Princess Cays is part of the island Eleuthera, which is one of the Bahamas Islands. At the website Princess.com it is described as, “Our private resort at Princess Cays is situated on more than 40 acres and features over a half-mile of white-sand shoreline…”. During April 2013, I was on the cruise ship Ruby Princess, which had a port of call of Princess Cays.
Arrival and beach at Princess Cays
The waters next to Princess Cays were shallow and the Ruby Princess stayed offshore while the passengers were taken to the shore in small boats called “Tenders”. On the white sand were beach chairs available for the passenger. Also, there were structures such as clam shells and bungalows for the passenger who wanted a more private area on the beach. An assortment of small watercraft, such as paddleboats, were available for use near the shore.
Rocks and plant growth were easily seen beneath the water. The color of the water near the shore had a reddish-greenish like color compared to the blue of the Caribbean. I took several photographs of the water colors, plants, and rocks.
Area near beach and market
Away from the sand beach, behind small trees was a shallow swampy like bay. Beside the bay, stood a small maintenance building. After walking behind the building, I saw trash along the water’s edge of the bay. I had the idea that the trash was put there so the tourist couldn’t see it.
The area referred to as “shops and local craft market” at the Princess website, was located a short distance away from the beach. It had a fence around it and a gate to enter. Walking toward the gate, a person wearing common clothes, with no indication he had any authority, asked to see a photo ID. I showed him my passport card and he said he would remember me and I didn’t have to show it again. Then I entered the shop and market area.
Straight beyond the entrance, was a road going toward a ridge in the distance. Only trees were seen along the road and no buildings. I walked to my right down a thirty foot wide open area with the small open-air shops on both sides. After looked at items in several of the shops, I found nothing interesting enough to buy.
After that there were no shops along the path, the path narrow and continued. It turned right and I saw the beach at the end. Small trees were on both sides of the now car width path with nobody in sight on or near the path.
So I started walking down that path toward the beach. Then, on my left, I saw someone sitting on a lawn chair in the shade. As I passed him, he got up from his chair, walked to me, and said I couldn’t go back this way and had to leave the way I came. He also had nothing to indicate he had any authority, the same as the person at the gate. I went back to the gate and returned to the beach.
Ruby Princess offshore of Princess Cays
After returning to the beach and seeing the Rudy Princess offshore, I realized the scene was a good photograph and took one. Then the sight of the ship reminded me of the picture drawings of the historical European explorer on a beach with the local inhabitants around him as if they were in awe of the explorer’s arrival.
Standing watching the ship, I had the feeling of being lost, since I had no idea of how the Ruby Princess got to Princess Cays or where it was. It seems to me this would be the same feeling the explorer himself felt. And the drawings were to establish a country’s prestige as being an explorer of the world
Concerns about having a passport while off ship
I have been on two cruises only and one thing that I have not understood both times is when the passenger is officially inside a country or in the ships docking area. I have heard from different sources not to take a passport with you when off the ship.
On EIeuthera, I had no idea if the shop area was in the country consisting of the Bahamas, where a passport would be needed, or if the area called Princes Cays was considered an area near the port, where passengers could be without a passport. From the experience with the two persons, one asking for a ID and the other saying to return the way I came, I think it’s best to have a passport on you all the time when off a ship.