From ship to shore: Top things to do on your Bahamas cruise

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Picture yourself on the deck of a luxurious cruise ship, surrounded by the shimmering turquoise waters of the Bahamas. With each passing moment, you draw closer to a tropical paradise, a realm of stunning beauty and rich cultural heritage. The Bahamas, with its 700 islands and thousands of cays, is an idyllic destination for travelers seeking a perfect blend of relaxation, adventure and exploration.

A white sand beach with a boat in the water.
Photo credit: Pixabay.

Whether you are a first-time cruiser or a seasoned traveler, you will have a great time with these top things to do on a Bahamas cruise. Your voyage experience will be filled with breathtaking landscapes, exhilarating activities and authentic island experiences.

Nassau: The capital of paradise

Your Bahamas cruise is likely to start in Nassau, the capital city of the Bahamas. Nassau offers a blend of history, culture and natural beauty that you won’t want to miss. Begin your adventure by visiting the historic Nassau Straw Market, where you can shop for authentic Bahamian crafts and souvenirs.

Don’t forget to explore the historic district of Nassau, where you can wander through charming streets lined with pastel-colored colonial buildings. Make sure to visit landmarks like the Queen’s Staircase and Fort Fincastle for breathtaking views of the city and the ocean.

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Paradise Island: Atlantis Paradise

Just a stone’s throw away from Nassau is Paradise Island, home to the iconic Atlantis Paradise Resort. While day passes can be pricey, the resort offers a wide range of activities for cruise passengers to enjoy. Take a dip in the famous Atlantis water park, explore the marine habitats and even try your luck at the casino. Atlantis Paradise is a must-visit destination for thrill-seekers and those seeking relaxation alike.

An island with a lighthouse in the middle of the ocean.
Photo credit: Pixabay.

Breathtaking beaches

One of the Bahamas’ greatest treasures is its stunning beaches. When your cruise ship docks, you’ll have the chance to experience some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Cable Beach, Cabbage Beach and Junkanoo Beach are among the most popular. Spend your day basking in the sun, swimming in the crystal-clear waters or indulging in water sports like snorkeling and jet-skiing.

Snorkeling and diving

The Bahamas is renowned for its vibrant underwater world. Whether you’re an experienced diver or a newbie, there are plenty of opportunities to explore marine life here. The Exuma Cays, Andros Barrier Reef and the Blue Hole are some of the top diving spots, where you can encounter colorful coral reefs, exotic fish and even some shipwrecks.

A diver is scuba diving with a shark.
Photo credit: Pixabay.

For those who prefer snorkeling, the Thunderball Grotto, located near Staniel Cay, offers an incredible experience. Dive into this underwater cave and be surrounded by schools of tropical fish. It’s a surreal adventure that’s not to be missed.

Swim with pigs on Pig Beach

Imagine swimming in crystal-clear waters alongside a group of friendly pigs. Pig Beach, located in the Exuma Cays, is a unique and unforgettable experience for animal lovers and adventure seekers. These playful swine have become a beloved attraction, and your Bahamas cruise may include an excursion to this quirky destination.

A pig swimming in clear blue water with a seagull on its back.
Photo credit: Pixabay.

“It was such a unique experience. It felt like something out of a movie, watching all of these massive piggies swim and play around in the water and on the beach.”

—  Margaret Bigelow, Whimsy Soul

Explore the Exuma Cays

The Exuma Cays, a pristine archipelago of 365 islands, is a hidden gem that should be on every Bahamas cruise itinerary. The Exumas offer an unspoiled natural beauty that’s perfect for exploration. You can take a boat tour to see the famous swimming pigs, feed the iguanas on Bitter Guana Cay or swim in the surreal Thunderball Grotto.

Conch salad and Bahamian cuisine

No Bahamas cruise is complete without trying the local cuisine. Conch, a type of mollusk, is a Bahamian specialty and can be enjoyed in various forms, including conch salad, conch fritters and cracked conch. Visit a beachside shack or a local restaurant to savor the flavors of Bahamian cuisine. 

A conch shell on a beach in the caribbean.
Photo credit: Pixabay.

Pair your meal with a refreshing Bahama mama cocktail. A signature Bahamas cocktail, the Bahama mama is a tropical delight made with rum, coconut liqueur, coffee liqueur and various fruit juices. It’s a fruity and refreshing drink often garnished with a slice of pineapple or a cherry.

Another traditional Bahamian cocktail is sky juice, which features gin, coconut water, condensed milk and a hint of nutmeg. It’s a creamy and refreshing libation.

Pirate adventures

The Bahamas has a rich pirate history, and you can immerse yourself in the lore of swashbucklers by visiting pirate-themed attractions. Explore the Pirates of Nassau Museum to learn about the Golden Age of Piracy or embark on a pirate-themed cruise where you can dress up, search for hidden treasure and enjoy pirate-themed entertainment.

Visit Andros Island

Andros Island is the largest of the Bahamas’ islands and offers a unique blend of natural beauty and cultural experiences. Explore the Andros Barrier Reef, the third-largest coral reef system in the world or take a guided tour to explore the island’s rich history and indigenous culture.

Andros is renowned for its blue holes, which are underwater sinkholes that attract divers and explorers from around the world. These eerie, deep pools offer unique opportunities for underwater adventures.

Enjoy Junkanoo Festival

If your Bahamas cruise coincides with Junkanoo, the Bahamas’ most vibrant and lively festival, consider yourself lucky. This annual event celebrated on Boxing Day and New Year’s Day, features colorful costumes, lively music and energetic dance performances.

One of the most iconic aspects of Junkanoo is the elaborate costumes worn by participants. These costumes are made from a variety of materials, including crepe paper, cardboard and feathers.

A group of people in colorful costumes walking down the street.
Photo credit: Pixabay.

Junkanoo is accompanied by rhythmic music played on instruments such as drums, cowbells, whistles and horns.

Final thoughts

A Bahamas cruise promises an unforgettable journey filled with natural wonders, rich history and vibrant culture. From exploring the historic streets of Nassau to swimming with pigs in the Exuma Cays, there’s something for everyone to enjoy in this tropical paradise. Make the most of your Bahamas cruise by exploring these top things to do and creating cherished memories that will last a lifetime. Whether you’re seeking adventure, relaxation or a taste of local culture, the Bahamas has it all, ensuring that your cruise is a dream vacation come true.

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