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Nassau with No Excursion


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My family of 4 (two kids -- 9 and 7) is headed out on Dec. 27 with a cruise going to Nassau. We are really trying to save money on anything additional out-of-pocket. In other words, I don't want to spend $300+ on a shore excursion in Nassau if we don't have to. On other cruises we've been to ports where you could have fun just walking around, but we've also been to others where you really can't venture outside of the port area and there's not much to do without an excursion.

From everything I've read, there's the small beach, the straw market, and some other shopping/town-type stuff within walking distance of the port. Some shops, a beach, and a restaurant to eat would be enough for us, but it also seems like people are saying that it's not a desirable area. I'm also reading there are a lot of aggressive vendors around there (but it sounds like aggressive vendors are everywhere at Nassau even if we took an excursion to another beach.)

Should I feel like we should need to do an excursion on Nassau or is walking around those areas safe and sufficient?

Looking for any thoughts. Thanks!

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Was there with the wife in early November (disappointed because Nassau was a substitute port for Key West).

Have been to Nassau pre-COVID a few times as well. 

We did a self-guided walking tour and was a little disappointed since the forts there were closed to the public (COVID precautions).

Getting to the point, what our experience was (on Thurs, Nov. 4 and walked from 8am - 10:30 am):

  • There were 4 ships in port but the port/shopping areas seemed pretty empty.  Probably because of a combination of: it was early in the day, ships were not full, people didn't get off the ship
  • We felt perfectly safe as we walked around.  In fact, felt safer there in November than pre-COVID because the aggressive vendors were no longer there.
  • We walked to the Queen's staircase and only locals were there.   This seemed to be cleaned up as well since there is a hospital entrance near there.
  • The port area is under construction -- pretty much level ground at that time with some ground-moving equipment.
  • The piers, themselves, were nicer than I remembered (it's been a while since were were in Nassau).  Can be a long walk depending on which pier the ship is moored at.
  • The straw market was closed (might have been because of COVID or maybe we were there too early at 10am when we went by).
  • Junkanoo beach was open -- there were some food/bar places open playing loud music.  We didn't linger too long but there weren't that many people there.




Straw Market:


Junkanoo Beach:



Queen's Staircase:





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