Monday, November 7, 2011

Bahamas Cruise Part 1

Wow, a week in the Bahamas was a great experience! Especially while on a cruise. Total price for a one week cruise, including airfare ran me about $1000, but if you considered the fact that I would have had to pay to fly there anyway, if I had stayed in Florida, my cruise cost me roughly $700.

The $700 included unlimited amounts of food, room, room service, shows, activities and all the water, iced tea, drip coffee and vanilla/chocolate ice-cream I could want. Additional fees for my on board cruise included drinks/food from the coffee house, novelty ice-cream, alcoholic beverages, bottled water, soda, playing at the casino, bingo, some exercise activates, and specialty dinning.

The cost of the cruise also included passage to three islands located in the Bahamas, Nassau, St Thomas and St Marteen. All Three islands were lovely and each had their own unique flavor.

Nassau- the first island we visited

After disembarking, I ended up wandering around for quite a bit, unfortunately this was when all the shops were closed and the immediate shopping seemed more 2nd or 3rd world with the amount of burned down or rotted/vacant lots. Since all the shops were closed that early in the morning (8:30 am), we ended up dinning at a Starbucks for breakfast- which was delicious especially with the muggy heat so early in the morning.

We ended up taking a horse drawn carriage ride through town for a brief tour. It was $15 dollars a person and the hacky was enjoyable and full of surface information about the island and had a great sense of humor. The ride was brief but enjoyable. After the cart was returned, traveling on a street in a carriage with cars swerving in and out and pedestrians unafraid of being trampled was an experience, the shops were finally open.

We browsed briefly through shopping center before heading towards a local beach to get some sun and have a dip in the water. The beach we ended on, wasn’t the one indicated by the hacky, it was the beach next to it, but it was still enjoyable and there was food at hand if anyone was hungry, all beer had to be consumed in designated areas.

We ended up lounging around for a bit before the rest of the group met up with us. They didn’t seem that interested in the water, but the beach was the 2nd best we visited during the vacation.

After beer was consumed, we headed back towards the shopping lane and meandered are way back to the ship. If you’ve never watched any shows where a person travels into a foreign country that is not one of the major players in Europe, then you’re in for a big surprise. You are constantly bombarded with requests to purchase items by shop owners, or their children. This does not change no matter what island you go to, although St Thomas had the least. You have several options for these occasions:

Number 1- Ignore them. They will not be insulted if you say nothing just keep on walking.

Number 2- Politely but firmly say “No thank you” or just shake your head no. That’s it, do not explain why. Do not say you purchased something somewhere else, they do not care or will ask why you didn’t purchased from them. They are only there to sell their wears. If you are not purchasing anything, please do not take up any more of their time then necessary, you might be costing them money.

Number 3- Do not make eyes contact with them. I know this sounds harsh, but on several of the beaches, if you ignored them, they left you alone. If you made eye contact or indicated in any subtle way that you might be interested, they were all over you like a hawk and would not leave you alone. Sunglasses help. Especially if you are lounging by the water as the hawkers there were particularly persistent and quite frequent.

Do not get made at these people, unless they are being unduly rude, they are just trying to make a living and tourists are a large commodity. I will say that none of the hawkers were rude to me, although they are persistent. In fact, on my entire trip, the only person I had a bad experience with was a fellow tourist on St Thomas.

After passing the bombardment of shops, we were ready to board the ship, until my mom decided that she wanted a rum cake from the original shop. So she and I went off to find said shop. It was crazy, it was hot and it was a bit difficult to find. I will say, just look for the Burger King as it was right next door. I’d also suggest bring a map, they are provided on the ship, even if they are marked with ‘suggested’ shopping stores. We had to almost circle the shopping center twice before I asked for directions and even then, I wasn’t sure if they were correct.

But we found the rum cake shop and purchased our fair. The price for the cakes were the same no matter where we went, even our ship had them for sale at the same price. So if you’re in the Bahamas and want to buy a rum cake, don’t worry about being ripped off, as none of the locations I saw them at were priced any different. But if you’re not sure, hold off until you’ve seen them at two different locations, so at least you can confirm for yourself that you’re getting the correct price for them.