A cruise to the Bahamas is a tempting vacation treat—so close by, and yet so sunny and warm, just when you’re craving a seaside escape. The allure of white sand as soft as powdered sugar, and the appeal of pale blue water to chill your warm skin, is undeniable. Once there, you can also snorkel, dive, and admire the fish-filled reefs that are common in this part of the world.
So why aren’t you sailing there now? After all, there are lots of embarkation ports to choose from: Miami, Port Canaveral (near Orlando), Fort Everglades (Fort Lauderdale), and even New York City. Indeed, if you choose to depart from Manhattan’s West Side cruise ship terminal, you may save yourself a flight if you live within driving distance, but you will add on several days until you reach the sand-in-your-toes islands of the Bahamas. Once there, you can get a day-pass to a popular resort and be by the surf while the hotel guests are still waking up.
Another unique appeal of the Bahamas, when compared to other warm and beachy cruise destinations, is the temptation of private islands. These “islands”—often just peninsulas, or acres of land gated off from the rest of the isle—serve as hotel-less resort areas for use exclusively by cruise ships. You’ll find a whole slew of fabulous amenities: think lounge chairs, water sports, 5K challenges, cabanas for rent, BBQ cookouts, adults-only beaches, and yes, even water slides, splash parks, swimming pools, zip lines and roller coasters. In addition, when you visit one of these private islands, you can also sign up for shore excursions that include snorkeling trips and boat rides. Best of all, if you want to just lie in the sand ordering frozen drinks all day, the lines make that as easy as waving your arm in the air.
Here, some of the ships that sail to this gorgeous destination.
Sherri Eisenberg is the Editorial Director of ShermansCruise.com, a new cruise deals and advice site.