It was a disappointment the visit to Nassau - no impressive views, buildings, or shopping. Of course, the beauty of Bahamas is in the sea, but we were expecting more from Nassau, a sort of small common city.
We had not much time to it, but left with the sensation of not missing much.
There is nothing to do in Freeport except take the taxi to the "shopping" area which is of course nothing but duty free liquor and other junk which closely resembles the same garbage for sale at the ship dock. This "shopping area" is next to a couple of mainstream hotels, so we did at least walk over to the beach area by the hotels, and we found a bar to hang out at for while. Nassau was much better, but be careful in the Atlantis, because everything is expensive. I paid over $20.00 for a bottle of sunscreen. We enjoyed the grounds and relaxed on innertubes in the lazy river. We ended up at a place called The Cove, which is the more contemporary, spa-like hotel of the Atlantis. The pool area is gorgeous and luxurious, with cushioned lounge chairs and other cushioned lounge areas, a DJ playing hip music, dark, oasis type-pools, artsy decor, private cabanas you can reserve, etc. You can get topless at The Cove, but only a couple of people were. I appreciate the clientele they are trying to cater to and I do enjoy that type of scene, but to pay $18.00 for one alcoholic beverage (a mojito) is almost insulting, even if you are loaded with money, and I don't like those kinds of surprises in my bar tab.
Unique Suggestions: If you don't do an excursion in Freeport, you may as well stay on the boat. For Nassau, don't book the Aquaventure excursion through Carnival. You can get the same thing for $50.00 a person less when you go up to the information/tourist desk once inside the Atlantis, which ironically is a discount price for cruise ship visitors, plus you are given several alternative packages to the Aquaventure if you don't want to do the water park. I do recommend the Aquaventure, however, because it allows you access to every pool/aquarium/lagoon/water park/beach/bar/restaurant/casino in the hotel. We had a lot of fun at Atlantis, although it can get expensive. We didn't even gamble due to the high dollar minimums at the tables. The casino was empty, believe it or not.
Fun Alternatives: We have no children, and we prefer the eating/drinking part of traveling, so please take suggestions with a grain of salt. To me, the alternative for Freeport is stay on the ship and enjoy the less-crowded pool area. I don't even understand why the ship stops there. If someone knows something I don't, please share. As far as Nassau, I really enjoyed Atlantis, but again, it is expensive. We asked a local employee of Atlantis to suggest a place to eat on the economy, and she told us to go to the "fish fry." At first we thought it was a single restaurant, but after asking the taxi driver to take us there, he explained that it is an "area." He seemed impressed that we wanted to go there and hang with the locals. The area is a bunch of restaurants and outdoor tiny bars, but we didn't feel concerned for safety, even at night. Our goal was to eat authentic Bahamian food, but we ended up talking to a couple of locals and drinking too many gin and fresh coconut milk drinks (can't remember the name, but they were awesome). I did eat the conch salad, which is "the" popular item. People were lined up on the barstools eating the conch salad. It is made fresh in front of you with tomatoes, onions, peppers, lime juice, and conch, all chopped finely into a bowl. Also, the conch fritters are better in the Bahamas than in Key West. Bahamians use a spongy, flour based batter as opposed to the cornmeal-based fritters in the Keys. Again, we were there during off season, but we were told by our new friends that everything closes early anyway during "off season," and especially on a Tuesday.
Taxi driver tries to sell you tickets for the disco so you will enter for free (just the $5 ticket) instead of Paying $20 at the door. When you go in you have to pay another $5. NOt a very good disco. We were a group of 10. And did not feel very secure.
Unique Suggestions: Go as a big group.
Fun Alternatives: Stay on the ship if you go by sea.
We did not care for Nassau area-too touristy and lots of concern about saftey. It was like being in the states, especially on the strips where the hotels were located.
We had a better time in Grand Bahama in the Port Lucaya area.
the other islands around Nasau had no personality at all. They were Islands with huge casinos on them. How lame is that? Consume consume. However if your into buying seashell jewelry boxes at a real high price youve come to the right place.
Nearly everyday the cruise liners call into Nassau, for the duty free shops. it gets very busy at certain times.
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