Caribbean vacations
Cruise and Beach Destinations
in the Caribbean, Mexico & Beyond

Caribeez.com
Bahamas

Freeport Bahamas Cruise Port Tips

Freeport cruise ship
Cruise ship docks at Freeport Bahamas. Credit: Wikimedia Creative Commons license
The cruise port at Freeport on Grand Bahama Island is the second most popular tourist destination in the Bahamas after Nassau.

Grand Bahama is one of the northernmost islands of the Bahamas. It is known for two areas in particular – the resort center at Freeport and the suburb of Lucaya. Cruise visitors will have a chance to see both of them.

Freeport is the dominant city on Grand Bahama with its own cruise terminal and the Grand Bahama Island International Airport. Lucaya also has a cruise terminal and is a major hub for cruise ships, shopping, restaurants, hotels and entertainment.

Fast Facts


  • Port Lucaya Marketplace is a major tourist attraction.
  • Grand Bahama has many beaches to offer, although none near the cruise port.
  • March and April are two of the best months to visit for weather.

Attractions


Natural attractions include Lucayan National Park, which has one of the world’s largest underwater cave systems. Peterson Cay National Park is a protected area a mile offshore with coral reefs and opportunities for picnicking, snorkeling and scuba diving.

Port Lucaya Marketplace
Port Lucaya Marketplace is one of the most popular attractions near Freeport.
Bahamas Dolphin Tours has swimming and diving with dolphins. It’s a common excursion from the cruise lines. The facility is a short ferry ride from Lucaya.

Other favorite attractions are Rand Nature Center or the Garden of the Groves.

Rand Nature Center, 25 minutes from Freeport Harbor, is a common cruise line shore excursion. The 100-acre facility is a nature reserve with hiking trails and rotating visual art, cultural and educational exhibits.

Garden of the Groves, seven miles east of Port Lucaya Marketplace, is a botanical garden and family attraction with more than 10,000 species of plants and animals. It has 12 acres of waterfalls, gardens, a meditation labyrinth, petting zoo and playground.

Golfers can use two courses – the Grand Lucayan Reef Golf Course or Ruby Golf Course. Grand Lucayan near the Port Lucaya Marketplace has large and flat greens. Out of 18 holes, 13 play off water. The 18-hole Ruby Golf Course is closest to the Freeport Cruise Port at five miles or 12 minutes away. Both courses are par 72 and nearly 7,000 yards long.

Beaches


Grand Bahama has 90 miles of beaches on its southern shores that offer many options for anyone with transportation on their own. Otherwise, cruise lines offer plenty of excursion possibilities.

Xanadu Beach is the closest major beach to the Freeport Cruise Port at 15 minutes or six miles away. This public beach is three miles from the International Bazaar, offering water sports, straw goods, food and beverages.

The respectable Gold Rock Beach is a stretch for time at 30 miles or 40 minutes east of the cruise port.

Bahamas Ministry of Tourism recommends the smaller Paradise Cove Beach 13 miles or less than 30 minutes west of the port.

Finally, Taino Beach in Lucaya, has a children's playground, nature preserve and bird sanctuary.


Shopping / Restaurants


Shoppers will find plenty to browse and buy at the 12-acre Port Lucaya Marketplace. It is the place to go for any shoppers visiting Freeport by cruise and is a common cruise shore excursion.

Port Lucaya Marketplace is a nice shopping and restaurant district, although not nearly as big as the one in Nassau and other major ports. Still, visitors will find plenty to see and do both in the marketplace and at nearby attractions within walking distance such as Lucaya Beach and Windsor Park.

The older International Bazaar is closer to the Freeport cruise port but not as popular as Port Lucaya Marketplace. This mall is one of the oldest shopping areas in Freeport and is in decline.

Getting Around / Transportation


Taxi rates are metered and set by the government. Meter fares start at $3; each extra mile is 40 cent. Rates include another charge for every passenger over the age of two years old.

Grand Bahama has a bus system that runs from 7 a.m. to sunset. The fare is $1 in the Freeport and Lucaya areas and $2 in the west and east ends. Cruise visitors who disembark at the Freeport cruise port can take a bus or taxi to the Port Lucaya Marketplace.

Weather


Cruise visitors to Freeport will find plenty of warm weather throughout the year. Even during the winter, the average high temperature reaches the mid-70s Fahrenheit.

Average daytime temperatures eventually climb into the upper 80s Fahrenheit in the summer. But it’s not the temperatures that may keep people away during some months of the year. It’s the rainfall.

Rainfall averages two to three inches a month during the dry season from December through April. It rains less than 10 days a month during this time.

Rainfall begins to climb in May to four inches and eventually reaches the highest point of more than eight inches in August and September.

Cruise travelers planning to visit Grand Bahama will find that the best weather for a combination of warm temperatures and low risk of rain is in March and April.
Scott S. Bateman is a professional journalist who has traveled widely throughout the Caribbean and the Americas.

 > Category: Cruise Ports   

September 13, 2018

More Tips