Monday, September 7, 2015

6. Places Outside the United States that Macrine and I had Visited-The Bahamas

Place # 6: Three Day Cruise to Nassau, The Bahamas

The Parliament House

On March 25 to 28, 1977, Macrine and I took our first cruise to Nassau after the American Chemical Society Meeting in Miami Beach, Florida. This is aboard the S/S Emerald Seas owned by the Eastern Steamship Lines, Inc. The S/S Emerald Seas was registered in Panama with gross tonnage of 24,178 tons, has 9 decks, 622 feet long and 76 feet wide. There were 411 staterooms and a capacity of 1,084 passengers. There was a movie theatre on the lowest deck, two night clubs, an Olympic size swimming pool, 5 lounges with bars, a slot machines room, card room, gift shop, beauty parlor and a huge dining area for 500 diners on each seating. This ship is just like a small city with all its amenities.

Macrine and I and a couple we meet during the ACS neeting and their teenage son were assigned on the second seating for all meals. For entertainment, there were 2 bands for dancing, night club shows, horse racing, bingo, and card tournaments. The Casino and Slot Machines are only open on High Seas. We ate six times a day as follows: Breakfast(6 to 8AM), morning snack(10-11AM),lunch(12Noon-2:00PM),afternoon snack(4:00PM),dinner,6:00 to 9:00PM and another midnight buffet(11:00PM) if you are still hungry. The food was delicious and lavish.

The highlights of this cruise was the Captain's Farewell Dinner- Lobster with eight other courses and a flaming baked Alaskan cake as the dessert served by marching waiters. Since I am to prone to sea sickness, I took my Dramamine tablets prior to our departure from the Port of Miami. On the return back, I was feeling good and cocky, I did not take my pill. Lo and Behold at the end of the Captain's dinner, I was feeling nauseous, thus was not able to enjoy the dessert.
Here's a video of a similar cruise aboard the Monarch of the Seas, operated by the Royal Carribean Lines.

When we arrived at Nassau(capital of the Bahamas), we took a tour of the Island of New Providence, including the beach in Paradise Island. Paradise Island has soft pink white sand and multi-hued blue and greenish water.

Within walking distance from where the ship docked is Bay Street lined with shops offering items from all over the world at duty free prices. The famed straw market is adjacent to the ship, where you can buy all kinds of straw products from dolls, hats or handbags. Macrine and I purchased several straw products for souvenirs.

Nassau is the capital, largest city, and commercial centre of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas. The city has a population of 260,000 (2008 census), nearly 80 percent of the entire population of The Bahamas (330,000). Lynden Pindling International Airport, the major airport for The Bahamas, is located about 16 kilometres (9.9 mi) west of Nassau city centre, and has daily flights to major cities in the United Kingdom, United States, Canada and the Caribbean. The city is located on the island of New Providence, which functions much like a federal district. While there is no local government, it is governed directly as an administrative division of the national government. Nassau is considered a historical stronghold of pirates.

Atlantis Resort, Paradise Island, Bahamas

Nassau's modern growth began just over 200 years ago with the influx of thousands of American Loyalists and enslaved Africans to The Bahamas following the American War of Independence. Many of them settled in Nassau (the then and still commerce capital of The Bahamas) and eventually came to outnumber the original inhabitants.
As the population of Nassau grew, so did the built-up areas.

Today the city dominates the entire island and its satellite, Paradise Island. The Atlantis Resort was not built when we visited the island in 1977. However, until the post-Second World War era, the outer suburbs scarcely existed. Most of New Providence was uncultivated bush until the loyalists came in the 1780s and established several plantations such as Clifton and Tusculum. When the British abolished the international slave Trade in 1807, thousands of liberated Africans freed from slave ships by the Royal Navy were settled on New Providence (at Adelaide, Gambier, Carmichael and Sandiland) and other islands. The largest concentration of blacks lived in the "Over-the-Hill" suburbs of Grants Town and Bain Town behind the city of Nassau, while most of the whites lived on the island's northern coastal ridges.

Note: This is No.6 ( Part 2) of the series of articles on places that Macrine and I had visited outside the US since 1960.

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