Why A Bahamas Cruise?
The Best Bahamas Cruise Guide will answer all of your questions…read on and head for these laid-back islands on casual Bahamas cruises, most of which depart from Florida. Cruise to the Bahamas and you’ll find pretty beaches, good snorkeling and opportunities for water-skiing, parasailing, jet skiing, windsurfing and more. Cruises to the Bahamas also offer colorful artwork, spirited dances and lively music. Nassau’s duty-free shopping and famous straw market lure shoppers in search of handicrafts. At night, many Bahamas cruise passengers go ashore to try their luck at resort casinos. The Bahamas are a great destination year round for cruising. Most cruises are short, 3 to 4 nights, though some Caribbean cruises visit a Bahamas cruise port as part of a longer itinerary. You can learn The Best Cruise Vacation Tips here, or visit us on Pinterest.
Best Time For A Bahamas Cruise
Due to its pleasant year-round weather, the Islands of the Bahamas makes a great cruise destination almost any time. Just 50 miles off the coast of Florida, Bahamian ports such as Nassau and Freeport are included on many Caribbean cruises. The best month for a cruise depends on several factors, including who’s going on the cruise, what the expectations are, how much weather affects the fun and what the budget looks like.
If looking to take an inexpensive cruise to the Bahamas, again look to off-season times – late April, early May, September, October and early November – since many people are back to work and school and since rates are generally lower. If money is an issue, be sure to avoid holiday cruises and high-season cruises from December through February; these cost more.
Another way to save money on a Bahamas cruise is to find out if there’s a home port close enough to drive to rather than fly. For example, Carnival Cruises offers four-, five- and six-night Bahamas cruises year-round from Charleston, South Carolina; Celebrity Cruises offers longer Bahamas cruises from Baltimore, Maryland.
If sunshine and toasty temperatures are all-important for a Bahamian cruise, go ahead and take the plunge. In that case, the best month is August, when average high temperatures are 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Ships and ports may be crowded, but everyone will be in a holiday mood and enjoying the clear water and white sandy beaches of Nassau and Freeport. Note the wettest month of the year in the Bahamas is June, and hurricane season runs from June through November.
Diving, snorkeling and sea kayaking are just a few of the ways to spend your time in Bimini. This small island is only seven miles long and 700 feet wide and is the perfect place to take a dolphin excursion or go fishing. The island plays host to several fishing tournaments throughout the year. Bimini is the westernmost island in the Bahamas and the closest to the U.S. mainland.
For kids and teens, it’s Never Never Land. For adults, it’s Shangri-La. As you step off the ship directly into paradise at Disney’s Castaway Cay, you’ll know you’ve arrived in a magical place. Hop on a bike and live out your wildest Robinson Crusoe fantasies exploring secluded white-sand beaches. Let Disney pamper you in rare style in one of their open-air massage cabanas. Enjoy a Bahamian barbecue, or kick back with your favorite cocktail. In true Disney fashion, this day-long island experience is one you’ll never forget.
Exclusive to Royal Caribbean, CocoCay is a beach day experience packed with exciting attractions for the whole family. Thrill Waterpark is home to a wave pool and Daredevil’s Peak, the tallest water slide in North America at an astounding 135 feet. Relax at the Coco Beach Club’s infinity pool and enjoy upgraded cuisine, or take a ride on Up, Up and Away, a tethered helium balloon offering stunning Caribbean views from 400 feet above the island. Oasis Lagoon, the largest freshwater pool in the Caribbean, boasts a swim-up bar and various coves and islands to explore.
Exuma is a pristine and unspoiled island in the Bahamas. Life here remains as it was decades ago, and on many parts of the island the only sounds you hear are bird songs and the gentle lapping of the sea on the shore. The island’s simplicity is exemplified in the atmosphere of the friendly community. Enjoy an unimpeded view of the sunset or gaze at the stars without the interference of bright lights and commercial glitz.
Freeport (Port Lucaya)
Duty-free stores await passengers in Port Lucaya, but for those not interested in shopping, there is plenty more to do. Grand Bahama Island boasts miles of beautiful beaches, and the clear waters are ideal for snorkeling and water sports. The most popular excursions in Port Lucaya include swimming with the dolphins, going on a rum party cruise, water-skiing, jet-skiing, parasailing and windsurfing.
Grand Bahama Island
Grand Bahama Island is the fourth largest island of the Bahamas, home to some of the friendliest people in the world. Many visitors put in at Port Lucaya for the beaches, the live entertainment in Count Basie Square, and the busy marketplace. Outside the city can be found the Garden of the Groves, Grand Bahama’s first botanical garden, as well as Gold Rock Beach, which is at its most spectacular at low tide. Nearby are the Lucayan Caverns of Lucaya National Park, and Sanctuary Bay, where visitors can sign up to swim with the dolphins.
The Exuma Islands are located in the middle of Bahamas. The main attractions are the world-class sport fishing and boating. The rolling hills, wide sandy beaches, and brilliant blue waters have some of the earth’s more spectacular creatures. Snorkelers and divers will find lots to explore, from the huge coral reef to Exuma Sound which is filled with caves, blue holes and shipwrecks. The Exuma Islands also claim bragging rights to their place in Hollywood, having twice been the location for James Bond films.
Great Stirrup Cay
This private NCL island is an unspoiled paradise of white-sand beaches and coconut palms, and home to lizards, seagulls and neon-colored fish. Snooze in a hammock under a shady palm tree. Learn to snorkel in a peaceful cove where tropical fish weave around equally colorful coral and sea fans. Dance the limbo and enjoy a beach side barbecue. Circle the island in a kayak or sailboat. Enjoy the day!
Half Moon Cay
Half Moon Cay is a private island shared by Holland America and Carnival. The island is nine and a half miles around and has nine miles of beach (including an exquisite two-mile crescent-shaped beach), an exterior lagoon and an interior lagoon. The Bahamas National Trust has designated part of Half Moon Cay a wild bird preserve, leaving all but 55 of the island’s 2,400 acres untouched and unspoiled and creating a plentiful habitat for a variety of land and seabirds. Spend the day horseback riding or hiking the island’s nature trails through the lush broad leaf forest. Enjoy swimming, sunning and relaxing on the beach, or go scuba diving, snorkeling or kayaking. Deep-sea fishing, parasailing and glass-bottom boat rides are available. A variety of water toys are available for rent, including Hobie catamarans, Sunfish sailboats, windsurfing sailboards and kayaks.
At just three miles long and half a mile wide, Harbour Island can only be accessed by boat with no direct air route. Its pink sand beaches that run along the eastern side of the island make for a popular vacation destination for tourists from around the world. A microscopic organism with a pink shell called foraminifera is what causes the beaches to be such a striking hue. Life moves a little slower on Harbour Island, and this slow pace provides a friendly and inviting atmosphere to all who visit.
Long Island is a paradise with its incredible cliffs, endless beaches and stunning coral reefs. Sink your feet in soft pink and white sand beaches fronting turquoise waters and see the deepest blue hole in the world, Dean’s Blue Hole.
The Bahamas’ capital city offers travelers the chance to swim with dolphins, dive among Caribbean reef sharks and cruise the coastline on a speedboat excursion. Living up to its name, Paradise Island is home to the world-famous Atlantis resort, a tropical utopia that boasts 5 miles of beaches, a 141-acre water park, snorkeling adventures off a catamaran, an expansive casino and much more.
Ocean Cay Marine Reserve
The Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve is an exclusive getaway that provides some of the finest beaches in the world and offers a variety of Caribbean-inspired experiences. The island is 95-acres of pristine beach front and Marine Reserve land full of distinguishing Caribbean features like a Bahamian village, Jamaica Dogwood trees, Mangroves, Beach Morning Glory, and various other plants around the island. There are many restaurants and bars that guests can explore at their leisure as they move freely between ship and island during their stay.
Princess Cays is situated on 40-plus acres on the island of Eleuthera. Visitors of this private paradise can sunbathe along more than a half-mile of shoreline, snorkel in pristine waters, kayak through a lagoon or try their hand at windsurfing and paddle boarding. Banana boat rides get the adrenaline flowing, while glass-bottom boat cruises reveal a look at the region’s colorful marine life.
The Bahamas are comprised of more than 700 islands spread across 90,000 square miles in Atlantic and Caribbean waters. San Salvador is a sleepy, secluded island, believed to be the site of Columbus’ first landing in the Bahamas. This is the place to sun, swim and snorkel in the coral reefs.
Best Cruise Ships in the Bahamas
The company behind the “Most Magical Place on Earth” also offers an equally wondrous experience on a short cruise to the Bahamas. On Disney Dream, passengers can enjoy meet-and-greets with their favorite Disney characters, production shows — including “Beauty and the Beast” — using elaborate costumes and props, and dinner at fun, themed restaurants. Cap off the night with a fireworks show and top-deck dance party, in the middle of the ocean.
Margaraitaville at Sea Paradise
The Margaritaville at Sea Paradise is your easy escape for 3-days, 2-nights. Immerse yourself in your resort at sea where you’ll find live entertainment and performances, drinks by the pool, games of chance at the casino, and delicious food – always ready when you are. Or kick back at your own pace and relax top deck to the sound of gently splashing waves.
Grandeur of The Seas
Although its Bahamas cruises aren’t short, Grandeur of the Seas still offers a solid bargain on its seven- to nine-night itineraries, which tend to incorporate other stops along the U.S. East Coast. With the extra sea days between Baltimore and the Bahamas, cruisers have more time to enjoy the ship’s array of dining and entertainment, such as salsa dancing, a piano sing-along, theme parties and a top-deck soiree under the stars.
Perhaps no ship embodies the mantra “it’s 5 o’clock somewhere” more than Norwegian Sky, where passengers kick back with a continuous flow of frozen, fruity cocktails thanks to the line’s all-inclusive beverage policy. Even 18- to 20-year-olds can enjoy a glass of wine or beer, legally, with a parent’s consent. But there’s more to the ship than its open bar. Passengers have a choice of several free and for-fee specialty restaurants, such as the French-inspired Le Bistro, perfect for date nights, as well as a fun mix of nighttime entertainment.
Roomy cabins, a variety of complimentary dining venues and bars, and a water park make Carnival Liberty one of the best values when it comes to Bahamas cruises. With so much to do (and eat and drink) onboard, you might even find it hard to get off the ship in port. Need some time to detox from it all? Carnival Liberty’s Serenity Deck — one of the only cruise ship adults-only sun decks that doesn’t come with an extra fee — allows you to soak up the islands’ cerulean sea views from a hammock, clam shell lounger or hot tub.
Not a fan of the whole “rock climbing walls and water parks” scene? Consider a Bahamas cruise on Celebrity Infinity, which takes a more relaxed approach to island time with its peaceful sun decks, chic atmosphere and emphasis on fine dining. The cruise line boasts some of the best restaurants at sea, while innovative entertainment keeps the party going till late. The popular Martini Bar is a show all in itself; order a martini flight, and you’ll see what we mean.