Our family’s recent four-day cruise on the Disney Dream brought us to the port of Nassau in the Bahamas. Like any other cruise, there was a multitude of shore excursions offered, for a fee, including visiting the Atlantis resort, touring Ardastra Gardens, visiting Graycliff Chocolatier, or enjoying a beach day on Blue Lagoon Island. I didn’t want to spend an entire day on Nassau, since we really enjoyed the amenities onboard and only had a few days to do so.
Instead, my 14-year old son and I spent three hours exploring the vicinity near the port on foot. We got to see a few local sites, find a Wi-Fi hotspot at the local Dunkin’ Donuts, and be back on the ship in time for a late lunch.
Pirates of Nassau Museum
I wanted to visit the Pirates of Nassau Museum, which takes up two large floors at the intersection of King and George streets. This self-guided attraction tells the story of local pirate history by recreating scenes on a pirate ship from 1720.
Your eyes need time to adjust to the dim light in the first cavernous space you enter, and then you realize that you’re looking down the long side of a pirate ship’s hull. It’s a recreation, obviously, but a really well-made one. You enter at the end, and walk through several rooms—the mates’ cabins, kitchen, tavern, etc.—set up with mannequins and props. Signage provides the background on what happened in these rooms, as well as the pirate lifestyle.
Heading upstairs, we walked through a short collection of artifacts, and thought the exit was near, until an actor dressed in pirate costume jumped out from behind a black caption yelling “Arrrrr!,” and taking two years off my life. He directed us into a room with another dark set of Blackbeard’s ship, and, still in character, told the tale of this infamous pirate who sailed through this part of the Caribbean.
To supplement the sets, there are also galleries of artifacts and entertaining “Did you know?” games along the walls providing the truth behind pirate lore. I found out that yes indeed, pirates often kept parrots as pets. But I also found out that it’s a falsehood that pirates created treasure maps with “X” marking the spot.
We both found this attraction well worth the price of admission ($12 for adults; $6 for children ages 4 to 17), but we agreed that my 7-year-old daughter would not have liked the part where the pirate jumped out at us. The museum is open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Saturday; and 9 a.m. to noon on Sunday.
Nassau Straw Market
On the way back to the ship, we walked back down Bay Street to the main entrance of the famous Nassau Straw Market; a collection of vendors that fills several aisles in a stuffy indoor space. You’ll find souvenirs such as hand-woven straw hats, bags, mats, dolls, conch shell jewelry and wood carvings. You can pay with U.S. or Bahamian money, and vendors are willing to negotiate. It’s open every day from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. My daughter would have loved the purses made with images of Disney princesses and Hello Kitty on them. While I love to shop for locally-made crafts, my son was not as willing.
Our last stop was a souvenir shop on Bay Street for a quick hit of glorious air conditioning, a snow globe for my daughter’s collection, and a Christmas tree ornament. We buy one wherever we travel!
– Traci L. Suppa
Traci L. Suppa drags her small-town family to see a quirky array of the world’s largest, longest, or tallest things, and blogs about it at Go BIG or Go Home.