Creative Life Travels: Cocoa Beach, Florida & The Bahamas – Part 1

Cococay, Bahamas

Ahoy friends! Welcome to my very first travel focused post; and rest assured we’ll definitely be talking food in here too. So here’s the scoop – I’ve been working on this series of recipe books (here is the info on the first one!) and with working a full time job (I gots to pay the bills, yo!) that had to be the priority. That has left me posting less on here than I would like to. BUT, as that project is coming towards an end I am gearing up to get back here on the regular, and I couldn’t be more excited.

As much as I would like to have this be my full-time job it’s just not my reality right now, so there are times I have to make other things a priority. So THANK YOU for understanding and staying with me!

I’ll share more on that later with tomorrow’s recipe post, so let’s get on with it and talk about this trip I just got back from – Florida and a cruise through The Bahamas. Oh, and most importantly, a trip to Universal Studios….HARRY POTTER WORLD! Yep, that’s right, I’m a B-I-G Harry fan. But let’s back up because we have to get through part 1 first!

My girlfriend and I were talking about taking a trip down to New Orleans last year and Christmas came around, and her husband surprised her with a Royal Caribbean cruise. After a little discussionĀ our girl trip to NOLA evolved into a couples cruise to the Caribbean, and we were just as excited! Our first stop was in Cocoa Beach, FL where we spent the night before docking that next afternoon.

Cocoa Beach, FL
Cocoa Beach, FL the morning before departing for The Bahamas.

We set sail Monday at 4pm on the Majesty of the Seas and we were off! Random fact – our boat had approximately 2,500 people and 860 crew members, with a guest capacity of 2,700. I later found out that we were on a small boat! It was explained to me that a regular size boat holds around 6,000 guests – 6,000! If I’m being honest, I tend to be a ‘less is more’ type of gal with the exception of things like number of pools, restaurants, and things of that nature, so I was fine to be setting sail on the high seas with on this “smaller” boat.

We spent all day Tuesday on the boat sailing and took advantage of our time at the pool and tanning on one of the boats decks.

Atlantic Ocean
Sailing (and tanning) through the Atlantic to The Bahamas.
Pool
The pool on Majesty of the Seas. It would get quite crowded when we were sailing!

When we awoke on Wednesday we were in Nassau and ready to hit the ground running. We got off the boat only to be welcomed by HEAT. That overwhelming heat that when you breathe in you’re simply taking in warm, humid air. It was hot, but nevertheless we had an island to see!

For the first time ever I shlepped by fancy schmancy camera along and took it with to get some pics of Nassau. I have some improvements I can make to traveling with my camera, but I was excited about being able to take higher quality pictures!

Nassau, Bahamas
Downtown Nassau.
Nassau, Bahamas
Boat parking in Nassau.
Fish Tacos
AMAZING fish tacos from The Bearded Clam in downtown Nassau.
Conch Fritters
Conch, a staple of the Caribbean, fried up into Conch Fritters.
The Bearded Clam
A look inside The Bearded Clam in Nassau.
Nassau, Bahamas
A look up the Queen’s Staircase in Nassau; built by slaves in the late 1700’s as an escape route and later renamed after Queen Victoria who ruled from 1837-1901 and helped abolish slavery.
Queen's Staircase
The sign at the top of the Queen’s Staircase.
Nassau, Bahamas
Beautiful graffiti art in Nassau.
Nassau, Bahamas
Bright colors are abound throughout the city of Nassau!

 

Nassau, Bahamas
Beautiful old trees in downtown Nassau.

In the afternoon we went on a brewery tour of Nassau. Technically Nassau has only one authentic brewery, Pirate’s Republic Brewing Company, but our tour took us through a tasting of various beers brewed on the island, along with a coupleĀ beer gardens, ending at Pirate’s Republic. Oh and the second best part (to the beer)? An entire history on pirates, whom played a significant, almost all encompassing, part of Bahamian history (note to self: watch Black Sails immediately!).

Smuggler's Wharf, Nassau
Outside of Smuggler’s Wharf Beer Garden and the Pirate Museum.
Smuggler's Wharf, Nassau
Smuggler’s Wharf Beer Garden.
Pirate Republic Brewing Company
Pirate Republic Brewing Company, the only authentic brewery in The Bahamas.
Pirate Republic Brewing Company
Inside the actual brewery at Pirate Republic.
Pirate Republic Brewing Company
Bellied up to the bar at Pirate Republic Brewing Company!
Pirate Republic Brewing Company
Pirate Republic Brewing Company beer.
Pirate Republic Brewing Company
Our awesome tour guide, Lindsey, telling us the history of Blackbeard – he was one mean SOB!

Our brewery tour ended with a big ol’ storm hitting Nassau, and what better way to have a storm hit than while you’re at the bar! We attempted to wait it out, however after a couple hours we decided to go with another couple down to a different bar and ended up running through the streets of Nassau in the rain. It was quite fun! One of those magical moments you have as a child playing in the rain; you embrace the weather, stop caring about what you look like, and just go.

We eventually found a break in the rain an hour or so later and made our way back to the ship to get ready for dinner, saying our goodbye’s to the beautiful island of New Providence.

The next day our travels brought us to Cococay, Bahamas. Cococay is a private island that Royal Caribbean owns, and we were ready for a beach day! Basically how it works is the island isn’t set up so that the ship can dock, but rather you anchor down a couple miles out and tender boats – boats that hold a couple hundred people – take you out to the island. After a 30 minute wait or so we finally boarded our tender boat with blue skies and a bright sun.

Cococay, Bahamas
The calm before the storm in Cococay, Bahamas.

After arriving on the island we slathered up with sunscreen, took a couple snapchats, and suddenly we heard it – BOOM! Thunder. Mother Nature (or maybe Poseidon?) does what she wants, and this is oh so true when you’re in the tropics. Storms can come rushing in in an instant, something I’ve learned from my many trips to Mexico, and that day was no exception. Here’s the full image of that crazy storm I captured coming into Cococay as we were about to relax in the crystal blue ocean:

Cococay, Bahamas
A larges storm rushing into Cococay, Bahamas while we were on the beach.

We waited out the storm for about 40 minutes, and unfortunately while the rain stopped, the clouds never wanted to clear. Translation – there was more coming. We took advantage of the beach what we could, but the storm had brought with it seaweed, dirt, rocks and shells that took the place of the beautiful clear blue water. And jelly fish. Lots of jelly fish. I didn’t get stung, but in talking some other couples at our dinner table that night we discovered that they were stung numerous times. Ouch!

I had this sixth sense when we were at the beach between storms that a second one was coming; there was thunder in the distance and while we couldn’t see rain or storms, I just knew it was coming. I told Dylan and my friends I was packing up and heading back to the boat where my free drinks and dry clothes were waiting for me, and they could join me or meet me later, but I was getting out of there before bad got worse and we were waiting in a line with 1,000 other people in the pouring rain, trying to get back on the tender boat.

Turns out my instincts were right and as soon as we pulled away from the dock in the tender boat the sky opened back up again. One choppy boat ride back (how do those guys on Deadliest Catch do it?!?!) and I changed into dry clothes and shimmied up to the bar for a strawberry pina colada. The only umbrella I wanted was the one in my drink with a roof over my head.

Friday morning we were up early to disembark and we headed through customs for the second part of our trip – Orlando and Universal Studios!

Stay tuned for part 2 of our trip where I go to Hogwarts, have a beer with the Simpson’s at Moe’s tavern, walk through Jurassic Park and shoot aliens with Will Smith and MIB team!

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