My husband and I are going on the NCL Sky from Miami to Bahamas in Sept - we've never cruised before and want to know what's a good excursion on Nassau and/or Grand Bahama Island. Is one better for just walking around and doing on your own or are excursions needed for both?
"Better" is subjective. Nassau is easy to do just walking around. Its also less expensive to do it this way. The cruise lines will give you a lot of information about excursions that they sell and make it sound like you'll be wasting your time if you don't book an excursion. Don't believe them, they are just trying to sell you an excursion. Now, having said that, there are excursions available that you won't be able to do if you just hop off the ship unless you look online and book a private tour ahead of time. This can be scary for the first time cruiser, but if you pick a known tour guide, you will be in good shape. I cruise line's biggest scare tactic is the "ship leaving without you unless you book a ship's tour". But *** long as you leave yourself plenty of time to get back to the ship, Nassau is not that big that you can't grab a taxi back to the ship.
Look through the tours that are available before you go. Decide what things you would like to do in either port. You normally have time to do an excursion in the morning and then have time to walk around on your own after the tour. Or if none of the excursions float your boat, then you can find plenty to do just walking around (unless you are going to Freeport. There is nothing much to do right where the ships dock you you have to catch a taxi to go anywhere)
Hi Kristyne, welcome to Cruise-Chat. A must see, in my opinion, is Atlantis on Paradise Island (across the bridge in Nassau from where you dock). Just grab a cab and have them take you there. There is a public beach adjacent to the property. You can also walk around the straw market and visit the Queen's Staircase in Nassau. I haven't been to Freeport in a long time, it used to be one of my favorite spots in the Bahamas, but have read many reports that it's gone downhill. I'm sure Lucaya is still a nice visit there. Best wishes and once again, welcome aboard!
Thanks, guys, for giving Kristyne a warm welcome! She's my friend and co-worker and has listened to me chatter incessantly about cruises for many years! I'm hoping after how much I've built it up that she'll enjoy it as much as I do! I told her this was the best place to get friendly answers.
Booked on NCL Breakaway, Feb. 2014
Carnival Conquest, Feb. 2012
NCL Gem, Sept. 2011
NCL Jewel, Feb. 2011
NCL Dawn, Sept. 2010
NCL Spirit, Feb. 2010
NCL Gem, March 2009
RCCL Explorer of the Seas, Feb. 2008
Carnival Miracle, May 2007
Carnival Conquest, April 2006
Caribbean Princess, Feb. 2005
One mistake new cruisers often make in Nassau is getting on the Water Taxi to go to Atlantis. Not a good experience. Go through the building at the pier to the front and get a regular taxi if you go over there. The beach that Penny mentioned beside Atlantis is called Cabbage beach. You can easily do this without an excursion. I haven't been to Freeport in many years, so I am doing some research too.
Freeport is one of those ports you wonder why they bother to stop at. Of course my only experience was one stop in 1990 (which tells you a lot if one stop in 18 years is enough), so I would hope that they have built up things to the point where there is now more to do. I hope that people who are going soon or have gone recently can give some insight on the place. Has it changed at all?
My first time to Freeport was in 1993. I remember looking out of the port hole and saying, "why are we docked at a coal mine?". I think it was actually some kind of abandoned property to do with oil. On the port side, it was a gravel parking lot with a fence around it. When I visited in 02 the port had been built up and had a tourist shopping area there.