The last stop on our Carnival cruise was Nassau, Bahamas. Originally, our plan had been to spend the day at Breeze’s Resort.
Breezes charges $65 for an all exclusive day at the beach, including free drinks, food, water activities. Mr. A was really excited to try out this resort because he had been talking about jet skiing all week.
Unfortunately that never happened. Around 10pm the previous evening, the cruise’s captain came over the overhead speakers to announce that a guest needed immediate medical treatment and we would need to turn back around to meet up with a medivac helicopter.
This impromptu turn around meant that we arrived 3 hours late to Nassau. In talking with other cruisers, we’ve learned that this is something that pretty much every cruiser has experienced. We hadn’t previously experienced it on our other cruises so we were pretty bummed and not prepared.
Our 3 hour late arrival meant that we would only be in port from 3pm to 7pm. With Breezes about a 30 minute cab ride away, we would only have 2 hours at the beach before we needed to head back to the ship. It didn’t seem worth the $130 to us.
So we decided to change up our plan and site see a little then head over to the Hilton Colonial Hotel, which allows cruisers to purchase day passes for their beach. Since the Hilton was only a short 10 minute walk from the cruise terminal, timing wouldn’t be as much of an issue. Another option would have been to use a Carnival shore excursion. We checked with the customer service desk but because of the short time in port Carnival had cancelled all of their excursions (kind of sucky customer service if you ask me).
While the ship was pulling into the dock, we spent a lot of time on our balcony taking pictures of the scenery in Nassau.
The cool part about the cruise terminal is that it faces the Atlantis Resort so we were able to get a lot of pictures of it.
The ship finally docked in Nassau around 3pm but the passengers weren’t allowed off until close to 3:30pm. It was a crazy madhouse with people literally lined up 7 flights of stairs to get out.
When we finally made it on the docks, we were ushered through Nassau’s dirty port building (the only exit from the docks to the town).
After navigating through the overpriced vendors and horse poop smell, we made it to Nassau’s downtown square, featuring their Parliament building.
After a few pictures, we decided to walk up to the famous Queen’s staircase. Big mistake. The walk itself wasn’t that long or difficult but I was scared the entire time. We walked through some really bad neighborhoods and I definitely wouldn’t recommend doing it again. I’m not sure if it was the surroundings or the fact that I had heard of tourists being robbed in Nassau but either way I didn’t feel very safe.
The Queen’s Staircase is a set of 65 stairs that were carved out of a solid limestone wall by slaves in the late 18th century. The stairs served as an escape route to the ocean from Fort Fincastle, which sits adjacent to the top of the staircase.
Luckily, the Fort never had to be evacuated and the staircase now serves as a shortcut to locals. Once we reached the bottom of the stairs, we started making our way over to the Hilton.
We passed through the main downtown shopping area of Nassau on our way. It left a lot to be desired. Trash everywhere. Dilapidated buildings. Tourists crowding the streets. It was not the tropical paradise I had been hoping for.
After a good 20 minute walk, we finally arrived at the Hilton. It was definitely breathtaking. After waiting about 10 minutes, we finally got to ask their front desk about their beach pass, only to find out it was an incredible $55 a person. With only an hour and a half left at port, it seemed silly to waste all that money.
Luckily, there was a free public beach, Junkanoo Beach, a few blocks down from the Hilton.
It wasn’t the prettiest or the cleanest beach I’ve ever seen but at least we can say we went to a Bahamian beach that didn’t cost us a $100.
We spent a few minutes taking pictures and laying on our beach towels until we couldn’t take the cold anymore. The wind had really picked up and the waves were incredibly rough.
We walked back through the downtown area hoping to find some non-cheesy shopping only to be disappointed by more of the same dirty tourist traps.
Since we didn’t have enough time to head over to Atlantis, we opted just to go back to the ship early. And apparently so did everyone else. Once again, we had to be herded through the pier building.
But this time there were so many people trying to get back to the cruise ships (4 other ships were in port that day) that we had to wait over 15 minutes to get through the security checkpoint. I thought it was a fitting ending to a lackluster day.
If we could do it all over again, we would recommend just going to Atlantis. We were apprehensive about going to Atlantis because to us it just seemed like a big tourist trap and who really cares about a big hotel anyway. Now we know that it’s probably the only redeeming factor of Nassau.
Sorry to be such a downer about Nassau but it was seriously the pits. Maybe we would have had a different experience had we been at a resort all day. I don’t know but if you are only going to be there for a short period of time I would definitely recommend just spend your time at Atlantis.
That my friends concludes our Caribbean Cruise adventure. Even though it ended on a downer, we had an amazing experience throughout the entire cruise.
Stay tuned for tomorrow’s post where I give you our top 5 cruise tips.