WARNING: This is a long post, so you might want to put the kids to bed, walk the dogs, feed the cats, and get yourself a snack. Hehehehehe!
Casey and I were up very early on Tuesday morning. The ship was scheduled to dock at 7:00 a.m. We had decided to not fight the lines at Rosie's and order breakfast room services. After quick showers and some tasty breakfasts, we were ready to head to the dock. Since we had never done this type of thing before, we weren't quite sure what to expect. It seems we were some of the early birds. The town of Nassau was still sleeping. None of the little shops were open yet. Our only plan for the day was to head to Cable Beach. We found the line of taxi's waiting to take tourists to their destinations. We told the chief wrangler where we wanted to go, and he sent us to the appropriate taxi. We were on the taxi with one other family, who had planned to go the the Atlantis Resort & Casino. Casey and I had looked into that excursion, but had decided against it. It was rather pricey and all you could really do was go through the aquarium, which is one of the largest salt water aquariums in the world. It granted no access to the rest of the resort and its beach. On the way there, the taxi driver gave us some super secret information. He said that because all of us were early there were no guards posted, so we could go through all of the resort for free AND have access to the private beach for the day. What a cool trip freebie. He instructed us, as he dropped us off, to go through the lobby, downstairs through the casino and aquarium, and we were done we could go out the back through the grounds to the beach. WOOHOO!
The resort was beautiful and sprawling. There was so much to look at, we could hardly take it all in. Here's a few pics of the grounds:
Main lobby entrance at the Atlantis
Views of the Atlantis Resort & Casino grounds:
Once we were inside, we passed through one of the biggest casinos that I've ever seen. It took us over 5 mintues to walk from one end of the thing to the other. The entrance to the aquarium and "The Dig" were on the other side. The size of the fish were astounding! These fish were the Mac trucks of the fish world!! They have a Manta Ray (a kind of Sting Ray) that was 14 feet wide!! The picture doesn't even do it justice. It was looming!!
Some HUGE fish!!
There were also LOTS of beautiful fish and reef aquariums too! The cool thing about this aquarium is it goes up to the outside of the resort. They pump millions of gallons of sea water into the aquarium every day. "The Dig" is scattered throughout the aquarium as well. The designers wanted to make it look like the archealogical dig find of the lost city of Atlantis.
Beautiful reef aquariums and tropical fish.
Scenes from "The Dig", where I decided to do my version of Indiana Jones.
After we were finished in the aquarium and "dig", we made our way through the grounds to Atlantic beach. Beautiful is an understatment, when describing this beach. The sand was powdery white, and it was the most clear, blue water I had ever seen at that point. It was only around 8:45, so there were only about 6 other people on the whole beach. There were lounge chairs with the little cabanas on top for the taking. Casey and I grabbed a couple and picked out our spot for the day. We had been there about 15 minutes, when a man in an Atlantis uniform came and asked us if were were guests at the resort. We just knew we had been BUSTED!! We honestly told him no. He said "I'm supposed to charge rent for the chairs for nonguests, but no worries. You take care of me, and I'll take care of you." He then went and got us several nice fluffy beach towels and told us the drink shack opened at 11:00, where the restrooms were, and were the showers and footwashes were. Casey tipped him a nice $20.00, and we were set for the day. It was perfect on the beach for taking a dip and just relaxing. We had been there for about an hour, when a guy (he called himself Coconut Joe) came around offering fresh drinks. It was too cool. He cracked a fresh coconut for us and let us drink some of the milk. Then he made us Bahama Mamas in the coconut shells!
We had an early sail time for that afternoon (our shortest day in port on the cruise), so Casey and I hailed our taxi back to the ship around 1:00 p.m. That was the CRAZIEST taxi ride I've ever been on in my life!! The streets there are so incredibly narrow, and our taxi driver was driving fast and darting in and out of traffic. All of the passengers were teasing him about his driving, but he was a really good sport. I think we were all teasing him to keep ourselves from stroking out! We did arrive safely back to the ship. We meandered around until dinner. Another WONDERFUL dinner in the dining room. After dinner we were exhausted, so we decided to call it a night. Our bed was turned back and our schedule of the next day's activities, along with our towel animal was on the bed.