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Nassau Bahamas Port Guide

Let Nassau introduce you to a relaxed life in the Bahamas, where this capital city bursts with bright colors, incredible opportunities for swimming and diving, and culinary experiences that include some of the world’s top seafood and rum. Sunny, tropical fun awaits you on any Bahamas cruise, whether you’re taking it easy onshore or shopping the day away at Nassau’s famous Straw Market.

Colorful, metropolitan, and high-energy, a Nassau, Bahamas cruise offers something for everyone. Solo travelers will love exploring the city’s nightlife in downtown Nassau, while couples can lose track of time at Rainbow Reef or lounging on Cable Beach.

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Top Sights & Attractions for Cruises to Nassau

Blue Lagoon Island

Dolphins and sea lions are two of the main draws to visit Blue Lagoon Island, where you can swim and interact with wildlife. Blue Lagoon Island is a private island not far from Nassau. Swim in the secluded lagoon and the beach famous for its white sand and vibrant coral reefs, or take a catamaran ride around the Nassau harbor.

Rainbow Reef

Head to Rainbow Reef, just a 45-minute boat ride from Nassau, for incredible swimming, snorkeling, and diving. Snorkeling and diving excursions at Rainbow Reef are some of the most popular and scenic in all of the Bahamas. Don’t forget sunscreen!

Balmoral Island

For a more luxury experience, head to the private beach resort Balmoral Island to swim with stingrays and dolphins. This tropical paradise offers swimming and relaxation as well as vibrant bars and restaurants.

Atlantis Aquaventure

Your cruise to Nassau wouldn’t be complete without a day trip to Atlantis Aquaventures, a colorful waterpark perfect for teens, families, and travelers of all ages looking for good old-fashioned fun in the water.

Pompey Museum

Discover the history of slavery and emancipation in Nassau and the Bahamas at this historic pink building in downtown Nassau. If you’re looking to learn more about the island’s history of slavery, the Pompey Museum is a must-see.

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Top Things to Do in Nassau

Snorkel Bahamian Coral Reefs

The coral reefs of the Bahamas are some of the most beautiful in the world, and there are endless opportunities for snorkeling and scuba diving for all ages and skills levels during a Nassau cruise. Whether you take a snorkeling excursion on a catamaran or heading out on your own to explore and swim, the clear waters of Nassau’s beaches welcome you.

Shop at Nassau Straw Market

Head to this famous open-air market for souvenirs and shopping in downtown Nassau, where you can find goods made from local vendors like woven hats and purses, jewelry, trinkets, and plenty of stalls where you can find the perfect memento to bring back on the ship with you.

Swim at Cable Beach

Break out your beach towel for an afternoon of basking in the sun at Cable Beach, which is famous for its crystal clear waters and luxury resorts. Cable Beach is free and ideal for swimming, snorkeling, and all sorts of beach activities.

Go Back in Time at Fort Charlotte

Come walk around this British-colonial fort which once protected Nassau from pirates and invasions. It’s a quick walk from the Port of Nassau, and it’s a must-see landmark for those curious about the history of Nassau or who want to catch a view of the cruise harbor and the city of Nassau unfolding from the hilltop below. You’ll find tour guides ready to give you information on how the fort was used and what life was like in the 17th century.

Tour a Rum Distillery

Rum is a big deal in the Bahamas, and it’s a staple in local drinks and the famous Bahamian rum cake. On your cruise to Nassau, tour the John Watling Rum Distillery in Nassau to learn how rum is made and enjoy complimentary tastings after.

Top Food and Drink Spots Near the Nassau Cruise Port

Bahamian cuisine is heavily inspired by Caribbean and British influence dating back to the colonial period, but it’s also inspired by the abundant seafood in the area. Conch dishes reign supreme on menus around town like in salads, in a breaded cutlet style, fritters, and spiny lobsters and baked crab. Johnnycakes are a must-try dish in Nassau, which is like a pan-cooked cornbread. Of course, your time in Nassau isn’t complete without enjoying different types of Caribbean rum, whether sampling on its own, in a pina colada, or in a soaked rum cake, which is a local delicacy.

Culture & History of the Nassau Cruise Port

Nassau has played a critical role in trade in the New World leading back to the 16th century, and Britain colonized the island during the 18th century. Of course, the island became known for pirate invasions and a history of occupations. Over time, Nassau’s popularity as a vacation destination skyrocketed because of its tropical weather, incredible beaches, and rapidly growing resort scene. In 1973, the Bahamas became an independent country. Nassau’s culture was hugely influenced by the Creole and African populations who settled there.

 

Nassau Port Facilities & Location

The Nassau cruise port welcomes millions of visitors each year, and it’s one of the most highly trafficked ports in the Bahamas. Cruisers pass through Nassau for relaxation, quality time at the sea, and outdoor adventure. Downtown Nassau is just a 15-minute walk from the cruise port, which comes with classic amenities like a tourist information center and free wifi. There’s even a welcome center where passengers on a Nassau, Bahamas cruise can purchase sweet snacks like fruit tarts and colorful souvenirs.

Transportation in Nassau

The easiest ways to get around on your cruise to Nassau are by foot, taxi, and ferry boat. Ferries take you to downtown Nassau and around the island. The local bus system is also comprehensive and buses arrive every 10 or so minutes to take you around the city. The small buses here are called “jitneys”, and they’re an affordable way to navigate the city, costing just 1.25 BSD one way.

Shopping Near the Nassau Cruise Port

Because downtown Nassau is just a 15-minute walk from the port of Nassau, you’ll have plenty of options for retail therapy. The famous Nassau Straw Market is ideal for haggling for conch jewelry and hand-woven straw bags. Or head to the Bahamas Craft Centre for Bahamian fabrics, glassworks, art, and other handmade goods.

Local Currency & Tipping Customs

Use the Bahamian dollar (BSD) while you’re in Nassau. You can exchange currency at the cruise terminal. Tipping in the Bahamas is pretty similar to the United States, where you’re expected to tip bellhops and porters accordingly. Restaurants tend to include a service charge already in your bill, but an additional tip is always welcome for food services workers. Don’t forget to leave a tip for taxi drivers, at least 15% of the fare. Haggling isn’t common, but you can bargain at the local straw markets.

 

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Bustling markets and placid beaches are like the yin and yang of this capital of The Bahamas. The Nassau Straw Market, three blocks from the port, presents a riot of vendors, shoppers, and pirates, while the broad white beaches, minutes from town, feature sun-kissed sands, turquoise waters, and coral reefs. In between, there are activities to suit the whole family—observing sharks, swimming with dolphins, plunging down water slides. 

Cruise to Bahamas and discover the lost city of Atlantis on Paradise Island, connected by a bridge to Nassau. You can visualize the mythical streets of Atlantis at Ruins Lagoon and stroll underwater tunnels with the sharks at Predator Lagoon.Also on paradise Island, you can wade through waist-high water and make a personal connection intelligent, gentle dolphins. Get face to face. Hear their vocalizations. See the excitement on their faces. The shallow-water experience is one of several at Dolphin Cay, an accredited marine mammal habitat with an 11-acre lagoon, coves and sandy beaches, residential pools, and a state-of-the-art education center. 

Hop on a ferry to Blue Lagoon Island for a deluxe beach break. Unwind and settle into a hammock. Bask in warm golden sunshine and tranquil Atlantic waters. Watch the palm trees sway and the dolphins play. It's a day of pure bliss. Browse the duty-free shops and Nassau Straw Market downtown. You'll find authentic Cuban cigars and one-of-a-kind artworks. Watch the artisans weave their intricate straw hats, bags, and other mementos, using techniques passed down over centuries. On vibrant Bay Street, find duty-free deals and colorful architecture. On Paradise Island, across the bridge, shop for couture and upscale brands. 

Nassau’s culinary bounty emerges from the ocean—dishes like fried snapper served with grits and grouper drizzled with butter. Try conch, the marine mollusk of the iconic shell, presented as conch fritters, conch chowder, cracked conch, even raw conch in fresh lime juice. Peas and rice is the staple side dish, and rum-based beverages are always popular.