By John Metcalfe
The Bahamas is arguably the most popular cruise destination for U.S. travelers, and is especially popular with first-time cruisers from the U.S. Only 75kms from mainland USA, the outer islands that make up the group can be reached within a matter of hours. This makes the Bahamas an excellent choice of location for a short Bahamas cruise break of two, three or four nights away from home.
Some 700 islands make up the archipelago of the Bahamas, of which only around 50 are inhabited. Cruise lines generally focus on just two Bahaman ports - Nassau and Freeport.
Nassau is Bahamas' capital, and is located on the island of New Providence. It is a beautiful compact city that is easy to explore inside a day's shore excursion. The city's charm is in its architecture - and of course its people. Late 18th century and early 19th century colonial buildings stand as reminders of Bahamas' British past. Parliament Square in downtown Nassau offers a unique perspective on the city's architecture, watched over, as always, by a grandiose marble statue of Queen Victoria.
But Nassau is not just about history. It has a vibrant modern side too. Quality shops, fine restaurants and golden beaches, up onto which the inviting warm transparent waters of the Caribbean lap, are all there to be sampled. Activities such as snorkeling, diving and passenger submarine rides make for an exciting time in this tropical paradise. The nightlife in Nassau is buzzing too, with casinos and nightclubs offering the best of Bahamian life.
A Bahamas cruise to Freeport on the island of Grand Bahama offers tropical paradise that is very close to home. Easily accessible on a two-night Bahamas cruise, Freeport is a city that welcomes cruisers and tourists with open arms. Duty-free shopping is one of the biggest draws of Freeport, and the city itself features a 10-acre international bazaar - a real shopping paradise in the tropics!
The nightlife in Freeport is world-renowned. Casinos, nightclubs and live entertainment in Freeport are amongst the best in the Caribbean, and make for a great night out when you're on a Bahamas cruise.
For travelers looking for a Bahamas cruise of a longer duration than four nights, some cruise lines offer special extended cruises, several of which incorporate a port call at a private island owned by the cruise company.
Bahamas cruises generally depart from ports in Florida. Port Canaveral, Fort Lauderdale and Miami port are the big three which offer cruises to the Bahamas. So, if you're looking to take a short romantic break, or just fancy a change of scenery for the weekend, why not get yourself down to Florida and book a Bahamas cruise. Bahamas cruises are reasonably priced, and I guarantee you that the experience will be one that lives long in the memory.
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