On the morning we were to enjoy Freeport, Grand Bahama Island, we woke up bright and early and were happy to find that while it was a bit breezy, the weather was warm and sunny. We quickly got dressed and headed down to the buffet to get breakfast, as we wanted something quick. Quick Tip: The main buffet on the Norwegian Sky is the Garden Café, but if you keep walking to the back of it (aft) you’ll come to an outdoor buffet called The Great Outdoors which has much of the same food but is a lot less crowded and you get to enjoy the beautiful outside views while you eat!
While I’m not a huge buffet person, I found the breakfast options to be great in the buffets on the Norwegian Sky. There was an omelet station and all sorts of eggs, bacon sausage, french toast, the usual suspects. They also had plenty of fresh fruit, pastries, bagels and lox (with all the fixings) and a nice granola station. Quick tip: bring some zip lock bags of varying sizes. Not only are the big ones helpful for transporting wet clothes while at port, I used sandwich bags to pack snacks to bring into port with me each day from the buffet. Specifically, banana chips and apples but I bet the pastries would be good to bring too! Before we left, we called and requested that someone repair our refrigerator, as we had awoken to discover that it was not cold.
I had read mixed reviews about Grand Bahama Island (as well as Nassau) but I’m a firm believer that if you’re looking for issues you’ll find them. We don’t go on vacation to look for issues, we go to have fun and as such we often end of having fun no matter where we are. We had a great time on all the islands, and found many of those poor reviews to be unfounded.
Since we only needed our ship cards to disembark and we got off pretty early, it was super easy to get into port and took a grand total of five minutes. With the exception of a few stores and restaurants, the port at Freeport is pretty industrial and not an area that we had any interest spending our time. Random fact: there’s actually an oil refinery right there once you get out of the port that is owned by George W. Bush.
But they seem to have transportation for tourists down to a science because right as you get off the ship there’s a taxi stand and van cabs come every few minutes to take you where you’re looking to go. My research indicated that the main place to check out was Port Lucaya which has a beautiful beach as well as a marketplace with many restaurants options. The cab to transport you back and forth is $5 each way, per person (they load the vans up with people). Quick Tip: Make sure you have cash on you when at port as the cabs and some of the establishemnts don’t accept cards (and ATM’s aren’t always readily available). At the time of this post, Bahamas money and the US dollar are worth the same amount and every place that we went to accept our US dollars with no problems.
The cab dropped us off at a casino that is right next to the beach and across the street from the Port Lucaya Marketplace. A couple doors down from the casino is the Grand Lucayan Resort. Quick Tip: for $15 per person you can purchase a day pass that allows you to use their chairs, umbrellas, polls, restrooms etc. Pretty much everything except their towels (we brought the beach towels the the ship provided). If you want to access the beach without the day pass (or the use of the Grand Lucayan’s amenities) you can do so by entering the beach near the police station which is on the other direction leaving the casino- so if your back is facing the casino the police station is to your left and the Grand Lucayan is to your right.
We found it a bit confusing getting our day passes to the Grand Lucayan. Quick Tip: you don’t purchase the day passes to the grand Lucayan at their main entrance. You get there from the Casino, you’ll take a right out of the drop off area (if your back is facing the casino) and walk a couple doors down until you see Paradise Jewels to your right. You’ll turn into that area an a bit further in you’ll see a little white hut and that’s where you purchase your day passes and enter the property.
We purchased the day pass because I really wanted a beach day and being that I’m pregnant, I made full use of those restrooms. Their beach was gorgeous and clean with plenty of chairs available (we were under an umbrella and had our pick of seats since we arrived early- it does fill up). I regret that the ocean was a bit too rough for swimming that day, presumably due to the wind but the sand was the absolute softest, most powdery sand ever. They had a nice pool area with a swim-up bar that J loved. In my opinion it was definitely worth the $15 per person.
We spend much other morning relaxing on lounge chairs and enjoying the beautiful beach. Once midday rolled around we headed over to the Port Lucaya Marketplace in search of food and to check out some of the shops. Quick Tip: Bring a change of clothes with you , it was so nice to have dry clothes to wear out to lunch. J tied my bikini bottoms to his backpack so they dried while we explored.
We ultimately settled on Agave Restaurant entirely because they had $1 Margaritas (J was thrilled!). While we were pleasantly surprised by the size of the Margarita, the food left something to be desired. It wasn’t terrible but it wasn’t great either. We shared some salsa and guacamole for me, they had $1 mini tacos that were not too great and I ordered some conch fritters which were also just ok (too much breading, I should have gone with the cracked conch). The service was also pretty slow.
After lunch we checked out a few of the shops and the small straw market. I ended up finding some sweet rompers for my girls and negotiated them down quite a bit. I love negotiating in situations like this and had a good time doing this here and in Nassau. Quick Tips: Never accept a first offer. Talk to them about the product (be friendly and gracious) and ask questions. Make sure you take your time “trying to decide” because every person that the seller sees walk by represents a dollar sign to them and a missed potential sale, which will make them much more eager to close the deal with you. The longer you stay, the more and more they’ll offer you lower prices. After a while tell them (in a nice way at a lower price than all that they’ve offered and what you want to pay) “I’ll take it for x” and then stay quiet. Staying quiet is the key because after you deliver this close, the first person to talk usually loses. It’ll be awkward for a second but you want it to be so that they will talk first. Most of the time at this point they will accept your offer or counter it at which point you’ll go back in forth. Don’t hesitate to walk away because they’ll generally chase you and agree to your price (and if not, you can likely get the same item at the next stand for the price you want). This works like a charm and I found even better deals if you’re purchasing multiple items.
After a little shopping we made our way back to the Grand Lucayan where I took advantage of the free wifi and we enjoyed the gorgeous beach a bit more. Eventually 3:30pm rolled around and we decided to head back catch a cab to the port. I’m glad we left ourselves plenty of time to get back to the port because we had to wait a little while to get a cab (there were plenty of people from various ships there that day and three different groups trying to get cabs, differentiated by the color ticket we were given for our return ride). Quick tip: Give yourself plenty of time to get back to the port and when they say there’s a cab there for your group, you’ve got to be quick or everyone else will jump into it before you.
Upon returning to the ship we were greeted with cool water and cold wash cloths, which were a nice touch! Many of the crew were there to greet us and there was music playing, very celebratory. We found it quick and easy to get back onto the ship using our ship cards (they put your bag through a security check and I’m told they confiscate items like alcohol and other things to return to you upon your final disembarkation).
Once we were back on board we stopped back at our room to drop off our bags and called about the refrigerator once again because it still wasn’t fixed (we weren’t upset and didn’t make a huge deal about it but they had it fixed within the hour after this call). We hung out by the pool for a little while and enjoyed some of the delicious soft serve that’s always available. Quick Tip: they have a soft serve machine next to the bar to the right of the entrance to the Garden Café on the Pool Deck. After relaxing for a bit we headed back to our room to shower and get dressed for our reservation at Cagney’s Steak House.
We had such an excellent meal at Cagney’s! I started out with the Shrimp Cocktail which was awesome and J enjoyed the Chicken Drumette’s. We also split a Wedge Salad which was very good, although we both weren’t fans of Norwegian’s ranch dressing, it had a really garlicky flavor (something I haven’t been loving during this pregnancy). I opted of the 8 oz. Filet Mignon with a baked potato and steamed broccoli while J got a 32oz Porterhouse with mashed potatoes and onion rings. That’s right, 2 lbs. of meat (maybe a little less with the bones but still!).
Our steaks were perfectly cooked (medium rare, though mine might have been a bit under that. I didn’t mind at all!). Everything was delicious, though J didn’t love the onion rings. While the food we ate in the main dining room was good, I found the overall quality of the higher-end restaurants to be much better and just really delicious.
For dessert I ordered the Raspberry Crème Brulee, J went with the Oreo Cheese Cake and they also surprised us with an Apple Crisp. These were all delicious. I am a Crème Brulee fiend and while the flavor was amazing, I would have loved the bruleed layer to be thicker and have more caramelization. But I’ll never complain about Crème Brulee!
The servers were all incredibly friendly and gracious, we had a really great dinner date! After dinner, we headed over to the Deal or No Deal game show. Even though I was exhausted, I really wanted to try and get to some of the shows as I had heard they were very good. The game cards are $20 each so we got one and headed in. It was a lot of fun, but we didn’t win anything. After this, we walked around for a bit and ultimately headed back to our room because we were pretty tired from a long and wonderful day (and so very full from an excellent dinner!).
You can find the other links from this trip here: