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21 best things to do in Bimini, Bahamas

06 Nov 2023

Bimini, Bahamas may not be as popular of a cruise port as nearby Nassau or Perfect Day at CocoCay, but the small island chain still has a lot to offer visitors.

Located just 51 miles off the coast of Florida, Bimini is a chain of islands with turquoise waters, white sand beaches, and laid-back culture. It’s so close to Florida, in fact, that you can easily take day trips to the islands’ stunning beaches from Miami or Fort Lauderdale!

If your upcoming cruise visits Bimini, it’s helpful to know what there is to do in port to make the most of your day. From snorkeling around a shipwreck to jet skiing along the coast, here are the 21 best things to do in Bimini, Bahamas.

Go to the beach

Photo credit: Pietro (license)  

Like most cruise destinations in the Caribbean, visiting the beach is a popular activity. Many of the best beaches on Bimini are found on the western shore of North Bimini.

One of the most popular beaches is Radio Beach, which is located closest to Alice Town, Bimini’s largest town. At Radio Beach you can expect clear blue waters and soft white sand, and the beach has excellent snorkeling opportunities.

Related: 11 of the most beautiful beaches in the Caribbean

Beach chairs and umbrellas are available to rent at Radio Beach and you’ll find bars and restaurants nearby. Outside of Radio Beach, visitors can enjoy other beaches such as Blister Beach, Paradise Beach, and Spook Hill Beach.

Day pass at Resorts World Bimini

Resorts World Bimini is an upscale resort featuring facilities such as a beach club with pools, a casino, DJs, cabana rentals, and beach access. Located only ten minutes on foot from the cruise port in Bimini, many visitors choose to spend their day lounging in the sun at Resorts World.

To access Resorts World guests must purchase a day pass, which is around $40 USD per adult and $30 USD per child. The day pass gives visitors access to amenities at the Hilton at Resorts World as well as the beach and pools at Resorts World.

For those looking for a Las Vegas-style pool party experience, Resorts World is a great option. Several restaurants and bars are on-site for added convenience.

Note that Resorts World Bimini Beach is home to Virgin Voyages’ Bimini Beach Club, but passengers from other cruise lines can use the facilities when a Virgin Voyages ship is not docked.

Go snorkeling

Snorkeling is an easy way to get up close and personal with the diverse aquatic life in The Bahamas, and Bimini offers a wide array of snorkeling opportunities.

If you’re looking for a guided snorkeling tour, you can book a day trip through Bimini Scuba Center for $99. During this tour you can visit underwater destinations like the S.S. Sapona Shipwreck and Rainbow Reef.

If you don’t want to shell out money for a snorkeling tour, feel free to bring your own snorkeling gear to the island. We recommend this mask for snorkeling, as it offers a full-face view and is easily packable in a day bag.

Visit the S.S. Sapona shipwreck

Photo credit: Ines Hegedus-Garcia (license)

A few miles off the coast of Bimini is the S.S. Sapona, a half-submerged shipwreck providing world-class snorkeling and diving opportunities.

Following a hurricane in 1926, the S.S. Sapona was left damaged, and it was later used for bombing practice during the Second World War. Because the wreck is only half-submerged, snorkelers and divers can explore both above and below the water.

Related: Bahamas cruise guide

The ship’s “skeleton” is home to a variety of marine life, from stingrays to sea turtles, schools of fish, and colorful coral. Exploring the shipwreck is sure to be a highlight of any visit to Bimini.

Scuba diving

If breathing underwater is more your style, Bimini offers several scuba diving options to explore under the sea. Certified scuba divers can book dives through the Bimini Scuba Center in North Bimini—dives include tanks and weights.

Diving around Bimini is fantastic. The clear waters allow for great visibility and give divers the chance to spot sharks, dolphins, turtles, and swim near continental shelf walls.

Visit the Road to Atlantis

A popular snorkel site in Bimini is the Bimini Road, often called the “Road to Atlantis.”

The “road” is a half-mile underwater rock formation in perfectly straight alignment. Since the road’s discovery in the 1960s, some have speculated it could be an ancient road to the Lost City of Atlantis, although we cannot, of course, verify those claims.

Many snorkel and diving tours in Bimini visit Bimini Road, so if you’re interested in discovering “Atlantis,” this can be an intriguing excursion option.

Rent a bicycle

Photo credit: Eclipse Rentals Bimini

Few bike rides are as relaxing as those by the sea, and you can rent a bicycle for just $25 per day in Bimini.

Eclipse Rentals Bimini offers bike rentals and tours around the island. For those looking to explore the entire island of North Bimini, a bicycle can be a fun, eco-friendly option. Exploring by bike allows you to stop at whatever attractions or beaches interest you without having to worry about taxis, shuttles, or tours.

A bicycle is freedom on two wheels, and renting a bike while visiting Bimini is highly recommended.

Explore Bimini by golf cart

If powering a bicycle sounds like far too much exercise on your vacation, consider renting a golf cart. Golf carts are effective means of transportation to get around an island as small as Bimini, and most rentals should cost between $90-110 for the day.

When splitting the cost with a group of four or six, a golf cart is an economical way to explore Bimini. As another plus, it gives you full control over where you would like to visit on the island and how long you want to spend in each place.

Related: 7 ways to have a great time in port without a cruise ship shore excursion

Full Island Tour

Photo credit: Daniel Piraino (license)

Whereas some cruise passengers prefer exploring ports on their own, many appreciate the convenience of a guided tour. If you’re looking for an all-around island tour of Bimini, why not book an organized excursion?

Bimini Island Tours is a local operator that offers tours of North Bimini and South Bimini. Tours bring guests to highlights around the islands, from shipwrecks to beaches, the straw market, and Dolphin House Museum.

Booking a tour means you don’t have to plan anything yourself. You can simply disembark your cruise ship, meet the tour guide, and have a memorable, stress-free day in Bimini.

Grab some drinks

Nothing screams vacation quite like a fruity cocktail near the beach, and grabbing a drink (or a few drinks) is certainly a fun way to spend your day in Bimini.

Whether you’re at the beach, eating lunch at a local seafood restaurant, or strolling around town, consider ordering a drink to put you into vacation mode. From fresh piña coladas to mango margaritas, a tropical cocktail will be extremely refreshing in the Bahamian heat.

As another perk, if you don’t have a drink package on your cruise ship, drinking in port can save you money compared to buying drinks onboard!

Go fishing

Some call Bimini the sport fishing capital of the world. The islands are located near the warm Gulf Stream in which fish can grow to record size. In fact, there have been dozens of record-setting catches around Bimini.

Whether grouper, snapper, bonefish, billfish, tuna, or wahoo, you never know which species of fish you’ll reel in. If you’re interested in fishing while in Bimini, we recommend contacting the Bimini Big Game Club to ask questions about fishing opportunities.

Ride the tram

There is a free tram on Bimini that transports passengers to areas of interest along North Bimini. Located just outside the cruise pier, boarding a tram is easy and convenient, and it lessens the amount of walking required in the heat.

You can take the tram to Kayak Beach, Fisherman’s Village, Resorts World Bimini Beach, and Paradise Beach. Note that if you are interested in venturing further south to Alice Town and Radio Beach you must take a taxi (around $5 per person) or rent a golf cart.

Visit the Dolphin House Museum

Photo credit: Dolphin House Museum

The Dolphin House Museum is an ocean-inspired museum in Bimini that is a must-visit upon venturing into Alice Town. Built by local Ashley Saunders, the museum features artwork made from ocean materials including conch shells and sea glass.

For $10 per person, visitors can tour the museum and learn more about the building’s history and craftsmanship from Saunders. As a plus, the building’s roof features one of the most beautiful views in all of Bimini—it’s the perfect spot for that Instagram shot.

Book a jet ski tour

There are few aquatic activities as adrenaline-inducing as jet skiing. Zipping through crystal clear water at over forty miles an hour is undoubtedly fun.

Passengers interested in jet skiing while at Bimini can book a tour through Bimini Blue Adventures, or through the cruise line if offered. While on the tour, visitors can ride the length of Bimini’s stunning coastline, offering a truly unique way to experience the islands.


If jet skiing sounds a bit too thrilling, why not try kayaking? Tour operators such as Bimini Blue Adventures offer kayaking tours, and you may be able to book a kayaking tour through your cruise ship as well.

While kayaking off the coast of Bimini you can enjoy pristine waters and view aquatic life up close. Because of the clear waters, it’s possible you’ll see several types of fish and stingrays while kayaking, and it can be a lot of fun for visitors of all ages.

Related: Top 10 cruise ship shore excursion mistakes to avoid

Try local cuisine

Trying local cuisine is a highlight of visiting any cruise port, and Bimini is no exception. From seafood to baked goods, your taste buds are sure to be delighted on your visit.

Here are some of our top food recommendations in Bimini:

  • Bimini Seafood Company: this restaurant in Alice Town offers a Conch Bar, freshly caught seafood, and mouthwatering sandwiches
  • Nate’s Bimini Breads: a local bakery famous for sweet breads, from cinnamon raisin swirl to guava and cheese, banana nut, and coconut bread loafs
  • Big Mike’s Fresh Conch Salad: the perfect spot for beachfront conch salads and grilled meats

Bimini Nature Trail

Located on South Bimini island is the Bimini Nature Trail, a one mile looped pathway perfect for flora and fauna enthusiasts. Signage along the trail teaches visitors about the area’s wildlife and plant life, including the Bimini Boa and White-crowned Pigeon.

Unfortunately, visiting the nature trail while on a cruise ship can be challenging, as it’s not located on the same island where cruise ships dock. Nonetheless, if you find yourself in South Bimini near Bimini Cove Resort & Marina, the trail is a nice way to learn more about the islands’ natural world.

Swim with sharks

Yes, you read that correctly: you can swim with sharks in Bimini.

For most beach goers, sharks are something you want to avoid. Bimini, however, is home to a vast array of sharks, from hammerheads to tiger sharks, lemon sharks, nurse sharks, and bull sharks.

If you’re crazy enough to want to see these sharks up close, consider booking a swimming with sharks tour. On these tours, boats bring passengers out to reefs known for shark activity, and allow snorkelers to swim above the sharks.

Sure, it might be a little scary, but it’s sure to be exhilarating. 

Shopping at the Bimini Craft Center

Those in search of souvenirs should visit the Bimini Craft Center. This Bahamian straw market is where you can find a variety of knick knacks to remember your time in Bimini, from t-shirts to hats and bracelets.

It’s best to carry cash with you while shopping. Bahamian and US dollars are widely accepted.

Bimini Museum

Next to the Bimini Craft Center is the Bimini Museum, a complimentary museum which aims to preserve the history of the islands.

Inside the museum are artifacts, relics, stories, and pictures that tell the story of Bimini’s history, including memorabilia from Ernest Hemingway who once called Bimini home.

Visiting the museum in between shopping and the beach can make a nice addition to your day on the island, as it allows you to gain a better understanding of the region you are visiting.

Visit the legendary fountain of youth

Explorer Juan Ponce de León once heard rumors of a magical spring on Bimini that restored youth to the elderly who bathed in or drank the spring’s waters. Upon reaching Bimini from Puerto Rico in 1513, however, he neglected to find such a stream.

Nonetheless, there is a Fountain of Youth on Bimini today, although we can’t guarantee that it will reverse aging. Today’s Fountain of Youth is a small well carved out of limestone rock by groundwater several thousand years ago.

Bahamas raises cruise ship passenger taxes in 2024, which means your cruise cost is going up

27 Jul 2023

If your cruise is headed to The Bahamas next year, you'll probably need to pay a bit more for your vacation.

Independence of the Seas & Celebrity Reflection in Nassau

Royal Caribbean informed passengers booked on cruises to The Bahamas that due to a change in Bahamian taxes imposed on cruise passengers, the cost will go up.

The Bahamian government has implemented a change to their departure tax amounts for all cruise guests visiting the Bahamas on or after January 1, 2024.  As a result, Royal Caribbean will be updating reservations with the new amount.

Bahamas tax update email

An email was sent with the update, indicating the exact amount you'll be charged extra will depend on a variety of factors:

"Your adjusted taxes and fees will reflect on your booking before your final payment due date. Your tax amount may have changed from $1 to $14, depending on the itinerary you booked, and your travel partner has been notified of this update. Bookings are being updated in phases based on the sailing date."

What do you have to do?


If you have a 2024 cruise that visits The Bahamas, there's nothing to do right now.

Royal Caribbean's email is simply to inform passengers of what to expect if the price for final payment goes up a few dollars.

Sizeable impact to Royal Caribbean cruises

Symphony of the Seas docked at CocoCay

It's likely a lot of cruises will see a change in the taxes given how often Royal Caribbean visits The Bahamas.

Nassau has always been a traditional port stop for many cruises, and the development of Perfect Day at CocoCay has driven many more millions of passengers in recent years.

Ships docked at CocoCay

In fact, more than half of the cruise line's Caribbean sailings visit Perfect Day at CocoCay.

Royal Caribbean International President and CEO Michael Bayley told Wall Street earlier this year that CocoCay receives approximately 11,000 cruise passengers per day.  Once the new adults-only beach opens, they will be able to add another 2,500, 3,000 guests per day.

Impacting Celebrity Cruises too

Celebrity Beyond

Sister brand Celebrity Cruises will also feel the pinch with the new tax.

For the first time, Celebrity Cruises ships will call at Perfect Day at CocoCay in 2024. Celebrity Beyond and Celebrity Reflection have visits to Royal Caribbean's private island from April through November 2024.

Both ships will sail from Fort Lauderdale, with Beyond's visits to CocoCay will be included across 40 Caribbean itineraries. Reflection will begin sailing short weekend cruises.

New Nassau port upgrade


While no one likes to pay more in taxes, at least there's some comfort in the fact The Bahamas is taking its port experience more seriously.

Nassau spent $300 million upgrading their cruise port, with the first phase of this redevelopment opened to the public on May 27, 2023. 

The revamp includes a new terminal building, Junkanoo museum, 3,500-person amphitheater, living coral exhibit plus more entertainment, food, beverage and retail space. Once complete, the port’s capacity will jump to more than 33,000 passengers per day. It has been around 20,000 a day.

Read moreNassau, Bahamas opened the first phase of its cruise port revamp. Here's what's new and different


Last year the island had 2 million cruisers visit it, and Mr. Bayley expects to send around 2.5 million passengers to CocoCay this year.

The port is now able to accommodate up to six cruise ships per day, including three Oasis or Icon Class ships. 

Nassau set a record on February 27 when 28,554 passengers visited in one day.

The upgraded port is expected to bring in 4 million passengers by the end of 2023 and 4.5 million in 2024.

The best time to cruise to the Bahamas

25 Jul 2023

The Bahamas, an archipelago compromised of about 700 different islands, is a popular year-round cruise destination. With sailings offered from Florida, it makes for a quick 3- or 4-night getaway! You can, however, also opt for a longer cruise from ports along the eastern coast, such as Baltimore or Cape Liberty, New Jersey. 

Bahamas water as seem from Royal Caribbean cruise ship

The best time to cruise to The Bahamas is dependent on a few factors, such as weather, price, and crowds. The answer may vary, too, as some people may value getting a better deal over ideal weather and vice versa. 

Even if you are not taking a cruise specifically to The Bahamas, there is a good chance that you spend at least one day of your 7-night Caribbean cruise here. Often, Royal Caribbean will include a stop at their private island Perfect Day at CocoCay on their longer Eastern and Western Caribbean itineraries that sail to ports like Cozumel, Roatán, St. Maarten, and St. Thomas.  

RelatedBahamas cruise guide

Overview of Bahamas ports

Drone view of Nassau

The Bahamas are known for their world-famous beaches. There are plenty of activities to enjoy at the crystal-clear beaches, such as relaxing on a lounge chair, booking a day pass to a five-star resort, sailing on a catamaran, or snorkeling with the marine life. 

The two most popular ports of call are Nassau and Perfect Day at CocoCay; however, it is not uncommon to find sailings that visit other places, too, including Bimini and Grand Bahama Island. 

Nassau is one of the busiest cruise ports in the world, and recently, they opened the first phase of the port expansion. While they're known for turquoise beaches and famous resorts (i.e., Atlantis and Baha Mar), there are plenty of activities for all interests, including boat tours, snorkeling and scuba diving, food tours, museums, and shopping. 

You will want to make sure that you plan your time in each port in advance, as certain excursions can sell out, especially the Coco Beach Club at CocoCay. Plus, many cruisers find that they are disappointed when they try to wing their day in Nassau. 

RelatedNassau, Bahamas opened the first phase of its cruise port revamp. Here's what's new and different


Perfect Day at CocoCay is Royal Caribbean's private island in The Bahamas that underwent a massive $250 million renovation in 2019. The new building isn't done, either, as Royal Caribbean is currently building a new adults-only section called Hideaway Beach

It is a favorite port for many cruisers, as it is packed will activities for all interests. There's a water park with the tallest waterslide in North America, complimentary beach loungers and umbrellas, a zip line, an exclusive beach club, and even the largest freshwater pool in the Caribbean. 

The great thing with Perfect Day at CocoCay is that the island offers enough to do without spending anything extra. Plus, there is complimentary food available throughout the day. 

Best time to cruise based on weather

Since The Bahamas is located further north than most Caribbean ports (think Jamaica and St. Maarten), the islands are more prone to temperature fluctuation. In fact, The Bahamas is not even located within the Caribbean. 

The driest weather can be expected between November and April, with the wettest months being June through September, which is also Atlantic hurricane season

While hurricane season officially runs from June 1 to November 30, you are most likely to encounter storms in August and September. Do not let this stop you from booking a cruise during this time, though. If a storm does pop up, the cruise ship captain will do everything they can to ensure smooth sailing, meaning that it is more common for itineraries to be changed instead of being flat out cancelled. 

Perfect Day at CocoCay beach

If cruising in the winter -- think December and January -- you might be subject to colder temperatures due to the possibility of a cold front. When this occurs, the seas will get a little rougher than usual, and temperatures will be in the 60s and 70s. 

In January, for instance, the average high in Nassau is in the high 70s, while the average low drops to the mid 60s. 

Earlier this year, I sailed to CocoCay twice in January. Both times, the weather was not as warm as I would have preferred. Once I got in the water, I had to stay submerged, otherwise the wind chill made it uncomfortably chilly!

When I returned mid-February, though, it was pleasant, and I did not mind sitting in my swimsuit, rather than feeling like I had to bundle up in a towel to hang out on the beach. 

The weather is subject to change; however, the months of March, April, May and November are the most likely to see comfortable temperatures with the least chance of rain. 

Best time to cruise based on crowds 

Rum Cay in The Bahamas

The Bahamas is a popular cruise port and tourist destination year-round. On February 27, 2023, Nassau set a new single-day record with 28,554 cruise ship passengers in port in a single day!

Regardless of when you choose to sail, you are likely going to be in port with more than one ship. In fact, thanks to Nassau's recent port expansion, they are now able to accommodate 30,000 cruise passengers per day. By the end of 2024, it is estimated that Nassau will see four million cruise visitors.

The busiest times of year coincide with American school holidays. Not only will ships be sailing close to maximum capacity, but the island's themselves (excluding CocoCay) will also see more tourists. These holidays include spring and summer break, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's. Three day weekends, such as Memorial Day and Labor Day, are subject to seeing more crowds, too.

Best time to cruise based on price

View of cruise ship at CocoCay

While you should never book the cheapest cruise you can find without doing additional research, you can find great deals on cruises to The Bahamas, especially those that are only 3- and 4-nights. The price per night will be more expensive than longer cruises, but the overall cost will be lower.

At the time of writing, a 3-night sailing on Allure of the Seas is advertised at $282 per person for The Bahamas cruise that leaves on November 1, 2024. In comparison, a 7-night Bahamas & Perfect Day cruise onboard Radiance of the Seas starts at $565 per person. This amounts to a difference of roughly $15 per day, before taxes, port fees, and gratuities are even added, for the shorter cruise. 

You are more likely to find a cheaper sailing if you cruise during the following times: 

  • January (with the exception of New Years' week and Martin Luther King Jr. Weekend)
  • February (with the exception of Presidents' Day Weekend)
  • May 
  • September
Utopia of the Seas concept art
  • October
  • First two weeks of November
  • First two weeks of December 

March and April see an increase in pricing due to spring break, while three day weekends (i.e., Presidents' Day) are popular since they require one less day off of work.

A 4-night cruise onboard Allure of the Seas that departs on February 19, 2024 (Presidents' Day) is currently priced at $543 per person for two guests staying in an interior cabin. If you sailed two weeks earlier on February 5, you could book a balcony cabin for roughly the same price!

Other factors that will impact your price include the stateroom category you choose, as well as the age of the ship. Sailings on the brand-new Utopia of the Seas, for instance, will be more expensive than those on Allure of the Seas. 

Of course, the best way to ensure that you are getting the best price on your cruise vacation is to book it as soon in advance as possible. If you notice that the fare does drop, you can either consult your travel agent or call Royal Caribbean, and they will honor the lower price. If you book after a price increase, however, there is no way for you to get price that you missed out on. 

RelatedHow to get the best cruise deals: 15 easy tips

What is the best time to take a cruise to the Bahamas?

Allure of the Seas

When taking into consideration the weather, crowds, and cost of the cruise fare, the most ideal time to sail to The Bahamas is either May or early November. 

In regard to the weather, the average high and low in Nassau during the month May are in the mid-80s and mid-70s. November tends to be similar, with the average being a few degrees colder than in the spring. Either way, you will avoid the peak humidity and high temperatures that accompany sailing in the summer months. 

Paradise Island beach

Similarly, both May and early November fall outside of the peak season for crowds. While neither the cruise nor port of Nassau will be empty, there will be fewer travelers than in the summer since the majority of American families will be preoccupied with school and other obligations. 

Fewer crowds means that there is less demand, too. Less demand means a decrease in cruise fares, which is great for those looking to sail on a budget or stretch their vacation fund as far as possible. 

You cannot go wrong with a cruise to The Bahamas, though, regardless of when you are able to sail! Just make sure you do your research in advance, so you know what to expect. 

Royal Caribbean confirms investigating a potential new private island in The Bahamas

14 Apr 2023

Could Royal Caribbean be in the very early phases of developing a new private island experience in The Bahamas?

Rum Cay in The Bahamas

Royal Caribbean has a private island in The Bahamas, Perfect Day at CocoCay, but is a second destination something the line would pursue? 

A Bahamas newspaper reported a team from Royal Caribbean was sent to Rum Cay to look into the island as a potential new destination for cruise ships.

When questioned about it, Royal Caribbean International President and CEO Michael Bayley confirmed the report.

"It’s true."

"Our perspective us that you can never have enough great product. We are constantly looking for any opportunity where we can create a customer experience that we think the customers will love. We were approached about a potential opportunity, and sent a team to look at that opportunity."

Bahamas Flag

While it sounds exciting that this may be the first step in a new endeavor, Mr. Bayley was quick to temper expectations, as the cruise line looks at new places all the time, but it's not necessarily an indication of anything more than a passing glance.

"We send teams around the world constantly looking for opportunities. I wouldn’t read too much into it.'"

We were approached, looked and it’s a great space. It was a look and evaluation. We have to look at things. Everything comes with pros and cons."

Rum Cay aerial

Mr. Bayley did not say if there are any plans to go beyond an initial scouting mission at Rum Cay, nor did he talk about any kind of negotiations starting.

Royal Caribbean's interest in another Bahamian private destination should come as no surprise considering how popular Perfect Day at CocoCay has been since opening.

Not only has CocoCay ranked favorably among cruise ship passengers, but it has been a revenue generating machine for the cruise line.

Perfect Day at CocoCay seen from ship

Mr. Bayley talked about how popular the island has been with passengers, "CocoCay is the number one destination that Royal Caribbean goes to in the world out of 100 global destinations, because it’s a curated experience designed and built to deliver a high-level experience to the customer."

"At the end of the day that’s all that matters."

In February 2023, Royal Caribbean Group talked about demand for Perfect Day itineraries.

“The demand for that product [Perfect Day at CocoCay] is exceptionally high. The demand not only is there from a volume perspective, but the rate is there and that rate has been going up again in a very healthy way," said Mr. Bayley.

Royal Caribbean Group estimates around 2.5 to 3 million guests will visit Perfect Day at CocoCay in 2023.

It’s no secret that prices for these add-ons have gone up since the restart of the cruising industry in 2021, but Bayley explained how “we’ve seen a great demand and a lot of resilience as the prices go up. So it’s a hit and it’s very successful.”

Rum Cay

Rum Cay aerial

Rum Cay measures 30 square miles and is approximately 283 miles southeast of New Providence.

It's sparsely populated and is mainly flat, but has a few rolling hills rising to about 120 feet. 

The report claims Royal Caribbean looked at a 375-450 parcel in the island’s north-west corner right by the sea that was recently appraised. 

It is understood the site is part of a larger 1,000-acre tract that had previously been caught-up in the multiple land disputes that have afflicted the island, but it is thought all title issues and legal battles have now been resolved.

Prior to the cruise industry shutdown in 2020, Royal Caribbean said it intended to build a portfolio of Perfect Day destinations around the world to follow up on first iteration at CocoCay.

Perfect Day at Lelepa artist rendering

Back in 2019, the line said it would open five "Perfect Day" private islands over the next five years.

One such destination is Perfect Day at Lelepa, which is located in the South Pacific. 

Update on Freeport

Freeport project

Royal Caribbean's other plans to build a new port in Freeport, Bahamas may also be still happening.

According to The Tribune, Mr. Bayley was "increasingly optimistic" that its Freeport port project will finally happen.

"That’s still going through its process."

Freeport harbor

"I would say we are increasingly optimistic about the timing of that. In the coming months hopefully we will be in a position to make some positive announcement on Freeport."

"Our intent is to bring more capacity into Freeport. The first step, which will be in conjunction with others, is investing in improving the port."

The exact plans have likely changed for Freeport, but Mr. Bayley said development of a water-based adventure theme park for passengers in close proximity to the port area was still the plan.

Bahamas cruise guide

10 Aug 2022

The picturesque islands of The Bahamas are among the world’s most commonly visited cruise ports. A neighbor to the United States, the proximity and beauty of The Bahamas makes the country an attractive destination for cruise ships, and you’ll find nearly every Royal Caribbean ship offering cruises to this island nation.

Whether you’re planning your first cruise or are a seasoned cruiser, there’s a pretty big chance you’ll be sailing to The Bahamas at one point or another. Knowing the ins and outs of what it’s like to cruise in The Bahamas, from understanding where you’ll visit to knowing what to pack, can help make your cruise experience the best it can be.

Let’s take an in-depth look at everything you need to know before booking a cruise to The Bahamas.

In this guide:

Why go on a Bahamas cruise

A major reason to go on a Bahamas cruise is to enjoy the country’s world-class beaches. Turquoise waters, soft sand, and amazing snorkeling are available at any cruise port in The Bahamas. Whether you choose to lounge on a beach chair, enjoy a day pass at a resort, book a catamaran tour, or snorkel at a shipwreck, you’ll find plenty of crystal-clear beaches to discover.

The proximity of The Bahamas to Florida means you can reach the islands on even the shortest of itineraries. Weekend cruises to The Bahamas are extremely popular for this reason, allowing for a quick getaway to relax and unwind.

In addition, visiting the Bahamas means tasting delicious local cuisine, such as conch fritters and rum cake, and observing local culture.

Plus, cruises to The Bahamas are offered on nearly all Royal Caribbean cruise ships and on itineraries as short as two nights to nine nights or longer! Because of this, you’ll see a huge range in cruise fares, so you’ll be able to find the perfect cruise for any budget.

Bahamas cruise ports

Perfect Day at CocoCay

Perfect Day at CocoCay is Royal Caribbean’s private island in The Bahamas, and it’s a favorite port for many cruisers. The island is packed with activities for all interests, from the tallest waterslide in North America to the largest freshwater pool in the Caribbean.

Perfect Day at CocoCay has three main beaches: Chill Island, Harbor Beach, and South Beach. These beaches are free for all guests to enjoy and are lined with complimentary beach chairs and umbrellas. 

Guests looking to splurge can purchase a day pass to the Coco Beach Club, an exclusive, private beach club with an infinity pool, overwater cabanas, and an upscale Mediterranean-inspired restaurant.

A major perk of cruising to Perfect Day at CocoCay is that the island offers more than enough to do (and eat!) without spending anything extra. If you’re on a budget, Perfect Day at CocoCay makes for a cheap yet incredibly fun day in port.

Our Perfect Day at CocoCay tips:


Nassau is one of the world’s busiest cruise ship ports. Located on New Providence Island, Nassau is the capital of The Bahamas and is known for its upscale resorts and plethora of beaches.

Most passengers visiting Nassau will opt for a beach day. There are a few beaches located within walking distance from port, the most easily accessible being Junkanoo Beach.

Many visitors to Nassau take a taxi to Paradise Island, where they’ll find the famous Atlantis Resort and pristine Cabbage Beach. Day trips to nearby islands, such as Blue Lagoon and Pearl Island, can also be great options when spending the day in Nassau.

Nassau also offers plenty of history to discover, too, with historic forts, monuments, and museums showcasing the island’s history.

Related: Best things to do in Nassau on a cruise

Grand Bahama Island (Freeport)

Grand Bahama is the most northwestern island in The Bahamas, located only 64 miles from Palm Beach, Florida. Cruises on Grand Bahama dock in the city of Freeport, the second largest city in The Bahamas with a population of around 24,000 people.

Like other Bahamas cruise ports, most passengers will spend the day on Grand Bahama Island at the beach. Beaches are located outside the port area, so an excursion or taxi ride is necessary to reach the island’s best beaches. 

Nature lovers can enjoy a tour of Lucayan National Park, where they’ll kayak through mangroves and learn about the park’s diverse ecosystem and geology. Tours of downtown Freeport are also available, which bring passengers to local markets and nearby beaches.

Other passengers may prefer to simply explore the port area, where there are plenty of food, drink, and shopping opportunities.


Bimini is the closest island in The Bahamas to the United States, located around 50 miles from Miami, and comprises two main islands: North Bimini and South Bimini. The cruise port is on North Bimini, which is home to beaches, resorts, restaurants, and local shops in the island’s main town of Alice Town.

While Bimini is not the most common port stop on Royal Caribbean Bahamas itineraries, it offers a low-key, relaxing getaway for visitors looking to sunbathe, snorkel, or ride a golf cart around the island.

Popular shore excursions in Bimini include snorkeling at the SS. Sapona, one of the Caribbean’s most famous shipwrecks, spending the day at a beach resort, and tasting local cuisine.

Bahamas cruise itineraries

Freedom of the Seas aerial at Nassau

Shorter cruises

If you’re searching for a short getaway, you’ll find several Royal Caribbean ships offering 3 and 4-night cruises to The Bahamas. These itineraries visit both Perfect Day at CocoCay and Nassau, Bahamas, and are offered on Voyager or Freedom Class cruise ships.

These itineraries happen weekly (Monday-Friday for 4-night cruises and Friday-Monday for 3-night cruises) and are offered most commonly on Independence of the Seas, Freedom of the Seas, and Liberty of the Seas.

Southeast coast cruises

You don’t have to fly to Florida in order to cruise to The Bahamas. Several Royal Caribbean ships sail from the ports of Cape Liberty and Baltimore to The Bahamas.

Most cruises departing from the northeast will stop at a few ports along the southeast coast of the United States before visiting The Bahamas, such as Charleston, South Carolina and Orlando, Florida. These itineraries tend to be 7 or 8 nights.

Related: Guide to cruises from New York

Miscellaneous itineraries

Outside of short getaways and cruises from the northeast, you’ll find a variety of other itineraries visiting The Bahamas, most commonly with a stop at Perfect Day at CocoCay.

Both Western and Eastern Caribbean cruises often include a visit to The Bahamas in combination with stops in ports like Cozumel, Roatan, San Juan, St. Maarten, and Labadee. 

Best time of year for a Bahamas cruise


While The Bahamas is a year-round cruising destination, it’s important to remember that The Bahamas is located much further north than Caribbean cruise ports like Labadee and St. Thomas. In fact, The Bahamas is not technically even located within the Caribbean! Because of this, the islands can be prone to more temperature fluctuation than more southerly islands.

That being said, you’ll more than likely encounter comfortable temperatures at any time of year on a Bahamas cruise. Drier weather can be expected between November and April, with the rainiest months between June and September.

Hurricane season officially runs from June 1 to November 30, with the highest chance of storms between August and September. However, you shouldn’t necessarily avoid booking a cruise during hurricane season. Cruise ships will not sail through a hurricane. Instead, itineraries will be adjusted to avoid the storm.

Related: Cruising during hurricane season: Should you do it?

December and January can occasionally encounter colder temperatures due to the possibility of a cold front bringing choppy seas, strong winds, and temperatures in the 60s or low 70s.

While there’s no perfect time to cruise The Bahamas in terms of weather, the months of March, April, May, and November can see comfortable temperatures with less chance of rain.


The Bahamas is a popular tourist destination at any time of the year, and you can usually expect multiple ships in port on any given day. Nassau alone can accommodate up to 7 cruise ships at one time!

The busiest times to cruise The Bahamas coincide with the school holiday calendar, so expect more crowds onboard and in port during spring break, summer, Thanksgiving, and Christmas, as well as during 3-day weekends throughout the year.

Additionally, if you’re choosing between a 3-night weekend cruise to The Bahamas and a 4-night cruise during the week, you’ll often find that the weekend cruises are much busier. Not only can there be a higher capacity onboard, but weekend cruises often have more of a party atmosphere compared to a relaxed vibe during the week.

Related: I tried my first 3-night weekend cruise, here’s how it went

Which Royal Caribbean ships sail to The Bahamas?

Due to the proximity of The Bahamas to Florida, you’ll see a large number of Royal Caribbean ships sailing to the islands year-round. In fact, you can currently book itineraries to The Bahamas on 21 Royal Caribbean ships (out of the fleet’s 26 ships!)

Therefore, when planning a Bahamas cruise, you have nearly endless possibilities when picking a cruise ship. If you are looking for the latest and greatest ship Royal Caribbean offers, you can visit The Bahamas on an Oasis or Quantum Class cruise ship. If you’d prefer a more laid-back holiday, you’ll find even the smallest Royal Caribbean cruise ships visiting The Bahamas.

Related: 8 questions to ask yourself before picking a cruise ship

Cost of a Bahamas cruise

One of the best parts of cruising to The Bahamas is that you can often find fantastic deals, especially on shorter cruises. It’s not uncommon to find 3 or 4-night Bahamas cruises for as little as $575 for 2 adults in an interior room, including all taxes and fees.

Weeklong cruises often run around $1500-1700 total for 2 adults in an interior cabin on newer Royal Caribbean ships, whereas you can sometimes find prices as low as $1000-1200 for 7-night Bahamas cruises on older ships.

Because there are so many ships sailing to The Bahamas at any given time, you might even find cheap last-minute discounts available on sailings departing in the next few days or weeks.

Outside of cruise fare, you’ll also want to budget for gratuities as well as any cruise add-ons you plan to purchase, such as shore excursions, beverage packages, and dining packages.

Cruise add-on advice:

What to pack for a Bahamas cruise

Packing for The Bahamas usually means packing lightweight, breathable clothing perfect for a warm day at the beach or sunny day onboard. A swimsuit is a must as well as sundresses, shorts, and t-shirts. It can get extremely warm in the summer months, so packing breathable, more loosely-fitting clothing is recommended.

If you’re visiting The Bahamas in the winter, it’s a good idea to pack a lightweight jacket and a pair of jeans. While you’ll most likely encounter favorable temperatures, there can be occasional cold fronts leading to temperatures around 70°F. This can feel chilly when at sea or near the beach, so packing layers can be helpful.

For a more in-depth look at what to pack (including a packing list!) read our guide on what to pack for a Bahamas cruise.

Bahamas cruise FAQ

What currency should I use in The Bahamas?

The official currency of The Bahamas is the Bahamian Dollar, and the exchange rate between USD and Bahamian Dollar is 1:1. There’s no need to take out Bahamian Dollars ahead of time, as you can make purchases in USD (although you might receive change back in Bahamian Dollars).

Do I need to purchase shore excursions on a Bahamas cruise?

Like in all other cruise ports, it’s not necessary to book a shore excursion. However, we recommend having a general plan for your day in port before getting off the ship.

Ports like Nassau and Freeport aren’t the best ports for simply walking off the ship with no plan, as it can be confusing to figure out where to go and what to do. Doing research beforehand on what activities are available in port can help you better plan your day.

There are, however, many shore excursions available in Bahamas cruise ports. These usually involve visiting a beach, resort, snorkeling, island hopping, etc. You can book shore excursions through Royal Caribbean, which tend to be more expensive yet offer more security, or through an independent provider.

Planning a cruise? Check out our best tips & tricks:

Bahamas will extend requirement for cruise ship passengers to be vaccinated

26 Oct 2021

The Bahamas will extend its order requiring cruise ship passengers be fully vaccinated if they are above the age of 12 until next year.

What you need to know about visiting Nassau on a cruise ship | Royal Caribbean Blog

Since September 1, 2021, The Bahamas enacted emergency powers requiring only cruise ships be allowed into The Bahamas if everyone over the age of 12 is fully vaccinated, including private islands.

The order is set to expire on November 1, but it now appears it will be extended.

Tourism, Investments and Aviation Minister Chester Cooper told The Tribune that the Bahamian government will look to extend the policy until next year.

"We are taking action to extend that until 2022," Mr. Cooper said before going to a Cabinet meeting.

"We will be looking at it closely moving forward. We are actively in conversations with our various cruise partners.

"We believe vaccination is the right approach in order to be able to attract tourists to our shores in a balanced and responsible way."

Under the order, cruise ships visiting The Bahamas must ensure everyone who is at least 12 years old or older be fully vaccinated.

The order was first added by Bahamian Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis, but the new Prime Minister of The Bahamas, Philip Davis, supports extending it.

As a result of the order, cruise lines changed their protocols to require everyone above the age of 12 to be fully vaccinated on sailings from Florida. Prior to the Bahamian law, Royal Caribbean cruises from Florida had made exceptions for unvaccinated adults to sail.

Royal Caribbean was already requiring proof of vaccination from passengers 12 and older sailing from other U.S. ports. 

Travelers unable to show proof of vaccination are unable to sail.

Royal Caribbean not only visits Nassau, but operates a private island that is visited by so many of its ships operating in the region, Perfect Day at CocoCay.

Bahamas now requires all cruise ship passengers who are 12 years old or older be fully vaccinated

19 Aug 2021

It appears The Bahamas has passed a new emergency order that would prohibit cruise ships from visiting any port, including private islands, unless everyone who is at least 12 years old or older is fully vaccinated.

Bahamas Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis signed an emergency powers order that will not allow a cruise ship to to enter a port in The Bahamas, including a private stop beginning September 3, 2021, unless certain conditions are met.

The new order seems to require anyone over the age of 12 to be fully vaccinated in order to visit any part of The Bahamas by cruise ship.

Known as Emergency Powers (Covid 19 Pandemic) (Management and Recovery)(No.2)(Amendment)(No. 8) Order, 2021, the order has the potential to pit cruise lines that allow adults to be unvaccinated to sail, in a problematic situation.

These conditions include:

  • The ship transmits a full passenger manifest which discloses the vaccination status of all persons onboard
  • All passengers who are twelve years old and older were fully vaccinated prior to embarking on the cruise ship at the start of the voyage
  • The health protocols previously submitted to the Bahamian government have been complied with.

The order has three exceptions:

  1. The crew, contractors and any non-revenue passenger of that cruise ship and whatever protocols that were previously agreed to between the Government of The Bahamas and each cruise line in relation to its crew, contractors and non-revenue passenger shall remain in effect
  2. A cruise ship attempting to call at a port in an emergency, or in other exigent circumstances approved by the Government of The Bahamas
  3. An unvaccinated passenger who is ineligible for the COVID-19 vaccination due to medical contraindications. 

Royal Caribbean, as well other cruise lines, operates a private island destination in The Bahamas.

UPDATE: Royal Caribbean announced for cruises departing from any U.S. port and visiting The Bahamas on and after Sept. 3, guests who are 12 and older must provide proof of vaccination in order to sail. 

Perfect Day at CocoCay, located in the Berry Islands chain of The Bahamas, has been the centerpiece of Royal Caribean's North American restart process, with nearly every ship on the eastern shore of the United States making a stop there.

While Royal Caribbean requires all passengers to be fully vaccinated over the age of 12 on sailings from Seattle, Bayonne, and Galveston, sailings from Florida allow unvaccinated passengers due to Florida's law that prohibits companies from denying service to someone based on their vaccination status.

Adventure of the Seas has been sailing from Nassau, Bahamas since June, and also requires all guests age 12 and older must be fully vaccinated against Covid-19 in order to sail.

Earlier this month, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings (NCLH) challenged that law and won a preliminary injunction against the State of Florida.  Florida is appealing the verdict, and it is unclear if NCLH's victory applies only to that company or if other cruise lines need to would have to file a motion to intervene and become involved in the lawsuit which NCLH filed.

The U.S. Virgin Islands passed a similar law earlier this month to require all cruise passengers ages 12 and older to be fully vaccinated in order for the ship to be allowed entry into the port.

As a result of the Virgin Islands' law, Royal Caribbean requires all guests ages 12 and older to provide proof of vaccination in order to sail on itineraries visiting the U.S. Virgin Islands. Guests unable to show proof of vaccination on sailings visiting the Virgin Islands will not be allowed to sail.

Guests under the age of 12, who are currently not eligible for the vaccine, will be able to sail with a negative test result at boarding and must follow certain protocols.

Royal Caribbean's Royal Beach Club in Nassau is almost a done deal

30 Apr 2021

It looks like Royal Caribbean's deal to build a beach club in Nassau, Bahamas is nearly complete.

At a virtual town planning meeting in Nassau, a Royal Caribbean representative said the deal is waiting final signatures to be completed.

According to Eyewitness News, Royal Caribbean Group Vice President of Private Destinations, James Black, told the meetings attendees, "all terms for the development have been agreed to, approved and are awaiting signature for final execution of the contract."

The beach club will be built on 7 acres on the western end of Paradise Island.

According to Mr. Black, Royal Caribbean had originally wanted more land, but negotiations brought it down to seven, "The crown land lease is seven acres. Royal Caribbean had originally requested 21 acres including the lighthouse and the government negotiated own from 21 to 10 acres and now to seven acres under submission."

A report earlier this month pegged the project at 13 acres.

Royal Caribbean believes the new beach club will bring an additional 1.2 million visitors to Nassau annually by 2030, with 3,500 daily visitors.

Mr. Black also repeated the same targeted opening date as previously reported, which is a 2023 opening.

Construction would begin "later this year".

The meeting also brought up concerns from other attendees who had competing projects, as well as other concerns.

Some other landowners in the area are concerned about how Royal Caribbean's project may impact their own operations.

Tribune Business noted environmentalists wanted to know how the land, which is currently zoned as  "low density" residential, would have to be rezoned and the associated impact.

Royal Caribbean said was waste management would be handled through a partnership with local vendors, "Our plan to handle solid waste is to work with a local vendor to make use of existing recycling and solid waste management that’s available in Nassau currently."

"There will be a commercial barge operated by local vendors that will address the solid waste."

What is the Royal Beach Club?

Royal Caribbean first announced intentions to build a private shore excursion option in Nassau in March 2020, but has provided no official updates since the cruise industry shutdown shortly thereafter.

Royal Caribbean said the beach club would be built at the western end of Paradise Island, and would be cruise line guests.

Details on what would be offered to guests have not been divulged, but paperwork filed with the Bahamas seems to indicate the club could feature dining pavilions, a 26,000 square foot pool, 4,000 square foot “splash pad” for children, 14 beach bars; restrooms and cabanas.

Royal Caribbean has not publicly commented on any kind of timeline for the Royal Beach Club, nor have they given any update on it since acknowledging they purchased land for the project in early 2020.

Bahamas Prime Minister says Bahamas will drop Covid testing requirement for fully vaccinated travelers

21 Apr 2021

Going to the Bahamas is about to get easier if you are fully vaccinated against Covid-19.

Bahamas Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis announced his country is easing restrictions for international travelers flying into the Bahamas.

Beginning May 1, EW reports the Prime Minister announced international travelers will be exempted from RT-PCR testing once they have been fully vaccinated and have passed the two-week immunity period — in line with Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines.

Anyone that has not been fully vaccinated will will still be required to obtained a negative RT-PCR test to enter The Bahamas.

The goal, according to the Prime Minister, is to expand its vaccination program across the country.

Prior to this change, all international guests had to provide a negative test result at least 5 days before arrival.

The change comes a month before Royal Caribbean is scheduled to begin sailings from Nassau, Bahamas on Adventure of the Seas.

Adventure of the Seas will sail 7-night cruises from her new homeport Nassau, The Bahamas

There has been no update by Royal Caribbean or The Bahamas about the Prime Minister's announcement yet.

Details on additional health and safety measures to be implemented by Royal Caribbean will be announced at a later date.

On April 2, the CDC announced that people who are fully vaccinated with a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized vaccine can travel safely within the United States.

The CDC also suggests waiting to travel outside the United States until you are fully vaccinated with an FDA authorized vaccine.

The CDC added you do not need to get tested before leaving the United States if you are fully vaccinated unless your international destination requires it. 

More information:

Report: Royal Caribbean targeting January 2023 opening of Royal Beach Club in Nassau, Bahamas

14 Apr 2021

It looks like Royal Caribbean's private beach club for cruise guests in Nassau, Bahamas isn't a dead project.

In March 2020, Royal Caribbean announced it would build a new beach complex at the western end of Paradise Island in The Bahamas.

Built for Royal Caribbean International guests, The Royal Beach Club is the cruise line's take on a private shore excursion. 

Shortly thereafter, the cruise industry shutdown due to the global health crisis, and the cruise line has not talked about the project publicly.

Tribune Business is reporting that Royal Caribbean will begin construction in July 2021 so that it can open by January 2023.

The Bahamas' Department of Physical Planning revealed the plans as part of an upcoming virtual public consultation to be held on April 28 on its bid for site plan approval for the Royal Beach Club project.

Documents filed with the Department of Physical Planning confirmed the $50 million project has a maximum capacity of 3,500, with the 13-acre Royal Beach Club’s amenities including two 35,000 square foot dining pavilions capable of accommodating 1,500 passengers each.

Other features listed in the plans include a 26,000 square foot pool; 4,000 square foot “splash pad” for children; 14 beach bars; restrooms and cabanas; and support infrastructure that includes a reverse osmosis plant, waste water plant, waste management facility, storage building and fuel storage all contained on two acres.

Royal Caribbean has not publicly commented on any kind of timeline for the Royal Beach Club, nor have they given any update on it since acknowledging they purchased land for the project in early 2020.

Royal Caribbean has steadily amassed around 13.5 acres on Paradise Island’s western end by buying out private landowners in the area, but it is also seeking to lease some ten acres of crown land in the Colonial Beach area to complete its development.

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