Choosing the perfect Shore Excursion in Nassau, Bahamas

On our MSC Cruise in the Caribbeans, which lasted 7 nights, we visited some of the most beautiful and culturally rich islands. From Jamaica, a vibrant paradise renowned for its rich culture, stunning natural beauty, and reggae rhythms, to Grand Cayman in the Cayman Islands, a tropical jewel known for its pristine beaches, world-class diving sites, and Cozumel, an enchanting island in Mexico famed for its dazzling coral reefs, vibrant marine life, and lively atmosphere, our ultimate destination on the cruise was Nassau, Bahamas.

Choosing the perfect shore excursion in Nassau, Bahamas wasn’t hard because there really wasn’t a lot to do on the island. However, when it comes to the beaches and the pristine ocean colours, the Bahamas are outstanding and prettier than most other Caribbean islands we visited, so any trip to Nassau has to be about exploring the best white sandy beaches and snorkelling or enjoying water-based activities. While in most other destinations, I had preplanned our shore excursions, in Nassau, we decided to wing it, and it was possible the best decision ever! Nassau is the only other city in the world to host the famous Atlantis Hotel (after Dubai, my hometown) so most people prefer to spend the day (using a day pass) on the beaches and waterpark of the hotel. Our plan was to take it easy and walk around the city centre and explore its colourful colonial architecture and bustling markets. One distinct thing you’ll notice when you walk the streets, is that many jewellery stores offer free charms or pendants or bracelets just for walking into their store. This is not a scam, I tried it and managed to collect a few trinkets for free without being forced to buy anything!

Explore the City Center

Most places are right next to the port where the cruises dock, so it’s easily walkable. Start by exploring Bay Street, the Queen’s Staircase and Fort Fincastle. The Straw Market is another excellent place to immerse yourself in the lively atmosphere and get yourself some souvenirs. You can also walk to one of the most stunning beaches located within a 5 min walk from the port called Junkanoo Beach, which beckons you with its turquoise waters and powdery sands, perfect for swimming, snorkelling, or simply soaking up the sun.

Junkanoo Beach

Atlantis Hotel Day pass

If you’re looking for some luxury, relaxation & water activites, buy a day pass for Nassau Paradise Island and experience the various destinations including one of the most luxurious resorts in the world, Atlantis Hotel. The Atlantis Day Pass grants access to a plethora of attractions. Start from Aquaventure, a one-of-a-kind waterpark with exhilarating slides and tranquil pools set along pristine white sandy beaches. You can also discover the marine habitats and exhibits, savor both casual and fine dining experiences, and shop at the Crystal Court Shops. Additionally, delight in the excitement of the Atlantis Casino, the allure of Marina Village, and the stunning resort pools and beaches.

Half Day Trip to Rose Island

For me, this was the most unique experience in the Caribbeans. Before going to Nassau, I was under the impression that swimming with the pigs in The Bahamas was only possible in Exumas, which are FAR away from Nassau and involve taking a flight to get to the destination. However, while in Nassau, we saw a few vendors selling half day trips to an island that offered this experience, at a reasonable price of $90 per person (vs the price if you book this tour online, which is around $190 per person), so we immediately jumped on this offer and decided to take the 4-hour trip to Rose Island.

The boat took us through Atlantis, where we didn’t stop but managed to get a glimpse into the lovely architecture of the hotel, before stopping at a place in the middle of the ocean, that was a fantastic site for snorkelling. Life jackets and snorkel gear was provided to us, and we had about 15-20 min to experience the amazing marine life in the pristine waters of the Bahamas. Finally, we arrived at Rose Island, where we had about 2-3 hours to relax on one of the most beautiful beaches I’ve ever seen, have unlimited Bahamas Mamas while sunbathing, and finally play with some of the friendliest pigs we’ve ever seen. The tour price also included one free fruit bucket to feed the pigs, which finished in less than a minute as the pigs seemed very hungry and interested in the snack, despite being fed by so many other tourists!

While this trip can be booked online, I highly recommend buying it off the shelf while you’re there. Also, since it’s only a 4-hour trip, you will be left with ample time to explore the city center and relax at the beaches right next to the port, or shop at Craft Market before heading back to your cruise.