A few weeks back, I found a 4 day Bahamas cruise out of Port Canaveral for $25 a person plus taxes and port fees. It was over a long weekend, so we had to take minimal time off from work, and it was so inexpensive, so of course I grabbed it right up.
The cruise was on Carnival Magic and went to Nassau and Half Moon Cay, Bahamas. The first port of call was Nassau, followed by Half Moon Cay, then a day at sea.
Before we cruised I was hesitant because of all of the COVID-19 protocols and how cruising would be different from in the past. Before the cruise, you need to have been vaccinated and have a negative COVID test before you cruise. There are also ways to cruise without a vaccination, but you have to get exemptions (if you have a medical reason you can’t be vaccinated or are a child and cannot receive the vaccination yet). From what I hear though, the exemptions are not always given, so the best way is to be vaccinated before you travel if at all possible.
While you are on the cruise, you will have to wear a mask at embarkation, debarkation, in the elevators, the casinos, the theaters, dining rooms until you are seated; basically anywhere indoors that you can’t maintain 6 feet of social distancing. In Nassau, masks are required unless eating, drinking or swimming. In Half Moon Cay, you have to wear a mask while on the tender from the ship to the shore.
When we got off the ship in Nassau, we didn’t have an excursion booked. We did however have a few planned stops. Our first stop was the Parliament Buildings.
Then we headed to the Queens Staircase. We were also going to visit Fort Fincastle and the water tower, but they were still closed due to COVID. The Queen’s Staircase is a walkway of 66 steps (102 feet (31 m) in Nassau, the capital city of The Bahamas. It was carved out of solid limestone rock by 600 slaves between 1793 and 1794 to create an escape route from the fort above and is a major landmark of Nassau. The stairs are located at Fort Fincastle Historic Complex. The staircase has water cascading to a pool below, along the side over series of steps. At the bottom a walkway goes between high stone walls, tropical plants, and trees. In the 19th century the steps were later named in honor of Queen Victoria, who ended slavery in the British Empire. The number of steps is, by coincidence, equal to the number of years in Victoria’s reign.
After the Queens Staircase, we headed towards John Watling’s Distillery. On the way to the Distillery, you walk down an umbrella lined street with bouganvillia. It was just beautiful.
Once you are at John Watling’s Distillery, they give you a free sample of their rum in a pina colada taste, followed by a short tour of the building and distillery (ten minutes at the most). Following the tour, they take you to the gift shop and then the bar where you can sit and relax and enjoy a libation. We had a frozen passion fruit cocktail. It was very refreshing. While there, we asked for food recommendations.
They recommended that we go to Frankie Gone Bananas. When we were walking down Junkanoo Beach and were almost to Frankie’s, a man walked up to us, trying to get us to go to a Fish Fry near Frankie’s. He told us that Frankie Gone Bananas was closed, so we went to his Fish Fry, Drifters at Da Fish Fry. They are known for their Conch Salad. I had jerk chicken and hubby had the Conch Salad and Fried Lobster. The restaurant is not something to look at, but the food is good and it was nice to get out of the heat for a little while and sit down.
After lunch, we checked out Junkanoo Beach, took some photos of the Nassau Harbor Lighthouse. As we walked back to the ship, we stopped off and did some shopping. I wanted to go to the Straw Market, but it was closed. There are a lot of shops and establishments closed in Nassau from the Hurricane and COVID.
We headed back to the ship. Make sure you take a photo ID as well as your sign and sail card to get back into the port area.
Next port day was Half Moon Cay. I reserved a locker before the cruise because I knew I wouldn’t want to leave my camera on the beach while I went in the water. Getting the locker paid off because we were able to get off the ship with all other excursions. You have to take a water shuttle from the ship to the island. Excursions have priority to get on the water shuttle. Everyone else has to wait on the shuttle based on boarding assignment.
We spent the day at the beach just relaxing in the water and on the beach. We had a few frozen drinks, but they tasted like juice, so I don’t recommend the mixed drinks on the island. Hubby wanted to check out the volleyball courts, so we headed over and he played a few pickup games. After volleyball we were pretty hot, so headed back to the beach. Then we went for lunch. At Half Moon Cay, they provide an Island BBQ. It is complementary. We just waited to get back on the ship and use our CHEERS package to get our cocktails.
On our Sea Day, we slept in and then went to Sea Day Brunch. I played Bingo, we hung out at the Red Frog Pub, hung out on the pool deck and wasted a little money in the casino.
Everyday we went to the sit down breakfast and dinner in the main dining room. We never ate a meal on the buffet on Lido. We did eat tacos from the Blue Iguana Cantina and had a burger from Guy’s Burger Joint. The food was good, but nothing special. The desserts seemed to lack variety. Our serving staff for dinner was phenomenal.
Monday we debarked and headed home. I definitely feel like i got my moneys worth on this cruise.