Our cruise had gotten off to a lousy start but I was still hopeful that things would get better with our first port of call the day after embarkation. We were originally scheduled to visit Great Stirrup Cay in the Bahamas. It is one of Norwegian's private islands where they host a beach day with plenty of food and fun. Since this was a music-themed cruise, Great Stirrup Cay was supposed to be the site of the Jill Scott concert. Three days before the cruise we received an email from Capital Jazz indicating we would not be visiting Great Stirrup Cay because of destruction caused by Hurricane Matthew that hit the Bahamas two weeks prior. We were told that we would be stopping in Nassau instead. The Jill Scott concert would take place at the Atlantis Resort.
I was happy with this change because Traci and I have vacationed at Atlantis before and we knew how beautiful the property is. I thought we would be having our beach party and concert on one of the Atlantis beaches. Boy, was I wrong. Our first issue was that we needed to be bussed to Atlantis. With nearly four thousand passengers exiting the ship at the same time, there was a very long wait to be loaded into mini-buses that hold approximately 35 passengers. We had to wait for the buses to drop off passengers at Atlantis and then return to the port to pick up more of us. Traci and I waited for over ninety minutes for our ride to the concert site. I cannot be too critical of this situation because hurricane damage forced this Plan B.
Our disappointment came with the concert site. We were not actually at an Atlantis beach. Instead, we were taken to a grassy field across from the resort. There was a covered stage set up there but for us in the audience, there was no shade from the humid tropical heat. There were some plastic chairs but not enough for everyone. Fortunately, many people brought towels with them because we thought we were going to a beach. The other problem was the food situation. The cruise line normally provides food and drink at no extra cost for their passengers on beach day. This was not the case on that day. Instead, there were non-cruise line vendor stalls selling expensive food and drinks (hamburger = $10; water = $4) for which you had to go through the annoying process of getting in line to buy food tickets before going to the actual food line. Furthermore, since we were under the impression we were going to a beach where the cruise line provides the food and drinks, many people did not bring money with them. I did have money with me but really did not want to spend it. I eventually gave in and stood in line to buy a $4-bottle of water to stay hydrated in the heat.
sweating at the Jill Scott concert in the Bahamas
The opening act was comedian/actress Wanda Sykes. She had already begun her set by the time we arrived at the field. She admitted she had not done stand-up in a while and admitted she was running out of material to fill her time slot. The end result was a rambling performance that seemed to go one way too long. Jill Scott, on the other hand, gave an exciting performance as she sang hit after hit. Our problem was that by the time she came on, people were lining up for the shuttles back to the ship. Not wanting to wait in line a long time in the heat, Traci and I decided to watch Jill Scott's concert as we waited for a shuttle. Jill Scott's performance had ended by the time we finally inched our way to an available shuttle.
waiting in line for a shuttle back to the ship