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The Best Way To Experience Nassau And Its Cruise Port

The Best Way To Experience Nassau And Its Cruise Port

If your Caribbean cruise includes a stop in the Bahamas, you may well dock at the port of Nassau.

Located on the north of New Providence Island, it is the most visited port in the Bahamas, often with up to seven cruise ships here at one time.

With a historic city centre, friendly and hospitable culture and typically gorgeous Caribbean beaches, it has become a world-loved cruise destination.

We share what you can expect when stopping in Nassau and some of our favourite things to see and do while here.

What to expect when you arrive at Nassau cruise port

The cruise terminal at Nassau is known as Prince George Wharf and consists of three piers.

As you enter the terminal building or Festival Place Welcome Centre, you’ll be immediately greeted with Bahamian culture. Colourful arts and crafts stalls have been set up, and snack stands selling the local island treats, with traditional music in the background creating a festive holiday vibe.

The terminal building has the facilities you’d expect: tourist information, telephone and Wi-Fi, ATMs, toilets, shuttle buses, cafés, duty-free shopping and a post office.

However, it can get a little chaotic, with sellers offering island tours, taxis, watersports and various other tourist services. Therefore, it is certainly worthwhile having a plan in mind of what you want to do to avoid any unnecessary hold-ups.

At 80 square miles, New Providence Island is relatively compact, so it is easy to get around.

Rawson Square, located in the city centre, is only a 15-minute walk from Prince George Wharf. From here, you can explore the main historical and cultural attractions on foot. Junkanoo Beach is also within walking distance from the cruise port.

Taxis provide the most convenient method of travel for exploring further afield. There are plenty available, and they can be hailed on the streets. Just check for their licence to ensure they are genuine.

Fares are fixed by the government at $3 for the first ¼ mile and 40¢ for each additional ¼ mile. However, routine trips usually cost a flat fee, which can vary slightly.

There is a surcharge for more than two passengers, charged at $3 for each additional person. You are also expected to tip taxi drivers 15%.

For the more adventurous, the size of the island also makes it a great place to explore on a bike or scooter, both available to hire with ease.

Most cruise lines offer a variety of shore excursions to explore Nassau and the surrounding islands. There are also several good local tour operators, which can be booked in advance.

Things to do in Nassau

In Nassau, you can learn more about the island’s history and culture with some fascinating attractions to explore.

The pink façade of Government House is a spectacular example of Georgian Colonial architecture and is home to the Governor-General of the Bahamas.

Meanwhile, the 18th century Fort Charlotte, the largest in Nassau, and Fort Fincastle, built in 1793, hold remarkable stories of the island’s defence while offering stunning views over Nassau and the Caribbean waters.

The Queen’s Staircase is also a popular attraction. Its 65 steps were carved out of limestone by enslaved people in the late 1700s. This landmark was later named after Queen Victoria in recognition of her role in abolishing slavery on the island.

Visit the Straw Market in Nassau to learn more about this traditional Bahamian craft. Here, you’ll find souvenirs in the form of unique straw hats, baskets and much more.

Of course, many cruise guests choose a Caribbean cruise for the islands’ idyllic beaches and turquoise waters, just perfect for watersports of all kinds. And you’ll not be disappointed when visiting the Bahamas.

The cruise port’s nearest beach is Junkanoo Beach. It’s not the best beach here and can get crowded (see below for the most beautiful ones on nearby islands), but it is a lovely place to relax if you have a few spare hours. It’s free to access, and there are some great options for drinks and local snacks right on the sands.

Nearby places to visit

In search of the best island beach, many cruise guests opt to visit Cabbage Beach on Paradise Island. Get to it via the bridge from Nassau Cruise Port.

Walking would take more than an hour, so most people choose a taxi as the more convenient option. You can also take a water taxi, which departs from the Straw Market and costs around $8 for a round trip.

Cabbage Beach is free to access. However, if you’re looking for a more exclusive experience with amenities, food and drink included, you can buy passes for Warwick Paradise Island Resort or Atlantis Resort.

Whichever you choose, you’ll enjoy gorgeous white-sand beaches, clear waters and plenty of watersport options.

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