I often hear folks talk about staying on the cruise ship while in the port of Nassau, Bahamas. Either they are concerned about pushy vendors or they think Atlantis is the only option, but it is too expensive. As someone who has been to Nassau 17 times via cruise ship, I actually love stops here. I always find something fun to do and it generally is something inexpensive. Below you will find 5 things to do in Nassau that warrant getting off of the ship.
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1. Junkanoo Beach
This free public beach is within walking distance of the port which makes it super convenient. It has free public bathrooms and showers as well as a number of food and drink vendors. While this isn’t one of the nicest beaches I have been to, its location and cost are the driving factors to be included in my list. An added bonus to this beach is the view of the cruise ship berths, it makes for great photo opportunities.
2. British Colonial Hilton
If you are looking for a quiet relaxing day during your stop in Nassau this is the place to go. The BCH is also within walking distance of the port (Just before Junkanoo Beach coming from the direction of the ships). While there is a cost to get a day pass here, it is a pretty decent deal. The cost is $60 per person but this includes a $40 food and beverage credit per person. This also includes access to their private beach, pool, and a number of day beds and loungers. Now if you are looking for a party atmosphere this is not the place to go. The BCH is mainly a business hotel and limits the number of day passes they sell. Its convenient location and relaxing atmosphere has given the BCH a spot on my list.
3. Bahamian Queen Booze Cruise
If you are looking to party and the exact opposite of what I described at the British Colonial Hilton this is my excursion of choice for the day. The tricky part about the Bahamian Queen is that it only sails four days a week (Tue, Wed, Fri, & Sat.), it doesn’t sail until 1pm on those days, and it’s a 4 hour tour. Given the time frame this does not fit well with a majority of cruise ship’s time in port. However, there are a number of itineraries that do have a noon to midnight port time or even the occasional overnight. Usually if I have one of these itineraries I will try to do the Bahamian Queen just because the opportunity isn’t always there.
While there is an $80 price tag per person for this tour, it does include snorkeling, lunch, a visit to a private beach, and unlimited rum punch. Beer can be purchased for an additional cost. One other point to make is that if you plan to snorkel, they will not allow you to have rum punch prior and must wait to consume until after you are done snorkeling. The first half of the tour tends to be laid back and quiet, but once that rum punch is flowing the party begins. Once back on board for the return trip the DJ will get the dance floor going. This tour departs from Woodes Rodgers Walk just outside the cruise ship terminal. The Bahamian Queen Booze Cruise made my list strictly due to its entertainment value.
4. Pirate Republic Brewing Co.
Located just across the street from the cruise terminal on Woodes Rodgers Walk, the Pirate Republic Brewery is another convenient inexpensive option for your day in Nassau. They offer a number of craft beers, some regulars to the menu and others rotate in and out. With names like Long John Pilsner and Black Beer’d Stout you’ll feel right at home in the previously pirate filled waters of the Bahamas. My love for beer, it’s convenient location, and great atmosphere is what landed the Pirate Republic Brewing Co. on my list.
5. Senor Frogs
Well you know there is that saying, “save the best for last”. Yes this is the touristy thing to do, yes it is loud, yes it is filled with drunk people, but I absolutely love this place. Out of the 17 times I have been to Nassau via cruise ship, I have gone to Senor Frogs for at least one drink 16 of those times. Some of my best cruise memories are from this place, and I simply cannot come to Nassau and not stop there.
Senor Frogs is also located on Woodes Rodgers Walk just a little further down from the ships (just before the bend in the road). Senor Frogs has made my list due to the proximity to the cruise terminal, the entertaining atmosphere, the strong drinks, and the fact that it holds a special place in my heart!
To summarize, I think all 5 of these options will provide a great day in Nassau or any combination of them. The British Colonial Hilton & the Bahamian Queen Booze Cruise can be booked online in advance. The other venues, you can simply show up. So I ask that the next time you think about staying on the ship during a visit here please check out one of my favorite spots instead! Will you be visiting one of my favorites on your next trip to Nassau? Or will you be visiting one of your favorites not listed here?
Written by Matt Theriault.
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