Cruising to the Bahamas is a great option for first time experience or those on a short time or budget. Most cruises to the Bahamas can be done within 3-5 days with ships leaving from all over Florida ports like Jacksonville, Port Canaveral, Fr. Lauderdale and Miami.
The length of your cruise can depend on your departure port, destination and if you choose multiple stops. For example, Jacksonville is the farthest up North among Florida ports. So, a cruise with multiple stops in Nassau and Half Moon Cay from Jacksonville could take 4-5 days. On the other hand a short 3-day cruise is easily possible from Port Canaveral to Nassau.
Next point to consider is your destination in the Bahamas. Nassau is the capital and largest town with some sightseeing options. It is also a bit crowded but also with day trip options to nearby island resorts like Atlantis or the Sandals. Small islands like Princess Cay or Half Moon Cay south of Nassau are great for a day of exploring beautiful beaches and calm island environment. North of Nassau, Freeport is a large island with short shore excursion options.
Some cruise lines like Carnival are more budget friendly and great for younger kids. Others cater to experience geared towards adults and with more luxury amenities such as Princess and Royal Caribbean. For immersive experience geared towards small kids, Disney cruise line is a great option.
Our first cruise with 4 kids (ages 13 – 5) was in Carnival Sensation back in January of 2014. It was a short 3 day cruise from Port Canaveral, Florida to Nassau, Bahamas. We have taken quiet a few cruise over the years but this was especially memorable for how the kids enjoyed their first time cruising.
Sensation is a fantasy class ship that carries about 2300 passengers. It typically travels around Eastern Caribbean. In the post-pandemic era after 2020, Carnival plans to use it also on western Caribbean region in the Gulf of Mexico. Our kids greatly enjoyed the ship’s amenities as evident from the video at the bottom of this article directed by my then 5-year old son, Zak.
In Nassau we also took a shore excursion to a nearby resort island for a relaxing day of exploring the sandy beach and nice amenities. Activities like snorkeling and dolphin encounter are also available.
For the ultimate Caribbean experience of ocean life encounter you may consider the Cayman Islands and a longer cruise vacation. But for a short family cruise this particular trip to Nassau was a fantastic experience for us. Enjoy the video below to learn more!