Is It Worth Getting off the Cruise Ship in Nassau, Bahamas?

If you’re taking a cruise through the Bahamas, odds are good that you’ll be making a stop at Nassau. The capital of the Bahamas, Nassau offers numerous port adventures, shopping, and sights to see. But is the area worth leaving the ship to explore?

That’s a difficult question to answer and may vary depending on the length of your cruise.

Why Skip Nassau?

Nassau isn’t for everyone. There are port adventures that may appeal to many cruisers, but some won’t enjoy the prices or the rather in-your-face sales approach from people around the port. Shopkeepers, vendors, and drivers will desperately try to win your business and they won’t be shy about it.

Safety is also a major talking point in Nassau. Several governments including the United States and Canada have issued safety advisories for Nassau. The U.S. issued a new travel advisory in February 2024 about crime and safety in Nassau, warning visitors that even tourist areas have been the target of robberies and violent crime.

The U.S. also cautioned against going on boating adventures due to safety concerns and loose regulations.

3-4 Night Cruises

If you’re on a three or four-night cruise, we may recommend skipping Nassau and spending time on the ship. If it’s your first time in the Bahamas, you could hop off the boat for a little just to check Nassau off your list of places visited.

There are some fun port adventures offered at Nassau, but do your homework before booking. Some port adventures, even ones recommended by your cruise line, may not offer the experience you’re picturing. That can be a costly mistake to make.

On the flip side, you could use this opportunity to enjoy the amenities on the ship while other guests are on the island. For Disney Cruise Line, this may mean swimming in the pool, riding the AquaDuck, or just relaxing on one of the many available deck chairs.

Use this time to enjoy what the ship has to offer. Guests with Disney Cruise Line will also enjoy Castaway Cay on trips involving Nassau, which is possibly one of the best destinations in cruising. Don’t feel bad if you skip Nassau if your itinerary includes Castaway Cay.

5+ Night Cruises

If your trip is five or more nights, you may want to check out a port adventure while in Nassau. Port adventures booked through Disney Cruise Line, or whichever ship you’re on, are usually the safest bet, though they may be the most expensive. Booking one of these adventures guarantees that the ship won’t leave without you and offers better chances at a refund should something go wrong.

We recommend exploring Nassau on a longer cruise because you should have more than enough time to enjoy the ship on a longer trip. But, as mentioned above, be aware of your surroundings and only deal with reputable companies.

Overall Thoughts

Personally, we weren’t very big fans of Nassau. We didn’t have any port adventures booked, so we planned to explore the port. Instead of being able to explore the shops and take in the sights, we were bugged repeatedly by vendors. We were in the mood to relax, not haggle.

Safety is also an area of concern. Nassau has been given travel warnings due to the high risk of crime. After leaving the fenced area at the port that’s guarded by uniformed soldiers, there’s definitely a feeling that you should travel in groups or with knowledgeable guides.

In the future, we are open to the idea of booking a port adventure with a group that explores more of Nassau. There’s some truly beautiful areas in Nassau, and some fun activities for all ages. But, we’ll definitely stay on the ship if we don’t have anything specifically planned.

Let us know what you think about spending time in Nassau in the comments.

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David is a Disney travel expert who created Notes from Neverland in 2018 after visiting Disney theme parks countless times. Previously, David spent way too much time writing about sports, and was featured in Sports Illustrated, MSN, Yahoo!, and in many other publications. Learn more or contact us.

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