In between our visit to Biscayne National Park and the Everglades National Park we are going to explore parts of the Caribbean on a cruise. This 5 day cruise will take us to Grand Turk, Half Moon Cay in the Bahamas, and Nassau. We have visited Nassau once before 15 years ago where we enjoyed a submarine excursion through some very beautiful waters being amazed at the colors of the fish and the ship wreck while looking into the Abyss as the ocean floor dropped out of site. Claustrophobia entered for a brief time as the submarine began sinking until the sites of the ocean floor came into view. We enjoy cruises as they allow us to experience a number of different places in a short period of time.
This wasn’t always the case. During our first few cruises we primarily wanted to stay on the ship and just relax. We would get off the ship for a little while and shop in the local stores and then return never really exploring the destination just enjoying the ocean breeze. One of the reasons for this was the cost of excursions at a time when we didn’t have the disposable income for traveling. Another reason was a lack of desire to explore along with wanting to lounge around and relax. As I have gotten older and in more of a routine of daily life, there is a greater desire to experience new things and explore areas I have not been to before. Excursions make a tremendous difference in the number of memories there are while on a cruise.
These excursions don’t always have to be booked through the cruise line itself, especially with the internet access today. There are many destinations that have tourist information online where you can look for tours other than what the cruise line is offering. We are looking into a dolphin swim in Nassau that is not offered by the cruise line we are taking. Sometimes going off on an unplanned excursion can make just as many memories or more because it was spontaneous. One of the times we did this was in Montego Bay, Jamaica. We negotiated a price with a taxi to take us to some of the highlights of Montego Bay and began our sightseeing. We were able to see the area botanical gardens and climb Dunn’s River Falls for a lot less than we would have paid from a cruise ship and we had more freedom to see what we wanted for the length of time we wanted.
One concern of creating your own excursions is that they are not cruise sanctioned so you have to be very aware of the time because the cruise ship likely will not wait for you if you are unable to get back to the ship on time. I have tested this return time on more than one occasion and it is not a pleasant experience. Fortunately I have made it back with enough time to get back on the ship. On at least one occasion I have joined security as they were getting back on the ship and closing the doors. After all was done, I made the most of this brief stop and have some great memories and a lot of laughs now. Some of my family members won’t go with me on my custom made excursions because I make them to nervous about getting back to the ship on time. This reminds me, I probably should keep my passport with me this trip so that if I do end up missing the boat, I can still get home!