Travel by Any Means Necessary

Tag: Bahamas

Orlando, Port Canaveral, and Great Stirrup Cay

Soaring to FloridaOur whirlwind transatlantic cruise that took us to Portugal and Spain started in Orlando, Florida. Originally, we planned on booking a Port Canaveral hotel that included a shuttle from the airport to the hotel and from the hotel to the port. But the more that I searched, I realized how expensive those hotels were. We’re not really beach people and this was just the beginning of a really epic vacation. The price didn’t seem worth it to us, instead I booked a hotel right outside the gates to Walt Disney World (its amazing to me that it was cheaper than the Port Canaveral area). If you are going to the parks, they also offer a free shuttle. If you are looking to visit the theme parks and don’t want to pay the price to stay on property, I highly recommend Buena Vista Suites!

Walt Disney World Entrance

We only had one night so we didn’t spend any time in the parks, but it was our anniversary so I got us reservations at Steakhouse 71 in the Contemporary Resort. It had been probably over 20 years since I stepped foot in the Contemporary. I really enjoyed the mid-century theming and I wish we would’ve sprung for the deluxe accommodations for the 50th anniversary. The walkway to the Magic Kingdom would’ve saved us a lot of time that day! Steakhouse 71 is themed as a 1970’s steakhouse and everything we had was fabulous (get the bacon & eggs appetizer! You won’t regret it)! Since it was our anniversary, they get us a free champagne toast that I did not expect. After dinner, we took the monorail to the Polynesian where we sat at the outdoor Trader Sam’s and watched the fireworks before finishing the monorail loop and heading back to our hotel for the night.

The next morning, we enjoyed our free breakfast and drove our rental car to Port Canaveral. We had earned a free day rental from National because of our recent long term rentals so this one-way rental was much cheaper than the Orlando to Port Canaveral shuttles I found. We had an 11:00 am check in time because that is usually when cruise ships start boarding so you don’t have to wait too long and you get a lunch that is included in your cruise fare. I will share more about our embarkation experience when I do my Norwegian Getaway review.

Great Stirrup Cay in the rain

The next day was our first port stop, Great Stirrup Cay, Norwegian’s Private Island. We visited Great Stirrup back in 2015 making it our first repeated port in our seven cruises. I was surprised by how many people we heard that said they weren’t getting off the ship at Great Stirrup. The tendering process isn’t the easiest, but this was our last chance to stand on dry land for 7 days. Great Stirrup Cay is different from Norwegian’s other private island, Harvest Cay. All food is included and drink packages work on the island. Since 2015, they have made a lot of improvements to the island from additional beach areas, bars, and dining options to new private cabanas for rent. There are many water activities to do on the island, from jet skiing and snorkeling to paddle board rentals and even a zip-line. We always like to rent a clamshell on these islands to give us some shade. Shortly after we got on land it started raining and the clamshell kept us dry, although one of the cabanas would’ve been even drier. Our last two times on Norwegian’s island we booked the clamshell on the ship and our shore excursion credit covered it. This time it was only available to be booked once we got off the ship. He wrote our name and room number down but the rain came so hard, I’m pretty sure the ink on his paper ran and became illegible because we were never charged for our clamshell so I’m not sure if the shore excursion credit still applies to these island rentals.

We had talked about trying zip-lining on Great Stirrup or renting jet skis and I’m glad we didn’t book it because the zip line was closed the whole day because of lightning and for several hours no one was allowed in the water. Luckily, the rain let up for lunch and we walked down the beach a bit to try one of the new food options. We hung out for a little bit after that but headed back to the before the rain started up again. It was an odd beach day, but I was glad we got off the ship for a little bit even if we got a little wet.

Thanks for stopping by! To read more about this trip, check out Cruising the Atlantic to Portugal and Spain trip report. Be sure to check back next week as I recap one of my all time favorite cruise excursions in the Azores. To read about some of our previous trips, visit my Trips Page. If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page and follow me on Instagram! For my list of gadgets to make your travels easier, click here. To see inside my camera bag, check out my updated Gear Page.

Flashback Friday: Great Stirrup Caye

Cruise Countdown

Its been a few years since our last cruise and finally we’ve got a cruise on the calendar! Its still over 450 days away, but it feels good to have it booked! I’ve never booked trip this far in advance and I don’t know what to do with myself. I want to work on planning, but its really too early for that.

We are sailing the Norwegian Getaway which is one of their newest ships and it will be our first cruise on a megaship. The cruise is sailing from Miami to Roatan, Honduras; Harvest Caye, Belize (Norwegian’s new private island); and Costa Maya and Cozumel, Mexico. This will be my first time in Central America and Chris’ first time in Mexico. I am excited to go back to Miami and to explore some new and exotic locations! If you have any advice for any of the ports or cruising on a megaship, please leave me a comment!

About the Photo:
This shot was taken on the Paradise Island ferry from Nassau, Bahamas. One of the funniest things about our last cruise was boarding in New York, the ship looked tiny when compared to the surrounding skyscrapers (and the megaship docked next to it). But, when we pulled in to the small Bahamian Islands, the ship looked massive! It was very cool to get to float by and get some detail shots of the ship!

Camera Gear:
Nikon D3100 with 18-55 kit lens, handheld

Date Taken:
June 18, 2015

Thanks for stopping by! If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page, follow me on Instagram, and Flickr! To see inside my camera bag, check out my Gear Page.

Cruise Dreaming II

Great Stirrup Cay

As the school year winds down, my stress level winds up. While I am looking forward to our summer road trip, I am going through serious cruise withdrawal! Oh, how I would love to be lounging on Great Stirrup Cay listening to the sound of the waves, without a care in the world! I think its time to start planning my next cruise!

About this Photo:
This is really not my most artistic shot, but I wanted a shot of this rock for my cruise scrapbook. So, I took this shot on my way back to the tender, after all the tourists were done posing for the ship photographers. This was a single RAW exposure done in Lightroom.

Camera Gear:
Nikon D3100 with 18.0-55.0 mm f/3.5-5.6 kit lens, handheld

Date Taken:
June 17, 2015

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Wordless Wednesday: Winter Blues

Gem in Nassau


Nassau from the Ship

When our ship stopped in Nassau, we had no plans, we just wanted to see the city. We walked the streets for a bit and decided to take the ferry over to Paradise Island (previously Hog Island, but the name was changed when celebrities began showing interest In it) to check out Atlantis. By lunch time it was too hot for me so we headed back to the ship to cool off. This port stop really proved to me that my next summer vacation needs to be somewhere cooler. Alaska, perhaps?

Standing on the lido deck of a cruise ship really provides an interesting perspective for photography. It gives a higher vantage point to look towards the city or out at the sea.

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Great Stirrup Cay

Sun Sky Sand 18/100

When I booked my recent cruise, the ports were definitely not the biggest selling factor. Florida and the Bahamas were definitely not on my bucket list. I have to say, Great Stirrup Cay (Norwegian’s Private Island) really surprised me. I’m not really a lay-on-the-beach kind of person; I’d much rather Go, See, and Do (thus, the name of this blog) but we rented a clam shell on the beach so I wouldn’t melt. It felt good to relax, read my book, and just enjoy being in paradise.

We also rented Stand Up Paddle-boards and that was a lot of fun. Although, I have to say it is much harder than it looks. It was nice to be out on the water, making the most of our time in the Bahamas. If this is something you would like to try, renting paddle-boards (or any other watersport) at Great Stirrup Cay is a great option. It was much cheaper than any of the excursions in the other ports.

Thanks for stopping by! If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page, follow me on Instagram, and Flickr! To book your Norwegian Cruise Vacation visit

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