Visiting Nassau, Bahamas
The second stop on our recent cruise was Nassau, Bahamas. The ship docked before sunrise. After waking up and going out on the balcony, my first sight was the view of the pink Atlantis Hotel that I had seen so many times on cruise commercials. The weather was perfect; sunny and warm again. As in Freeport, we had no real plan for what to do in Nassau. We grabbed some breakfast at the ship's buffet and then headed off the boat.
Nassau, Bahamas Cruise Port
All visitors from cruise ships enter Nassau through the welcome center at the port. This area is filled with vendors selling t-shirts, post cards, drinks, and souvenirs. There are also women doing hair braiding, people offering tours, and plenty of taxis. A taxi from here to Paradise Island and the Atlantis Resort was $4 a person. City tours were being offered for $20 a person although it seemed there was some room for negotiation. We decided to take our time and just wonder into Nassau.
The City of Nassau, Bahamas
Nassau is a vibrant colorful town. It feels like a real Bahamian city where local people live and work, in contrast to Freeport which seems contrived. The first thing we did was sit in Rawson Square, a small park with palm trees and benches, and check out our Nassau map. We snapped a few pictures of the adjacent pink Parliament Building (said to be the most photographed building in Nassau) and then turned down Bay Street.
Bay Street is lined with pastel colored storefronts selling all types of goods like jewelry, liquor, clothing, and souvenirs. There are also plenty of places to grab a drink or a bite to eat.
Atlantis Resort and Paradise Island
After wondering around Nassau for several hours, having a drink, and buying an obligatory shirt with palm trees on it, we headed over to Paradise Island. The Atlantis is a famous resort on Paradise Island with an iconic huge pink hotel, casino, restaurants, beaches, lagoons, a marina full of expensive yachts, and stores. It also boasts an impressive aquarium with over 50,000 aquatic animals including sharks, stingrays, piranhas and alligators. If you stay at the hotel most things are included in your room rate. If you are just visiting the resort, you'll have to buy a pass to access all the Atlantis has to offer. An all day pass for everything was around $140 per person. Since we only had a couple hours to roam around we decided to just explore what we could for free. Without a pass visitors can walk around the shops, eat at the restaurants, or gamble in the casino. There's also a walkway where you can check out the lagoon.
We explored around a bit, ate lunch at the Atlantis (a couple of $10 slices of pizza), and then headed to Cabbage Beach. Cabbage Beach is a free public beach adjacent to the Atlantis Resort. There are people offering beach chairs and umbrellas for rent and coconut drinks for sale. There are plenty of taxis at Cabbage Beach waiting to take you back to the cruise ships. After walking around the beach for awhile, we headed back to the Norwegian Sky for some dinner.