The Retirees in south east USA – Its a “Grand Celebration”

Our trip to Daytona was but only a few days long before we drove down to Fort Lauderdale and boarded the “SS Grand Celebration” bound for the Bahamas. After finding the wharf we took a photo of the car and it rego plate(so we could find it when we get back) and left it in the hands of some rather rough looking locals passing off as parking attendants.

Leaving the port of Fort Lauderdale, the presence of the coast guard could be seen in the harbour side houses, amongst the mangroves, and in the water ways. Grand Celebration is a full size cruise ship making the voyage on an almost daily basis from Fort Lauderdale to Freeport in the Bahamas.

We sailed over night to be greeted by the Pilot boat and a curious entry into the harbour – the vessel parked (docked) like a car reversing into it’s spot. We had risen early to view the docking. As with all cruise ships food was available even at 5.00 am so we grabbed two croissants and two cups of coffee and headed for the observation deck.  Before we could reach the rail one of the local gulls had swooped and stolen a croissant. I got a mug shot for the wanted poster.

Arriving at Freeport we were rather disappointed. The available tours took us to resorts on the Island or you could catch a local taxi to the commercial centre. The resorts were of no interest and the local taxis proved difficult. We could not get a firm price from any of the taxi drivers to take us to Freeport. As a result we stepped ashore at the dock and visited the few vendors by the dock and then returned to the boat – the Bahamas are still recovering from Hurricane Larry. One of the likely original things at the port was the hut selling drinks – they chopped the top off a coconut put a straw in and you were done.

So we spent most of our time on the ship which was enjoyable of course until it came time to return and disembark. The Bahamas are independent and part of the British Commonwealth of Nations. So there is a full on custom clearance to be undertaken. I don’t know how long it took but we left the ship straight after breakfast and by the time we were back in the car it was almost lunch time and we had to find our car then our accommodation. This proved to be quite easy with the vehicle being brought to us (they were in a hurry to empty the parking lot for the next cruise) and the gps finding our apartment – a lovely apartment with pools games and lots of things.


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Retired Australian Lawyer having worked representing the innocent and the not so innocent in Australia and some of the remote parts of the world and having travelled widely through Europe, Western Russia, Canada, USA, New Zealand, Thailand Malaysia Solomon Islands northern China, Hong Kong and the UAE So now that I have the time I am writing about my travels present and past. Hope you enjoy exploring off the beaten track.