The Bahamas are a popular port of call for cruise ships plying the Caribbean. The capital, Nassau, on New Providence Island is one of the world's busiest cruise ship ports, and is well served by ships that originate from Florida. Freeport on Grand Bahama Island is a growing destination as well.
Most island groups have customs and immigration available for those arriving by yacht. The customs fee for a private yacht is $150 for 35' and under and $300 for over 35'.
Royal Caribbean has their own island in the Bahamas called Coco Cay. This island is leased by Royal Caribbean, rather than being fully owned such as Disney's ownership arrangement for Castaway Cay. It is strictly for Royal Caribbean cruisers. The island has 25 little shops for souvenirs and their own private beaches, as well as water games in the middle of the clear crystal blue ocean. They have a BBQ and main picnic area for the cruise employees as well as the people that Royal Caribbean hire to live and work on the island. Royal Caribbean is busy all year round because of the hot climate in the bahamas, that they have frequent travelers through all the months of the year.
Disney's Castaway Cay, formerly known as Gorda Cay, is a privately owned island near the island of Abaco, close to Sandy Point. This island differs from most of the leased cays in the fact that it is privately owned by The Walt Disney Company and has its own dock so that tendering is not necessary. Castaway Cay has separate areas for families, teens an adults. The island also contains a fiber optic network which connects to the ship.
There are ferries that leave from Fort Lauderdale.
Citizens of the following countries/territories do not require a visa to visit the Bahamas for 3 months:Andorra, Antigua & Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Aruba, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Azores, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belgium, Belize, Bolivia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Bulgaria, Cape Verde, Cayman Islands, Chile, China, Colombia, Cook Islands, Costa Rica, Croatia, Curacao, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Dominica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Estonia, Falkland Islands, Fiji, Finland, France, French Guiana, French Polynesia, Gambia, Galapagos Islands, Georgia, Germany, Greenland, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Hong Kong SAR HKSAR passport or CI, Hungary, Ireland, Israel, Jamaica, Japan, Kenya, Kiribati, Korea-South, Kuwait, Latvia, Lesotho, Lithuania, Macedonia, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Malta, Marshall Islands, Martinique, Mauritius, Mexico, Moldova, Monaco, Montserrat, Namibia, Nauru, Netherlands, Netherlands Antilles, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Norfolk Islands, Norway, Oman, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Reunion, Romania, Russia, Saint Barthelemy, Saint Helena, Saint Kitts & Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Martin, Saint Vincent & The Grenadines, Saint Marten, Saint Pierre & Miquelon, Sao Tome & Principe, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Suriname, Sweden, Switzerland, Tahiti, Tanzania, Tokelau, Trinidad & Tobago, Tonga, Tuvalu, Uganda, Uruguay, Vanuatu, Vatican City, Venezuela, Samoa, Zambia, and Zimbabwe
Citizens of Antigua and Barbuda, Belgium, Canada, Demarkincluding Greenland and Faroe Islands, Greece, Iceland, Italy, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Turkey, United KingdomIncluding all territories, and United States/American Samoa can visit 8 months visa-free.
Visitors will be asked to complete an immigration form, which must be presumably returned upon departure from the Bahamas.
Holders of diplomatic or official passports issued to nationals of Haiti and holders of diplomatic, official or service passports issued to nationals of Cuba do not require a visa for the Bahamas.
The largest airports in the Bahamas are at the capital Nassau, on New Providence, and Freeport, on Grand Bahama. Smaller airports are scattered amongst the other islands. As of July 1, 2013, a new tax has been imposed on planes landing in the Bahamas, whether it be private or commercial, for a stay or a technical stop, all will now incur an extra usage fee. Private flights using the C7A Inward General Declaration forms will be charged a $50.00 fee upon arrival, paid to Customs. The Outbound General Declaration Form is covered in the initial fee. Commercial flights using the C7 Inward General Declaration forms will now be charged a $75.00 when entering and another $75.00 when exiting the Bahamas to be collected by Customs. These taxes are in addition to the Departure tax of $25.00 per person, including crew.
Yachts And Shallow Water
The coastal Bahamas is defined by its shallow waters and it is distinguishable from most other Island areas of the Caribbean for this reason. ‘Bahamas’ actually equates to ‘shallow water’ in old Spanish. Shallow coastal water is a doubled edged sword for tourism, because although it often means the scenery, beaches, anchorages and landscapes are scenic and perfect for water based activities it also means yachts with deep draughts cannot easily cruise the area. One solution is catamarans and another is shallow draught motor yachts. There are a number of shallow boats based in the area and typically shallow boats visit in larger numbers than deeper ones. Accordingly, visiting and local yacht charter boats tend to also have shallow keels.