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When you sail into Nassau, there are a few things you’ll probably notice immediately once you’re on the open deck that’s unique to Nassau.
One of those things is the number of cruise ships docked next to you.
Depending on the time you cruise into the port, you’ll likely see other cruise ships right by your side.
If you’re the first ship of the day, it probably won’t be long before you’re joined by other ships!
This port can dock a high number of cruise ships compared to typical Caribbean cruise ports, and it’s not uncommon to see 5 large cruise ships docked at once in Nassau.
Another thing you’ll notice not too far in the distance when you’re looking out from the cruise ship is a bunch of pink colored buildings.
That would be Atlantis on Paradise Island, and also possibly the most popular shore excursion for Nassau.
But, how about some cheap things to do in Nassau?
What to see in Nassau if you want some budget-friendly activities?
If you don’t mind some walking and are interested in learning a little bit about the history of the Bahamas, there are a couple of low key cultural visits you can make that are within walking distance of the Nassau cruise port so you can make your own self-guided DIY Nassau excursion!
Here is an outline of a full-day excursion you can do on shore when you have a full day in Nassau.
This itinerary includes a break back on the ship followed up with time at the beach!
Use this outline as a guide for ideas on what to do during your day in the Bahamas!
1. Parliament Square Nassau
2. Queen’s Staircase
3. Fort Fincastle
4. Junkanoo Beach
Nassau Cruise Guide:
- Nassau cruise port map
- Walking to Junkanoo Beach from Nassau cruise port
- Walking to Queen’s Staircase from Nassau cruise port
- Walking to rum disillery from Nassau cruise port
- Walking to Senor Frog’s bar from Nassau cruise port
- Miami hotels with free shuttle to cruise port
If you'll be snorkeling on your next vacation, consider wearing these types of UV swim shirts. Also see about what to pack for Hawaii for hiking, snorkeling, and more essentials! And for Hawaii vacation ideas, see the best things to do in Oahu that will give you Hawaii vibes!
Bahamas on a budget: Nassau one-day self-guided excursion
Summary of the day’s itinerary in Nassau
MORNING: Soak up some Bahamas history with a walking tour! (1-2 hours)
LUNCH: Head back to the cruise ship for (free!) lunch. (1 hour)
AFTERNOON: Rest up those feet from the walking you did in the morning and soak up some sun for some relaxation on the beach! (1-2 hours)
Interactive map near Nassau cruise port
Here first is an interactive map of Nassau with points of interest.
– Click on the image below to view the map in Google Maps.
– Click on any icon on the map and it will tell you what’s there.
– You’ll find a list of places of interest by name when you open up Google Maps. Click on any name from the list, and it will indicate where on the map that point of interest is located.
– Above the list you’ll find a share button to e-mail the map to your travel companions!
– Mobile visitors: Pin this page for later so you can play around with the map better when you’re on a desktop!
– Mobile visitors from Pinterest: First click the “open” button to view this page in your browser, then click the map below. This will allow the map to open up in Google Maps if you have that app on your phone. This will then allow you to explore a little better than within the Pinterest app. (Desktop is still better!)
You may also consider getting this laminated map of Nassau.
Morning excursion in Nassau: Bahamas history tour (1-2 hours)
As you’re walking away from the cruise port, choose the route that will take you past and through Parliament Square to witness the architecture that signifies the colonial past of the Bahamas. Parliament Square is just outside the cruise port.
A visit to Queen’s Staircase will give you a dose of the slave history of the Bahamas in the manner in which the staircase was built.
There are guides at this location who can tell you a bit about this history.
Note that these guides will basically ask to be tipped for sharing their knowledge.
If you wish to tip, a couple of dollars should be fine. But other than that, this is a free attraction in Nassau.
The Queen’s Staircase is a small area, so 15-20 minutes can be adequate time spent here.
Passing by Parliament Square to get to Queen’s Staircase, it’s about a half mile once you get out of the cruise port area, which is about a 10 minute walk.
New Providence Island, the name of the island you’re on in Nassau, is a relatively flat island.
Fort Fincastle is one of the areas of the island that is on higher ground.
To go into the fort itself, there is a nominal fee, which is about $1 that you pay at the ticket booth.
Going inside will give you the chance to learn more about the fort with the informational signs.
If you don’t care to go in, you can still admire the views of the fort, as well as the views of the harbor where the cruise ships are docked!
There are gift stands around the fort area if you’re looking to buy souvenirs from the Bahamas.
This fort is also relatively small.
If you pay the entrance fee to Fort Fincastle, 20 minutes is probably enough to explore the fort.
Other than that, around the fort is a nice quiet area that could be a good spot to have a rest and enjoy those views of the harbor!
Fort Fincastle is located right near Queen’s Staircase, and it is about a 15 minute walk back to the cruise port.
Lunch back on the cruise ship (1-1.5 hours)
Walking around a seemingly empty cruise ship is a whole different feeling than walking around on a packed cruise ship!
Since you’re not wandering off too far from downtown and are staying within walking distance of the cruise port, consider heading back to the ship for lunch if you’re looking to save some money.
The line to get back onto the ship likely won’t be long at all either, if there is a line at all.
Lunch on the ship while it’s in port all day is also great because there will also be minimal lines for all the food since most cruise passengers are on shore!
Take the chance to eat some cruise food at the specialty restaurants with a short line or no line at all!
By going back to the ship, you can also pick up what you need for your afternoon excursion instead of carrying it around in the morning.
Afternoon excursion in Nassau: Beach time at Junkanoo Beach! (1-2 hours)
You don’t have to go far to find a beach when you’re docked in Nassau. Just about a 15 minute walk from the cruise port is Junkanoo Beach!
Things to maybe pack for your cruise to the Bahamas!
Now, here are some things that you just may want to add to your cruise packing list!
- This case so you can take pristine underwater pictures or pool pictures! (It’s cheap!)
- This pouch so you don’t have to worry about leaving valuables on the beach
- These tag holders so you don’t end up with lost luggage on the cruise ship!
- These cubes so you can find your stuff once on the cruise
- These types of beach shoes so you don’t have to worry about hidden rocks under the sand at any of the cruise ports
- This type of beach bag that’ll help you dry things out so you can be ready for the next beach day!
- For your beach outfits, take a look at…
- Cruise formal: And here are ideas for your cruise outfits for formal night!
- Seasickness: And here are ideas for snacks and wearables to prevent seasickness
- Snorkeling: What to wear snorkeling
HAPPY NASSAU BAHAMAS CRUISING!
More cruise tips:
– What to wear for cruise formal night
– Do you need cruise travel insurance?
– Cruises with kids: Things to do on embarkation day
– How to prevent cruise luggage from getting lost on the cruise ship
– How to prevent seasickness
– What NOT to bring on a cruise
– CRUISE PACKING LIST!
Cruise tips on Pinterest: Follow the Cruise Travel board!There are affiliate links on this page. As an Amazon Associate, I may receive a commission.
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- Walking: These types of hiking sandals. For walking in hot weather, they are more breathable than shoes, while still giving you necessary traction on the trails. Also see more about the best shoes for hiking in Hawaii.
- Beach: These types of beach shoes. For beach walking, wading in the water, and rocky shorelines, they can prevent cuts from hidden rocks or when bumping into coral reef.
Swimwear for snorkeling and beach- These UV protection shirts are a hit so you don't have to keep re-applying sunscreen and don't have to worry as much about getting sunburn!
- What to wear hiking
- Snorkeling essentials for Hawaii
- What to wear on a cruise formal night
more Hawaii travel tips:
-- Oahu travel planning map
-- 3 day Oahu itinerary
-- 2 week Oahu itinerary
-- Best short hikes on Oahu with amazing views
- BIG ISLAND:
-- Big Island travel planning map
-- 7 day Big Island itinerary
-- Best beach hikes on the Big Island with amazing views