8 Hours in Nassau

Make the most of your time in The Bahamas.
by 1271

From gorgeous beaches to world-class food, to underwater adventures, there’s something for everyone in Nassau.

Credit: iStock

One of more than 700 islands in The Bahamas, the capital of Nassau continues to be one of the country’s most popular vacation destinations—thanks to its incredible culture, dining, shopping and adventure. Now, it’s the newest jumping-off point for your next cruise vacation with Adventure of the Seas offering seven-night sailings to private island destination Perfect Day at CocoCay and Mexico.

Nassau was in fact Royal Caribbean’s first port of call more than 50 years ago. The city offers travelers plenty to explore; this picture-perfect paradise was once a pirate’s haven and boasts historical streets that bootleggers traveled. There’s also local cuisine that reflects Spanish, West African and British influences, and crystal-clear waters where guests can observe marine life such as dolphins and stingrays.

We’ve mapped out an ideal eight hours in Nassau, so here’s how to make the most of your day in this special place:

Known for delicious local dishes, Bahamian cuisine combines flavors from many nations for a unique culinary experience.

Credit: The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism & Aviation

If you’re a foodie…

Taste the Best of the Best of Graycliff

Time it takes: 1 hour

Combine a chocolate tasting and cigar-rolling demonstration with a museum visit at the renowned Graycliff property, an 18th-century mansion (built by a pirate!) turned hotel in the heart of Nassau. You’ll learn about its chocolate factory’s organic farming practices and marvel at the cigar skills of master torcedores.

Tru Bahamian Food Tours

Time it takes: 3 hours

Eat like a local with this off-the-beaten-path tasting tour that takes guests through Nassau’s vibrant downtown neighborhood. Try local delicacies like spiny lobster and rum cake, while exploring the colorful streets of colonial Nassau and mingling with local chefs, artisans and business owners.

John Watling’s Distillery

Time it takes: 3 hours

The distillery is located on the famed, hallowed grounds of the 1789 Buena Vista Estate in historic downtown. Here, guests are served a taste of the “Spirit of The Bahamas,” handcrafted by Bahamians using local ingredients and traditional English rum-making methods.


Escape the hustle and bustle of the city and head to Pearl Island, a private beach getaway just 30 minutes from Nassau.

Credit: The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism & Aviation

If you’re a beach bum…

Junkanoo Beach

Time it takes: 15-minute walk or 8-minute taxi ride from the port

This free, public beach (with affordable lounge-chair and umbrella rentals) is close to the cruise port and offers a taste of island nation’s famous, blue waters and soft sand with a hint of local flavor. Both residents and visitors gather here to sip a few Bahama Mamas or other tropical cocktails while enjoying their day under the sun.

Pearl Island Escape Day with Lunch

Time it takes: 5 hours

Just a short harbor cruise away from Nassau, guests can enjoy a beach escape, featuring shaded decks and white-sand beaches, plus a range of aquatic activities, including kayaking and standup paddleboarding, and sitting back in a beach cabana.

Pro tip: Pay attention on the harbor cruise you take to and from Pearl Island for fun facts about Nassau’s colonial architecture and culture.


Nassau’s crystal-clear waters make it ideal for water sports, including snorkeling, kayaking and standup paddleboarding.

Credit: The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism & Aviation

If you’re a thrill-seeker…

Atlantis Aquaventure

Time it takes: 5 hours

You can’t talk about Nassau without talking about Atlantis, the popular (and huge!) luxury resort and water park on Paradise Island. There, you can shoot down intense waterslides—including one that goes through a shark tank—swim in 20 different areas, explore fascinating marine life exhibits and tube through the rapids river. Need a break? Pull up a chair on the private beach.

Adventure Yacht Turtle and Reef Snorkel

Time it takes: 3 hours

Travelers will take a scenic cruise of Nassau Harbor before grabbing a mask, snorkel, fins and vest to test the waters and snorkel with turtles. Afterwards, relax on the beach at Green Cay, a long, narrow island known for its New England-style architecture.

Certified Scuba Dive

Time it takes: 5 hours

Nassau’s turquoise waters welcome certified scuba divers to take stock of the capital’s underwater adventure and enjoy a two-tank dive of the colorful reefs. Check out tropical fish, sea turtles and even reef sharks up close.


Fort Montagu is the oldest fort still standing on the island of New Providence, originally built to defend against Spanish invaders in 1741.

Credit: The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism & Aviation

If you’re a history buff…

Nassau Highlights

Time it takes: 2 hours

Spend some time getting to know the history of the destination with a tour of the city’s landmarks, including Rawson and Parliament Squares, Government House and more. Once acquainted, guests can use the remainder of the day to explore on their own and revisit the sites like the Queen’s Staircase, located in the Fort Fincastle historic complex and named in honor of Britain’s Queen Victoria.

Whatever adventure you choose, there’s no doubt you’ll fall in love with the views and the people of The Bahamas. Ready to plan your vacation with Royal Caribbean? Explore more of Nassau here.