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  • Writer's pictureKen Murray

We Took an Impromptu Cruise to the Bahamas

It's been a cold winter, and Shelly and I were starved for sunshine and warm weather. Shelly found a great deal on a 7-day Carnival Cruise to the Bahamas sailing out of Baltimore, MD, just 45 minutes from our home, so we booked it. The ship was the Carnival Legend with a capacity of about 2000 guests. Our first cruise, 25+ years ago, was on Carnival. 14 cruises later, we were looking forward to trying them again.

Day 1 - Embarkation

We drove to the Port of Baltimore and parked in the lot near the ship ($15 per day). We brought one piece of carry-on luggage each, and let Carnival staff take it to our cabin. The check-in process was fairly quick; they checked passports, vaccination cards, and cruise confirmation, and gave us our Seapass cards (your Seapass card is used for entry to your cabin, and buying anything on the ship, like drinks). We boarded the ship around 3:00pm, went to our cabin and got settled. The cabin was standard with a balcony, and located on deck 7 at the back of the ship. It was comfortable, but only had one electrical outlet.

We did a self-guided tour of the ship. Deck 9 is the Lido deck, and has the Unicorn Café. It's like a food court with a number of serving stations and food offerings. We ate a lite meal, then toured the pool areas, and the Serenity Pool, which is for adults only. We then headed to deck 2, which has the main restaurant, a lobby bar with a 7-deck atrium, several bars and pubs, the casino, and the 3-deck auditorium where shows are performed. We had a drink at the pub, and went to the pool on deck 9 for the sail-away party, then got ready for dinner.

We chose the early dining seating at 5:30pm, sat at a table of 8, and met two other couples, one from Delaware and one from New Jersey. I don't remember what we ordered, but the meals were good and the service was excellent. After dinner, we made our way to the auditorium to listen to the cruise director (his name was Lee and he was great all week) give an overview of the cruise, the ports, and the ship's entertainment offerings.

We found our way to the Comedy Club in the Firebird Lounge on deck 1 for an 8:30pm show. The comedian was decent, and we enjoyed a drink and a few laughs. We then went to the casino and played some blackjack, then headed back to the cabin to go to sleep. Little did I know that because I had had so much Pepsi this evening, I would not be able to sleep.

Day 2 - Day at Sea

I was awake most of the night. I got up at 6:00am and went to the Unicorn Café to get some coffee and pastries. No more late night Pepsi's for me. Shelly joined me around 7:00am. We ate breakfast and I went back to our cabin and managed to sleep for a few hours. Shelly toured the ship and browsed the items in the shops.

Many cruise ships have art auctions held by Park West Gallery. Shelly and I attended the auction. They presented and auctioned off a number of works of art from artists such as Peter Max. Shelly and I were just watching and enjoying the event, and did not bid on or buy anything.

When we were on our Antarctica cruise, we met a wonderful couple and their daughter. She bought an orca whale stuffed animal, named it "Shellman", and we took pictures of it around the ship. So the couple shipped Shellman to us to take on this cruise, and we shared photos with them. Here's Shelly on our balcony with Shellman.

It was still a bit cool outside but very sunny. We spent time laying down in a clamshell by the Serenity Pool, and I fell asleep for 30 or 40 minutes.

We saw the stage show at the Follies Main Show Lounge, and although I do not remember the theme, I enjoyed it. There were 8 to 10 performers, and they danced and sang. It's worth the 30 minute investment.

We went to the Comedy Club and saw the G-rated show of Patrick Maliha. Besides stand-up comedy, he was a writer on Mystery Science Theater 3000, which I love. He was quite good with lots of interaction with the audience. He also does some great impressions.

Day 3 - Day at Sea

After getting a better night's sleep, I was ready for the day. We had breakfast at the main Truffles Restaurant. You need to download the Carnival app and check-in to get a table number. You then go to the hostess with your table number and are seated. The breakfast was good with a variety of menu options.

We found a seat by the pool and spent a good part of the afternoon soaking up the sun. We took this cruise to get some sun and warm weather and we got it.

We got some nice photos of the sun setting.

We then went to see the show at Follies Main Show Lounge. It was a tribute to Motown and was enjoyable. Here's a photo of Shelly and me at the lounge.

Day 4 - Nassau, Bahamas

Today was our first day in port at Nassau, and we were meeting my friend of 50 years, Mark Dunn. Mark lives on Nassau and is the General Counsel for the Baha Mar Resort. Mark picked us up at 9:00am and took us on a tour of Baha Mar. It's a beautiful resort with three hotels (Grand Hyatt, SLS, and Rosewood), a water park, many restaurants, and casino, and lots of pools and gorgeous beaches.

We then drove to Albany on the west side of the island. Albany is a luxury resort community, set on 600 oceanside acres on New Providence. It has a hotel and private houses and condos. It also has a golf course designed by Tiger Woods and Ernie Els where the annual Hero World Challenge golf tournament is held. Mark has a membership through is work, and he was a gracious host.

We drove around the resort, then walked to the pool and beach and spent the afternoon soaking up the sun and talking. We had a nice lunch and Mark drove us back to the ship. It was great seeing Mark. The last time I saw him was in July 2020 at our 40 year high school reunion. Hopefully we'll see him again in 2022 if he visits his office in Washington DC.

Day 5 - Half Moon Cay, Bahamas

Day 5 was our second port-of-call. Half Moon Cay is a private island owned by Carnival. It has beautiful white sand and green-blue water. We went ashore around 10:00am and sat on lounge chairs on the beach under a bright sun. The weather was beautiful but after sitting in the sun for an hour or so, we had lunch at the island BBQ. We then headed back to the ship around 12:30pm because there was no shade anywhere. We spent the afternoon lounging by the pool.

A friend recommended we try a drink at the Alchemy Bar. We sat at the bar and enjoyed watching the bartenders prepare many specialty drinks. Shelly ordered a French Kiss.

Day 6 - Freeport, Bahamas

Freeport was our last port stop. Other than a few excursions, there is little to do on Freeport. There are small shops right off the dock, and Shelly and I got off the ship around 10:00am to look for some T-shirts for Rhys and Knox. We managed to find some tie-dyed shirts in their size and favorite colors. We then spent about 90 minutes soaking up the sun and enjoying the sea-breeze having drinks at an outdoor bar, then returned to the ship.

The evening show was the "British Invasion", and it was my favorite of the week (I am a Beatles fanatic and fan of British invasion bands and music). The performers covered, among others, The Beatles, Rolling Stones, Herman's Hermits, and Petula Clark.

Day 7 - Day at Sea

We are heading back to Baltimore. We spent the afternoon at the pool and I got a bit of a burn. But it was wonderful getting this break from the cold of Washington DC.

The casino invited us to dinner at the Golden Fleece Steakhouse. The service was excellent and the food was very good. Shelly got a prime rib and I got surf n turf; a lobster tail and a 4oz filet.

The casino also bought us a bottle of wine. Here's Shellman cozying up to it.

We made it to the show and the theme was 1970's and 1980's rock. I really enjoyed it, lots of great music and theatrics.

We then saw Patrick Maliha again, but this time it was his -R-rated show. He was great. The banter with the audience, in particular with one exuberant female, was hysterical.

We played blackjack for a bit and retired to our cabin to pack up.

Day 8 - Debarkation and Home

The ship docked in Baltimore around 9:00am. We left our cabin and headed to a waiting area where we would be called for disembarkation. It was quick and easy. We walked to our car and headed home.

We very much enjoyed the cruise, and I have no complaints. The service was very good, the food and entertainment was good, and the variety of activities was excellent. With Carnival sailing out of Baltimore, we'll take advantage of these easy-access cruises again in the future. Happy cruising!

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