Tag Archives: caribbean

Just Another Day in Paradise Island

So many of you are familiar with Atlantis, the massive waterpark in the Bahamas. And if you haven’t been there, you’re probably wondering if it’s worth all the hype (and the steep hotel/ticket prices.) Well, the answer is yes! Or at least partially yes. I’ll explain.

I was pretty excited when I found out we were stopping at Nassau. I’m not a huge water park person myself, but from what I’ve heard Atlantis is supposed to be kinda awesome so how could I pass up the opportunity to go? And well, the visit pretty much made me feel like a giddy little kid again, running from one water slide to the next and screaming my head off as I hit the drop, and jumped up shouting “again!” Man, I forgot how fun water parks are, but now I fear that all others may be ruined for me! Atlantis has everything to visually stimulate you: from multiple giant swimming pools with a beautiful coastline in the background to snorkeling areas and a dolphin cay to even a fantastic waterside that takes you through a shark tank. I myself am a beach bum and could spend hours napping in the sand, but I loved the convenience of being on the beach and walking over to a 120 ft drop water slide for an adrenaline rush, then stopping by a pool for a warm swim before returning to my towel. I absolutely recommend visiting Atlantis if you are ever in the Bahamas, and here’s a tip to make the trip more affordable:  If you are planning on staying in Nassau (instead of just doing a day trip with a cruise like I did) then save some money and stay at the Comfort Suites next door instead of at the resort. The hotel is closeby and you receive day passes to the waterpark with your room. The resort itself looks beautiful, but if you are the 90% of travelers that can’t afford it but you still want to check out the park then this is definitely the way to go. So head over to the Bahamas already – the lost city is waiting for you!

Challenger slides

Aquaventure shark tank waterslide (featuring Mom and Dad)

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Half Moon Cay

View from our cabana in Half Moon Cay, Carnival’s caribbean private island

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December 29, 2011 · 5:24 pm

Our Own Private Island – Carnival’s Island in the Bahamas

Raise your hand if you’ve ever dreamed about having your own private island! My best friend Dory and I like to daydream that one day we’ll have enough money to afford our own (New York Mag wrote a blurb about a tiny island that was a mere $8 million, what a steal!) Until that becomes a reality, Half Moon Cay will just have to do. Half Moon Cay, or Half Moon Key as the locals call it, is Carnival’s own private island in the Bahamas. And by locals I am referring to the twenty or so people that live on the island year round (not including the resident horses that love a good swim.) When a cruise ship rolls in, the staff on board also hops off and helps take care of everyone’s needs. Can I just say that the cruise staff is amazing! They really do it all, and they make the experience so wonderful. The morning we rolled into our own private island (I love saying that) it was a little rainy and cloudy. Fortunately, we had booked a cabana for the day and so we had shelter during the intermittent rain showers. I highly recommend reserving a cabana on this island if you are cruising with Carnival – it really is what saved us from having the day rained out. Also, it’s great for relief from the scorching hot sun as well since there aren’t umbrellas on the beach. The cabanas each seat up to 8 people, and comes with a table, some comfortable chairs to lay out in and also a stocked fridge with snacks and drinks. They also provide snorkel gear and some mats to float around in.

The island is huge and also has plenty of things to do to keep you busy. As I mentioned before there are horses on the island and on one excursion you can take a beach walk and swim while on the horses. While I didn’t do that, I did manage to get some quality time with the horses when I walked over to the corral. I would definitely recommend doing that if you come to Half Moon Key because the staff is so welcoming and went out of their way to let me pet the horses. Just go past the cabanas all the way down the beach and you’ll see them along the shore.

Half Moon Key was fantastic. When my sister and I emerged from the ocean after snorkeling right on the shore I remember thinking, “Yeah, I could definitely get used to this lifestyle.”  Maybe my next chapter should include relocating to an island and trading in my impatient New Yorker style with a laid back islander mentality. Can I bottle this attitude and take it with me at the very least?

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Grand Turk

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December 28, 2011 · 2:20 pm

Island in the Sun – Fabulous Grand Turk

Blue waters with white sand, a speeding catamaran, a captain’s rum special in my hand and “I love my life” blaring from the speakers with some Caribbean diving instructors dancing by the sail: every little ting’s gonna be alright.

It’s day 3 of my Caribbean cruise aboard the Carnival Destiny. Today we landed in Grand Turk and spent the morning laying out on the beach. The fish came right up alongside you as you stood in the water. In the afternoon Neetha and I hitched a ride on a snorkel excursion and took a catamaran to a prime snorkeling area. We were in water that was about 40-60 feet deep, but right alongside it is the drop-off which is this gigantic 7,000 foot drop down. Pretty cool to see. I also got to play with a new toy: a fun digital underwater camera! A must for water adventures. After snorkeling and getting up close and personal with some big fish we headed over to Governor’s Beach, a secluded spot of beautiful white sand that was just picture perfect. The crew brought some rum ashore (one of them called himself Dr. Feel Good, he’s awesome) and we continued the party on land with more music and swimming. Overall the catamaran/snorkeling excursion was about 3 hours and cost $90, which to me is absolutely worth it. Just zipping by the island on a catamaran with the wind in your hair and the beautiful scenery all around you makes it great, and the added snorkeling with a great crew makes it memorable. Carnival has many snorkel/scuba excursions but they do fill up fast so make sure to book in advance if you ever take one of their cruises. Tell Dr. Feel Good I said hello if you go!

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We’re on a Boat! The Carnival Destiny

Greetings from the Caribbean!

This week I’m cruising with Carnival as we check out 3 different islands in 5 days. The cruise ship is somewhat smaller than other cruise ships I’ve seen, but it’s still a good size. The first day at sea I had a late start and in turn I found it hard to snag a good sunny spot to lay out. Must note: when it’s a sea day (days that the ship doesn’t dock anywhere) make sure to get out to the deck early if you want a good spot. After lunch we managed to find some chairs in the sun and planted ourselves there for the rest of the afternoon. The staff is great – I’m always impressed by how friendly and courteous cruise staff is. All the time. It’s like they never have a bad day – its just not human! The entertainment is surprisingly good, too. My favorite so far has been the comedy shows. They have two finalists from Last Comic Standing, Adam Hunter and Louis Ramsay. Tonight we went and saw Louis for the “rated R” comedy hour after dinner. He was hilarious, and had the audience cracking up for the whole time. Another fun show was watching Superstar Karaoke, karaoke with a live band. There’s also a piano bar, a casino, a Latin music spot, a dance club… the list goes on. Carnival is known to cater to a somewhat younger crowd (less families than Royal Caribbean) and those with a lower budget. You can get a pretty great deal and I heard that some of the interior statements can be as low as $200-300, not bad at all! Even though I still prefer traveling on land and staying put in one location longer, the occasional cruise is always a nice change. And it’s best if you have an adventurous and fun partner in crime along as well. Happy sailing!

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Ahoy There! Cruising on Carnival Destiny

Aboard Destiny, Carnival Cruiseline

 

Ahoy there! I suppose many of my friends didn’t get the memo that I’ll be on a cruise in the Caribbean all week. These last few weeks have been hectic and I wasn’t even sure until last week if this trip was happening. We flew into Miami this morning and arrived on deck a few hours ago. We’ll be stopping in Grand Turks, the Bahamas and Carnival’s private island Half Moon Bay. The boat sets sail in an hour and then I’ll be out of pocket most of the time, but I’m really looking forward to taking lots of pictures and documenting the good, the bad and the ugly about the overall cruise experience. Oh, the things I do for research! But can I just say that so far so good with everything: Miami’s weather is fantastic, our rooms have balconies facing the back of the ship (and conveniently located next to a pool and bar) and the ship looks beautiful. More updates to come soon! Hope everyone is having a fantastic holiday season wherever you may be.

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December 26, 2011 · 4:16 pm