So every now and again I must leave my precious laptop, turn off my cell phone, and leave you all temporarily without the best blog on the web. Vacation vacation vacation, the word is music to my ears. I went on my first cruise, aboard Royal Caribbean’s Majesty of the Seas. I must admit, I was a bit of a skeptic about cruises at first, and many of my hesitations were in fact true. Cruises are a bit tacky, a bit artificial, and the boat was filled with fake gold railings and several chain-smoking seventy-somethings that never left the confines of the bar. That said, there’s not a cooler way I know of to bounce between Caribbean destinations. You’re on a floating palace, fully equipped with bars, hot tubs, all you can eat food, great views, and plenty of fun people looking to have a good time. I’ll break it all down for you, one stop at a time.
That’s right ladies and gentlemen, I started my trip by taking my talents to South Beach. I didn’t see Lebron or D-Wade, but I heard they were out on the town looking for me. South Beach, on a whole, was pretty much what I expected except it was a touch less flashy and a touch more dirty. The beach itself is gorgeous, and wasn’t too packed. Oh, and apparently it’s topless? Surprise surprise. The strip on Ocean Drive is awesome. It’s filled with great outdoor restaurants, bars, and clubs. You’ll be harassed by hostesses trying to get you to enter their establishment, and they all seem to be offering “2 for 1″ drinks. Well, here’s what the drinks looked like. Yes, they were big. Yes, you needed to order a 4 drink minimum. And yes, the drinks cost….drumroll please….$25 bucks a pop. Ouch.
Now, I was only going to be in South Beach for one night and got a great deal on a hotel through Expedia. The hotel where I stayed, The Clay Hotel, is no 5 star hotel. We’re talking probably 3 stars, but the room was cheap and the hotel is located on Espanola Way smack in the middle of South Beach. The location is awesome, and Espanola Way is filled with awesome outdoor restaurants that stay open all night. I must admit the hotel knew that I was coming and would be writing them a review on howiGit’s blog, but nonetheless kudos to the folks at the Clay for putting their best foot forward. The staff was very helpful, and they upgraded my room at no cost to a suite. The room was great, far better than I expected, and definitely added to my good time. If you’re looking for a suitable, simple, and inexpensive place to stay in South Beach I’d recommend it. Like I said, the location is awesome.
Key West, Florida
In a sentence, Key West is a bit sleepy but otherwise pretty awesome in all ways. The downtown section is gorgeous, the people are super nice, and there are some spectacular residential streets filled with awesome houses. If you were looking for a great place to own a vacation home simply for the sake of relaxation, this would be a hell of a place to start. As advertised, the Key Lime is a big deal. We went to Kermit’s, and it was pretty damn good.
Oh, Nassau. Where do I begin. As I left the boat I decided to rent a moped from a young Bahamian gentlemen was more than a little sketchy. He asked me if “I was a smart dude,” and when I replied in the affirmative he dropped the keys in my hand and off I went. Come to find out, they drive on the opposite site of the road in the Bahamas. Yup. So that was the first obstacle I had to encounter, all the while trying my best not to kill the young lady riding on the back of the moped with me. We cruised up the coast to Arawak Cay, where we had a beach with spectacular water all to ourselves. After a brief swim we
decided to leave, and the moped decided to die sporadically and accelerate as it pleased. We broke down several times, but each time a local Bahamian came to our rescue and helped us out. They are some nice people, for sure, when they aren’t harassing you to buy their crap with some scheme or another.
That night, we planned to have dinner then hit up the nightlife downtown. Good plan, right? Wrong. Apparently everything is Nassau shuts down at 6pm. “It’s the island way,” is the explanation we were given. I kid you not, nothing was open. The place was a complete ghost town aside from 2 bars that remained open — Senior Frogs and a local bar, the Green Parrot. In an attempt to be non-touristy, we chose to Green Parrot. Aside from semi-expensive drinks by island standards, it was a great choice.
Let’s talk about the Green Parrot for a moment. As the only local bar open in downtown Nassau, the place was filled with locals who had little else to do for entertainment. There was a highly competitive darts tournament going on, apparently something of a pastime for semi-bored islanders. The owner of the bar, Craig, came over and chatted us up, noting that we were the only non-locals in his establishment. He talked to us for a while and was a good guy, and although we were a bit weary of the lack of nightlife in Nassau at first, we ended up having a great time. His bar gets filled with some all-star alcoholics, but they added to the fun. We left having made several friends, and feeling as though we got a full dose of the local flavor. If you find yourself in Nassau, ditch Senior Frogs and head over to the Green Parrot.
CocoCay is a Royal Caribbean owned island that caters to cruise vacationers. That immediately made the island as lame as possible in my eyes (or as lame as any tropical island could be). When we pulled up to the
island it was as cheesy as I expected, but come to find out, the island was pretty damn huge. We did some snorkeling, seeing a whole bunch of tropical fish, a stingray, and a barracuda, all of which was cool. But then we decided to walk down the beach for quite a ways. Before you knew it, we were essentially on a deserted Caribbean island and it was absolutely spectacular. Very cool, winning CocoCay back in my eyes.
Overall, what can I say, it was vacation and I had a blast. It was 79 degrees and sunny everyday, further reminding me that you can order NESN from just about anywhere in the world if you wish.