Somewhat selfishly, Caitlyn and I planned a cruise to the Bahamas during the week of Thanksgiving. All it took was a few calls to our families to reschedule the big family get together and we were set for a weeklong getaway. Easy enough.
We caught a redeye from LAX to Miami and spent a day checking out the fabled South Beach area. During the day time, it was surprisingly empty but then again, South Beach is the designated party zone and it was Sunday morning. Under the blazing sun, we checked out the Wynwood walls and ate a spot called Coyo Taco. That general area has all the makings a nascent art scene. Among the tourists and families, droves of 20-somethings walked around in round sunglasses and Champion gear.
Before nightfall, we hit the beach to see what all the fuss was about. Even around sunset, locals and tourists alike were out hanging on to the last rays of daylight as the moon began to shine through the darkening sky. I don’t blame them. The city is beautiful at night.
After nightfall, the strip on South Beach turns into a whole different animal. The street filled with rich white guys with rented women lined up in ugly exotic vehicles. We chuckled as we watched them play early 2000’s bangers for 30 seconds at a time hoping to get the whole street to pay attention to them while trying to avoid the wrath of the police for noise ordinance rules. I guess problems with noise and clubs in South Beach is a thing. Seriously though, it was like being in the middle of a sonic pissing contest between the cars and the clubs. Never mind the colorful cast of characters that walked the streets beside us. Honestly, it was super fun and different from anything I’d experienced before. For me, it was kinda like a more enjoyable Las Vegas with real culture.
Coming home from dinner, we were headed back to the AirBnb right through the thick of it. Being later in the evening, the crowd had grown considerably as we waded through the concert atmosphere. In a split second, I decided that crossing the street was the right move and proceeded to jaywalk when the street was clear.
I heard Caitlyn make a sound and turned around. There she was, laying in the street. As I tried to comprehend what had happened, a nearby hostess rushed in and helped scrape her off the floor.
Caitlyn had followed me off the curb but misjudged her landing as she stepped right into a pothole filled with gutter water. She proceeded to roll her ankle as she tumbled into the asphalt. Growing up as a skateboarder, I’ve taken my share of tumbles and really didn’t think much of it in the moment. “You’re fine”, I told her as she held a bag of ice sitting on the curb. We quickly jumped into a Lyft and headed back to the spot. We didn’t make it out later that night.
The Next Morning
I found myself navigating across Little Havana in search of crutches for Caitlyn to use on the boat. We were there for a cruise remember? After many phone calls, non-english speaking Lyft drivers and $80 later, I returned with crutches in hand. As an aside, it’s totally crazy to me how many drivers we had that spoke no english. One guy proudly told me that he had lived in Florida for 23 years but still hadn’t picked up more than a few phrases like “ok” and “oh my god”. I’m not preaching “This is America, speak English”, but it’s such a waste for anyone to go to any country where they refuse to learn to speak the common tongue.
Next thing we know, we are getting dropped off at the Port of Miami. If you know Caitlyn, she is a very under the radar type of person. She doesn’t like any kind of attention at all and prefers to be behind the scenes at all times. Instead, we had workers at every turn offering their services and eventually, an Indonesian guy showed up with a wheelchair to push her onboard. With her new whip, we rolled to the front of every line and got cutsies everywhere we went.
The Rest of the Trip Was a Blur of Sorts
With Caitlyn’s injury, our trip became a little bit more about chilling and a little less about exploring. That didn’t stop us from exploring every inch of the boat on all 12 floors. Surprisingly, there’s a lot to do on a cruise ship besides eat and drink. They had art auctions, performances and even a comedian.
Our first morning, we woke up in Freeport, Bahamas. In all honesty, it was just ok. Mostly a bunch of shops hocking Chinese made wares that nobody really wants. From the dock, we hit up a place called Port Lucaya that also didn’t have much going on. The story we were told was that Freeport was hit pretty hard by a hurricane a few years back and never really recovered or was rebuilt. There’s mostly just a bunch manufacturing facilities among the sparse tropical fauna. Not the coolest place to visit but beautiful nonetheless.
The next stop was Nassau, the capital city. Fresh off the ship, we took a boat about an hour out to snorkel where Caitlyn had a chance to move her ankle around and really feel it out. According to our guide, we dropped anchor right next to the island where they filmed the first season of Gilligan’s Island.
As soon as we jumped into the water with all our snorkel gear, it became apparent to me that swimming around for an hour was much more tiring than I had anticipated. We had a good laugh in the water as we watched about half of the group call it quits after about 10 minutes in to the hour we paid for.
Can you believe that the Bahamas got their independence from British Colonial Rule in the 1970’s? The city very much reflects that. I would definitely visit Nassau again. We mostly kicked it on the beach and saw little bits of the city as we made out way back to the ship.
Lastly, we went to Grand Stirrup Cay which was the most touristy island as it’s owned by Norweigan Cruise Lines. Not really much to talk about here as it’s a private island meant for families. It basically felt like being at a water park without the rides. For all it’s shallow charm, it was a nice way to wrap up the trip.
Overall, the cruise experience is a pretty cool. Lots of families, younger couples and retirees. Everybody’s looking for a good time and there’s lots to do onboard. We are already talking about planning our next one with friends and family. Any takers?