Set sail with Royal Holiday Cruises to Nassau, the capital and largest city in the Bahamas, and visit an island filled with beauty, festivals, and distinctive food and music. Thought by most scholars to be the site of Christopher Columbus’ initial landfall in the Americas, the Bahamas lie in the West Indies in a central position relative to the Caribbean Sea, the Gulf of Mexico, and the wider region of Central America beyond. This strategic location has given the country, independent of Great Britain since 1973, its distinctive blend of cultures and heritages. Any Royal Holiday Cruises trip to Nassau will include numerous opportunities to experience the history of the Bahamas, as well as some of the world’s best contemporary dining, shopping, outdoor sporting, and nightlife.

Your Royal Holiday Cruises vacation in Nassau will take you to a paradise for water sports enthusiasts. Take an undersea journey in a submarine to visit tropical coral gardens, with opportunities for fish viewing and feeding. Charter a powerboat to a secluded private island, or enjoy a scuba diving adventure, an action-packed family snorkeling session, a shark dive, or a kayak tour. Royal Holiday Cruises travelers can also spend a peaceful day on nearby Blue Lagoon Island, relaxing in the sun and watching dolphins and sea lions.

Families  will enjoy a visit to Ardastra Gardens, Zoo & Conservation Center. Hand-feed the sportive lory parrots, see an eight-foot-long Bahamian boa constrictor, laugh at the antics of a troupe of lemurs, or play with the zoo’s resident domesticated rabbit population.

When Royal Holiday Cruises visitors climb up the Queen’s Staircase to Fort Fincastle, they can experience a spectacular view of the harbor. Built in the late 18th century as a defense for the city of Nassau in the event of an invasion, the fort is now home to a popular observation platform. Fort Charlotte may also hold interest for historically minded Royal Holiday Cruises travelers. Constructed at about the same time as Fort Fincastle, it is the largest of the city’s defensive structures and even contains a few dungeons and a web of underground passageways. Its original 42 (now reduced to seven) cannons are not known to have ever fired a shot.

Your Royal Holiday Cruises vacation to Nassau can also include a trip to the National Art Gallery of the Bahamas, which is housed in a restored villa from the 1860s. Galleries exhibit a wide range of Bahamian art, from the colonial past to the cutting-edge present.

If your itinerary takes you to Nassau on the day after Christmas or on New Year’s Day, you can experience the distinctive delights of the Junkanoo festival. Drawing on the Bahamas’ rich multicultural heritage, Junkanoo features a sea of colorfully costumed street dancers and performers, the sounds of goatskin drums and cowbells, and nonstop excitement.

Vibrant after-dark activities for visitors to Nassau can include the city’s pulsing dance and clubbing scene, or an evening at any of the island’s numerous casinos. And don’t forget duty-free shopping along historic Bay Street, or the authentic local handcrafted items at Festival Place.