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Key West has better bars, better restaurants, the fabulous sunsets, and a real funky vibe to it (kind of an "anything goes" attitude).
The Bahamas are better for beaches, shopping and gambling.
Song of Norway (7 night Western Caribbean)-1981
Fair Sky (12 night Alaska)-1985
Nordic Prince (7 night Bermuda)-1990
Norwegian Sea (7 night Western Caribbean)-2004
Celebration (5 night Bahamas)-2005
Norwegian Majesty (7 night Western Caribbean)-2006
Mariner of The Seas (7 night Eastern Caribbean)- Sep. 2007
Norwegian Star (8 night Mexican Riviera)-April 2008
Carnival Glory (7 night Western Caribbean)-November 2008
Celebrity Constellation (11 night Eastern/Southern Caribbean)- April 2009
Carnival Spirit (7 night Alaska)- August 2009
Celebrity Mercury (11 night Eastern Caribbean)-March 2010
Celebrity Constellation (14 night Southern Caribbean)-March 2011
Celebrity Silhouette (12 night Eastern/Southern Caribbean)-March 2012
Freedom of The Seas (14 Night Back-To-Back Western/Eastern Caribbean)-April 2013
Carnival Fantasy (7 Night Eastern Caribbean)-August 2014
Celebrity Silhouette (7 Night Western Caribbean)-March 2015
Carnival Sunshine(10 Night Eastern Caribbean)- May 2016
The Bahamas cover a lot of territory. Each island has its own unique personality and things to offer. Key West is much smaller...2 miles by four miles. Of course you can travel the entire length of the Florida Keys and see the other keys and what they have to offer. You can do that in a car. In the Bahamas you'll need air or sea transportation to other islands. Nassau has casinos. Key West had a floating casino ship, but that is stuck on a mangrove swamp since Hurricane Wilma. I do not know if a replacement casino is up and running yet.
Key West has some historical attractions such as Hemingway Place and the Truman White House. Right now it is competitive to get lodging because the large Double Tree Hotel had to close down due to a boiler problem that proved fatal to one guest. All the guests have had to seek lodging elsewhere in Key West and rates have gone really high IF you can get a place to stay at all.
I love Key West. We used to drive down there every six weeks or so, but for the last couple winters rates have been very high and rooms aren't easy to get anyway.
The choice depends on what you really are seeking in a vacation.
All of your comments are great. We are torn. Key West sounds fun and funky however we do love to relax on the beach. This will be a quick (5 night) bday (my 40) and our anniversary (20yr) trip. We are willing to spend some $$ but we arn't completely splurging (or I'd be holding our for Tahiti!) because we've made commitments to a big trip in November. We just took a very nice southern Caribbean cruise last November on the Crown (our 4th caribbean cruise) and we've hit a ton of the islands on our 4 cruises. We love to explore the islands, hang at the beach and have some drinks at the local bars. We do gamble but that isn't a big priority since Vegas is a quick trip from us out here in Seattle. We are also considering a 3 night cruise out of Miami on RCCL. I'm not usually this wishy washy, can't figure out why we can't decide.
Paul Gauguin - 6/30/2012
Carnival Dream 6/2011
Crown Princess 11/
Voyager of the Seas 12/2003
Celebrity Galaxy 10/2000
Carnival Fascination 11/1997
The three day cruise on Majesty of the Seas does go to Nassau, plus the ship will be newly renovated by mid-February. This same cruise also goes to the wonderfully relaxing Coco Cay, RCI's private island. That island really should meet your love of relaxing on a tropical beach.
Even better is the four-day sailing of the same ship. It goes to both Nassau and Coco Cay, plus Key West...so you kill all three birds with the same stone so to speak. That particular cruise is such a favorite of my Hubby and I that we have made it an annual event. Majesty is a small, cozy ship. We often take the behemoths such as Mariner and Freedom and are booked on Liberty this May, but once in awhile, a small, intimate ship is just the ticket.
We lived in South FL for 25 years and vactioned in Key West every year. We also vacationed in the Bahamas many times. I always liked Key West because it was like 'going to the Bahamas without having to leave the USA'. If you like to eat, then Key West is a hands down winner! The restaurants and entertainment options are many, and run the gammut from simple to elegant and all in the Key West laid back style.
On the other hand, if you're looking to get away from it all, then go for the Bahamas. It's further out of touch, and more primitive in many ways. For some, that's the perfect thing.