With an average of 315 days of sunshine a year, white-sand beaches — in some places, pink ones! — and clear blue water, it’s no surprise that the Bahamas attract approximately 5 to 6 million people each year. With the closest port to this 700-island country only 55 miles off the coast of Florida, you’re just a quick cruise away from a tropical haven.
While Bahamas cruise itineraries differ based on embarkation port and cruise line, there are two ubiquitous ports of call. Nassau, located on New Providence, is often the first stop. It’s the largest city and capital of the island nation, and crowds can sometimes be overwhelming. Spending the day at Atlantis on Paradise Island is one of the most popular things to do while docked in Nassau. Many cruise lines sell day passes for the resort that grant various levels of access to the beach, dolphin experiences, water park, and restaurants. You can also scuba dive with sharks, learn about the history of Nassau at the Pirates Museum, and tour the dungeons and underground lairs of 18th-century Fort Charlotte.
Freeport, Grand Bahama Island, is the other major Bahamas cruise port. Offering an interesting blend of historical sites, natural wonders, and modern amenities, this port town may just have something for everyone. Golfers flock to the two courses: The Reef and the Lucayan; nature lovers spend time hiking and bird watching in Lucayan National Park; laid-back types soak up the rays on the soft white-sand beaches; and thrill-seekers rip through the water on personal watercraft, paddle out in kayaks, ride horses on the shore, and snorkel around coral reefs.