ahhhhh… but wait…


    Now you see the consequence of the choice. If you snooze… you loose.


    Yes… Yes I did.
     
  6. GoofyIsAsGoofyDoes

    GoofyIsAsGoofyDoes Dis Dad #469 . . . . "Nation Ford", SC

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    Thank you sir, and I’m glad you like it. I decided that each chapter needed a theme. The first day was “The Space Race” (in honor of Port Canaveral), the second was POTC (for our lost Island). I believe you can see the developing trend for the third day (and the reason was hidden in the “Navi” for that day way back in part one).

    “All stop! Quick quiet!”

    Unquestionably true (but my next cruise may well “need” to be on one of their excellent ships)

    And you need to take me with you… PLEASE!!!!!!!!!!!


    This time around… It worked very well for me.

    Sometimes a little bit of “culture” is precisely what the situation calls for.

    Except for the Pirate museum, there really isn’t much in the way of affordable entertainment. You could have gone to Atlantis or done a dolphin encounter, but those are very pricey, and can be done other places then during a cruse. Most of the ports that the cruse ships hit are geared for tourism. Actually learning about the culture of a place really takes more time then the average one day stay will afford. For me… the ship IS the destination and I really don’t care exactly where it’s going (except for Somalia… I’m not all that much in a hurry to go there right now).

    Story time…

    While we were at sea a teenage girl got herself stuck in there. She road solo and just didn’t have enough mass for the water jets in the biggest hill to push her up the other side. The raft would just float on the top of the water stream and bobbed around in the valley at the bottom of the hill. They had to shut it down, drain all the water and go get her out. If anyone gets stuck, they tell you to just stay where you are until a CM can come and get you.

    You Bet’chem Red Rider.

    I suspect that was the case here as well

    It doses look slow, but once you’re in it the perception is entirely different. I love the big hill the most. As your coming up the other side of the drop the water jets really push against the back of the raft and whoever is sitting in back (generally me) gets the full force of the push right on their back. Lots of fun.




    Thanks again!


    And they were right too.

    I love the smell of bacon in the morning…
    It smells like… victory…
     
  7. MissDaisyofTexas

    MissDaisyofTexas DIS Veteran

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    You mentioned you went to Ardastra Gardens on an earlier trip. Aside from the tour guide factor, did you like it?

    Our kids will be 8, 4 and 20 months next June when we cruise. My tentative plan is to take a taxi to Ardastra Gardens in the morning, then grab some lunch, then hit the pirate museum and maybe have a horse and buggy ride. We think this will be our only time in Nassau, because if we can ever afford a Disney cruise again we will either do a 7-Day Caribbean or an Alaskan cruise.
     
  8. GoofyIsAsGoofyDoes

    GoofyIsAsGoofyDoes Dis Dad #469 . . . . "Nation Ford", SC

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    We really didn’t get a good look at the whole place. The thrust of the trip was actually the “Marching Flamingos” show, which was fairly entertaining. The zoo was opened after I was last there so I can’t speak for it directly, but I am about to start researching the Gardens in more detail to add to the last part of my Nassau Bonus Feature, so stay tuned…

    Actually, I think your plan sounds like it will work well for you and your family.
     
  9. GoofyIsAsGoofyDoes

    GoofyIsAsGoofyDoes Dis Dad #469 . . . . "Nation Ford", SC

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    Bonus Feature 13:

    Nassau – Part 2


    Welcome Back to Nassau!


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    Time to continue our walking tour of down town, but this time well be taking a swing through my un-patented “east loop”. Just as before we’ll start off at Festival Place but this time well be turning left and heading east. Again, here’s a map to give you an idea of what I got in mind…

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    First stop… Rawson Square
    A mere block form our starting point… just cross Woodes Rodgers Walk at Parliament Street and you’re basically there.

    [​IMG]


    This is a nice place to start off and get your bearings. There is a fountain and several statues of varying significance to be found here. I’m not going to tell you too much about it because I want you take a couple of minutes to look around before we continue heading south into town.

    Now just across Bay Street form here is Parliament Square


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    A statue of a young Queen Victoria dominates the center of the square and looks back toward Rawson Square and the harbor. This is basically the home of the Bahamian government.


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    The House of Assembly is to the right, and the building on the left houses administrative offices. The one in the center is the Senate Building and the first floor of this structure once housed the post office as well. The oldest buildings are from the early 1800s and the Senate building was erected in the 1820s. They all still in use and you are welcome to come in for a visit.

    Now if you follow Parliament Street farther south the next building you’ll encounter is the Bahamian Supreme Court which is situated directly behind the Senate building and Parliament Square.


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    Directly behind the court building is a park and at the far end of the park directly on Shirley Street is a rather unusual building that houses the Nassau Public Library Reading Room and Museum


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    This interesting octagonal shaped building was constructed as a jail in 1797 and is actually the oldest structure on Parliament Square. After being used to confine criminals for nearly eighty years, it was converted into a space that held knowledge instead (although one could argue that there was certainly knowledge in building before but that the subject list was a bit more specialized). The small prison cells which once housed inmates are now used to store books, charts, Arawak artifacts and a collection of historic prints, colonial documents and newspapers’ The visitors are allowed to look around as they please; admission is free.


    Now then… if y’all just “happen” to be in the mood for a little bit more history… then just follow me (if not you could just head back to the ship and jump in one of the hot tubs, but the choice is yours). Starting at the Library your going to turn left and head east down Shirley Street for a couple of blocks until you get to Elizabeth Ave. Cattycornered across the intersection you’ll find the home of The Bahamas Historical Society Museum


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    Here you can learn a little more about Bahamian history and look into both the anthropological and archaeological aspects of the island. This space focuses on everything from pre-Columbia era cultures such as the Lucayan, Taino, and Arawak people all the way up into the modern day. You can find artifacts here that predate modern civilization by a thousand years. The society itself was founded in 1959 and the Imperial Order Daughters of the Empire donated the building in 1976 (thus explaining the letters inscribed across the fascia).

    Admission is $1.00 and for kids it’s$0.50.
    Hours: Mon 10:00-13:00, Tue-Fri 10:00-16:00, Sat 10:00-12:00
    The Museum will be closed during the months of July and August.



    OK… I’m going to take you for a little walk, but the view and photo opportunities are considered to be very much worth the effort. From the Historical Society head on down Elizabeth Ave. continuing south (away form the ships). This route will take you straight to the Queen's Staircase.


    [​IMG]


    This was actually carved out of the limestone by slave and prison labor in the 1790s. Originally it served as a short cut for the British military to get to and form the fort at the top of Bennet's Hill. It was later renamed in honor of Queen Victoria for her role in ending slavery in the Bahamas and because it fortuitously had sixty-five steeps (one for each year of the queen’s reign). You’ll likely encounter vendors and guides here. They are generally very knowledgeable and often entertaining, but they are working for tips so make sure you have a couple of bucks before you chat one of them up.

    OK… remember those sixty-five steps you were just looking at? Well… now you got to clime them. Yah, I know… exercise of that caliber is certainly not why you booked a cruse in the first place, but there really is a prize at the end of this effort. At the top of the staircase just to you right you’ll find Fort Fincastle


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    Folks will tell you that the front of the fort looks like the bow of a ship coming toward you. Admission is a dollar and there will be guides in and around the fort that do have a good bit of information and some entertaining stories. Of course, they are looking for a tip, so be prepared. This is actually a rather small fortification, but size is not why I brought you up here. Its position at the top of the highest hill in the area offers so very fine photo opportunities.


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    But as good as that view is… there is a better one to be had from the top of that building right behind you…


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    Yah… that one over there…


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    The Nassau Water Tower was built in 1898 and is the tallest structure on New Providence Island. It serves as both a water cistern and a lighthouse. It has been closed to the public for renovations for a couple of years which is unfortunate, because were it open… you could (if you wanted to put in the effort) see views like this…


    [​IMG]


    Quite the spectacle ehhhh? I wish I knew when they were going to open this back up again, but I can’t find any info on that.

    Well… That’s about all I have on this particular trip. On the up side… the walk back to the ship is all down hill. Actually, it might behoove you to take a cab up to the fort and then just walk the entire thing in reverse. At least that way, you’d be using gravity rather then fighting it.

    I’ll be back in just a little bit with one more update on the goings on in Nassau, but this one will include the more highly advertised attractions and spots that are a bit farther a field from the ship. Then I promise to get back to the actual TR (if you can stand it that is). Later on…

     
  10. afwdwfan

    afwdwfan DIS Dad #460

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    If you look up by where your line starts on the map there is a place where it says "carriage rides." Might want to use a map blown up a little larger next time, because at first glance the r's and i kind of ran together and I thought it said carnage rides. :scared1: It looked like you had accidently found the map of Tortuga instead of Nassau. :rotfl2::lmao:


    Typo? :confused3
     
  11. GoofyIsAsGoofyDoes

    GoofyIsAsGoofyDoes Dis Dad #469 . . . . "Nation Ford", SC

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    Who says that you read it wrong?



    Ummmm… yah (stupid fingers)

    1928


    I could have tried to say that the indigenous peoples had built the thing before Columbus got there, but then I’d have to admit to also believing in UFOs and such… and that would lead to my having to take my shirt off (which y’all really don’t want to happen)… and then to putting on a backwards trucker cap…. and lighting up a cigarette… and popping open a beer or twelve… and commencin’ to explaining the whole thing to the local news crew, and… and… and…


    Not a pretty picture.
     
  12. Captain_Oblivious

    Captain_Oblivious DIS Dad #257

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    Love it! Further confirmation of what we all know. :thumbsup2

    Rob, thanks for the Nassau posts! Feels like I know the place now. It's a shame you can't get to the top of the water tower right now--that view looks terrific. I'd be interested in seeing the forts and the Queen's Staircase, but the idea of having to fend off vendors and "guides" doesn't excite me.

    I remember reading in a couple of threads on the cruise board that you could spend $15 at the nearby Hilton and use their beach and pool for the day.
     
  13. afwdwfan

    afwdwfan DIS Dad #460

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    :eek: :scared1: :scared1:



    Don't forget your hat made from aluminum foil! :thumbsup2
     
  14. GoofyIsAsGoofyDoes

    GoofyIsAsGoofyDoes Dis Dad #469 . . . . "Nation Ford", SC

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    All part of my diabolical plan for world domination…

    And may next time arrive sooner rather then later.


    Thanks.

    And… feel free to post a link to your TR over here in mine. I’m looking forward to reading along.


    We got to see that one on the ship as well but I like the idea of them throwing it up on the jumbo-tron.
     
  15. GoofyIsAsGoofyDoes

    GoofyIsAsGoofyDoes Dis Dad #469 . . . . "Nation Ford", SC

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    You're welcome.
    And just think… I didn’t even try to hustle you for a tip
    :lmao:

    It would be good if the can get that straightened out but I suspect that there is more that needs fixing then they have resources to be worrying about. It may well be closed for a good while.

    That’s about the size of it for me as well. That’s a bit of a problem in most of the cruise ports. Some islands are a bit better then others, but when the main industry is catering to tourists, then that kind of ummmm… “badgering”… is to be expected. It makes it very hard to really see the actual culture of the town and rises the frustration factor considerably. One of the reasons we just stayed on board this time (and also why I wanted to research Nassau more thoroughly). If I get back there again, I will likely try to make myself go out and really see the sites (I’ll just have to pretend I’m a bit hard of hearing as I walk past the “guides”


    That sound right, but I’ll be researching it more thoroughly for the last part of the Bonus Feature. Then it’s back to the actual TR.

    Naaaaaa… That more of a northern thing ain’t it?
     
  16. FreezinRafiki

    FreezinRafiki Cold enough for ya?

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    Apr 16, 2009
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    6,164
    Wonderful write up on Nassau, Rob. Very helpful! Not sure how much we'll get to experience of it on Monday because Bambi may not be able to walk too much. But if she's up for a little walk, we're much more prepared! Now we know - and knowing is half the battle!
     
  17. GoofyIsAsGoofyDoes

    GoofyIsAsGoofyDoes Dis Dad #469 . . . . "Nation Ford", SC

    Joined:
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    If you can get up to the Pirate Museum, I think the young’ens would enjoy that. If not… The Aqua Duck and the Midship Detective Agency are best enjoyed when most of the other passengers are off the ship anyway.

    Y’all have fun and I’m looking forward to reading the TR of this on.
     
  18. jecskc

    jecskc DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2010
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    4,492
    I am very much enjoying your TR. We are set to sail on the Dream in April and I am finding your TR very informative. Thanks !!
     
  19. petals

    petals Irish Princess because Cinderella said so!

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  20. GoofyIsAsGoofyDoes

    GoofyIsAsGoofyDoes Dis Dad #469 . . . . "Nation Ford", SC

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2007
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    6,093

    Thanks for signing on as a member of this slightly twisted crew. I’m glad to have you along. Hopefully you’ll find the rest of this monstrosity as helpful as the first half (and I may just have the thing finished before y’all leave on your trip).

    Where abouts in the Palmetto state do y’all call home?





    Thanks for the prize. I rather like that image.


    Now it’s my turn to offer up a prize… well… I guess you could kind’a call it a prize…

    If you were completely insane! Hide your children; call in the dog; break out the pitchforks and axes to defend yourself, because “It” has arrived. The most horrible and vile creation known to mankind… an aberration so twisted and demented that the armies of the world are already amassing to lay siege and attempt to defeat the vicious beast… but all to no avail, because it’s unstoppable… run for the hills… every person for themselves… because it’s right behind you ready to pounce. It’s… It’s…

    The next installment of my TR and horror of horrors… :eek:

    IT’S ANOTHER BONUS FEATURE!!!!!!!!




    Aaaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrgggggggggggggg!!!!!!
     
  21. GoofyIsAsGoofyDoes

    GoofyIsAsGoofyDoes Dis Dad #469 . . . . "Nation Ford", SC

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2007
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    6,093

    Bonus Feature 13:

    Nassau – Part 3


    And now… one last time… we return you to Sayle Island in the midst of what Columbus came to call:
    “Baja Mar” (The Shallow Sea).

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    The name that ol’ Chris gave to the entire chain has stuck, but “Sayle” has long since been supplanted by the current moniker of New Providence.

    In the first two parts of this extended Bonus feature, I took you on a walk around the city that was built by people who were either dragged from or were fleeing other lands. This time around we’ll look at a few of the attractions that are a bit farther a field, a bit more famous, and (as you might suspect) a bit more pricey.

    But first… here’s a somewhat of a hidden (and inexpensive) attraction for the more adventurous traveler…

    The #10 Jitney Bus



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    These mini busses take care of most of the transportation around the island and currently charge $1.25 per person. Be sure to have exact change, and pay when you get off the bus, not when you get on. Some other things to keep in mind… first, a bus will typically wait until it's full before departing from the initial starting point (it’s different if you flag one down along the route). Next, some jitneys are air-conditioned; others are not (look for a bus with its windows closed or ask the driver). Third, understanding the various routes can be complex… All #10 buses are going the same “basic” route, but not all stop at exactly the same spots. The individual bus should have its planned destinations painted on the front or back of the vehicle, but there is no standard as they are run by multiple companies and individuals. You may need to ask around for your destination.


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    You can catch this bit of public transportation in downtown Nassau along West Bay Street and generally take it as far as Gambier Village on the west side of the Island if it strikes your fancy. They are easiest caught near the corner of George & Bay Streets (in front of McDonalds, across from the British Colonial Hilton).


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    This is also one method of getting to such attractions as Cable Beach, the Crystal Palace Casino, Fort Charlotte, and Ardastra Gardens. There are no set bus schedules in Nassau, but experienced jitney travelers and locals report that it generally shows up at its various stops every 10 to 15 minutes or so. Do keep in mind however, that the bus service shuts down for the day at around 6 p.m. If you get caught out in the field after the last Jitney… you’ll need to find a cab instead (which will be a good bit pricier).

    While were on the subject of transportation for hire… here are a couple of photos that cropped up during my research that you might find useful…


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    Now for a couple of the spots that can be reached via those Jitney Busses

    Cable Beach


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    Remember that you will be spending time at Castaway Cay, but if beach time is your ultimate goal, then this is a good place to achieve that goal. This strip of shore line west of downtown could also be called Resort Row because that’s where you’ll find most of the major hotels, and one of the island’s few casinos: Crystal Palace. Taking its name from being one of the land stations for a trans-Atlantic communications cable, this is pretty much the most popular of the Nassau beaches.


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    It is perfectly Caribbean: white sand, clear water and a sheltered beach, it’s a good place to get lost. There are public access points (and the bus drivers can point them out to you), but a lot of folks will tell you that you can pretty much walk right through the lobby of one of the hotels (so long as you don’t draw a lot of attention or abuse their facilities).
    The nearby dive shops offer excursions and also provide training for those who need to learn the basics or sharpen their diving or snorkeling skills. There are also rental shops that provide opportunities and gear for parasailing, jet skiing, and windsurfing. There are a number boat trips and sailing excursions that depart from the shores of Cable Beach and nearby Paradise Beach as well.


    On to our next stop…

    Ardastra Gardens


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    The Ardastra Gardens and Zoo is a 5 acre tropical garden with walking paths throughout. Flamingos and peacocks roam grounds freely and in addition there is a small zoo and a conservation center. There are about 50 exhibits housing anything from macaws and parrots…


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    …to monkeys and large cats.


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    One of the center’s highlights is a Flamingo Encounter that is more commonly called the “Marching Flamingos”. This is performed for guests in a small arena where a trainer will entertain the audience while commanding the trained birds to march, turn and stop on a dime. The birds will even strike a one-legged stance to pose for pictures.


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    The other major crowd pleaser here is the Loray parrot aviary. Guests are invited to enter the enclosure and feed bits of apple to these small colorful parrots. They will fly right up to you, onto your hand or even land on your shoulders, hair, and arms. Needless to say, it’s not recommended if you are afraid of birds, but the photo-ops are certainly a prime motivator.


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    Another little bit of unexpected entertainment that I’ve read about has to do with a few parrots that hang out on perches near the snack bar. One of these is an African Gray that is known to be very talkative. The other two are entertainers in their own right. If you get the opportunity, say the word “FLIP” and one of the parrots will flip upside down on his perch and do pull ups, or hang by his beak and spread his wings. Having only read about this spectacle and not having seen it with my own eyes… I can’t guarantee that this will occur… but I’d have a video camera ready just in case (‘cause either the bird or the tourist is going to end up looking pretty silly).

    Admission is a little pricey at $15.00 per person, and honestly, reviews are somewhat mixed, but I suspect that it’s a lot like most roadside attractions. You’ll get out of it what you put into it and over expectations will likely deflate you experience.




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    OK… it’s time to get into the pricier stuff. Nassau’s “premier” attractions are actually to be found on the other side of the harbor in what is now called Paradise Island.


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    Before World War II this was known as Hog Island and was a private estate used for raising pigs. It was purchased by Huntington Hartford, the A&P supermarket heir who arrived on Hog Island in 1959. Hartford changed the name to Paradise Island, hired the Palm Beach architect John Volk and then set about building the Ocean Club, Cafe Martinique, Hurricane Hole, and the Golf Course, among other island landmarks. He also acquired and installed “The Cloisters”. This is a 14th-century French Augustinian monastery originally purchased in Montréjeau and dismantled by William Randolph Hearst in the 1920s. Hartford dismantled it again and transferred the whole thing stone by stone to a hilltop on Paradise Island.


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    There are public beaches to be enjoyed on the island as well, specifically: “Cabbage Beach” and Junkanoo Beach (also called Lighthouse Beach). Grab one of the local tourist maps, and they will show you where to find them (generally a 15-20 minute walk from the water taxi boat ramps). You can also take a cab to you destination but be aware that they will expect you to pay the bridge toll as well as the fair (so have cash available). You can buy reasonably priced drinks on the beach and even find jet skiing and banana boat rides.



    Well now that you’ve see a bit of the island, it’s time to talk about the biggest, badest thing on it…

    Atlantis


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    Atlantis, Paradise Island is an extravagant luxury hotel and water park rolled into one, this place is mindboggling. Of course the single most important thing going on here is gambling. The casino is massive and everything and everyone will do their utmost best to bring you into it. For some… this is why you cruise in the first place. For Disney cruisers, I suspect you’d like to hear a bit more about everything else. With that in mind, here’s a sampling of what else is available:

    Aquaventure is the water park (and after the gamming, it is the reason you’ll come over here in the first place). It combines slides, lazy rivers, and rapids into one large waterscape. The centerpiece of the attraction is the Power Tower, which contains four waterslides known as: The Abyss, The Drop, The Falls and The Surge.


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    The Current is a mile long, 3-million-US-gallon water ride complete with waves and artificial tidal surges.


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    The Mayan Temple Slides at the Royal Towers consists of four major slides: Leap of Faith, the Challenger Slides, the Serpent Slide, and the Jungle Slide.


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    The Dig is a series of aquariums located beneath the lobby of the Royal Towers and is billed as the world's largest open air marine habitat. Hundreds of different aquatic species can be spotted in the Dig's various tanks. You may well see such creatures as angelfish, sharks, manta rays (one of which being larger than ten feet across) and various types of jellyfish. The goal of The Dig is to provide guests with a taste of life in the legendary destroyed city of Atlantis. If one observes the bottom of the floors in the different aquariums, wreckage and debris will be scattered about representing the "Lost City of Atlantis." (Themeing on a Disney scale… we’d expect no less, now would we?)


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    Predator Lagoon is full of sawfishes, barracudas and stingrays. A 100-foot (30 m) clear acrylic tunnel runs underwater, allowing visitors unobstructed views of the marine environment.


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    Note that all of this is free only to the guests staying on site. For the day-trippers and cruisers… y’all have to buy access to the various bits that you want to partake of. You can put this together yourself, or chose one of the packages offered by DCL.

    Another option is to reserve a room just for that day at the nearby “Comfort Suites Paradise Island”. The hotel itself gets reviews that swing wildly from pro to con, but the room comes with a pass to the Atlantis Water Park at a price that is considered to be a good deal. Most cruisers don’t even use the room other then as a place to change cloths. If you head over to the DCL forum on these here boards and plug in a couple of good searches, you’ll find a lot of information on just exactly how to pull that little trick off.




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    The last stop on our tour of what’s what in the port of Nassau takes us to…

    Blue Lagoon


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    Blue Lagoon Island is a private island just north of Paradise Island and outside of Nassau Harbor. It is reached via a short cruise on a high-speed catamaran or via calmer boats that leave from the north shore of Paradise Island.

    Prior to the late 19th century this island's lagoon was a salt marsh and it was referred to legally as Salt Cay. The Island became a stopover for pirates and privateers who would cull salt from the lagoon to preserve their food and use it as a rest stop while they waited for permission to enter Nassau Harbor. It is now most famous for dolphin encounters…


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    …but, they also offer opportunities to interact with Sea Lions, and for those that are not quite so sure about the interaction idea, you can get an up-close and personal view of these marine mammals by participating as a Program Observer. All options include an interactive orientation, briefly covering the natural history of our animals, and you can also learn animal training techniques, ocean conservation and “Watchable Wildlife Guidelines”. Guests who purchase either a dolphin encounter/dolphin swim or sea lion encounter also get free access to the beaches and island amenities.


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    You could chose just to spend the day on their beaches if you’re so inclined and it will still come with the opportunity to observe the other guests that are taking part in the encounters. Food and drinks are available on site as well.




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    Well folks… that’s about it for now. Some of these excursions are on the upper end of affordability for a number of travelers. They certainly are for me, but the next time I find myself heading for Nassau, I may need to squirrel away my pennies and give one a try (probably Blue Lagoon since it includes extra boat trips, but… well see).

    There is a thread tied into the FAQ section over on the DCL forum of these boards that offers reviews and discussions for a number of these excursions and other offerings around Nassau. Here’s a link to that starting point (you’ll find numerous links to other reviews in Post #1 of this thread).

    http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=1302995


    Here’s a second potentially useful link to the “Nassau Overview” page put up by Dreams Unlimited and The Dis. This page also lists most of the excursions that you can book directly through DCL…

    http://www.wdwinfo.com/wdwinfo/cruise-new/cr-port-nassau.cfm


    Thanks for your patience and for putting up with this ridiculously long Bonus Feature. I just figured that a little bit of a closer look at the main port of call for nearly every cruise line’s shorter sailings was exactly want the situation called for. I promise that the next post will (most likely) be related to the actual subject of this here TR (that being our adventures aboard the Disney Dream). That being said… I still can’t guarantee that I wont be quickly side tracked by the next bright shiny thing. As y’all have surely learned by now… that is just part of the price you have to pay for foolishly following along with my ramblings in the first place.

     

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