A ferry to the Bahamas is a convenient way to arrive in paradise. This collection of islands and its beaches may seem far away, but in fact, their easily reached from the mainland U.S. The closest island is just 50 miles away from Florida. Ferries to the Bahamas are a quick, convenient, and comfortable way to begin your vacation. You don’t have to worry about the hassle of flying and paying extra fees or the expense of arriving on a cruise. With convenient schedules and departure places, it’s easy to get to the islands. You don’t need a lot of advance notice, but you do need a passport or one of the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative documents, including the passport card.
Bahamas Ferry Miami
Bahamas Ferry Image: Baleària Group
South Florida is a starting point for many island vacations. Miami offers easy access to the islands of Bahamas and the Caribbean, as well as Bermuda. Every year, millions of people begin their journey in Miami at one of the most modern cruise terminals in the world. Most of the cruiselines dock in Miami, and several of them offer short hops to Miami either with a overnight stay on the ship or one of the grand resorts of the Bahamas. For many years, those looking for a day cruise had an option to set sail with Discovery Cruises. The company sent out its last ferry to the Bahamas in 2011. If you’re completely set on a day trip from Miami rather than heading up to the ferry in Fort Lauderdale, you could book a charter boat to make the trip. Or you could consider booking one of the flights. It’s less than an hour of flying time make the trip between Miami and Nassau
Bahamas Ferry Fort Lauderdale
Bahamas Ferry Fort Lauderdale Image: Baleària Group
Fewer than 30 miles separate Fort Lauderdale from Miami, so it’s not difficult to make the trip north via Interstate 95. If you’re looking for quick and easy way to get from Florida to the Bahamas, making the trip to Fort Lauderdale is your best bet. Ferry service between Fort Lauderdale Florida and Grand Bahama Island is available aboard the Bahamas Express. The ferry, operated by the Spanish Company Baleària Group, began sailing in early 2012. The company has a lot of experience bring passengers between the Spanish mainland and the Mediterranean islands, so they were well equipped to move to Florida. From the Port Everglades dock, the journey begins at 9 a.m. daily, with boarding beginning as early as 7 a.m. It does take some time to go through customs, so be sure to add in some extra time to travel. The Pinar del Rio can hold up 450 passengers and includes a duty-free shop and a cafe. The ship returns in the evening at 6 p.m., with the gates opening at 3:30 at the port at Freeport Harbor.
Bahamas Ferry from Miami to Bimini
The Baleària Group originally planned to run their South Florida ferry to Bimini, but hit some snags along the way. However, it’s not difficult to travel by ferry once you arrive in the Bahamas. Regular ferry service is available from Grand Bahama Island to Bimini as well as Eleuthera and other islands. With frequent service, it’s quite easy to get around the islands without needing to drive a mile once you're there.
Top image: Smudge 9000 (flickr)