View Full Version : How safe is Nassau?
Little Miss Liberty
07-19-2005, 07:01 PM
I've heard that there are a lot of pushy people at port in Nassau is this true? and how safe is it to roam around the island on your own. Thanks
07-19-2005, 07:13 PM
:sunny: We were in Nassau July 1st and let me tell you it was the scariest part of our trip.....
The minute you get off the boat they start on you...
Yelling hair braiding or trying to get you to go on thier excursions....
We did take a taxi ( no speed limit in Nassau) to Atlantis and had a cabbie that was furious he lost a fare... driving like a manaic......
Atlantis was nice but not worth the trip..... (my heart still is recovering)
Stay away from the straw market they are totally obnoixious yelling in your face Here, here buy etc.....
I did feel bad as i know this is their livelihood but give me a break!!!!
While walking to the straw market they approached me and put bracelets on my had even though i said no etc... they tell you they are free then say a small donation of $10 etc..... these a bracelets probably worth a nickel let me tell you.... then when i said no again he started swearing at me!!!!
They are really too pushy for me......
we stayed on the shops on the side strrets from then on directly across from the ship they were safe and not pushy....
my recomendation ... book an excursion or stay on the ship...
If i go again I wont bother to go off the ship........ :flower:
07-19-2005, 07:17 PM
When the Magic started going to Nassau (way back before the Wonder!), DCL worked with the government to stop the pushy stuff, people trying to braid your hair without permission (with questionable cleanliness, etc.) and for a short time, things were much better. Looks like the Bahamian government has decided that they have DCL now, they can ease up on their crowd control.
Nassau was nasty before DCL, and has gotten scary again. I won't go there with a kid....and we now choose to stay on the ship. People are way too pushy!
Little Miss Liberty
07-19-2005, 07:19 PM
I've heard a lot about that. That really sucks considering your trying to relax. I wanted to go to Atlantis. I guess I'm better off paying for the excursion. Thanks for the info.
07-19-2005, 07:29 PM
I went in May 2003 and went to the Straw Market and the Pirate Museum (The Pirate Museum is very worthy of getting off the ship, imo). The people at the Straw Market at the time were less pushy than the people on the street just as you get off the ship. Any time I wasn't literally beside my husband (he's 6'5") they were constantly trying to grab my DD5's hair offering to braid it. Many times I had to just keep walking and I didn't find it too bad.
My FIL & MIL used to live in LA for many years and used to visit Mexico quite often. My husband learned from them (and taught me) that if you stop for a moment or make eye contact, they think they've got you. Just keep walking, don't stop and they let you go and look for the next person to beg.
I know it sounds like a lot of "hassle", but a lot of places in the world are like that and you could be missing out on some decent things if you don't go. I'm certainly not saying it's for everyone, but if they know you're confident and won't give in to what they want from you, they will just keep looking for someone else. Just like door-to-door salesmen or pushy kiosk people at the mall at Xmas. ;-)
If you're on the fence anyway though or just don't do well under pressure from this kind of person, then I'd suggest staying on the ship and enjoying the emptier atmosphere. :)
07-19-2005, 07:35 PM
We despise Nassau! Its a shame really because we too loved the Pirate Museum and some of the people are really very nice.
However the last time -and I do mean the last time- we got off the ship we were walking back from the Pirate Museum with our two young children and a local asked if we wanted "Smoke or Coke".
We probably will never take another cruise that stops here.
Little Miss Liberty
07-19-2005, 07:40 PM
Well looks like I've made up my mind to take a Disney excursion instead of venturing on my own. You'd think that a family ship like Disney would keep the drug pushers away. I guess not. Does anyone know if Atlantis and its beaches have a different atmosphere or are they just as pushy?
07-19-2005, 07:59 PM
We were in Nassau in 2003. DD (then 3 1/2) and I went on the dolphin excursion and when we returned they were lined up on the dock waiting to pounce on everyone as they got off the ferry. One very large woman told me she wanted to braid my DD's hair; I politely told her 'no' several times as we were walking away from her. However, when she grabbed my daughter's arm and pulled, I told her to back off or I would call the authorities. She went away, but I felt exasperated that it went that far.
I don't know if one bad experience would keep me from going ashore there again, because I have read on the DIS that many people have a great time, but I know I would definitely be on my guard next time around.
Some of the most aggressive peddlers are on the beach at Atlantis. They are not allowed inside the resort, around the pool, but they are everywhere on the beach. The crowds at Atlantis will keep us from every returning though. I also agree that the cab rides are horrible. I don't scare easy and it made me uncomfortable.
07-19-2005, 09:40 PM
Wasn't scared or anything, but you just have to be aware of where you are.
We left the ship with someone from the taxi service that does the City Tours.
Nobody bothered to ask us about riding since we were with that group.
We got a good taxi van and a good guide, but a friend of mine on that same tour hated it because of her yucky van and poor driver. Man! That traffic is something else! After the tour, DD bought a straw doll in the nice little plaza that you walk thru to get onto the pier.
We returned to the Wonder for lunch and then went back out on our own. This time, one taxi driver was near the plaza building hawking for riders to Paradise Island (Atlantis). We joined another family and he kept on till he got a van full....and I do mean FULL. Too full of folks AND two strollers to boot. I knew that $4 each was a fair price and that is what he offered. It's not a long ride, so I knew the crowded, hot part would be over quickly. This van was not as nice as the one that morning.
At Atlantis, we were just looking around on our own and seeing the portion of The Dig that is off the lobby of the Royal Towers. DD bought a couple of souvies in the kid's shop. This trip was because Mary-Kate and Ashley Olson made a movie, Holiday in the Sun, there a few years ago and she loves that movie. Ok, she'd seen it, so now she was ready to go. We were there maybe 30-45 minutes at the most. We went outside and asked for a cab back to the pier. Once inside the nice van I asked how much. He said $3 each and I thought, "oh a bargain". Well, NOT. He'd misunderstood and took us to the water taxi pier, not back across to the mainland. He acted ugly and said "well, that's not what you said....now it'll be $4 each." Didn't bother me any since I expected to pay $4 anyway. He FINALLY got us back to the Wonder's pier after all the one-way streets he maneuvered. He dropped us off at the plaza and we walked down a few blocks to the infamous Straw Market. Been there, done that, don't need to go back. The whole way down there, folks were begging to braid or trying to put a bracelet on us. Because of this board (THANK YOU!!!) I knew to keep my family walking and say no thanks....over and over and over.
Once inside the SM, I discovered that (1) every lady is "having a sale", (2) every lady wants to braid my DD's long hair, and (3) once you've seen 1/2 of one aisle, you've seen it all. Just get out fast.
DH felt like he was about to be pickpocketed by a couple of guys walking TOO close, so we got out of Dodge after DD bought 2 bracelets for friends back home. Once outside, we got caught in a downpour and had to stand next to some guys playing music for money. We were pressed up against a store front and not feeling real safe. We kept working our way from block to block and awning to awning until we finally made a break for it and ran the rest of the way back to the safety of the pier plaza. We had intended on going to Del Sol, and it was within view, but we skipped it. I'm ordering a shirt for DD on-line instead. The one thing that I expected never did happen. I'd read on here that most men would be offered drugs. He was never approached, thank goodness.
Would I go back? Not to the SM, but the pier plaza has some nice little souvenirs in a safe environment.
07-19-2005, 10:49 PM
I have to agree with GhostlyHitchhiker. Because of my job, I travel a great deal, including Europe. I went to Europe with a worker who was a snob (no nice way to say it), and just went ballistic because everything wasn't like America.
When I went to Nassau, I went prepared to experience the local culture, and despite what so many on this board say, I went with no preconceived notions. I never felt threatened, and the only place we believed people to be a little pushy was the straw market. A good, FIRM, no thank you will get most people to leave you alone.
I said all of that to say this...If you have never been, at least get off the ship and look around a little. If you don't, you will have missed another culture. Once you check it out, you don't have to do it again, but don't deprive yourself of the experience based on someone elses opinion.
07-20-2005, 09:58 AM
The problem is finding some worthy culture to experience amidst all the hussle and hassle. I enjoy the sport of walking around with a scowl on my face, refusing to make eye contact with peddlers, pushers, and beggars, and barking "no" without breaking stride in urban or tourist areas. I have to do the same thing to get from the parking lot to Turner Field for Braves games, and many other inner city experiences in the U.S. But when I went ashore in Nassau on DCL cruise #1, I really didn't see anything in the nearby vicinity that made me want to get off the ship again. Had the weather been warmer on my second Wonder cruise I'd have made my way to cable beach for some sand & water time, but instead I stayed on board and enjoyed a wonderful, hassle free ship.
So how safe is Nassau? Perfectly safe--the only people I encountered, like me, had shown their KTTW to get on board or were the terrific CM's known for service and friendliness. That was my Nassau experience, and if I end up there again, I expect once again stay on board.
Disney with Triplets
07-20-2005, 10:23 AM
We are accustomed to traveling in larger cities and abroad. In Nassau, I didn't feel "unsafe" or like I was in harm's way - as long as you overlook the taxi drivers. I did find the local vendors to be the most obnoxious of anywhere I've ever been. Yes, pushy, putting jewelry on tourists' arms, pushing anything for a buck.
True for most Caribbean islands with cruise ship piers - I've always found local vendors trying to hawk everything from coconut purses to bean pod rain sticks within the walking area around the cruiseship. It's maddening. We always try to rent a car or travel by taxi to another island location away from all of the hustle and bustle that "cruise ship day" brings to the pier.
07-20-2005, 10:48 AM
Having been to Nassau six times...I know what to expect.....
Is it a little scary?...sure it is but my DH and I stay out in the open, know where were going and know when to say no.... I've been accosted to have my hair braided but I tell them I don't want it done...
Have we been offered illegals?
Yes...a guy walked past us just by the pier...but he kept walking..no problem....
Our last trip we took our own free excursion over to cable beach and rode in what Nassau calls "public transportation". You know what...best two bucks I've ever spent. We drove through some scarier parts of town on the way there but boy did I see some culture. Our driver on the way back was very friendly and talked to us too...
Even if you don't do anything in Nassau, try one of the bus routes....
07-20-2005, 11:09 AM
Yikes! Doesn't exactly sound like something I would want to experience on a relaxing family vacation.
07-20-2005, 11:33 AM
I had been to Nassau once before in the mid 80's and thought, even then as a 17 yr old, that it was disgusting. At least the straw market area. I figured that the town would have had to have been cleaned up considerably when I went on another cruise two years ago and to my surprise, it was indeed. Very much so.
We had decided to take a speed boat cruise of the islands and it was a lot of fun. We still had a few hours to kill so Joe and I strolled over to the straw market. I knew what to expect, told Joe what to expect, but he was still floored by the dozens of folks who approached us, hocking t-shirts, t-shirts, t-shirts. Joe kept wanting to look at the shirts, hunting for souvenirs, when he finally gave up upon realizing they were all the same after the first aisle. When we started making our way back to the ship, we were offered not only drugs, but "girls" quite a few times.
Next time we do a cruise, we plan on sticking to a day long offshore excursion that is partnered with the cruise line. We won't ever bother otherwise.
Side note, walking through the business/shopping district was nice and relaxing. It was only the straw market and the immediate surroundings that had a lot to be desired.
07-20-2005, 12:39 PM
In Nov. 2002 we were on the Wonder 3-day cruise and we took a taxi to Paradise Island to swim. The taxi driver was nice and he picked us up at the time we stated that we wanted to be picked up from the beach.
Later, my DH, DS (15), myself and a few other relatives went shoppring at the shops right off the pier (if I'm remembering right), and we stopped at Del Sol (the shop that has the t-shirts that change color in sunlight). My DS was bored so he went outside of the store to wait. A local man came up to him and offered him "ganja." My son had no idea what ganja was and refused, but he came right back in the store and told me about it. We made him stay close to us after that point.
07-20-2005, 12:50 PM
We were just in Nassau on the June 5 Wonder and had a very positive experience. In the morning, we took the Nassau City Tour and had a very nice driver. At the various places we stopped, the vendors simply asked one time if we were interested or told us what they were selling. We just said "No thanks -- just looking" very nicely, and they usually said "No charge for looking" very nicely and that was the end of it.
My DH and I commented that vendors were much less than what we have encountered in Jamaica, Mexico, etc.
In the afternoon, we ventured off the ship on out own with ours kids (9,7,3) to visit the Pirate museum. We had no problems at all. As we walked out of the Port, a few drivers asked us ONE TIME if we wanted a ride, and we just said "No thanks" and that was the end of it. We walked the 6 blocks or so to the museum and NO ONE tried to sell us anything.
We did not go to the Straw Market, so I cannot speak about that, but we went in several shops in town and did not encounter anyone aggressive.
Little Miss Liberty
07-21-2005, 06:13 PM
Well sounds a bit intimidating out there if your not use to agressive people but thanks for everyones advice and would love to hear any other stories.
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