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Magic 2012 -     The Trip to Atlantis!!

A 7 Day Trip aboard
Carnival's Magic out of Galveston all the way to the Bahamas

Sunday, October 14th thru
Sunday, October 21st

Three Days at Sea plus

Nassau (Bahamas),
Freeport (Bahamas),
Key West (Florida)


A Note from Rick Archer:

The last time Marla and I took our Travel Group to the Bahamas, we had 190 people aboard.  It was without a doubt the most incredible cruise we have ever taken. 

Are you ready to do repeat the best trip we ever took?

The October 2012 Trip to the Bahamas will have two exciting features. First and foremost, this will be our first trip aboard the Carnival Magic, the incredible brand new ship that calls Galveston home.

Marla and I had the privilege of visiting the Magic for its Inaugural Party back in November 2011.  This is an exciting ship.  You will surely want to read my review complete with extensive pictures.  Magic Review

Second, this will be the first chance for many of you to visit the incredible Atlantis Water Park in Nassau.  Only a few of our guests came along with Marla and I to see Atlantis during our 2010 trip.  However, once we returned to Houston and people saw the eye-popping pictures of our adventure, one person after another said they were kicking themselves for missing it.

Well, this is your second chance.  Don't miss it this time!!  You are going to have the most fun of your entire life if you do.


MAGIC 2012:
depart 4 pm, Sunday, October 14th--
return 8 am, Sunday, October 21st

Travel Coordinator is Marla Archer
Please email questions to

Phone questions to 713 862-4428
Fax your
Registration Form to 713 862 2550

The Magic and the Bahamas in 2012

The Best of both worlds for your Dance Cruise Getaway!

Story written by Marla Archer
February 2012


Mayan Pyramid, Atlantis Resort, Nassau

Nassau with Atlantis Resort in background

Nassau Beach

Nassau Lighthouse

Nassau Bay


Parrot Island, Freeport

Nature Center, Freeport


Freeport Waterfall

Mayan Pyramid, Atlantis Resort, Nassau

Atlantis Resort on Paradise Island, Nassau

Freeport Scuba

Freeport Kayaking



Freeport Scuba

Sunset in the Bahamas

Freeport Waterfall, Nature Center

Freeport Beach

Sunset in Key West

Key West Beach

Key West Pier

Key West Beach

Nassau with Atlantis Resort in background

SSQQ Travel will be offering an exciting cruise opportunity this October.  Not only will we be sailing on Carnival’s newest ship, the Magic, we will be sailing to our most requested destination – The Bahamas.

The best news is that we will be leaving from our own home port of Galveston on the Magic. Even better news is that we will be sailing mid October, outside of the most dangerous hurricane season.

This year's trip is scheduled to depart on Sunday, October 14th, and cruise on over to the beautiful Bahamas Islands.  We will return on Sunday, October 21st.

Enjoy seven nights experiencing luxury and grand style while sailing the Caribbean Sea! Dance your hearts out for a solid week with your friends from the studio.

This is our twenty fifth SSQQ Cruise Adventure. Did you know we have taken well over 1800 people sailing over the years?  As my husband is fond of saying, we haven't a single passenger yet.

You can expect plenty of Slow Dance, Romance, and a great deal of mischief!

Before you read any further it is important that you know there is all kinds of danger on SSQQ Cruises, especially for women. 

It is a well-documented fact from previous trips is that the ladies of the group are rendered helpless at sea. That ocean air is intoxicating and their defenses are down. Any man who can dance and smile is certain to be one heck of a popular guy aboard this trip! This trip is safe for no woman.

But better be careful, guys, you aren't invulnerable. We know from experience that Cupid is always lurking just around the corner and he may just have your number! So cruise at your own risk. You think you can dance your way out of any trouble, but you could easily fool around and fall in love... after all, we have a long list of couples who connected on our cruises and ended up getting married.

Assuming you still want to come with us even though you have now been warned of the dangers, here is the Itinerary for this trip.

Day One: Sunday

We set sail on Sunday, October 14th at 4:00 pm out of Galveston.

Now as the evening draws near, we begin our adventure. The first night will include a Welcome Aboard Cocktail Party prior to dinner. The party gives everyone the opportunity to say hello and get acquainted before we sit down for our group dining.

As in the past, Rick will bring along our portable Music Machine and he will DJ as we dance in our own private venue into the wee hours of the morning.

Day Two: Monday, Day at Sea

We are at sea, so this is the perfect time for dance classes in the morning. Foxtrot, Waltz, Rumba, Cha Cha, Swing or Western.  You name it; we have fun!  I will try my best to have two workshops to choose from.

Come afternoon, it is definitely time to check out that awesome Waterworld Complex and the many hot tub venues!  I am sure the group will have fun on the super long waterslides.

And how about a challenge on the Ropes Course on the Sports Deck?
Monday will be the first Formal Night. 

The group typically drifts over to the Main Lounge for the Captain's Welcome Aboard Cocktail Party. This is your chance to join the rest of the Dance Group to put on a real show. This is the perfect opportunity to show off your ballroom dance skills in front of the entire ship. Expect to Foxtrot, Waltz, Swing and Slow Dance to the Big Band music played by the ship's orchestra. "In the Mood" and "Moonlight Serenade" will be your inspiration!

We are always the stars of this evening as the other passengers smile and gaze at our dancing with appreciation. This evening is definitely one of the highlights of the trip!

Day Three: Tuesday – Key West, Florida

Our first stop is Key West, Florida. We arrive at 10:00 am and the ship will set sail at 6:00 pm as it continues on towards Freeport, The Bahamas.

Discover a city where real estate titles date back to the Kings of Spain. Stroll the palm-lined streets and discover gingerbread mansions, tin-roofed conch houses, the John Audubon House and Ernest Hemingway's home. Walk in the footsteps of Thomas Edison, Lou Gehrig, Harry Truman, and Tennessee Williams.

Gaze at the fabled treasure of the galleon Atocha. Discover tomorrow's fine art treasures by Key West's well-known and unknown artists.

In Key West, you can visit these and a host of other attractions by taking advantage of convenient public transportation, taxis, pedi-cabs, tour trains, trolleys, bicycles or even your own two feet.

With its balmy weather and crystal blue skies, the island is famous among the outdoors set for its diving, fishing, watersports, and golfing at nearby Key West Golf Club, a course designed by Rees Jones.

The streets are filled with jugglers, mimes, musicians and street artists. The streets are filled with sidewalk cafes, open-air bars, legendary pubs and world-class restaurants. Gourmets and gourmands alike treat their palates to island specialties.

As you enjoy these sights, you'll discover that modern Key West is a warm-hearted place where all are welcome. ONE HUMAN FAMILY is the official philosophy of the island community of Key West and Monroe County; a simple motto which serves not only as a shining example of daily life here, but as one that is openly shared with global neighbors throughout the world.

However you choose to see the town, you'll discover that old town Key West is one of America's true architectural and botanical treasures. On even the tiniest lanes, the locals have faithfully restored old wooden homes and adorned them with lush tropical trees and flowers.

Key West's African cultural heritage is represented by the vibrant Bahamas Village neighborhood, founded in the early 1800s by Africans migrating from the Bahamas, and in historic churches, indigenous food and annual festivals.

Among Key West's most significant African cultural sites is the 1860 African Burial Ground, located on the island's Atlantic Ocean shore beside a Civil War-era fort. It is believed by experts to be America's only African refugee cemetery. A memorial honoring the buried Africans is being constructed at the site.

New restaurants and stores fill the historic Bahamas Village neighborhood, which was settled in the 19th Century by Bahamian immigrants. Hemingway loved coming here to mix with the hard-working locals at boxing matches and arm-wrestling contests

The Island's seafaring tradition lives on at the renovated Historic Seaport district, known locally as the Key West Bight. Dozens of shrimp boats once called this harbor home. These days, "the Bight" is a popular place to arrange a day on the water, whether you are a diver, snorkeler, fisherman or eco-tourist. Others come just to stroll along the harbor walk or dine at one of the many restaurants.

One note on Key West:  In the past, we have organized a group walk over to Sloppy Joe's for a morning of dancing and drinking.  You might want to keep your ears posted for our return visit to this favorite hot spot.

Day Four: Wednesday, Freeport

We arrive in Freeport, Bahamas on Wednesday at 8:00 am.
Departure time is 5:00 pm. 

Freeport is the Hong Kong of the Americas

Where Nassau is a blend of the old and new, Freeport/Lucaya is a modernistic planned city, and is situated on the Bahamas' second most popular tourist destination, the Island of Grand Bahamas.

Grand Bahamas Island is the second most popular tourist destination. Here you will find long stretches of deserted clean-white beaches, inviting hotels, one major casino, nighttime entertainment and world-class scuba diving facilities and land and sea sports.

Freeport is the resort center of the Island where much action can be found. On the eastern and western ends of the Island are serene and quaint settings and finding hide-away spots is not uncommon. Shopping is also a feature as one can stroll through Port Lucaya and discover duty-free treasures from around the world.

Like New Providence, the larger Grand Bahamas boasts (more) miles of pearly white beaches, and luxurious hotels. Unlike Nassau, the less populated outskirts of Grand Bahamas supply more serene and tranquil surroundings (read deserted beaches) popular amongst those who desire private hideaway spots reminiscent of the Family Islands.

According to a census taken in 1990 stated that there are 40,898 persons living in Grand Bahamas, of which 12% were non-Bahamians, and 88% were Bahamian.

For those into nature, Grand Bahamas is also home to one of the oldest underwater cave systems in the world, situated at the Lucayan National Park. Lucayan National Park comprise one of the longest underwater cave systems in the world, which is also among the most environmentally distinct. The vast tunnel system, accessible by both land and sea, was created over eons by the seepage of acidified rainwater into the island's limestone base. Nobody thinks of pine forests, huge caves brimming with stalagmites, and pidgeon plum trees. Surely, such a landscape belongs to some other place, Colorado maybe. Pine trees, after all, just don't sound tropical. Well, they are.

At Lucayan National Park (about 25 miles east of Freeport) you'll see thousands of them, along with mangroves, ferns, and dozens of rare flower species, including orchids. You'll probably come back with a whole new idea of what the islands are. The 40-acre park, established in 1982, provides an unparalleled glimpse into the complexities of the Grand Bahamian environment, where the beaches represent only one of six distinct ecosystems -- all of which are present in the park.

Another choice for nature lovers would be to visit the Garden of the Groves. Considered one of the finest botanical Gardens in the Caribbean, the Garden of the Groves has more than 10,000 species of flowers, shrubs, trees, and exotic plant life. Along it’s shaded, winding paths are several waterfalls, exotic native birds and an old-fashioned chapel. It is also an ideal spot for those simply seeking a serene setting for quiet reflection.

Be sure to make a stop at the Rand Memorial Nature Centre - This 100 acre park is part of the Bahamas National Trust, and it offers the best birding on the island. Along its trails you'll see about 130 varieties of native plants, including magnificent wild orchids. When you arrive at the famous observation deck at Flamingo Pond, you'll be glad that you brought your camera. The birds are vibrantly colored and comfortable with tourists. You'll capture some great photos of whimsical flamingos, thrushes, tanagers, hawks, hummingbirds, and more.

Our ship will dock at Lucaya Harbor, which is a 10-minute drive from the city of Freeport and about a 25-minute ride from Lucaya. Taxis will line up at the pier; if you are taking a taxi to the beach, arrange a time for your driver to pick you up. A taxi for two to Lucaya will cost $25; if you ride in a collective van with other visitors the fare is a quite reasonable $5 per person each way.

If you are a shopper it will be a toss up as to visit the 10-acre International Bazaar downtown Freeport or Port Lucaya. Since they are several miles away from each other, and it doesn’t make much sense to try to go to both in our one-day. The International Bazaar provides a great choice for shopping. The bazaar is divided into sections that represent different parts of the world. You will see sections representing India, the Orient, Africa, France, South America, and the Bahamas. You can find bargains on many items such as French perfume, Rolex watches, cigars, leather goods, jewelry, and there is a Straw Market, where you can get local arts and crafts, and a perfume factory, where you can make and name your own perfume.

At the Perfume Factory of Fragrances you mix your own special fragrance or you can purchase a unique fragrance created and manufactured right on the premises. The Perfume Factory is located in a replica of an old Bahamian mansion. The International Bazaar has nearly 100 specialty shops and restaurants.

If you are a gambler, another draw to go to the Bazaar is that there is a Las Vegas style casino on premise

Day Five: - Thursday, Nassau, The Bahamas


Marla's Note: Rick and I explored Nassau's Sister Island, Paradise Island in 2010.  Be sure to read Rick's write-up of our day: Atlantis Bahamas Resort

We had so much fun that we absolutely must go back.  Rick and I will be most definitely be spending the day here. There simply wasn’t enough time to try out all the slides... Perhaps, a group excursion?

Venture east on Bay Street from the city's core and you come to a bridge that takes you to "Paradise," with posh luxury resorts (including the world famous Atlantis Bahamas Resort, the Caribbean's largest casino, plus exciting nightlife on an island formerly called "Hog."

The Atlantis resort is absolutely spectacular. Atlantis wasn't designed to be just visited; this resort was designed to be experienced! Atlantis has the world's largest marine habitat, the largest casino in the Bahamas (and the Caribbean,) a 15 million dollar marina, lagoons, and waterfalls and even includes the underwater ruins of Atlantis itself. One of the highlights of the water park area is The Mayan Temple Water Slides that includes:

Leap of Faith Slide: An almost 60 foot vertical drop propelling riders at speeds of 35 miles an hour culminating with a pass through a clear acrylic tunnel submerged in the shark filled lagoon.

Serpent Slide: Spin through the temple's mysterious core then passes through a predator lagoon at a leisurely pace

The Challengers: Race down high speed dual slides

Jungle Slide: Meander through exotic caves and jungle

Other features at the Atlantis Bahamas Resort include the Lazy River Ride which is the quarter mile meandering for tubing; Eleven pool areas; Paradise Lagoon, which boasts a 7 acre saltwater lagoon for snorkeling with thousands of tropical fish; There are eleven saltwater habitats spread out over the Atlantis resort, with over 100,000 marine animals comprising over 150 species.

There is a recent addition of the Marina Village that features dining and shopping in a quaint Bahamian village setting.

The bridges to the Island (there are actually two - one for coming and one for going) can be walked but most people cab over. Speedy boat taxis are also available which connect with dockside limo services on both islands.

That said, Atlantis isn't for everybody.  There is much else to do in Nassau.

Nassau in the Bahamas is the most popular Bahamas island vacation destination. Located on the island of New Providence, Bahamas, Nassau is the capital city and has been the centerpiece of this island nation since the shipwrecking days of Blackbeard the pirate. A busy hub of international commerce and finance, Nassau is the most cosmopolitan city in the Bahamas Islands, the seat of government and a vibrant center for tourism, as well as world-class entertainment. While there is no local government, it is governed directly as an administrative division of the national government. Nassau is considered a historical stronghold of pirates.

Here is a little Bahamian pirate history: Privateers and pirates were essentially the same thing: privateers simply carried a government license called a "Letter of Marque." Those whose ships were plundered made little distinction, and when potential gain increased, many privateers turned to indiscriminate piracy. For the most part, these marauders were beneficial to the Crown's interests, as they often ransacked enemy merchant ships. However, once a rogue, always a rogue, and the Crown's own ships became fair game when a convenient opportunity arose.

By 1700, the pirates actually ruled Nassau (insofar as lawless riot and drunken revelry constitute rule), and chased off to Great Exuma most of what remained of the law-abiding citizenry. Edward Teach, the notorious Blackbeard took Fort Nassau as his residence and played cat and mouse games with the British Royal Navy. Finally in 1718, the British Crown had had enough and decided that the pirates needed "putting down."

The British government appointed the former privateer Woodes Rogers as Royal Governor of the colony, and he began his campaign by offering royal pardons to those who would cease their illegal activities. However there were a few exceptions: Blackbeard, a swashbuckler named Charles Vane, and eight other pirates were sought for criminal prosecution. Blackbeard and Vane escaped--the latter after burning a ship to cover his getaway. Blackbeard was eventually killed in June 1718 off the coast of Virginia in a legendary sea battle.

Nassau Bahamas history has been preserved nicely in Victorian mansions displaying elegant noble architecture, cathedrals, weather-beaten 18th-century forts and a hand-carved Queen’s Staircase, whose 66 steps lead to a view of the island not to be missed.

Vacationers know Nassau as a vacation playground of fine white-sand beaches and exciting nightlife. International business people know Nassau Bahamas as a financial center and a starting point for global business.

Weather in the Bahamas is almost always warm and sunny. Soft-sand beaches washed by clear turquoise-colored water surround the island of New Providence. Waving palm trees and bright red & pink hibiscus thrive in Nassau's year-round mild climate and warm weather.

You can scoot around the island on a rented motor scooter, rental car or bicycle (be sure to drive on the left-hand side of the road, British style); or cruise out to spend the day scuba diving or snorkeling the coral reefs; go fishing for dolphin, tuna or wahoo; play tennis or golf; take an Out Island excursion or just lay back to snooze in the sun.

Visit the historic forts or shop for bargains along Bay Street, Nassau's famous international shopping location. Liquor, perfume, jewelry and china are favorite items for duty-free shoppers, along with fine local and international crafts plus native goods, from handmade yards of batik to fine jewelry & Rolex watches. The best buys and shopping bargains can be found among the straw craft items and souvenirs at the Straw Market.

The stores on Bay Street are flanked by picturesque, pastel pink-colored Colonial-style Government buildings erected in the early 1800s by Loyalists, including the Houses of Parliament, the old Colonial Secretary's Office and the Supreme Court all surrounding a marble statue of Queen Victoria. Dare to take a royal climb up the 66 steps of the Queen's Staircase, which was carved out of calcareous, a coral-based sandstone at the end of the 18th century? The stupendous view will be your prize for making it to the top.

Parliament Square in downtown Nassau Bahamas is the traditional center of Bahamian government. Each season, the Opening Ceremonies of the Supreme Court fill the square with pomp and pageantry. Further downtown stands Fort Charlotte. Built in 1788, it is complete with moat, open battlements; even dungeons

The number one photo op on the island is the balcony of 18th-century Balcony House, which also happens to be Nassau's oldest wooden structure. Step inside this island landmark to see the mahogany staircase said to have been salvaged from a shipwreck in the mid-1800.

One of the most popular cultural stops on the island is the 18th-century Fort Charlotte. It's fun to roam the dungeons and underground passageways and see the waterless moat -- but some say the amazing views of the harbor from the ramparts are the real don't-miss here. Two other forts worth checking out are Fort Fincastle (overlooking the town from Bennet's Hill) and Fort Montagu (on East Bay Street).

As you go east, just past the bridge to Paradise Island, there is the boating heart of Nassau / Paradise Island with a number of marinas with boats for hire. The East End is also a delightful residential area showing the full flavor of Nassau's colonial past in its architecture & horticulture. Big houses with wide breezy verandas face the sea.

To the west of Nassau is Cable Beach. Heading in the other direction you will discover Cable Beach, the Bahamian Riviera, with its luxury hotels, casinos and world famous beachfront. Cable Beach got its name in 1907 from the laying here of transatlantic telephone cables linking what was an isolated Bahamas to the rest of the world. But these days, the world comes to The Bahamas to see what it has been missing.

For those who prefer a quieter, more serene island experience, it can be found even farther west. Once you leave the downtown area, the pace is slower. For example, the section of West Bay Street that leads to Cable Beach is nicknamed "Go Slow Bend." Beyond Cable Beach, the island's environment is transformed. Large tracts of pine trees dominate the central-west portions of New Providence, with the island's perimeter marked by miles of fine white sand beaches.

The Coral Harbour development, on the southern side of New Providence Island, is a quiet, opulent community in a palm-clad setting. Its winding canals offer easy access to the sea. West of Coral Harbour, there is Adelaide, a tiny village with narrow streets. It was one of the first Black settlements established after the abolition of slavery. The area is a lovely, secluded spot for activities such as fishing or swimming. At the tip of New Providence, there is Lyford Cay, an exclusive residential enclave.

There is certainly no shortage of restaurants and lounges either. Enjoy almost any type of international cuisine or experience native recipes that will wake up your taste buds like never before. Conch fritters, grouper fingers, peas 'n' rice, boiled fish, johnnycake plus guava duff are just a few of the tasty dishes, all of which go "just right" with a tropical drink in your hand.

Nassau is one of the Caribbean's premier duty-free shopping destinations, with visitors flocking to the shops of Bay Street to seek out deals on jewelry, crystal, fragrances and other upscale items. Keep in mind that all duty-free goods are not necessarily good deals; if you have a particular item in mind for purchase, be sure to research prices at home before your trip to make sure the "deals" you see in Nassau really will save you money. If you're looking for more traditional souvenirs of your trip, visit one of Nassau's street markets to find local handcrafts and artwork.

The Straw Market is perhaps Nassau's most popular attraction. You'll still find all things straw and artwork made by locals, including shopping bags, handbags, hats and wonderful dolls -- though you'll also see plenty of cheapie sunglasses, tacky trinkets and knock-off purses. Those who are willing to browse -- and barter -- may come up with some great finds.

Just near the Straw Market is Bay Street, where you'll find tonier shops like Gucci as well as a variety of upscale duty-free goods. This area is well frequented by the island's many cruise ship passengers.

Also nearby are the dozens of shops inside the Nassau International Bazaar at Woodes Rogers Walk and Charlotte Street. Designed to look like a small European town, complete with cobblestone streets, the bazaar offers goods from all around the world.

Day 6: – Friday at Sea

Sleep in after partying hard last night and then enjoy a leisurely breakfast chatting with fellow SSQQ cruisers. Enjoy another day at sea relaxing in the sun by the pool or frolicking in the hot tub.

Since we are at Sea sailing our way headed back to Galveston, we will have our second dance class today.

This evening features the second Formal Night. Everyone looks terrific all dressed up and fancy. It is important to make this our Group Photo Night.

Day 7: Saturday - This is our last day at sea.

Enjoy the fresh air and mingle with your fellow SSQQ travelers. There is always fun and dancing to live music on the Poolside Deck throughout the day. We will conclude with our final group dance lesson.

Now let's review why this trip will be great:

Luxury and Recreation!!

First and foremost, we are sailing aboard the beautiful Carnival Magic for seven nights at affordable pricing! The Magic is a 130,00 ton Megaliner of floating fun. Enjoy the life of luxury for about $100 per day.

Where else can you get a deal like that??? Accommodations, fine dining and entertainment all included in the price. And the opportunity to share this experience with your fellow SSQQ cruise enthusiasts!

SSQQ Cruises feature lots of Dancing.

We begin with our first SSQQ sponsored dance event: the hour long Cocktail Dance Party.

In addition, we will have SSQQ Dance Workshops on each of our three days at sea. We will dance Swing, Cha Cha, Salsa, Slow Dance, Rueda, you name it. These workshops are well-attended and provide a fun way to get to know your fellow shipmates within the SSQQ group!

There are usually other ship sponsored dance classes as well taught by instructors working for the ship. Although much of the material is pretty easy, our dancers thoroughly enjoy the extended opportunities to dance and dance some more! And you never know whom you might meet!
In addition to all the above, we offer after hours dancing with our group in a private venue most nights of the cruise.

A Week of Adventure with your Friends

The SSQQ Cruise is a chance to make firm and lasting friendships that will continue after you have left the ship. The romance angle is well-known, but less advertised are all the neat people you will meet on this trip that continue to share adventures with you after you return to land.

No matter what it is you wish to do...

  •  barely surviving the Magical Party Bus
  •  zipping down a slide at Atlantis
  •  soaking yourself silly in a hot tub
  •  exploring underwater caves at Lucayan National Park
  •  snorkeling the crystal blue waters in the Bahamas
  •  stopping for a brew at a famous pub in Key West
  •  dancing with the group in a workshop
  •  dancing with the group after dinner
  •  dancing with the group at Midnight
  •  visiting a fancy hotel and getting pina coladas by the pool
  •  seeking romance with someone special

    ....  the beauty is that when you travel with our group, you will always have friends to share these experiences with.

To Register

First deposit of $250 is due by May 1st.
A word to the wise—I have limited space at rates quoted. Once those cabins are sold, the prices will increase.  Do yourself a favor and if you know that you want to go, register early.

Feel free to email or phone with any questions. 713 862 4428.

Email your
Registration Form to


Required Reading for the Trip
Atlantis 2010 Majic Party Bus Magic Review Story
Magic 2012 Home Magic Review Who is Going? Registration Magic Party Bus Atlantis 2010
SSQQ Front Page Parties/Calendar Jokes
SSQQ Information Schedule of Classes Writeups
SSQQ Archive Newsletter History of SSQQ