The Best Bahamas Cruise Guide

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.

Bahamas Ports

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Bimini-300x169.webpBimini

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.

Castaway Cay Bahamas,The Best Bahamas Cruise GuideCastaway Cay

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.

Coco Cay Bahamas, The Best Bahamas Cruise GuideCoco Cay

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 Bahamas, The Best Bahamas Cruise GuideExuma

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.

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Freeport (Port Lucaya) Bahamas, The Best Bahamas Cruise GuideFreeport (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.

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Grand Bahama Island Bahamas, The Best Bahamas Cruise GuideGrand 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.

Great Exuma Bahamas, The Best Bahamas Cruise GuideGreat Exuma

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 Bahamas, The Best Bahamas Cruise GuideGreat 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!

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Half Moon Cay Bahamas, The Best Bahamas Cruise GuideHalf 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.

Harbour Island Bahamas, The Best Bahamas Cruise GuideHarbour Island

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 Bahamas, The Best Bahamas Cruise GuideLong Island

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.

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Nassau Bahamas, The Best Bahamas Cruise GuideNassau

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.

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Ocean City Marine Reserve Bahamas, The Best Bahamas Cruise GuideOcean 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 Bahamas, The Best Bahamas Cruise GuidePrincess Cays

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.

San Salvador Bahamas, The Best Bahamas Cruise GuideSan Salvador

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.

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Best Cruise Ships in the Bahamas

Disney Dream

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.

Norwegian Sky

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.

Carnival Liberty

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.

Celebrity Infinity

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.

28 Comments

  1. Lyndsay

    If you have ever been considering setting sail on a cruise then the Bahamas should definately be high on your list! We stopped at Half Moon Cay as part of our planned itinerary and we were blown away by the absolute beauty of this location! Great advice on different places to visit and tips on how to stay safe during your travels!

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Thanks Lyndsay, so glad you enjoyed!  How did you like Carnival Cruise line then?  I have cruised a couple times with them, no complaints.  No bad days on any cruise 🙂  Thanks for stopping by!

      Reply
  2. Dan

    Oh my god, these islands looks like a paradise! Would love to visit Bimini, Coco Cay, Eleuthera, Freeport… gosh, all of them! Abaco looks like out of this world… Wonderfull places I think everyone should visit. Thank you, Leahrae, now I got something to dream about 😀

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Great Dan 🙂 Yes, they are all paradise and you would love a cruise in the Bahamas. Dreams do come true! When you are ready to start planning, please let me know.

      Reply
  3. Traci

    The pictures you have found are amazing! Thanks for sharing all the beautiful blue Caribbean water! I am an avid cruiser and have been to mostly all of those ports in the Bahamas.

    Great descriptions on all of them! I also like how you listed the cruise ships. Do you have a particular port or cruise ship you like the most?

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Thanks for reading Traci.  Then you agree that cruising is great!  I love Labadee and Belize.  Grand Cayman is up there too 🙂  We go on Royal Caribbean and it has been great so far 🙂  Thanks for visiting!

      Reply
  4. catherine

    I really like the sound of Princess Cays – it sounds like a bunch of fun for the whole family. Thank you so much for sharing.

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Princess Cruise lines is really a great cruise to take. You would enjoy not just Princess Cays, but all the ports on a Bahamas Cruise Itinerary. Thanks for stopping by Catherine.

      Reply
  5. Holly Knudson

    I’ve always wanted to go to the Princess Cays. I enjoyed reading more about it! Went to Nassau and Jamaica years ago and loved it.

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Great Holly, Princess Cays (Princess Cruises private island) is a wonderful choice for your Bahamas cruise. Please let me know if you need any additional information to start planning. Thanks for visiting!

      Reply
  6. Mercedus Long

    Hey Leahrae,

    Thank is for some great information. I almost fell into one of your pics they look amazing. Course I do not believe I would have the courage to jump 70 feet (Especially if the ground is nice and stable lmao)

    You be just helped me settle on next summer vacation

    Thanks

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      You will love taking a Bahamas cruise Mercedus! A 70 foot jump into the water can’t be that bad, right? Thanks for stopping by!

      Reply
  7. JvonA

    Leahrae, thanks a lot for the post. We have been wanting to go on our first cruise, and this sounds like the perfect cruise. Do you think a 3 or 4 day cruise is too short for our first cruise? Thanks!

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      You are welcome Jvon. I think a 3 or 4 day cruise is too short period. I think, even for a first cruise, that you will want to do at least 7 days. It is still inexpensive as far as cruises go. Please let me know if you have any other questions.

      Reply
  8. Judit Szabo

    Hi,
    Very many things to do there. However, I can’t do the cruise this year, but am looking to try planning for 2019. Which ship has the most entertaining? And I can stay on the cruise while the cruise is in port? Is this a combination of a cruise and hotel. What kind of flora and fauna will I see?

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Hi Judit, and great questions. I really can’t tell you which cruise ship is the right ship for you as far as entertaining goes. I think that everyone has their own personal tastes. All cruise ships provide an abundance of it, just maybe a different variety. Once you can determine when you want to go and from which port, then you can see the different ships available. Then you will be able to decide which one is right for you. Everything is included in the cruise, your room, board, food, entertainment, and ports of call. You will only have to pay extra for drinks and port excursions. The flora and fauna will be different as well, depending on which port you are in. Once you are in the planning stage and know when you want to go and from which port, I can answer these questions better for you 🙂

      Reply
  9. Jeremy

    A lot of good information you’ve provided for people who haven’t been on cruises before. So obviously the off-season would be best to avoid crowds and get something a little less expensive, but what locations are best that aren’t too crowded? I’m someone that when I go on vacation, I don’t like to be around too many people (some are fine as you can’t completely avoid it obviously). Any suggestions as far as cruises go? Thanks again for the information!

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Any port in off season will be less crowded. The Bahamas is popular for families in the summer. So if you go while school is in session, you will avoid the crowds. Thanks for visiting the Bahamas Cruise Itinerary.

      Reply
  10. Eric

    Bahama cruise itinerary is for 10 places or is that just the number of ports? I didn’t think the island was that big but I haven’t been there to see it for myself yet. Also which do you think would be the best as far as departure among the cruise lines you have listed? I ask because it’s quite a difference driving from the mid-west to Florida or to one of the other places.

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      The Bahamas is a group of islands. I couldn’t find a good map to add to my post. But these are all islands in the Bahamas 🙂 You could fly as well! For me it is just a 4 hour drive from the East coast of Florida to Miami.

      Reply
  11. Mick Krug

    A Bahamas cruise has a little bit for everyone especially for newbies. You can take a cruise over and stay a few days on one of the islands and then return by ship back to Florida. My wife and I did this once. Had a great time. Great beaches everywhere, good restaurants and of course the casinos. Atlantis casino on Paradise Island is a must visit if one enjoys gambling. On the Cruise over to the Bahamas, one can have a super hot time on board.

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      I agree Mick! It is a cruise that anyone can take. And you are right, it is flexible. It is popular here in Florida to take a cruise over, stay the weekend and then come back. And yes, fun for all 🙂

      Reply
  12. Patsy

    I’m not one for having the chance to travel and always wanted to go on a cruise. The Bahamas sounds interesting, it’s great they are available year-round. For myself I would love to go for more than the 3 or 4 nights for sure and during the off season when it’s not as busy.

    Bimini looks beautiful but Castaway Cay sounds like a place I would enjoy for a day. There are so many places to choose from! I’ll have to bookmark your article and go over them again.

    Thanks for your thorough and interesting article, just being on the cruise ship would be exciting.

    Patsy

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Great Patsy, and thank you for stopping by and learning about a Bahamas Cruise Itinerary. They are really pretty inexpensive, and you would have a great time. Please let me know if I can answer any questions for you.

      Reply
  13. Carole

    I just stumbled upon your site while looking for a Bahamas cruise. I have to admit that I am quite impressed with all the good information you provide. You just made my life so much easier! Thank you so much for sharing!

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Great Carole, glad I could be of assistance. If you have never cruised before, the Bahamas Cruise is a great choice. Even if you have cruised before, pick some new ports and explore! Cruising is wonderful!

      Reply
  14. Amy

    I’m in…! We just got back from a vacation at Epcot and the Animal Kingdom and I heard a lot about the Disney cruise. I am sure it is absolutely wonderful, being all things Disney. This is definitely on my list for next year, as well as the Straw Market in Nassau.
    I have never been to the Caribbean…! Never…! So now I know where I have to go. I have bookmarked this page for reference and thank you for making it seem so easy to travel to paradise!

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      You bet Amy! A great way to get started is with a Bahamas cruise. They are pretty inexpensive, and you get a flavor for a variety of islands. Drop in when you are planning and ready to book. Thanks for reading my Bahamas Cruise Itinerary.

      Reply

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