The first stop on our Disney Cruise was Nassau. I know a lot of people don’t really like Nassau and while it’s not my favorite place in the world, I’ve visited twice in the past 6 months and had a lot of fun both times. We didn’t book an excursion because it was my daughter’s first time there and I knew she would like to see the straw market and do a few other things that were easily accessible from the boat.
Because we were in no hurry to get off of the ship, I was able to snag some tickets for the Princess meet and greet and the Elsa and Anna meet and greet that morning. I love the way these are set up on a Disney Cruise. As soon as you board the ship, you need to get in line for special ticketed events like meet and greets and the Castaway Cay 5k if you are at all interested. The tickets are free but there are only so many available for each event and if you don’t have a ticket, you wont be let in line for the meet and greets. I’ve waited over 4 hours with my little lady before to meet a Princess at Walt Disney World so only waiting 5 minutes to meet them all is vacation changing. If you have children who are really into meet and greets, especially with princesses, I would recommend doing a Disney cruise! My husband and I decided what would be best is to do a short Disney Cruise and then head to the parks for a few days. You get some rest and relaxation with a Disney Cruise while meeting all of your child’s favorite characters with no wait times and then you can head to the parks and ride all of the rides without the guilt of waiting in line for characters. It really would be the best of both worlds.
After our ticketed meet and greets, we got off of the ship to explore Nassau. The first stop for the Hutnik family was a grocery store. A family tradition of ours when we travel is everyone has to try a new food and drink that is local to that area. We love exploring the aisles to see who can find the tastiest looking treat. We settled on some candy bars (which we later went back to get more of) and one of my favorite drinks, Bahamas Goombay Punch. I think it’s a perfect blend of Mountain Dew and Vanilla Cream Soda. It’s super sweet and manufactured right in the Bahamas. It’s a must get treat each time we visit.
Once we had our snacks, we walked toward the famous straw market. Because I had been to the straw market before and knew what to expect and I had stopped before we got there to talk to my daughter. If your children have never been, it’s a good idea to talk to them about safety and what to expect before you get there. The stalls are very tight and everyone is trying to sell the same things over and over. Sometimes, the stall owners can be very pushy which might be a different experience for some children. I explained that the Bahamians thrive on tourists so they work really hard to sell their souvenirs to make money for their families. We live in a very touristy area so this concept wasn’t foreign to my daughter which made it was easy to explain to her. We talked about greeting the stall owners and insisting that we are just looking. We also talked about staying together so no one gets separated, it’s like a maze in there and what to do in the off chance we did lose each other. It was no surprise to me, but my daughter had so much fun in the straw market and wanted to stay as long as possible. She thrives in an environment where she can talk to other people and learn a little bit about other cultures. She comes up with the best questions to ask people.
We met a man whose grandmother was the first stall owner when the straw market opened. He had also served in the military and lived not far from where we do now. He had lots of pictures of his family and life in the Bahamas set up around his stall and we enjoyed chit chatting with him and looking through his photo albums. My daughter enjoyed his company and story so much, we purchased a small straw purse from him and he stitched my daughter’s name on the inside while showing her how to do it too.
After we finished up browsing the straw market, I wanted to take Addie down to the water. We live at the beach so the ocean isn’t new to her but the water in the Bahamas is so different. Where we live, we have extreme tides and strong currents which kicks up a lot of sand in the water and it looks brown most of the time. The water in the Bahamas is so so blue. It started to rain while we were walking to the public beach but it was still fun to dip our toes in the water.
It rained the rest of the afternoon in Nassau so we decided to get back on the ship early. We had a late lunch and then headed back to the room to get cleaned up for pirate night (review coming soon). Addie got a big surprise when we got back to the room, because her grandmother purchased an in-room birthday celebration for her. The entire room was decked out in mickey birthday decorations. That girl was so excited. A towel three layer cake, decorations hanging from the ceiling and a special birthday picture frame decorated our entire room. It was a fun, unexpected treat. When the room steward came in to pull her bed down for the evening, he moved all of the decorations around again which was another fun surprise later that evening!
We had a really fun day visiting Nassau. It’s not a place I care to overnight in but I do enjoy a day trip there. While I do think it is important to stay alert, I felt very safe during our time exploring the island. Next time, we would love to check out Blue Lagoon and the dolphin adventures but even without an excursion we had a great time.
Keep checking back for more reviews of our first Disney Cruise!