Overview Nassau Cruise Ship Port | IQ Cruising

Nassau Cruise Ship Port

Panoramic view of cruise ships at the Nassau Port


Overview and Basics

What and Where

Nassau is the most visited port in The Bahamas and one of the most popular cruising destinations in the Caribbean itineraries. Located in the island of New Providence, off the coast of Florida, Nassau is 180 miles southeast of Miami and has a mild, reliable weather in the winter, which is ideal for water sports and activities.

Photo of Atlantis Resort in Nassau

Atlantis Resort - Nassau

Photo: copyright IQCruising.com

New Providence is a relatively small island - 80 square miles, a bit bigger than Washington D.C. (68 square miles). Although Nassau has a large population (248,950 inhabitants) expanding south and east of the cruise port, the historical center is quite small and is where most landmarks and many attractions are found. Right across Nassau, the Paradise Island (home of themed Atlantis Resort) is one of the main attractions of The Bahamas - 2-mile drive from the cruise port.

All cruise lines offer excursions, tours and adventures to Nassau's top attractions and highlights (including Atlantis) but it is quite easy to explore the city on your own (where you will find interesting landmarks and an abundance of duty free shops) or to enjoy a day in the sun - be it on Cabbage Beach (on Paradise Island) or at walking distance on Junkanoo Beach.

Shopping and Restaurants

Well known by savvy cruisers as one of the best shopping paradises in the Caribbean cruise itineraries, you will have onboard your ship 'shopping guides' promoting and marketing selected shops in Nassau. The onboard guide will offer all sorts of bargains, coupons and shopping deals but it is advisable to also look at many other shops that are not promoted by the cruise line. .

Photo of NAME in Nassau

Bay Street - Nassau

Photo: copyright IQCruising.com

Considering that Bay Street - the main street of Nassau where most shops are located - is so close to the cruise terminal many a cruise traveler returns to the ship for lunch after a shopping spree without exploring much farther. But close to Bay Street there are some very nice places to enjoy local flavors, delicacies and the delights of Bahamian cuisine. And, of course, there are also well known places to just hang out, enjoy live entretianment and a drink or two - places like Fat Tuesday, Hard Rock Cafe, Señor Frog's or Sharkeez.


Just off Bay Street there are some interesting landmarks that the cruise traveler should consider to visit - sites such as the Parliament Square, the Garden of Remembrance, the Public Library and Museum, the Balcony House, the Pompey Museum, the Christ Church Cathedral or the Government House. Not far, and at walking distance from Bay Street, the Graycliff Hotel, the National Art Gallery and the John Watling's Distillery are attractions to also keep in mind if willing to explore more than shopping or the beaches.

Active Pursuits

For those interested in more active pleasures the Atlantis Resort offers great adventures and exciting fun in its Aquaventure Water Park. The cruise passenger will also find the delights of diving, snorkeling or dolphin encounters in the Blue Lagoon Island, the Balmoral Island or at Stuarts' Cove, and challenging golf at the Ocean Club Course. Sightseeing can be enjoyed on a Horse Drawn Carriage, a Segway tour, a self-driving boat ride, on a semi-submarine or on a glass bottom boat.

Nassau Basics

Language English is the official language.
Currency: The Bahamian Dollar is the official currency but the the US$ dollar is widely accepted and you will not need to exchange money.
ATMs: ATMs dispense US Dollars. You will find ATMs in the Terminal building and on Bay Street.
Phones: Country Code: 1 | Area Code: 242. Many US phones may work but is advisable to check with your provider to avoid roaming charges.  
Entry Requirements: Passport is NOT required for U.S. citizens with valid photo ID such as a driver's license. Non-U.S. visitors (Canadian included) are required a valid passport with an expiry date that is NOT less than 3 months.
Electricity: Standard American 120 V current.
Driving: Not advisable - driving is on the left and parking scarce.
Car Rental: Budget and Avis can be found at the Airport, 5 miles west of Nassau
Emergencies: Ministry of Tourism: 302-2000
Drinking: Legal drinking age is 18 years.
Smoking: Smoking is prohibited in restaurants and public buildings. Bars may allow smoking outdoors.

Explore Nassau

Nassau Map

Space View of the The Bahamas

Space View of the Tha Bahamas by NASA

New Providence Island

Map of New Providence Island with Nassau highlighted

Current Local Time

Time Zone

Nassau, New Providence and all The Bahamas are on EST (Eastern Standard Time). Five hours earlier than GMT (Greenwich Mean Time) during Standard Time, and six hours earlier than GMT during Daylight Savings Time.

Nassau Weather


How FREE is Tax FREE?
There is no sales tax in The Bahamas. Although a 7.5% Valued Added Tax (VAT) is charged on goods and services (like bars and restaurants), cruise ship passengers like any other visitor, enjoy a Zero-Rated VAT on purchases above $25.00 - clothes are VAT-free on purchases above $100.00. Most shops display signs stating "Authorized Tax and Duty-Free Goods".

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Last Update: March 16, 2017

The information on this page was accurate when last updated and published but changes may have occurred without notice.
It is advisable to confirm details with local tourist information before planning your cruise, excursions and tours of Nassau.
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