Are you looking for the top things to do in Nassau Bahamas on a cruise? A cruise stopover in Nassau is short, so making the most of your time in Nassau cruise port is always a top priority for visitors. For this reason we have found the very best things to do in Nassau cruise port during your Caribbean & Bahamas Cruise.
Cruising is a brilliant way to travel around the Caribbean Islands, except for the Bahamas, where due to the shallow waters, most of the Bahamas 700 islands are inaccessible to cruise ships. So experiencing the Authentic Bahamas is something that is quite easily missed on a Bahamas Cruise.
With our list of the best things to do in Nassau Bahamas on a cruise, we hope that you will get a taste for the Small Island experience that is unique to the Bahamas. An opportunity to visit some of the more unique and off the beaten track attractions in Nassau Bahamas.
Nassau caters to cruise day trippers and many visitors will be attracted to the glitzy party atmosphere of Nassau Downtown Waterfront – but this is far from the history, culture and authentic experience that welcomes travellers to Nassau. Try and avoid the bustling waterfront and Bay Street (main shopping street, jewellery shops etc.), and instead head onto the Nassau Old Town and enjoy a self guided walking tour. You can pickup a free map at Festival Place (Nassau Cruise Terminal), or employ the services of a local guide when you exit the Cruise Terminal. Nassau is steeped in a rich history, so get your walking shoes on and discover these impressive things to do in Nassau Bahamas on a cruise.
Top 12 Things to do in Nassau Bahamas on a Cruise
1. Swimming with Pigs in Exuma
What’s the number #1 top things to do in Bahamas? Visiting the famous Swimming Pigs in Exuma! A short 40 minute plane ride away from Nassau Cruise port will take you to the tropical paradise of Pig Beach in the Exuma Cays. The famous Bahamas Swimming Pigs live on a small island called Big Major Cay, which can be visited on your Bahamas Cruise, on a unique Nassau to Exuma Day Trip with Bahamas Air Tours.
On an incredible Exuma Excursion to Pig Beach it’s not just Swimming Pigs that you’ll get the opportunity to visit; you will also experience Swimming with Sharks at Compass Cay, snorkeling in the James Bond Cave Thunderball Grotto, exploring pristine sand bars at Pipe Creek, discovering exotic wildlife at Iguana Island Bitter Guana Cay, sightseeing an underwater plane wreck and dining for lunch at the Staniel Cay Yacht Club. This really is the top Day Trip Excursion from Nassau Cruise Port and a not to be missed things to do in Nassau Bahamas on a Cruise.
2. Parliament Square
Built in 1815, Parliament Square is the central government buildings in Nassau. It is one of the closest places of interest to Nassau Cruise Port with only being a 5 minute walk away. In the front of the Parliament courtyard is an impressive statue of Queen Victoria erected in 1905. If you walk behind the central courtyard, you will wonder past the Senate buildings which contain the Supreme Court. Sometime you will spot prisoner vans transporting prisoners to court here.
3. Junkanoo Beach
Junkanoo beach is the closest, publicly accessible, beach in downtown Nassau. A stunning stretch of white sand and backed with swaying palm trees and tiki huts. The brightly colored tiki huts (pictured) offer drinks, cocktails, bar snacks and local food dishes. By early afternoon the beach becomes very busy with day trippers and there is an exciting party atmosphere to be enjoyed here. The swimming off the beach is excellent, with crystal clear turquoise waters and a long jetty to jump off! One of the top free things to do in Nassau Bahamas on a Cruise
4. Government House
As the official residence of the Governor General of the Bahamas during time of British rule, the architecture and style is evident of the colonial era. The grounds are free to enter and visitors can walk through via the main road, but are restricted to maintaining on the marked path. Keep and eye out for the historic statues of Christopher Columbus, on the main entrance steps. Christopher Columbus is celebrated as the discoverer of the Bahamas once proclaiming the islands “Baha Mar” meaning “shallow waters”.
5. Queens Staircase
Towards the south eastern edge of Nassau Old Town you will notice a sharp incline leading to a hill top. The limestone cliffs here have 65 steps carved into them leading to Fort Fincastle. Slaves dug out the steps around 1790. You will find many tropical plants in the impressive natural canopy that covers the Queen’s Staircase. Beside the actual stair case are cascading waterfalls and pools.
6. French Cloisters & Versailles Gardens on Paradise Island
Over on Paradise Island (a 10 minute taxi ride away) is the visually stunning renaissance era French Cloisters and Versailles Gardens. Although they are on private property – they belong to the Four Seasons Ocean Club resort – they are accessible and viewable from the public street.
Paradise Island is home to many other exciting Nassau attractions including the sprawling Atlantis Resort and it’s Aquaventure Waterpark, which is the most fun of things to do in Nassau Bahamas on a cruise.
7. Graycliff Heritage Village & Heritage Museum of the Bahamas
The Graycliff is a historic hotel in Nassau Old Town. The owners of the property on West Hill Street also manage the Graycliff Heritage Village which is home to the Heritage Museum of the Bahamas. As part of the Graycliff estate, the Museum is home to exhibitions and collections from Mr Hamilton White, a well known British antiques collector.
8. Cabbage Beach on Paradise Island
Cabbage Beach is a much larger beach than Junkanoo Beach. Home to the large Atlantis Resort on the western end, the eastern portion of Cabbage Beach is mostly deserted and a very peaceful beach to visit. You have the option of enjoying full beach services from the major hotels like the Rio here, or savor the local beach services from local vendors. Watersport and jet skis are very popular here. Further down the beach is the One and Only Ocean Club, a filming location for the James Bond film 2006 Casino Royale.
9. Day Pass at the Hilton Colonial Hotel with Beach Services
The closest strip of beach to Nassau Cruise port is the beach at the downtown Hilton Colonial Hotel. Guest will require a paid for day pass to access the beach and swimming pool. The Hilton offers sun loungers and day beds aswell as restaurant and beach service as part of the day pass package.
10. John Watlings Distillery
Situated not far from the Graycliff Heritage Village is the John Watling’s Distillery. Originally the Buena Vista Estate, another James Bond Filming location, the site was recently renovated and converted into a rum distillery. You can enjoy guided tours across the estate and rum tasting in the distillery bar! If you like Rum Tasting, and the Caribbean is one of the top destinations in the World for Rum, making this an enjoyable and fun things to do in Nassau Bahamas on a cruise.
11. Fort Fincastle
After arriving at the top of the Queens Staircase, following the road to the right and signposts will lead you to Fort Fincastle. An impressive historical sight, the Fort Fincastle was built by Lord Dunmore in 1793 to protect Nassau Town from Pirates. Cannons line the walls of the fort, overlooking the harbor and port. There is an interesting history of piracy in the Bahamas, and this can be discovered at the Pirates of Nassau museum and exhibition in Nassau Old Town.
12. Pirates of Nassau
Be transported back intime to 1716, the era of Pirating in the Bahamas! One of the top things to do in Nassau Bahamas on a Cruise with a family, the Pirates of Nassau exhibitions are suitable and fun for all ages! The collections and exhibitions are a unique insight into the Golden Age of Piracy and the British Colonial rule.
What to do in Nassau for One Day
Visiting Nassau on a Bahamas Cruise doesn’t leave day trippers much time to fully visit New Providence Island and the Bahamas Islands. With a Bahamas Air Tours Nassau Day Trip, guests can visit the famous Swimming Pigs and discover the spectacular Exuma Cays archipelago on a one of a kind bucket list day tour.
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