• May 23, 2020

The island getaway is calling - Odessa American: Lifestyle

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The island getaway is calling

No travel right now, but later is a good plan

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Posted: Sunday, March 22, 2020 2:15 am

Traveling through the Bahamas exactly one week before the coronavirus outbreak became classified as a pandemic in the United States left me incredibly grateful that I got the opportunity to travel to three islands and to be allowed home before the new travel restrictions were put into effect.

Certainly no one is itching to travel at this time and we all want to properly practice social distancing, but it may be a great time to plan a vacation down the road while prices are low. Following these uncertain and difficult times, a beach getaway planned for the next year may be exactly what you need.

While in the Bahamas, I had the pleasure of visiting Nassau, Freeport and Princess Cays. All three islands were the definition of a tropical paradise, but Princess Cays took my breath away as it was my first shore stop and my first experience with an island destination. Located at the southern end of the Eleuthera island, Princess Cays is a tourist location owned by Carnival Cruise line. This island is an exclusive destination only for those traveling through either Carnival Cruise or its subsidiary, Princess Cruise.

Upon arriving to the island via water shuttle, guests are welcomed by stunningly clear waters and pure, white sand beaches you’ll be eager to sink your feet into. Princess Cays has several areas filled with beach chairs - perfect for lounging and tanning your skin. I spent most of my time laying out and staying close to the shore, collecting delicate little seashells among the beach crowd.

But, if you’re looking for a little more privacy, air-conditioned bungalow getaways are also available for rent. Still, with plenty of beach space it isn’t difficult to find your own area away from other cruisers. While many visitors choose to use this island stop as a chance to indulge in some vacation relaxation, that’s certainly not all there is to do.

I traveled with a group of five friends, two of which took advantage of some early morning fishing when we arrived at Princess Cays. While wading in the rocky shore, my friends had the opportunity to catch Nassau groupers, snappers and grunts with the assistance of Bahamian fishermen. With a cost of $30 covering the rods, reel and squid for bait – this excursion is worth considering.

If you’re looking for a more up-close experience with fish, two snorkeling activities are offered as well. The warm waters surrounding the island are filled with brightly-colored fish and other sea creatures – just rent a snorkel and jump into the water. Princess Cays aquatic life is also found close to the island, so there’s no need to venture too far out into the ocean for beginners or young children. However, a boat excursion that takes guests further out is available for more experienced snorkelers.

Even if you still want to get in the water but fish aren’t your thing, Princess Cays has a variety of water sports you may enjoy. You can try your hand at windsurfing, kayaking or sailing a Hobie Wave through the clear waters if you’re feeling adventurous. The most popular venture, however, was paddle wheeling peacefully around the beaches of the island. Keep in mind these activities come with a rental fee and booking your equipment ahead of time through your cruise line could save you some money. These water sports serve as great activities for families with older children who are looking for some excitement rather than relaxation.

Still, if you’re searching to be active but aren’t interested in the ocean, the island also offers land activities. My group certainly took advantage of the full-court basketball and beach volleyball set up with one of my friends playing volleyball for over an hour. These sports allow cruisers to socialize with people outside their groups as everyone rotates in to play to give everyone a chance. People and families of all ages enjoy these sports – and the best part? They are offered for free for those searching for fun with a budget in mind.

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