Bahamas cruise information: Greatest itineraries, ideas and issues to do

In the event you’ve cruised or are planning to cruise to someplace heat, it is possible that the Bahamas will pop up in your itinerary — and for good motive. Discovered on each Bahamas-exclusive sailings and Caribbean voyages, Bahamian ports supply loads of solar and sand, in addition to alternatives for procuring, playing and extra.

The islands attraction to each new and seasoned cruisers. Their proximity to Florida makes them fast, straightforward and reasonably priced to achieve by ship, whether or not for a fast in a single day journey or a name as a part of an extended voyage.

Learn on for all you have to know when planning a crusing that features the Bahamas — one of many cruise trade’s hottest locations.

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Why cruise to the Bahamas?


Within the Bahamas, the individuals are as heat because the climate, providing greetings and pleasant smiles at each flip. The primary attracts, nonetheless, are the seashores and brilliant blue waters, which supply loads of locations to snorkel and scuba dive or to work in your tan whereas sipping a cocktail or two.

Among the best causes to go to is that the islands are near Florida — the cruise capital of the world. The Bahamas are frequented by most main cruise strains and present up on numerous itineraries, from two-nighters to longer voyages.

The takeaway: Passengers have plenty of selections. If you wish to journey to the Bahamas by cruise ship, you may simply discover a cruise line, size and value level to satisfy your wants.

The Bahamas is a good place to go to, so long as you set your expectations. Nassau, which is the most important port and the nation’s capital metropolis, is usually crowded with cruise ships. Locals will strategy you with provides for every part from taxi rides to hair braiding. It may be overwhelming, so be ready to politely decline should you’re not .

When do cruises go to the Bahamas?


Cruise ships name on the Bahamas all 12 months. Nonetheless, midwinter is usually the very best time to go. Costs are cheaper, there are fewer passengers as a result of kids are at school and the climate is not as sweltering as it’s in summer time. Plus, wave season — when cruise strains supply among the finest offers you may see all 12 months — runs from January by way of March, so you would snag a last-minute discount. You additionally will not need to take care of potential itinerary adjustments as a consequence of hurricane season, which runs from June by way of October.

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Climate within the Bahamas is usually gentle, with temperatures starting from the excessive 70s to low 90s Fahrenheit. As anticipated, the most well liked months are present in summer time, with decrease temperatures throughout winter.

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Greatest Bahamas itineraries


Islands within the Bahamas are featured on plenty of itineraries, starting from quick, Bahamas-specific sailings to longer Japanese and Western Caribbean voyages.

Bahamas-only cruises are typically wherever from two to 5 nights, and so they go to a port or two within the Bahamas, in addition to a non-public island (see beneath).

Japanese and Western Caribbean sailings normally begin at 5 nights and might run as much as two weeks in size, however most normally final a couple of week.

On these voyages, you are more likely to see a mixture of ports. Within the Japanese Caribbean, anticipate to go to a mixture of Puerto Rico, St. Maarten, the U.S. Virgin Islands (St. Thomas, St. John and St. Croix) and the French West Indies (Martinique, St. Barts, Guadeloupe and St. Martin). In the event you go the western route, Belize, Honduras and Jamaica are widespread stops.

Moreover, cruisers can discover Bahamas stops on sailings that depart from non-Florida ports on the East Coast, comparable to New York and Baltimore, and even Gulf Coast departures from Galveston, Texas. They’re usually seven or eight days in size and embrace calls on Florida and the Bahamas. Some additionally characteristic southern ports like Charleston, South Carolina.

Greatest Bahamas cruise strains


As a result of Bahamas’ reputation, the nation’s proximity to the East Coast and the variety of ships it may accommodate at one time, most main cruise strains go to the islands there.

You will primarily discover sailings with the “Huge 9” manufacturers — Carnival Cruise Line, Movie star Cruises, Disney Cruise Line, Holland America, MSC Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line, Princess Cruises, Royal Caribbean and Virgin Voyages.

One distinctive outlier is Margaritaville at Sea (previously Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line), which operates two-night voyages backwards and forwards between Palm Seaside, Florida, and Freeport, Bahamas. The cruise line additionally companions with a land-based resort there, permitting passengers to increase their holidays on land within the Bahamas if they need to take action earlier than returning to Florida on the ship a number of days later.

Due to how crowded and frenetic the principle Bahamian ports might be, luxurious strains have a tendency to remain away. There are a number of exceptions, although, comparable to Lindblad Expeditions. The road operates sailings to among the Bahamas’ Out Islands, that are too tiny for bigger, extra mainstream vessels to achieve.

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Issues to do within the Bahamas


As you’d anticipate from a warm-weather vacation spot, outside pursuits are the most well-liked. Cruise passengers can stroll to the closest seashore to sunbathe, swim, snorkel or scuba dive, or ebook a banana boat, parasailing or celebration boat tour.

For enjoyable, reasonably priced souvenirs, procuring abounds at native outlets and in Nassau’s huge straw market, discovered on Bay Road. Simply be sure you do not buy from the primary vendor you see, as many stalls supply the identical wares. You would possibly discover a cheaper value should you wait or should you discount for a greater deal.

In the event you’re extra the playing kind, take a fast taxi journey to Paradise Island, which is residence to the well-known Atlantis resort. Enterprise indoors to play desk video games or strive your luck on the slot machines within the resort’s on line casino, or buy a day move to make use of the outside swimming pools and waterslides.

For fabulous meals, ask a neighborhood to level you within the path of their favourite restaurant, and head off the overwhelmed path to strive some conch fritters (fried conch meat) and peas with rice. For dessert, do not miss the semi-sweet bread-style johnnycakes.

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Greatest Bahamas cruise ports


The Bahamas has two major cruise ports: Nassau on New Windfall Island and Freeport on Grand Bahama Island. Nassau provides loads to see and do inside a brief strolling distance from the port. Nonetheless, Freeport requires passengers to ebook a shore tour or take a taxi to most sights.

Different Bahamas stops embrace Bimini, which is much less frequented, and cruise line non-public islands that may solely be accessed by way of cruise ship.


Historic Nassau, the capital of the Bahamas, is the cruise trade’s most trafficked cruise port. It is bustling and busy, and it may really feel overwhelming to vacationers on their first go to, particularly when there are a number of ships docked on the identical time.

However brightly coloured buildings, expansive seashores and ample alternatives for procuring and eating rapidly make up for the chaos.

Nassau can also be a port teeming with tradition. Previously a haven for pirates, town is now a historical past buff’s dream, providing easy accessibility to monuments and buildings that have been as soon as the stomping grounds of swashbuckling scallywags.


Freeport has a extra relaxed vibe than Nassau. The slower tempo of Grand Bahama Island, the place Freeport is positioned, lends itself to lazy seashore days and informal strolls by way of city for passengers in quest of the right memento.

Water sports activities abound, and the clear, bright-blue water is strictly what you’d anticipate from an island paradise.

Sadly, Freeport has been hit by a number of tropical storms and main hurricanes through the years. Though it is a pretty port to go to, you may anticipate to see reminders, even years later, as building tasks are deserted and the island struggles to rebuild.

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The island chain of Bimini, which is a part of the Bahamas, can also be residence to a cruise port. Fewer ships name there than name at Nassau or Freeport. Aside from seashores and resort-style experiences, there is not a lot to do.

The port was thrust into the highlight when Virgin Voyages developed its Bimini Seaside Membership on a part of a property operated by Resorts World. When Virgin ships are in port, the one individuals who have entry to the Seaside Membership are Virgin passengers. Cruisers who name on Bimini with different strains can buy day passes so long as a Virgin ship isn’t docked that day.

Non-public islands


Many of the cruise trade’s non-public islands are positioned within the Bahamas. These rigorously curated swaths of land can solely be visited should you’re crusing on a ship that has entry.

If you’re ashore, you may anticipate clear amenities, pristine seashores, procuring alternatives, free buffet lunches (normally a barbecue) and quite a lot of rigorously managed water-sports-centric shore excursions. A number of the bigger, extra developed non-public islands additionally supply water parks, horseback driving, zip strains and swimming pools.

Non-public cabanas, villas and bungalows are additionally accessible, however they arrive at a premium and normally ebook up rapidly. Some are even reserved for cruisers booked in suite lodging on their ships.

When to ebook a Bahamas cruise


For the reason that Bahamas is a year-round vacation spot and plenty of ships name there, provide is plentiful. Which means costs are typically extra reasonably priced, notably for shorter Bahamas-only voyages.

For further financial savings, take into account reserving your crusing within the first quarter of every 12 months throughout wave season, when cruise strains supply fare reductions and different added-value perks like free Wi-Fi and beverage packages, discounted airfare or onboard credit score for extras like spa remedies, shore excursions or eating in eating places that cost charges for meals. Additionally hold an eye fixed out for Black Friday offers towards the top of every 12 months.

You may additionally be capable of make the most of resident charges should you stay in Florida, navy reductions or “children sail free” promotions.

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What to deliver on a Bahamas cruise

Questioning what to pack? For any cruise, you may’t go fallacious with resort-casual clothes and one thing for formal evening if you would like to take part. You will additionally want underwear, toiletries, pajamas and footwear, in addition to any journey paperwork required to board and clear immigration and customs.

For the Bahamas particularly, you may need to put together for heat, sunny climate by bringing a washing swimsuit and cover-up; flip-flops or sandals; and sun shades, a hat and sunscreen to guard your self throughout time outdoor. For these not heading to the seashore, sundresses or shorts with T-shirts or tank tops are appropriate apparel.

In the event you plan to buy whereas ashore, most locations do settle for bank cards, however you would possibly need to deliver money. {Dollars} are accepted within the Bahamas, so there isn’t any have to alternate forex.

Backside line


In the event you cruise, it is nearly sure you may go to the Bahamas in some unspecified time in the future in your travels. Though it may be crowded, the expertise is an fulfilling one.

In the event you’re in search of a enjoyable warm-weather vacation spot that provides loads of seashore time, lively diversions, historical past and tradition, procuring, playing and wonderful meals, you will not be disillusioned with a visit to this common cruise area.

Have extra questions on Bahamas cruises? TPG has solutions.

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