Day 2: Nassau
We woke up on the early side today since we had an excursion planned. We took Jack to the Windjammer for breakfast, but we didn’t eat because we booked a food tour. Max elected to stay in bed, and as far as we know he alternated between his bed and the WJ (mainly for the Freestyle machines and rolls) all day long.
We brought Jack to Adventure Ocean for the first time this morning. Jack has Down Syndrome, and we thought he would do better with the 6-8 year olds than his own age group. We requested this in advance through RC customer service, and within a few days received a reply from the Oasis Adventure Ocean manager authorizing him to be in the lower age group. When we signed up we met a very friendly worker named Michael. His AO name tag was “Mikeandcheese,” but he went by Michael when he worked at other stations such as the carousel at night. The workers who checked us in this morning weren’t quite as bubbly. They also seemed surprised we planned to leave Jack there while we took an excursion. Isn’t that the point of AO while in port? They didn’t give us a phone since we were leaving the ship, although I mentioned my cell phone would work in a true emergency.
We pre-booked our tour called “Bites of Nassau” with TruBahamian Food Tours (www.trubahamianfoodtours.com). When I booked online only 11:30 was available, but I got a text back from them saying 10:30 would be a better choice given our ship’s 2:30pm all aboard time.
We met our tour group and guide Captain Ron at the Christ Church Cathedral across from the Nassau Pirate Museum. I would definitely recommend walking as it was very easy. Our tour group included cruisers from our ship and others, couples staying at resorts, and a Bahamian whose resort was sending her on the tour to help decide if their resort wants to offer it to their guests. Our guide Ronelle said he created the Captain Ron persona because he wanted something easy for tourists to remember when they write reviews. As far as I can tell it’s worked for him; Google “Captain Ron Nassau” and he is every one of the first page of results!
Our first stop was the Bahamian Cookin’ restaurant. Capt Ron told us the story of how the owner built a successful business, and then re-built it years later after buying it back from people who weren’t able to succeed. We tried our first taste of conch in the form of fritters (pictured below with a typical shell), and then we had a typical Bahamian meal with steamed chicken (cooked down with tomatoes), baked mac and cheese, peas and rice, cole slaw, and sweet plantains.
After Bahamian Cookin’ we walked uphill to the Governor’s residence. The Bahamas gained independence from the UK but chose to become part of the Commonwealth, meaning the Queen has someone to represent her in Nassau. The mansion features a statue of Christopher Columbus and a nice view of the port.
Our next stop was a hotel known as Graycliff. Apparently when famous people visit Nassau, they like to stay and dine here. We sat in the courtyard outside the restaurant and Capt Ron gave us a frank account of the Bahamas history. He talked about the drug trade that led to widespread corruption and a lack of education in the country, something they are still recovering from today. By the time he finished, we had gone an entire half hour without stuffing something in our faces. Ron remedied that by bringing us to the Graycliff Chocolatier where we sampled a white chocolate key lime piece that was amazing, and a salted caramel filled dark chocolate that was even better.
Our next stop was a “Conch Stand & Daiquiri Shack” known as Chillin’. There we had a conch slider that was delicious. I could have eaten another one for sure.
After Chillin’ we moved on to the Talking Stick Bar at Towne Hotel Restaurant. I’ll add here that throughout the whole tour, Capt Ron was telling us stories about the food, the specific restaurants, and the country in general. He was always interesting to listen to and made the whole experience pleasant. I was surprised that few Bahamians we met seemed to have a British accent. It wasn’t very Caribbean either except for when they spoke Creole to each other.
The Talking stick bar was our drink stop. We met their mascot, a parrot named Max, and enjoyed a Bahama Mama, though he said Sky Juice is more popular with the locals. We intend to make some Sky Juice when we get a chance.
After the drink stop, we headed over to the Athena Cafe and Bar. The cafe was so busy they asked us to stay downstairs in their jewelry shop. There we were served our third conch of the day, conch chowder. By this point I was a little too hot for hot soup, but I made myself eat it. It was delicious! I’m sure I’d order it again if I were a little cooler, maybe sitting on an ice cube under an air conditioner.
Our last stop was the shortest at the Tortuga Rum Cake Company. Surprisingly, we had rum cake here 🙂 The cake was good, but not enough for us to lug a box all the way home. We probably would have purchased a few of the flavored rums if we had more space at home. There’s only room for one rum bottle in the RV kitchen, and it was already occupied.
After the tour we intended to visit the straw market, but it was close enough to all aboard time that Elle decided to skip it. On the way back we admired the view of the famous Atlantis resort, and I took a picture of the dock between our ship and the one next door. I thought it gave a good idea of how huge the ships are.
After we collected Jack and roused Max from his bed, I took the boys swimming. The pool area was pretty crowded since we were about to leave port, but I didn’t see the dreaded saved deck chair problem I’ve read about. While swimming I tried out our new waterproof phone bags. It worked very well at keeping the water out, but I need some practice taking photos. I got a pretty good picture of Jack underwater, but when we tried a selfie, a drop of water on the case blurred his face.
As we swam, we felt the ship pull away from Nassau. We got cleaned up and tried our first MDR meal with Albert and Ida. Max and I chose the tenderloin, the second amazing steak we experienced on Oasis. We walked to the Boardwalk after dinner, rode the carousel, and watched the divers get ready for the night’s show. We went back to the room and made the boys stay in while we went to the Promenade for the “Majority Rules” game show. Although we arrived early, Bolero’s was already packed. If it seemed like the show was going to be really fun we figured we’d stand around, but when we heard the first question, “Coke or Pepsi?” we decided to head back to the cabin. We read and played Sudoku until we got tired, and Max headed out to be with the teens until late night.