Saturday, June 16, 2012

May 2012 - Carnival Pride - Part 3 - Nassau

Cassandra – 5/31/12 – Day 5 of the Cruise – Nassau, Bahamas (Atlantis, Paradise Island)

OK.. little disclaimer.. this will be VERY picture heavy, and also kinda wordy...  Hang in there with me please!

After the unexpected but really fun night, we were both kind of shocked to be up around 9:30am, and not feeling too badly either. Since we weren’t scheduled to dock in Nassau until 11, and our excursion to Atlantis Aquaventure didn’t meet until around 11:30, we took our time heading up for a little breakfast at the Mermaid Grill (we usually hit up the grill around the Lido deck stage as it seemed less crowded on most days than the buffet stations indoors).

Some shots of the ship pulling into the Nassau docks

My future house there in the background, hehe

We went back down to the room to get ready, pack up, and headed down to debark. We waited on the docks for the rest of the people doing excursions through Carnival to Atlantis, and then were finally led down the docks to where the van shuttles were waiting to take us. 

All the women were of course heckled by the Hair Braiders – Beverly, “like Beverly Hills” was trying her hardest to convince people to come back for braids. Gotta give them credit for trying. 

Some more shots of us being led through the resort

It was around 12:15 by the time got through the resort, led to the towel stations, and found the locker rentals. Woo Hoo, Lazy River! I wouldn’t exactly call this a “lazy river” – some of it is relaxing, but there are definitely little parts of rapids, waterfalls, and other surprises! It’s all a ton of fun – we opted to do the 2-person inner tube each time – much more fun! 

We went around the entire circuit 2-3 times, each time taking a slightly different route (the different river channels take you to different water slides and rapids). 

Storm Clouds a-brewing!

Luckily there are staff members both along the walls for safety, as well as in the water at certain points to keep everyone moving smoothly. Overall the currents are designed well enough to keep the flow of tube traffic all going in the same direction, but there are a few places where people can get in and out that are like whirlpool deadzones… we always seemed to get stuck in these and poor Chris was forced to try to paddle us back with the rest of the floating herd. (I was worthless as my alligator-length arms could barely touch water over the sides of the inner tube!)

Heat Lamps in here!

Ahhhh here it comes!!

The next suckers in line for the tsunami

Waves follow all the way down this section - uber-fun :)

After about 45 minutes, we were both getting hungry, so we headed to one of the appropriate stands that could take our lunch coupons (they no longer offer the excursion without taking the “lunch included” option, and the coupons aren't taken at every food pavillion). It came with a sandwich, fries, and a soda – we went to the "Shark Bites" eatery which is close to the Mayan Temple with the slides - I had a grilled chicken sandwich, Chris had a cheeseburger. Both were decent, nothing to write home about, but when you're hungry, it was good. I liked the fries (and evidently so did the numerous seagulls, lol... I saw a group fighting over a piece of chicken nugget and couldn't help thinking of that Family Guy episode... dude, that's bird your eating!)

After lunch, we walked around a bit to check out the lines for some of the other water slides…

The line for this one - the "Leap of Faith" takes you down through a tube under water in a shark tank -   was a bit too long for now.

Leap of Faith

We previously did this same excursion in Oct 2010, and the place wasn't crowded at all. It was more crowded today... however, I am sure it was nowhere near as packed as it can be on really busy days. We decided the lines for both the Racing Slides and the Serpent Slides (both accessible from the large Mayan-looking pyramid) weren't too bad, so first the racing slides (he won....). 

The Racing Slides

Next up was the Serpent Slide. We both love this one, as it done on an inner tube (or 2-person one as we opted for) and is a winding tunnel that comes out in a large acrylic tube that is actually under water where they have Nurse Sharks and Caribbean Reef Sharks swimming all around you! It slows down at this point and it’s REALLY cool to go floating along and see the sharks swimming all around you. In fact 2 of the Nurse Sharks were just chilling on top of the tunnel and we floated right underneath them! 

See that square tube to the right, under the water?  That's what you float through :)

Nurse Sharks chillin' on top of the tube 

By this point it was becoming more and more overcast and started to drizzle, but who cares, we were already wet! 

Then back to the lazy river we went to head around again and up through the Power Tower to do the other slide accessible from the lazy river. 

Some empties heading down to the rapids 

By this point we were ready for something a bit more exhilarating… the Abyss… this is a 200 foot drop that begins with 50 feet of a near vertical drop ending in a beautiful indoor lagoon.

The Abyss is hidden inside the Power Tower, so it's easy to miss, but I assure you, if you like water slides, this one is a Must. 

The Power Tower - The Abyss is inside

Holy crap this slide is For Real. Unfortunately we don't have any pictures of it, so you'll just have to take our word for it. You literally freefall for a few seconds as well! And luckily the line for it was nonexistent.

After that we did the lazy river one more time all the way around. 

Finally we hit up the Serpent Slide a second time before calling it a day, with the waterpark at least. We went back to the locker area, cleaned up, and set off to take some more pictures of the area.

FYI - the lockers are not free - we rented a small one which was big enough for my small backpack and our clothes and shoes. It was $7 for the day and I believe they only took a credit card. They had medium and large size lockers which I think were somewhere around $10-$12 and then $16-$17 for the day. No need to bring your own towels though - they were free, and you could swap out at any towel stand for fresh ones at any time.

Here's just some random pictures of the area... such a beautiful place! 

The bridge there is actually a penthouse suite, called the "Michael Jackson Suite" because he was the first to stay in it. It's $25,000 a night, with a 4 night minimum.... perhaps a few more years to save up... ha! 

As mentioned before, we were here previously in October 2010, and it was a sunnier day - we didn't get near as many photos this time around, I stole some shots from our trip in 2010 (nothing has changed!). 

This large area has Hammerhead Sharks swimming around

There is a beach area that people can enjoy as well - it was closed due to strong currents in 2010, but open this year. Unfortunately we never took advantage.

Ok back to 2012..

We found an area we missed last time, The Dig.

This is a large indoor aquarium that has some of the most interesting and breathtaking sea life I’ve ever seen. They even have a pair of “baby” Manta Rays that had a wing span of about 8 – 10 feet, but they can get up to over 28 feet across in the wild! Amazing creatures to see up close. 

I loved these little seahorses! 


No, my camera isn't upside down - this little guy just felt like showing off

See that little blue guy in the corner? He kept trying to photo-bomb all the pictures, so I finally gave him his own time to shine

I forget what these were called, but they were beautiful! 

And onward with the tour.. next stop: squeamish, beware!

First, some Jellyfish... evidently it was Jellyfish season out in the ocean (we saw a posted sign) but these were much safer to observe! 

Next stop on this tour... Moray Eels... ok, so we all know what eels look like, right.... yeah. Not these puppies......


These are what nightmares are made of....



..... Yeah told you...

And last but not least, some final images of The Dig.

There were some great pieces of Quartz set up throughout the area

These guys were so thin they were almost see-through.  Definitely could see their bones.

Whew... ok told you all this was gonna be a picture-heavy day! (The wordy part is still to come....)

Anyhoo... on with the show...

We decided to head back to the van shuttles because it was close to 5:30 and they were running every half hour or so until 7pm. On the way through the resort, we grabbed a few more photos. 

I also posed in the big chair and felt like a queen... a lot more comfortable than what I imagine the Iron Throne to feel like (shout out to all Game of Thrones fans out there!) 

Outside the resort close to where the shuttles are, is the marina... and some very impressive yachts... 

We still wanted to get in some shopping in the port area by the boat, specifically I wanted a new beach bag and Chris wanted to find a cool T-shirt, both from Del Sol. Evidently Rush Hour hits Nassau as well, as we hit some pretty heavy traffic coming back to the port.

Our van driver took us off the beaten path down some back alleys and we got to see a little of the areas you probably don’t want to walk around in.

Trust us, we did that on foot back in 2009 when Googlemaps steered us about a mile and a half inland in the wrong direction and were lucky enough to have a kind Nassau policeman escort us back to the safe areas! Not the kind of place you want to be walking looking like tourists...

We got dropped off by the pier around 5:50 and walked over to Bay Street where all the shops are. Everything closed. Apparently that rush hour traffic we were stuck in were all the shop employees going home. Bummer.

Travel Tip – if you wanna shop in Nassau and are on an excursion, don’t wait till after 5 to do so. 

The square close to the pier

City Hall

Feeling bummed out, we decided to head back to the ship to freshen up. 

We told our friends Chris and Lauren and Mike and Emily that we would meet them at Senior Frogs sometime in the early evening, since we didn't have to be back on board until 9:30pm. It was just enough time for me to snag some sushi as a snack, us to get quick showers (and Chris to make and suck down quick drink) and head back off the boat and down to the end of the pier area to Senior Frogs. This was our 3rd time in Nassau, and the first time we ever went there. It's about a 15 minute walk from walking off the ship to the bar (less if you're in a hurry). 

Sunset was close at hand on the way there.

This was the newly renovated Straw Market... it was closed up, but you can get an idea... 

Almost there!

We have arrived!

Think Hailey Joel Osment in the movie The 6th Sense… “I see drunk people”. There was all kinds of shenanigans going on – shots, balloon hats, singing, dancing – everyone all having a good time… not to mention drinking age here is 18.

We saw Mike and Emily first, ordered some Yards, and chatted a bit. Emily had already been indoctrinated into the Froggy style.

Yards in hand! 

We then found Chris and Lauren and hung out some more. 

The two Chris's and me

Keep in mind what Lauren is wearing - perhaps you'll see it later!

By this time I knew we needed to get some food in us, so we got a table and ordered some DELISH chicken quesadillas. 

The menu says it’s enough for 2 people, and they didn’t disappoint. That's actually 2 quesadillas stacked on top of each other

At some point I was donned with the Flower Crown... or as Mike thought, a hat with balls in my face 

Chris noticed this disclaimer on the back of the yards and had to get a picture... priceless... (it's funny 'cause it's true) 

Nighttime snuck up on us...

We hung out till around 8:45, Chris bought a t-shirt from the gift shop, and the 6 of us made our way back to the ship (but not before being by asked by a local if we wanted some coke.. and not the soda.. obviously we just kept walking… wow talk about being bold!)

...And now we come to the wordy (but entertaining) part of the day... please keep hanging in! Will it be worth it?'ll have to follow along and find out!

Mike and Emily were really interesting in doing The Quest later that night (an adults-only scavenger hunt type game) but it wasn’t for a few more hours, so we went to the Piano Bar for a bit.

As people were just getting back to the ship, it wasn’t too crowded, and we got what we thought was a good seat at the bar… then in comes a big crowd that had just gotten back from Senor Frogs as well (the yards and balloon hats were giveaways… not to mention we saw a few of them dancing on tables earlier). I’m all for people having a good time, don’t get me wrong – but when you are constantly bumping into me, and slurring, perhaps it’s time to say goodnight. One member of their group did just that and laid her head down right on the bar and fell asleep .

But no, tequila shots were ordered all around and they kept the party going... “I see really drunk people.”

I got annoyed quick and left the bar area and took a seat a little further back, and Chris eventually joined me.

Then Lauren and the other Chris showed up and we all stayed a bit longer (and felt adventurous and grabbed seats at the bar again) till it got closer to the time for The Quest. 


Lauren’s Chris wanted to hit up the blackjack tables, but Lauren decided to come with us (thankfully, as you’ll soon see!)

The Quest was in the Butterflies Lounge (under the main stage Taj Mahal) and Emily and Mike were already there with seats in the front row. They know what they are doing

Now, Chris and I had never done this before – we’ve read reviews where people have done it and heard it was a lot of fun, so we were willing to give it a try – and we came to find out there’s a good reason they make sure it’s 18 and older! The 3 of us joined up with Emily and Mike, and Gumby (and yet another Chris) from the Entertainment staff was there to host.

We needed teams of 6-8 people, so there was another couple close to us who we invited to make a group of 7. They handed out laminated team numbers to each group, we were Lucky Team #13

The object was to be the fastest team up to the front with the required items – usually only one person from each team needed – the first, second, and third fastest teams got the most points respectively (I think 5, 4, and 3), then all the other teams all got the same lowest amount.

They also warn you to leave all your inhibitions at the door – luckily Chris did, and Mr. Competitive came out to play

The first round was for 4 Sail and Sign cards… easy peasy – Chris immediately took the lead man role and was our team “runner”. We were close to the stage and he got there first. Win!

The second item was for 2 belts – Chris didn’t have one, but luckily Mike and the guy from the other team (unfortunately we never caught their names) were Johnny on the Spot and we got first for that round as well.

By this point, I remembered from a previous review (Mike and Tracy's I believe) something about women’s bras, so I gave a head's up to Lauren and Emily, and we prepared just in case… and hey! Round 3 asked for 3 bras – woo hoo – they were off quicker than a wink and Chris dutifully ran up with 3 bras in hand. First again!

By this point, we were cracking up, and I have to admit I forget some of the questions now. I know one was for 2 male team members holding hands and skipping, and Gumby ran all over the lounge and made all the teams skip-to-my-lou after Gumby – unfortunately we certainly didn’t first or even second for that one.

Other ones we got pretty quickly were 2 pairs of men’s shorts – Chris and our other guy immediately ran up while taking off their shorts and we got first in that as well. (Gumby told them as they got up there that he just wanted the shorts – they didn’t need to be removed – haha! I’m sure Gumby loved it all the same.) 

Our 2 Boxer-Champions

One of the rounds was for a Tramp Stamp, and Lauren immediately took the reins and ran up for the team – she was even so excited to get first place that she didn’t have time to untuck her shirt – she just turned around and pulled up her skirt to show Gumby – that’s our girl! First again! He told her she had really cute undies, btw, lol!

One round was for a man wearing girl’s shoes – I gave Chris my slide sandals, yeah he enjoyed trying to shove his size 12’s into a women’s 6.5, but we still got either 1st or 2nd on that one too!

Another question we got unexpectedly was for a form of birth control – none of us had anything, and then the other girl on our team had an idea, took the team number card, and ran up… we still have no idea what she told Gumby, but we got points for it! Score!

Finally the last one I remember was a female doing the worm – I took one for the team and got up there and did the worm, poorly, but it counted for 2nd place. 

Of all the questions, there were 2 we didn’t even get a point for – a man doing a split was one – all guys flat out refused, even Chris. None of these guys are flexible, I tell ya…

The other one was for a piercing below the neck. Out of all of us, no one had even a navel ring. Of course we were all joking we could go up and say we had a piercing in a place we couldn’t show – but none of us were that brave.

Then it came time for the big round…

A man in women’s clothes and a woman in man’s clothes – obviously from the same team.

Chris and Lauren immediately hopped up and began stripping down to undies and swapping – hilarious! (And may I add I was relieved Lauren was there who had no qualms about it!) Luckily both their clothes were easy to take off and put back on quickly, and they made it up there either first or second… 

Unfortunately I don't have any shots of them both lined up there next to each other, but I love this one 

Then came time for the finale… the girls in men’s clothes had to go back to their teams and leave the men up on stage… and each team was given 2 minutes to “accessorize” their man as best they could… we added purses, shoes, watches, Emily slathered some lip gloss on, I surrendered my engagement ring which he could barely fit on his pinky (thought some bling would help), my tiny feet shoes again, and my wristlet purse. To top it all off, we handed him a Bud Light. LOL. 

I see you flippin me the bird there

Love those legs!

Then as if that mortification wasn’t enough, each guy had to do a catwalk across the stage and show off their goods. We were cheering the loudest for my baby! 

Then the crowd had to cheer for each person in turn – and the top 3 were chosen by Chris, the entertainment staffer (too many Chris’s!) My Chris was selected 1st (He swears it's because he showed some leg LOL) 

But alas, out of the top three, the final vote came down to the crowd, and the two other teams came in first – we still got points for 3rd place. Chris just couldn’t channel his inner RuPaul as well as the other 2 (which is probably a good thing)…

I'm sorry, I still think he's a hottie 

After everyone was settled down, clothes returned to the proper people, and the points were all tallied, it was time for the big reveal.

We had a feeling we at least placed, but were worried about the questions we took zeros on – plus we definitely didn’t come in first for everything.

The prize for 3rd place was one bottle of champagne. We held our breath… and it wasn’t us.

Ok down to 2nd. Prizes up for grabs were another single bottle of champagne, plus Carnival medals for each member of the team (which for anyone who hasn’t seen the medals yet – they aren’t for each ship like the Ships on Sticks – they just say Carnival – so don’t worry for all you collectors out there, there isn’t something else you have to worry about winning on each cruise). ....…and not us!!

Ok, by this point we were all looking at each other half-worried, half-hopeful. There was no way we didn’t at least place – right?! The first place prize was 4 bottles of champagne and the Carnival medals…..


Looks like lack of inhibition and Chris’s uber-competitiveness paid off! 

We all floated out of there giddy off our win, and decided what to do next. We went with Lauren to find her Chris, but he wasn’t in the casino, so she left to her room to find him.

I decided to go back to the room to make another drink and said I’d meet Chris back in the Piano Bar. When I got there, there was still a decent crowd there, but Chris was sitting down in one of the loungers with an irritated look on his face… I sat down and couldn’t miss the show going on in front of me – directly in front of the piano and Roger the Piano Man… one of the earlier crowd was there with a “new found boyfriend” and let’s just say some people really need to know when enough is enough (and I've got nothing against kissing, or normal public displays of affection). Like take advantage of one of the 2000+ rooms on board, or at least a dark secluded corner. Not smack dab in the middle of where the Piano is in the PIANO BAR... in the words of the ESPN football analysts.... 'cmon MAN!

We got up and left, and unfortunately the whole thing just turned us off from the piano bar for the rest of the trip – not due to anything Roger did (which I felt really bad for not going back and giving him our support) but purely out of knowing that group would likely be in there… and honestly I wouldn’t have been able to look at some of them (and of course I kept seeing certain people for the rest of the trip in random places on the ship). Luckily it didn’t turn us off from all Piano Bars completely, and we are really looking forward to frequenting it on our next sailing.

At this point it was getting late, but we weren’t quite ready to head back to the room so we went up to Serenity and laid on a hammock for a while. Then stopped to grab some waters from Mermaid grill and saw Emily and Mike, so sat down and chatted with them (and relived our impressive Quest win) before heading back to the room and bedtime around 1am.

That brings an end to Part 3 of this little journey!  Our final days of the trip will be wrapped up in Part 4, coming to a new blog post near you shortly.  

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