The last day of our cruise and we arrived at Great Stirrup Cay. This is the Island that NCL owns. They were the first cruise line to buy their own island. That is the main beach dead ahead. If was another beautiful day with very calm seas so a perfect day for people to spend the day on the island but we elected to stay on board and just enjoy the last day to relax and rest, In the morning we would be getting up early and leaving the ship by 7:30 am. People that were going ashore could have breakfast there on the beach, have a BBQ lunch on the beach, hick the trails, swim, snorkel , rent motor boats, parasail, sun bath or anything else they could think of. A tender would bring them to the island and run every 15 minutes to bring back any that want to return to the ship. We have been there many times before and enjoyed it often.
If you look way off to the horizon you will see a small speck of white. That is another NCL ship out of Miami. Quite a bit smaller than the Epic but they too are coming to the island. They will anchor a little way away from us and they will be at the other beach off to the right in the first picture. It looks like a different island but it is really a part of this main island.
This is the tender getting all the food for the day on the island. You also see the crew that will cook and serve the food while there. They made three or four trips with food and surplus as well as staff before they started tending passengers over.
Here they are tending the first load over. They have to unload all this and stay there to set it up and get things going while the tender goes back for more supplies. There is nothing left on the island except beach chairs etc that can be stored in the few buildings on the island. There is a caretaker who lives on the island to clean it up and make sure it is ready for the ship’s arrival.
Once the food and crew are on the island and set up the tenders come back for the passengers. These are the first two lining up ready to come along side to be loaded. I have seen days when the ocean was so bad the tenders could not come along side and would have to wait until the waves decreased enough to load passengers. Today was the calmest I have ever seen and almost encouraged us to go ashore but it is so much more comfortable on the top deck than on the sand we decided again not to go.
Frist load headed for the island, you can see the other NCL ship in the distance. That is as close and it ever got and they unloaded onto the other beach. They never mix groups.
Here I tried to catch a couple people parasailing but they are so small in the vast ocean I don’t think you can see them.
Another tender full of people. With 4100 people on board and so many of them going to the island it took a long time tending them all to the island and some come back before the last ones got out there the first time.
Another tender full of people going over to the island for the BBQ and in the distance you can see the parasailers. By this time the beach was full and I am sure the other areas were just as full of people having fun. It is a wonderful way to end a great cruise. We went to lunch and sat up in the observation room and watched some of the people who rented boats to play on the water. We packed up before we went to bed and got everything ready to leave in the morning. It had been a good vacation and were just as excited about getting back home. We could stay on board and let the porters take our luggage out and go through customs about 10:30 but we like to get home so we opt for the early walk off. If you pack light so that you can carry your own luggage off you can leave as soon as they dock and pass inspection. So we set our alarm for 5:30. By 6 we had docked.
This is the ship that was in the dock next to us.
This is looking down to the port itself. Everyone is up and working to get the people off the incoming ships and get thing ready for the new thousands of people who will be there by 10:30 excited to head out again. The Epic will be headed across the Atlantic and spend the summer in Europe. I’ll be back in Nov. when she comes back to Florida.
One last look at the busy port. The inspections was done and we got ready to walk off. At 7am we went to deck 5 and found a long line of people who were walking off. We went to the other end of the ship to exit as that line was shorter and we walked right off . We went so fast at one point I had to slow down, my chest was hurting and Norman could not pull my bag as he had both hands full. A man a little behind us stepped forward and took my bag for me. He pulled it until we caught up to the line that was stopped waiting of customs. By then my chest was fine and he gave me back my bag and he disappeared back into the line where his friend was holding his space for him. I couldn’t thank him enough – people are so great!! Because of our age we were then pulled out of the line and put into an express line through customs and by 7:30 we were in our car and headed out of the port. We had good directions to get to I-95 and we were home before 10.
We put our suitcases in the house and went to Easy Street to the farmer’s market to get our fresh fruit and vegetables for the week. We stopped in Save-A-Lot and got milk and cottage cheese and went home. We got unpacked, put a chicken on the spit and were ready to visit with Patty and Becca when they came at 2 for dinner. A wonderful way to end a great vacation. Have a good day.