Brewery hopping in Astoria, OR

You may have noticed by now that the Nerdy Traveler has a fondness for beer. I was excited to visit Astoria as the first port on our Pacific Coastal cruise because a simple Yelp search had revealed so many breweries in the downtown area of Astoria, near to where the cruise ship docked.

I noticed that Royal Caribbean offered a brewery-focused shore excursion, but the price (almost $80 per person) convinced me that I could easily create a DIY version for much less. I was right! (I love it when that happens.)

We started our day at Reach Break Brewing, which was close to where our shuttle bus had dropped us off in downtown Astoria. They didn’t do flights at Reach Break, but did offer half-pours, so we were able to try a few delicious brews before walking up to our next stop, the Fort George Brewery. We weren’t hungry, so we opted to bypass the crowded restaurant and stop in the taproom, where we had a delicious flight of IPAs. (The abundance of IPAs offered at breweries in the Pacific Northwest will always be one of my favorite things about that part of the country!)

Our next stop was the Astoria Brewing Company, a few blocks away and in the direction of our shuttle bus stop where we’d be picked up to go back to the ship. I saw only one beer style I really wanted to try (the IPA, natch), so I decided not to go the flight route. But I made the rookie mistake of blindly ordering a full pint without asking whether half-pours were available. (As a result, my memories of the rest of the day are a little, um, hazy!)

We did make it to one more brewery, the bustling Buoy Beer Company on the waterfront, to sample their IPA before we had to catch the shuttle and make sure we didn’t miss our ship! (We had started our day a bit late and so were a little rushed at the end). We didn’t have time to eat at Buoy, but I wish we had – the food looked and smelled delicious, and plus, we’d had a lot of beer! As you can imagine, once we got back to the ship, we had to take a bit of a nap before sailaway.

Nassau: What to do with your port day

Due to its proximity to Florida, Nassau has served as a cruise ship port for decades. As early as the 1960s, commercial cruises were taking passengers to Nassau on cruises out of Miami. (If there are any real nerds out there, you might be interested in this academic research article about the Bahamas’ history of tourism and its ties to the nation’s colonial past.)

With so much of a head start, you might think that Nassau would be well ahead of the curve when it comes to developing attractions for cruise ship tourists. In this regard, though, Nassau has struggled: It often finds itself on “worst of” lists, and cruisers on popular message boards bash the location with gusto. I often overhear passengers talking about how they’re not even planning to get off the ship in Nassau.

Personally, I think Nassau gets a bad rap. I’ve stopped at the port four or five times in the last few years, and every year we find something different to do. Our day always includes the fantastic Pirate Republic Brewing, which is a short walk from the cruise terminal. When we stopped in Nassau on Majesty, we decided to take the advice of Trip Advisor’s reviewers and visit the Athena Café, ranked #3 in Nassau by users. We had an unusual, only-on-vacation snack of conch fritters and spanakopita (both delicious!), washed down with a Bahamian Kalik beer.

You can read up on Nassau and its options for cruise ship visitors at a number of websites. The Travel Channel gives tips for a day ashore in Nassau, among other popular cruise ports; I highly endorse their suggestion that you head to the area of town known as the Fish Fry, where you’ll find delicious seafood for lunch. This thorough guide to Nassau from the travel blog EatSleepCruise goes over a number of options including beaches and sites from Nassau’s colonial history. (I’m looking forward to taking their suggestion to visit the Ardastra Gardens/Zoo on a future trip!)