Our Florida & Bahamas Cruise 2016
So this is the second part of the cruise blog from our trip in 2016 on the Anthem of the Seas (first part here). This covers Days 5 to 8 in the Bahamas and onboard, our return to New York for Easter 2016 and our flight home to Dublin. Enjoy!
Day 5 Cruise
Wednesday, March 23, 2016 (Evening Attire: Casual)
Docked: 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM
We arrived shortly after 9am. CocoCay is Royal Caribbean's private island. On CocoCay we chose to go for the shaded Beach Loungers located on the South Beach of CocoCay (the beach formerly known as Barefoot Beach). We disembarked the ship in the morning around 10:30 AM, and made our way to the Shore Excursions desk on the island.
Here, at the back of the building a tram picked us up, and brought us on our way down to the Lounger area. If you are not a fan of long walks in the heat, this is a great option. Upon arrival, we walked over to the shaded bar area where we were greeted by our attendant. We were handed our towels, and were shown which loungers were available to us (the loungers are available on a first come; first serve basis so if you have a particular space in mind plan on getting there early).
We selected our lounger, and our attendant followed us with a cooler of water and a fruit plate. Our two beach mats were already brought out and leaning up against one side of our clamshell lounger.
We relaxed for a little bit and grabbed a Coco Loco from the bar where we were first greeted by our attendant, who was available there for us the remainder of the day. We also had a stroll along the beach to the water's edge.
We very much enjoyed relaxing in the shade of our cabanette. I would highly recommend this to anyone looking for a quiet, calm beach day. Beach Loungers may be reserved ahead of your cruise via the Cruise Planner. The price is usually for two people, and included you receive 2 floating beach mats, 2 bottles of water, towels, and transportation in addition to the reserved shaded "clamshell" loungers. We had a BBQ lunch included which was great with all of the usual fare (burgers, steaks, chops, salads, desserts and drinks).
CocoCay, Bahamas is unbelievably beautiful. The azure sea and white sand are spectacular. Back in 2016, the island was quiet but in the intervening years, Royal Caribbean has developed it further with new pools etc. (read here) At the end of our day, we turned our towels back in to our attendant and made our way back to the tenders. I would go again in a heartbeat!!
We were back onboard that evening and after a quick shower we were ready for dinner!!
Day 6 Cruise
Thursday, March 24, 2016 (Evening Attire: Casual)
Docked: 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM
In beautiful Nassau (Bahamas), we docked shortly after 9am.
We had booked a tour through Viator with Islandz Tours to do a Rum and Walking Tour! We met our guide, Jason, at the Pirate's Pub located near the cruise terminal on King and George Streets. We explored the rum-infused highlights of Nassau in just a few hours on this walking tour, ideal for a shore excursion. We learnt about the Bahamas’ long history of rum making and visited a pirate-themed pub. A highlight for me was seeing where the Governor lives and also visting Graycliff Mansion (now a hotel) with it's amazing swimming pool:
We filled up on conch fritters, boozy sweets, and rum cocktails. It also included a tour and tasting at John Watling’s Distillery at the historic Buena Vista estate....and a visit to the Easter Bunny in a chocolate shop:
After the tour, we also paid a visit to the Bacardi Store & Bar Lounge located steps from the cruise ship port and historic Nassau Straw Market in the downtown area of Bay Street. Bacardi is Charlie’s tipple of choice so we had to pay a visit here 😊. The store sells all the Bacardi portfolio of brands, plus a variety of branded accessories not available to the public in independent retail stores.
While the bright red exterior of the two-story store features the Bacardi name and the trademark bat, the selection inside also includes both spirits and accessories from Grey Goose vodka, Bombay Sapphire gin, Dewar’s Scotch whiskey, Cazadores tequila and other Bacardi-owned brands.
You’ll find Bacardi red wind-breaker jackets, white guayaberas and black polo shirts. There are also Grey Goose golf bags and martini glasses; Dewar’s golf umbrellas and backpacks; Bombay Sapphire beach towels and sun visors, and Cazadores cowboy hats. The store also offers a selection of higher-end spirits only available in limited distribution, including Bacardi Reserva Limitada, Rubi Rey, Dewar’s Signature and Aberfeldy Single Malt. We really enjoyed the visit here and loved watching the world go by from the verandah.
Back on board we had dinner that night in The Solarium Bistro which was delicious.
Days 7 & 8 Cruise
At Sea (Atlantic Ocean)
Friday & Saturday, March 25 & 26 2016 (Evening Attire: Casual)
The next two days we were relaxing out at seas on the Atlantic on our way back to New York. We did many of the activities on board including the casino:
On the second day at sea, March 26th we booked to do the All Access Tour of our ship, Anthem of the Seas. If you’ve ever wondered how much food it takes to feed an entire cruise ship? Or how many thousand pounds of laundry linens are done during a sailing? This is the tour for you then!!
We started this 3-hour tour at 9:20 in the morning after our breakfast and went behind-the-scenes of the ships’ operations. In the Galley, we learnt how dishes are prepared and where the ingredients are stored.
It was fascinating to see how waste is managed and how the ship aims to recycle glass, cans and paper.
The laundry rooms were just gob-smacking!
We explored the Engine Control Room and the crew corridor, known as I-95. We got an exclusive tour of the Bridge — the navigational centre of the ship — and its array of equipment, operating manuals and reference books.
Above: A View From The Bridge on Anthem of the Seas - 26 March 2016
We experienced the ultimate behind-the-scenes adventure from bow to stern, on the Royal Caribbean All Access Tour for sure!!
Days 9 Cruise Ends
Sunday, March 27 2016
Back in Cape Liberty we transferred by taxi to New York City on Easter Sunday morning of 2016, we had hired a day room through Hotels by Day at the Best Western Premier Herald Square at 48 West 38th Street as our flight back to Ireland via London wasn’t until 1855 that evening with British Airways. It was somewhere to take a rest, get refreshed and leave our cruise luggage for the day. We chose this hotel for its proximity to Madison Square Garden which we both wanted to see. As home to some of New York’s favourite pro teams – NBA’s New York Knicks and the NHL’s New York Rangers – and host to scores of legendary boxing matches and concerts, The World’s Most Famous Arena® is a must-see during any trip to New York City.
We had booked the All Access Tour with Viator which allowed us visit exclusive, behind-the-scenes parts of The Garden and hear its nearly 150-year history from an expert tour guide who knew every iconic story and moment. Tours run daily from 10:30am to 2:00pm and depart approximately every half hour.
Charlie and I even got to don some boxing gloves and do a bit of sparring: I got to channel my inner Katie Taylor!!
After the tour of The Garden, we got to do some last-minute shopping and had a lovely lunch after which we took some last-minute shots of NYC.
All too soon we were on our way back by taxi from our day hotel to JFK for our overnight flight to Dublin via London. New York and the cruise to Florida and the Bahamas had been a blast and we enjoyed it all!!
Bucket List Items Ticked Off in the above Blog 90
Number 34 - Eat/ Drink Regional Food and Drink
Other Blog Posts
Blog 11 - Sydney, Australia
Blog 12 - Hong Kong, China
Blog 17 - Beijing, Xi'an & Shanghai, China
Blog 19 - California, USA
Blog 27 - Scotland
Blog 28 - Barbados
Blog 29 - Canada
Blog 30 - Alaska
Blog 31 - Everglades, Florida
Have you ever been on a cruise to the Bahamas? Tell me about your experience in the comments section below.
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My name is Mary and this is my bucket list blog ...having survived a near-death experience. I hope it encourages you to "live your best life". See how I'm completing my own bucket list items. And let me know how you're getting on with yours!