Being a solo traveler on business looking for a side excursion, I thought long and hard before I booked Flying Cloud for the Sunday Cruise (10am-3pm including lunch). From other reviews, it seemed to be all about couples and families. Anyhow, here's my experience.
- Free pickup from my hotel was easy. The bus showed up about 5 minutes late which is good for Bahamas.
- After waiting at the ferry terminal, we boarded. I was able to pay on-board with a credit card. No need to pre-pay when you book. They are very trusting.
- After leaving port via mechanical power, the captain cut the engine and hoisted the sail. The peaceful silence of sailing is almost magical. I wouldn't want to take a motorized cruise again.
- 45 minutes later we stopped at a nice snorkeling spot on the south (sheltered) side of Rose Island. The coral was magnificent and very much alive, and I saw a good number of fish I've not seen before (I've been snorkeling all over the Carribean). Snorkeling equipment was included and worked fine. The corals varied between 5 feet and 20 feet deep, making it an ideal snorkeling spot. There were no other boats with us and I never felt crowded by other snorkelers.
- We then sailed to a dock on Rose Island. On the way there they fed us lunch (chicken, ribs, salad, drinks)
- Rose Island is paradise. Uninhabited, unspoiled, wide crescent beach on the north and gorgeous rocky shore on the south. You can see both sides at the same time since it's a very very narrow island.
- We stayed there for about 1.5 hours. I did some exploring, hiking, swimming, and just relaxing on the beach.
- People were very friendly. As a solo traveler I didn't have any problems feeling alone. In fact, I made some new friends!
- The "rum punch" had almost no rum in it (undetectable). Which was probably a good thing because no one was drunk and acting like idiots.
- On the 1 hour sail back to port, I got a spot on the front of the catamaran where I could lie down completely flat. It was the most soothing experience ever, bobbing up and down with the waves and having a nice breeze and sunshine.
- All the staff was friendly and helpful. They helped people who have never snorkeled before.
- Since I had to transfer hotels, I was able to bring my small suitcase aboard the boat and tuck it under the bench. It was not a problem. I also got free transportation to my other hotel.
I really agonized over choosing Stuart Cove because I enjoy snorkeling a lot and wanted to swim with the sharks, but after doing the Flying Cloud, I felt like it was the right choice because the sailing itself was so wonderful, as well as the time to relax on Rose Island. Stuart Cove would have been a very long bus ride from downtown Nassau. Keep that in mind wherever you are lodging.
Even if you're staying at the Atlantis, I would recommend the Flying Cloud. It's a great way to get away from the crowd and see something different.
*** Keep in mind my review is for the Sunday Cruise, which is different from other cruises they offer ***
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