On a luxury cruise from Miami to the Bahamas,
I savour the taste of the good life—with plush stays, lavish parties, exciting adventures, and world-class entertainment.
By SATARUPA PAUL
I sat clutching the steering wheel, one foot on the brake, the other on the accelerator. The moment the flag dropped, I zoomed out of the pit, my eyes focused on the track, my hands deftly steering left and right, my mind determined to win the race. Soon, I left my competitors behind. But then, around a bend on my third lap, a speck of blue and red caught the corner of my eye. I couldn’t help but take in the brilliant spectacle—the crimson glow of a setting sun reflected on the dark blue of the Atlantic Ocean. The result? I bumped my car against the side of the track. I had lost the race, but still left the Prima Speedway, the world’s longest and first-ever three-level racetrack at sea, grinning from ear to ear. This adrenaline-spiked adventure was only the first of many exciting experiences I was yet to discover on this luxury cruise aboard the Norwegian Prima, the newest vessel from Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL), as we set sail for its maiden voyage from party capital Miami to the charming Bahamas.
Any day is a good day in Miami, they say. And it seemed to be true.
I had arrived in the city on an exceptionally cheery morning—the sky was crisp blue, the autumn sun just the right intensity, and the aquamarine sea clear and inviting. After checking in at my beachfront hotel on South Beach, I lost no time in changing into my swimwear and heading for a sunbathing session. Located between Biscayne Bay and the Atlantic Ocean, South Beach is Miami’s most famous neighbourhood and prized strip of real estate. The setting is extremely picturesque—a white-sand beach lapped by gentle blue waves, colourful umbrellas, a paved promenade shaded by swaying palm trees, and beyond that, rows of white Art Deco buildings rising in a neat stack. Then there’s the bay, a short walk away, lined with dashing villas, home to the rich and famous, with their yachts bobbing idly on the water.
I spent my mornings here, lounging on a sunbed under a beach umbrella, with a Miami Vice (a frozen mix of strawberry daiquiri and piña colada) in one hand and a book in the other, occasionally taking
a dip in the waters. Afternoons went in relaxed brunches at one of the numerous cafés and restaurants—Joe’s Stone Crab, Stubborn Seed, Macchialina, and Lucali being crowd favourites. For shopping, I hit the popular pedestrian strip of Lincoln Road, lined with luxury high-street brands and indie boutiques selling trendy clothes and accessories. It’s at night, however, that Miami came alive to live up to its reputation of being the party capital, this side of the world. Every evening, I stepped out with my cadre of local friends, to club hop our way through Ocean Drive— home to some of the hippest bars and swankiest nightclubs in the city, including Wet Willie’s, The Clevelander Bar, Voodoo Lounge, and the very famous Mango’s. We sipped on colour-changing margaritas while watching cabaret shows till the sun came up!
My holiday in Miami done, I boarded the Norwegian Prima, looking forward to some special pampering, as expected on a luxury cruise.
Its three-level atrium welcomed me with understated glamour and a stunning constellation of stars dangling from the ceiling. The sophisticated design and colour palette—neutrals and gold tones with blue accents—continued into the chic restaurants and staterooms. I could’ve spent all day in my room, or even the windows-lined Hudson dining room, just looking out at the big blue around. But the cruise’s entertainment offerings were too promising to ignore. Which is how, soon after losing my afore-mentioned race at sea, I found myself at the Galaxy Pavillion—a VR playground of simulator games and rides that sent me into a tizzy! The grand three-storey theatre, however, took the cake! Besides playing host to world-class musicals and plays, the space transformed into a Vegas-style club in the later hours, hosting one of the most spectacular disco nights I’ve ever been
Despite the many delights on offer on our sea days, the sight of land was still the cause for much celebration. We’d arrived in the Bahamas, and were going onshore to one of its picture-postcard islands for the day! We eagerly boarded a smaller boat that took us on a short ride on the sparkling Caribbean Sea. A couple of dolphins followed along for a while, eliciting much excitement from the crowd. Soon, the palm-fringed shore of the island came into view and we set foot on the Great Stirrup Cay. A part of the Berry Islands, often referred to as the ‘Fish Bowl of the Bahamas’, this 268- acre private island is reserved for the cruise ship passengers of NCL. Once a US military satellite tracking station, the island features a helicopter airfield on the southern part. Its northern end, though, is a different affair. With a long sandy beach, surrounded by rocks in certain parts that make for delightful snorkelling areas, the northern shore is a water baby’s heaven.
To say we had lost our way and arrived in paradise, wouldn’t be an overstatement. Water so dazzlingly blue and clear that it hurt your bare eyes, sand so white and soft that it felt embarrassing to leave your footprints behind, and the vibe so laid-back yet electric that you’d want to do nothing and everything at the same time! We started off slow, with champagne and snacks in our premier cabanas, followed by a delectable lunch at one of the many beach shacks. Later, we set off to pursue our activities of interest— some went zip-lining, others preferred frolicking in the sea, still others grabbed a floaty and simply bobbed on the water with a glass of wine. The more adventurous amongst us though picked up our gears and went snorkelling or paddle boarding.
By the time I made it back to the shore, after a few hours of snorkelling, my muscles were sore. The sound of upbeat music from one of the beach shacks drew my attention. A dance party was on, with everyone grooving to the peppy beats. All tiredness forgotten,
I promptly took off my mask and fins, grabbed a piña colada from the bar, and joined my friends to dance off into the dazzling sunset. After all, the party never ends when you’re cruising through life!
Fly to Miami with Vistara’s codeshare partners Air Canada and British Airways, and interline partners Air France and American Airlines.
Related: An Unexpected Safari