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Home > Member Reviews > vanderpike's Port Reviews of Freeport, Nassau, Half Moon Cay

vanderpike's Port Reviews of Freeport, Nassau, Half Moon Cay
Carnival Ecstasy cruise in November 2012
Member Name: vanderpike
Cruise Date: November 2012
Embarkation: Port Canaveral
Destination: Bahamas
Member Review: vanderpike's Carnival Ecstasy Review
Port Rating: Not Rated
We have done Freeport before and chose to skip this port and just stay on the ship and enjoy the sun from lounge chairs on the Lido deck. This probably had something to do with just getting on the ship the afternoon before. We wanted to relax.

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Port Rating: 5.0 out of 5+
We exited the boat and wandered around downtown shopping. If you are into jewelry, bags, etc... this is your place. However, I purchased a couple of beach towels in the straw market and we walked back to the port entry area and grabbed a taxi to Paradise Beach. Be prepared for the ride of your life! Driving is CRAZY. Do NOT rent the scooters that are also available -- I'm sure they are fine, but you may not survive the traffic. No joke. Our taxi driver was a hoot -- I think he pulled over three times to schmooze local ladies. Trust us to pick the ladies man. ha! But island folks walk to the beat of a Bahamian drum so just relax and enjoy the flavor of the island. He took us to the free public area and dropped us off for a day of sand and surf. (He charged $11 which we thought was decent, but surprisingly the ride back was only $8) So he was a money-making ladies man! We entered the beach thru a small area of fencing and walked up a small hill and at the crest, a tan sandy beach and lovely blue water greeted our eyes. Lounge chairs were available for rent, but our cheap bottoms just sat on our new towels from the straw market. Drinks were available as well and served to you right on the beach. Vendors do walk up and down the beach but if you don't want the wooden flute, or the conch shell or the beach bags or shell necklaces, etc... just say No thank you and they move on. No pressure (as opposed to the straw market which gets a little old!) Walked back down to where we got dropped off and taxis were waiting. This time our driver took some back roads which were much less traveled, but also showed some of the more depressed areas. It made it much easier to pay $11 again instead of the $8 he charged -- blessed are we who have lives that include vacations!
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Half Moon Cay
Port Rating: Not Rated
I have three syllables for you... OH EM GEE! Half Moon Cay is spectacular! I did not know what a tender was, but all that turned out to mean was a small boat would pull up close to the cruis ship, a gangway connected and you exited the cruise ship onto the boat which transferred you to the island. With 3,000 passengers on the Ecstasy and about 200 capacity on the boat, it takes a while to get everyone to the island. But once your eyes feast on the powder white beach and Caribbean blue water you would gladly do it again! While still on the Ecstasy, they direct you to a lounge area to be assigned a number. You wait in the lounge until your number is called and head down to board the small boat. It actually worked pretty smoothly. Immediately upon entering the island there are shops, an information booth, restrooms, and a bar. If you following the red brick path you will continue down the length of beach with multiple points of beach entry along the way (signage is good, you won't get lost). There are also cute little bars along the way. Near the end is a pirate ship bar that has a great view from the second floor. A shaded picnic area is available for the luncheon, but could have cared less about food. We just wanted to hit that beach. It was GORGEOUS. They have private cabana rentals that include some food and beverage along with rattan seating, misting fans, air conditioning, water floats, etc... that were super cute but all sold out long before the cruise started so book early online if you want one of those. If you don't get one, don't worry... Carnival has a lot of free lounge chairs available. They also have some with a tent like structure that provides shade at $20 for the day. (personally... we took our shade breaks in the bar while enjoying a frozen beverage :-) I would book this same cruise again just to go back to Half Moon Cay.

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