Faux Brie and a Broken Down Taxi: Bahamas Recap

Unpopular opinion time: I’d be lying if I didn’t say that I was slightly disappointed by the Bahamas and cruising in general.

Bahamas 4 Day Norwegian Sky Cruise Review and Trip Recap / hellorigby seattle lifestyle and fashion blog

Don’t get me wrong, it was a beautiful place, full of sandy beaches, color, and sun (well, one day at least.) But I guess I had expected more culture and life. What you see when you get off the boat doesn’t seem real – it’s all set up for tourists. And as soon as you get back on the ship, they pack up and leave. When you walk by the stands owned by locals, you’re hollered at to come and look in their space of the Straw Market where they insist on trying to “strike a deal” with you.

*Warning: Mega photo dump ahead. Continued after the jump for the benefit of your browser. ;)

Bahamas Broken Down Taxi / hellorigby seattle fashion and lifestyle blog Our broken down taxi on the way to Port Lucaya Marketplace in our first stop, Freeport, Bahamas. Here it lies, in all of it’s sad glory. It puttered along for about 10 minutes until sputtering to it’s death. Bless its heart.

Taxi Stand Straw Market at Port Lucaya Marketplace / hellorigby seattle fashion and lifestyle blog Bahama Mamas Chalkboard / Port Lucaya Marketplace / hellorigby! seattle lifestyle blog Bahamas Gully Wash Coconut Stand at Port Lucaya Marketplace / hellorigby seattle fashion and lifestyle blog Bahamas Gully Wash Coconuts at Drink Stand at Port Lucaya Marketplace / hellorigby seattle lifestyle and fashion blog Bahamas Port Lucaya Marketplace Freeport / hellorigby seattle lifestyle and fashion blog

But as I mentioned in my last post on the Miami portion of our trip, I’m not one to love the touristy thing. I like eating at all sorts of places, from dives to funky to fancy, trying local cuisine, walking around the streets of cities, and just exploring. There wasn’t much of that here – everything was a tourist excursion with a bunch of other cruisers. And some of the prices on that food? Insane. A little hole in the wall had a salmon lunch for $40. Considering that’s what I’d expect to pay for fresh salmon at a fancier restaurant in downtown Seattle, I think that’s the “gullible tourist” rate.

Bahamas Red Telephone Booth at Port Lucaya Marketplace / hellorigby seattle fashion and lifestyle blog Mardi Gras Mural at Port Lucaya Marketplace, Bahamas / hellorigby seattle fashion and lifestyle blog Naussau, Bahamas Underwater Snorkeling  / hellorigby seattle fashion and lifestyle blog Nassau, Bahamas Snorkeling Boat Ride / hellorigby seattle fashion and lifestyle blog Mural Street Art and Graffitti in Nassau, Bahamas - hellorigby seattle fashion and lifestyle blog Starbucks Breakfast Menu in Nassau, Bahamas - hellorigby seattle fashion and lifestyle blog Um, pretty sure they have the superior Starbucks breakfast menu… Just saying.

Downtown at Port Nassau, Bahamas - hellorigby seattle lifestyle and fashion blog Street Art/Mural/Graffitti at Junkanoo Beach, Nassau, Bahamas / hellorigby seattle fashion and lifestyle blog

As for the cruise itself, we were aboard the 4-day Bahamas cruise on the Norwegian Sky. This was my first cruise, and I didn’t know quite what to expect. Honestly? It was not quite as nice as what I’d imagined. The boat… was small. The food was uninspired. I had been dying for real cheese, so I mistakenly ordered their Brie appetizer at the sit-down dinner one of the nights. It was not Brie, instead it was some imposter cheese that tasted like Mozzarella. It happened again when they had a “Brie and toast” appetizer in the buffet, that was nothing more than half a fig, half of a grape, a piece of lettuce, a piece of bread, and some imposter cheese cut into a wedge on top. I wanted to cry. This girl just wanted some Brie, damn it.

Abandoned Old Hotel - Nassau, Bahamas / hellorigby! seattle lifestyle and fashion blog Seagull on Dock in Junkanoo Beach, Nassau, Bahamas - hellorigby seattle lifestyle and fashion blog Welcome to Junkanoo Beach Long Wharf Sign - Nassau, Bahamas / hellorigby seattle fashion and lifestyle blog

The entertainment was fun, but some nights there wasn’t much to choose from and the shows they did have were so full that you had to show up super early to get seats… or it was standing room only.

Seagulls at Great Stirrup Cay Ocean / hellorigby seattle lifestyle and fashion blog Great Stirrup Cay Beach, Rocks, and Waves / hellorigby seattle lifestyle and fashion blog

I promise I’m really not complaining about the trip, I still had a lot of fun. BUT, if I said it was the most amazing cruise and destination ever, you went there and hated it, I would feel horrible. What I did love? Taking a week off of work. Reading 4 (or was it 5?) books. Not having a schedule to follow or a growing to-do list. Being able to see a new part of the US and go out of the country for the first time (not including Canada.) That part made it worth it. And forever the Norwegian Sky will be known as the boat that served me the fake Brie, twice.

Have you ever been less-than-enchanted with a vacation destination? 


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42 thoughts on “Faux Brie and a Broken Down Taxi: Bahamas Recap

  1. Kaelene @ Unlocking Kiki

    I think I would have such high hopes for my first cruise experience after hearing so much about them that I would be bummed as well if it wasn’t anything but amazing! I am not a fan of tourist spots, I prefer to go off the beaten path and enjoy the area the way the locals do.
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    1. Jenn Post author

      I think what I’ve learned about cruising is for the most part, you either dig it, or you don’t. I think I fall into the latter category, and I’m totally fine with that. But yeah, cruising destinations make it hard to get off the beaten path (time limits at ports, transportation, etc.) which was a bummer for me!

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  2. Jae

    I commend you for posting your Bahamas photos before I finish mine from our Bangkok trip! Hahaha! It’s unfortunate, however, that you had high hopes for this trip, and it turned out to be something less than what you had expected. Needless to say, lovely photos! My friend got engaged there over Christmas!
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    1. Jenn Post author

      Thanks Jae! Haha, it was a struggle to get through all the photos and pick out the best ones. Definitely a time consuming task but I’m glad to have it done and out there! :)

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  3. Mar

    If you get the chance to go back to the Bahamas, check out Andros Island. It is the largest island but almost virtually untouched. You won’t find any huge resorts there, just small locally run hotels. I went for a two week course back in University. It is everything you picture the Bahamas to be and more!
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  4. Julie

    I’m sorry that your vacation wasn’t what you were hoping it would be. That’s so disappointing. I went on a cruise with my husband for our honeymoon, and found out that I get motion sickness really bad on cruise ships. I wasn’t physically sick but I felt like everything was spinning the whole time. It was pretty miserable. We went on a Carnival cruise to Cozumel and the Grand Cayman Islands. I liked the excursions but like you said it had a pretty phony touristy feel, so thats a bummer. Glad you had time to relax and get some reading done though!
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    1. Jenn Post author

      Aw, no need to be sorry! Now I know for next time ;) The first night we were on the boat was really stormy and I definitely felt drunk the entire night (and no, I wasn’t drinking :P) so I can’t imagine feeling like it was spinning the whole time! Hopefully they had Dramamine for you?

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  5. Olya

    I love cruising, but I don’t like the Bahamas. I also prefer places where you can go out and explore and not just have those fake set-ups. I went on a short cruise once, and I didn’t like it. You’re right-the ships for the short trips (less than seven days) are smaller and there aren’t as many fun activities on board.
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    1. Jenn Post author

      Yeah, definitley lesson learned for next time. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t warned (we were by our travel agent and online reviews) but I figured with a island destination it would be fine. Not so much… but that’s okay!

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  6. the cape on the corner

    i think sometimes things are so built up in our heads, that we can’t help but be disappointed. so cruising is not my favorite thing, yet i have family who cruise all.the.time and don’t even get off the ship, the ship is their favorite part. i’ve never been on norwegian, but i was disappointed in princess for our alaska cruise. it was fabulous, overall, but princess is hailed as top tier for alaska, and compared with royal caribbean the ship seemed hokier somehow, and the food was good but not amazing, as well as the entertainment. i said i will do no more cruising unless it’s a family trip. are you going to try again in the future?
    b
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    1. Jenn Post author

      Agreed on that – I definitely think the idea of a vacation can be better than the actual thing sometimes. I’m not sure honestly, I think a family trip would definitely get me back on a boat, or a different destination. We had pedicures done in Miami and the woman who did mine looked shocked that we would fly all the way to Florida for a cruise when we could have just gone to Hawaii (which made me laugh)… thinking that will probably be our next island trip! :)

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  7. Xin

    I’ve never been on a cruise, though I suspect that I would feel similarly. I don’t really mind very touristy destinations (I have really enjoyed my trips to Siem Reap in Cambodia and Mykonos in Greece, and those places are very, very touristy) but the idea of a cruise or staying at an all-inclusive resort for most of a trip would not appeal as much.
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    1. Jenn Post author

      See, I don’t think I don’t like touristy destinations either because I would love to go to Mykonos and I can’t imagine not loving it… I think it was more of the entire boat-to-shore experience that felt incredibly phony. Especially when we got back on the boat and saw the locals closing up shop, just felt kind of strange.

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  8. Julia @ Grace Makes New

    Totally know what you mean! We went to a resort in Cabo San Lucas for a wedding a few years ago, and while we enjoyed it, it just wasn’t really our thing. Definitely too touristy! I’ve never done a cruise but I’m kind of afraid to because I can get motion sickness really easily!
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    1. Jenn Post author

      I can get it as well (of all things the rocking gondola of the Ferris Wheel at California Adventure did me in) but the ship didn’t bother me besides the first night which was stormy. I wasn’t sick, just felt like a drunk person walking. From what I understand, a lot of the boats have a ton of motion sickness meds and if that doesn’t work, they’ll do acupuncture!

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  9. Chelsie

    Aw, such a bummer that you were left a little disappointed from your cruise. My family went on a Disney cruise when I was 17 and it was literally the most magical vacation I have ever been on. I do think that the excursions to all the islands are very touristy, like you mentioned. You don’t get a chance to really experience the culture with a few hours at each port. We went to Cozumel and took a jeep tour to the Mayan ruins, which turned out to be a small pyramid surrounded by buildings. I was so confused. I am glad you enjoyed having time off and hopefully your next experience on a cruise will have real Brie!
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    1. Jenn Post author

      Oh my gosh, that cracked me up! What a strange tour that must have been! I definitely am crossing my fingers for some real brie on all future vacays. ;)

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  10. Kelley

    my husband and I enjoy eating at places we don’t have at home when we travel, and we like to stay away from the tourist joints. We went to San Juan, Puerto Rico for a couple days then caught a cruise from there for our honeymoon. One of the things we did in San Juan was a walking dinner tour. The guide took us off the beaten path and told us about the history of the city and about the architecure and stuff while we stopped and ate at 4 or 5 different restaurants for a progressive dinner. It was absolutely fantastic because we didn’t have to worry about mediocre food and huge crowds of tourists. The food was amazing and the historical information was interesting. One of the cruise stops was St. Thomas and after our excursion we asked the tour guide to take us somewhere that the locals eat. He wound us up a mountain to the middle of nowhere and we had one of the best meals I’ve had in my entire life. If you go on a cruise again, I would suggest trying to do something like that.

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  11. Kim Pincombe Cole

    I love the honesty of this post! I’ve never been on a cruise, simply for all the reasons you mentioned. However, I have been to the Bahamas – to get married! We choose a place that was far from the cruise ships (abt a 35min car ride out from Nassau) & I think it made all the difference. We went into Nassau briefly to get our marriage paperwork & then high-tailed it back out away from the commercial chaos.
    My husband & I found a great little beachside town in Mexico 1 year (abt 15 mins from Tulum, 45 mins south of Cancun). We loved it simply because it was non-commercial & seemingly authentic… Very different from the Playa de Carmen, Cozumel & Cancun scene.

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    1. Jenn Post author

      I bet it did, Nassau seemed beautiful but the touristy-ness of the locations we were taken to just felt so bizarre! Your beachside town in Mexico sounds like an awesome find too! :)

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  12. Sarah

    I have always had reservations about cruises for the very reasons you have expressed here. I don’t know if I’d like being cooped up and I certainly don’t want to only be able to explore the tourist traps that welcome people being offloaded from cruise ships. Several members of my family are anxious to go on one but I just don’t think it’s for me.
    Of course, with that being said, it *is* an experience I think I would like to have under my belt. Just to be able to express an informed opinion instead of my imaginary idea of what I think it would be like.
    I love your photos, they are gorgeous!
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    1. Jenn Post author

      I think going with family is the best way to do it, honestly. It seemed like the people in big groups had the most fun on the trip. I would say if the destination is right, then the trip could be fun regardless of being cooped up on the boat (which is kind of a bummer, but if you bring activities like books or games you’d be totally fine.)

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  13. Lisa K

    Thanks for being honest! I still haven’t been on a cruise, so I appreciate the real reviews!! LOL about the “Brie.” Why did they even bother to call it that when it so obviously wasn’t? I hope you got to enjoy some real Brie back home in Seattle.

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  14. Cat

    Hmm, this is such a honest reflection, thank you! I always feel like people rave about cruises, which as someone who has never been on a cruise, always kind of confused me. I felt sure there must be a catch, haha. I have pretty little patience for super touristy destinations at this point too, so I can 100% understand why this type of trip might not be for me now. Thank you for putting it so plainly!

    Cat
    http://oddlylovely.com
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    1. Jenn Post author

      I did too, and now I know I wasn’t wrong! Though there were a ton of people on the boat really enjoying themselves, so I suppose that proves that neither sentiment is wrong! ;) And of course, while there wasn’t one thing that’s horrible about cruises, I learned that it’s not really for me.

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  15. Rebecca B. Bird

    Cruising is not for everyone. I used to work as a travel agent and never quite understood the appeal – the experience feels very “manufactured” for lack of a better word. Some folks love the convenience and safety of it though. But WTF at the impostor cheese! I wouldn’t expect the fanciest fare on Norwegian, but I would expect to get the correct cheese as advertised, haha!
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    1. Jenn Post author

      That’s a great word for it, and is exactly why I didn’t love it. It wasn’t bad, but it felt… wrong. And yes, the imposter cheese was just bizarre. I mean… I don’t get it, but it definitely made me laugh so whatever. :P

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