The Caribbean has always been one of the most-loved cruise regions and it’s easy to see why. Endless sun, sea and beautiful horizons combine to create a relaxing paradise that also provides plenty of opportunities to stay active if you like.
Despite the devastation caused by a series of hurricanes last year, Caribbean cruises are still as popular as ever. The majority of tourist spots on the islands affected have recovered well and almost two-thirds of the region did not experience any physical impacts of the storms. So, if you are planning to head for sunnier skies soon, and your cruise itinerary includes a stop in Nassau, here are some great free things to do.
The Queen’s Steps
Located about a 10-minute walk from the cruise terminal, this hidden staircase provides a peaceful and shaded break from the tourist-packed beaches. A poignant story tells how these 66 steps (the name the landmark was known by before being renamed in honour of Queen Victoria) were hand-carved out of solid limestone by slaves at the end of the 18th century. Created using rock from the nearby Fort Fincastle, the steps were used as a way to access the fort from the city.
Surrounded by lush green vegetation, they are free to visit but some locals are more than happy to provide some history and background info for a few dollars.
Vibes Of Versailles
Take the short journey across to Paradise Island (reached via a road that spans Nassau Harbour) for a stroll around the beautifully manicured Versailles Gardens. Created to mimic the original in France, the gardens were previously part of Huntington Hartford’s estate but are now owned by the One and Only Ocean Club. Some visitors are put off by the ‘no trespassing’ signs, but the area is free to explore as long as you check yourself in officially at the hotel’s security gate.
As well as fantastic views and breathtaking blooms, such as bougainvillea, the gardens are home to a 14th-century Augustinian monastery which was dismantled, shipped overseas and then reassembled to be the centrepiece.
Rumours Of Rum
If you dine out or sit down for a refreshing drink during your time in Nassau, the chances are you will see a lot of rum on the menu. The Caribbean is famed for its love of the spirit and so you can’t say you’ve had an authentic visit to the region without sampling some local rum. One of the best places to do this is at John Watling’s Distillery, a short walk west from where your ship will dock.
You can choose to walk around the distillery yourself or join one of the complimentary tours. After quaffing a small sample, you will learn all about the distilling process and why rum is so important to the people of the Caribbean. Then, at the end, you can choose to purchase sample rum flights to taste a range of the different spirits produced here.
Bonus: A Tour De Forts
This last one is not completely free but definitely worth doing if you don’t mind spending a few dollars. New Providence Island is dotted with various forts that point to a history of battles with pirates and the Spanish. The three most visited examples are Fort Charlotte (the biggest), Fort Fincastle (which boasts cannons that were never fired in anger) and Fort Montagu (the site of the United States Marine Corps’ first military action). Although the three are too far apart to walk from one to the other, organised tours will teach you the stories behind them and take you inside their walls.
If you would like to learn more about our Caribbean cruises that visit Nassau, our friendly team can help you find the perfect itinerary. Call us today or click here to submit your online enquiry.