top of page

MITSUGIRLYS EPIC CRUISE--2nd time around-1st from Port Canaveral

Day 8: Nassau

Friday: NASSAU. Sigh

Day 7 on the ship


So...we were SUPPOSED to go to the private island: Great Stirrup Cay. I will tell you this is one of the main reasons I booked this cruise (other than Sakari). I have been here once in the 80's (hehe)


Oh my gosh my handwriting was so funky back in the 80's. I actually wrote in cursive back then. LOL


The next time I would make it back to GSC would be 2012 on the Pearl with Kendra's first cruise since she was younger.


Man what a difference there was

We tried to make it back in 2014 on the Sky and the port was cancelled due to high winds and it would be unsafe to go. We were so disappointed and we spent the day at sea.


So once again, we got the itching to go back and looked for a cruise that went there. We were in luck. The Epic was goin there and that's the ship that Sakari had been begging to go on since she was little and first seen it.


Well...they decided to continue with some renovations and the island was shut down to receive ships until it was completed. They invested $25 million in renovations and it was due to be completed right before our cruise. I was super excited.


They had added some new things since we were there last:


Zipline, Underwater Sculpture (Snorkeling), New Dining facility, and then the renovations continue into 2017 with additional things as well. The kids were wanting to do one of the swims with stingrays or dolphins or something (Courtney and Kolin have never done any before and neither has Brayden).


BUT.....NO.....once again, we would not make it there. THANKS MATTHEW you jerk of a hurricane. You just had to screw things up. This lovely hurricane category 5 decided it would create havoc on the Bahamas and word had it that this would now delay the renovations and they would not be open in time. Ugh


So we got word that we would be going to Nassau instead. Oh just lovely. Although we have managed to have a good time when we go there (Blue Lagoon, Melia, Sail & Snorkel excursion) it's still not one of the ports I really care for.


I had REALLY hoped that for this inconvenience, they would decide to allow us to stay a little longer in St Thomas 2 days prior. But, that didn't happen either.


I had to suck it up and make plans for Nassau instead.

PB202929 copy.jpg
PB202930 copy.jpg
PB202931 copy.jpg

We had thought about going to Blue Lagoon again (Kolin absolutely loved that place), but I really wanted to go somewhere new. I had thought about trying Balmoral Island, and there were a lot of mixed reviews for the place, but I thought I would like it and it's some place new for me and a new place to review.


So since this was almost a last minute change for NCL, they decided NOT to make any of the excursions available to us to book (which you needed in order to get to Balmoral or Blue Lagoon). I even called NCL a few times and got the response that we would need to book once we are on the ship when they could see what might be available for us, since we weren't due at this port to begin with. We were to have 4 other ships with us there (I believe), or maybe it was 5 ships but one had stayed all night and would be leaving at 8am when we were coming in (or so they said).


Wee...lucky us. All the excursions could potentially be booked up and we get the left-overs IF there are any left-overs. I guess that's the name of the game. Then someone on our roll call said they opened up reservations, a few days ahead of time, but they must have immediately closed them back down because they were all gone by the time I looked that night.


In the end, since we were unable to book prior to cruising and know for sure 1) where we were going and 2) the price, the kids just decided that they didn't really want to spend that kind of money for this day. I think the Baths and Scuba broke the bank for them.


I immediately tried searching every place that I could for a day pass that was close by the port (walking distance). Every place I found and we would all agree that it would be a good place to go and spend the day, for a decent price...they ended up being completely booked up.


I finally just gave up and said..."We are going to walk to Junkanoo and that's final. It's free transportation (our feet) and the beach is free and that's that!"


So...Junkanoo it was.




I set the alarm for 6:30am that morning (even though we weren't "required" to be anywhere at any specific time, we still make the most of a port day).


My alarm goes off at 6:30am and immediately I panic. My left leg is bent in a position and I CAN'T MOVE IT! Like at all. It was like it was paralyzed. Did I sleep on it some weird way last night? Did I pull something and not know it? Was I dreaming? I had no idea but it was the weirdest thing. I had to use my hands to lift my leg and throw it over the side of the bed where I would sit for quite some time trying to straighten it. It wasn't numb, it didn't tingle, it didn't hurt. It just wouldn't bend. So weird! I've never had a contracture before, but I can tell you I never want one again.


It took awhile, but I finally got it straightened up and then I was like a baby taking their first steps as I got up and attempted to walk. I went very slowly to the bathroom and then everything was all it never happened. I still don't know what caused it and it has never happened before or after that, and hopefully never will again.


I headed out to the balcony and it was looking pretty cloudy out. I know the last time I checked the weather, prior to leaving home, it did say rain all day in Nassau, but we all know how that changes in an instant.

PB172099 copy.jpg

When you see the lighthouse, you know you are almost there and just need to park.

PB172101 copy.jpg
PB172097 copy.jpg

We headed up to breakfast a little after 7am and I decided since we are really not on a time schedule today, it would be a good idea to get in the omelette line.

PB172103 copy.jpg

Do you notice the brown eggs? That's what they had for everything the entire cruise. This is the first time I have ever seen them before. When did this switch happen?


After eating, we headed back to the room where we decided to put our balcony to use while we waited on punctual Kendra and fam to eat.


We noticed another ship coming in. (There was a something of the Seas already there when we arrived, and we were second to arrive, even though the cruise tables said the next ship wasn't due to arrive until 10am and MSC was coming in directly after us).

PB172107 copy.jpg

Almost there...a few more inches...

PB172106 copy.jpg

I don't know if everyone kept up with Matthew, but it did hit Nassau pretty hard too. I remember looking at the webcams and seeing the weather and also watching the reports after he was booted from the island. There were places that it was pretty tour up. I'm not really sure if the port got hit or not, but it was quite obvious there was some destruction there.


Take a look at this house. Garage roof is gone, partial areas of the main home roof is gone, dock fell into the water, roofs caved in, blocks down and thrown around, and walls fallen. There's no telling what else. But it was the one house that really caught my eye.

PB172112 copy.jpg

Here comes the MSC ship

PB172114 copy.jpg

I honestly had no idea what time we finally made it off the ship after waiting for the Kendra clan, but the MSC had already managed to drift into her parking spot, all wheel drive style, by the time we got off.



We were greeted by a dolphin. A dolphin that could do tricks, like stand on his tail fin and smile for a picture. I THINK THIS IS SOME TYPE OF SIGN!

PB202905 copy.jpg

Since NCL were jerks this cruise and decided the passengers that didn't make it on the ship at a "normal" time during embarkation and took down the embarkation photo and ROBBED us of our picture that I always buy...I guess this would have to do.

PB202907 copy.jpg

We would start the very long journey down the pier. I guess when you are not on the VIP list for Nassau and aren't supposed to be there, you get treated as 3rd class and get to park the furthest away.

PB172115 copy.jpg
PB172117 copy.jpg

Hmpppfff, they look about the same size as us.

PB172116 copy.jpg

♪ Just keep walking, just keep walking, ♫ hhmmm hmmm hmmm hmmm hmmm ♪ ♫

PB172125 copy.jpg

How many of these do we have to endure?

PB172124 copy.jpg

How many of these do we have to endure?

PB172118 copy.jpg
PB172119 copy.jpg
PB172121 copy.jpg
PB172120 copy.jpg
PB172123 copy.jpg

Out of the port we went and to the right.

PB172126 copy.jpg

The road kind of curved out and around some buildings, but we knew we were headed the right way when we seen this:

PB172127 copy.jpg
PB172128 copy.jpg

Once you go around that building and curve back around, Junkanoo is right down the street.

It took us 15 minutes to get there.


When we arrived, there was hardly anyone there.


To the left.

PB172130 copy.jpg

To the right:

PB172129 copy.jpg

We decided where we wanted to sit and of course we were immediately approached by people wanting us to rent chairs and telling us their specials. We really didn't feel like drinking (although they do have some awesome deals for chairs and drinks all day long) and the hubby is the only one that decided to get a chair. I believe it was $10 and that included a free drink. Everyone else just threw their towels down on the sand and that's where they would be for the day.


The kids immediately headed to the water.

PB172131 copy.jpg
PB172132 copy.jpg

She morphed into a mermaid instantly and I hadn't even realized that she got her tail out yet. She's quick.

PB172133 copy.jpg
PB172136 copy.jpg

I had seen a few videos of snorkeling in this area and it looked pretty decent with some things to see that I hadn't seen before. So, I was determined to check this place out.


I headed to the water....OH EM's was FREEZING cold. Wow. Such a big difference from St Thomas and Tortola. Sigh. Ok, I got this. I'm a fish. I eased myself in and told the Littles "let's go" and they followed.


We were immediately greeted by this in the distance:

PB182142 copy.jpg

I noticed there were a lot of old engines thrown in the water and critters managed to claim their real estate in all of them. They also used these engines to tie a rope to, with a balloon/buoy of some sort, to float at the surface. I'm not sure what they signify since it had nothing to do with the buoys around the perimeter. Do anyone know?

PB182145 copy.jpg
PB182144 copy.jpg

Sakari prefers to be on the bottom when snorkeling. I prefer the top with my snorkel. LOL She's always under me when I look for her.

PB182147 copy.jpg

I spotted a few yellowtail Damsel fish (there were a lot in this area).

PB182148 copy.jpg
PB182146 copy.jpg

I spotted a sea urchin and went down to retrieve it.

PB182156 copy.jpg

I ask Sakari if she wanted to hold it. Her response "Nah, I've held plenty of them before" Well alrighty then miss I've done it all and it's getting old and I would rather find something new to hold.


Brayden volunteered and then I totally screwed up the picture.

PB182158 copy.jpg

A quick picture at the beach would show that it was starting to get busy.

PB182152 copy.jpg

They had some pretty nice sized Palometos here.

PB182163 copy.jpg

I believe the rope on this one is a little too short. LOL

PB182161 copy.jpg

There was a family of striped grunts hanging out under here and there was also a Lionfish, but he wasn't coming out enough for me to get a good picture. You can see his fins poking out.

PB182165 copy.jpg

Sometimes it's just all fun and games

PB182169 copy.jpg

Beaugregory Damselfish

PB182167 copy.jpg
PB182174 copy.jpg
PB182175 copy.jpg

Back to the beach I went and the hubby was relaxing and playing a game of video cards. lol

PB182178 copy.jpg

The kids decided to build a sand castle.

PB182184 copy.jpg

I see another ship coming in the distance. Things are about to get a little more crowded. Just great.

PB182180 copy.jpg

Man it looked like a massive ship. What the heck is it? It would get closer and closer and I yell "ESCAPE! THAT'S THE ESCAPE!!!" Everyone on the beach was snapping pictures of her in all her glory. This is the newest NCL ship.


She holds 166 more passengers than the Epic and is 8,727 gross tons more as well. She was massive.

PB182185 copy.jpg
PB182188 copy.jpg

Remember how I've been saying that after this cruise I just feel like I would enjoy smaller ships more due to not being as crowded? Well here I am wiggling my headed back and forth and saying "Yep, that's the Escape. Yep, I have her booked next year. Yep, I'll be on that beauty" and claiming her like I was something else. (Oops, just staring at her beauty made me completely forget saying I wasn't going on bigger ships anymore).

PB182192 copy.jpg

I was so busy taking pictures of the Escape as she rolled by and Kendra goes "mom, do you see who's out in the water?" (We take every opportunity to make fun of Billy if he goes any where near the water).

PB182221 copy.jpg

Do you notice how he's busy looking down? He's looking for fish. He's making sure that he doesn't see any fish around him. All of a sudden he would come running out of the water AND FALL! In front of everyone. We couldn't help but laugh and I was so busy laughing (because I knew it was from seeing a fish) that I forgot to get a picture.


He knew exactly what we were laughing about too.

PB182198 copy.jpg

Ok, back to the Escape. She was now turning and was going to back into her spot...right beside the Epic. From our standpoint, she looked as if she took up the entire area.

PB182208 copy.jpg
PB182214 copy.jpg

Ok, enough of that for now. Back to the kids and covering up the evidence that there was a mermaid on the loose.

PB182194 copy.jpg

Kolin always thinks he's funny when he gives sissy a pair of tata's.

PB182199 copy.jpg
PB182203 copy.jpg

A sand bath will wash your tan off.

PB182205 copy.jpg
PB182210 copy.jpg

More and more people were coming in and it was getting a little crowded. They were putting chairs up all around us and remember we only had 1 chair and the rest had towels down. Well you all know how I like to be in the front row so that I can see the Littles if I'm just sitting on the beach. Well, we decided to all move up closer so that they wouldn't put any chairs in front of us and block the view.

PB182212 copy.jpg

See how we are situated? The hubby sticking out, I was beside him, Courtney, Kendra and Billy along the back and moved back just a little, then Kolin and the kids were along the other side and the middle so that they could "play".

PB182211 copy.jpg

Kendra and I would later decide to go out and snorkel. Well, the only reason why I told you about the positioning above is that when we returned, a couple had come along and laid their blanket down right in that middle spot. Uhhhhh, really? Like they were basically right in the middle of us (their heads and upper body) and it was just plain weird. I couldn't even walk to my towel and spot without almost stepping over them and ....of course dripping ice cold water on them. Oh well....




I noticed another ship coming in...Carnival.

PB182209 copy.jpg

It would be the Valor.

PB182216 copy.jpg
PB182213 copy.jpg

Braydens turn to get buried.

PB182217 copy.jpg
PB182222 copy.jpg

So like I said, we decided to walk down to almost the end of the beach and snorkel back toward the other direction. We did this because this was the direction the water/wind/flow was going and it would be easier.


When we got down to the end, there was more evidence of the hurricane there.

Kolin and Courtney came running up and said they were also going to go snorkeling with us.

PB182225 copy.jpg
PB182224 copy.jpg

The only issue was that Kolin didn't have a mask. Well, I take that back. The other issue is that, once again, Courtney is not a very good swimmer and the minute that she finds out that the water is over her head in a lot of places, she decides not to go.


I have to tell you that this place must be considered the goggle graveyard. I found more goggles here than ever before. I'm not sure what the deal was. So, I went down, got a pair of goggles and gave them to Kolin. "Ok, you're set to go now" hehe

However...these were just the eye goggles (like Sakari's Speedo's) and he would get tired of holding his breath and end up giving up after awhile...instead of just getting the goggles from Courtney and using them.

PB182233 copy.jpg
PB182228 copy.jpg

Lots of widdle ishy squishy fishy

PB182233 copy.jpg
PB182235 copy.jpg
PB182236 copy.jpg
PB182238 copy.jpg

This anemone was having a sleep over and invited all the neighbors.

PB182240 copy.jpg

Kendra is really good at spotting things that I don't see. My eyesight is not the greatest I'll admit.


She spotted a puffer fish.

PB182248 copy.jpg
PB182247 copy.jpg
PB182243 copy.jpg
PB182249 copy.jpg
PB182250 copy.jpg

More of these barracudas. I seen more this day than I think I have in an entire cruise snorkeling.

PB182259 copy.jpg
PB182253 copy.jpg
PB182255 copy.jpg

A bunch of Ocean Surgeonfish

PB182263 copy.jpg
PB182265 copy.jpg
PB182266 copy.jpg
PB182269 copy.jpg
PB182269 copy.jpg

Awww, a baby sea urchin

PB182278 copy.jpg

Kendra has managed to lose the plastic clip that holds the snorkel to the mask and has to hold her snorkel up every time. LOL She's been doing this for about the last 3 cruises. I think I would have gave up by now and just bought another.

PB182279 copy.jpg
PB182276 copy.jpg

There was a lot of colonies of the purple feather dusters on this in various places.

PB182273 copy.jpg
PB182277 copy.jpg
PB182300 copy.jpg

I spotted a beautiful Juvenile French Angelfish. This striped yellow and black fish will grow into a massive huge beautiful black fish with yellow marks all over it. It's amazing how these fish look so different when they are young.

PB182290 copy.jpg

Another juvenile Beaugregory. They are so pretty, but feisty little fish, and you can find them in colors that resemble blue or purple on the top. The sad part is, once they mature, they really aren't that pretty anymore and seem to lose most of these amazing colors.

PB182294 copy.jpg

More coral with purple feather dusters

PB182303 copy.jpg
PB182303 copy.jpg

A Spotfin Butterflyfish, which was really weird to only see one of these. You usually see them in a pair.

PB182296 copy.jpg

I see a lot of little fishys hanging out

PB182309 copy.jpg
PB182312 copy.jpg
PB182306 copy.jpg

This is where the fish party is being held.

PB182314 copy.jpg
PB182319 copy.jpg

Ok I have to show you this amazing macro picture I managed to get. For some reason I decided to change the settings on my camera to macro and I ended up with a pretty sweet picture.

PB182327 copy.jpg

So here's the reason I never do macro pictures....


On my Olympus 620 and 830, if you put them on macro, what it does is ZOOM into what you are pointing it at. I kept trying to use it when we were in Grand Turk and getting pictures of this octopus and I would dive down and take a picture only to find out that it would get the eyeball or chop half the picture off. So, when I started noticing this, I would stay up at the top of the water, turn on macro, and take the picture and it would just give me a close up. If you tried to take a macro picture (like on land) of something, it had a hard time focusing if you were right up on it. You had to pull back a bit for it to focus. So, I finally gave up on close up shots and if there was really something I wanted you to see closer, I would just crop it.


HOWEVER, the macro on this TG4 is pretty amazing. I did try out a few macro shots before leaving for vacation and it was just awesome. But, I didn't think to use it while on vacation because I was so use to not using macro. This would be my first and last attempt and I have to say I'M IN LOVE. I will be practicing this more for any upcoming cruises or "dives". hehe


Bluestriped Lizardfish

PB182335 copy.jpg

We had made it around a few piers and the further you got, the worse the visibility was. So, we decided to call it quits. Kendra gave me this look of "Do we really have to swim back? I'm tired". We decided to get out and walk the beach back instead.

PB182338 copy.jpg

We spotted the family up on the pier.

PB182339 copy.jpg
PB182340 copy.jpg

When I made it back to our spot, I noticed Sakari was hanging on the side of the pier and looking like she was going to jump. She's such a daredevil and as tired as I was from snorkeling for so long, I headed back out into the water to use my negotiation skills to talk her down off the ledge.

PB182341 copy.jpg

Please Sakari, we love you and don't want you to jump.

PB182344 copy.jpg

Sakari gave me her mermaid pose and then Brayden appeared as if he was going to jump. It would be a double jumper alert.

PB182347 copy.jpg

"I swear I'll do it" No, no, don't do it. Save yourself.

PB182348 copy.jpg

Ok, so maybe I need to brush up on my negotiation skills.

PB182356 copy.jpg

Then came Brayden

PB182357 copy.jpg

This kids and their snapchat

IMG_5974 copy.jpg
IMG_5966 copy.jpg

After rescuing the double jumpers, we headed back to our spot.


The last time we were here at Junkanoo was in 1998 I believe and on Royal Caribbean. Kendra was 10 years old at the time and we did a cruise with her entire gymnastics team. They held a competition in Florida and then the next day the entire team and their families went on a cruise. We had no idea what there was to do here and it was long before the internet so...we just got off and started walking around.


We would come to this beach and it was a small beach with nothing there. We didn't even have our bathing suits.


I would take a picture of Kendra standing in the water with the ships in the background. Kendra wanted to recreate this same picture...18 years later. However, she couldn't figure out what pose she had done.

PB182358 copy.jpg

Oh yea, maybe it was this pose. It had to be some type of "cutesy" pose...we know that for sure because Kendra has always had the same personality.

PB182359 copy.jpg

When we got home, we would discover she was all wrong. But hey, at least we got something right?