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Home > Virtual Cruises > Norwegian Dawn: New York to Nassau
Norwegian Dawn: New York to Nassau
Day 1: Departure from New York
Day 2: At Sea
Day 3: Port Canaveral, FL
Day 4: Miami, FL
Day 5: Nassau, Bahamas
Day 6: Great Stirrup Cay, Bahamas
Day 7: At Sea
Day 8: Disembarkation in New York
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Day 5: Thursday, Nassau, Bahamas
Nassau, BahamasDAILY DISPATCH (Noon, Thursday, December 11)
LOCATION: 25°05'N, 77°21'W: Docked at Nassau

I woke at about 8:00 AM and two things became instantly evident. One, I had, in fact, snagged myself a whopper of a cold, and two, somebody had hidden Great Stirrup Cay, NCL's private island. A 360° scan of the horizon revealed nothing even faintly resembling land. My guess was that high seas had made the prospect of tendering too dicey, and that we would wind up with an extra sea day instead. In actuality I was half right. It's tough on a ship as large as the Dawn to get a good handle on sea states; she just doesn't rock that much. But a check of the bridge information channel spelled it all out: winds of 35 knots and seas seven to twelve feet. But I was wrong about the rest of it. Rather than tacking on an extra sea day, Captain Hoydal had elected to switch the order of port calls; today we would call at Nassau; tomorrow we would make another attempt at Great Stirrup Cay.

By 11:00 we were docked at Nassau. The shore excursion department did yeoman service rebooking and shifting everything around. There was some question as to whether there would be time to fit in a scuba excursion, and, that uncertainty, coupled with the fact I don't like to dive with a cold, led me to make a midcourse correction. I canceled scuba and decided to pay a visit to the legendary Atlantis Resort and Casino, instead.

The ship offers two excursions to the Atlantis. The less expensive, at $46.00, includes a harbor sightseeing cruise, admission to Discover Atlantis, the resort's spectacular aquarium and marine environment, and return ferry passage back to the ship. The more expensive tour also includes use of Atlantis's beach and lunch, and sells for $75.00.

Because of the abbreviated port call only the shorter tour was offered. In actuality, it's easy to get to Atlantis on one's own. A ferry ticket costs $3.00 per person each way, or you can take a taxicab for $4.00. If you don't want to visit the Discover Atlantis exhibit, that's the sum total of your cost, unless you count what you leave at the Atlantis casino or spend on a few baubles from Cartier or Bvlgari.

Since I had never been to Atlantis, I chose the ship's excursion, and found myself on the dock at noon with a couple hundred fellow shipmates. Interestingly, there were also a bunch of disoriented passengers who had slept late and missed the announcement of the change of port calls. A shore excursion staffer approached one such confused-looking family and asked if he could assist them. "Yes," they replied, "can you tell us where we catch that tender boat to the private island?" The staffer patiently explained that we were at Nassau, not Great Stirrup Cay.

After a walk of about four blocks to the Nassau ferry docks we boarded our ferry/harbor tour boat. The harbor tour gave a good orientation to the geography of Nassau harbor, formed by two islands, New Providence and Paradise. Paradise Island is the home to the Atlantis Resort, as well as a Club Med and waterfront residences of a number of celebs. Since our time was limited I was thankful the tour was also blissfully short.

Once we disembarked at the Paradise Island ferry terminal it was a walk of about eight minutes to the entry to the resort, where we were broken up into groups of about twenty, each group assigned to a guide for the Discover Atlantis walking tour lasting about one hour. Our guide led us into Crystal Court, Atlantis' upscale, marble-walled and floored shopping area, which reminded me of the Forum Shops at Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas. At the point where the court joined the casino, called "Crystal Gate," we encountered the first of four spectacular glass sculptures fashioned on site by the sculptor, Chiluly, at a cost of one million dollars each.

We then entered the newest section of the aquarium, called "The Dig," which simulated the hypothetical excavation of the lost city of Atlantis. The 2.7 million gallon tank continued the scenic simulation, with recreated ruins forming the base of the underwater environment. The aquarium environment was extremely well maintained, though the guide's patter, claiming an actual scientific basis for the details of the exhibits (for example, an Atlantean Travel Chamber, where, we were told, Atlanteans planned their journeys, including those by aircraft) laid it on a bit thick.

The second section of the aquarium, the original installation, followed, which included the most recognizable feature, the underwater plexiglass tunnel passing through a tank full of sharks, barracuda and other large predators, which circled all around us.

At the conclusion of the tour we were turned loose to enjoy any of the 38 restaurants and lounges on the resort's 43 acres, not to mention the world's largest casino and the aforementioned Crystal Court. But by then it was about two in the afternoon, and the last ferry was scheduled to return to downtown Nassau at four, so I chose just to partake of lunch at the resort. I found the Atlas Bar and Grill in the middle of the casino, and enjoyed a massive and delicious burger and fries, which ran about $15.00.

Returning to the ship I got ready for dinner, which I had elected to try in Salsa, the ship's Tex-Mex eatery. Though, as one of the ship's alternative restaurants, Salsa does require advance reservations, there is no cover charge. Salsa also features a tapas bar. For those who have yet to enjoy this culinary treat, tapas, which are actually more Spanish than Mexican in origin, are small servings of a number of different foods. These servings are usually even smaller than appetizer-sized orders, so you can put together a meal of as many as ten or so different dishes and still not feel like you're pigging out. Salsa will also serve a platter of tapas to your table, as well as individually one at a time at the tapas bar, and that is what I ordered. Along with, of course, a margarita, which for some reason I cannot fathom, was served in a plastic glass, very out of character for this upscale restaurant environment. The food, however, could not be faulted, the variety of flavors extensive and complementary -- from spiced and grilled meats to cool and creamy cut raw vegetables to assorted olives.

Again, it was a highly satisfying meal, and I realized that I had been gravitating onboard to food offerings that maximized tableside and individualized preparation: sushi, teppanyaki, Le Bistro's Fire Star and tonight's tapas. It may have been unconscious, but, in the final analysis, those types of choices maximize the main strength of Norwegian's concept of "Freestyle Cruising:" the individualization of the cruise experience, in this case, culinary.

After dinner I decided to turn in early, in hopes a long night's sleep would help do battle with my cold.
Day 4: Miami, FL red arrow Day 6: Great Stirrup Cay, Bahamas

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