The Bahamas is an archipelago of nearly 700 islands and more than 2,000 coral reefs. Less than 200 kilometres off the coast Florida, it’s one of the most-visited Caribbean nations and a popular spot for short cruises. The Bahamas was under British rule until 1973 and there is still a strong cultural link. The capital, Nassau, is the hub of commerce and development, but more relaxed island cities can be found further afield.
The vast coastline offers plenty of beach activities, water sports like parasailing and jetskiing, and diving, while there’s great hiking inland. Nassau is known for its duty free shopping, but cruisers can find local treasures at the many markets (like the Straw Market) and small boutiques. Nassau is also where you will find the casinos and glitzy night life. Head to Blue Lagoon Island to swim with dolphins and spot sea lions. Travellers will love sampling the fresh sea food mainly red snapper, lobster and the local favourite, conch.
The rich history of the Bahamas is reflected in its many Victorian structures, like the 18th century Queen’s Staircase (named after Queen Victoria) which consists of 65 steps made by African slaves. The Pirates Museum in the heart of Nassau is an interactive attraction that sheds light on the Caribbean’s pirate history from the 1700s. The National Art Gallery of the Bahamas features extensive collections from Bahamian artists.
Lucayan National Park is on Grand Bahama island and has ancient underwater caves, nature trails near Gold Rock beach, and rare marine life near Ben’s Cave and Burial Mound Cave. Deadman’s Reef is great for snorkelling and scuba diving. Garden of the Groves, a 12 acre botanical garden, has over 12,000 bird species. Visitors can swim with dolphins, go horseriding on the beach or try sea kayaking. The fruit market gives a taste of local life
PLACES TO STAY
Nassau is home to a number of luxury hotels like the Grand Hyatt at Baha Mar and Pink Sands Resort, as well as four star hotels like British Colonial Hilton. The vast 63-acre Atlantis complex has seven hotels of varying scales as well as the largest casino in the Caribbean, aquariums and water parks.
PORTS The Bahamas is home to a number of private island ports operated by individual cruise lines for the exclusive use of their guests. These islands operate as extensions of the cruise ship and passengers can pay for food, drinks or additional purchases with their onboard account.
Castaway Cay – Disney Cruise Line
CoCo Cay – Royal Caribbean
Princess Cays – Princess Cruises
Great Stirrup Cay – Norwegian Cruise Line
Nassau Who goes there: Royal Caribbean International, Carnival Cruises, Disney, Norwegian Cruise Line, Celebrity Cruises, Princess Cruises.
Best for: Couples, families, shoppers.
Getting around: Taxis and water taxis are the best way to visit most tourist spots.
Who goes there: Royal Caribbean International, Carnival Cruises, Disney, Norwegian Cruise Line, Celebrity Cruises, Princess Cruises.
Best for: Adventurers,couples, families.
Getting around: Motor scooters, taxis or rental cars are convenient.