NCL Sky Cruise/Nassau Atlantis - Sept 19 - Oct 4, 2009

Sept 19th thru Oct 4th, 2009

Florida and NCL Sky cruise
and trip to Nassau Bahamas for a week!

Ports of call on NCL Sky cruise: Freeport, Bahamas; Nassau, Bahamas; and Great Stirrup Cay, Bahamas

We began our trip with a couple days in Florida before jumping on the Norwegian Sky (NCL Cruise line) then another couple days in Florida. The weather was great and I was coming off of several days with the flu. So the warm weather was so much appreciated. From there it would be off to the Atlantis in Nassau, Bahamas. Who needs Calgone to take you away when you got the Atlantis to go to. lol

So lets get back to the start. Our Florida trip was compliments of a store that Bob uses so it was nice to go enjoy three nights in Florida along with a 4 night cruise for free (except tips on board the ship). The hotel "Howard Johnson's" in Miami was like being in a foreign country though. The hotel was newly remodeled and very nice but we might have been the only people there that spoke English as their first language.

I spent a lot of time at the pool and in the hot sun trying to get well. And of course on the laptop. lol
There was a mall just across the road so we headed over there and had dinner at one of our favorite hamburger places, Fuddruckers. On the walk back to the hotel we saw that the Marriott Hotel was having an Ed Hardy sample shirt sale. Well, being a big "Jon and Kate plus Eight" Fan, I had to see what these shirts would cost and if it was worth it to buy any. And even on sale at $50 plus for a t-shirt - we passed.

After another day of rest and great sleep, it was off to catch our ship. WE are not NCL fans but we love any free cruise (even though hubby says he won't cruise with NCL again if it is free) WE just don't love freestyle dinner cruising I guess. We were also put on a floor that was very unusual. It was called deck 6a and you had to go to deck 7 and go down steps to get to it. Strange. Very few rooms and I would suggest to everyone to be sure you dont' get it. Ours was the last room on the floor and unfortunately, right next to when the anchor rope whines in and out of the ship. Makes for some early mornings if you are going into a port. And we had ports everyday.
The cabin was fairly small (NCL inside cabins are known to be) but very clean and nice. And since this ship use to do the Hawaii itinerary full time, it had that Hawaiian theme to it.
I love sail away parties as it gives me a chance to let loose with some line dancing. (Bob isn't into that) So here we are in the photo below, sailing next to Miami Beach and in the right photo, the Bon Voyage Party had begun by the pool with Line dancing. So here I come.

As we walked around the ship (I took photos) we stopped for a quick shot or two of basketball for Bob. Then a great dinner, goodnight sleep, and early wake up, it was off the ship to Freeport Bahamas. We walked off the ship and grabbed a taxi van they were trying to fill up. The main town was about 12 miles away. It was an extremely hot day but we didn't wear swimsuits so no beach cooling off. It was just checking out the town. The beach was beautiful and I got some nice shots of the town.

Next port of call would be Nassau in the Bahamas. Since we go here every year and we would be here just in a week, I chose to not get off the ship and to lay at the pool while Bob used the internet right off the ship. This day served two purposes: I would start on my tan and he could get some catching up done with work. But Nassau is one beautiful place and my first time to really see the Atlantis from a ship. Awesome!
Above you can see the straw market in town is hopping while the below photos show the Atlantis's main building "Royal towers" in the left photo and in the right photo the Harborside Atlantis Time Sharing. (which sits right next to the Royal Towers (separated by the marina canal)

Our final port of call was NCL's private island "Great Stirrup Cay" I love private islands but this day - I didn't get off the ship. What a disappointment. We had a great evening the night before even taking in the show which was very good. (except I had to look through the banisters to see) But the anchor was lowered in the wee hours and we got woke up. We ended up going to eat breakfast very early and heading back to the room. Then we laid down and fell asleep and woke up after lunch. Since it was coming up a cloud and my sore throat was back, we just passed on getting off the ship and laid out by the pool. I was very disappointed in myself because I had been here before and loved the snorkeling but this time - no luck. I did take some photos from the deck of the ship.

The following day we were back in Miami. We decided to rent a car for the day and that way we didn't have to pay the huge price of the taxi back to the Howard Johnson's. Back at the hotel, I hit the pool and Bob hit the computer to get work caught up. For dinner, we found a cool Pizza place called Cici's that ended up being great. For $4.99 you got all the pizza you wanted and dessert. And the pizza was extremely good. And if they didn't have it on the buffet line - just ask and they would make it.
Then back to the hotel for a movie in the room and a good night sleep. Since breakfast was included, we ate at the hotel and then Bob took the car back to the airport and the free shuttle brought him back to the hotel. We spent the day laying out at the pool and soaking up the sun. Tonight was going to be a big night. I had met a guy and talked with him on classmates cruise site and we would be meeting him and his wife for dinner at the Red Lobster Restaurant. Of the huge group that discusses cruises on the site, A.J. is one of them but the only one that lives in Miami's port. So Bob and I met him and his wife, Jeannie at Red Lobster for a wonderful dinner and conversation. They dropped us off at the hotel afterwards where we got packed for our flight the next day for the second leg of our trip. Back to Nassau. lol
Once in Nassau, we met my sister Diana and her husband Marty at the airport. We got settled in at the time sharing, then walked around the Atlantis and then off to bed. Up the next day to rent a car, buy groceries, and give them a tour of the island. Drive by tour that is. First stop was at Fort Montagu. It was built in 1741 and doesn't seem to have a huge amount of it left. It can not be toured from the inside but the outside looks very cool.

After moments of rain, being lost, and seeing some awesome things including a cool lighthouse, it was a stop at Stuart Cove's. They are a great company to use for water sports and the guys would be doing a dive later in the week.
From there it was to the Sacred Place. It is a beautiful place but across from the Brewery which usually has cargo ships sitting in front of it. The statues are carved from the tree trunks and are awesome. They are carved into people and they overlook the ocean. You will also see in the below photos chairs that were carved from the tree trunks. A great place to sit and admire the beauty.
By the time we completed the island drive, we had worked up an appetite and needed to relax from Bob almost running us out of gas. The best spot, Arawak. All the local fisherman bring their fresh fish here to sell to the many restaurants. So if you love fish, this is the place to go. Our favorite one is Oh Andros. It is our yearly stop for fresh fish. They have the best conch fritters for appetizers which is a great deal. (10 for $3.00) And the grouper is soooooooo good. Once we were done eating it was a great place to watch the sun as it reflected off the buildings of the Atlantis and provided us with a beautiful sunset.

Across from Arawak you will find Fort Charlotte. Even though the sun was setting, we decided to check it out. First stop was the Conservation Center. What was left reminded me of a small ship sitting there. I did climb to the top and got a great view of the Disney ship as it begin to sail out of Nassau port into the sunset. But the photos were blurry so you have to settle for the photo of the ship sitting at the pier with the sun reflecting off of it and the Atlantis buildings behind it. (photo above)Next was the larger building of the fort. It was getting dark and the fort was closed so we just viewed part of it from the outside. Below is a photo of the section we saw.
Back at the Atlantis "Harborside" time sharing, we cooked, ate and played some games. It is the rainy season at the Atlantis so you can expect rain showers to pass over the small island at times every day. And out of the seven days - we saw those rain/storm clouds most days. In the following photos you will see the many things offered at the Atlantis along with the many species of fish, aquariums, the Dig, etc. So take a walk through the Atlantis with us.

First, one of the things the Atlantis offers is free movies in their very nice theatre. They post the daily shows so that you can pick and choose which ones. And that means three or four different ones over the days activities. They do sell popcorn, sodas and candy but not much different than the prices you will find at any theatre.

The Atlantis has many maps throughout the property to help find where you are going. If you need a small map, just ask at the desk when you check in. There are many buildings and since the Atlantis spreads out across alot of the Paradise Island, you might need it to find sometime you really want to see.
Here you can see the flying fish fountain that is below the bridge that connects the two Royal Towers. The bridge is known to have had many celebrities stay there including Micheal Jackson. The below photos show the Mayan Temple water slides. In the photo on the left is the two slides that continue through the sharks tank while on the right is the other side of the Mayan Temple. On this side you can race to the finish on the double slide. So pick someone and try to beat them.

On another side of the Mayan Temple you will find a few smaller slides that take you to a nice warm pool. Here is Diana and Marty as they slide their way into the pool.

As you walk around the water aquariums you have many directions you can go. It may be through an underground tunnel that is filled with fish or this rope swing bridge that crosses over the hammerhead sharks swimming below. Here is Marty, Bob and Diana as they cross the bridge. Below you can see the huge pool at the Royal Towers on the left while the right photo shows the lagoon area which has many water activities to enjoy.

And you can see there are hammerhead sharks, other species of sharks, all kinds of stingrays among many other fish to see. If you look close in the bottom photo on the right - we called them the Louis Vutton rays as the design on their backs remind us of their purses. lol (click on the photo to enlarge it if you need to)

They offer many very fancy restaurants like Fathoms, Chop Stixs, Waters Edge, just to name a few, but you will also see small places around the pools for lunch meals or small snacks. But remember that the cost to eat in Nassau is expensive and at the Atlantis is super expensive. You will also find Ben and Jerry's ice cream to indulge in. We always do. lol

And just because the Atlantis tends to feature a water park that adults are to enjoy (along with a casino and expensive restaurants) all kids will find something to enjoy. Below is the little kids water area.
As for those watching your weight, for the cost of $15 a day, $27.20 for 2-day pass, $40 for 3- day pass or $50 for a 4-7 day pass, you can use the awesome fitness center. They have a Mandara Spa next to the fitness center which offers facials, massages, body therapy among many other things. Just remember that they include a 20% service fee/tip for the services.
If you dont' want to swim with the dophins, at least just go watch them. This trip we were either lucky or not so lucky as the Atlantis was having their new advertisement being filmed. So we really got to see the dolphins show out but also had to suffer with areas of the park being shut down due to filming of that area. Oh well, what fun watching the filming going on. Below you will see the dolphins (notice the black screen built behind it for filming) and I even have a very short video you can watch of the dolphins.

Below is part of the structure that is between the Royal and Coral Towers. All three of the orginal buildings; Royal, Coral, and Beach towers, are connected without having to go outside. Even though going outside the buildings let you see more adventurous things and unique aquariums. This building is the center of the casino that is between the Royal and Coral towers. Many of you may recognize this building because the World Poker Tour came here. The two glass structures below the building are located in the casino. They are made from blown glass and are truly beautiful as everything in the Atlantis is.

Across from the check in at the Royal Towers you will find this area. If you look close, the lower area houses the entrance to the huge famous aquarium called "The Dig!" Yes, the Dig houses some very unique fish along with two huge manarays. This is the area of the Atlantis that best gives you a feel of the city of Atlantis that was flooded with water. Which is the theme of this place. Absolutely amazing. I won't go into details as I have posted regarding the Dig in my yearly blog other times but I did try to add some different photos of within the Dig from this trip. Hope you enjoy them.

Below is a video of the Manarays during feeding time. If you look close during the video, you will see the white bucket put into the water to show the manarays it is their feeding time. They then go up to the top and the worker empties the bucket of fish into the manaray's mouth while hundreds of other fish watch to catch what is dropped. Amazing thing to watch. This video is taken watching the fish below the water. As you continue to check out the blog - you will find another video from another feeding of the manarays but taken from the top of the aquarium. . Amazing.

As I said, we will now go to another feeding that we watched later in the week. This time it was from the top of the aquarium. Here you can see a person is feeding them holding the bucket and pouring the food into the manarays mouth. After the feeding is completed (which means each manaray has to be given 30 pounds of fish twice a day) you will see the manarays do flips in the water. (not completely jumping out of the water lol) So check out the below pictures and video showing this. Awesome to watch.

Once we decide to head back to Harborside, we can catch a shuttle that will take us back. Shuttles run from the Royal Tower, Coral Tower, Beach Towers, Harborside, The Cove, and the resident called The Reef. Here we are standing at the Royal Towers waiting for our shuttle. Our room is just across the canal in those buildings.

Back at the room you can see that Bob is enjoying some reading time on the deck one moment but on the internet working another moment.

Below you can see one of the storms that crossed the island while on the right you can see our view from the deck looking down into the Marina.

And below is our pool at the Harborside. Bob, Marty and Diana stay cool while reading and doing suduko at the pool.

We do have one main restaurant at the Harborside. It is called the Point and is located out by the pool. There is also a snack stand that you can get nachos and small snacks. Bob and I have eaten at this restaurant before and it was very good and fairly reasonable considering the prices of all food in Nassau.

From the Harborside pool area you can get a great view of the two bridges that take you over to Paradise Island from New Providence, Nassau. One is used to come over (which cost $1) and one to go back (free). No head on collisions here. lol In the below right photo is the ferry (for $6 roundtrip) that will take you from Paradise Island over to the pier where the ships come in. (drop you off pretty much at the Straw Market and close to town when you can try many restaurants, do a lot of shopping and see some historical parts of Nassau)

Below you will see Diana and Marty in Marina Village. Marina Village is filled with many high in stores along with nice restaurants and even a Johnny Rockets. But our favorite place is Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream. And of course, this night we all enjoyed an ice cream cone. The Marina Village is also where most of the largest ships dock. There are always some huge yachts in there when we visit.

Below is another great shot of the Royal Towers at the Atlantis and a photo of the Cove Beach at the Cove Hotel.

But for the most fun - head to the Power of Tower. Yes, that tower in the below photo on the left houses many water slides that will keep your heart pumping (and bruise your behind if you aren't careful). So in the below photos, look close and you just might find Diana and Marty and Bob, enjoying the different areas of the Rapids River (Crazy lazy river I call it)

And if you think I missed out on the fun - well look again - here is the look from my view. lol Nice pedicure huh!!!!!!!!!!!! lol

One very special thing that happened on this trip to the Atlantis was that the Season Premiere of the Ugly Betty show would be played at the Atlantis Theatre and since we were there - we would be invited. Well, we don't watch Ugly Betty but if movie stars are around, I am in to see them. lol So we skip dinner and clean up and head to the red carpet arrival of the actors/actresses of the Ugly Betty Show with tickets to see the premiere in hand. (By the way - they had the Season Premiere there because some of the episodes of Ugly Betty are recorded there at the Cove. So watch in November for those episodes)

With front row view of the actors and actresses arriving on the red carpet - I could literally breathe their air. (not that I was that into them. lol) But it was very fun to see.

Once in the theatre the next treat was ANYTHING you wanted to eat and drink was on the house. OH my gosh - never stood in a line so long in my life. M&M's, popcorn, soda, bottle water, any kind of candy you can name, hot dogs - get what you want and return as much as you wanted until they closed. Wow, who cares about dinner tonight - lets just pig out on candy and popcorn. lol So we did. lol Below you can see that before the show started, they brought the writer and producter on stage to speak and then the entire cast which you can see in this picute, America Ferrara did the speaking. Fabulous
What a great finale to a great week. Who would have thought it. On our return trip to the airport, I grabbed a last minute photo of the cemetery where Anna Nicole Smith and her son Daniel now lay to rest in unmarked graves. Even with all the fighting they rest in peace here in Atlantis at the Westlake Cemetery.
I was hoping to get one final photo of the Atlantis from the air but the plane did a sharp turn before it came into site. But what a great shot of the beautiful water that surrounds Nassau and the many hotels that line up on Cable Beach. Stunning.
Well, we once again say goodbye to our home away from home. We have truly enjoyed this two weeks away and hope that Diana and Marty enjoyed the Atlantis even with the down pours of rain. We always leave here knowing that we will return so there is always next year.
Thanks again to all my followers and others for keeping up with our travels. Remember that you are welcome to post any comments and/or questions regarding these trips. We look forward to more trips and hope you come back and enjoy them with us.
The End


  1. Wow, there are some beautiful photos - especially a few of those sunsets!
    So as for not liking NCL, is it just the freestyle dining, or does it go deeper than that?
    Obviously when you get a bad cabin it's no fun...but that could happen anytime...
    just curious

  2. Scott, you are correct in that we really don't enjoy freestyle dining. We enjoy more having a table of people to eat with and getting to know each of them. We also really like to get to know our waiter and him get to know us. We have always found the service (since freestyling began) to be average on NCL versus above average to extremely great on other lines.

    Last, as far as the cabin, probably anywhere on the ship but that 6a level would be great. So when working with your clients, be sure to avoid that if you are booking on NCL. lol

  3. What a nice blog, I just enjoying of reading. I see you was in wonderful vacation in Bahamas. I also like to take my family there on vacations. We have a great deal with easy Click Travel agency with benefits to some places. I wish you good luck and enjoy your vacations.

  4. Great blog, enjoyed the trip with you.


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