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

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33 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.
1,195 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
635 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!

4,566 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
21,707 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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1,165 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
4,719 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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Debarking is a cruel procedure done to dogs.
Upgrades, Upsellls and Move Over Offers are completely different things.
As are being denied boarding and being disembarked early.
And don't get me started on Port Charges vs. Government Taxes, Fees, and Port Expenses.
The Jones Act is for cargo. The PVSA is "that terrible law" that restricts USA domestic sailings. But without which there would likely be no cruise ships with casinos, duty free shops, and international crew members willing to work fantastically hard every single day.
Lots of people fly in the morning of the cruise and catch crazy early flights home. Why ask us if you can? Just to be harassed by the regulars?
No hotels have free shuttles, free breakfast, free wifi, or free parking. You pay in the rate. And could have found a better deal paying by the piece.
And don't forget: the cruise line is in complete control of the weather, political unrest, medical emergencies, and anything else that delays or re-routes your cruise. Be sure to demand compensation as it is you and only you who were affected.
Fredericksburg, va. USA
84,342 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
8,883 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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South Carolina
28,882 Posts
Joined Dec 2001
Don't miss the opportunity to go to Key West!
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North West NJ
4,840 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!!!
33 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.
6,291 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
28,882 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)
4,586 Posts
Joined Jan 2007
We did this exact cruise in December. My Grandson took a friend with him. She had never been on a cruise or visited any of the ports. She wanted to walk around in Nassau and visit the infamous Straw Market, see the Queens stairs and get some photos so we went along with them. It had been a lot of years since we had visited Nassau. Everyone should visit the Straw Market once. We got back to the ship in time to have lunch and to spend the rest of the day relaxing by the pool. You can always go to the casino at Atlantis too.Coco Cay is a beach day. We get off the ship, spend a couple of hours on the beach, have the BBQ lunch provided and then head back to the ship to relax. Key West is one of our favorites and we've been there many times since that's where my Grandson was born. We did the usual this time and used the Conch train. I wouldn't miss Key West. There are some amazing restaurants there with fresh seafood and a casual atmosphere. There are loads of things to do and see in Key West. It's one of our FAVORITE ports and I would never consider missing it.
1,534 Posts
Joined Oct 2014
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.
I've been in Nassau. Never Coco Cay, but I can't imagine ever booking an itinerary that had a day in a place with nothing but beach. In either location, I would hang around the ship for awhile, have a leisurely breakfast, maybe some pool time. Then head ashore, walk a few blocks or down along the beach, maybe get some photos of the barbed wire fences at Coco Cay, get a first impression of the places. Buy a knick or knack. Then wander back aboard, pool time, maybe spa time, read a book, drink...
12,375 Posts
Joined Sep 2005
Key West is a great port for a walkabout, I have not been to Coco Cay - I suppose it is largely a beach day - which, if that is good for you, would be fine. Nassau is pretty dreary - there are a couple of decent beaches, but the convenient ones can be terribly crowded. That would certainly be my stay-aboard day.
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Six US Navy ships,
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3,023 Posts
Joined Jun 2012
I'm not a gambler, so was not aware of the casino at Atlantis. I think your wife would enjoy Key West, it's a lovely town to walk around and shop in. It sounds like you might enjoy getting off in Nassau then. Perhaps plan on getting off in Key West for sightseeing and shopping. Then on Nassau day your wife can stay onboard for the spa/pool while you can occupy yourself on the ship or head over to Atlantis for the casino.
5 Posts
Joined Mar 2017
Going on our first cruise Sth pacific out of Sydney on explorer of the sets for 10 nights. Couple of questions - gratuities - i read on line that cruises booked from this year have gratuities included in the base price - does that include everything unless you want to tip exceptional service? Bathroom - we have a junior suite -what bathroom amenities are supplied? Has anyone purchased the speciality restaurant package - is this worth while? Dress code - do they still do formal nights? Thanks in advance

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