Cruise Price Drops in March


March is the last month of “wave season”, where cruise lines aggressively offer deep discounts trying to fill cabins for the upcoming year. Search 1000s of price drops deeply reduced with one click – down 64 – 76 percent!

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CRUISE PRICE DROPS
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7 Night Mediterranean Heart
Costa Pacifica
Departing from: Civitavecchia (Rome), Italy
Ports of Call: Savona (Genoa), Italy • Marseille (Provence), France • Ajaccio, Corsica, France • Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy • Valletta, Malta    Interior from $399 ($57/night)
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7 Night Western Caribbean
Carnival Glory
Departing from: Miami, Florida
Ports of Call: Cozumel, Mexico • Belize City, Belize • Mahogany Bay, Roatan, Bay Islands, Honduras • George Town, Grand Cayman   Interior from $629 ($90/night)
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4 Night Western Caribbean
Carnival Fantasy
Departing from: Miami, Florida
Ports of Call: Key West, Florida • Cozumel, Mexico  Interior from $259 ($65/night)
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More Specials: http://cruiseradio.net/deals/   Enjoy Your Trip : )
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12 Great New Features at Crystal Cruises

Grand Turk
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While each line offers its own version of what sailing should be like, here are a some introduced by cruise guru Chris Owen in his latest article.
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Free Digital Entertainment-
In addition to a well-stocked library of Blue Ray DVD video, logging in to the ship’s efficient intranet brings an assortment of current, complementary video, on demand. Guests can also view past guest lectures, visit the Crystal Cruises web site and more, without logging in to pay by the minute internet access.
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Crystal Cruises Creative Learning Institute
aims to bring out the best in Crystal guests by promising them “the best instruction at sea”.  The integrated certificate program focuses on four centers of learning:

  • Arts & Entertainment
  • Business & Technology
  • Lifestyle
  • Wellness

Also available on demand: 
national and international newspapers, the ship’s daily Reflections newsletter, details on all shore excursions and a handy “Instant Guest Feedback” option that lets Crystal guests send comments to shipboard management in real time.
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Read more about the latest unique features here: http://www.chriscruises.com/2014/09/unique-features-of-crystal-cruises/

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Grand Turks for Nature Lovers

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Flamingos at Grand Turks Islands

Flamingos at Grand Turks Islands

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The Grand Turks Islands have not only the most beautiful beaches in the world, but nature lovers can discover a very interesting flora and fauna during their layover on a cruise.  Writers who are booking the “WRITERS CRUISE” will find on their “day off” at this amazing part of the Caribbean plenty of possibilities for bird watching (don’t forget binoculars!) and to study local plants.

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Bird Watching
The salt ponds and inland marshes serve as excellent feeding grounds for resident and migratory birds. Search for Great Blue Herons, Flamingos, Osprey and Pelicans alongside Egrets, Terns, Frigates, Boobies and other water birds. As part of the National Parks system more than twelve small cays have been set aside and protected for breeding grounds. 170 species of bird can be found in the Turks and Caicos Islands from Pelicans and Flamingos to Osprey and Cuban Crows. These bird species provide a paradise for ornithologists.
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Aloe Plant

Aloe Plant

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Plants and Flowers
Agaves, called sisal locally, were commercially grown until the 1920’s. Today sisal plants – Agave – can be seen around the islands growing wild and some have been planted in the Museum Garden. Native plants that can be found including the Turks Head Cactus, Sea-Island Cotton, a wide variety of Orchids, Native Oak and Mahogany (both used for boat building), Mangroves, Lignum Vitae, silver and green Buttonwood, Sea Grape, wild yellow Allamanda, Acacia, Sea Oats and Cordia. There are also a wide range of plants that have been brought here such as Aloe Vera, Coconut and wild Pomegranate.

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Orchids

Orchids

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Carnival Breeze Rescues Distressed Sailors

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Carnival Breeze

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Carnival Breeze answered a distress call over the weekend where a sailboat, located 24 miles off the coast of Miami, called in for urgent medical attention. Carnival Breeze diverted course and headed to the sailors who were then immediately brought on board and checked out by the shipboard doctor.

The wind and seas were too rough for a Coast Guard cutter to come along of the ship and take the sailors to land. One of the sailors, who required urgent medical attention, was airlifted from Carnival Breeze to a USCG helicopter. The other sailor stayed on-board until the arrival of Key West, where he was treated.

Carnival Breeze is sailing a six-night Caribbean sailing from Miami.

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Most Beautiful Beaches in the World: Grand Turks Islands

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Grand-Turks-Island-Beach

Grand Turks Island Beach

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I am very excited to tell you about our upcoming Writer’s Seminar at Sea. We’ll be sailing on November 3, 2013, aboard the incredible new Carnival Breeze, recently named 2012’s “Best New Ship” by Cruise Critic.  Learn about publishing, effective techniques to market your books, network with peers, and have the time of your life in the exotic Caribbean! See complete details http://writers.thecruiseevent.com/
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One of the stops will be on Grand Turks Islands
Lonely Planet writes: “How about white-sand beaches, clear blue water and a climate that defines divine. Secluded bays and islands where you’ll see more wild donkeys than other travelers. Historic towns and villages that look like something out of a pirate movie, where life creeps along at a sedate pace. The capital of this multi-island nation, wee Cockburn is home to only 5500 people on an island just six miles long. Cruises dock for a few hours, but the fun rustic place warrants more time. In town, you’ll find colorful colonial buildings on narrow streets that still see donkey carts and historic sites, including the spot – locals claim – where Christopher Columbus made his first foot-fall of the New World in 1492. while the best snorkeling and diving lies to the south.”

Apart from being a sleepy beach town, Grand Turk is most well known for its scuba diving and snorkeling on the southern shore. This island chain is a diving paradise, so diving enthusiasts or snorkelers usually look to do some underwater exploration.
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Governor’s Beach
is a protected area within the Columbus Landfall National Park. There are fresh-water showers and restroom facilities as well as a snack bar.
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The Grand Turk Cruise Center (Margaritaville)
houses a 10,000 sq. ft. duty-free shop. This duty-free shop has everything from jewelry, fine liquors and wine to local art. It is conveniently located right at the port, which allows for last minute shopping and not carrying packages all around town.

Between Margaritaville and Jack’s Shack restaurant/bar is a relatively quiet stretch of beach, there are some lounge chairs and not much else.
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Gibbs Cay
The luxurious white sand beach beckons for you to enjoy a relaxing time on this exquisite beach. Or, you may choose to start your adventure by wandering around the island to explore nature; venturing about 50 yards from the beach into the beautiful coral reef that is alive with a multitude of colorful tropical fish and sea animals.
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Local Bus Tour
The “Historic Island Tram Tour” on Grand Turk is an ideal way of seeing the Island, it collects every 15 minutes or so from Margaritaville and runs in a loop to the north of the Island, you can hop on and off at various points on the way round. The stops include Cockburn Town, the salt ponds, the old prison, and the Lighthouse.  The Turks & Caicos National Museum is the “best little museum in the Caribbean” and called “a little gem” by travel blogs. It is open during the entire docking of cruise ships. Guinep House on Front Street of Grand Turk.
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Cockburn-Town

Cockburn Town

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Cockburn Town
Situated on the 6-mile long Grand Turk Island, Cockburn Town is an intimate Caribbean paradise easily discovered on foot. The major streets of Duke and Front host landmarks, restaurants and the National Museum of Turks & Caicos Islands, which houses the oldest shipwreck in the western hemisphere, the Molasses Reef Wreck, the oldest shipwreck ever found in the western hemisphere.  They have a gift shop and garden.  Then have a taxi take you to Bohio Resort (Pillory beach!) for the best rum punch on the island!  Walk along the seafront, you can snorkel from here, the beach is very safe, there are several bars, and small dive shops in this area. The architecture is Bermudian, and you will see plenty of ‘Potcakes’ Island dogs running around. In this area you will find Haitian Markets. After exploring the town, head to the miles of sugary beaches and go diving, snorkeling or sailing across the turquoise. Try out the Guanahani Restaurant & Bar, lots of favorable comments on this.

Wild horses, donkeys and flamingos roam by centuries old buildings, cannons, salt ponds and windmills. The Salt Ponds gives you an idea of how the island got its initial wealth, there is also a bar close by.
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Bougainvillae

Bougainvillae

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The Old Prison
The Alcatraz of the West Indies. Not much here, but worth a look, and you can get into Cockburn town easily. The prison has only just moved, an apparently the prisoners used to jump over the fairly low walls, get booze and jump back in! The prison is now located elsewhere.
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The Lighthouse
Look to spend a couple of hours here if you like walking. its quiet, the view are amazing, really unspoiled. The Lighthouse was made in the UK and shipped over!  All these attraction have shops, toilets etc, great for families or those less mobile.
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The Sandbar restaurant also has great food, and one of the best burgers in the world. They also have great conch fritters. The Sandbar is the best place to watch the sunset with your favorite drink in hand. Enjoy the slow life and beautiful beaches. You can snorkel right in front of the Sandbar.  Good place for lunch after diving. If they have fresh fish, go for it! Burgers aren’t bad either. Nice place to enjoy the view. Not many tables,and sometimes it takes awhile to get fed…there are seats ocean-side on the patio. The service for lunch is from 12 to 3 pm and dinner from 6 to 9 pm.
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Turks and Caicos cuisine is based primarily around seafood, especially conch.
Conches might be an endangered and threatened species in other parts of the world but in the Grand Turks they are a cultural icon, viewed with the same kind of stature that traditional fish ‘n chips once enjoyed in England. It takes a conch three years to reach adulthood but even then, their shells measure only six inches long. Since conchs can easily double that size during their 20 year life span, you can start to guess the age of some of the discarded shells you’ll find along the shore. Old age, however, makes their meat too tough and chewy to be considered good eating. Two common dishes, whilst not traditionally ‘local’, are conch fritters and conch salad.
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Grand Turk Snorkel and Beach Escape 
(Tuesday, November 5 Continuous beginning at 9:00am) – Snorkel the Grand Turk wall and enjoy a day at the beach with lunch, a welcome drink and a sun-lounger are included. Escape the crowds as you snorkel and relax at a small, intimate resort offering beach, bars, water activities, and the best restaurant on the island. After taking a taxi from the port area, you will arrive and be welcomed as a guest.

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Grand Turk Taxi and Tours
Inexpensive! Mama Dea Taxi & Tour Service: Grand Turk Taxi. ph 305-433-7722
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More info about the Turks and Caicos Islands
http://www.destination360.com/caribbean/turks-and-caicos-islands/cruises
http://meetoncruise.com/ports/Grand-Turk.php
http://www.turksandcaicosbirdwatching.com/
http://tcmuseum.org/slavery/plantations/wades-green-plantation/
http://www.budgetyourtrip.com/turks-and-caicos-islands
http://www.lonelyplanet.com/turks-and-caicos/travel-tips-and-articles/76984#ixzz2OVHOokpf
http://www.islands.com/articles/carefree-island-grand-turks
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Facts About the Turks Islands
Location: Grand Turk is the capital of the Turks & Caicos Islands archipelago and it is located 575 miles Southeast of Miami, Florida, and 30 miles south of the Bahamas. The Island is approximately 7 miles long and 1.5 miles wide. In 2002, the British Overseas Territories Act restored full British citizenship status to all inhabitants of British Overseas Territories, including the Turks and Caicos.
The currency used in the island is the US dollar and their spoken language is English. The U.S. dollar is the official currency. Most hotels, restaurants and shops accept traveler’s checks and certainly credit cards. Grand Turk is in the Eastern Time zone.
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Grand-Turks-Island
Grand Turks Island

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Cruise to Grand Turks Islands
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YbVqg6A9FpQ

Discovering Turks Islands and Caicos
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=knbjMK4ospg

Images from The Turks Islands
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UrzN5ZvzQTY

Introduction to the Turks and Caicos Islands
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j_k9_oOlpqI

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Temperatures in average between 24C and 29C (75F – 84F). Turks and Caicos is drier than most islands in the Caribbean. A constant trade wind typically keeps the temperature at a very comfortable level. Turks and Caicos Islands has one of the longest coral reefs in the world, making it a premier diving destination.
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Stop-Over Ochos Rios, Jamaica

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Dunns River Falls Ocho Rios, Jamaica

Dunns River Falls Ocho Rios, Jamaica

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One of the day excursions on this WRITER”S CRUISE  is Ocho Rios, Jamaica.  Nestled in an emerald landscape, Ocho Rios, Jamaica, is this island nation’s cruise ship capital. Your cruise to Ocho Rios docks near some of the Caribbean’s most fabled resorts and the cascading waterfalls of Dunn’s River. Enjoy the best of Jamaica in Ocho Rios, from riding through lush sugarcane fields to seeing the waterfront home where Ian Fleming wrote the James Bond thrillers.  Ocho Rios is located on the northern end of the island, where white sugary sands dip gently into the Caribbean’ s clear, reef-protected waters.  This is where scuba diving, water sports and soaking up the island sun are at their finest.

Ocho Rios, a port of call for many cruise lines, also boasts some of the most de-luxe resorts and spas in the Caribbean. No stay in the region of Ocho Rios, Jamaica is fulfilled without a stop over by Dunn’s River Falls.  Even though it may sound like just another of the numerous rivers and waterfalls that line up the small island of Jamaica, Dunn’s River Falls is unlike anything you will ever experience.

Ocho Rios is an extravagant region filled with natural treasures, modern comforts and cultural attractions.  Jamaica’s most famous landmark, Dunn’s River Falls, is just minutes from the resort area and immerses guests in a vibrant geography of 600-foot cascades, freshwater estuaries and limestone rocks.
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Ocho Rios and surroundings
Dunns River Falls was featured in the James Bond Movie “Dr. No”.  Ian Fleming, who is the author of the James Bond movies, fell in love with Jamaica while visiting the island for a naval meeting and spent several winters there at his property.
Historical facts : Dunn’s River Falls has a very fascinating history. It is said to be the location of the legendary battle of “Las Chorreras”.  This battle was fought in the year, 1657 and took place near Dunn’s River Falls. It was between the English and the Spanish Expeditionary Force from Cuba. The battle was in fact for ownership of the island.  The outcome of the battle was in favor of The English, who won.  Also under the leadership of the British, Charles Pryce was the first owner of “Las Chorreras”.

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Experience famous Dunn’s River Falls in this small group as a departure from the large cruise line groups.
Dunn’s River Falls is roughly 600 feet above sea level, with beautiful crystal clear water running down the mountain into the ocean. It takes about 1 hour and 30 minutes to climb all the way up the mountain. There are local “guides” at the falls who will lead you up. These guides are separate from your tour and will expect a gratuity when you reach the top. There are places along the way where you are able to slide down into pools of water, take a swim and climb again. For those that wish to stop climbing, there are multiple points where you can leave the falls and walk on the adjacent path. Dunns River is great if you are physically able to “climb” the falls.
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Dunns River Falls is the Caribbean’s most popular attraction and an experience you won’t soon forget.  As a participant of the writer’s event Caribbean cruise you are eligible to book the excursion in a small group for only $45 per person.
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Jamaica Inn, Ocho Rios

Jamaica Inn, Ocho Rios

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Tripadvisor gives these tips:
Dunns River Falls in Ocho Rios is a nice day trip but need to know a few things to have a good trip. You need to understand that you will be climbing a water fall. You may slip or even fall.  You will get wet. If the climb gets to be too much for you they do have exits that you can get out and walk up. When you leave the falls you will go through a shopping area. If you want something stop, if you do not want anything do not stop.

Things that you need to bring:

  • Water shoes that fit you.
  • Water proof camera.
  • Small bills for tips.
  • A bathing suit that fits and will not fall off.
  • Money for shopping any maybe lunch.

Things that you do not bring with you are items that cannot get wet or items you do not want to leave on the bus.

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When should I reserve my shore excursion?
Because some tours book up well in advance of the tour departure date, we recommend reserving your excursions as far in advance as possible.  This will give you the best chance of reserving your first choice in each of the ports.
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Get an impression with these Videos:

Dunn’s River Falls, Jamaica

Ocho Rios, Jamaica

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More Popular Ocho Rios attractions

• Rainforest Bobsled Jamaica at Mystic Mountain
• Dunn’s River Falls
• Dolphin Cove
• Sandals Golf & Country Club
• Shaw Park Gardens & Waterfalls
• Ocho Rios Beach
• Coyaba River Garden and Museum
• Fern Gully
• Dunn’s River Shuttle
• James Bond Beach
• Blue Hole
• Dunn’s River Beach
• Reggae Beach
• Jamaica Grande Beach
• Turtle River Park
• Island Village
• Ocho Rios Fort
• Laughing Waters
• Harmony Hall Art Gallery

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Shaw Park Gardens is a beautiful botanical garden, located in the hills above Ocho Rios.
The 25 acre garden features around 600 species of flower along with many ferns and shrubs such as Bougainvillea, Palms, Hibiscus and Ferns. The entrance to Shaw Park is some 900 feet above sea level, giving a great view of Ocho Rios from the top of the gardens.  The park is then tiered over many levels, meaning that many different plants which thrive at different altitudes can be grown here.  The garden boasts a majestic waterfall which cascades down a rocky bank, surrounded by many varieties of beautiful flowers.

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Another Hidden Treasure is the Coyaba River Garden.
The gardens are beautifully designed and include a nice view over Ocho Rios. You have to take a guide who gives you some information about the lust growing plants and flowers.  A small, interesting museum shows Jamaican history. The gardens boast beautiful flowers and fauna, streams and waterfalls.
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Restaurants and Coffee Shops

Blue-Mountain-Coffee

Blue Mountain Coffee

Travelers will find the fare in Jamaica to be more than satisfying. Dine Jamaican style with delicious jerk chicken at a beach-side barbecue,  grilled burgers and Red Stripe beer or filet Mignon.

A must are rich lattes with the wonderful aroma of world-renowned Blue Mountain Coffee.

Jamaica’s Blue Mountain coffee is one of the “purest” coffees in the world.  Climate, soil, the steep angle at which the plants are grown, the mountain mist and rainfall all combine to create a unique product that is sought after by the most discerning coffee connoisseurs.

Only coffee grown at over 2000′ within the Blue Mountain range can claim the name “Blue Mountain”.

 

 

 

 

 

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Nassau, Bahamas: There is more than Shopping…

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Arriving with the cruise ship in Nassau do as the locals do: Sway to the rhythms of steel-pan bands; savor fresh conch in Arawak Cay or sip cold Kalik beer to beat the heat. The charms of this tropical isle revolve around sun, sea, and sand Or you can shop at the lively markets in Nassau’s town center.  You will have lots of time to hit the shops.  What if you don’t like shopping?  If you rather prefer to have a leisurely time on the beaches and gardens of one of Nassau’s big hotels?  They offer day passes to use their pools, their very clean beaches and recreational sports equipment, such as snorkel equipment or kayaks.   Don’t miss a dip in the turquoise Atlantic. If you are looking for an inexpensive alternative to day passes at the Atlantis Resort, choose either the Nassau Sheraton or the RUI Palace Beach Resort.

Travelers can choose between taking  the Jitney (city bus) #10  which brings you to resort hotels on paradise island in less than 15 minutes.  It’s $1.25 pp and they drop you off right at the front of the hotel, and the pick up is there as well.  Or you can take a water taxi, which is approx. $6 per person one-way.  The water tax gives you a nice opportunity to see beautiful villas of celebrities, for sample the place where Oprah hangs out.  The boat captain will point out those places to his guests, in case you want to take pictures.  Cabbage Beach on Paradise Island, connected with two short bridges, is the ideal setting for those who want to enjoy a pristine white sandy beach and take in the beauty of the crystal clear waters of the Caribbean.
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LighthouseBahamas

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The Nassau Sheraton

If you opt for the standard day pass: it is available for $25.00 per person which includes access to the beach, pools, towels, and non-motorized water sports. The day passes include the use of kayaks, snorkeling equipment, water bikes and rafts.  The Sheraton provides beach chairs and shade/umbrellas.  Jet skis are available to rent right on the beach and costs $125.   If you like to  explore a spectacular undersea world from above. get your  very own clear kayak and meander along the shore for hours.  The staff at the Nassau Sheraton is friendly, professional, and eager to please. You can even take advantage of the free wi-fi while at the property, which is always a plus after a day at sea on the ship with often spotty access to the internet.

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The RIU is located on a spectacular 3-mile stretch of a white sandy beach.  With your All-Inclusive Resort Day Pass Package (for $75) you will enjoy excellent cuisine and tropical cocktails as you relax in the comfort and privacy of this first class resort.  Throughout the day, Buffets with local and international cuisines are served from our seaside restaurants which offers indoor seating as well as dining on the terrace where you can take in the view of the beautiful ocean.

The RIU Palace Beach Resort is fully equipped with a beautiful beach-side swimming pool, a Jacuzzi, seaside restaurants, swim up pool bar, comfortable beach chairs, and a warm and friendly staff.  While relaxing at the RIU Palace Resort you will have the opportunity to participate in a variety of fun and entertaining activities organized by our staff. These activities are designed to get you up and moving and include such options as Beach volleyball, Caribbean Dance lessons or even round of Darts. You will have the option to do as much as you like – or nothing at all.  It gets you away from the crowds typically associated with Cruise Ship organized beach breaks and provides you with an ideal day in paradise.
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Bahamas
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Culture and Heritage

There is even more to do in Nassau:

  • Dundas Centre for the Performing Arts
  • Features plays and performances from local and international artists.
  • National Art Gallery of the Bahamas
  • Newly built in 2003, the National Art Gallery of the Bahamas is home to everything from paintings, sculpture, and textiles to ceramics, photography, and mixed media works.
  • Ardastra Gardens & Zoo
  • A fascinating panorama of wildlife, with 5.5 acres that’s now home to 300 birds, animals and reptiles.
  • Fort Charlotte
  • Built in the late 18th century to guard the entrance to Nassau Harbour.
  • Fort Fincastle
  • Built in 1793, the top of the fort is the Water Tower and Light House.
  • Government House
  • The official residence of the Bahamas Governor General. Pirates of Nassau Museum
  • The highlight of this museum is The Revenge, a re-created pirate ship from the early 1700s that carried bloodthirsty pirates who made a mockery of merchant shipping.  The changing of the guard, a lovely ceremony is carried out twice a month, to the music of the National Police Band.

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Tour Old Nassau – The Bahamas – History & Travel – in between seminars @ sea during a Caribbean Cruise for Writers, where you learn all about Publishing and Book Marketing.  Read more writers.thecruiseevent.com/

More tips for the Caribbean can be found here soon, don’t miss it, sign up on top of the page under FOLLOW .

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