Nassau, Bahamas reveals a narration that reads like a historical escapade, beginning with the Lucayan Indians, then the Old World explorers, followed by pirates, slaves and settlers. No wonder it is a port of call popular for visiting cruise ships and a must see for cruise holiday passengers.
A stopover in Nassau presents something for everyone, from amazing beaches to underwater adventures, historical sites and plenty of shopping. It is no surprise that Nassau is an island travel destination that is one of the “most visited” in the Bahamas chain of 700 islands. It is still growing, making tourism the principle revenue earner. Previously a British colony, the Bahamas was given independence in 1973.
Upon arriving on a cruise ship at Prince George Wharf, walk through the welcome center known as Festival Place to exit the port. The facility is run by the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism where maps, brochures and information are readily available. Tours can be arranged aboard the ship or right at this point.
The water surrounding the Bahamas offer visibility of hundreds of feet below, making it a perfect destination for divers. Dive into the depths to get to know the many different marine species by the favourite pastime for cruise holiday visitors with scuba diving and snorkelling.
If spending a day at the beach, there’s no better way to relax than heading to Paradise Island or one closer to the port such as Cable Beach. Both are well equipped.
Dolphin Encounters is a conservatory and research centre devoted to Atlantic Bottlenose dolphins. After a brief orientation period, visitors can swim and interact with these fascinating, gentle and intelligent creatures.
If staying dry is your personal preference, then the Seaworld Explorer is the way to gain a glimpse under the sea. This 90-minute ‘submarine’ tour to Sea Gardens Marine Park never completely submerges. It is actually an undersea observatory to view the coral reefs, colourful tropical fish and other sea life at approximately six feet underwater.
GET YOUR WALKING SHOES AND CLIMB THE QUEENS STAIRCASE
Back on land, get the walking shoes on and climb all 65 steps of the limestone Queens Staircase built by 18th century slaves. Named to honour the 65 years of Queen Victoria’s reign and for her authorizing the abolition of slavery in the Bahamas, this is one of the most sought-after site for visitors in Nassau.
Within the brilliantly refurbished 1860s-era Villa Doyle sits the National Gallery of Art of the Bahamas. Opened in 2003, it has number of important works with the focus on Bahamian artists. The contemporary collected works includes paintings, sculpture, textiles, ceramics and photography.
Anywhere in Nassau, visitors can try a local specialty conch, which is a must to sample either fritters or hearty chowder.
The Straw Market is traditional to Nassau and ideal to get that hat to protect the skin from the sun’s intensity. It is in walking distance from Prince George Wharf.
Bay Street is also within walking distance from port and is a shopper’s paradise. Duty-free shopping is available and stores such as Diamonds International, Colombian Emeralds and Bacardi and Gucci are located here.
After a full day’s visit in Nassau, head back to the comfort of you ship and take off over the crystal sapphire waters for the next port of call’s adventure.
Written by Veronica Shine