Caribbean, Couple's Getaway, Cruising, Family Travel, Sandals Resorts

Nassau Cruise Port – Overview and what to do

Nassau, one of the most visited Caribbean ports, is an easy destination from Florida, is home to Atlantis Resort, has crystal clear waters, and multiple beautiful beaches. Scuba, snorkeling, and swimming with the dolphins are well known favorite activities. 

The best thing about Nassau, Bahamas – if you are FLYING in instead of sailing on a cruise ship – is that you clear US CUSTOMS in Nassau.  Which makes your return flight home so much nicer! 

While in port via cruise, here are some activities to do in Nassau. 

Welcome to Nassau! Here, your cruise ship will dock and wait until departure. You can find many vendors here with souvenirs, hair braiding, and many other options. Excursions will typically meet up here or you can explore Nassau on your own. 

photo courtesy of Bahamas tourism

Pirate Museum

Not too deep into Nassau, and an easy walk from the cruise pier, there is a museum all about pirates and the history of pirates in the Bahamas! While walking around the town it’s easy to spot. This museum is great for the family with a cost of $13.50 per adult and $6.75 per child (4-17 yrs). Inside are statues and figures and cool exhibits that portray the pirate life. You’ll learn facts about pirates you never knew and learn about the history of Nassau’s pirates as well.

You can spend as much time as you like in the museum.  There are clean restrooms available for use inside on the second floor.  Once you end the tour then it spills out to a patio area where you can order drinks and they also serve food.  

​John Watling’s Rum Tour

If you’re willing to take a 20 minute walk into Nassau and up a hill, or pay for transportation, then perhaps a visit to the John Watling’s Distillery is in order. This tour is completely free (at the time of this writing) and kids are welcome. You can smell some of the rum and other alcohol in the barrels. There aren’t free tastings, however at the end of the tour you can order a bottled water, alcoholic beverage, or a nonalcoholic beverage.

Atlantis Paradise Island Resort

One of the most iconic sights in Nassau is Atlantis! You can buy a day-pass (approx $93 – 289 pp depending on age and what you want to experience) and take advantage of what the resort has to offer; but be warned, it can be crowded with more than one cruise ship in port along with the registered guests at Atlantis.  You are also limited to a specific area of Atlantis depending on your day pass.

photo courtesy of Blue Lagoon

Blue Lagoon Island

A popular excursions next to Atlantis is the Blue Lagoon Island day.  Here you can swim with the dolphins and Sea Lions, segway tour, Eco walking tour and relax on the beach. If you are staying at Sandals or Atlantis then this excursion may be a wasted day for you as you will have a gorgeous beach, private island, and dolphin encounters (Atlantis).   

Baha Mar Complex

The Baha Mar complex is a huge casino complex with 3 resort hotels anchoring it. There is the SLS resort hotel, the Hyatt Hotel, and the Rosewood Resort Hotel. There are shops in the complex, various restaurants, and of course the casino. Personally, I enjoy coming to Nassau and staying here (these are EP plan, not all inclusive). However, if you do stay at one of the all-inclusive resorts nearby then there is a complimentary Baha Mar shuttle from the Melia Resort, the Breezes resort, and the Sandals Royal Bahamian. With the Sandals Resort you will need to call the shuttle as this resort isn’t on the rotation like the Melia and Breezes resorts are that run continuously. Both the Melia and the Breezes resort are closer to the Baha Mar complex than Sandals Resort.

You can also take a taxi from the cruise port to the Baha Mar complex. Be sure to negotiate (inquire) your taxi fare before entering the cab. Keep in mind that most taxi services are governed by the island govt and generally has a set rate, still you want to be sure the price doesn’t change once you arrive at your destination.

Photo courtesy of The Islands of the Bahamas tourism

There is a public beach down past the Straw Market called Junkanoo Beach. It is the closest beach and within walking distance – about 10-15 mins. This is the same beach that the Hilton resort hotel is on and you can purchase a day pass for the Hilton, which is a better option in my opinion.

Many cruisers like to stop here after some time in the shops or at the Straw Market. It’s popular due to it’s proximity to the cruise pier and it doesn’t require much thought to visit. No taxi is needed, unless you have mobility concerns, and it’s a free access beach. There are beach chairs, umbrellas, food and drinks for purchase from various vendors.

More Activities

If you are wanting to learn more about what to do during your visit to Nassau then take a look at the The Bahamas official tourism website – linked above and on the Bahamas icon. 

Religious Services 

Just because you are on vacation doesn’t mean that you need to forego your religious services.  It’s a great way to be part of the local culture to experience worship services in different locations around the world. 

In Barbados we had roosters crowing outside the open windows of the church.  There are many church services in Nassau for you to enjoy, however below are the three main ones that are within walking distance of the cruise pier.  As part of our service to clients, we assist in locating a service for you if it’s not one of these.  If you aren’t in this area then you will require a taxi service, and be sure you have enough cash for a round trip fare. Also, be sure you have negotiated and are clear on the taxi fare before you get in the vehicle. 

Greek Orthodox

Annunciation church is located at 11 West St and an easy walk from the cruise pier. They have services on Sundays at 9 am and 10:15 am (click photo for link) .

Roman Catholic

St. Francis Xavier Cathedral is located on West St at the top of the hill and is within walking distance of the cruise pier, about 15 mins. See their website for services.  Sacred Heart church is closer to Atlantis & Paradise Island.

Anglican Church

Christ Church Cathedral is located on George St near the Pirate Museum and dates back to 1670.  Easy walk from the cruise pier.  See their website for services times. 

There is so much more to do in Nassau during your port day or for your vacation stay, however these are a few to keep in mind. I hope you found this information helpful. Check out the video linked below of a day in Nassau from the perspective of a taxi driver.

Until next time…