Aqua Waters Meet Architectural Wonders

Snuggled in between the monstrosity of Atlantis, Paradise Island and the more elite One and Only Ocean Club sits an architectural marvel known as The Cloisters  Only a fifteen minute cab ride from the ship’s dock, one can find themselves transported to 12th century France.  Piece by piece, the stones were moved from France before landing in the United States.  Purchased by newspaper mogul William Randolph Hurst the stones after being erected on his property, were later sold and  transported to Paradise Island.   Two years after their arrival, the stones were reassembled–apparently the directions for reassembly were not included–revealing the picturesque arches and classical statues within.    Connected to the Versailles Gardens, The Cloisters are owned and cared for by the posh accommodations of the One and Only Ocean Club.


Upon arrival I instantly felt transported to a European scene.  Graceful arches supported by columns formed the four-sided open-air cloister.  A classical statue, deep in contemplation, sits in the middle of the structure surrounded by perfectly manicured greenery. The angles, lighting, and landscaping make this a photographers dream, and I spent a lot of time walking around and snapping photos at all angles, playing with settings and lighting.





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Leaving The Cloisters, we walked across the street into the Versailles Gardens again viewing the different statues strategically placed among the flowers, vines, and bushes.

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Then it was past the One and Only Ocean Club members only sign and onto their grounds.  We were worried that they would ask us to leave, but I was determined to view the areas that Casino Royal was filmed.  In fact, I had rewatched the movie about three times in the preceding weeks of the trip so I would know what I was looking for.  We walked past the same pool as Daniel Craig.  Turning around with the pool behind me, I could see all the way to The Cloisters in a view that was captured in the film.  Now, if only I could get into villa 1085 where Bond seduced Alex Dimitrios’ wife.  But, alas, we didn’t want to temp security.  So it was onto the beach for a few quick snapshots next to the uber-rich guests of the One and Only Ocean Club before grabbing a cab back to downtown for shopping and drinking.


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If you go on cruises like we do,  you’ve probably already done the obligatory dolphin swim, snorkel tour, and Senor Frogs debauchery.  This time in Nassau we were looking to spend little money and relax.  The Cloisters provided us the inexpensive excursion we were looking for, and the best part is that we had the place mostly to ourselves.  I don’t know if I would say that The Cloisters is a must-visit, but it is a must-visit if you’ve done everything else the island has to offer.

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Sand, Sun, and the Tiki Bikini Hut

Junkanoo Beach is not one of those picturesque beaches with cushy cabanas to rent or perfectly aligned sun loungers and umbrellas you find at most resorts. In fact, it almost has an industrial feeling to it with its concrete wharf and proximity to a warehouse turned Fat Tuesdays.  What it lacks in beauty, it makes up in dilapidated charm.  Brightly colored mismatched huts dot the beach and are surrounded by chairs, hammocks, loungers, and umbrellas.  Each morning the beach in front of the most conscientious food huts is swept and made presentable for the throngs of tourists that arrive via cruise ship.  A passenger looking to spend an inexpensive day only needs to walk a mere mile to rent a couple of loungers and gaze at or snorkel in those clear aqua waters Nassau is known for.


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So after a morning of scouting the filming locations of Casino Royal, strolling through the posh Bay Street shops, and haggling over t-shirt prices at the Straw Market, we headed to Junkanoo to find the famed four beers and four shot for ten dollars at the The Tiki Bikini Hut.

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Within seconds of arriving Byron, the owner, had us seated in patio chairs in the shade.  If we wanted, he would have moved the chairs and umbrella closer to the water for us.  Within minutes we were served our four Kalik beers and four blue colored shots that we shared among the four of us.  As we chatted and relaxed in the warm Bahamian sun, Byron and his crew constantly made sure that we were having a great time.  Before wrapping up our afternoon on Junkanoo beach we had just enough time to taste the jerk chicken, red beans and rice, and plantains.  All of which were flavorful, especially the plantains.


We bid a fond farewell to Byron with promises of leaving him a Trip Advisor review before taking a  short cab ride back to embark upon our ship.  Having been to Nassau five or six times now, it was such a nice change to forego the planned excursion and see the island on our own.  Next time we are in Nassau I think we will be making a beeline for Junkanoo Beach.