Should you spend your precious day visiting this island on your next cruise or vacation in the Bahamas? Let’s find out!
YES, if you have young kids who like to build sandcastles and play in shallow water; yes, if you could use a lazy day floating in a calm lagoon, pina colada in hand; yes, if you like beach combing for shells, crabs, and other treasures on a desolate stretch of white sand; yes, if want to see or pay to interact with dolphins and sea lions. NO, if you’re looking for independent adventure, gluten-free bread, or deep-sea excitement.
We just stepped off the Disney Dream a few days ago. When we docked in Nassau, Bahamas, we weren’t sure what we were going to do with our day. We’d been to the world-famous waterslides at Atlantis on another family trip and had already strolled the streets of Nassau, which wasn’t really our kind of shopping. So we took a chance on the Blue Lagoon excursion and were surprised to discover that this was the highlight of our 3-night trip.
I’m not a fan of rollicking ferry rides, but the 30-minute boat ride out to the island was relatively smooth and glided past some celebrity-studded homes before giving way to some of the most vibrant aquamarine waters I’ve seen in the Caribbean–as beautiful as you see in Antigua, Turks and Caicos, and just about anywhere. We chose the lower deck of the vessel for shade and stability and found adequate space on the journey out.
Be sure to note that the waters of the Blue Lagoon Island are quite shallow and will disappoint anyone looking to take a serious adult plunge. The island is famous for this crystal-clear lagoon which perfect for inner tubing with a cocktail, kids in tow. We were happy to laze on the beach which was not overcrowded on the day we visited. There were plenty of beach loungers and hammocks available. What really rounded out this excursion for us was a short walk to the desolate, rougher side of the island which was sprinkled with glorious sea treasures–a perfect spot for beachcombers, shell collectors and photographers, but not safe for swimmers.
Another high point was strolling the wooden dockways at the Dolphin Encounter area around 3:30 pm, as paid “dolphin encounters” were winding down. We are big animal lovers in our family and have mixed feelings about paid animal encounters like these, but I must admit: I did witness people falling in love with the dolphins during these interactions, and can see how that engenders a deeper appreciation for them and nature in general. And for what it’s worth, the dolphins appeared to be happy and well-taken care of.
Every local employee we interacted with on the island was warm and friendly, especially a sweet young trainer who opened his icebox and slipped our thrilled 10-year-old daughter a few big, raw fish to toss to the dolphins. This spontaneous “fish” gesture and the openness of the marine park, coupled with the raw beauty of the island and the easy-going lagoon, made for a stellar day. On the trip back to Nassau, we watched two adorable little girls become friends as they danced to Silento cranked high. That made for amusing entertainment, and the ships were just a walk away from the dock, so we we didn’t need transport, which was a plus.
Travel snobs (like me) take note: the return ride on the ferry was a bit more chaotic, with a self-satisfied, middle-aged guy from Vegas semi-proposing to his girlfriend over the Captain’s loudspeaker (I think she may decline) and a load of boisterous, sandy passengers, some disembarking at Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville. So there was that. Also, no surprise, the food on the island is okay. Your price of admission gets you a buffet of hamburgers, hot dogs, cod, rice and peas, fruit salad, etc. eaten at picnic tables. No crab claws, gluten-free bread, or fresh green juices here.