Nassau, Bahamas Cruise Port
- Overview of Nassau, Bahamas
- What language is spoken in Bahamas?
- What is the national currency in Bahamas?
- How do I get around from the cruise port?
- How can I stay in touch with home? Either via Email or phone?
- What are the top attractions and must-sees in Nassau? How long will it take me to get there and to explore?
- What are the must-eats in Nassau?
- What are the must-drinks in Nassau?
- Which are the best souvenirs to buy in Nassau? Where can I get them?
- What is the weather like in Nassau, Bahamas?
Nassau,along with being the capital and largest city of the Bahamas, is the commercial center and one of the most active cruise ports in the Commonwealth. The port is located on the island of New Providence, which is a little over 180 miles east of South Florida. With its proximity to the major ports in Miami and Ft. Lauderdale, Nassau is a very popular destination for 1 to 3 day cruises.
A tropical destination boasting white sandy beaches and Vegas-style casinos on New Providence and Paradise Island (these two islands are connected by a bridge and can be easily reached by taxi), Nassau has much to offer the day and overnight cruise visitor. The culture on Nassau is an interesting amalgam of the diverse influences of Western African, British, Haitian and American cultures. This mix of cultural influences has led to the distinctive art and music of the Bahamian people.
Check out this video of Nassau, Bahamas.↑ Back to Top
English is the official language of the Bahamas↑ Back to Top
The national currency of Nassau, Bahamas is the Bahamian Dollar.
Do they accept US Dollars around the cruise port?
The Bahamian dollar is the national currency. It Is equivalent to, and interchangeable with, the American dollar
Where can I get or exchange money?
Since the U.S. and Bahamian dollars are accepted interchangeably there is no need to exchange currency. However, the Euro and other currency can be exchanged at local banks and on-board the ship.
- Banks closest to cruise port:
- ATMs closest to cruise port: Several ATMs can be found at Rawson Square in Downtown Nassau. Some will even dispense US currency. Scotiabank Bahamas has several ATMs around the island.
This is a great option for many. The port is adjacent to Downtown Nassau, so the port is literally walking distance to all that Downtown Nassau has to offer.
Minibuses (aka: Jitneys)
Jitneys are found on and near Bay Street. The #10 Jitney to Cable Beach loads passengers on George & Bay Streets (in front of McDonalds, across from the British Colonial Hilton). Other jitneys are located on Charlotte & Bay Streets. A bus will typically wait until it's full before departing. There are no jitneys that go to Paradise Island (Atlantis Resort). The cost is $1.25 per person, per trip. The jitneys stop operating around 6PM.
Taxis are easily identifiable and can be found throughout. The taxis often will not use their meters and it is advisable to agree on the fare in advance.
Car rentals are available from many major U.S. car rental companies near the port. It should be noted however that cars drive on the left hand side as is done in England.
Scooter rental is also very popular in Nassau and can be an excellent way to get around town.
Water taxi service is available to get to Paradise Island from downtown. It is picked up under the bridge and costs $6 round trip. The water taxi stops operating at 6PM.↑ Back to Top
There are Internet and calling centers within walking distance from the port in Downtown Nassau.
How can I call home? Are there call centers?
As with most Caribbean islands, the Internet centers also double as calling centers, where you can call home for pennies a minute, instead of the dollars per minute that cruise lines charge.
Where are the Internet cafes?
- Tikal Internet Cafe is a short 1 to 2 minute walk south east of the cruise terminal (see map.)
- Coconuts Internet Cafe & Business Centre is located in the Olde Towne Waterfront Mall which is about 7 miles west of port and can be reached by taxi.
- Cybercafe located at the Nassau Beach Hotel on Cable Beach, which is located about 5 miles east of port and can be reached by taxi.
What are the cell phone rates?↑ Back to Top
What are the top attractions and must-sees in Nassau? How long will it take me to get there and to explore?
- Atlantis Paradise Island, located two miles north east from the port (see map) is a grand complex with theme park, hotel, restaurants, casino, and entertainment center. It is the must see on Paradise Island. Day passes can be purchased at the port or at the resort itself, which will allow you to enjoy much of what Atlantis has to offer. You can get to Atlantis by taxi or "Jitney".
Check out this video tour of Atlantis Resort on Paradise Island.
- Dolphin Cay Atlantis provides visitors the opportunity to swim with the dolphins in both shallow and deep waters. Visitors can also snorkel the Ruins of Atlantis and lounge on Dolphin Cay’s private beach.
- Pirates of Nassau offers a pirate museum complete with a replica pirate ship you can walk through. This museum is located just beyond the Straw Market, walking distance from the port (see map.)
- National Art Gallery of the Bahamas showcases the artwork of talented Bahamian artists. The burgeoning collection offers classic Bahamian art and modern as well. The gallery is located southwest of the port and can be reached with a short taxi ride or long walk. (see map.)
The beaches in and around Nassau are plentiful and are of very good quality. Soft sandy white beaches are the hallmark of these beaches, however not all have good facilities. Also, something to pay attention to is that not all beaches are for visitors. Some beaches are considered for locals only, including Love Beach which is located 9 miles west of the port (see map.) Below are some excellent, tourist friendly options:
- Junkanoo Beach (also known as Western Esplanade), located less than a mile west of the port, is a very convenient beach for cruise passengers because of its proximity to Downtown Nassau and the port. It is about 15 minutes away by foot or a short taxi ride away. Junkanoo Beach also has good facilities, which is an added benefit. Except for spring break, this beach is not overly populated, yet remains a favorite among tourists and locals alike.
- Cable Beach, located 6.5 miles west of the port (see map), is widely regarded as one of the Bahamas' best beaches. Knowm for it's powdery white sands and crystal clear water, Cable Beach is popular among all visitors to Nassau and locals alike. Be aware that because of its popularity, Cable Beach can get quite congested. There are also many vendors walking around selling a variety of items. The beauty of this beach makes the inconveniences bearable.
- Cabbage Beach, located on Paradise Island less than 3 miles northeast of the port (see map), is often regarded as one of the best beaches in the world. It is a beautiful, two mile stretch of white sand on the north coast of Paradise Island, starting on the east by Atlantis Resort and Casino and ending on the northwest corner of the island. Because the public entrance is toward the western part of the beach, it is often more crowded.
Downtown Nassau provides a wide variety of shopping opportunities, from antiques to souvenirs. Look to Bay Street for Nassau’s best duty free shopping; just look for the DFS logo on store doors.
Don’t miss the Straw Market where you can find all kinds of souvenirs and traditional items. The Straw Market is located to the west, walking distance from the port.↑ Back to Top
- Cable Beach Golf Course, designed by Jim McCormick, lies on the northern coast of New Providence Island less than 4 miles west of the cruise ship dock (see map.) Cable Beach Golf Course is a par 72, 18-hole championship course challenging players with hazards made up of 13 lakes and 50 sand traps. For reservations and tee times contact the course operators at (800)451-3103 or (242)327-6000.
- Ocean Club Golf Course, designed by Tom Weiskopf, is a par 72, 18-hole course with ocean views on three sides of the course. Greens fees range from $190 to $260. Contact the Pro Shop to book your tee time by phone (800)321-3000 or (242)363-3925.
Check out this video
There are several dive operators in Nassau, Bahamas – below are a couple:
- Stuart Cove’s Dive Bahamas is the most popular dive company in Nassau. Cruise passengers going on these dives are picked up right outside port (see map.)
- Bahama Divers is one of the oldest dive companies in Nassau. There are 2 dives a day, a morning and an afternoon dive. Bahama Divers has pick up locations at hotels on Cable Beach and Paradise Island.
- Deep Sea Fishing is extremely popular in the water near Nassau. Some of the best sport fishing in the world is found in this area. Fishing excursions are booked on a per boat basis based on half day (4 hrs) or a full day (8 hrs.) The prices range from $600 for a half day on a 39' Defender to $3000 for a 52' Viking Sportfisher for a full day. All tours include bait, fishing license and gas. Book as a group or call ahead and asked to be placed with a group to share the cost, since the price is per boat, not per person. Here are some boat tour options.
- Exuma Power Boat Adventures is exactly what you would expect from the name: a trip/tour to Exuma by power boat. (Who comes up with these catchy tour names?) The adventure begins when you are picked up near the cruise docks and taken to the power boats. You are then whisked away to the Exumas, where you will experience the pristine beaches and crystal clear water. There are also guided nature tours and snorkel tours included in the tour. You will also have a chance to feed iguanas, stingrays and even sharks (don't worry, you aren't the food.) Lunch with an open bar is also provided with this tour. Click here for pricing and booking.
- Paradise Island’s Aquaventure Water Park, offers 141-acres, over twenty million gallons of water, high-speed water slides, river ride with water rapids and waves, 20 swimming areas, a kids water-play fort and 11 unique and refreshing swimming pools. The Lost City of Atlantis themed park is a part of the Atlantis Resort & Casino. As stated on the Atlantis website: "Access to the Aquaventure Waterpark and marine habitats at Atlantis are FREE for guests staying at the resort. Passes may be purchased by day visitors, but availability is limited – and may be closed – during periods of high resort occupancy." So if you are interested, contact them first at 1-888-877-7525 or 954-809-2100. The day passes are over $100 per person, so unless you are planning on spending more than a couple of hours, this activity may not be worth the expense.
See this video of the not-so-lazy river at Aquaventure.
Use caution as you would in any port city – don’t flash money or expensive jewelry, don’t walk alone at night and, as a precaution, lock your car doors even when you are in the car. Avoid deserted beaches, and don’t leave valuables in your car. Stay alert!↑ Back to Top
Conch Fritters or really almost anything conch related is very popular in the Bahamas. It can be enjoyed at various restaurants around town, including a restaurant named for this must eat: Conch Fritters Bar & Grill, located less than half a mile southwest of the port (see map.)↑ Back to Top
- Bahama Mama is a must. Señor Frog's is a popular spot with both tourists and locals alike. With its proximity to the port (see map), it allows those who do not want to stray too far from port as embarkation nears, a place to have a festive beverage or two.
- Kalik Beer is the national beer of the Bahamas. Enjoy a cold one on the beach.
Bacardi Rum Cakes make a delicious gift or souvenir. Produced in Nassau, the Bacardi rum cakes come in three varieties: Bacardi Rum Cake, Piña Colada Cake, and Nassau Royale Chocolate Cake. They come in tins and are shrink wrapped for fresheness.
Pink Conch Pearl jewelry and gold and silver coin jewelry make very good souvenirs of your trip to Nassau. These items can be found at Coin of the Realm located about 100 yards due south of the port area (see map.)
Cuban Cigars can be purchased in Nassau, however let us remind you that "There is a total ban on the importation into the United States of Cuban-origin cigars and other Cuban-origin tobacco products..." according to the Department of Homeland Security; And this is actually the secondary concern. Counterfeiting Cuban cigars is big business in any tourist destination and vendors in the Bahamas are among the biggest offenders. Chances are if you buy a box of Cuban cigars they are fake, even if you buy from a reputable cigar store (they may not even know that the cigars are fakes.) There are, however, real Cuban cigars for sale in the Bahamas, just make sure you know the counterfeits from the real thing and it is perfectly legal to smoke them on the ship. Oh, and as a side note, the reason it is so easy to counterfeit is the same reason Cuban cigars make it into the U.S. year after year, Cuban cigars without lables are impossible to distinguish from any other.↑ Back to Top
Eastern Caribbean Cruise Ports:
- Catalina Island, Dominican Republic
- Coco Cay, Bahamas
- Grand Turk, Turks & Caicos
- Half Moon Cay, Bahamas
- La Romana, Dominican Republic
- Labadee, Haiti
- Nassau, Bahamas
- Samana, Dominican Republic
- San Juan, Puerto Rico
- St. Maarten / St. Martin
- St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands
- St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands
- Tortola, British Virgin Islands