Top Highlights
in Nassau Cruise Port

Photo of NAME in Nassau
Photo of NAME in Nassau
Photo of NAME in Nassau

Top Attractions in Nassau Cruise Port
- Atlantis, Cabbage Beach, Junkanoo Beach, Paradise Island, John Watling's Distillery and more ...

By: Editor-in-Chief   |  Date - December 20, 2017


When calling at the Port of Nassau, the cruise ship passenger has many different tours and excursions offered onboard and it will be easy to choose what to see and do. Some of these excursions include the most interesting attractions of Nassau but many others are left out and can be explored on your own. Here you find a selection of the Editor's top picks such as the Cabbage Beach, the John Watling's Distillery, the Junkanoo Beach, the Balcony House, the Fort Fincastle, the Graycliff Hotel, the National Art Gallery and the Pompey Museum.

Editor's Picks - A to Z

Atlantis Resort

Editor Points: Atlantis is undoubtedly the main highlight for any cruise ship passenger visiting Nassau. In this renowned resort you will find everything you can think of that a Caribbean resort has to offer. The beaches and an amazing water park are perfect for those looking for adventures on water slides, a 1-mile long river, 20 swimming areas, a 7-acre snorkeling lagoon and white sand beaches. Scuba, snuba, encounters with sharks, dolphins and sea lions are some of the many other thrills you can enjoy at Atlantis. For land thrills the 11 rock-climbing surface is a must. You will also find some of the best shops in Nassau, restaurants and coffee shops. And, of course, the Atlantis Casino is there for those that cannot stay off gambling when your cruise ship is in port.

Photo of Atlantis Resort in Nassau.

Atlantis Resort - Nassau

Photo: copyright IQCruising

WHERE Paradise Island
What: Resort
When: All day - Everyday
Look For: Shopping, Activities
Nearby: Cabbage Beach, Bahamcraft Center, Versailles Gardens, The Cloister

NOTES: All cruise lines offer tours to Atlantis with different activity packages - See the Tour Page.

Bay Street

Editor Points: The main street of Nassau is a must see (walk) for all cruise ship passengers. It is the heart of Nassau lined with the best shops and boutiques and a few restaurants. The main stretch of Bay Street starts at the junction of Rawson and Parliament Squares - just 2-minute walk from the pier - ending at Pompey Square. To the east you will find a Gucci boutique and the Bacardi shop but little else.

Photo of Bay Street in Nassau.

Bay Street - Nassau

Photo: copyright IQCruising

WHERE Downtown
What: Shops, boutiques, restaurants, cafes.
When: All day - Everyday
Look For: The best shops in Nassau
Nearby: Rawson, Pompey and Parliament Square

Blue Lagoon Island

Editor Points: Officially known as Salt Cay, this island (3-miles from Nassau) is another of the main highlights for the cruise ship passenger looking for water thrills or just a relaxing day on a pristine beach with crystal clear turquoise waters. In the tranquil lush beauty of the secluded Blue Lagoon Island you can enjoy activities like volleyball, beach soccer, aqua bikes, paddleboats, kayaks or snorkeling but also thrilling experiences like playing with dolphins and sea lions.

Photo of Blue Lagoon in Nassau.

Blue Lagoon - Nassau

Photo by Management

WHERE Off the coast
What: Pristine Island with activities
When: Everyday
Prices: All inclusive Beach Day - $59.00 (Adult) $42.00 (Children)
Look For: Dolphins and Sea Lion encounters.

NOTES: All cruise lines offer tours to the Blue Lagoon with different activity packages - See the Tour Page.

Cabbage Beach

Editor Points: One of the most beautiful beaches in The Bahamas, it is also one of the most popular, as it is free and with easy access from the cruise terminal. Located on Paradise Island, just next to the Atlantis Resort and stretching all along the north coast, Cabbage Beach is ideal for those looking for a day out on a pristine beach with a wonderfully shaded area.

Getting there: There are two ways of getting to Cabbage Beach: on a Ferry Boat (see Paradise Island review below) or by taxi (on offer at the Cruise Terminal). From the ferry dock on Paradise Island a 10-minute walk trough the Marina Village of the Atlantis Resort will take you to Cabbage Beach.

Photo of Cabbage Beach in Nassau.

Cabbage Beach - Nassau

Photo: copyright IQCruising

WHERE Paradise Island
What: Beach and beach activities - parasailing, wave runner rentals and banana boat rides and even massage on the beach.
When: Morning and afternoon - Everyday
Nearby: Atlantis, Versailles Gardens, The Cloister, Bahamcraft Center.

John Watling's Distillery

Editor Points: A 10-minute walk south of Bay Street, the John Watling's Distillery is located on a stunning estate with two acres of lush tropical garden where the cruise ship passenger can take a free self-guided tour. This includes the historical house showcasing the rich heritage of The Bahamas and the storehouse where different rums are bottled. And, naturally, you can also taste the best rum of the distillery.

Photo of John Watling's Distillery in Nassau.

Watling's Distillery - Nassau

Photo: copyright IQCruising

WHERE Southwest of Bay Street
What: Lush Gardens, Colonial House with Rum Distillery
When: Open everyday from 10:00am. to 6:00 pm
Look For: Rum Tasting, Free Tour of Estate
Nearby: National Art Gallery, St. Francis Xavier Cathedral, Graycliff Hotel

NOTES: Very few cruise lies offer a tour of the John Watling's Distillery although it may be included on excursions of the Highlights of Nassau.

Junkanoo Beach

Editor Points: One of closest beaches to the Cruise Terminal, Junkanoo is at the start of the Western Esplanade - the stretch of sand between the British Colonial Hotel and Arawak Cay. A 10-minute walk trough Bay Street and Marlborough Street will take you to this wonderful spot with a couple of beach bars renting lounge chairs, umbrellas, hammocks or lockers- it also has shower facilities.

Photo of Junkanoo Beach in Nassau.

Junkanoo Beach - Nassau

Photo: copyright IQCruising

WHERE West of Downton - 1/2 mile
What: Beach with bars, activities, shower.
When: Morning and afternoon - Everyday
Look For: Relaxing day
Nearby: Fat Tuesday, Colonial Hilton Hotel

NOTES: Seldom mentioned onboard cruise ships, as it would take away the business from excursions.

Marina Village

Editor Points: Part of Atlantis, the Marina Village is a wonderful public (free) area close to the entrance of the resort when walking from the Ferry Boat Dock under the main bridge connecting Nassau to Paradise Island. Paved pedestrian streets are shaded by palm trees and lined with colorful buildings where the cruise ship passenger will find shops, kiosks, cafes and restaurants. Starbuck's, Johny Rocketts, Ben & Jerry’s and Café’ Martinique are featured along with shopping brands as diverse as Pirana Joe, Tortuga Rum Cakes, Columbian Emerald or John Bull.

Photo of Atlantis, Marina Village in Nassau.

Marina Village - Nassau

Photo: copyright IQCruising

WHERE Atlantis Resort - Paradise Island
What: Shopping
When: All day - Everyday
Look For: Shops, Boutiques and Cafes
Nearby: Cabbage Beach, Bahamcraft Center, Versailles Gardens, The Cloister

Paradise Island

Editor Points: Connected with Nassau by two bridges, Paradise Island is located just off the shore of the New Providence island. Here you will find the famous Atlantis Resort (one the main attractions of Nassau) but also Cabbage Beach - a free and very popular public beach - the Bahamcraft Center, and a couple of restaurants.

Getting there: Next to the Cruise Terminal, on Woodes Roger Walk, you will find a Ferry Boat that will take you on a short cruise through the harbor ending at the dock under the main bridge on Paradise Island. From here you are at walking distance to Atlantis and Cabbage Beach.

Photo of Paradise Island Beach Access in Nassau.

Paradise Island Beach Access

Photo: copyright IQCruising

WHERE Off the Coast - 2 miles from downtwon Nassau
What: Island with a number of attractions
When: All day - Everyday
Look For: Atlantis, Cabbage Beach, Versailles Gardens, The Cloister, Bahamcraft Center.

NOTES: Besdies the Atlantis Resort, the main attraction of the island is Cabbage Beach. Viola's and the Green Parrot are the best places to have lunch out of the Atlantis Resort - see Restaurants Page.

Explore Nassau

Nassau: Must See - Do

A to Z

Arawak Cay

Photo of Arawak Cay restaurants in Nassau.

Photo: copyright IQCruising

Opposite Fort Charlotte, the Arawak Cay was artificially built from the sand dredged out of the harbor when it was built (1969). A fish market was developed on the 'cay' and naturally a number of restaurants were established offering fresh fried fish, conch salads and many other Bahamian delicacies. It is a very lively spot for locals at night but a quiet off-track spot for cruise ship travelers to taste typical Bahamian food.
Where: A bit over 2 miles west of Downtown.

Balcony House

Photo of Balcony House in Nassau.

Photo: copyright IQCruising

Dating back to the 1780's, this is probably the oldest residential house in Nassau, which was restored and opened as a museum in 1994. Josephine Bryce, an American heiress, was the last resident (between 1930s – 1980s) and most of the her furnishings can still be seen along with a stunning mahogany staircase and the the front balcony.
Open: Monday-Friday 9:30am to 4:30pm; Thursdays 8:00am to 1:00pm. Closed: Weekends and Holidays; Free Admission.
Address: Market Street (Downtown - off Bay Street)

Fort Fincastle

Photo of Fort Fincastle in Nassau.

Photo: copyright IQCruising

One of the most impressive 18th-century forts in Nassau with good signage and exhibits. It's named after Viscount Fincastle who was the governor of The Bahamas when the fort was built (c. 1793) to protect Nassau's town and harbor. Daily tours (8:00am to 4:00pm) - $1 per person. It is included on Highlight Excursions organized by cruise ships.
Where: On a hill south of Bay Street (1/2 mile) -five-minute walk from downtown.

Graycliff Hotel

Photo of Graycliff Hotel in Nassau.

Photo: copyright IQCruising

The Graycliff is much more than just an excellent hotel in Nassau - its restaurant is one of the best in the Caribbean, offering Wine and Cheese Tastings and Wine Luncheons to cruise ship travelers. It also features a Chocolate and a Cigar Factories both of which can be visited on educating tours.
Address: 8 thru 12 West Hill Street (Downtown)

National Art Gallery of The Bahamas

Photo of National Art Gallery of The Bahamas in Nassau.

Photo: copyright IQCruising

Housed on Villa Doyle (a 19th-century historical house) this is the best Art Gallery of the Bahamas displaying works by the Bahamian artists.
Address: corner of West Street and West Hill Street

Pirates of Nassau Museum

Photo of Pirates of Nassau Museum in Nassau.

Photo: copyright IQCruising

Nassau was the main city where the Golden Age of Piracy thrived between 1690 and 1720 when it all come to an end (in Nassau) with the intervention of Woodes Rogers (a former privateer). During 30 years the city was a safe haven for the most famous and terrifying pirates - an historical period that can be revisited in this interactive museum dedicated to those characters and their lives.
Address: King & George Streets
Entrance: $13.00 (adults) - $6.50 (age 4 - 17)
Open: Monday to Saturday 9:00am to 6:00pm | Sunday 9:00am to 12:30pm

Pompey Museum

Photo of Pompey Museum in Nassau.

Photo: copyright IQCruising

Named after Pompey - a slave that lead a revolt on the island of Exuma - this museum is a living study of slavery in The Bahamas. It is housed in Vendue House, which dates back to the 1760's and was once used as a market of all sorts of merchandise including human beings. The disturbing exhibition is a must see museum in Nassau.
Address: Bay Street, in front of George Street
Open: Mon-Wed & Fri-Sat 9:30am - 4:30pm, Thurs 9:30am - 1:00pm (Closed Sundays & Holidays)
Entrance: $3.00 (adults) - $1.00 (Children 6-12)

Queen’s Staircase

Photo of Queen’s Staircase in Nassau.

Photo: copyright IQCruising

Included in historical highlights tours, the Queen's Staircase is at walking distance from the cruise terminal giving direct access to Fort Fincastle. At the end of Elisabeth Avenue, it looks like there is nothing else further but if you keep walking trough what looks like a tropical gorge (blocked to traffic) you will reach the Queen's Staircase - 66 steps carved out of limestone by slaves (1793-94).
Address: Elizabeth Avenue, after the Hospital.


Will the cruise ship passenger have time to see all the highligts of Nassau?
Depending on the time your cruise ship will stay in Nassau, you will be able to see quite a lot. However, it will also depend on how long you wish to spend on activities like diving, snorkelling, or just relaxing on the beach.

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Last Update: January 25, 2018

The information on this page was accurate when last updated and published but changes may have occurred without notice.
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