More than three thousand islands make up the picturesque Commonwealth of the Bahamas. Situated southeast of mainland Florida, the Bahamas lie in the same geographical chain as Cuba, and the Turks and Caicos islands. The islands marked Christopher Columbus’ first landfall in the new world in 1492, although The Bahamas were never inhabited by the Spanish. The islands remained mostly deserted until 1648, when English colonists from Bermuda built a settlement on Eleuthera Island.
The plantation era has had a considerable effect on the colourful Bahamian culture visitors enjoy today. The many visitors on luxury cruises to the Bahamas can dock at a selection of ports including Bimini Islands, Castaway Cay, Coco Cay, Freeport, Great Stirrup Cay, Half Moon Cay, Princess Cays, and the islands’ capital, Nassau.
The influence of a variety of nations including West Africa, England, Haiti and the United States is clearly noticeable in the main cruise port of Nassau. Located on the 21 mile long island of New Providence, this lively city plays host to many guests visiting the charming islands. And, with the cruise port conveniently positioned right in the heart of the action, visitors on a cruise holiday need not walk far to feel immersed in the Bahamas’ vibrant culture. Enjoy a stroll through tree-lined streets or take a city tour at a slower pace than the rest by hiring a horse-drawn carriage.
For those looking to pick up some authentic local goods for friends and family back home, Nassau’s famous Straw Market is a must. With over 450 vendors offering a fantastic array of souvenir ideas including Bahamian crafts and hair-braiding, a stop at the market on Bay Street is a great way to spend a morning. On the same street, you will find a host of duty-free shopping opportunities with significant reductions on many renowned brands.
Visitors eager to experience some of the island’s colourful wildlife may choose to visit the Ardastra Gardens. Stroll around the impressive gardens and encounter a variety of local creatures including pink flamingos and peacocks. The Bahamas also offer the once-in-a-lifetime chance to swim with dolphins. A ferry from the Nassau cruise terminal to Blue Lagoon Island, also known as Salt Cay could be ideal for those wanting a dolphin encounter, as well as time to unwind in a hammock on an unspoiled beach.
If you’re seeking the same ultimate comfort and relaxation ashore as provided by your luxury cruise ship, a resort day at one of the Bahamas’ most luxury resorts, such as Atlantis on Paradise Island may be the perfect option. An entrance fee to the 34-acre resort gives guests the opportunity to see local marine life in their natural habitat and access to their beach. Those, however, who would rather enjoy a quieter day at a more secluded beach, may prefer to take a taxi to South Ocean Beach.
For more information on luxury cruises to the Bahamas, please call one of our Cruise Experts on 0800 008 6677. Alternatively, please see below to view our full range of Bahamas itineraries.
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