Nassau is the capital city of the Bahamas and is located about 180 miles from the east coast of Florida on the island of New Providence.
When your ship arrives in Nassau, it’s recommended going to the top deck to get your bearings.
Locate the bridges that connect Nassau on your right to Paradise Island on your left.
Then, turn right to face Downtown Nassau, the cruise terminal building, and one block inland, Nassau’s main shopping area.
Further to the right, you can see a few public beaches and the Fish Fry area.
Before you leave your ship, pack your photo identification and ship cards. You’ll need them to get back through the cruise terminal.
It’s also recommended bringing some cash because some vendors do not accept other forms of payment.
Most vendors accept US dollars but give change in Bahamian dollars, so consider bringing smaller bills.
It’s not uncommon to find five cruise ships docked at the same time in Nassau, so you might have a fairly long walk to the cruise terminal.
A shuttle is available if you need assistance. Because of the shuttle and other vehicles in the port area, we recommend walking on the pedestrian walkways for your safety.
The cruise terminal building has an information desk and bathrooms inside.
Outside the building, you’ll find Festival Place filled with locals selling souvenirs, local goods, excursions, hair braiding, transportation services, and more.
This area can be a bit frenzied, especially when ships first arrive, but it tends to be calmer later in the day.
Horse and carriage rides are available just before exiting the gates of the cruise terminal area.
We highly encourage you to note where the horses are hitched because later in the day when the horses aren’t there, it can easily be mistaken for a covered walkway and you’ll quickly find yourself dodging horse droppings.
Just outside the cruise terminal area, you’ll find Downtown Nassau.
Bay Street is located in Downtown Nassau, one block inland, and is Nassau’s main shopping area.
Here, you’ll find shops selling jewelry, souvenirs, rum cakes, and more.
Many stores offer free samples or trinkets to attract customers.
Check the shopping guide provided on your ship to find out where to get the freebies.
Located just south of the cruise terminal, on Bay Street, Parliament Square is the home of the Parliament House Buildings and a statue of Queen Victoria.
If you explore the block further inland, you’ll find the Nassau Supreme Court and the octagonal-shaped Nassau Public Library, which once served as the Nassau jail.
Located toward the west end of Bay Street, Nassau’s large Straw Market is the home for several vendors selling souvenirs, wood carvings, local merchandise, and straw products.
Price haggling is expected and most vendors only accept cash.
Near the western-most end of Bay Street, at the intersection with George Street, you’ll find a local, jitney bus stop.
Jitney bus number 10 will take you west towards the Fish Fry, Cable Beach, and more.
One block south of Bay Street, on George Street, is Christ Church Anglican Cathedral.
Founded in the 1600s, it is the first Anglican church in the Bahamas.
The present-day Gothic-style cathedral with vaulted ceilings and hand-crafted, stained glass windows were constructed in the 1800s.
Across from the cathedral is the Pirates of Nassau attraction.
There is an admission fee for the interactive museum, but there is no fee for you to take fun photos in the pillory outside. North of the cruise pier area is Paradise Island.
Taxis have direct drop-offs and pick-ups at both Atlantis and Cabbage Beach, while the ferry runs between Downtown Nassau and the shore of Paradise Island.
From the ferry drop-off area, it’s roughly a 10-minute walk to Atlantis and a 15-minute walk to Cabbage Beach
The Atlantis resort on Paradise Island is one of the primary destinations for cruise passengers visiting Nassau.
The resort features several fee-based attractions, including a water park dolphin experiences and an aquarium.
While there is no fee to enter the casino, you’ll obviously want to bring some money with you.
Cabbage Beach is located adjacent to Atlantis.
The public access point for the beach is about a 5-minute walk from the resort, along Casino Drive.
You’ll find many vendors at the beach renting water sports equipment and loungers and selling food, drinks, hair braiding services, and more.
Junkanoo Beach is a free public beach that is a 15-minute walk from the cruise terminal.
Just follow the sidewalk to the right after you exit the cruise terminal gates and you’ll find signs that lead the way.
In addition to plenty of sand and water, Junkanoo Beach also has several small restaurants and bars and restroom facilities.
The Fish Fry area is a collection of restaurants and bars west of Junkanoo Beach.
The colorful shacks serve up local cuisine and adult beverages for you to enjoy.
It’s also the home of a police station.
Take note that between Junkanoo Beach and the Fish Fry area, there’s a much quieter beach that only had a couple of beachgoers during our most recent visit.
Overlooking the Fish Fry area is the largest of Nassau’s fortresses, which is actually comprised of three forts: Fort Charlotte, Fort D’Arcy, and Fort Stanley.
Construction on the fortress began in the late 1700s, but it was never used in battle.
There is a nominal fee to enter the fortress, 5 dollars per person, but the fee includes a tour guide who will speak to the history of the fortress and answer any questions you have.
You can also see some of the original cannons, explore the fortress grounds, including the underground passages and have access to restrooms.
South of Downtown Nassau, there are several points of interest that are within walking distance of the cruise terminal.
Just south of the Christ Church Anglican Cathedral and Pirates of Nassau, you’ll find the Government House.
Built in the early 1800s, it is the official residence of the Queen’s representative to the Bahamas the Governor-General.
A 12-foot statue of Christopher Columbus is visible through the gates.
Just west of the Government House is the Graycliff Hotel area, which features a small chocolate shop and a cigar factory.
You can purchase rum that has been hand-packaged by locals in a small shop at the end of the tour.
There’s also a bar, which features cocktails and rum tastings with John Watling’s products.
The Queen’s Staircase and Fort Fincastle are located about a 10 to 15-minute walk almost due south from the cruise terminal.