Nassau, Bahamas Has a Brand-New Cruise Port
The Caribbean’s top cruise destination has unveiled a completely reimagined destination in the heart of the Bahamian capital: after three years, the new Nassau Cruise Port is open.
The new-look port in Nassau has a sixth cruise berth, a new terminal building, and an array of offerings including a Junkanoo museum; event and entertainment spaces, a 3,500-seat amphitheater, a “living coral” exhibit, local shops and new food and beverage destinations.
The new $300 million Nassau Cruise Port comes as The Bahamas is already seeing sizzling cruise passenger numbers. That includes a new single-day record for cruise arrivals set earlier this year, with 28,554 in one day.
It’s a significant boost for one of the best-known and heavily-visited cruise destinations anywhere in the world.
“The new Nassau Cruise Port offers a whole new experience for cruise visitors,” said the The Bahamas’ Deputy Prime Minister and Tourism Minister Chester Cooper. “Not only will Bahamian culture shine through all aspects of the port but the completion of the project marks a great milestone in ushering a new era for tourism in downtown Nassau, as well as a beautiful welcome for the millions of cruisers who disembark here each year.”
The new port includes unique concept in the Caribbean, and a major nod to Bahamian culture and history: the Nassau Cruise Port Junkanoo Museum, an immersive experience that tells the story of the country’s national cultural festival and vibrant art form.
“The port will become a cultural and entertainment hub that celebrates our UNESCO recognized heritage and crafts,” said Bahamas Prime Minister Philip Davis. “This is a place where our traditions, customs, and artistic expressions come alive, inviting visitors to immerse themselves in the true essence of The Bahamas.
There is a concerted focus on locally-made products, with 40 different retail spaces at the port featuring local outfits like Bahama Hand Prints and Bamboo Shack, among others.
“We anticipate our traffic numbers for 2023 to exceed pre-pandemic levels with about 4.2 million visitors,” said Mike Maura, Port Director for Nassau. “Our growth trajectory is quite promising. In 2019, which was the busiest year for us to date, we had 3.85 million visitors. For 2024, we already have 4.5 million confirmations.”
Most importantly, it underscores the renaissance of downtown Nassau, a city that has become one of the most dynamic downtowns anywhere in the Caribbean, from The Pointe development on the water’s edge to the new Margaritaville Beach Resort to the Graycliff Heritage Village; the latter has transformed West Hill Street in downtown into a walkable thoroughfare including everything from The Bahamas’ first winery to a chocolate factory to a fantastic Bahamian history museum.
“Downtown Nassau holds an important place in our history, our culture, and economy,” Davis said. “While redevelopment is challenging, we remain committed to the revitalization of Downtown Nassau.”