So it’s been a about a month or so since our Cruise line nestled into harbor after a three to four day journey. I wanted to able to write down my experiences on the trip while my photos from the journey gathered dust on my desktop, so here we are.
My Father, Stepmother, Stepbrother and I boarded a Carnival cruise-line aimed for a three day adventure around the Bahamas; the first day in Freeport, the second day in the capital city of Nassau, and the last day crawling comfortably back to Florida at roughly seven knots (no joke). This had been my second cruise (my first was quite a while ago on a Princess Cruises trip through the Caribbean), so I figured I’d know what to expect on both the cruise and the islands.
Fortunately enough I was wrong!
The Cruise Ship
The first half-day of travel on the cruise was a blast! The food was pretty solid (free buffet-style dining is always appreciated), the room worked, and it was enjoyable enough just exploring the ship during the evening. I found myself walking around in the late evening as the pool and crowded hot-tubs started to shut down. Near the bow of the ship I found an excellent place for stargazing; hid right underneath an overhang that blocked any sort of light pollution from the rest of the ship. I could see the Milky Way Galaxy fairly clearly on both the first and the second nights, though it clouded up the last few nights as rain clouds hovered on the horizon.
The employees were great! They’d decorate our beds every night with cute creatures made out of towels. But on the second to last night, something weird began happening with the towels…
Okay, so here’s the ‘adorable towel animal’ that the crew made for us. I can’t entirely tell if that’s a giraffe, the starfish bastard of a giraffe (probably most likely), the actual loch ness monster, or just a gigantic penis-like monstrosity. It gave my step-brother and I a hearty laugh, and I really sincerely hope that the crew wasn’t trying to make an actual animal here.
But skip forward to our last evening on the cruise ship. We get back from the dining room, and stumble upon this…
Now, do I even have to explain this thing? I can imagine what was going on in the crew member’s mind as they did this.
“Fuck it; it’s the last night of the cruise, and I have nothing to lose. I might as well make a vagina out of their towels.”
But seriously, look at this thing. LOOK AT IT! This creation is the definition of the ‘shrug emoji.’ Basically a polite ‘meh’ to the establishment, if you ask me. It gave me one of the best laughs of the trip, plus the towel dried me off more than well after a last dip in the hot-tub. That was a successful vagina towel.
So on our first full day we docked in Freeport, Bahamas. I wasn’t sure at all what to expect from this island; I awoke from my room to see gigantic oil tankers and fuel depots lining the shoreline, so I was trying to decide whether we’d be taking strolls on beaches or tours through factories.
It was neither.
We got driven out on an excursion to this really pretty garden, constructed and grown by a fairly prosperous family near the end of the twentieth century. Looking back on it now, the entire family pretty much owned the entire island (them and the largest company on the island, which is a shrewd indicator of the colonial underpinnings of this island nation). Nevertheless, it was beautiful! But I’d have to say that one of my favorite parts of Freeport was this.
Strongback Stout. It’s a locally brewed beer in Freeport, and boy was it delicious! This photo was taken approximately two minutes before an angry swarm of bees stormed upon our table and devoured my entire family’s food. Yes, the bees were actually beginning to dive within the contents of their food. I didn’t order food so I somehow got spared from the mayhem of the attack of the killer bees of Freeport.
This picture fully encapsulates the fun activities I partook in during my short adventure around the Bahaman Capital City of Nassau. It was a nice departure from Freeport and offered up a little bit of everything for everyone; old forts with ginormous cannons mounted atop, hours of relaxation on a pristine beach, or just a great glimpse at the urban agriculture of an island nation. Either way, I had a blast.
The picture above was taken just after my step-brother and I sped through a self-guided tour of an old Rum distillery in the city. It had roots stretching back to the earliest days of British colonialism (such an example was the well out back dug out from native slaves centuries ago). You could also taste the legacy of western imperialism with each gentle sip of the nation’s only seriously-understood export.
But in all seriousness, the rum was delicious. The bartender told us to sip each sample-size of rum to allow the ‘woody’ flavors to rest in the back of our throats, but instead we downed each one little cup like a celebratory shot. We’re such good American tourists!
Exploring the forts gave me a sort of childish fascination. It’s akin to that moment where you read of a heroic adventure in some classic piece of literature only to see the setting of said book resting before your eyes.
These two forts gave a great view into what life must have been like for the British Empire here in the Bahamas. You could stand out on the top of the fort and lean against iron cannons and feel as if you were truly looking out on the ocean for any sign of pirates. I was trying my best to catch Jack Sparrow in the flesh, but he somehow fled my keen eye.
One of my favorite things about the forts was what were in the walls themselves. Through the many years of occupation British soldiers had etched their names and memories into the thick layer of the forts stone walls. There was a sort of bittersweet beauty in looking at the memories of long-gone soldiers etched onto nearly permanent walls.
If you know me at all, you’d probably be able to guess what my favorite thing was to do when I explored the city.
Aside from maybe a bicycle or the cart of a rickshaw, walking by foot must surely be the best way to see a new land. You can walk along the same streets and dirt alley-ways that the natives walk on, which is an eye-opening gaze into a world that you can’t quite understand from an expensive excursion. I loved the variety of urban architecture that dotted the city; from streets named after Parliament, statues carved in the likeness of Queen Victoria, to decrepit buildings slowly fading away to rubble. I got to the point where I had clearly went beyond the typical ‘tourist zone’, which is always the best part of any adventure such as this.
If you have the opportunity to explore the Caribbean, please take it! Whether you’re into the history, the food, the alcohol, or all three, you’ll find something to enjoy in the Bahamas. Just please try to get past the touristy jewelry shops and factory-made cheap goods dotting the streets; once you start to catch glimpses of the real Bahamas, you’ll remember why you came in the first place.