Nassau is a popular port of call for cruise passengers. Located on New Providence Island in the Commonwealth of the Bahamas, the capital city of Nassau is a lively spot. Nassau is home to a bustling Straw Market and many duty-free shops and is connected to nearby Paradise Island via a short bridge.
Both Nassau and Paradise Island are filled with a wide variety of activities, attractions, resorts and dining options. In addition, the clear turquoise waters surrounding this port of call are a watersports-lover’s delight. Conch is a popular dish here – get it fresh at Arawak Cay or prepared in a number of ways at local restaurants.
Here are five popular things to do Nassau, Bahamas:
1. Be Thrilled at Atlantis
Aquaventure, the 141-acre waterpark at Atlantis, Paradise Island includes a seven-acre snorkeling lagoon, a mile-long lazy river with intense rapids that make it anything but lazy, massive Mayan-themed water slides, and Splashers – a children’s water play area for kids under 54 inches and their parents. Over 20 million gallons of water are used in this extravagant development. The resort’s incredible marine habitats, including 14 lagoons and giant aquariums, are filled with over 50,000 sea creatures. The Dig, a maze of underground passageways with plenty of sea life views, is also amazing. If you’re looking for even more excitement, check out the huge 100,000 square-foot casino in the Atlantis Royal Towers. It’s the largest casino in the Caribbean and features a wide array of gaming options including over 850 slots, a Race and Sports Book, and 80 table games. For more information on all that Atlantis offers, visit www.atlantisbahamas.com.
2. Stroll Through Tropical Gardens
Take an excursion to Ardastra Zoo, Gardens and Conservation Centre to walk through four acres of lush tropical gardens and view over 300 animals. Here you’ll see marching pink flamingos marching and you’ll be able to feed colorful lorry parrots by hand. Ardastra’s gardens contain a wide variety of flowering plants including orchids and hibiscus and it has the world’s largest collection of indigenous Bahamian animals.
3. Swim with the Dolphins
Dolphin Cay is a dolphin interaction and education center at Atlantis, Paradise Island where guests can interact with Atlantis ‘Katrina’ dolphins. This is one of the most popular attractions at Atlantis and a highly sought after cruise tour, so make sure to get your reservations early. Dolphin Cay is accredited by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums, as are all of the Atlantis facilities. For more information on Dolphin Cay and the various programs it provides, visit www.atlantis.com/thingstodo/
4. Get a Day Pass
Many cruise passengers prefer to spend their port days chilling on a white sand beach and enjoying water sports activities with friends and family. Melia Resort has two great Day Pass packages perfect for those who want to relax and enjoy the amenities of this resort. The Melia’s room-inclusive Day Pass provides day use of a room for two and access to property’s three freshwater pools, a 1,000-foot white sand beach, towels, and non-motorized watersports for a total price of $99. Additional room guests are $35 each. For those who don’t need a room, the standard $30 per person Day Pass provides access to the resort’s pools, beach and non-motorized watervsports. Both Day Pass options allow cruise passengers to use the resort’s on-site restaurants and lounges, but food and beverages are not included. For more information on the Melia, visit the Melia Nassau Beach website. To book a day pass at the resort, call 242-327-8000.
5. Go On – and Under – the Sea
If getting out on a boat and snorkeling is what you have in mind, take a look at the Athol Island snorkeling tour. You’ll board a motorized catamaran for a short trip out to a lovely snorkeling site near uninhabited Athol Island, where you’ll be able to view the sea life found in the Bahamas. Guests must be at least six years of age to snorkel and must be able to swim. Blue Lagoon Island (officially known as Salt Cay) is another popular spot for snorkeling and lounging on the beach, as well as dolphin and sea lion encounters. For more information on spending the day at Blue Lagoon Island, visit www.bahamasbluelagoon.com.
For more information on Nassau and Paradise Island as well as the area’s many attractions, visit www.nassauparadiseisland.com.
Nancy Schretter is the Managing Editor of the Family Travel Network.