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KathyLR 11-28-2012 09:46 AM

Newbie questions about Nassau shore excursions
Hello! My 19 yo daughter and myself (55) are taking a short cruise out of Miami next month, the first port of call is Nassau. We've never cruised, and are very confused about this business of choosing and pre-booking shore excursions.

First, almost all the 'cool' excursions (per my dd) are water-based, and I'm afraid it will be too chilly in late Dec. to enjoy these. If so, no refunds, right? The Atlantis ones especially are pricey.

Next, what if I don't prebook and wait to do this on the ship or even (possible?) once we get to Nassau. This would allow me to see what the weather will be--but are the likely to be sold out? I do want to avoid disappointment if possible.

Also, is it possible to book excursions similar to the ones offered through RC, are they cheaper, and if so can you recommend an agency you've had good experience with?

Has anyone done the Atlantis Ultimate Tour NSE9? This involves snuba and the water park--what do you think of this for a 55 yo woman who can swim but is not particularly athletic?

Finally, what else is there to do in Nassau that doesn't involve water, in case it's really chilly? Is the shopping good or is it touristy stuff?

I appreciate any help you can give me. Thanks for reading!


Dave 11-28-2012 01:36 PM

Hi Kathy.

Which ship are you going on? Majesty Of The Seas?

You can wait and book tours on the cruise. Despite their dire warnings about 'some tours selling out fast' I have always considered it a sales ploy in most cases. This would give you an idea of how weather will be without committing to a tour weeks ahead. And yes, just because it is too cold for you is not a valid reason for a refund.

Nassau is indeed largely touristy as far as shopping, but then how else are you going to get the t-shirts to prove you went there? :)

Atlantis is mighty proud of their resort and the prices reflect it. The ultimate tour has a lot of physical activity, but then you don't have to do it all. Still it is a $300 commitment. claustrophobic are you? That is one of the biggest issues some have with it.

KathyLR 11-28-2012 02:45 PM

Hi Dave, thanks for the response. Yes, we are on the Majesty of the Seas. When I mentioned touristy shopping, it was because a friend suggested I skip all the excursions and just shop in Nassau. But I can't imagine spending any length of time shopping for souvenirs.

Have you been to Atlantis? Would you recommend spending the day there?

I'm having trouble imagining what we'll do both on the ship and in the ports of call to tell the truth. I don't drink and my daughter is underage, so that leaves out lounge and bar type things and whatever entertainment they offer. My daughter is too old for the teen activity or club or whatever they call it aboard ship. It seems there are shows and ? during the hours we are sailing, others have talked about "so much to do" but when I read the descriptions on the RC website it sounds like shops, dining venues, and lounges on board...and the pool of course if it's warm, or the water is heated.

I'm sure we'll have fun however it goes. I recently lost my husband/she her father, and we are basically running away from home for Christmas :-)


Dave 11-28-2012 03:26 PM

You can have a great time in the lounges and not drink. Your daughter will be able to go to the lounges if she wants. They don't card people at the door to see if they are 21. She just can't buy booze once inside. There is no requirement to buy drinks just to occupy a table. It isn't like a night club on land where you have to buy something in order to stay. The bands and acts on cruise ships are normally very good and the big production shows are excellent.

If you can afford it, Atlantis is a fun place for the day. It is easily the most popular place on Nassau. Now, please be aware that Nassau has it's share of pan-handlers and in the port area you will encounter some. This type of thing is not allowed in Atlantis. Nassau is a safe place but you do need to keep aware of your surroundings, just as in any U.S. city.

Also, realize that the Majesty OTS is now the oldest ship in the Royal Caribbean fleet. I'm not saying it is a bad ship, just that you may encounter an odd odor here and there if on lower decks and might see some things that appear 'dated'. It is still a great ship and has a loyal following. Majesty was the first Royal Caribbean ship I cruised on way back in 1993 when she was new. If you have a standard outside or inside cabin, don't expect it to be the size of a motel room because they aren't. They are a very snug 119 square feet, including the bathroom. But despite the size they are very functional and good enough for a short getaway. You aren't in the cabin much anyway.

KathyLR 11-28-2012 04:28 PM

Dave thank you so much! I had been assuming my daughter wouldn't be allowed in areas where alcohol is served on board. Your explanation helps alot.

We are aware that the ship is the oldest in the fleet. I figured, as complete newcomers to cruising, the Majesty would be fine for a first outing.

You've been a big help :-)


MCPayne 11-28-2012 04:31 PM

Hi KathyLR

I was on the Majesty for my first cruise back in 2007. I think that's a good choice for your first cruise. A short cruise, and a relatively small ship compared to the others in RCI's fleet.

Yes, there is lots to do during the times you are at sea. At least one pool will be open 24 hours. I don't believe the water is heated, but I could be wrong. It may feel good, since it may be hot and humid when you're on your cruise. The bars and lounges also sell soda, so as Dave mentioned, your daughter won't have a problem getting into the lounges; she just can't buy alcohol.

Also, regarding Bingo nights, your daughter cannot claim a prize, as Bingo is still considered a form of gambling, and you must be 21. Your daughter can play, but I believe if she wins, then you must claim her prize.

There are also shows each night in the auditorium / theater either before or after dinner, depending on what seating you have for dinner (main seating, second seating, or My Time Dining, or whatever RCI calls it). You do not have to attend these shows, just something to keep in mind.

Enjoy! Don't say you weren't warned if you come back from your cruise, and are hooked!

Dave 11-28-2012 06:07 PM

Go to karaoke if they have it! It is a blast on a cruise ship. Also, if you see more than one thing you want on the dinner menu tell your waiter you want to try both when ordering.

As first timers, remember that for a closed loop voyage such as yours, you don't need a passport but will need a photo ID (drivers license) and an original or certified copy of a birth certificate issued by a government entity. Of course, passports are best.

Please ask any and all other questions you might have. The membership in our little forum has more experience than you'll find in other places.

poormom 11-29-2012 04:20 AM

While none of us can give you the 'right' answer on the weather, it should be fairly warm. Last year I think was exceptionally cold. Today's weather says it's going to be in the 80's. Also please realize that the weather forecast will almost always list thunder shower. Please don't be put off by this. It always rains for a little while in the Caribbean.
You will get a cruise compass in your cabin each day with various activities listed. There is usually something for everyone.
A ship is a great place to unwind with no phone signal and limited internet.
Please come back after your cruise and let us know what you think.
We hope you'll be hooked like the rest of us.
I'm sorry for the loss of your husband. I'm glad that you and your daughter have each other and are taking some down time together.

papaflamingo 12-08-2012 04:24 AM

Kathy, if you get this before you leave. You don't say the dates you are leaving, but if you are on the Dec. 24 cruise, you'll be in Coco Cay. This is a private island and is a great place for water activities. If you are into snorkeling, this is a great place to do it. You can rent all the gear and simply snorkel offshore. All food is provided and you use your cruise card to purchase drinks. Also if you are soda drinkers, consider a soda card. Unlimited sodas for the price of about 3 per day. Makes life easier.
We were in the Bahamas many years ago the day after Christmas. They have their Junkanoo Festival. Looks like you will be there the next day so it's possible that the stores may be closed.
If you don't want to go to Atlantis or another shore tour, try checking Nassau tourism on line and find out what they recommend for tourists. There are free beaches available and other historic things to check out.
Hope you enjoy the cruise. I know it will be "bittersweet," but have a Merry Christmas.

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