Skipping a port and staying on board ... choices, choices

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4 Posts
Joined Feb 2017
Hey everybody!Long time lurker, first time poster. This community has already been such a big help and I'm hoping somebody can offer some advice.

We finally booked our first cruise -- Four night, Bahamas on RCL Enchantment in late April. As background, we're in our 40s and we're all about kicking back and relaxing during this trip. We love to snorkel and be at the beach. My wife loves to shop. I love to carry the wallet and open and close it on her behalf.

Our ports of call are Nassau, CocoCay and Key West. We're thinking of skipping either Key West or Nassau and staying on board one of those days, just to have more time to enjoy the ship. And my wife is thinking about maybe visiting the spa that day while I relax and write letters home to my elderly aunts and uncles (OK, that's code for ... "go shoot craps in the casino").

If you HAD to choose missing out on Nassau or Key West, which would you choose and why? We've never visited either place if that makes any difference in your mind.
969 Posts
Joined Aug 2001
One thing's for sure - you won't be shooting craps as the casinos are always closed when the ship is in port.
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Kwaj girl
615 Posts
Joined Sep 2005
I would never miss out on an opportunity to visit Key West - I've been there quite a few times, but only once on a cruise.

It's a town with some history, loads to see and do, excellent bars and restaurants and one of the best cities I know to just find a table at a bar and just people-watch...

When I was last in Nassau a group of us took a taxi to a beach just out of town, found a local with a boat & snorkelling equipment and spent a very happy few hours about half a mile off shore....

So I wouldn't miss either port!

4,042 Posts
Joined Jun 2009
If I had to pick, I'd skip Nassau over Key West.

But, I'd skip Coco Cay over both of them. Coco Cay is solely a beach day run by the cruise ship.
Coastal GA USA
19,794 Posts
Joined Nov 2007
You can visit them all, and return to the ship in time for lunch and to relax. I see you live in FL, so a beach day would not be a particular treat. At Coco Cay, tender ashore to see what it is like, then head back to the ship. I Key West, walk around or do a trolley tour, then head back to the ship. In Nassau, walk ashore and through town, open your wallet a few times for your wife, return to the ship and relax. Everyone has to visit the straw market in Nassau at least once, then it never has to be done again. EM
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366 Posts
Joined Feb 2016
Definitely Nassau. My wife and I won't even pick cruises with Nassau in their iteneraries. So if I had to pick one, it'd definitely be Nassau.
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South Florida
3,865 Posts
Joined Apr 2011
Everyone suggesting the OP skip Nassau has missed the obvious: he wants to spend one of the port days in the casino. Since he was seemingly unaware the ship's casino can only open while the ship is in international waters, while in Nassau he should head over to Atlantis; there is no pass required to visit the casino there.

And I agree that unless dying for a beach day the OP will likely take one look at CocoCay and hop the next tender back to the ship. Unless their idea of a relaxing lunch is to line up for BBQ mystery meat that will sit like lead in your stomach well past dinner time, eaten on a picnic table in the blazing sun; there is no seating in the shade like at other lines' private islands.
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First Cruise: NCL MS Sunward, Bahamas, July 1972
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Fredericksburg, va. USA
79,707 Posts
Joined May 2001
Nassau would be my pick. Key West is quaint and fun and don't need to spend ALL day, but it's a lovely stop. I can take or leave Nassau....
Centerville, Ohio, USA
7,508 Posts
Joined Apr 2002
I understand your desire to enjoy the ship when many of your shipmates will be off. I disembark in the Caribbean only at those ports that are new to me or are those which I particularly enjoy. I enjoy the ship's facilities without many being around.

Key West is one such port that I really do enjoy. There is so much to see and do.

Nassau: If one has never been there, as has been said, a brief visit is worth the effort.

Never have been at Coco Cay, but HAL's Half Moon Cay is a great beach-type experience. Another possible port to briefly visit, maybe have lunch there, and then return to the ship.
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51 cruises: 30 Holland America, 4 Princess, 4 Carnival, 3 Pacific Far East Line, 2 Cunard, 2 Royal Viking Line, 1 each: Celebrity Cruises, NCL, Royal Caribbean, Sitmar, American Hawaii, Home Lines
South Carolina
25,732 Posts
Joined Dec 2001
Don't miss the opportunity to go to Key West!
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80+ Cruises .... Princess, Celebrity, RCCL, HAL, Carnival, NCL, Costa, etc. (Still miss Sitmar)
North West NJ
3,818 Posts
Joined Jan 2010
You can write your letter to Aunt Nellie when you are home. This is your first cruise (and a very short one, at that). Get your fanny off the ship, even if only for a couple of hours!!!
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MSC......SEASIDE 2018
4 Posts
Joined Feb 2017
Thanks everybody for the responses! I hadn't really considered making a quick trip to either of these places then getting back onboard. (We really are new to all this.) Maybe that will fit the bill.
6,210 Posts
Joined Jul 2005
We get off in Nassau in order for my son to take pics of the cruise ships and then we get back on. We don't leave the pier. One too many trips to the straw market and I said "never again." So that's the Piet I would skip. And empty(ish) ship, regardless of casino status, is very nice.
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South Carolina
25,732 Posts
Joined Dec 2001
Originally posted by FloriDan
Thanks everybody for the responses! I hadn't really considered making a quick trip to either of these places then getting back onboard. (We really are new to all this.) Maybe that will fit the bill.
People do this all the time.
In port your ship is like a hotel room -- you can go and come as you please.
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Happy Sailing! OCruisers (LuLu & Roundman)
80+ Cruises .... Princess, Celebrity, RCCL, HAL, Carnival, NCL, Costa, etc. (Still miss Sitmar)