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Cruises to Nassau

Nassau (Photo:Ruth Peterkin/Shutterstock)
Nassau (Photo:Ruth Peterkin/Shutterstock)

About Nassau

Nassau, with its blend of influences from West Africa to England and from Haiti to the United States, is one of the most popular (and often congested) cruise ports in the Caribbean and Bahamas.

The yellow and blue stripes on the Bahamian flag represent the nation's sandy beaches and surrounding ocean, while the black triangle stands for unity and the people's determination to develop the land and the sea. With endlessly developing hotels, resorts and shopping areas, it isn't hard to make this connection in Nassau, the capital of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas.

Nassau is located on the 21-mile-long-island of New Providence and is connected, via bridge, to Paradise Island, another popular Bahamian destination.

The city of Nassau features tropical, tree-lined streets, filled with horse-drawn surreys, ruled by policemen in white starched jackets and colorful pith helmets; soft-sanded beaches for kicking back and catching ocean breezes; lavish, Vegas-type casinos; and a decent range of duty-free shopping stops. But, as much as this vibrant town center is a cruise visitor's first impression, most head out on beach adventures at massive hotel and resort complexes like Atlantis or on boating adventures that range from dolphin encounters to booze cruises.

Nassau's central location, just off the coast of Southern Florida, is one of its chief pluses, making it an easy mini-cruise port of call for ships passing through on the way to the Caribbean islands.

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DAY 1: New York

7 Night
Cruise to Nassau

Leaving:
New York
Visiting:
Port Canaveral, Great Stirrup Cay ...
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Cruise Line:
Norwegian Cruise Line
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DAY 1: Miami

4 Night
Cruise to Nassau

Leaving:
Miami
Visiting:
Freeport, Great Stirrup Cay ...
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Cruise Line:
Norwegian Cruise Line
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5 Night
Cruise to Nassau

Leaving:
Jacksonville
Visiting:
Nassau, Princess Cays ...
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Cruise Line:
Carnival Cruise Line
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DAY 1: Miami

3 Night
Cruise to Nassau

Leaving:
Miami
Visiting:
Nassau, Great Stirrup Cay ...
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Cruise Line:
Norwegian Cruise Line
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3 Night
Cruise to Nassau

Leaving:
Port Canaveral
Visiting:
Nassau, Perfect Day at CocoCay ...
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Cruise Line:
Royal Caribbean International
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3 Night
Cruise to Nassau

Leaving:
Miami
Visiting:
Great Stirrup Cay, Nassau ...
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Cruise Line:
Norwegian Cruise Line
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7 Night
Cruise to Nassau

Leaving:
Bayonne
Visiting:
Port Canaveral, Perfect Day at CocoCay ...
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Cruise Line:
Royal Caribbean International
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4 Night
Cruise to Nassau

Leaving:
Port Canaveral
Visiting:
Perfect Day at CocoCay, Nassau ...
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Cruise Line:
Royal Caribbean International
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4 Night
Cruise to Nassau

Leaving:
Fort Lauderdale
Visiting:
Nassau, Perfect Day at CocoCay ...
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Cruise Line:
Royal Caribbean International
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9 Night
Cruise to Nassau

Leaving:
Baltimore
Visiting:
King's Wharf, Nassau ...
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Cruise Line:
Royal Caribbean International
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4 Night
Cruise to Nassau

Leaving:
Charleston
Visiting:
Nassau ...
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Cruise Line:
Carnival Cruise Line
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4 Night
Cruise to Nassau

Leaving:
Jacksonville
Visiting:
Freeport, Nassau ...
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Cruise Line:
Carnival Cruise Line
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6 Night
Cruise to Nassau

Leaving:
Port Canaveral
Visiting:
Nassau, Amber Cove ...
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Cruise Line:
Carnival Cruise Line
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3 Night
Cruise to Nassau

Leaving:
Miami
Visiting:
Nassau, Perfect Day at CocoCay ...
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Cruise Line:
Royal Caribbean International
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Cruise Critic Favorite

8 Night
Cruise to Nassau

Leaving:
Baltimore
Visiting:
Nassau, Perfect Day at CocoCay ...
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Cruise Line:
Royal Caribbean International
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7 Night
Cruise to Nassau

Leaving:
Baltimore
Visiting:
Princess Cays, Nassau ...
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Cruise Line:
Carnival Cruise Line
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3 Night
Cruise to Nassau

Leaving:
Miami
Visiting:
Nassau ...
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Cruise Line:
Carnival Cruise Line
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Cruise Critic Favorite

8 Night
Cruise to Nassau

Leaving:
Baltimore
Visiting:
Port Canaveral, Nassau ...
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Cruise Line:
Royal Caribbean International
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7 Night
Cruise to Nassau

Leaving:
Galveston
Visiting:
Perfect Day at CocoCay, Nassau ...
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Cruise Line:
Royal Caribbean International
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7 Night
Cruise to Nassau

Leaving:
New Orleans
Visiting:
Key West, Nassau ...
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Cruise Line:
Royal Caribbean International
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7 Night
Cruise to Nassau

Leaving:
New Orleans
Visiting:
Key West, Perfect Day at CocoCay ...
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Cruise Line:
Royal Caribbean International
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4 Night
Cruise to Nassau

Leaving:
Port Canaveral
Visiting:
Nassau, Princess Cays ...
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Cruise Line:
Carnival Cruise Line
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7 Night
Cruise to Nassau

Leaving:
Baltimore
Visiting:
Nassau, Princess Cays ...
see more
Cruise Line:
Carnival Cruise Line
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7 Night
Cruise to Nassau

Leaving:
Bayonne
Visiting:
Port Canaveral, Perfect Day at CocoCay ...
see more
Cruise Line:
Royal Caribbean International
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7 Night
Cruise to Nassau

Leaving:
New Orleans
Visiting:
Key West, Freeport ...
see more
Cruise Line:
Carnival Cruise Line
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Why go to Nassau?

Pros:

The port is vibrant and easily navigable, offering beachy activities and affordable souvenirs.

Cons:

It's commercialized and often crowded; pushy locals hinder relaxation by hawking their wares.

Bottom Line:

This is a great destination for first-timers looking for affordable beach time.

Nassau Cruise Port Facilities?

Passengers must pass through Festival Place to exit the port facility, and it's one of the more impressive we've seen in any port of call. Counters are staffed by tourism folks, who will provide maps and answer questions, as well as by companies that offer boat trips, over-land tours and taxi services. There's also a small Internet cafe. Beyond that is a small, but colorful, shopping mall that specializes in artisan boutiques. A steel-pan band offers a musical welcome, and a food court features stalls that sell local conch.

Good to Know?

While there's no need to be especially alert, it does pay to leave valuables and excess cash in your stateroom safe and keep an eye on your surroundings.

Getting Around?

Renting a Car: There are a handful of car-rental companies, such as Dollar, Avis, Thrifty and Budget at Prince George Wharf, as well as on Paradise Island and at the airport. But, they're pretty expensive, ranging in price from $55 to $110 for the day. There's also that pesky left-side-of-the-road driving to deal with.

<b.By Taxi: Taxis are plentiful and can be hailed everywhere, be it right by your ship or at all the hotels and restaurants. Count on sharing the taxi with other tourists and locals. Fares should be established before getting in a taxi, as meters aren't run. Check in advance for the estimated price for where you want to go. Typical fares to Paradise Island are $4 per person, plus a 15 percent gratuity. Expect about a $15 fare to Cable Beach. A taxi tour is a great way to familiarize yourself with the island -- with your driver serving as something of a local guide -- but expect to pay more. These types of fares are negotiable.

By Bus: The jitney buses run every few minutes between the downtown area to Cable Beach from about 6 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Fares vary (though they're generally about $1.25 per person, each way, $1 for small children), depending on the route. Exact change is required. Jitneys do not go over the Paradise Island bridge.

By Water Taxi: The Nassau Water Taxi departs every 30 minutes from behind the Festival Market to Paradise Island, operating daily from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. The roundtrip cost is $8, or $4 each way. Notes: Though the trip takes just 10 minutes, the water taxi may not depart on time. Because the operators tend to give you a bit of a "tour" along the way, expect to be approached for a gratuity.

By Horse-Drawn Surrey: These can be found around Rawson Square and sometimes along Bay Street. They run about $15 per person for 25 minutes, but the price is usually negotiable. Note: From May to October, the horses rest from the sun from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

Currency & Best Way to Get Money?

Legal tender is the Bahamian dollar, which is equivalent in value to the U.S. dollar. Both U.S. and Bahamian dollars are accepted interchangeably throughout the island. European currency is not, so exchange it as necessary at a bank or ATM. (You'll find them at Rawson Square, Bay Street and at the casinos.) All banks and their branches are generally open 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Thursday and until 5 p.m. on Friday. For more currency exchange information, visit www.xe.com or www.oanda.com.

Editor's note: Some hotels and restaurants add a fee for cashing traveler's checks.

Language?

English is spoken in the Bahamas.

Where You're Docked?

You'll dock at Prince George Wharf, near Rawson Square and the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism -- great for picking up maps, brochures, etc. -- in the heart of Nassau.


Nassau Cruise Reviews

Norwegian Breakaway
bigshel99
Sail Date: Dec 2019
Didn't go to the original port (Great Stirrup Cay) due to weather. Ended up at Nassau. I stayed on the ship and enjoyed my time on there (Honestly been to Nassau so many times now haha)... Read More
Disney Dream
ferunc
Sail Date: Jan 2020
We did not get off at Nassau due to crime concerns and lack of interest in the port. We stayed on the ship to enjoy the ship since we didn't have an At Sea day. The ship was fairly crowded due to many not wanting... Read More
peregrine64
Sail Date: Feb 2020
We were supposed to go to MSC's new private island but it called for unfavourable weather, so we ended up in sunny Nassau....again. We were all really looking forward to the new island and all it has to offer but it... Read More
don731
Sail Date: Feb 2020
Just a quick walk around in Nassau.... Read More
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