Monday, November 18, 2013

Nassau, Bahamas // First port on Oasis of the Seas

We booked the Eastern itinerary even though two of the ports were repeaters because the stops were far preferable to Western. The first stop was Nassau in the Bahamas on Day Two of the itinerary.  Unfortunately, ships of this size are a bit limited in their itineraries. Not all ports can handle that magnitude and having to tender 6,200 guests might be somewhat of a logistical nightmare. No matter. We were ready for our day in the BahamasThis happened to be the port we had yet to visit so we were excited! Unfortunately, it's a very brief stop with all aboard being 1:30 pm. Best make the most of our time!

I didn't even consider any of the Royal Caribbean sponsored excursions because none of them appealed to me. I wouldn't mind checking out Atlantis at some point but for what they were charging and the amount of time in port it just wasn't worth it. I'm accustomed to planning DIY ports anyway so I accepted the challenge!

I had printed out a walking tour of Nassau from Frommer’s but there were only a couple sites we were actually interested in visiting. We marched our hot, happy selves through the hockers at the Straw Market and headed off to find the Queen’s Staircase… the wrong direction. We walked through some pretty sketchy areas but it was a quiet Sunday morning and I wasn’t really worried about running into trouble.
Eventually, we reached our destination. I didn’t bother to stop and listen to the history of the staircase, although I suppose I should have because I can’t tell you a darn thing about it. It’s old and pretty neat looking though. There are locals who will stop you and say, “Let me tell you a story”. They give you some history (maybe) and then demand a tip. Pass on that!
The light in the middle of the picture is the top of the staircase

We hiked up the stairs. Screaming memories of European stairwells in my quads! At the top, we found Fort Fincastle. It’s a small historic fort. Why? Beats me! 

My dad would be so proud that I was really soaking in all that history. But, it provided gorgeous views of the ship and port area.

4 ships in port that day!
Off to our next stop! Heading down was a welcome respite from the hike up. I had asked the gentleman collecting my dollar to visit the fort for directions to Graycliff Manor which is where I thought we’d find the rum distillery I wanted to visit. Well, we followed his directions explicitly and found neither Graycliff Manor nor the distillery.
I pulled out a map that had been forced upon me in port and luckily, there was an ad for said distillery, with an address. We were nowhere near it. But, it was sort of in the direction we needed to go anyway to get back to the ship.
We made it down to Front St. and started to see signs for our promised land. Eventually and sweatily, we landed at John Watling’s Rum Distillery!

They make all their rum on the premises and offer free tours daily. We hopped in about 10 minutes late but that was okay. It was a short, small tour anyway and we were in need of refreshment. Refreshment of the rum variety. We are in the Bahamas, right?
During the tour we tasted their 3 types of rum and then moved on to the bar area to make our selections.

John ordered a mojito and I got adventurous with a Rum Drum, kind of a sour lemonade drink. His mojito was so fresh. The Rum Drum was just okay. Sour isn’t really my thing. 

Then, we split a pina colada. Now, that’s more like it! This was the absolute freshest pina colada I have ever had. No mix from a bottle here, no sir! The drinks were $8.00 each, in case you're wondering.

Since it was a short port day, we headed back to the ship at this point stopping in a few shops along the way and bargaining at the Straw Market for a straw grass bowl that we liked. We are terrible at buying souvenirs on vacations and we were determined to remedy that on this trip. So far so good!

This was a nice little morning in Nassau but if we went back, I'd probably book a snorkeling excursion or maybe just make it a beach day. You also have the option of taking one of the many taxi tours around the island. You'll find these right away when you get off the ship because there are about 25 guys standing there shouting, "Tour of the island?" "Twenty five dollar tour" "See Nassau!"

We deemed our Nassau day a success and were ready for the next stop after a day at sea!

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