This past fall, my husband and I embarked on our 3rd Carnival cruise to the Caribbean. Our ports included; Amber Cove, Dominican Republic; Grand Turk, Turks & Caicos; Half Moon Cay, Bahamas; and Nassau, Bahamas. This was a 6 day cruise with only one day at sea which was awesome, because in my mind that meant we got more bang for our buck.
This cruise was a bit different for us, because we had every intention just to relax and try not to do too many activities. For the most part, that’s exactly what we did. At our first stop, Amber Cove, we really wanted to see the city. We’ve always wanted to visit the Dominican Republic. We decided to take a taxi tour. Some of our stops included Fort San Felipe, Macorix House of Rum, the “rich” area, the not so rich area, and the local market.Fort San Felipe was beautiful. This was a great place to take photos. There were wide open scenic views with the ocean and mountains all around us. The only downside to this attraction is the solicitors that bombard you as soon as you get out of the taxi. Also, there is a small fee to walk around the fort. To me it didn’t seem like it was worth the price, so we did not go inside of the fort. Other than that, I would definitely recommend visiting this attraction, if nothing but for all of the photo opportunities.
The next place on our tour was the Macorix House of Rum. This was a very nice rum factory. Not too big and not too small, just the right size for a tour. They show a quick video in the beginning of the history of the rum factory, which was actually pretty good and informative. Then came the good part, the rum tasting! My favorites were definitely the fruity flavors such as apple and pina colada. They also have rum popsicles that you can buy in each flavor. Very tasty, and very much needed in the Caribbean heat.
The rest of our time there was a tour around Amber Cove (Puerto Plata) through the wealthy areas and the impoverished areas. It was truly eyeopening to see how much of a gap there was between the wealthy and those who were less fortunate. Seeing those who didn’t have very much made me grateful and reminded me to count my blessings daily.Our next port was Grand Turk on the beautiful island of Turks & Caicos. We didn’t have anything planned at all for this port. Our only plan was to eat some good local food and relax on the beach. There are many options for dining at this port. By recommendation, we decided to try Jack’s Shack and we are so glad we did. We ordered fried grouper fish, conch fritters, and a couple of margaritas. Everything was so delicious. The people there were so hospitable and the portions were huge. If you ever visit this port, I definitely recommend giving it a try. For the rest of the day, we enjoyed the beautiful blue ocean and lounged on the beach.Next was Half Moon Cay Bahamas. To be honest this was not one our favorite ports. It was a Carnival owned island and for the lack of a better word, seemed fake. The water was beautiful but shallow. Not suitable for water sports or snorkeling. The only dining option was the buffet provided by Carnival, which had a very limited selection of burgers, hot dogs and an assortment of salads and fruit. There was really nowhere to go and explore so we had another relaxing day at the beach.My very favorite port on this cruise was Nassau, Bahamas. This place had the best food, the best beach, the best tour and the best people. We really wanted to see the city so we decided to do another taxi tour. We could not have chosen a better tour guide than Mr. “Showtime.” He was so full of life, energy, and personality. He took us to some great spots in Nassau.Our tour in Nassau included the Queens Staircase, the Rum Cake Factory, Atlantis, and Cable Beach. The Queen’s Staircase was built by slaves to access Fort Fincastle and was named in honor of Queen Victoria and her help in the abolition of slavery in the Bahamas. Our next stop was the Rum Cake Factory. The line was out the door for this place and for good reason. They have an assortment of rum cake flavors that you cannot resist. If you’re not sure if you want to purchase, they have samples to taste. One taste and I was sold. We ended up leaving with two mini cakes, pina colada and coconut flavored. After the rum cake factory, we stopped at Atlantis. There we took a quick walk around the property and took some photos. Of course, you don’t have access to the entire property unless you have a room or pay for certain attractions. The main attraction for us was the “big chair.” The chair is a great place to grab a quick photo if there isn’t a line. After Atlantis, our tour guide was gracious enough to drop us off at the nearby Cable Beach and pick us back up after a couple of hours. They truly saved the best for last with Nassau as our last port. During the cruise, on most nights, we would go to dinner, grab a seat at the show for the night and then on to late night comedy show. The shows were musicals, which we really enjoyed. If you do nothing else on the cruise, please go to the comedy show. We have always had a great experience and the comedians have always been really funny. It’s a great way to wrap up the night. Also, another tip, if you are vegan, vegetarian, or have any special diet, please be sure to let your waiter(s) know at dinner. Most of the time they are more than happy to recommend items specifically for you or even alter a dish to fit your dietary restrictions. Also, don’t be afraid to request milk alternatives at the buffet or in the dining room. For me, it was soy milk. They almost always had some on hand.
Overall, this was a fun and relaxing cruise. We can’t wait for the next one. Until next time Bon Voyage! ♥