Friday, July 13, 2018

Mayday! Stuck on a Bahamian Island: Nassau

Last night, Tim and I went to the excursion counter on board Royal Caribbean's Enchantment of the Seas to see if we could find a wheelchair excursion for today's port visit in Nassau. We were waiting to talk to our new friend from Chile but he was stuck trying to explain to a woman why her 16 and 14 year old kids could not be turned loose on an excursion in a foreign country without an adult chaperone.

She was having none of it and the conversation was growing more heated...on her the minute. Another crew member came out to help us.

Watch the Video!

Four Days of Cruise in Ten Minutes

As we'd suspected, out of the dozens of excursions available, none were wheelchair accessible. Except...! Yes, a tour of Atlantis and it's waterpark could be arranged at $45 per person. We were about to go ahead and sign on the dotted line when he added "we just have to arrange for a wheelchair accessible van. That will be an extra $199."

We'll just have to see what kind of trouble we can get to by ourselves.

After yesterday's pandemonium at the breakfast buffet, we decide to take our morning meal in the main dining room. There's also a buffet here, a much quieter one, plus you can order from the menu.

It's good, not outstanding, but will get us a good start to the day...whatever shape that will take. We don't know, yet, what we'll be doing in the Bahamian capital of Nassau.

Nassau is a docking port so the tender issue is not an issue here. We roll off the boat and are soon walking out of the terminal into the heart of Nassau. There's a park nearby, across from the legislature building, where we find a shady bench to check out our map of the are.

There are a lot of shops, restaurants, and bars here. I see an ad for an historic rum distillery so we strike out in that direction, which at least gives us a destination to reach, while seeing what lies along the way. The answer to that question is not much. We do browse a couple of shops but quickly lose interest in that.

It's Sunday morning May 13th, though, and the distillery is about a half mile away, up a hill. The Bahamians are a friendly bunch, I'll give 'em that...many cars would go by, see us walking up the hill, and yell out a hearty "Happy Mother's Day" to my wife.

The first time, she didn't understand what was being said through the thick Bahamian accent and you could see the look on her face that she was about to take offense. I explained to her what the gentleman said and she quickly corrected to give him a sincere thanks.

As we walk up the hill, a couple of churches have just finished their Sunday services and the parishioners are heading down the hill. Choruses of "Happy Mother's Day" are showered on my wife as they walk by.

The streets are narrowing, the heat oppressing, the hill steepening, and...just when my family is thinking I've completely lost my mind...the sign to the John Watling Rum Distillery.

We walk into this old plantation with it's great house fronting the distillery barn. There's a 75 foot deep well, dug by slaves hundreds of years ago, that provided the company with fresh water.

A staff member comes out and gives us a little shot of frozen pina colada which really helps to cool us down. We head into the bar to do some tasting but the rum itself is way too expensive to take home.  You can read and watch all that in our Nassau Pub Crawl post and video.

One of the staffers told us of a quieter street to go down since the one coming up was getting pretty busy. We file out of the distillery just in time...four large tour buses are now disgorging their passengers as we leave.

As we head back downhill towards the water, we come across an old cemetery.

We wander around, it's seen better days, and take in some of the tombstones while a lone gardener takes on the unruly vegetation with a weed whacker.

Some potholes, a few stray dogs, and some piles of rubbish later, my wife is getting that look on her face, "this place is not what I expected." True. Central Nassau has a pretty run down quality about it like some of the border towns in Baja.

We have a light lunch on the beach and I'm hoping our little pub crawl will brighten her spirits. She soldiers on but is not really enjoying this port of call.

Later, back on the ship, she dives into packing the bags to get off this boat..we've taken to jokingly calling it the 'rust bucket' because of maintenance issues this ship does have...and won't consider the evening's entertainment.

Tim and I let her be and we head to the ship's atrium where, on this final night of the cruise, the crew has a parade of flags honoring the many, many countries the staff here hail from.

It's quite a sight and you can tell the crew really puts their heart into it and are proud of their homelands. A real celebration of the human diversity that we all share.

It was a wonderful way to end what would really end up being a fairly mediocre cruise.

As we wait the next morning with our duty free rum box (an order the duty free store screwed up, causing me to work to get a refund with the line when I got home) in the forward lounge for our call to disembark, Tim is eager to exit his first and probably last cruise.

Darryl Musick
Copyright 2018 - All Rights Reserved

Photos by Letty Musick
Copyright 2018 - All Rights Reserved

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