Cruising into Nassau
Nassau, in the Bahamas, is one of the most accessible ports to cruise to from the United States. Not only is it just about 100 miles from Miami or Fort Lauderdale, but it’s also only about 15 miles from the port to the furthest point on the island. It’s an easy five-minute walk from the port to the far side of town in a straight line, but you won’t be taking a straight line, as there is so much to see on the way.
Everyone speaks English, the Bahamian dollar and U.S. dollar are interchangeable, and the city is perfectly safe, although commons sense will ensure no problems. Be sure and take ID with you, as this is one of those ports that check before letting you leave.
Prince George Wharf has room for three or four cruise ships depending on size and being a popular destination, you can expect a crowd. You will enter through a building with many shops. This is a good place to hit the restroom before you head out and to buy a bottle of water. Once you leave the building, you are in a small square on the edge of town. The locals are friendly but can be a bit pushy, especially the hair braiding ladies.
This is also the debarkation point for taxis, tours and other transportation. You can catch a cab over to Atlantis, to the beaches, or just keep walking through town. Always ask the price of a taxi before getting in. Nassau cab drivers can be a bit creative in their fares. There are several great beaches on the island. Ask the crew on board what is their favorite is.
Atlantis is a huge resort where you can easily spend all day. Make sure to allow enough time to catch a cab back to the ship. As you will see on the way over, it shouldn’t take longer than 10 minutes and costs less than $20.
Atlantis is suitable for general sightseeing, as it resembles a large Vegas resort, a trip to the aquarium, or a visit to the water park. You can combine the first two, but the water park can easily take the whole day, which is a good thing as it is very expensive.
Nassau is an excellent place for a walking tour. The city is flat and only about four long blocks in both directions. The new straw market is a couple of short blocks to your right – the original one burned down several years ago.
This is a good direction to start out in, as about a block further you come to the end of the central commercial area. Take a left and loop back down Shirley Street where all the better shops are located, or continue straight to visit the beachfront resorts and some lovely parks. You can easily cover the entire downtown area in a couple of hours, including shopping and a snack or drink.
If you have never cruised before, you will definitely want to put Nassau on the shortlist. It is an easy place to visit and to get accustomed to cruising in general.