Discover the best things to do in Nassau Bahamas Port on a Cruise. Nassau, the glistening capital and port city of the Bahamas is the first stop for most cruise ship guests on their Caribbean Cruise itineraries. One of the busiest Cruise Ports in the world, handling over 5 million visitors per year, it is a bustling hub of activity on the days when all cruise ship berths are full.
Navigating your way around Nassau is easy, the Downtown Waterfront and Old Town are all on the doorstep of Nassau Port. Nassau is one of our favorite cruise port’s in the World because of this very reasons, close proximity to almost everything you’re going to want visit on your day cruise layover. The only activity not in reach of the Nassau Cruise Port is the Bahamas Swimming Pigs! These famous swimming pigs live on a small island in the Exumas –which is a short plane flight away. Bahamas Air Tours is the only tour operator in Nassau to offer Day Excursions to Pig Beach to visit the Swimming Pigs.
We’ve collated the top 20 things to do in Nassau Port on a Cruise
1. Festival Place
The disembarking point for all cruise guests landing in Nassau Port is Festival Place – the Nassau Cruise ship terminal. In the forecourt of Festival Place is an outdoor shopping arcade and food market. If all you want is a quick taste of Bahamian Cuisine or pickup a souvenir without having to trek over at the Straw Market then Festival Place will meet all your needs. You can even take a horse drawn carriage for a scenic tour of Nassau Old Town.
If you didn’t make any pre-arranged tours or day trip plans, fear not, there is a very long taxi rank outside the gates of Festival Place Nassau Cruise Port. Its always a good idea to haggle for a good rate and your taxi driver can arrange to go anywhere on our list. In fact taxi is by far the quickest and cheapest (for a family) way to get to Paradise Island and the Atlantis Resort. Friendly taxi drivers will show you all the best things to do in Nassau Bahamas Port.
2. Junkanoo Beach
Looking for what to do in Nassau Port and you’re a beach fan? Then look no further than Junkanoo Beach. All beaches in the Bahamas are open to the Public and free to use, making this one of out top things to do in Nassau Bahamas Port.
Fronted with a white sand beach, second to none in the Caribbean and with stunning turquoise waters, you will notice the Lighthouse which your cruise ship passed on docking in the early hours of the morning. Junkanoo Beach is a 10 minute walk from the Cruise Port, turn right out the Gates and walk behind Senor Frogs and the Hilton Colonial Hotel. The closest section of Junkanoo Beach is quite noisy and busy, here is where you’ll find the bars, restaurants and tiki hut. The quietest stretch of Junkanoo Beach is away from town.
3. Parliament Square
Nassau Old Town is right on the doorstep of Nassau Cruise Port. The closest of the Old Town sights is Parliament Square which has a statue of Queen Victoria. Walk out of Nassau Cruise Terminal, and continue straight ahead and it’s 1 block backwards. (3 minute walk)
4. Government House
The picturesque Government House, which is uphill from the cruise port, was the home of the Bahamas Governor (under British rule). In the gardens is the statue of Christopher Columbus, the captain who discovered the Bahamas – which he original named Baha Mar – meaning “shallow waters” in Spanish.
5. Queens Staircase
The queens staircase is the furthest attraction away on the Old Town walking route. Carved out of the Cliffside, the staircase leads up to the cliff-top fort – Fort Fincastle. The Queens Staircase is free to visit, to access the inside of Fort Fincastle requires paid entry.
6. Fort Fincastle
Fort Fincastle was built in 1793 to protect the island from Pirates. It’s perched on top of Bennet’s Hills and has impressive views across the city and of the cruise port. There are many souvenir stalls that surround the Fort.
7. Graycliff Heritage Village
Across the road from Government House (look out for the Red British Post Box) is the Graycliff Heritage Village. The centre of which is the historical Graycliff Hotel and Restaurant, who also operate the Heritage Museum of The Bahamas. Inside the grounds of the Graycliff (open to the public) there are a number of restaurants, a Chocolatier and Cigar factory.
8. Day Trips to Exuma
Visiting the famous Bahamas Swimming Pigs has to be one of the top things to do in Nassau Bahamas on a Cruise.
Book you and your family onto a Bahamas Air Tours Nassau to Exuma Day Trip to go swimming with Pigs at Pig Beach. Private tours include pickup from the Nassau Cruise Port, and drop-off before your cruise ship departs again. Enjoy not just the Bahamas Swimming Pigs, but also Swimming with Sharks at Compass Cay as well as the James Bond Thunderball Grotto, Sand Bars, underwater plane wrecks and Bahamian Rock Iguanas. Look no further than an Exuma Tour for what to do in Nassau Port.
9. Nassau Old Town
The Nassau Old Town is rich in colonial history. No more than the Christ Church Cathedral and it’s prominent church tower spire overhead. Built in 1837 it has beautiful stained glass windows. Entry and admission to the Cathedral is free of Charge. The Cathedral is opposite Pirates of Nassau Museum .
10. Nassau Museums & Galleries
If you like Museums and Galleries than looking for things to do in Nassau Bahamas Port will not be a struggle. There are a number of small museums dotted across the Nassau Old Town and Graycliff Heritage Village. These include:
- Pirates of Nassau
- Pompey Museum
- Heritage Museum of the Bahamas
- Bahamas National Art Gallery
11. Nassau Waterfront
Opposite the Cruise Port is the Nassau Waterfront promenade. From here you can book a boat excursion to visit the Paradise Island or Rose Island. There are glass bottom boat tours, parasailing and snorkelling tours all of which embark from the Nassau Waterfront.
There are many restaurants and bars to choose from. The largest, Senor Frogs, along with the James Bond Bar & Grill are the only establishments that are directly on the waters edge. Senor Frogs is very popular day and night! The Nassau Waterfront is home to many of the most popular things to do in Nassau Bahamas Port and is a hive of partying and tourist fun.
12. Straw Market
Looking for souvenirs of your things to do in Nassau Bahamas Port? The Nassau Straw Market on the waterfront is a large indoor shopping arcade with small stalls and local vendors selling just about every souvenir or artwork conceivable. Wood carvings, conch shells and hand made jewellery are popular sellers.
13. Paradise Island
Paradise Island is a perfect family destination and provides many fun things to do in Nassau Bahamas Port. The focal point of Paradise Island is the sprawling and luxurious Atlantis Resort. There are a few sights and places that are open and free for the public on Paradise Island include Cabbage Beach (one of the better beaches in Nassau), the Versailles Gardens at the Ocean Club and the Marina Village at Atlantis (outdoor shopping and restaurant arcade).
A boat taxi operates between Festival Place (Nassau Cruise Port) and Paradise Island (opposite Margaretville) which costs $10 per person and takes about a 30 minute ride. Its actually quicker and cheaper to take taxi directly to Paradise Island.
14. Atlantis Resort Aquaventure
A brilliant destination choice for families and adults of all ages: the Atlantis Aquaventure Water Park. A sprawling 141-acre site, part of the larger Atlantis Bahamas Resort, there are 20 swimming areas, rolling rapids, wave surges, 11 swimming pools and Atlantean themes water slides and a mile long lazy river ride. Make this one of your top things to do in Nassau Bahamas Port!
15. Nassau Beaches
Besides Junkanoo Beach there are a few other top beaches to visit in Nassau: Cable Beach is a taxi ride away front the cruise port and its where the new Baha Mar resort is. All beaches in the Bahamas are public therefore you have access to all those beaches mentioned ion out top 20 things to do in Nassau Bahamas Port. Cabbage beach is located on Paradise Island, which is a very long beach so you won’t have trouble finding a quiet spot to enjoy the beach to yourself. There are also many water sports and beach loungers for hire here through local beach sellers. Jaws Beach, which is on the Western shoreline of Nassau (a 30 minute taxi ride away) was the filming location for Jaws 3 film.
16. Arawak Cay (Touristy Fish Fry)
Arawak Cay is the Touristy Fish Fry at the end of Junkanoo Beach. Established restaurants like the popular Twin Brothers charge $30 for Fish and Chips!
17. Potters Cay (Local Fish Fry)
Potters Cay is the locals fish fry. At Potters Cay you can get Lobster and fries for $20, far cheaper than Arawak Cay. The restaurants at Potters Cay are not quite restaurants, they are more like tiki huts, but its all part of the local Bahamian experience! Potters Cay is located underneath the entrance to the road bridge that leads to paradise Island. (10 minute taxi ride from Nassau Cruise Port – and makes a great stop on the way to Paradise Island, which you can then walk to as the bridge has pedestrian access!).
18. John Watlings Distillery
At the western bounds of the Nassau Old Town, behind the Graycliff Heritage Village is the John Watlings Rum Distillery. You’ll find it well sign posted from the roads that lead up the hill from outside the Hilton Hotel and US Embassy. At John Watling’s distillery you can have a tour of the Distillery and take Rum Tasting – our favorite things to do in Nassau Cruise Port!
19. Clifton Heritage Park
Clifton Heritage Park is on the western edge of Nassau New Providence Island. It’s an expansive 208- acre park that will take a 30 minute taxi ride to reach. The Clifton area was home to settlements of Lucayan Indians, African slave, Pirates and American Loyalists. Plantation ruins are spread throughout the large site. The star attraction at the Clifton Heritage Park is the Underwater Sculpture Garden that you can snorkel or scuba dive at.
20. Primeval Forest
Not far from Clifton Heritage Park is the Primeval Frost, an enchanted nature enclave managed by the Bahamas National Trust. It is a unique area filled with evergreen tropical hardwoods and limestone sink holes and certainly makes for a nature lover’s top things to do in Nassau Bahamas Port.
How to find the best things to do in Nassau Bahamas Port
With so many things to do in Nassau Bahamas on a Cruise, New Providence island will spoil you for choice! For those wanting to experience the authentic Bahamas, this can only be experienced in the Bahamas Out Islands , away from the touristy areas of Nassau.
Take flight with Bahamas Air Tours and enjoy a full day Exuma Excursion to Staniel Cay and Pig Beach. Go swimming with the famous Bahamas Swimming Pigs and try swimming with Sharks at Compass Cay for the ultimate Bahamian Vacation. All of which can be enjoyed on a Day Tour from your Cruise stopover in Nassau Port.
Discover more things to do in Nassau Cruise Port with our downloadable Bahamas Travel Guidebook and Destination Guides.
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