Frequently Asked Questions
Where will I go on a Bahamas cruise?
This depends on your itinerary. Bahamas cruises typically depart from a port along the east coast of the United States and usually include one or more ports in the Bahamas. These cruises may also include other popular ports, such as Key West, FL.
When is the best time to take a Bahamas cruise?
Bahamas cruises are available all year. The climate is warm year-round with little seasonal variation in temperature.
How long do Bahamas cruises last?
These trips typically last three to nine nights.
Will I need a passport or visa?
All cruises now require proof of citizenship. On some itineraries, a certified copy of your birth certificate and a driver's license or government-issued photo I.D. are sufficient, on others a passport is required. Visas may also be required on the more exotic itineraries. Your cruise counselor will advise you on documents you will need depending on your itinerary.
Is English spoken?
English is widely spoken in the Bahamas.
What is the time difference?
The Bahamas is in the Eastern Time Zone.
What is the local currency?
The local currency in the Bahamas is the Bahamian dollar. The U.S. dollar is also widely accepted.
Is tipping a common practice?
Most restaurants automatically add a 15% service charge. It is customary to leave an additional tip for exceptional service. Taxi drivers generally receive 15% and other service staff, such as maids and porters, generally receive $1 to $2.
What should I wear?
Casual resort wear, including shorts and T-shirts, is the standard daytime attire for most cruises. Bring a variety of footwear, including low-heeled or rubber-soled shoes for walking on deck, sandals for beach excursions, sturdy walking shoes for guided tours and a pair of dressier shoes for formal dining. You can check your ship's dress codes for options suitable for nighttime, but most restaurants encourage slacks and nice dresses during evening meals.
What should I pack?
Think about the kinds of activities you will want to try -- a round of golf or a relaxing day at the beach, for example -- and pack accordingly. Be sure to bring sunscreen, sunglasses and swimsuits, protective hats, good walking shoes and windbreakers. Also, remember to pack all of your medications, prescription or otherwise, in a bag you can keep with you as needed.
Is the water safe to drink?
Most resorts and restaurants filter their tap water, though bottled water is available almost everywhere.
What sort of medical precautions do I need to take?
Shots aren't usually necessary for visitors from North America, but it never hurts to check with your health care provider and discuss the countries you'll be visiting.
What types of electrical outlets are used?
U.S. cruise companies use the standard 110-volt outlets. International guests will likely need converters and adapters.
How do I make a telephone call from the Bahamas?
Resort hotels and public phone booths offer direct dialing for international calls. Calling cards also are available for sale in tourist-friendly markets. U.S.-based cell phones might not work everywhere.
Are hotel rooms outfitted with air conditioners?
Many of the hotels in the Bahamas have air conditioning. If recycled air is important to you, make sure to consult your travel counselor before booking a pre- or post-cruise hotel stay.
What is the shopping like? What souvenirs should I buy?
Shopping in the Bahamas is a unique experience. You can find many items that reflect Bahamian heritage, creativity and passion. Nassau features stylish boutiques and the famous Straw Market, where local crafts, arts, ceramics, and spices make for nice souvenirs. Grand Bahama Island has large shopping centers filled with retail shops, straw vendors, hair braiders and artisans. The smaller islands also have a variety of stores, offering local crafts and jewelry. Among the best bargains in the islands are watches, jewelry, clocks, china, crystal, leather goods, fine linens, and cameras. A key to finding the best bargains is to look for shops that post a pink flamingo decal on their doors or windows. This signifies that they have met strict government guidelines, and that all their brands are authentic.
How do I get around?
Taxis are available on every island, and buses (often called jitneys) service several of the larger metropolitan areas. Rental cars are another option, although rental companies are difficult or impossible to find on many of the smaller, out-lying islands. More active vacationers can rent bikes and scooters by the day. This option enables you to escape into the most remote areas of the islands. Shore excursions purchased through your cruise line highlight top attractions and include transportation and a guide.
Can I rent a car?
Rental agencies can be difficult to find in the Bahamas and rates are often high. The minimum age to rent is usually 21-25 years old. Remember, drivers travel on the left side of the road in the Bahamas!
What can I do there?
In the Bahamas, you'll find pretty beaches, good snorkeling and opportunities for water-skiing, parasailing, jet skiing, windsurfing and more. Cruises to the Bahamas also offer colorful artwork, spirited dances and lively music. Nassau's duty-free shopping and famous straw market lure shoppers in search of handicrafts. At night, many Bahamas cruise passengers go ashore to try their luck at resort casinos.
Do you have any photography tips for travelers to the Bahamas?
There's plenty of natural beauty to capture, so be sure to bring plenty of gear. Users of "point-and-shoot" digital cameras should pack rechargeable batteries, a charger, electric adaptors and high-capacity memory cards (1 gigabyte is recommended). If you're bringing a digital video camera, don't forget the long-life batteries, charger, adaptors and converter. Make sure photography is permitted before shooting in museums, churches and cathedrals; in some cases, you'll just be asked to turn off your flash.