Why go to Nassau?
The port is vibrant and easily navigable, offering beachy activities and affordable souvenirs.
It's commercialized and often crowded; pushy locals hinder relaxation by hawking their wares.
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.
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.