This is one of many non fishing reports that I will be making. I hope to bring some useful info in case it might help you with any kind of decision you will be making about a trip on a cruise.
Well, I know it was a well deserved vacation for my wife and I and also for her sister and family. We all decided to hop on a cruise and this time try a different one as we normally would book it with Carnival Cruise lines. Many people had told us about Royal Caribbean being a top notch cruise line, but to me a cruise is a cruise. One thing for sure the people working on that ship told us that they were going through some serious cut backs. Well we felt those cut backs on the quality of food and drinks (not paid ones). None the less we did have plenty of fun on our own.
When we first arrived on the boat it was as any other cruise, a few lines to get in and then as soon as we got there we were ushered to the muster station, which was all done at a bar, they got us there in a rush just to sit us down and watch and hear the important stuff which was hard to hear among the so many people at the place. Same thing happens at other ships but on this particular voyage it all felt a bit disorganized. Well the emergency instructions were given and off to our rooms we went. We went into the rooms and our luggage was not there yet, we had to wait for it but as prepared as we were my wife and I had a change of cloths with us and so we got into some comfy outfits and kept on waiting for the luggage. Well, it was taking long so we went to check and see what was going on, the luggage was just sitting by the elevators and we were told that if we found our luggage to just take it and so we did. We were used to the other cruise line have our luggage waiting for us inside our room. No biggie, after getting there at 1pm it was now about 5:30pm and so off to having some fun we went…Our group got together and decided to meet at the top deck for a few picture taking opportunities.
On the way out: Government Cut on the left and a fisherman returning from fishing on the right.
Welcoming Party on the Sun Deck
Some other ships were also leaving Miami so we got some in the background. A few drinks were purchased and the night went on to dinner, unfortunately the tables only held up to ten people so one couple had to sit by themselves s on a table near us, they tried to accommodate us in one table but it was not possible due to the arm chairs taking so much space. Dinner was good but lacked flavor here in Miami we are used to lots of spices and flavorful meals, I guess you just can’t satisfy everyone but on our end the food was bland. The dessert, well the banana creme brulee was the only dessert I really did liked. I found it weird that in the main dining room menu they would put plates and coffee you had to pay for, some items which were included on other ships not of the same company so if not careful you could end up paying for a meal you though was included. You need to pay attention at the menu and items in boxes that have numbers next to them, LOL. After dinner it was off to a few night caps and some dancing and dancing we did. It was hard to find out where the fun was at not even the workers knew where to go for fun. We received our compass (itinerary) like on the second night
It was morning time and off to Coco Cay we went, we waited for the Tender boat and arrived to a desolated island, which was nice, we had heard a=of a nice quite beach on this island called Barefoot Beach and were told we need to walk a mile but it was much less than that. We found a spot on it and I got ready to explore the water snorkeling just to find out that it was 2 to 3 feet deep for miles on end. I must say I did enjoy snorkeling in 2 feet of water through the grass and as you would go there were pockets that were about 4 to 5 foot deep and many mountain like sand formations rising from the bottom of the sea floor was something really nice to see. It felt as if I was looking at pyramids on a dessert of grass at times. The water was beautifully clear and all felt as if I was inside a big aquarium but no fish were in sight with the exception of some small conch and old sand dollar skeletons. We spent a couple of hours in this area I was snorkeling while the rest of our family was resting on the shallow water. We all got hungry and so we went to look for the BBQ stands that were mentioned to us before hand. Arrg, again food was bland, but it was food and the fruit punch was more like water punch with kool aid flavor and as we saw the crew empty half a jug of juice into a bin and then filling it with water we realized why. Ok no problem I got a watermelon and added it to my juice, problem solved. After finding a table and eating we grabbed a few chairs and relaxed for a bit, took a nice nap and then it was back to our snorkeling adventure. I brought my own snorkeling set so my wife and I did not have to rent one. First impressions when in the water were ok the normal Sargent majors you find near rocks at any beach all over the Caribbean were there, then my wife and I decided to venture a little farther east to where there was a fence not allowing us to go any further, there we saw some dog snappers and nice size schools of grunts mixed in with a few blue tangs, brown tangs, and wrasses. We decided to go towards the middle and saw a tire on the sea floor it was full of life with several species in and out it’s surroundings. After that my wife was a bit tired and so we went back to shore and after she left to let ou r nephew’s son use the equipment I continued on to the the other side of the rocks which were facing the ocean, the water was much much cooler in this area and it was were most of the fish were. Thousands of sardines balling up getting harassed by bar jacks, yellow, jacks, blue runners, mutton snappers, and a singlebarracuda it was very nice to swing in between a nice size school of those barjacks and to be able to see that awesome iridescent blue line on their backs as they swam alive right in front of me, it felt so good to be there and took me back many years when I used to go diving on a much regular basis. I was able to take some video and some not so great pictures but at least I will be able to remember the day almost as brightly colored as it was. The day ended and back on the Tender it was. Tonight was formal night so we prepared for the picture taking and a nice dinner. On the other company’s ship this would have been lobster night but on Royal Caribbean we got served tiger shrimp instead if you wanted lobster you had to pay $29 additionally. What a shame, but still had a nice time. The night ended with a midnight buffet of yet again more bland food and bland desserts. Can’t say that all of the food was the same way, there were plates or single items that were tasty and kind of made up for the rest of filler food as I called it. Many people have a different way of liking things, me, I like flavor and it just wasn’t always there. Here are some pics of that day and night.
On the Tender boat and our arrival at Coco Cay, Bahamas. Great spot for a family shot
This is what the flats of Barefoot Beach look over and under the water
Kayak excursion passing by on the flats
Here is an underwater video I took in the flats of Barefoot Beach
Breaking out the snorkel at Coco Cay snorkeling area. Did bring my own and did not have to rent.
Underwater images from the Snorkeling area: Barjacks and Scaled sardines
Below is a video of the snorkeling and a small time lapse back to the ship
Last look at Coco Cay, Bahamas
On formal night. Every Cruise ship has a night were they give a grand dinner and you can take the opportunity to take professional pictures and you choose only the ones you want. We have done it before, this time we decided to save some $$ and take some pictures our selves. Well these are not professional pics but will do 🙂
On the third day it was Nassau and visit to Atlantis, been there before and as before it was awesome. So much to do there, our plans were to take a Taxi cab straight there since the cost was only $4 per person once there we were to just go to the aquariums which buying the tickets straight from Atlantis was only $45 bucks per person and that allowed you to walk around the premises and look at all the aquariums. We went through the main aquarium called The Dig, it has been about 8 months since my last visit and can tell you that most fish had lost their colors in comparison with the last time I was there. Most fish in captivity tend to do so, I was hoping that perhaps they would release most of the fish and restock with more species to keep the aquarium with lively colors. Perhaps many tourist that go there would not even know what color a mutton snapper or a Nassau Grouper really is. By the way I was really surprised to see several Nassau Groupers in captivity since they are pretty much endangered species. I was also surprised to see saw fish in captivity and big 10 to 12 foot ones at that. After the dig we went to to the predators tank which is where the saw fish were along with several species of sharks, trigger fish, barracudas, permits, and several species of groupers. In this aquarium there is a nice tunnel were the the fish swim over your heads. After the tunnel we ended by the Hammerhead tank, they keep a couple of 10 foot or so flat hammerheads in shallow water mimicking the flats of the Bahamas. You can see them fining through the water swiming in circles right behind jack crevales. There is a suspended bridge which is in between two observation towers, pretty cool to walk right through it while the hammer head swims right under. I am pretty sure the hammerhead does not appreciate being in there but that is what an aquarium is for, to show case fish and mammals. The day went by fast and we just had an opportunity to see one more aquarium and we were told of turtles so we went to see them and in the way we found a nice looking cave with yet another aquarium full of grunts shaping up a tornado figure in the water, it was pretty nice sight to see as the fish did look very healthy. As we got to the turtle pool they were being fed and soon after we got there we left. It was to late to go to the beach so we headed back to get get some souvenirs and back to the boat we went. It was another great experience being at Atlantis and so we will be back on another day.
Aquarium at The Dig
At the predator aquarium
At the Flats Hammerhead hanging bridge, one of the hammerheads is on the right
Stopped for a picture with my lovely wife
At the Cave Aquarium and the Turtle pool
That was the end of our mini vacation of which I brought back a nasty flue that kept me in bed most of the week and out of fishing for another weekend. Goodness for Tamil-flue pills and other antibiotics!!!!