Nassau is the capital of The Bahamas group of islands and part of the British Commonwealth.
Its year round steady daytime temperature and proximity to Florida – just 185 miles southeast of Miami – make Nassau a popular port of call.
Nassau is located on New Providence Island and is connected by bridge to Paradise Island – home to Atlantis Resort.
Primary Language Spoken: English
Currency: Bahamian Dollar. The US Dollar is widely accepted at par on New Providence Island and Paradise Island
Where Do Cruise Ships Dock in Nassau?
Prince George Wharf is where all cruise ships dock in Nassau.
Situated adjacent to downtown Nassau, Prince George Wharf can accommodate up to 7 cruise ships at a time – meaning there can be up to 20,000 cruise passengers visiting a day.
Festival Place Welcome Center is the building cruise visitors pass through on the way to downtown Nassau. Festival Place is just steps away from where ships port.
Passengers who have booked a port excursion that requires bus or van pickup can meet their tour guide or excursion director at the water fountain on the left hand side as you exit Festival Place Welcome Center.
On the right hand side of Festival Place’s building exit, you’ll find taxis, carriage rides, scooter rentals, tour boats, ferries and the water taxi to Paradise Island.
READ MORE: 14 Must-Pack Essentials for Every Cruise Vacation with Kids
Getting Around Nassau
Taxi – Taxis are the most popular way for cruise passengers to get around Nassau. They can be easily found right outside Festival Place. For families traveling with young children that require a car seat or booster seat, we recommend bringing your own or booking an excursion/tour in advance with a taxi company that has car seats and booster seats.
Bus – Locally known as “jitneys”, the public bus transit in Nassau is an affordable way to see the island. Fares vary depending on the route and exact change is required. Payment is made when disembarking.
The closest bus stop to the Prince George Wharf cruise ship dock is in front of McDonalds at George and Bay Street (across from the British Colonial Hilton). This bus goes from downtown Nassau to Cable Beach – approximately 4 miles west of the cruise port.
Walking – Downtown Nassau is walkable as the area isn’t too large. Guests can pick up walking tour maps at Festival Place. The duty free shopping area is approximately 5 minutes walking from Prince George Wharf to Bay Street.
The Straw Market, Diamonds International, and other Caribbean port favorites like Del Sol are located near by too. Families with young children in strollers should be aware that some sidewalks near the port are cobblestone and you’ll need a stroller that can handle uneven walkways.
Water Taxi – For cruise guests heading to Paradise Island, the Nassau Water Taxi runs every half hour between 9AM to 6PM from the Prince George dock. One-way ticket costs $4/person.
Horse-Drawn Carriage – This can be a fun way to tour the downtown area. They cost around $15 per person for a 25 minute ride. They can be found just outside of the Festival Place Welcome Center.
Car – Renting a car is not recommended for cruise passengers because of the limited time you have in Nassau. Car rentals are quite expensive (over $100/day) and you’ll be driving on the left hand side of the road.
Kid Friendly Beaches in Nassau
There are no shortage of beaches in Nassau or Paradise Island. All of the beaches listed below are public (no admission fee, no lifeguards) and are near the Prince George Wharf cruise port.
Read More: Best Water Shoes for Toddlers and Kids
Junkanoo Beach – This is the closest public beach to port – less than 15 minutes walking. Junkanoo Beach is not a large beach and can get crowded quickly if there are several ships in port.
Junkanoo Beach has public toilets and change rooms which make it popular with cruisers, vacationers and locals. There are several food and souvenir vendors along the beach. Some food and drink vendors offer free WiFi connection. Beach chair rentals can run anywhere from $5 to $10 per day.
Cable Beach – Located about 5 miles west of downtown Nassau is Cable Beach – known for its crystal clear waters, soft sand and smaller crowds. Cruisers can get there by taxi (approximately $20) or by the #10 bus ($1.25 per person).
There are many dining options available for Cable Beach visitors – restaurants at nearby hotels or local food vendors. Cable Beach stretches about 2.5 miles and is home to several luxury resorts – most which offer day passes if you’re interested in more amenities like pool access, lunch, change rooms or specific water sport activities.
Cabbage Beach – One of the most well-known beaches in the world and located on the northern side of Paradise Island, it is home to several large hotels and resorts including Atlantis Resort and Hotel Riu Palace Paradise Island.
Cruisers can get to Cabbage Beach by taxi or water taxi. Public access to Cabbage Beach is on Casino Drive next to Riu Palace.
Because of it’s location, it tends to get crowded and very busy by noon and mid-afternoon. Beach chairs and umbrellas are available for rent – expect to pay $10/chair and $20/umbrella as well as water sports equipment.
There are several food and drink vendors but no restrooms or change room facilities. If you require these amenities, it’s recommended you by a day pass at one of the hotels or resorts.
Just a word of caution – Cabbage Beach is often red-flagged in the winter months for its rip tides and strong waves.
Top Activities & Attractions for Families
There are countless family-friendly attractions in Nassau, Bahamas if you’re looking for sights to see or places to explore.
Because of the limited time you have in port, here are the four most popular activities and attractions that both kids and adults will enjoy:
Atlantis Resort Paradise Island – It’s difficult to miss the tall pink buildings of Atlantis Resort on Paradise Island when your cruise ship pulls into port. Cruisers have several different options to choose from as all cruise lines offer port excursions here.
From the Aquaventure water park to dolphin interaction programs and snorkeling around the ruins, Atlantis Resort has attractions and activities for every age group. Recommended length of visit – 3 hours or more
Pirates of Nassau Museum – At this interactive museum, you can get a feel for what it was like to be a pirate. Learn about the history of pirates in Nassau Bahamas while exploring a replica of an actual pirate ship. Recommended length of visit – 1 to 1.5 hours
Ardastra Gardens, Zoo & Conservation Centre – The Ardastra Gardens, Zoo & Conservation Centre is a great option for a half-day port excursion with the kids. Great for families with babies or toddlers. Walking paths are stroller friendly so make sure you bring one. As the only zoo in the Bahamas, you can check out endangered animals, feed the parrots or march with the flamingos. Recommended length of visit – 1 to 1.5 hours
Blue Lagoon Island – Located just three miles from Nassau, Bahamas and owned by a local family, Blue Lagoon Island offers cruisers a relaxing day at the beach, an Aqua Bounce Inflatable Park and dolphin and sea lion encounters for animal loving guests.
If you’re looking for an authentic Bahamian nature experience, this private island is worth the visit as it has been virtually untouched. Recommended length of visit – 3 hours or more
Where to Get Free WiFi in Nassau
There are several locations that offer free or low-cost WiFi for cruise passengers
Festival Place Welcome Centre – This is the building that cruise passengers pass through to get into downtown Nassau. When you walk through the building you will notice a free WiFi signal. For optimal signal strength, head to where the live band is playing (just before the exit of the building).
Starbucks – There are several Starbucks locations in Nassau and Paradise Island. WiFi is $3/hr at all of their stores.
McDonalds – Located on Marlborough Street, just around the corner from the British Colonial Hilton Nassau, McDoanlds offers free public WiFi.
Dunkin Donuts – Located in downtown Nassau off Bay Street, near the British Colonial Hilton hotel, free WiFi is available for all paying customers.
Conch Fritters Bar and Grill – This is another free WiFi location near the British Colonial Hilton. All customers in the dining room or bar can connect to their WiFi hotspot for free.
Twin Brothers Grill (Arawak Cay) – If you are headed to Twin Brothers Grill for food or drinks, you can share photos of your dining experience using their free WiFi connection.
Looking for more info on Ports of Call Guides? Visit our Port Guides page to check them out.