The Bahamas are a chain of more than 3000 islands, cays and islets in the Atlantic Ocean. They are part of the West Indies and sit just north of Cuba.
Our first foray into the Bahamas was part of our 50th cruise with Jimmy and Claudia, where we set down in the capital Nassau on the island of New Providence. We were just one of several cruise ships to arrive on that day.
The islands of the Bahamas were mostly deserted between 1513 and 1648 after almost all on the native residents were forcibly removed and enslaved or died from diseases brought from Europe. In 1649, English colonists arrived establishing settlements.
We hit the streets, chased the tourist things, climbed the Queens Staircase up to the fort and then wandered along to the other fort. We even had time to stop and sample some of the local brews.
The Queen’s Staircase, commonly referred to as the 66 steps, is a major landmark that is located in the Fort Fincastle Historic Complex in Nassau.
It was carved out of solid limestone rock by slaves between 1793 and 1794
Fort Fincastle was built in around 1793 and was constructed of cut limestone.
It was placed on Bennet’s Hill to protect the Nassau town and its harbour from pirates.
Fort Charlotte is the largest battlement at 100 acres in size. It is so large that within the grounds are three different forts: Fort Charlotte in the east, Fort D’Arcy in the west, and Fort Stanley in the center. These massive stone structures feature cannons, moats, bridges, and other elements that make them fascinating to explore.
Fort Charlotte, It sits on a hill overlooking the west end of the harbour a mile west of downtown Nassau. From the fort you get an impressive view of Paradise Island, Nassau, and the harbour.
Fort Charlotte was built in 1788 and was named after the wife of King George III, Queen Saharia Charlotte. The middle bastion, Ft. Stanley and the western portion, Fort D’Arcy were added later. The fort has a moat, dungeons, underground passageways, and 42 cannons, which have never been fired in an act of aggression.
This time around we found ourselves being delivered at a place called Coco Cay. It is an entirely manufactured island that is owned and operated by the Royal Caribbean company solely for the use of their ships. It is advertised as Perfect Day at Coco Cay, and surprise surprise, that is the first thing that you see.
Looking back from the pier we saw our ship next to one of the newest and biggest ships of the Royal Caribbean fleet. The difference was incredible, especially when you think that our (little) one is 13 floors high. But the new one is about twice the width too.
From here you enter into the world of waterparks, theme parks, shopping and beach walks where the tourist is king. Everything on the island has been put there to amuse, entertain or fleece the clientele from a cruise ship.
Being a company island, the food and drinks kick in on the company coin. So unless you are after something extra, everything else is free. There are some individual, over the water, cabanas for rent at a price of around $2000 USD per day. But a beach chair ranged from free to $20 depending on where it was. The trinket shops were extra but the food and drink went on your cruise card.
The calm side of the island had a kid’s paddle beach sheltered on all sides. In the centre lives the largest pool in the Caribbean. This has the obligatory swim up bar and places to sit. But the private DJ playing tunes was the bit that did us in. Our beach time is preferred quiet and not with somebody else’s choice of music doing our heads in.
Coco Cay was a nice touch. Not something that you would want every day, but as a change it was quite nice.