I just returned from a cruise to the Bahamas. The cruise was with Royal Carribbean, on the Sovereign of the Seas. The Sovereign weighs 73 thousand tons, 880 feet long and 106 feet wide. It can carry 2,852 passengers and its maiden voyage was on January 16, 1988. It has 2 outdoor pools and spas, a fitness center, a beauty salon, a casino, a basketball half-court, a rock climbing wall, two cinemas, and themed bars and lounges. There was even a quaint little library on board. Compared to the famous Titanic, the Sovereign is twice its size.
- Jan 5 – Port Canaveral, FL (Depart 5:00pm)
- Jan 6 – Cococay, Bahamas (8:00am – 5:00pm)
- Jan 7 – Nassau, Bahamas (7:00am – 1am that night)
- Jan 8 – Day at Sea
- Jan 9 – Port Canaveral, FL (Arrive 9:00am)
Since there were only two stops on this four-day cruise, the majority of our time was spent on ship. There were numerous activities everyday. On the first day, there was the Welcome Aboard Showtime and comedy shows with Joey Van (professional impressionist) and Carlos Oscar. Day Two was Gameshow Night with “Battle of the Sexes” and “The Quest”. The first gameshow pitted men and women against each other in a Family Feud type of contest. The second gameshow had various teams doing various “daring” tasks like a man wearing a woman’s bra, a man and woman exchanging clothes, getting two pairs of men’s pants, etc. The team with the most points gets a prize. There was also a “Rock on Broadway” show on the second night that futured famous tunes from well-known productions like Grease, Rent, and Jesus Christ Superstar. On Day Three, there was a “Love and Marriage Gameshow.” There were three couples. A spouse from each couple were asked to step away while the other were asked questions. The absent spouse would return and guess the answer. Whoever guessed right would receive points. The first couple were newlyweds. The second couple were married for 6 years. And, the last couple were married for 34 years. The longest lasting couple, ironically, got only 1 out of 8 answers matched. Whereas the newlyweds had the most answers matched. After the gameshow, Blair Shannon did a wonderful singing comedy show.
The best comedy show had to be the comedy magic of Levent. L and I sat in the front row. Even though we were so close to the stage, we were still amazed by his tricks. He swallowed double-edged razor blades and tied them to a string inside his mouth. He did very funny rabbit tricks. He tied and untied scarves without even touching them. And, he inhaled a potted plant as his finale. Throughout, he spoke constantly. He was so intense! Definitely the best show we saw throughout the cruise.
Every night on the cruise there was a karaoke singing contest. The first three nights determined 3 finalists. The last night pitted all nine final contestants against each other. Too bad L and I never saw a competition. It might have been amusing.
There were also various artists playing in the different lounges.
THE DINING EXPERIENCE
Breakfast was buffet or sit-down in the dining halls. I definitely prefer the buffet since the food was the same but I could eat as much as I want on my own time instead of ordering it through a waiter.
Lunch was also available, but I usually ate so much during the morning and know that I would eat a lot at dinner that I skipped lunch altogether.
The dinners were unbelievable. Our primary waiter was Evilya, a Russian-looking fellow who spoke passable English but did everything he could to make our dining experience unbelievable. I believe I am now spoiled rotten. With the assistance of Julian, the assistant waiter, our food was no less than perfect, and our beverage cups (cranberry juice, water and champagne for me) were never empty. Well, the champagne was limited to how many bottles we had. The food was very good. So good, in fact, that I had to take pictures.
The dining experience really is a significant part of the cruise. No where have I received such a level of attentive service. Definitely a highlight. No wonder every veteran cruiser I spoke with said a lot of good things about eating on a cruise.
Room service was free, too.
L and I paid an extra $50 each to upgrade our room to the sixth deck with an unobstructed pictureview. We shared a queen-sized bed. There was a vanity table and mirror, a decent sized closet and a standing shower with standard sink and toilet. Our room was made twice each day. Once in the morning and another time in the evening where our bed was made ready to slip into bed. Also, the stateroom attendant would make neat towel animals every night. The first two nights were bunnies. Then we had a dog and a hanging monkey on the last night. The hanging monkey scared me pretty well.
Very relaxing. Although there was much to do, there was never any rush or any urgency. We could lounge in all these places. The top deck on the lawn chairs during the evening was a favorite of L’s and mine. I loved the library onboard. Although I never participated, I read there was a cigar aficionados getogether every night at the library from nine until midnight. When I visited the library on the last day, there was not a hint of tobacco in the air. I wonder how they managed to do that?
There were also several dance floors. And, L and I finally got our chance to dance. Had a load of fun, of course. But, we really need some formal lessons. Not because she sucks or anything. In fact, she learns awful quick. But, lessons really solidifies the principles and would give us a lot of practice. Sometime in the future, I guess.
Of the two island stops we made, Cococay was more like what I expected from a trip to the Bahamas. It was a small island that was hardly developed. The coastal water was shallow enough for snorkling. I rented a set of snorkling equipment and managed to chase a humongous manta ray. I saw tunas that were half my body size and many colorful schools of fish. Hammocks and lawn chairs were scattered throughout the island for people to rest and soak the sun. Beautiful and restful experience.
It is a big island, but we only saw a small fraction of it. In fact, we never really left the area where the ship was docked. The island is huge and we could’ve taken a taxi and traveled to Love Beach or Cable Beach or some of the cays to the south. The day was pretty cold though when we were there. So, I guess it didn’t really matter that we did not make it to any of those beaches. At least we had Cococay.
We visited Atlantis, the famously opulent hotel-casino on Paradise Island. It was decked out. More fancy than The Venetian in Las Vegas. There is a suite that looks like a bridge that connects the two towers of the hotel. It costs $25,000 per night with a minimum of a four-night stay.
A lot of shops in Nassau. According to one of the tour guides, the Bahamas gained its independence from British rule during the mid-1970s. Since then, tourism has been its primary trade. Offshore banking is its next big trade. Ninety-five percent of its food is imported from the US.