Dan's and Gaye's Cruise to the Bahamas!
February 2012

Dan and Gaye just before boarding the ship for the first time

The bow of our ship, the Carnival Ecstasy, towering over Port Canaveral

The gangway, into the hole in the side of the ship where we embarked and debarked.

Gaye is happily showing off our nice little interior stateroom.

Dan kissing Gaye as we went out to sea from Port Canaveral.

Gaye took this one of Dan, as he took a (short) break from taking pictures.

And, as the sun started to set, Dan took this picture of Gaye with her hair in the breeze.

The next day we had a port visit in Key West, Florida. Dan and Gaye, and our friend Ted, went geocaching! Here Dan's holding the cache itself, which was hidden IN the canoe suspended over his head in this little indoor/outdoor bar!

It was a very rainy day in Key West, but we didn't mind much, because it was so warm. Here's our ship at the pier, patiently waiting for us all to come back to her...

But first, Dan and Gaye wanted to visit the Key West Lighthouse. Built in 1847, and extended to 86 feet tall in 1894, it's the 15th oldest surviving lighthouse in the country.

Dan had Gaye take a picture of him at the lighthouse, just to prove we were really there!

Back on board the ship...yes, this REALLY IS the interior of our ship...a seven-story tall area, complete with glass elevators, called the Grand Atrium.

We tried to be good on the trip, physically – here Gaye rides a stationary bike in the ship's gymnasium!

And Dan worked out with her. That's the open sea visible through the window.

Gaye outside on the deck. This is the day after the Key West visit, and it was a day spent entirely at sea. Not boring at all, of course, there are a zillion things to do on the boat...including just resting and relaxing, and letting someone else drive!

Every cruise has an Elegant Dinner night, where everyone is encouraged to dress up. Dan and Gaye think they won at being the most dressed up: Dan in his Air Force mess dress, and Gaye in her sequined evening gown. Only one person asked Dan if he was the captain of the ship (!), and quite a few thanked him for his service to the country!

Here Gaye (still in her evening gown), with our friends Ted and Marcy, look at paintings in the ship's art gallery.

Then the next morning we came into Nassau, the Bahamas. This is the Crystal Cay lighthouse.

A view of our ship itself in the dawning light, with some folks watching as we approach the Nassau harbor.

This is Nassau's Paradise Island Lighthouse, with the sun rising behind it, and the famous Atlantis Resort behind it.

As our ship went past the Paradise Island Lighthouse, we could look back at it, lit by the rising sun, with the Atlantic Ocean stretching to the horizon.

As we went ashore in Nassau, the Bahamas, we had a great view of our ship, docked next to one of her sister ships. (There were three cruise ships in Nassau that day.)

As we walked through the old streets of Nassau, we eventually came to the Queen's Staircase. These steps were carved out by slaves in the 1790's, but renamed a century or so later to commemorate Queen Victoria and her role in the abolition of slavery.

Of course, we HAD to go geocaching! The only geocache in all of Nassau is at the base of the Queen's Staircase – and Dan found it!

Ted (center) signs the geocache's log book, while Gaye and Marcy prepare to trade some treasure items.

At the top of the Queen's Staircase are two major landmarks. This is the Nassau Water Tower, the highest point on the island, which since 1928 has also been an active lighthouse (Though the University of North Carolina's Lighthouse Directory says, "the light is more for aircraft than for ships.")

The other landmark at the top of the hill is Fort Fincastle, built by the British in 1793. The island was never attacked, so the cannons have never been fired – though given the view, it's tempting to joke about using the cannons to enforce no more than three cruise ships at a time...

A Bahamian cuisine specialty is conch fritters...and what better place to try them than Nassau's Conch Fritters Bar and Grill?

Here's Gaye across the table from Dan before we ordered our conch fritters, which, by the way, are delicious!

Then we had time to go the beach for a while! Here's a photo – across the amazingly clear water – of the Paradise Island Lighthouse.

and then Dan stood on a concrete breakwater to get this photo: the beautiful water, the beach and palm trees, and our ship (the middle one's the Ecstasy.)

You can definitely see the British colonial heritage in the traffic police uniforms!

Gaye happily smiling at Dan just before we boarded our ship to leave Nassau.

The sun setting just before we left the pier in Nassau. Dan really likes this photo because of the position of the seagulls.

As we left the harbor, we saw the moon rising next to the Atlantis Resort.

Later on, Gaye took a picture of Dan, dressed for dinner, reading the "Fun Times," which was the Ecstasy's daily listing of everything going on onboard the ship.

The next morning we disembarked in Freeport, the Bahamas, which is on the island of Grand Bahama (something like 130 miles across the ocean from Nassau). Dan liked the look of the palm trees against our ship.

We reserved a bicycling tour of Freeport and Port Lucaya! It was a very pleasant, intimate little tour group, too...even after two cruise ships worth of people came to Freeport, there were only SIX of us on the bike tour! Three couples!

This is our bicycling tour guide, Alex (on the right). He did a terrific job, and Dan and Gaye had a blast cycling around the island with the group for about 3 hours!

Gaye, in her cycling clothes, enjoys a short rest stop at a lovely section of beach. We came back here for a couple of hours after we were done biking.

Isn't this just the classic image that comes to mind when you think of a tropical paradise? Beach, ocean, palm tree, sunshine? We were there, and it was wonderful!

Then, at the end of the bike ride, we had a very pleasant surprise...the tour guide brought us to the Garden of the Groves, a botanical garden in Freeport for lunch! This is the view from our lunch table.

We had about an hour to wander and explore the Garden of the Groves. Dan and Gaye found a little gazebo, and when another group of tourists saw us kissing there, they volunteered to take our picture.

It was a lovely section of beach they took us to after our bike ride – not very crowded, but with a nice snack bar and changing rooms.

This is another view of the beach we went to after our bike ride.

Gaye at the beach!

Dan at the beach!

And, finally, a farewell photo of our ship – taken from the parking lot after we disemarked for the last time.

Bye! Thanks for visiting and sharing our fun in the Bahamas!

all images © 2012 dan bullock except as noted
permission granted for non-commercial use