Archive for November, 2009
My wife and I were very happy to be in Nassau. We had a great room at the hotel, the temperatures were in the mid 80s and the beautiful beach was nearby. On our third day in Nassau, we decided to go downtown.
Getting there was easy. The #10 bus stopped right outside our hotel on Bay Street and would take us downtown for $1.25 per person. It’s a nice trip, taking approximately 15 minutes. The buses are small, not as large as we would see in most American cities. One unusual thing is that the buses are not operated by a local transit system, they are not part of the Nassau Bus Authority or something similar. Instead, each bus is individually owned and has a different name on the side of it.
Since the driver was the owner, the bus would sometimes sit for a few moments in front of the hotels on Bay Street (Sandals, Breezes, Sheraton, Wyndham) as the driver waited for additional passengers. The more people he carried, the more money he made.
The #10 bus route ends downtown, in the middle of the main tourist area. From what I could tell, three cruise ships come into Nassau every day and dock less than two blocks from downtown, so the area fills up with tourists very quickly. You won’t get a sense of the Bahamas downtown, this is strictly a tourist area.
Bay Street is crowded with shops selling T-shirts, souvenirs, duty-free liquor, Cuban cigars, and high-class jewelry.
If you are not looking for something less expensive, the Straw Market is a good option. In fact, it is worth visiting just for the experience.
We did not find a lot of options in the downtown area for food. This may be because so many of the tourists downtown are from the cruise ships and will return there for dinner. We found Burger King, Hard Rock Cafe, Senor Frog’s, Dunkin Donuts. None of those are what I would call authentic Bahamian restaurants. We had lunch at the Athena Cafe, a Greek restaurant located above a jewelry store. Good food, but we did not go to Nassau to eat souvlaki. We later learned that the best place for authentic Bahamian food is at Arawak Cay: it was so good we ate there three times in four days. I’ll describe that in the next post.
My wife and I have just returned from one of our best vacations ever, eight days in Nassau. We had fun, we rested, we ate great food — that met all of our requirements for a wonderful vacation!
I used my American Airlines AAdvantage miles to pay for our flights: our schedule was Austin to Dallas to Miami on American with seats in First Class, then American Eagle from Miami to Nassau. We had reservations at the Sheraton Nassau Hotel at Cable Beach — I used my Starwood points to pay for the hotel stay. We chose November for our trip to celebrate my wife’s birthday.
A few days before we left I sent an e-mail to the hotel asking what was the best way to get there from the airport. I also added that we were looking forward to celebrating my wife’s birthday during our visit. Two days before our departure, I was surprised to get a phone call from the hotel. A wonderful representative thanked me for our reservation and said that since I was a Starwood Gold member and it was my wife’s birthday, she would give us a complimentary upgrade to an executive suite! That was very nice of her and I appreciated her courtesy. She also told me the only way to get to the hotel from the airport was via taxi.
We left Austin on November 10 on a 7 a.m. flight to Dallas. When we arrived at DFW we had enough time for a short visit to the Admiral’s Club before going to the departure gate. Boarding had already started when we got to the gate, in fact they were up to Group 3 of the coach passengers.
We boarded, got to our seats in First Class, and had a problem. A woman and her young daughter were in our seats. I checked our boarding passes to make sure I had the correct seat, smiled at the lady and politely told her that they were in our seats. The lady gave me a nasty look, pointed her thumb towards the back of the aircraft, said “There are plenty of seats back there mister!” and turned her head away. I tried again to explain that she was in our seats but she ignored me.
While a passenger may be able to ignore another passenger, she cannot ignore a request from a crew member. I saw the purser and told her we had a problem and showed her our boarding passes. She spoke to the lady who first refused to show her boarding pass, then said that the seats were hers because she got there first and we could go to the back. When the purser insisted on seeing her boarding passes or being removed from the aircraft, the lady finally presented them; she and her daughter had reservations in coach. In all, it took about 5 minutes but they finally got the lady and her daughter to collect their things, get out of our seats, and then be escorted to coach. I thanked the purser for her help: when we got to the hotel I visited AA.com and left a comment thanking her for her help.
My previous First Class flights on American have been on MD-80s (the only plane AA flies from Austin) and a 757. This was our first opportunity to sit in First on a 767-300, and it was wonderful, much nicer than the other aircraft. The seats were similar to those we had a few years ago when we flew across the Pacific in business class on Japan Airlines and Cathay Pacific. They not only reclined, but they also had adjustable leg rests and could also go completely flat for sleeping. They were great seats, too bad we only had them for a 3-hour flight.
In a previous post I pointed out that the First Class sections on our flights had very few reservations. By the day of the flights though, they were completely full.
We arrived in Miami, made a short visit to the Admiral’s Club, then went to our departure gate. When it was time to board there was no plane at the gate; we had to take a bus to our American Eagle American Airlines Aerospatiale/Alenia 72 (AT7). Obviously, this would not compare to our wonderful seats on the 767, but the flight would last less than one hour, so it was not a big deal.
After a short flight we arrived in Nassau. We quickly cleared customs and immigration and took a taxi to our hotel.
The hotel has a unique layout: our room was on the second floor, but the lobby was on the third. So, instead of taking the elevator up to our room as normally occurs, we went down.
Our room was very comfortable with a King bed, sofa with a coffee table and three chairs. The view from the balcony was pretty nice too.
Our vacation had begun: I’ll have more stories and photos in future posts.