cruise ship

There’s nothing like spending your hard earned cash to go on vacation, turning up to an incredible hotel, finding a room with a magnificent view, only to wake up and see it blocked by a gigantic cruise ship. Hello party deck, goodbye beautiful sunset. There’s nothing inherently wrong with cruise travel, but the idea of 5,000 people jumping ship and landing on your quiet vacation spot just doesn’t sit well. That’s especially true when you’ve paid for those people to come and visit, in hopes of boosting tourism. The Bahamas is cutting cruise ships “off”, because no one actually comes to visit…

a dock on a beach
Sandals, Bahamas.

$12 Million

The Bahamas, like many destinations has long been keen on bringing bodies onto its shores. Tourism is one of the world’s largest industries, and it’s big money too. Spain, the world’s second most visited country brought in approximately €87 Billion last year through tourism spend alone. To lure cruise ships into its crystal blue waters, the Bahamas has paid cruise ship lines $12 Million annually, via subsidies or incentives to bring travelers. The problem? Apparently, no one leaves the ship, and the Bahamas has decided that enough is enough. Bahamas tourism minster Dionisio D’Aguilar proclaimed that the country has now “cut off” cruise companies, pending review.

cruise shipNew Port

To be fair to the enumerable cruise passengers who block wonderful harbor hotel views, there’s just not all that much to do in main cruise ports. Unlike many of the Bahamas more secluded and more desired islands, major port islands are manic. There’s very little infrastructure in place, and rampant crime. Minister D’Aguilar told the Nassau Guardian

We are the closet port to the largest cruise ports in the world – Miami, Fort Lauderdale and Cape Canaveral. So if you’re going to go on a three-day cruise, you’re coming to Nassau or Freeport. So, I don’t think there needs to be incentives; this is where people want to come, we just have to make it a wonderful place for them to visit”. 

The Bahamas plans to spend the $12 Million, and much more on revitalizing the port, including shops, restaurants and infrastructure to support the best new ships. A management team will be installed to support the vision of making Nassau and Freeport’s ports into places where you’d be crazy not to disembark. With any hope, the new refurbishment will prove so popular, there won’t be any need to pay off cruise ship companies. And the Bahamas has said if they ever do again, it will be based on how many people actually leave the ship, not just look out from it…

Have you been to the Bahamas?

HT: The Winglet.


Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

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  1. Can’t stand getting off in Nassau. It’s awful. Take Disney Cruises there and stay on the boat that day and take advantage of the less crowded boat. Have gone and quickly gotten off to go by tax free jewelry, but that’s about it.

  2. I visit the Bahamas at least every other year to scuba hunt Lionfish, a venomous invasive fish that is hastening the destruction of native fish populations and the coral reefs in the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and Atlantic

  3. The tourism minister is correct. The money should be spent on the areas around the ports. Currently, Nassau is a depressing area to visit unless to pay additional money to get into Atlantis or some of the other area hotels.

    Compare that to, for example, Grand Cayman, where you pay 7 to 10 dollars to take a taxi to Seven Mile beach and you can hang out there mostly for free. Or you can hang around the downtown area and eat at mostly good non touristy restaurants.

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