Nassau, Bahamas is one of the most popular ports of call and offers travelers a variety of different attractions and popular sights. Essentially all cruise lines offer cruises that stop at this port, so odds are at some point in your cruise travels you will be calling on Nassau.
This capital city, located on the island of New Paradise, is the largest city among the 30 inhabited islands in the Bahamas. About 70 percent of all residents of the Bahamas live in Nassau, making it the economic center of this country. Once a colony of Great Britain, the Bahamas gained full independence in 1973, but plenty of English influences can still be found in the culture, architecture, and everyday life.
With vibrant colors, beautiful weather, and friendly people, you need to get out and explore when your cruise ship docks in Nassau. To help you narrow down your choices, below are our Best Things to do in Nassau, Bahamas on a Cruise.
Best Things to Do in Nassau, Bahamas on a Cruise
Visit Atlantis For the Day
Located on Paradise Island, the Atlantis Bahamas Resort is a world famous casino and resort that offers visitors a variety of attractions and is definitely one of the best things to do in Nassau, Bahamas on a cruise. Note, you will need to purchase a tour either through the cruise company or at Atlantis as access to sites is restricted. Atlantis 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, one of the Top 25 Water Park Attractions in the world as rated by TripAdvisor. 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 aren’t 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 hotels and other sites like “The Dig” and Shark Encounters, as well as access to the lagoon and beaches at the resort.
Take a Trip to Blue Lagoon Island
Located a short ferry ride from Nassau is Blue Lagoon Island, a private island resort that offers visitors an opportunity to come face to face with sea life. Trips to this small oasis depart from the marina across from the Atlantis Resort, which means you will need to get transportation from the cruise ship if you are planning on seeing the island. If you book the excursion through your cruise company, they will provide the transportation to the marina.
Even though it is only a three mile boat ride, you will feel like you have been transported miles away to your own secluded paradise. That is why this trip make our list of the best things to do in Nassau, Bahamas on a cruise.
Day long beach passes can be purchased which include access to facilities; additional equipment can be rented while on the island. If you are looking for some real fun, Blue Lagoon Island offers a variety of different marine experiences.
If you want to get up close and personal with dolphins and sea lions in their natural habitat, you can book a dolphin encounter or a sea lion encounter, or even go for a swim with a dolphin. Make sure to reserve these experiences early as space is limited for these one-of-a-kind encounters.
Book a City Island Tour
Soak up some of the British influence and history, while exploring the city’s more memorable highlights during an organized tour of Nassau, Bahamas. Depending on whether you book through the cruise line or arrange a private tour directly with an operator or third-party provider like Shore Excursions Group, the city tour could include a variety of stops.
Most tours will stop at Fort Fincastle and the Queen’s Staircase. Built out of coral rock, these 66 stairs were constructed using hammers and chisels by slaves during the late 18th century. Other popular forts include the largest fort, Fort Charlotte and the oldest fort, Fort Montagu.
Most arranged tours will also pass other popular public buildings such as the Parliament Building and the Government House, with a statue of Christopher Columbus adoring the entrance. Some tours do stop at Atlantis for a brief time, but you will need to purchase entrance to most attractions.
Visitors to Nassau, Bahamas can also create their own customized island tour by hiring cars to bring them to other notable island attractions including Graycliff Restaurant, Hotel, and Chocolate Factory or the John Watling’s Distillery. Why not spice things up while on the island?
Make it a Beach Day
With many beautiful beaches, a beach break is definitely one of the best things to do in Nassau, Bahamas on a cruise.
A cruiser favorite, Junkanoo Beach, is within walking distance to the cruise ship. Here, locals and travelers mingle as they enjoy the clean water at this free beach. This beach is popular, so get there early to stake your claim. Be sure to take advantage of all the amenities including food, beverages, and equipment rentals.
Junkanoo Beach – Photo Credit Will Rock Your World|Source|CC BY 2.0
A short cab ride from the port, Cabbage Beach on Paradise Island offers another “free beach” with plenty of white sand, picture worthy vistas of palm trees, and over a mile of coastline. Again, the beach can get busy later in the day, so get there early and bring cash (and your towel) if you want to rent beach chairs and umbrellas. There are no public facilities, so if you need to use the restroom, you may need to purchase something from a local restaurant or bar.
The Meila Nassau Beach Hotel – ©Meila.com
Considered one of the best beaches in the Bahamas, Cable Beach is a stretch of about four miles of mostly private beaches. If you are okay spending a few bucks on your beach break, getting exclusive access to parts of the beach are well worth the costs. One popular resort day pass with access to the beach and hotel amenities can be purchased from The Meila Nassau Beach Hotel.
Another popular spot to score a day pass for full access to resort facilities is the British Colonial Hilton. Located just a short 10-minute walk from the cruise pier, you will have access to a private beach, pool, lounge chairs and umbrellas, and non-motorized watersports, in addition to a $40 food and beverage credit.
Explore Ardastra Gardens and Zoo
Looking for a wild time when visiting Nassau, Bahamas? We suggest taking a short 12 minute drive from the Wharf to Ardastra Gardens, Zoo, and Conservatory. What was started in the 1950s as a garden and attempt to increase the flamingo population has grown into a full blown zoo and conservatory with over 200 animals. Hence, it is definitely one of the best things to do in Nassau, Bahamas on a cruise!
The Flamingos at Ardastra Gardens
Yes, the now world famous flamingos are still here. You can watch their daily shows while visiting the conservatory and get some great photos interacting with these majestic birds. Also, don’t miss the chance to feed a Rainbow Lorikeet parrot during one of the scheduled feeding times.
There are plenty of other great photo ops here too, from Australian Black Swans to Lemurs to Iguanas to the threatened species- the Bahamian BOA Constrictor. While here, don’t forget to enjoy the gardens too which showcase native regional plants and flowers. Here are some of our favorite reasons to visit Ardastra Gardens.
Get Ready to See Nassau, Bahamas
Now that you know the best things to do in Nassau, Bahamas on a cruise, what are you waiting for? If you already have a cruise stopping in the Bahamas booked, now it’s time to make definite plans to experience one or more of the best things to do in Nassau, Bahamas during your trip.
Don’t have a cruise booked yet? Well, there is no better time than the present to find a ship and itinerary that stops at Nassau, Bahamas. You will already know exactly what to do during your time onshore!
Have you traveled to Nassau, Bahamas? What is your favorite thing to do while on the island? Drop us an anchor below to share your travel experiences on this island. Help your fellow cruisers make the most of their time on Nassau, Bahamas.