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I'm navigating through this round world while living a square life, and it fits exactly as it should.

Disney Cruise Line Dream Cruise 2013–Pirates of Nassau Museum

on June 21, 2013

Yo ho, yo ho! A pirate’s life for me! Most kids (and adults, too, for that matter) have dreamed at some point of being a pirate. Many have even dressed up as one, making pirate costumes some of the most popular and most sold of all time. The pirate lifestyle has been dramatized and romanticized by books, movies, TV shows and attractions for decades as a fabulous life on the high seas of eating, drinking, and being merry. There are no rules. Do what you want, when you want, however you want. Pirates seem to get away with everything so who wouldn’t want to be one? On our Nassau day, we visited the Pirates of Nassau museum and learned it wasn’t quite the glamorous and care-free lifestyle of our pirate dreams.

Pirates of Nassau Museum

Pirates of Nassau Museum

Pirates were a big part of Nassau’s rich history so it’s only natural to preserve it with a museum dedicated to the pirate’s life. The museum is located at the intersection of King and George streets, very easy to remember (King George). It really is a very short walk from the port so no need to get a taxi and maps are available at the information desk at the port.

The information desk at the port in Nassau

The information desk at the port in Nassau

The cost for the museum is $12 per person, but I’ve read that if you go on a slow day or later in the afternoon, there might be a guy standing out front ready to cut you a deal. They had plenty of patrons when we went so no deal for us! We were directed to the gift shop to purchase our wristbands (clever of them to start you in a gift shop) and then we were free to start the tour.

Wristband for Pirates of Nassau Museum

Wristband for Pirates of Nassau Museum

It was a self-guided tour, and it was VERY dark inside the museum.

There weren’t very many (if any) actual pirate artifacts, which was kind of a disappointment. I wanted to see some real, bona fide pirate stuff. Instead, displays were created to give visitors the feeling that they were stepping into a pirate ship and into the lives of pirates. The tour guided us through the “ship”, showing us the sights and sounds of a pirate’s life.

Displays depict the life of a pirate.

Displays depict the life of a pirate.

Placards were on the walls, giving information and also true/false trivia questions testing your knowledge of facts versus myths.

This placard sets the stage as you enter the museum.

This placard sets the stage as you enter the museum.

While it wasn’t exactly what I expected, I did learn some things. For starters, most pirates got their start as legitimate ship workers, where the hours were long, the work was hard, and punishments were severe. The only escape from this very difficult lifestyle was to become a pirate. Instead of long days of hard work and punishment, pirates enjoyed days filled with drinking, games and merriment. Of course, the only way to fund this lifestyle was to steal, cheat and kill by overtaking other ships that passed through the pirate-infested waters of the Caribbean. Greed was prevalent and oftentimes they would turn on each other to get a bigger share of the loot. Also, most pirate ships didn’t have a doctor on board so any amputations and other surgeries had to be performed by the ship’s carpenter, using carpentry tools such as saws, with no anesthesia.

Pirate surgery without anesthesia--ouch!

Pirate surgery without anesthesia–ouch!

It didn’t take long for me to decide that rum or no rum, the pirate’s life was definitely not for me!

Another thing I found quite surprising was their attitude toward and respect for women. The rape of a woman was totally against “pirate code” and was punishable by a very cruel death. Also, if a female pirate (yes, although rare, they existed) were caught and sentenced to death, she could easily get her sentence reduced to life in prison by simply claiming to be pregnant. Death sentences were normally carried out immediately, and because the judges of that day didn’t want to be responsible for the killing of an unborn child, they would not call for the execution of a pregnant woman. I also found it odd that there was no follow up to this. Wouldn’t they have caught on to her lies after 9 months in prison and no baby had popped out? Chances are, she was going to die of natural illnesses in prison anyway (according to the museum), so I guess they thought it really didn’t matter.

Even though it wasn’t quite what I expected, I really enjoyed the museum. It was very interesting and informative and it only took about 30 minutes to tour. It’s very close to all the shops, which makes it a great add-on if you are only planning on shopping in Nassau anyway. It’s probably not something you’d want to go out of your way to make time for if you are planning an all-day shore excursion.

Have you been to Nassau? What’s your favorite thing to do there?

Follow me on Twitter @myglasssneaker.

I’m raising funds as a hero for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. If you’d like to donate, please visit my fund raising page here.

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