Today we are going to Muse about a two-day cruise to Freeport, Grand Bahama. If this is your first visit, welcome to Musings. If you have been here before, welcome back. Over time we are going to talk about many things: the past, the present, perhaps the future, travel, art, society and more. Wherever my musing takes me. I hope you will come along with me.
Cruising to Freeport
Birthdays come and birthdays go. This year we had a collective celebration on the Celebration . . . the Celebration Cruise ship.
There were eleven of us: Joan and Don, Eileen, Carol and Confrey, Stewart and Josie, Steve and Laura, Jeanette and me. As it turned out there were two other birthdays in the group: Josie and me. So we decided to celebrate. I told them I would take all the presents I could get.
Thursday we boarded the ship around one o’clock. We checked into our suite which was in the stern on the eighth deck, overlooking a lounging area.
Arriving early gave us time for a leisurely lunch followed by some causal merrymaking (drinking). Here you can see various members of the group.
The weather was beautiful. We had worried because Hurricane Sandy just passed by a week earlier and even the day before the seas were rough. However, they were calm now.
At six o’clock The Celebration embarked and we passed out the Palm Beach Harbor inlet on our way to sea. Here you see our coast guard escort.
I had never noticed the machine gun before. Must be because of smuggling. The sun was setting. Beautiful.
Once we were in international waters the casino opened.
The ship was not crowded. I think the storms of the week before caused many people to cancel. The casino was empty.
Eileen was one of the first people there. She likes the slots. I did a little roulette and promptly dropped $150. Time for dinner!
After dinner it was back to the casino. I played more roulette and won back my losses plus about $50. So I was happy. Jeanette and I toddled off to our cabin where we met this little fellow.
The ship was in Freeport Harbor when we awoke. This is a working harbor. Very industrial.
After breakfast our group assembled for a day in Freeport.
Joan had arranged for a driver to give us a tour and then take us into town. Here you can see Wade, our driver and most of the group.
He took us through industrial areas, residential areas, through the interior of the island and along the coast. Wade said the Bahamas were badly damaged by the hurricane in 2004 and have never recovered. Here is a nightclub we skipped.
Many of the buildings were shuttered and closed, hotels, country clubs, apartment buildings even the Straw Market, a famous tourist attraction. Wade said the economy was severely depressed and completely dependent on tourism. Making it worse was the fact that Hurricane Sandy hit the island last week causing flooding in the low areas. Many of the residential areas were in bad shape. This was eye-opening for me. As close to Florida as the Bahamas are, I really knew very little about them.
After this bit of uplifting sightseeing we went to the tourist center of the island. The homes around there are owned primarily by foreigners and are much more substantial.
Wade referred to it as Millionaires’ Row.
Port Lucaya, the shopping area across from the Treasure Bay Casino is colorful and stocked with nice merchandise.
There were not many people there though. And, as I said earlier, probably because the storm caused people to alter their plans.
After a couple of beers and some conch salad most of the group headed to the beach. Eileen, Jeanette and I headed to the Treasure Bay Casino.
It was almost empty. Fortunately you do not need a crowd to play roulette. I hit a hot streak and quickly picked up a couple hundred dollars. Jeanette decided to pull me away before I gave it all back so we toddled off to lunch.
Eventually the afternoon passed away.
We returned to the Celebration for our return voyage. It was pretty much a repeat of the day before except that most of the party needed a nap.
The bunch of us were hosted for the birthday dinner by Stewart. Thank you. Thank you. I think we all had a good time. As the evening wore on I began to notice things that until now had alluded me. For example, they say married couples begin to look like each other. It became obvious with Joan and Don.
I suspect that Don was a short fortune teller who escaped from prison . . . a small medium at large.
More to come
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