Cruise and Beach Destinations
in the Caribbean, Mexico & Beyond

Best Bahamas Shore Excursions

Fort Charlotte
Fort Charlotte is a major attraction in Nassau. Credit: Wikimedia Creative Commons license

Shore excursions abound for cruises that go to the Bahamas, especially to Nassau and Freeport.

The Bahamas are known as a versatile vacation destination, having enough variety in activity for toddlers, grandparents, and everyone in between.

A full week cruise that embarks from northern U.S. cities such as New York and Virginia Beach will usually visit just Nassau and Freeport. Cruises that leave from Florida ports such as Miami may visit a port on a smaller island that is owned and operated by a cruise line. They include Castaway Cay, Half Moon Cay, Coco Cay, Princess Cays, and Great Stirrup Cay.

The small company-owned ports have a common set of things to do. They often include beaches, snorkeling, paddleboarding, ziplines and waterparks. It’s Freeport and especially Nassau that have the unique shore excursions.

Top Shore Excursions in Nassau

Dolphin encounters are available at the Atlantis Resort. Credit: Pixabay license

The city of Nassau on the 21-mile-long island of New Providence is the most visited cruise port in the Caribbean.

Nassau has a lengthy history as a British territory that dates back to 1670. A guided tour, which costs about $40 to $60 depending on whether people walk or ride, is an inexpensive way to explore that history. Sites may include Fort Fincastle, Queen’s Staircase, Straw Market and Paradise Island, home of the Atlantis Resort. A guided excursion with transportation will often last about two and a half hours.

Atlantis Resort has one attraction in particular for cruise visitors: a 123-acre water park. Although the small company-owned islands have their own water parks, the Atlantis park is a major attraction in its own right.

A day pass to the water park will cost more than $100, depending on the time of year. For $25, one of the more popular excursions on the island is a day pass to the resort. Day visitors to the famous resort will gain access to the resort’s beach, as well as the Dig, an exhibit of the lost tunnels of Atlantis and marine life.

Dolphin swims are available at Blue Lagoon Island. Dolphin enthusiasts can wade into the water, feed, and pet the dolphins. Some lucky participants might even receive a big wet kiss from their flippered friend. A dolphin excursion will cost about $130 to $150 or more depending on the program. Note that sometimes a discount is available.

A catamarran cruise around Paradise Island Harbor that also includes a visit to Atlantis will cost about $90 per person.

Anyone who wants to get away on a private island can take a ferry to Pearl Island for about $90 per person.

A unique excursion for Nassau is a chance to swim with pigs who live by the water at Balmoral island. This four and a half hour excursion will cost about $75 per person.

Families with young children will enjoy a visit to the relatively new Pirates of Nassau museum. The interactive museum, complete with a 75 foot pirate ship, is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Top Shore Excursions in Freeport

Port Lucaya Marketplace in Freeport is a massive complex of shopping, dining and entertainment for the throngs of tourists who visit the Bahamas every year.

The Marketplace is the most popular shore excursion on Grand Bahama, the island where Freeport is located.

Like Nassau, Freeport has a dolphin encounter facility. Prices start at about $140 per person.

The Garden of the Groves is a botanical paradise in Freeport, populated with over 10,000 varieties of flowers and trees. The garden is open daily from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Horseback riding along the shores of the Grand Bahama Island is an excursion of choice for many. This two hour tour winds through the forests and beaches of the island.

Private boats can be chartered for snorkeling excursions through Freeport Private Charters and Snorkeling Tours. Participants receive lunch and a private snorkeling tour throughout the island’s cays and reef.

Scott S. Bateman is a professional journalist who has traveled widely throughout the Caribbean and the Americas. He is the author of four books about cruising in the Caribbean, Alaska and Mexican Riviera.
May 09, 2024

All Cruise Ports in the Bahamas

Abaco golf
Explore Bahamas cruise ports including attractions, excursions and shopping tips.

Freeport Bahamas Cruise Port Guide

Freeport cruise ship
Freeport is the second most popular cruise port in the Bahamas after Nassau.

Nassau Bahamas Cruise Port Tips

Nassau cruise port
Nassau is one of the most popular cruise ports in the Caribbean region for good reasons.

8 Best Nassau Tourist Attractions

Nassau Travel Tips: Hotels, Attractions, Weather

Nassau Bahamas Beaches Near the Cruise Port

Best and Worst Times to Visit the Bahamas

Freeport Grand Bahama Vacation Tips