Ahhh the Bahamas. Warm sand, cold pina coladas, and the salty sea breeze. With over 700 islands (only around 30 are inhabited), tourists flock to the Bahamas, and tourism is responsible for half of the jobs in the country's workforce.
In the Bahamas you'll find the clearest water anywhere, with visibility of over 200 feet. You'll be exploring some of the best beaches in the world, and enjoying water that feels almost like you're taking a bath- with an average temperature of 80 degrees.
The sun shines more than 300 days a year, and the temperature rarely changes by more than a few degrees, so there isn't really a low season in the Bahamas. While the wet season is from May to October, the rain is unlikely to have much of an impact on your vacation. It is hurricane season from August to November though, so be aware that your itinerary may change slightly.
Cruises to the Bahamas range from two days to over a week. If it's your first time cruising or you don't have much time you may want to try a two or three night cruise. Celebration offer a two night cruise return from Palm Beach that gives you a full day of fun in the Bahamas, while Carnival have a three night cruise return from Miami that gives you two full days in Nassau.
Cruises depart from Miami, Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Jacksonville, Port Canaveral, New Orleans, Baltimore, Cape Liberty, New York, Charleston, Galveston, and San Juan, so there's sure to be a departure point that's easy for you to get to.
Who should you cruise with?
Most cruise lines offer cruises to the Bahamas. The line you choose will depend on the type of experience you would like.
Taking the kids? Disney Cruise line is perfect for families, with kids clubs, a huge Walt Disney theater, plenty of pools for splashing around, and the Dream and Fantasy ships even have a watercoaster ride. There's plenty of fun for adults as well, with a spa, adult's only areas, and a posh French restaurant called Remy.
Disney has cruises ranging from three to seven nights, and depart from Galveston, Port Canaveral, Florida and Miami. On the way you'll stop at Castaway Cay, Disney's private island, where you can relax without dodging hawkers.
Carnival is the world's largest cruise line, so jump onboard one of their "Fun Ships" for a cruise where you'll appreciate the great value for money. Kids will tire themselves out on the waterslides, while adults will enjoy the large variety of casual dining options including Italian, Japanese, American, and Indian restaurants, as well as a steakhouse.
Carnival cruises in the Bahamas range from three to eight days, and depart from New York, Baltimore, Charleston, Jacksonville and Miami.
If you're going to be kid-free, consider cruising with Celebrity. This premium line is famous for the personal service and spacious accommodations. Suites have a private butler service, and the Solstice class of ships have a freshly manicured lawn on the top deck where you can relax with a picnic. On Celebrity you'll enjoy wine tasting, golf, acupuncture at sea, glass blowing and exquisite dining options.
Celebrity cruises depart from Fort Lauderdale and sail for between three and five days.
Whether you want to spend most of your time lying on a beach, or you prefer to be active, the Bahamas have something for everyone.
Many cruise lines have their own private islands, including Royal Caribbean (Coco Cay), Norwegian (Great Stirrup Cay), Princess (Princess Cays), Carnival and Holland America (Half Moon Cay) and Disney (Castaway Cay). These islands have quiet beaches for sunbathing and snorkeling, water sports, private cabana rentals, free buffets, and drinks for sale.
Excursions in the Bahamas include the Pirates and Dungeons tour in Nassau, where you'll visit some of the famous pirate sites around the island. Kids will love being shown around by a pirate, and those who like history will also find the tour very interesting.
In Nassau you can also visit the straw market where you can shop for souvenirs, or visit Atlantis which has a huge water park and is perfect for families. For those who are feeling a little more adventurous, check out the Nassau Shark Scuba Diving Adventure. You'll need to be a certified diver, so make sure you get your PADI before you board the ship. The first dive is a free swim where you can get up close to the sharks, and the second is a shark-feeding dive.
Go snorkeling with stingrays at Blackbeard's Cay, where you can feed and watch the interesting fish, or perhaps horseback riding in Half Moon Cay where you'll have great photo opportunities and even ride your horse in the ocean.