Bahamas 2021:
Day 7 - Freeport


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Bahamas 2021: [Day 1 - Nassau] [Day 2 - Coco Cay] [Day 3 - Coco Cay] [Day 4 - At Sea] [Day 5 - Cozumel] [Day 6 - At Sea] [Day 7 - Freeport] [Day 8 - Nassau]

Friday, July 30, 2021: Debbie awoke early today, just after sunrise and before we were in port.
Perhaps the Maersk in the container port was calling to her.
We tied up alongside in Freeport with the container port visible, which is always a treat. We love watching the cranes and specialty equipment loading and/or unloading cargo ships.
A refueling barge was moved into position by a tugboat and stayed there all day. This boat probably holds a lot of fuel.
We heard the distinctive whale noise and sure enough, the maintenance crew came by touching up the varnish on the railings.
We enjoyed fruit from our "welcome aboard" basket for breakfast today. Debbie had a pear, Tom had an apple, and we shared the kiwi and the orange. There had been a strawberry, but it went bad a few days before and had been thrown away.
We suited up and went to the pool deck. This time, prepared to be wet, we selected two lounge chairs on the first terrace of the reserved section on the starboard side. We enjoyed some time in the pool on the starboard side of the deck in front of us but didn't get a picture until we were drying off afterward.
Tom fetched two ice cold Diet Cokes from the pool bar, ...
... and we enjoyed them on the nearly empty deck. This shot shows the terracing at the rear of the pool deck with the reserved seating for concierge-level suites.
After a while, we headed to the port side pool and floated in there by ourselves for a while. Such a great way to spend a morning in port.
Speaking of the port, Freeport had a nice shopping area right outside of the dock. There were duty free shops, souvenir stores, ...
... and more stores and some restaurants. The meeting area for shore excursions had feet painted on the ground to encourage social distancing, but they were mostly ignored as people crowded into the shaded tent.
Thanks, Freeport. We do feel welcomed.
Maersk!
It was still early for lunch, so Robinson's Seafood Delight and the Krusty Crab were closed, ...
... as were these restaurants.
The straw market shops and the other souvenir stores were open, but it looked like SeƱor Frog's was not only closed but shut down.
The never-ending job of painting and cleaning the ship continued, ...
... as they went back and forth painting and varnishing the rails on the decks below. When they caught us by surprise, we tried to act casual like it was totally cool that people were right outside our window.
We ran into our assistant waiter, Nengah, several times at lunch. On this day, we talked to him about the upcoming dry-dock and re-fit that the ship would be doing later this year. He talked about the changes to public areas as well as the changes they were expecting in the crew-only areas.
It was Friday, our last full day aboard.
We decided to go to Ben and Jerry's for dessert, rather than take desserts back to our room.
Tom selected a two-scoop cone of strawberry cheesecake and mint chocolate chip, while Debbie selected Phish food.
So tasty. Please note that it is only a trick of perspective that makes Debbie's single-scoop cone look larger than Tom's double-scoop.
We saw this Game of Thrones-themed bottle of Johnnie Walker in the duty-free store. It was a good thing that the store was closed while we were in port, otherwise we would not have been able to resist buying one of them.
Here's HenryXtra, the friendly vacuum cleaner. We had seen his not-so-Xtra friend many times in the past, including on Holland America's ms Statendam in 2007.
Back in our room, surfing the news, we saw an article in USA Today about six people testing positive for COVID-19 onboard the Adventure of the Seas. The reporter was aboard, and mentioned in the article that the news had not yet been shared with the cruise guests, but was expected to be announced once everyone was back on the ship after the day in Freeport. We eagerly awaited the announcement to see how the information would be revealed.
Looking out from our balcony, Debbie noticed this interesting ship in the harbor.
Hey! That's one of our lifeboats!
Tom's coral rash was starting to itch, so we decided to break out the bandages from our suitcase to see what could be done. After shaving Tom's calf, ...
... Debbie was able to cover the majority of the spots with a random assortment of bandages, and Tom reported that it felt better immediately.
We filled out and signed our passenger disclosure and attestation forms required to fly home. We dutifully checked the boxes indicating that we had tested negative for COVID-19 in the three days prior to departure.
After seven hours alongside, the tug boat pulled the refueling bage from our side. We must be getting close to departure.
Fifteen minutes after the all-aboard time, our TV turned itself on and the speakers in our cabin came alive with the much anticipated announcement that six passengers had tested positive. The captain described the steps that had been taken to quarantine the four passengers that had tested positive during the pre-debarkation testing yesterday, and the contact tracing efforts that had identified anyone who had been in close proximity with them, which led to them identifying two additional passengers who had originally tested negative with the antigen test but who tested positive with a more sensitive PCR test. All six passengers had been taken off the ship when it docked in Freeport and were being flown back to their homes in the US via private transportation. All in all, it seemed like Royal Caribbean's new COVID protocols were working, and while we were nervous about there having been positive cases aboard, we were cautiously optimistic that we were still safe.
Shortly after 4:00 PM, we started to back out of our berth.
This gave us a closer view of the container port, with its beautiful white Maersk containers and never-before-seen-by-us gray MSC containers.
So much Maersk.
The harbor area was a pure blue, so much so that it must be entirely man-made. The shoreline was complete straight, and there wasn't even a hint of grass on the sandy ocean floor.
As we neared the harbor mouth, we started to see the original shoreline.
There was a rocky little beach here, ...
... with more beach and homes along the western coast.
This lovely area is named Southwest Point, with Wild Goose Town visible at the end of the coastline.
Soon after clearing the breakwater and the last marker buoy, the harbor pilot boat started to overtake us and come alongside.
We leaned out over the rail to see the harbor pilot climb out of our ship and transfer over to the waiting pilot boat. There must have been a lot of us watching, because she looked up toward the passenger cabins and waved once she was aboard.
With us out of the harbor and the pilot back aboard, they turned around and headed back to Freeport.
We had a magnet on our stateroom door that was the do-not-disturb sign. When we boarded, we had one that was the please-make-up-room sign, but after we used it on Day 2, it had been replaced with this one. We assumed that the cabin steward had switched them, and that at some point the other one would reappear. However, we had never seen the please-make-up-room sign again.
On Day 7, we finally realized that there were two sides to the magnet. D'oh!
This is yet another of the cool art works between decks.
We finally ventured down to the Jack and Rose balcony sticking out of Deck 6. It had a very nice view of the shops and inward-facing staterooms.
Our final dinner aboard started with the salmon gravlax for Debbie and the French onion soup for Tom, ...
... followed by roasted turkey (Debbie) and prime rib (Tom), ...
... and finishing with a summer fruit pavlova for each of us.
Back in our cabin, there was a towel-crab, but no program for tomorrow. Sadly, our cruise was ending.
Before sunset, we saw the world's largest cruise ship, Royal Caribbean's Symphony of the Seas, headed west, ...
... and Coral Princess trailing us as we headed east. We watched in amusement as a small boat realized that it was right in the Coral Princess' path and took off in a hurry to get out of the way.
Our last sunset at sea for this cruise. Just as beautiful as the first.
Each night, we would turn on the TV at 8:00 PM to see if the nightly movie was something we wanted to watch. On several nights, the movie was from 20th Century Fox, and each time the opening fanfare played, Tom would excitedly shout "It's Star Wars! It's Star Wars!" like a little kid. When the movie continued and it wasn't Star Wars, he would turn to Debbie and say, "Aww. It's not Star Wars." It was adorable. This evening, it turned out to be "The Wolverine."
Debbie's awesome camera was out on the balcony as we passed the Coco Cay anchorage to see the Oasis of the Seas, the world's third largest cruise ship. You can tell it only has a caretaker crew onboard based on the way it is lit up. There are hardly any stateroom lights lit.
Compare that to the Celebrity Edge, which was fully lit up. The normally orange "magic carpet" on the starboard side of the ship is lit up in blue.
Shortly before going to sleep, we passed NCL's private island, Great Stirrup Cay (left), and Coco Cay (right).

Day 8 >


Bahamas 2021: [Day 1 - Nassau] [Day 2 - Coco Cay] [Day 3 - Coco Cay] [Day 4 - At Sea] [Day 5 - Cozumel] [Day 6 - At Sea] [Day 7 - Freeport] [Day 8 - Nassau]

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