Lunch Back On The Cruise Ship
Walking around a seemingly empty cruise ship is a whole different feeling than walking around on a packed cruise ship!
Since youre not wandering off too far from downtown and are staying within walking distance of the cruise port, consider heading back to the ship for lunch if youre looking to save some money.
The line to get back onto the ship likely wont be long at all either, if there is a line at all.
Lunch on the ship while its in port all day is also great because there will also be minimal lines for all the food since most cruise passengers are on shore!
Take the chance to eat some cruise food at the specialty restaurants with a short line or no line at all!
But if you dont mind carrying around your beach gear, you can head straight to the beach after visiting some historical sights and skip lunch on the ship.
A Day In Nassau Without Cruise Excursions
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Going to the Bahamas but want to experience Nassau without cruise excursions? Im here to help! I went on an incredible trip with some of my closest friends from college as we celebrated our graduation. The first leg of the trip was a four night Royal Caribbean Cruise that set sail from Miami overall the cruise was a great deal but that definitely didnt mean I had cash to spare.
If youve ever been on a cruise before though, youll know thisit is very, very, very hard not to spend extra money. Cruises are sneaky!!! One big reason behind this is that cruise ports, where generally not just your cruise line stops, but ten other cruise lines as well, become the dreaded tourist trap. See below for my day through Nassau without cruise excursions, and my top 7 things to do on the island!
Spend The Day At Atlantis Resort
Located on Paradise Island, the Atlantis Bahamas Resort is a world famous casino and resort that offers visitors a variety of attractions. You will need to purchase either an excursion through the cruise company or tickets at Atlantis as access to most sites are restricted. Staff are situated throughout the resort to ensure only paying guests are permitted in the designated areas.
The most popular attraction is the Aquaventure Water Park. Most excursions to the water park run about 6-8 hours, providing you with time to see the surrounding grounds as well.
If water parks arent your thing, many cruise lines also offer excursions that include self-guided tours of the grounds. These tours will give travelers access to explore the hotel and other sites like The Dig and Shark Encounters, as well as access to the lagoon and beaches at the resort.
If you are reluctant to book an excursion through the cruise line due to the hefty price tag, you might want to consider booking a room for the day at the Comfort Suites. Located within walking distance to Atlantis, rooms at this hotel include complimentary entrance to all the Atlantis facilities for up to 4 guests, and the cost to book a room is often cheaper than paying for the cruise-sponsored excursion for even just two adults. Of course, you will have to weigh the risk of itinerary changes with the hotels cancellation policies.
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Best Things To Do In Nassau Cruise Port
Regardless of all the bad mouthing and press, the cruise traveler will find that the Cruise Port of Nassau has a lot to offer both in quality and diversity. If you are cruising on a budget, there are many affordable things to do. Both Junkanoo Beach and Cabbage Beach are free.
In downtown Nassau there are very nice and interesting landmarks and museums to visit. For those that wish to enjoy more upscale beaches, there are excellent day-passes offering all-inclusive beach-breaks including the iconic Atlantis Resort.
Pearl Island in Nassau
The cruise traveler that prefers secluded sites will discover close to the port stunning private islands which can be enjoyed on shore-excursions. Scuba diving, snorkeling, Semi-submarines and Glass-bottom boats invite visitors to explore the spectacular underwater world of the Bahamas.
Bay Street – the main street in downtown Nassau – is known as a shopping paradise. Nassau boasts restaurants for all pockets and tastes. And if luxury is your thing, there are a few treats not be missed. The Graycliff Hotel, in particular, offers memorable experiences. With so much to choose from, if you decide to stay onboard, you have no idea what you may be missing.
National Art Gallery Of The Bahamas
When youre ready to escape the heat of Junkanoo Beach, you can access the National Art Gallery of the Bahamas. Here, youll be able to find collections of historic and contemporary art.
The museum offers family programs for you and your children to learn about Bahamian art and culture, but there is also access to the public if you simply feel like roaming about the exhibits.
Whether youre simply wanting to view the art or purchase some for yourself from the gift shop, the National Art Gallery of the Bahamas is a must-see on any trip to Nassau.
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First Time On Bahamas Cruise
My family and I are taking our first cruise ever. We are going on a 3-day Disney Cruise to the Bahamas in March. One of the stops is at Nassau for a day and I am at a loss as to what to do when we get there. Is it necessary to book excursions in advance? Is there enough to do without booking any “extras”? Any advice is welcomed. Thank you! P.S. We are not interested in snorkeling.
Depends on what activities you are looking to do. You are going during Spring Break, one of the heaviest times of the year, and some activities need to be booked well in advance.
Activities like the Dolphin Encounters, Powerboat adventures and even Atlantis Waterpark get sold out quickly. (last season Atlantis stopped offering day passes during some spring break weeks.
It’s best to give some thought as to what you want to do… as well as determine how many other ships are in port while you are there.
Check Majestic tours for some interesting things to do.
You can still get off and walk around to Straw market,, maybe take the water taxi over to Paradise Island and just walk around the Atlantis hotels==if you go to Royal Towers you can at least walk down the center staircase and see part of the aquariums there without paying. Pirate Museum is also close to the ship but teens may be too old for that.
I would suggest just taking a water taxi to paradise island., walk thru Atlantis and check out the rest of paradise island. There are huge yachts in the marina that are fun to check out.
Currency And Best Way To Get Money
The Bahamian Dollar is equivalent to the US Dollar. Both the Bahamian Dollar and the US Dollar are widely accepted. If you require to exchange your money you have a few options.
You can exchange it on the Ship. Most people do this out of convenience. However, you can get a better rate by exchanging at a bank or withdrawing money from an ATM. There are a number of banks and ATMs located less than a five-minute walk from the cruise terminal on Parliament Street. There are even more ATMs so finding a place to get Bahamian Dollars should be easy.
Keep in mind, since US Dollars are readily accepted unless you dont have either it is not necessary to exchange your money.
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Top Attractions Highlights And Sights
There are many highlights that the cruise traveler should consider visiting when calling for the day at the port of Nassau. The following are the Editor’s favorites in alphabetic order:
- Adastra Gardens
- Pompey Museum
- Straw Market
The famous Atlantis Resort is a must see with lots to do but, in Paradise Island , the public Cabbage Beach is another highlight to be explored. The private islands are secluded sites which must absolutely be experienced.
Adastra Gardens in Nassau
The Straw Market as seen better days but the 4 museums of Nassau are all worth visiting: National Art Gallery of The Bahamas, Balcony House, Pompey Museum and Pirates of Nassau Museum.
The Adastra Gardens, Zoo and Conservation Centre is a delight for cruisers traveling with young ones, the John Watling’s Distillery is a major landmark where rum tasting is offered on a tour, and the Arawak Cay is the place to taste typical Bahamian flavors.
Shop At The Straw Market
If unique, hand-crafted odds and ends made by local Bahamians are on your shopping list, you wont be very far from a place that has it all once you get off the ship.
The Nassau Straw Market is right in the middle of Bay Street, just a 2-minute walk from the pier. Once you walk out of the terminal take a right and you will see the market along the street.
You will find treasures like hand-woven straw hats, bags, and trinkets along with some of the most beautiful and interesting wood-carvings youve ever seen.
Be ready to utilize your negotiation skills and find a bargain. You can use either U.S. or Bahamian cash.
Note: There are plenty of other shops and stores along Bay Street as well that sell t-shirts, sunglasses, souvenirs and other touristy items.
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Take In Breathtaking Views While Parasailing
As soon as your ship arrive in port, youre likely to see people flying in the sky, suspended by a parachute. Parasailing is a popular sport in Nassau and there are a number of vendors who will give you a ride. We suggest booking through your cruise line and NOT simply finding someone on the beach offering rides for cheap. Your safety is worth the extra money.
Active Pursuits On Your Own
Blue Lagoon Island in Nassau
For those interested in more active pleasures, the Atlantis Resort offers great adventures and exciting fun in its Aquaventure Water Park. The cruise passenger will also find the delights of diving, snorkeling or dolphin encounters in the Blue Lagoon Island, the Balmoral Island or at Stuarts’ Cove, and challenging golf at the Ocean Club Course. All of these can only be accessed on a shore excursion.
But there are also a few activities that can easily be enjoyed on your own. Sightseeing can be enjoyed on a Horse Drawn Carriage, a Segway tour, or on a self-driving boat ride. Here are top activities in Nassau to enjoy independently:
- British Colonial Hotel
Bay Street – Nassau
Well known by savvy cruisers as one of the best shopping paradises in the Caribbean cruise itineraries, you will have onboard your ship at least one ‘shopping lecturer’ promoting and marketing selected shops in Nassau. The onboard guide will offer all sorts of bargains, coupons and shopping deals but it is advisable to also look at many other shops that are not promoted by the cruise line. In fact, there more shops in Nassau than the ones recommended where the cruise traveler can get great deals. With few exceptions, all major stores are located on Bay Street.
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Entry Requirements: Fully Vaccinated Travellers
PRE-TRAVEL PROOF OF VACCINATION
I have been fully vaccinated for COVID-19, do I need to take a PCR or Antigen test to travel to The Bahamas?
What does it mean to be “fully vaccinated”?
- For Bahamian Residents and Citizens, a person is fully vaccinated after they receive their second dose.
- For travellers from other countries, people are considered fully vaccinated:
- 2 weeks after their second dose in a 2-dose series, such as the Pfizer, Moderna or AstraZeneca vaccines, or
- 2 weeks after a single-dose vaccine, such as Johnson & Johnsons Janssen vaccine
What vaccines are recognized by The Bahamas to be considered fully vaccinated?
- The Bahamas Government will only be accepting vaccinations by Moderna, Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca at this time. Visitors who have received non-approved vaccines must follow the same protocols as unvaccinated travellers to be granted entry to The Bahamas.
- Mixed and matched second doses of COVID-19 vaccines of either AstraZeneca, Pfizer, Moderna or even Johnson & Johnson are also accepted.
What is considered a valid proof of vaccination?
- Valid proof of vaccination is a government issued vaccine record card that confirms they have received Moderna, Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson or AstraZeneca vaccines.
What happens if my proof of vaccination is not accepted?
- Invalid proof of vaccination will result in a denied visa application. Anyone who submits a falsified vaccination record faces a fine of $10,000 or two years imprisonment, or both.
Best Attractions Near The Cruise Port In Nassau
Dive into the history and culture of the Bahamas on your next cruise to Nassau with a visit to one of these 10 attractions near the port.
The must-sees on your downtown walking tour are Government House, the Christ Church Cathedral and the Queen’s Staircase. Comfortable walking shoes are a must, especially if you’re going to climb the 65 steps of the later that connect downtown Nassau with Fort Fincastle.
There are museums a plenty to explore in Nassau, from the National Art Gallery of the Bahamas to the Bahamas Historical Society Museum to the Pirates Museum of Nassau, which kids young and old will adore.
Kids will also love seeing the flamingos at the Ardastra Gardens Zoo and grownups will love touring the John Watling Distillery.
But your visit to Nassau is not complete without a little Junkanoo. Hit up Junkanoo Beach to get your toes in the sand and soak up the Caribbean sun reflecting off the clear, blue water. Then visit the at the Prince George Wharf to experience this Bahamian cultural phenomenon before returning to your ship.
There’s so much to see and do in Nassau that you might have a hard time choosing which of these ten attractions are your must-sees while you are docked in the Bahamas.
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Nassau Public Library & Museum
What started as a prison has now become a place where visitors can go for quiet time and a place to learn. The old prison cells are now used to house books, charts, artifacts, and more.
When you explore the museum, youll also be able to find historic prints, newspapers, and even colonial documents. Admission to the Nassau Public Library and Museum is free.
How To Find The Best Things To Do In Nassau Bahamas Port
With so many things to do in Nassau Bahamas on a Cruise, New Providence island will spoil you for choice! For those wanting to experience the authentic Bahamas, this can only be experienced in the Bahamas Out Islands , away from the touristy areas of Nassau.
Take flight with Bahamas Air Tours and enjoy a full day Exuma Excursion to Staniel Cay and Pig Beach. Go swimming with the famous Bahamas Swimming Pigs and try swimming with Sharks at Compass Cay for the ultimate Bahamian Vacation. All of which can be enjoyed on a Day Tour from your Cruise stopover in Nassau Port.
Discover the Bahamas Out Islands
With beautifully illustrated maps and informative destination guides.
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Relax In Luxury With A Hotel Day Pass
Sometimes you just want to hang out by the pool, eat good food and have a waiter bring you umbrella drinks while you soak up the sun. Luckily, a number of hotels in Nassau will be more than happy to accommodate you. For instance, the Graycliff Hotel provides a day pass with a welcome drink, access to the pool and amenities, and a three-course lunch, as well as towels, changing rooms, and showers. Its an easy way to spend the day while enjoying your time in Nassau.
Take The Water Taxi To Atlantis
Want to take a cheap tour of the island? When you walk out of the cruise terminal area, turn right and head to the water taxi pier. A ride on the water taxi can be a mini-excursion on its own that helps you avoid paying inflated cruise ship excursion prices. A boat will take you on a 20-minute narrated ride to Atlantis Bahamas, an expansive high-end resort on its own island. The tour guide will hit you up for tips on the way out, but in my opinion, the trip is well worth the cost.
Once at Atlantis, you have a choice of activities and price points. You can pay a ton to hit the waterpark, beach, and aquarium explore the hotels restaurants and casino or check out the gorgeous lobby for free.
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Where To Eat And Drink In Nassau Bahamas
Travelers have a wide selection of places to eat and drink while staying in Nassau, Bahamas or nearby Paradise Island. Cuisines at restaurants in Nassau, Bahamas range from local Bahamian fare and authentic Greek dishes to seafood and gourmet specialties from internationally acclaimed chefs.
In addition to Nassaus ever-popular Señor Frogs, there are a number of other great places for drinks as well. Given the current situation, its wise to contact restaurants and other spots directly to check on capacity constraints, current offerings, and hours of operation before heading out.
Here are some restaurants, bars, and dining locations to consider while visiting Nassau and Paradise Island:
Arawak Cay, The Fish Fry: Located within walking distance of the cruise port, Arawak Cay has a number of small stands and restaurants serving authentic local Bahamian cuisine including conch fritters, fried chicken, snapper, shrimp, conch salad, and more. Some popular dining choices include Curlys Restaurant, Goldies Conch House, Oh Andros, Twin Brothers, and Frankie Gone Bananas.
Athena Café: This popular restaurant serving authentic Greek fare is located within easy walking distance of Nassaus cruise port. Menu items include gyros, grilled octopus, fried calamari, Athenian-style seafood, roast lamb, chicken souvlaki, and delicious Greek desserts.