Located between the east coast of Florida and the North Atlantic is an archipelago of 700 tropical islands and more than 2,000 cays known as the Bahamas. These islands are the ultimate playground for cruisers seeking sun and turquoise ocean views.
With no shortage of spectacular beaches, most cruisers spend the majority of their stop lounging on sugar white sands. While this might seem like the perfect day, there is so much more to explore in the Bahamas.
From the lively town of Nassau to the spectacular mangroves of the Andros, this popular cruise stop is more than just a beach destination. In fact, the majority of the Bahamas’ beauty lies beyond the beach. If you are looking for something out of the ordinary on your next cruise to the Bahamas, check out these ideas.
Snorkel the Mysterious Blue Holes of the Bahamas
If your cruise itinerary includes a stop at Freeport, then consider visiting one of the mysterious blue holes strung around the island. Named for their deep indigo color, there are more than 1,000 blue holes located in the Bahamas. They can be found in various places—in the depths of the ocean, hidden in the forests or right off the beach.
Blue holes reveal a lot about the past. Some even hold clues about prehistoric life in the Bahamas. These underwater caves offer divers and snorkelers plenty of fascinating marine life and interesting geological formations to explore.
Learn About the Women Pirates Who Once Plundered the Seas
The Bahamas was once one of the most notorious pirate havens in the world. Nassau’s population consisted mostly of pirates back in the early 1700s. What most people don’t know is that some women pirates were just as feared and merciless as their male counterparts. They roamed the seas in search of revenge, freedom and fortune. Two of the most well-known female plunderers, Anne Bonny and Mary Read, ruled the Bahamian seas, sailing under the skull and crossbones of the Pirate Flag.
On your cruise to the Bahamas, visit the Pirates of Nassau Museum and learn about the swashbuckling history of these two females. They have a fascinating exhibit dedicated to Bonny and Read. This interactive museum is located right in downtown Nassau, just five blocks or so from the cruise ship dock.
Spend a Day at One of the World’s Most Spectacular Resorts
When arriving in the Bahamas, the glitzy, coral colored resort Atlantis is the first thing that cruisers usually see. Nicknamed “Vegas by the Sea,” this resort is quite impressive. With its 141 acre waterpark, 21 restaurants, a world-class casino and one of the largest marine exhibits in the Caribbean, Atlantis offers tourists plenty of things to do for the day.
You can visit the marine exhibits, which are home to more than 50,000 aquatic animals. If adventure is more your thing, then check out the resort’s waterpark—Aquaventure. Teens will love the 200-foot body slide—The Abyss, which plunges into a lagoon. Little kids will have a blast at Splashers, a Mayan-themed pool and water playground.
Visit the Exumas
In the Exumas, the coastline is flawless, and residents enjoy a slower, more peaceful way of life. It is no surprise that many celebrities have made these idyllic islands their home. The Exumas consist of hundreds of islands and cays that are scattered across the Bahamas. They are renowned for world-class diving, colorful reefs, historic ruins and swimming pigs.
There are many things for cruisers to explore in the Exumas. You can spend the day just like the contestants of The Bachelor did in season 20—swimming with pigs. These creatures are the only inhabitants of the tiny island of Big Major Cay. If you are not quite up to froliking in the ocean with pigs, there are plenty of other things to do in the Exumas. You could go deep sea fishing, swim on the Tropic of Cancer or feeding the iguanas.
To escape to the Exumas, you’ll need to take a shore excursion or charter from Nassau as these islands are located several hours from the cruise dock. That is why they are best visited on cruise itineraries that include an overnight stop in Nassau. This gives you plenty of time to enjoy the Exumas during your stop. Although you’ll have to venture a bit off the beaten path, a day trip to the Exumas is worth it.