Up next in the 2017 Disney Cruise trip report, the Disney Dream has just arrived at Nassau, where we are about to spend the day…
Friday, June 9, 2017
We were getting fairly consistent with our “up at 6:00 AM” routine. This was not to be a vacation full of sleeping late and naps, but then we knew that going into it. Plus, there is some adjustment to three people sharing one bathroom, or in this case two bathrooms since the Disney Cruise ships have split bathrooms.
It was once again overcast as I looked outside while we were getting ready. But at least at this moment there was not any rain falling, so that was a good start. We were already docked in Nassau before we left for breakfast, but that was okay, because even though we were up early we were not on a strict time schedule. That was one beauty about not having any shore excursions scheduled – we could just do whatever we wanted whenever we wanted to without having to keep a close watch on the time. We just had to be certain that we were on the ship when it left that afternoon.
We also had a nice view of that little stretch of land that juts out into the water, just wide enough for a house here and there and a road connecting them. We always talk about how we are going to retire there one of these days. But then I suppose that several people on every cruise ship say that, which means that one of these days when we all reach retirement age there is going to be a good fight for those five or so houses that are there. Oh well, it is always nice to dream.
We were ready to go on time, however, and we met our group of Burnses and Bramletts for breakfast at Cabanas at 7:30, keeping to our Cabanas breakfast tradition. And I was already firmly in my breakfast rut of a Mickey waffle with regular syrup and fruit syrup, along with some fresh fruit and a sausage link. Why mess with a good thing?
When we got back to our room, there was another ship docked beside us, the MSC Divnia. The only downside was that it was blocking the view of our retirement home, giving some of their passengers a chance to steal our dream! We can fight over it later, though. It is always interesting to compare cruise ships, and these two ships looked to be of similar size, although the Divinia may have had a few more balconies than the Dream has.
Our plan for the day was to take a walk through the streets of Nassau, seeing what interested us and shopping at a few of our favorite shops (for those of us who had been there before). The Jamersons had a shore excursion planned at Atlantis, so we knew we wouldn’t see much of them on this day. Which was fine, of course, because we figured we would see them for at least a little while in the evening.
Soon, we were all ready to go, so we made our way down to Deck 1 to exit the ship and spend some time in Nassau. Of course, once we were on the dock we stopped for a few customary family photos with the ship in the background. This was a little better time for photos, since it had been raining when we got of the ship at Castaway Cay the day before, not to mention that we did not have our whole family group with us. However, here there was not a ship photographer waiting for us, which meant that we did not get a photo of our entire family together. Unfortunately, the “Welcome to the Bahamas” archway that we have used for photos before has been covered over in stickers of all kinds, making it not at all attractive, so we skipped that photo opportunity.
We then made our way through Festival Place, the entry point for Nassau, which was under extensive remodeling the last time Laura, Jaylin, and I were there. It was interesting to see that most of the vendors were still outside rather than being inside the building. Maybe they felt that the outside locations were better for them. Either way, we made our way past them and out into the streets of Nassau.
Our primary target of shopping fun was to be Del Sol, a store that we found on our very first stop in Nassau in 2003, and a store in which everything that they sell changes color with the sun. Pretty cool. We have shopped at a few other Del Sol stores, most recently in Galveston, Texas, before our Carnival Cruise last year, but it definitely is not something that we have back at home. Some of us found a few things there, as some of us usually do, and we made our purchases and were on our way.
We also stopped in at a few of the other stores along the way, just to check out some of their souvenir items. One interesting stop was a small drug store so that some of our group could get some bottled drinks to help combat the heat and humidity of the day. It was interesting to see the store, because it seemed to cater more to the local residents instead of the tourists, as most of the other stores that we went in were focused on reaching. They had a selection of different over the counter medicines and a cooler with some drinks, and their sign said that they also would fill prescriptions. It was neat to see, and I enjoyed looking while others paid. They were also interested to get a little bit of Bahamas change from their purchase.
As we were walking, we went past the Government House, which Laura and I had found on one of our past visits, and we saw an interesting building with an interesting man sitting out in front of it. Always fascinating to see little slices of life in other places like that.
We went inside the building at Christ Church Cathedral, so that the rest of the family could see one of the places we had enjoyed visiting in the past. It is always cool to see a historic place such as this church building which has been there for well over one hundred years. It was also very quiet inside, much different from the usual bustle of a cruise ship, or even from the constant motion out on the streets of Nassau. A couple of other tourists stopped in for a few minutes as well, but mostly it was just our group having a few quiet moments while admiring the architecture of the church building.
We then continued our walk. Laura had wanted to stop by the nearby Pirates of Nassau gift shop next to the Pirates museum/tourist attraction. However, when we got there, it looked like the gift shop had been taken over by the nearby bar, so we were thwarted in our pirate shopping. Who knew that pirates would lose out to modern day capitalists?
Next, we took a short trip through the Straw Market, just to say we did. If you are not familiar with it, the Straw Market is a lot like our flea markets back home. People come to sell their crafts and goods, some of them homemade, some of them made by someone else. The Straw Market is in a large, open-air building with narrow walkways in between all of the vendors who are selling their stuff. And they are aggressive vendors, too, which I am sure helps their sales just a little. It is impossible to walk through the market without several of the vendors talking to you. And just so you know, they all want to barter with you over their prices, too. That’s just the way business is done there. After a while, all of their merchandise starts to look similar. Laura saw a few things that she might be interested in, but not enough to stop and seriously talk pricing.
Because we were getting close to the port, the Bramletts decided to head back to the ship, while the rest of us stayed to walk a little longer. Laura and I wanted to take my parents to the old Public Library, so we walked in that direction as the Bramletts went in the direction of the ships. It was easy for them to find their way back, because you can see the ships from all over, due to their large size.
Not only could we see our ship, but we could also see the ship that had arrived later in the morning and had docked next to ours, and we could see the ship’s name, Carnival Liberty. That just happens to be the ship that Laura and I cruised on to Mexico the previous year. There were three ships docked in Nassau at that time, and we had cruised on two of them. How cool was that?
As we arrived at the Library, raindrops were starting to hit us from the sky. Not that many of them, and not that hard, but still rain. Hopefully it would pass over quickly while we were in the Library and move along.
We walked into the Library building, and we were immediately greeted by the smell of old books and newspapers, always a welcome smell in this age when more and more things are going digital. Unfortunately, there was a sign at the stairs that the upper levels were closed, but we were welcome to look around in the main level. And they still had the sign up that photography was not permitted inside the Library, which has always been unusual to me.
We were not necessarily looking for any particular book or newspaper, so we just generally looked around to see what all was there. Several people were sitting in the different small rooms reading, and the windows were open to let the air move through, since the building does not have air conditioning.
There were some old photos on the wall going back to the days when the building was used for a prison, which was its original purpose. Once we saw that, I remembered reading it before, but I had forgotten all about that fact. The small rooms that housed the books were originally the jail cells. Fortunately for the people that were in there reading now, the prison doors were open and they were free to leave when they had finished reading. Always interesting to learn a little history such as that.
After we had finished looking around, we moved along outside, except that we were greeted by more raindrops. And these drops were larger and more frequent than the ones before. We made it over to the nearby court buildings right before the bottom fell out. We were able to stand under one of the side porches of one of the court buildings so that we did not get soaked by the rain, but we were stuck there for a little while so that we could stay dry. It seemed like we were there for a long time, but it was probably only around 10 minutes or so. Every now and then someone would need to get past us to get inside the building to the offices there, but fortunately the porch was large enough that we could pass each other while staying dry. So we had a nice family conversation while watching the rain come down.
At times the rain would be lighter, as if teasing us that it was about to end, but then it would start coming down strong again. Finally, it did let up almost to the point of quitting, and we decided we should make a break for the ship. We had been able to see it the whole time we were standing there under the porch, but we would have been really wet if we had tried to get there. No point in getting that wet when we did not have a time schedule to keep.
When we arrived back at the docks, we could see that there were now four ships docked, as the Norwegian Escape had also arrived at some point. That cut down our cruising percentage to 50 percent of the ships docked there, but that was still pretty good, we thought.
Check back soon for more from our day at Nassau as the 2017 Disney Cruise trip report continues!