A client recently asked me about this and it wasn’t the first time so I thought I would share information with everyone on how to do this.
As you might know, when you book a shore excursion through the cruise lines directly, there is usually an upcharge for this. I do recommend using the cruise lines if you are unfamiliar with an area or if you have some tricky times to accommodate (doing on your own, you wouldn’t make the start time or get back on time, etc.). I wouldn’t consider going to a different island in a port I am not familiar with as this would cause too much stress if you thought you missed your ferry back. This would cost too much as well if you missed the ship as a result.
In Nassau, going to Paradise Island and visiting Atlantis is a very popular thing to do. You can easily get a taxi or a ferry boat at the port to head over there. The ferry boat is $4 per person each way. A taxi will run you between $4 per person and $15 for the taxi (exclusive).
What can you do at Atlantis? For free, there is very limited things you can do. You can go to the casino (but you can argue that is really not free!). You can see a small portion of the aquarium. You can get something to eat (though bring your credit card as cash is not accepted).
Atlantis does offer swim with the dolphins at varying levels. You can book this even if you are not staying at the resort. They have shallow water interactions up to ultimate trainer for the day, sea lion interactions and stingray experiences.
They also have packages that include the aquapark, slides, pools, beach and aquarium. There are three levels of passes – the DIGS pass (DIGS Aquarium and predator lagoon). This runs $40 per person. The Beach Pass includes the DIGS Aquarium and beach for approximately $70 per person. The Ultimate Day Pass includes the aquapark, slides, pools, beach and aquarium. This does not include Dolphin Cay or the Cain pool plus any paid experience. A day pass can be purchased at Atlantic for $120 for adults/$80 for children (higher prices in the summer). There are blacked out dates and the passes are limited each day.
So how do you make sure you get one? There are two options for this. First, you can get a room at Atlantis or other neighboring hotels with access. Harbourside is one hotel but the more common one used is the Comfort Suites. You can get up to 4 passes per room, based on the number of people listed on your reservation. Basically, you book a room for the night you are arriving (you are at Nassau on 8/14, you book for 8/14). You can check in early, but your room many not be available. Everyone who is checking in must be there at the check in to get your wristband. This will allow you the ultimate access to Atlantis. We can definitely help you with this booking, just let us know how many people you will have. You might not be able to use the room at all, but at least you’ll get the perks!
One other option is to use Majestic Tours. They will confirm your day pass in advance, charging you the same price as Atlantis does directly, though you have an option to add transfers for $15 more per person (roundtrip). The also offer the DIGS pass as well.
Lots of great options to get over to see Atlantis.