Sunday, January 11, 2009

Paradise is the Bahamas!

There is a beach in Nassau, Bahamas behind the Atlantis Hotel where the warm water rolls with shades of aqua, teal and marine blue. The sand is soft, fine and nearly white. Locals will work hard to sell all-you-can drink “Bahama Mamas,” a mixture of rum and fruit punch. You can sit on the beach and relax the worries of the world behind.

Alex rolled in the sand covering every part from head to toe, sipped cocktails from a coconut (minus the rum) and splashed in the soft waves of the Atlantic. It might have been the most fun that he ever had.

In addition to its amazing beach and pure sun, the Atlantis Hotel is a Las Vegas scale casino and hotel where you can swim with the dolphins in its marine aquarium, allow the stingrays to swim under your finger tips, and experience close up view of sharks, barracudas and green sea turtles. An Aqua Tots program even lets the little ones get in the water to feed the fishes.

Probably the best way to get to the Bahamas is via ship. Just a hop, skip & a jump from the Florida coast, Nassau is a popular docking spot for all the major cruise lines. Once you debark, dozens of taxi cabs are lined up with photos of the beach and the Atlantis eager to take you 15 minutes across the island – to Paradise!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Cruising the High Seas

It turns out 2 ½ years is the absolute worst age for a child to board a cruise ship and expect to have some fun. Not quite potty trained, Alex was banned from any of the “Ship Mates” big kid activities in the Youth X-Club like the slide, ball pit, swimming pools and more. A little too big for the “Toddler Time” in the baby room, he wasn’t welcome to play with little ones there either. That doesn’t leave much for a little guy with a lot of energy trapped aboard a floating vessel.

The Celebrity Infinity docks at Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale. The eleven story ship carries 2100 passengers and 900 crew. It boasts a couple of swimming pools, the Aqua Spa, several restaurants for casual and fine dining, dance floors, a movie theater, casino, high end duty free shopping, and a collection of different musicians and comedians to entertain. While they claim excellent service, Pedro the stateroom attendant was much more helpful than anyone at the Guest Services, where you end up spending hours waiting in line every day because of one mix-up or another. The internet package for a few days of floating at sea will cost you more than a month’s rent, and you won’t be able to find ‘hot spots’ to use it outside business service office.

The four day trip cruise was suppose to make a ½ day stop in Key West, FL and then head south to Cozumel, Mexico for snorkeling and shopping, but after the ship’s navigation system broke down and we ended up marooned in Key West and rerouted for a few hours in the Bahamas as a consolation prize.

So, while the cruise wasn’t quite all it was advertised and Celebrity doesn’t deserve any praises, Alex did make friends with the pizza guy after 5 trips a day to get a slice, raced the elevators up-and-down, and learned how to eat ice cream in a cone. But, the highlight was his hours breaking the rules splashing in the Jacuzzi --- oops, hope those swim diapers work!