Meh – interjection – as defined by UrbanDictionary.com: Indifference; the verbal equivalent of a shrug of the shoulders…
That pretty much sums up my opinion of the Freeport port of call on our Bahamian cruise. Mind you, it was SUPPOSED to be a good day. We were scheduled for a several hour long snorkeling trip off the coast of Freeport. We had our swimsuits on, sunscreen packed, and were getting ready to leave when we found the ominious note on our cabin door. “Due to inclement weather your Snorkeling Adventure excursion has been cancelled. Please visit the Excursions desk to schedule an alternative excursion.” Well, not an exact quote, but close enough. Apparently the seas were a bit too rough for this excursion (and several others, including a Glass Bottom boat ride and sub-scooter adventure).
Well, we went to the excursion desk (along with several dozen other people in the same boat as us – no pun intended). There were NO other excursions that really piqued our interest, so we just decided to “wing it”. We changed into normal clothes, grabbed our cameras, and stood in line waiting for a shuttle into the port. We were told on the ship that a trip into the city would cost only $5 each, but they didn’t mention that it would only be that price if we “partied up” with several other visitors and shared a multi-passenger minivan. Well, we crammed 10 people into a small Mitsubishi van and headed into the city.
I use the term “city” loosely, as the only activities at this port seemed to be shopping or gambling. There were several small “straw shops”, restaurants, and jewelry stores clumped in the tourist area we were taken to. Straw shops are essentially booths run by locals selling all manner of souvenirs of the islands, generally made in China. Most of the same stuff was available in the gift shop on the ship, but buying them there would not have given us the exposure to the “local culture”… There were also a couple large hotels with private beaches, and a casino. We spent some time walking around the straw shops, actually purchased a couple of items, and were tempted to find something to eat. Our “smarts” got the better of us, though – why spend money for food in port when we can go back to the ship and eat free?
We finally just went to one of the hotel’s private beaches and sat in the shade for awhile. At this time I found some interesting tricks that my camera would do, so we had fun taking weird pictures. This afternoon was really very restful, pretty much what I wanted of a vacation, so I can’t complain about this.
We ended up spending quite a bit of time in the casino while we waited for our shuttle to take us back to the ship. I’d like to say we won a fortune, but the slots in this casino were the tightest I’ve ever seen. Machines we were familiar with that would generally give a bonus game every 20 spins or so in Washington casinos only gave bonus games every 100-150 spins. Needless to say, the only thing we got out of the casino visit was a free drink.
In order to save money getting back to the ship, we had arranged with the others on our shuttle to meet the same shuttle and driver for the return trip at a specific time. This would enable us to all get the $5 rate again. We were approached by several other shipmates who wanted to return earlier, but they needed more people for their van in order to keep the cost down. Well, we liked our driver Lloyd, so we decided to wait until our appointed time to return.
We returned to the ship and spent the rest of the day enjoying the amenities of the ship. We took a dip in the pool and hot tub, had a few drinks, had some good food, and relaxed before attending the shows on board that evening. One thing that caught us unawares was that the pool and hot tub were filled with salt water. We have only been on one other cruise and didn’t use the pool then (it was an Alaskan cruise after all) so this was a surprise to us. Oh, did I mention my camera was waterproof? 🙂
I should also mention at this point that neither Polly or I are big on paying $10 for a mixed drink, $8 for a beer, or $5 for a soda. Fortunately, before each of the shows in the theater they offered two for one mixed drinks, so we took advantage of this any time we could. The rest of the time was problematic, however. Polly is okay drinking water, milk, and tea (all of which were free), but I’m a soda kind of guy. Fortunately the cruise offered a special on soda purchases – buy their special glass, get a sticker on your keycard, and you can get all the soda you want at any bar. This was only $25 for the whole cruise, so I took advantage of it. And I know I got my money’s worth over the course of the trip, especially at $5 per drink.
We then took the opportunity to watch the sunset and take some nice photos before we went to the onboard musical show.
The shows in the ship’s theatre that evening were very entertaining, so the day wasn’t a total waste. First was a very funny comic named Tim Kaminski. He did an act based on the Wizard of Oz using several “volunteers” from the audience. Very funny. The second show was a musical revue type show called Soul Rockin’ Nights or some such. The singers and dancers were all excellent, and we enjoyed the show. After the show we tried a few more night shots of the ship and the sky to see what we could get. Some of them came our really nice. But the time was late, and we needed to get back to the room since we had to get up at the ungodly hour of 10:00 or so to enjoy our next port of call, Nassau.
When we got back to the room, we discovered it had been taken over by a fierce wild animal that had stolen Polly’s sunglasses, but since he didn’t attack, we figured it was safe…
Have fun and ride safe,