Friday, February 10, 2012


The second port of call is Nassau.  From the ship it looks like most islands in the area.  The wharf is surrounded by low colorful buildings most of which catering to the cruise traveler.  Farther away are houses and then the rest of the island.
The one MAJOR difference is located off the stern of the ship.....Paradise Island and Atlantis.  The large coral colored resort with lots to offer.  Today's excursion is a tour of Atlantis.  There is a travel agent tour available for a fee, but when added to getting a cab, it is just easier to do it through the ship.
Again it is leave the ship and figure out where to wait for our excursion.  I'm not sure if this is how NCL does it at all ports or just in  the Bahamas.  After waiting at the end of the pier, we walk to the waiting bus, along with most of the ship it seems.  The bus is small to navigate the streets, and has these unusual seats that fold down and fill in the area that was the passageway.  Not sure if that feature would make it here.
A short ride later and we are dropped off at the Atlantis.  The original hotel building, the Beach Tower, was in the new many years ago when Donald Trump and Merv Griffin were bidding over it.  Since then man other structures have been added to the resort, the Coral and Royal Towers, the Reef, the Cove and much more.  Our tour starts in the lobby leading to the Royal Tower.
There is a shopping arcade that connects many of the buildings.  There are many upscale shops with designer merchandise and then stores offering souvenirs and Atlantis branded items.  Once through the arcade we enter the casino.  It is arraigned like most with slot machines and gaming tables.  The most stunning feature are three blown glass sculptures hanging from the ceiling by Dale Chiluly.  They are quite dramatic.
Once through the casino we enter the lobby of the Royal Tower.  It features soaring spaces and beautiful decor if a bit too much for my tastes.  We walk down a sweeping staircase under a soaring dome.  On the lower level is the main part of our tour....the Marine Habitat.  It is a large aquarium complex of tanks featuring various species of marine life.  The tanks are also decorated with the ruins of the lost city of Atlantis.  So the tour guide while pointing out the marine life is also telling the tale of the lost city, this made it very entertaining.
After the official tour is completed, the group is free to wander around the resort.  Use of some of the facilities is included, but not the waterpark.  We wandered back through the shopping area, then went out and waited for our shuttle.  On the way back to the ship we experienced a typical tropical shower, heavy downpour for 10 minutes, then sunshine.
The shuttle dropped us off at the pier and we decided to wander around before boarding the ship.  Most of the shops are the same as the rest of the Caribbean ports.  The only real difference is the Straw Market with small local vendors.  I did purchase a lapel pin of the Bahamian flag, and also a Christmas ornament made from a shell.  A nice walk back down the pier and aboard the ship for a late lunch.

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