Why Get Off The Boat At Nassau?

Cruises out of Florida are incredibly convenient if you live here.  Really, it’s the cheapest way to travel.  Where else do you get transportation, lodging, and food (lots and lots of food!) for around $100 a night (sometimes less)?  So naturally, those of us that live near a port cruise as often as possible and most of those cruises stop at Nassau.

Nassau.  Everyone that’s been has an opinion, and most of them are not glowing.  You’ll hear from many people that the only thing worth doing in Nassau is going to Atlantis and staying at the resort for the day.  In fact, an increasingly popular option is just to stay on the boat.  I’ve been to Nassau a handful of times and this option still breaks my heart.

I’ve been to Nassau, I’ve been unimpressed, I’ve been even a little grossed out, but I still get off the boat under the assumption that I’m missing something. Call me an optimist.  I’m pleased to say that this is the best time I’ve ever had in Nassau.

So this time when we pulled into Nassau Port, many people stayed on the boat to take advantage of the shortened water slide line, and the rest of us set out on a fools errand to help our friend, Kelsey find a list of prescription drugs her parents assured us we would have easy access to in Nassau.

Drugs in Nassau

After a little wondering around, soliciting help finding illegal drugs from several public officials, and what I’m pretty sure was the stateside equivalent of asking for heroine at a CVS, most of the group had had enough Nassau and headed back to the boat for water slides and hot dogs.

Only 3 of us remained, determined to have a good time in Nassau.  I’m not going to tell you it was easy, it wasn’t.  It took determination.  A lot of the town is a giant tourist trap, everyone wants you to tip them for everything, and children in diapers roam the streets trying to sell you things they’ve made of straw.

Here’s how we made the most of our time in Nassau.  First we went on a “free gift” crawl.  Many of the jewellery stores near the port offer a free gift for boat passengers who stop in.  We scored 2 cheap necklaces and these sweet hats!

nassau

Then we set out to find the Queen’s Staircase, a historical attraction that Tracy, the only member of our group capable of doing any research, had read about prior to our arrival.  Out side of the staircase we were forcibly included in a tour group that I was more than a little concerned would end in our being herded onto a bus and delivered to a different ship, but we were able to break free and enjoy the staircase on our own.

The staircase was located in a cool and quiet tropical alcove, which seemed very unlike the rest of the island.

Queen's Staircase Nassau

Nassau

The climb to the top was not particularly comfortable for my cruise body, but absolutely worth it.

Nassau

The top of the Queens Staircase was host to some gorgeous scenery as well as Fort Fincastle.

image

Nassau

The Fort was small, and the tour rather uninformative, but the admission was only $1 and everything was largely unsupervised, which means you’re allowed to play with all the historic stuff.

Fort Fincastle

Nassau

After our wonderful time with the freebies, staircase, and fort our day took a slight turn for the worse.  We stopped by a Dunkin’ Donuts that appeared to be some sort of American Embassy.  The building stood out as the newest and cleanest available and advertised free wifi, which was a welcome chance to the $0.75/ minute wifi on the ship.  Mostly we stopped in for our best shot at a clean restroom, however, I felt I need to make a purchase and was intrigued by the heavily advertised Pumpkin White Chocolate Latte. As I made my order the two women behind the counter met me with a quizzical look.

“We don’t have that.”

“Okay, then I’ll just have the Brown Sugar Cinnamon Latte” I replied pointing to the large poster behind them.  The both slowly turned around, confused.

“We don’t have that.”

“What do you have?”

“Uh… vanilla, caramel, chocolate, or red velvet.”

“Red velvet I guess.  How do I access your wifi?”

“Oh, we don’t have that.”

Who would have thought the most Americanized place in Nassau would also be the most frustrating?

Nassau

Nassau

We headed back the ship defeated.  Back at the port we noticed a sign for a rum distillery with a free tour and samples!  We couldn’t end on this note, and this seemed a great way to turn it around.  We found some friendly Brits with bags from the distillery and asked them about it.  They said it was about a 10 minute walk from where we were.  At that, Bethany bowed out.  Then there were 2.

Tracy and I headed down a poorly marked route to the distillery, through a largely residential area that made us very happy that we were unmurderable.  We finally found the John Watling’s Distillery and it was truly an oasis, and apparently abandoned oasis.

Nassau

The only soul in sight was a security guard at the entrance, asleep with his feet propped up, while two roosters pecked around him.  We showed ourselves in and began to poke around.  We walked into a large plantation home and were met with a sign that read “self-guided tours” and an arrow pointing us further in.  As we were showing ourselves around the ground a voice came from behind.

Nassau

Nassau

“Are you ladies here for the tour?”

“Oh, it said ‘self-guided tour’ inside so we thought we could just help ourselves.”

“Self-guided tours are for dudes!”

And that’s how me met Bryant and got a tour of the distillery!

nassau

He showed us around, offered us samples, took pictures and left this wonderful message for our friends.

trim.g09nzu

The distillery was very nice, and you can’t complain about a private tour.  It was definitely the best part of our Nassau day.

Nassau

nassau

Nassau

The best part of all was the bar at the end of the tour.

Nassau

Nassau

Here Uncle Will made us a mean and generously poured mojito.

Nassau

Nassau

and we had a gorgeous patio to enjoy it on.

Nassau

Unfortunately by this time it was time to head back to the boat.

I firmly believe that one can have a great time anywhere.  Nassau is a little rough around the edges sometimes, but I certainly think it is a worthwhile port call.  I had a great time, had some good drinks, and made some new friends.  I even have an open invitation to come back and “beat the town” with Bryant.

 

 

 

 

 

6 thoughts on “Why Get Off The Boat At Nassau?

  1. Wow this is great to know! I have avoided Nassau because all I heard of was Atlantis and didn’t hear good things of anything else to do. Plus isn’t it always overcrowded? I do want to make it someday since it’s one of the cheapest packages offered to fly for me at NY but I’ll have to take your advice too so I don’t get stuck in the main tourist area. Can we go now actually lol
    Angelica @BrooklynChickTravels recently posted…A Weekend Away in Clearwater Beach, FloridaMy Profile

    • Mags

      There are certainly nicer places in the Caribbean, but for the price Nassau is not without its charms. It can be a bit crowded, but not oppressively so. I’d certainly rather be there than freezing my butt off at home!

  2. Thanks for sharing your perspective, I’ve always heard mixed reactions about Nassau. It’s one of those places we think about going to see, but never do – I think for these very reasons.
    Patti recently posted…May The Force Be With You ~My Profile

    • Mags

      Nassau is definitely worth seeing! It’s a little rougher around the edges than a lot of the Caribbean, but its not without its own charm.

  3. We actually did a cruise stopping at Nassau a couple of months ago and we had a nice time in Nassau. I found it a lovely place for a wander if not a little bit boring. I actually didn’t realise that many people don’t like it or think anything negative!! The place only gave us good impressions :)
    Sharon @ Where’s Sharon? recently posted…Cheap motel chains on our USA road tripMy Profile

    • Mags

      Sharon,
      I would go with you that it could be a bit boring, but it’s pleasant enough. I was just shocked at how many people chose not to get off the boat at what was the only port call on their cruise (outside of the Disney island)! I’m glad you had a good experience.

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