A shopper’s paradise
An MSC Caribbean cruise to Grand Bahama is a unique way to visit its capital, Freeport, which is easy to navigate on foot for visiting shops and restaurants. Freeport’s main commercial district is centred on The Mall, located between Ranfurly Circus and Churchill Square, about ten blocks north.
Tourist activity is focused on the south end of East Mall Drive, around Ranfurly Circus and the International Bazaar, a faded warren of simple shops and cafés marked by red Japanese-style Torii gates. In addition to several restaurants, a straw market and assorted souvenir stands, a holiday to Grand Bahama offers duty-free shops selling jewellery, perfume, Cuban cigars, rum, resort wear and crystal.
An MSC Cruises shore excursion can show you Port Lucaya and the beachfront hotels of Lucaya which comprise a resort area with a more cheerful atmosphere than Freeport’s, with carefully tended lawns and shrubbery, and tidy, candy-coloured shops and houses. A seaside suburb first developed in the 1960s, Lucaya is dominated by the massive Westin & Sheridan at Our Lucaya Beach and Golf Resort, fronting Lucayan Beach, with two golf courses. Across the street from this resort is Port Lucaya Marketplace, a busy, colourful tourist market overlooking the boats at Port Lucaya Marina, with shops selling the standard duty-free assortment of goods, open-air stalls displaying straw work and other souvenirs, and several lively restaurants and bars packed with vacationers.
The two main attractions outside Freeport – Lucayan National Park and Paradise Cove – lie on opposites sides of the town. Lucayan National Park encompasses forty acres of mixed forest, limestone caverns and sinkholes, mangrove creeks, a spectacular beach and several nature trails all less than a mile long. A trail from the car park on the north side of the highway leads to a six-mile-long underwater cave system, one of the world’s longest.