Within Walking Distance
The laidback charms of Nassau, Bahamas are easily explored on foot. After your Carnival cruise docks in Nassau, you’ll pass through the covered shops and stalls of Festival Place, piled high with crafts, T-shirts, hot sauces, and other souvenirs. Shop till you drop, or head out to do a little cultural sightseeing.
Just across Bay Street from Rawson Square are the flamingo-pink government buildings of Parliament Square, constructed in 1815. One block inland, the pink, octagonal Nassau Public Library was built as a prison in 1798. Climb the Queen’s Staircase, crafted out of a solid limestone cliff by slaves in 1793. A few blocks up from the library is Fort Fincastle, an imposing stone battery constructed in 1793 and you can see it with Highlights of Nassau by Jeep excursion.
Beyond the Port Area
Comb the rusted dungeons and ramparts of 1788 Fort Charlotte, a mile west of downtown Nassau. It’s the largest fort in The Bahamas, covering more than 41 hilltop hectares (100 acres). The fort has panoramic views of Paradise Island, Nassau, and the harbor. It’s big, but not so brassy: The fort’s 42 cannons never fired a shot. On the Ardastra Gardens & City Tour you’ll see parading pink flamingoes, parrots, honey bears, and capuchin monkeys are the main attractions at the lush Ardastra Gardens, Zoo & Conservation Center.
On Paradise Island, the fanciful megaresort known as Atlantis is the largest gaming and entertainment complex in the Caribbean. Carnival cruise passengers can sign up for the Discover Atlantis and tour the Dig, where the fantastic undersea “ruins of Atlantis” swarm with sharks, stingrays, and morays. Or have a one-of-a-kind dolphin encounter with a bottlenose dolphin—capped off with a dolphin foot-push with Atlantis Dolphin Cay Deep Water Swimexcursion.
Shopping in Nassau
Nassau’s main shopping area is on and around Bay Street, just steps from your Carnival cruise wharf, where dozens of duty-free luxury-goods stores are clustered. For locally made goods, head towards Victoria and Bay streets, for intricate handmade straw work—and 100% Bahamian made. Or shop for brightly-colored Androsia batik fabric from the island of Andros at Sea Grape.