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Carnival Fantasy - Cruise Travel Log of Bahamas Cruise from Charleston

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Things to Do with a Day in Freeport
Kayaking from near Freeport on Grand Bahama Island

Kayaking from near Freeport on Grand Bahama Island

Grand Bahama Island (c) Linda Garrison
We had a day at sea before arriving in Freeport on Grand Bahama Island in the Bahamas. Like most of the passengers we had no trouble finding indoor and outdoor activities on the Carnival Fantasy to keep us busy.

We awoke on Sunday morning in Freeport. Ships dock at a commercial pier, and it's a few miles into town. There are a few souvenir shops at the pier, and Maggie and I had a kayak/snorkeling tour scheduled.

We left on a bus with 20 people at about 8:30, and drove across the island to the kayaking tour site, where we transferred into smaller vans of 10 persons each. Our guide was named Chad, and he was quite good. His English was excellent, and although he warned us he might slip into "Bahamian", he never did. He provided some history of the island and the Bahamas while we drove to Barbary Beach on the south coast of Grand Bahama Island. This island is one of the northernmost of the Bahamas, and was filled with pine trees, palmetto, and flaming orange ponciana trees.

Barbary Beach was gorgeous--a white beach with turquoise seas. We were to kayak about 30 minutes to Peterson Cay, which is the smallest national park in the Bahamas. It seemed to be just a speck WAY AWAY on the horizon, but the 12 kayaks took off for the Cay. Maggie and I quickly determined our kayak was defective, since we had a difficult time keeping it straight. (We ruled out operator-error, but wondered if our age/weight might have slowed us down and factored into the zigzagging.)

Due to our crooked course, we paddled about twice as far as the others. After finally arriving at the island, we wolfed down a short snack before going snorkeling with our guide. Our group snorkeled for over an hour, making us a little waterlogged when we returned to the beach for sandwiches and drinks. The two guides had carried lemonade, tea, water, cookies, and sandwich-makings and condiments in their kayaks. Glad they didn't make us carry it!

After lunch we had time for a quick swim before re-boarding the kayaks for the return trip. A thunderstorm loomed in the distance, so we tried to paddle harder, but we still seemed to zigzag. Maggie had to keep using her paddle as a rudder to straighten us, and we both laughed almost as hard as we paddled. Good news is that we didn't tip over and made it back to Barbary Beach safely.

We got the kayaks loaded on the trailer, and Chad took us back to the ship, arriving about 3:30 or so. The shower felt terrific, and we both kind of flaked out until time to get ready for dinner. It was a fun day!

The Carnival Fantasy had over 20 organized shore excursions in Freeport. In addition to the "Peterson Cay Kayak & Snorkel Tour" described above, the ship offered bicycle, ATV, jeep, and Harley motorcycle land tours. A second kayak tour had passengers paddling through a mangrove forest and doing a nature hike. Those who love the beach, snorkeling, and diving had several water-based tours to choose from, and three "dolphin tours" were available for those who wanted to swim with these fascinating creatures. My husband would enjoy the bottom fishing for snapper, triggerfish, and whatever else was biting.

Although most of the tours were activity-oriented, the ship did include three sightseeing tours. The first was a Grand Bahama Island and Freeport bus tour, the second was a guided tour of the Garden of the Groves and Freeport, and the third was a Western Heritage tour. This tour included stops at five heritage sites on Grand Bahama--Mermaid Pond and Pinder's Point Lighthouse, Hawksbill Creek and Boiling Hole, Holmes Rock and Josey's Cave, Fern Gully, and one of Grand Bahamas' most beautiful beaches.

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