If you’re cruising the Caribbean, then, chances are- you’ll be stopping in Nassau. As the closest port to the many disembarkation points in the United States, Nassau is typically included in most Caribbean cruise itineraries, especially those short 2, 3 or 4 day voyages. And for cruisers looking to head off the ship and explore the island, Nassau is the perfect port since the moment you step off of your ship, you’re walking into the vibrant heartbeat of the downtown Nassau city center.
We know first-hand that Nassau’s port can be an exciting and fun destination for cruise ship passengers to experience, but- with such limited time on the island- it can be difficult to decide how exactly to spend it so that you can take advantage of every moment! While we wouldn’t blame you for choosing to simply stroll along Bay Street, indulge in duty-free shopping, or cool off with a tropical drink on Junkanoo Beach, we do want you to know that these aren’t your only options!
In order to ensure that your short time in Nassau is as productive and entertaining as possible, we’ve curated a selection of activities for virtually any travel style, interest, or budget- all of which you can enjoy and make it back it back to your ship well before it sets sail.
Explore The Bahamas’ Fascinating Past At The Pirates of Nassau Museum
Credit: Pirates of Nassau Museum
Step back into the time when Pirates ruled the Bahamas in this interactive museum that puts you on the bow of Blackbeard’s ship at Pirates of Nassau Museum. Learn the true history of these islands and about the long fought battle between the British empire and the rebellious pirates who essentially ruled this archipelago for approximate half a century, between 1680 and 1720 when the Golden Age of Piracy was alive in the heart of Nassau. This museum tour is great for families or a history buff looking to do or see something not available in any other cruise ship port. When you are finished with the tour, you can plunder the gift shop for your own Bahamian treasures and souvenirs to take back home with you, or grab a bite to eat before or after touring the museum at the newly renovated Smugglers Bar and Cafe.
Location: King & George Streets, Downtown Nassau
Distance from Cruise Port: 0.4 miles (6 minutes walk)
Hours of Operation: Mon- Sat: 9AM – 6PM, Sun: 9AM – 12:30PM
Price: Adults $13.00, Children (Ages 4-17) $6.50
Contact: (242) 356-3759, Website, Facebook
Bonus! Even More Downtown Museums & Landmarks:
Many of our island’s historical gems are located within a few block radius of one another in the Downtown neighbourhood, including many wonderful colonial relics and educational museums: Pompey Museum of Slavery and Emancipation, Balcony House Museum, and Graycliff’s Heritage Museum. Also, for your enjoyment (like a map leading you to treasure) is an itinerary for discovering Nassau’s most iconic landmarks.
Join An Authentic Bahamian Cooking Class & 5-Star Lunch Experience
Photo: Tru Bahamian Food Tours
Become acquainted with island-style kitchen techniques and flavours in this fun, informative, and delicious private Bahamian Cooking Class and lunch experience. Our Authentic Bahamian Cooking & Lunch Experience allows you to learn about Bahamian cuisine with a local (and very charismatic) chef in a 5-star kitchen. You’ll prepare and then feast on a traditional Bahamian 3-course meal with an executive chef in the world renowned Graycliff dining room. Limited to small groups of 10 guests, this intimate class allows offers you an opportunity to experience to see Bahamian culture from the other side of the table. No prior cooking experience is required- the only thing you need to bring with you is a willingness to learn and of course, your appetite! Perfect for the foodie visitor who wants a few hours of education and entertainment all wrapped up together- and located only a short walk from the cruise port.
Location: Class meets at Pompey Square, Downtown Nassau
Distance from Cruise Port: 0.2 miles (2 minutes walk)
Class Availability: Private cooking classes available Mon-Sun, beginning at 10:30am
Price: $155+, price varies depending on group size
Contact: 1 (844) 850-2318, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Website
Take Your Time Perusing Our Fabulous National Art Gallery Of The Bahamas
The National Art Gallery of the Bahamas is an incredible artistic experience that anyone can enjoy. The NAGB is home to some of the best art in the Bahamas and houses the works of many world renowned local artists including: Brent Malone, Eddie Minnis, and John Cox. Whether you are travelling solo, as a couple, or as part of a larger group, immersing yourself in the permanent and current exhibits on site through a guided tour is a great way to learn more about the works featured and interesting history behind the gallery itself. Featured exhibits change throughout the year, so every visit is a new experience. For an avid art lover, a visit can easily take up a few hours. But even curious wanderers will find this to be an excellent escape for indulging in Bahamian culture through the eye of an artist.
Location: West Hill Street, Downtown Nassau
Distance from Cruise Port: 1.6 miles (10 minutes walk)
Hours of Operation: Tues-Sat: 10am – 5pm, Sun: 12pm – 5pm
Price: Adults $10, Ages 65+ $5, Children (ages 12 and under) Free
Contact: (242) 328-5800, Facebook, Website
Bonus! Other Cultural Points of Interest In The Area:
For those interested in an expedited afternoon of self-guided gallery hopping, here’s a list of Nassau’s galleries and artist studios (most of which are located in Downtown Nassau and are a short 10 minute walk from the Nassau cruise ship port). Also in the walkable neighbourhood of Historic Old Charlestown, located on an elevated hill overlooking Nassau’s Harbour, are other cultural points of interest, including: Graycliff’s Heritage Village Artists Studios, St. Francis Cathedral and other historical churches, John Watling’s Rum Distillery, and Tasty Teas for native bush teas!
SCUBA Dive Or Snorkel With The Sea-Life At Bahama Divers
Credit: My Out Islands
Whether you are an experienced SCUBA diver, or simply looking for a fun snorkeling activity for you and your family, Bahama Divers can take you on an breathtaking tour of the Bahamas’ astonishing underwater world. Dive into an arena of colours, and scenes unlike any other. The Bahamas hosts many of the world’s most famous dive sites and with Bahama Divers you can see it all. With boats leaving at various times throughout the day, you can be sure to hop off the ship and into a group tour lead by fun and enthusiastic dive instructors just a short ride away from port. If you are traveling in a large group, you can also take advantage of their customizable charters, allowing your group to choose your time, activities and duration of the outing.
Location: East Bay Street, Nassau
Distance from Cruise Port: 3 miles (10 minutes via taxi)
Hours of Operation: Mon-Sat: 8:00am – 5:30pm, Sun: 8:00am – 5:00pm (Transfers Available)
Price: Snorkeling: $60+, SCUBA Dive: $139+
Contact: 1-866-234-8322, Facebook, Website, Email
Bonus! More Options For Boating & Beaching:
If your time in port allows, there are lots of outdoor opportunities for sailing, and snorkeling and (maybe) sipping. Here’s our carefully curated list of the most unforgettable day trips and excursions for island-hopping around Nassau and Paradise Island.
Arrange A Day Pass To The Atlantis Resort’s World Famous Waterpark & Aquarium
Credit: Atlantis, Bahamas
Put on your swimsuit, slather on your sunscreen and get ready for an afternoon of adventure! It’s hard to believe that such an unbelievable resort can be found on an island as tiny as Paradise Island– only 3 miles in length and 1 mile in width. But there is no question that the world famous Atlantis, Paradise Island has an oversized list of impressive attractions: the globe’s largest open air aquarium in the world, over 40 restaurants and bars, 3 kids’ clubs, a pottery studio, a 110 acre water park, and a dolphin and sea lion sanctuary…and well… you get the picture. In short- it is certainly possible to stay on property for weeks and still not see all this resort has to offer, but- even with a mere few hours, you can get to work enjoying yourself on site.
Our pick would be to combine some lounging, sliding and swimming in the impressive Aquaventure waterpark with a leisurely stroll through “The Dig” – one of Atlantis’ featured aquariums and learn about the colorful and exotic marine life of the Bahamas. Prepare to take on your choice of over 12 amazing water slides, including the infamous leap of faith, an almost 180 degree angle drop into one of the many pools and rapids. For a bite, there are over 10 outdoor lunch spots to choose from to satisfy all varieties of tastes. Swim, relax, wander- it’s all possible at Atlantis.
Location: Casino Drive, Paradise Island
Distance from Cruise Port: 3 miles (10 minutes via taxi)
Hours of Operation: 8AM – 6PM (Aquaventure & Dolphin Cay)
Price: Day Pass $120 – 180, Dolphin Interaction: $140 – 180 (Prices based on season and availability)
Contact: (242) 363-3000, Facebook, Instagram, Website
Book A Bites of Nassau Food Tasting And Cultural Walking Tour
Credit: Tru Bahamian Food Tours
We don’t like to toot our own horn but we have to say that our 3-hour Bites of Nassau Food Tour is a super productive and fun way to spend only a few hours in port, and over 1,500 of our amazing past tour guests agree! With such little time on the island, there understandably aren’t many ways that Nassau day visitors can experience the sights, history, food and culture of our vibrant city, but we do our best to pack as much of it all in during our culinary adventure. Walk through the sites of storied Old Nassau and learn about the heritage, architecture, and history of the city as you taste and sip a variety of Bahamian delights- from conch fritters to native mango gelato. Meet local chefs, entrepreneurs and restaurant owners and experience Nassau of the beaten culinary path- you will leave this tour with a full belly and mind and loaded with facts on the city’s fascinating story to date.
Our food tour takes place multiple times per day, Monday through Saturday, typically beginning at 11:30am. Additional tour times are frequently added to our online booking calendar of known ships that arrive/embark earlier than usual. To suit varying cruiser schedules, food tours can also be requested in advance and private group tours are available for families and larger groups to enjoy!
Location: Tour starts at Christ Church Cathedral on George Street, Downtown Nassau
Distance from Cruise Port: 0.3 miles
Tour Times: Multiple tour times daily, Monday-Saturday
Price: Adults $69.00, Children (ages 3-12) $49.00
Contact: 1 (844) 850-2318, Facebook, Instagram, Website
Dance On The Deck Of Nassau’s Libatious Booze Cruises
Credit: Bahamas Snorkel
Jump aboard the ““Bahamian Queen”” and get ready for an unimaginably wild time onboard this vessel. Just as the name implies, the infamous booze cruise is all about a libatious day at sea. Cruise the harbour, take a quick snorkeling tour to one of the best reefs in the Caribbean, enjoy a fantastic Bahamian lunch and only then does the party start! Drinking, dancing and dazzling Bahamian waters to look at all day long. While this cruise is centered around boozing, you also have the option to just take in the exotic wildlife of the Bahamian reef and enjoy cruising the harbour of Nassau sans cocktail in hand. With a lighthearted feel, the DJ will have everyone up on the top floor of this open designed deck to dance and party as the boat cruises the harbour. So- will you be crowned limbo king? Unlimited drinks flow and the party doesn’t stop until you get back to the dock.
Location: Woodes Rodgers Walk, Downtown Nassau
Distance from Cruise Port: 0.1 miles
Hours of Operation: Tues – Wed: 9:00am – 6pm, Fri – Sat: 9:00am – 6:00pm
Price: Adults $80, Children (ages 5-10) $60
Contact: (242) 393-2973, Facebook, Website
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