Not Missing Nassau

Sailing into Nassau, Bahamas on a stormy day. Photo © 2018 Aaron Saunders

Nassau, Thursday, January 26, 2018

As Carnival Cruise Line’s Carnival Elation pulled into Nassau, Bahamas this morning, the weather outside was more akin to Ketchikan, Alaska: cold, windy, and raining. I stepped out onto my balcony and found altogether unpleasant conditions as I watched the longshoremen struggle with our lines. The lyle gun would shoot the guideline for the lines, and the wind would catch it and blow it off-target.

Personally, I don’t like Nassau and if I’m being honest, I never really planned to disembark today. Sometimes, a ship day in port is just what the doctor ordered to rejuvenate and recover, particularly when the vessel is three-quarters empty. The weather, though, cinched the deal for me.

Coming alongside: rainy, cold…Photo © 2018 Aaron Saunders

…and very windy. Photo © 2018 Aaron Saunders

Despite being included on numerous cruise itineraries, Nassau is a place you should approach with caution. Muggings and armed robberies are common, and reports by the U.S. State Department and the Canadian Government suggest that these attacks are now taking place in broad daylight within close proximity to the cruise terminal. Reports of jet-ski operators sexually assaulting young women are prevalent.

Of course, that doesn’t mean that everyone who comes to Nassau will be the victim of a violent crime, but it does mean you should exercise judgement and caution while ashore. I personally just don’t like running the gauntlet out of the cruise pier, where locals forcefully try to get you to buy into everything from private tours to hair braiding. If you don’t want that, expect to be offered drugs next. Then girls.

I’ve travelled through Egypt and the Middle East, and I’ve felt more uncomfortable on past visits to Nassau than I did in Port Said, a gritty port city on Egypt’s coast at the entrance to the Suez Canal.

Nassau, Bahamas, as seen from Carnival Elation. Photo © 2018 Aaron Saunders

So, I stayed onboard – and I had a lovely time. Carnival still offers plenty of things to do on port days. Bars are open. Restaurants are available for you to enjoy. And the ship is at your disposal, with no annoying crowds. I heartily encourage everyone to take one port of call they’ve been to already on their next cruise that they don’t really like and just stay onboard. It’s great.

One great thing about Nassau: excellent ship-spotting opportunities! Norwegian Sky, Carnival Pride, and Anthem of the Seas all lined up in a row. Photo © 2018 Aaron Saunders

I last saw Carnival Pride a year and a half ago, when I sailed from Baltimore to the Bahamas. Photo © 2018 Aaron Saunders

One thing I do enjoy about Nassau is ship-spotting, and today I wasn’t disappointed. Norwegian Sky, Carnival Pride, and Anthem of the Seas joined Carnival Elation in port today. Anthem was first to depart just before 3pm, and we followed just after 5pm, sailing past Norwegian Sky and Carnival Pride all lit up in the growing darkness.

Click here to read my Voyage Report aboard Carnival Pride to the Bahamas!

The stormy weather continued unabated, and the inter-island Bahamian ferry Fiesta Mail was having trouble handling the swells; her bow rising dramatically out of the water drooling spray from her anchor chains and thruster openings.

When the time came to leave Nassau…Photo © 2018 Aaron Saunders

…the weather had turned ominous. Photo © 2018 Aaron Saunders

Photo © 2018 Aaron Saunders

Passing the lighthouse…Photo © 2018 Aaron Saunders

…and heading out to sea. Photo © 2018 Aaron Saunders

Carnival Elation, meanwhile, was handling things much more gracefully, pitching gently back and forth with the swells and riding out our departure with a minimum of creaking and groaning. For a twenty-year-old ship, Carnival Elation is a sturdy, well-made vessel that plows through the ocean like a tank. Her deep draft helps with that, too, as does the fact that she’s not a hundred and eighty-seven decks tall. The taller the ship, the more high winds affect it.

Photo © 2018 Aaron Saunders

Photo © 2018 Aaron Saunders

Soon, we were out into the open expanse of the Atlantic Ocean, working our way through the Old Bahamas Channel and back up the coast of Florida towards Jacksonville. This may be our last port of call on this voyage, but it’s hardly our last day onboard this Fun Ship.

Photo © 2018 Aaron Saunders

Our Voyage Report onboard Carnival Cruise Line’s Carnival Elation continues tomorrow with one last Fun Day at Sea. Follow along on twitter by following @deckchairblog.

Carnival Elation to the Bahamas

January 22, 2018Jacksonville, FLEmbark4:00pm
January 23At Sea
January 24Half Moon Cay, Bahamas9:00am5:00pm
January 25Nassau, Bahamas8:00am5:00pm
January 26At Sea
January 27Jacksonville, FL8:00amDisembark

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