The port of Nassau in the Bahamas is a favourite itinerary filler, so regular Caribbean cruisers may find themselves sailing into this paradise port more than once or twice (or even thrice!).
When you’ve already done the popular near-port beaches, admired the pastel architecture and monuments on Parliament Square and maybe even made friends with the local dolphins, what else does this bright and bouncy Bahamian hotspot have to offer?
Read on to find out what we’d recommend you do with a day in Nassau!
Versailles Garden/The Cloisters, Paradise Island
These gorgeous gardens on Paradise Island (connected to Nassau by the aptly named Paradise Bridge) will add some greenery and some ‘times past’ grandeur to your port stop.
It’s a breath of fresh air for those that are feeling a little Caribbean beach-weary (trust us, it can happen!).
Cindy Crawford married here, fact fans, so if it’s good enough for a supermodel, it’s good enough for you!
Junkanoo with You
If you’re not in town during the Junkanoo festival and parades – typically held on Boxing Day, New Year’s Day and in recent years, during the summer – then you can still get a feel for this amazing spectacle at the Junkanoo Expo Museum.
Here you’ll find floats, costumes and instruments from Junkanoo’s gone by.
You’ll even get a drumming lesson and a Junkanoo soda – now they can’t say fairer than that, can they?
It’s a colourful, characterful and at only $5 admission, a cheap look at Bahamian culture that all ages will love.
Climb The Queen’s Staircase
The Queen’s Staircase might hold particular interest to Brits, as it was built to honour our very own Queen Victoria.
Somewhat ironically, this limestone staircase was built into the rock for the Queen by slaves, to thank her for her help in the abolition of slavery in the Bahamas.
Whether you want to seek out infamous local ‘guide’ Brian, or avoid him, will depend on your mood and humour on the day.
We say it can be worth the $1 tip to have a local tell you this fascinating snippet of the island’s history.
Eat With The Locals At Arawak Cay
With the never-ending food options available on your cruise ship, it can be tempting to just fill up at breakfast on port days and go right through to dinner.
True, doing that saves cash but you miss out on experiencing a big part of your destination’s identity – the food glorious food!
If you are going to eat in port, make it worth spending those dollars on.
Ditch those French fries and choose something that you can’t get back at the ship’s buffet. Arawak Cay or ‘The Fish Fry’ is a colourful clutch of laid-back cafes and food shacks where the locals love to go for their conch fritters and an ice-cold Kalik (the Beer of the Bahamas!). For a free souvenir, take a photo as a giant banana at Frankie Gone Bananas Bahamas – you’ll see what we mean when you get there!
If you’re a fan of Hirst, Warhol, Emin and co, the modern art at the Popop Studios Center for the Visual Arts may just inspire you to sign up to those enrichment art classes onboard afterall.
It’s not on the same scale as the Tate Modern but it is a great alternative if you’re an art lover and you have already done the brilliant Nassau National Art Gallery.
Du-du…Du-du… Have you got it stuck in your head yet? This beach was the setting for one of the Jaws movies and maybe that puts people off visiting as it’s one of the quieter beaches near Nassau.
You’re unlikely to be attacked by any killer fish while paddling in the turquoise waters but you are likely to have a much less busy beach experience than at jumping Junkanoo Beach or popular Cable Beach.
If you’re looking for Nassau’s most beautiful coastal spot, head for the white sands of Cabbage Beach.
Clifton Heritage National Land And Sea Park
If you’ve decided to brave Jaws Beach, why not also take a look at nearby Flipper Beach? You guessed it, it’s where they filmed a Flipper movie.
Both beaches are part of the Clifton Heritage National Land and Sea Park, which is a real hidden gem on the island. Discover secret sands, historical ruins and gorgeous nature trails as you explore.
Shark and dolphin spotting not guaranteed.
Visit The Watery World Of Atlantis
Atlantis is a huge resort on Paradise Island, boasting an incredible waterpark, pools and its own private beach.
The good news is that you don’t have to be a guest to slide out of the Mayan temple or float down the lazy river.
You can pick up day passes to Atlantis which, as well as the waterpark, offer access to ‘The Dig’ – an underwater archaeological attraction showcasing over 70,000 sea animals!
It’s not a cheap day out but it’s worth it if the pools on your cruise ship just aren’t themed enough for you.
Is that a mermaid we just saw?
Look beneath the bridge that connects Paradise Island to Nassau and you’ll find a colourful, ramshackle market with stalls selling fruit, conch shells, souvenirs and snacks.
It’s a more authentic alternative to the impressive Straw Market, if you’ve already been there, done that and got the hair braid.
Explore this colourful, lively Caribbean hotspot fully and you’ll never be tempted to stay on ship again. Have you been to Nassau before? Do you have any top tips for visitors? Which Caribbean Island is your favourite? Let us know in the comments below…// END - About the Author ?>