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The Islands You Must Visit on a Bahamas Vacation

OK, you’ve chosen The Bahamas as your next cruise destination. Perhaps because of its convenient proximity to ports in Florida and other parts of the US, or maybe due to its world-famous reputation for sparkling turquoise waters, white sands, sunshine and gentle breezes. (We’re with you!) But if you’re new to visiting this sun-soaked corner of the world, you may be wondering where in the Bahamas you can cruise to. After all, the country encompasses around 700 islands. Which ones will you visit and what can you do there? Follow us…


As the capital of The Bahamas, and the nation’s cultural hub, Nassau is almost guaranteed to be on your itinerary. But being rich in history and home to museums and quaint colonial streets doesn’t mean you can’t hit the beach as well. This is The Bahamas and no cruise to Nassau is complete without getting your toes into that sand and water. Lots of families who take a Bahamas cruise head to the sprawling Atlantis Resort (across the bridge, or water from the port) for beach time and a dolphin play date, but there are other, less crowded beaches a short taxi ride or excursion away from where your ship docks, too. Nassau is a great choice for anyone who loves a combo of cultural exploration and kick-back time on the beach.

atlantis resort in nassau


Like Nassau, Freeport, on the island of Grand Bahama, is a “city”—in the Bahamian sense, meaning there’s great shopping and cultural pursuits you can check out, right near some of the world’s most breathtaking beaches. The Port Lucaya Marketplace is a popular stop for cruisers, as is the local casino. But if you want to enjoy the great outdoors, Freeport is the place to do it: There’s incredible deep-sea fishing in this area, as well as sailing, and the opportunity to swim with dolphins at UNEXSO. The Lucayan National Park and its caves and waterfalls are a nature lover’s dream, while Freeport’s beaches look like movie sets in dazzling HD color.

a beach in freeport

Half Moon Cay

Consider yourself a VIP, if only for a day, when you visit Half Moon Cay (aka Little San Salvador Island). This private island, located about 100 miles southeast of Nassau, can only be accessed by cruise ship, so it’s the perfect place to recharge your batteries mid-cruise. Even if you forgo renting one of the island’s private cabanas, you’ll still find your very own patch of powdery sand to enjoy, perhaps with a refreshing Bahamian beverage in hand. If action is your way of unwinding, though, Half Moon Cay will get your heart rate up with activities like parasailing, biking, and—get the camera ready for this one—horseback riding on the sand and in the crystal-clear water.

hot air balloon in half moon cay

Princess Cays 

You’ll find Princess Cays on the island of Eleuthera. Like Half Moon Cay, it’s a private port just for cruisers. When you step off your ship, you’ll arrive on more than 40 acres of island paradise, with over a half-mile of white sand shoreline. The beach tends to lure most visitors with its beauty—and the flavors and rhythms of a complimentary beach barbecue. But during your time in Princess Cays you can also try snorkeling, kayaking, paddle wheeling or banana boat riding (for an additional fee). Aqua chairs and private bungalows are also available for rent, or you can set off in a dune buggy to explore the island’s pink sands and the local flora of the Leon Levy Native Plant Reserve. Whatever you do, make sure you sample a slice of local pineapple, or perhaps a drink with a wedge of pineapple. The island is famous for its pineapple crop, so there’s no better place to savor the fruit’s sweetness.

swimmers in princess cays


This post was created for Away We Go with Carnival, the destination for getting in the getaway state of mind.