Wyndham Nassau Resort

To a cruise passenger sailing the Caribbean, Nassau, The Bahamas may be just another stop on a long port-of-call list—a blur among the many stunning beach destinations in the region. And indeed, this is how most people visit The Bahamas. According to statistics compiled by The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism, The Bahamas received 2.86 million visitors in 2008 with approximately 70 percent coming via cruises.

But those cruise passengers are most certainly missing out because vacationing in one of Nassau’s resorts shows a whole different side to this laid-back island. And for that we recommend the Wyndham Nassau Resort & Crystal Palace Casino, with its tranquil ambiance.

“Visiting Nassau on a cruise is a great way to see a small side of the attractions and activities the island has to offer,” says Sam Zabawsky, the resort’s director of sales and marketing. “But until you have escaped to The Bahamas and experienced the Old World charm—combined with modern amenities from a resort side—you will not have the full affect of the vitality and vibrant culture of Nassau and The Bahamas.”

At this Wyndham property, which offers a contemporary decor in vibrant hues that bring the outdoors in, each of the 559 guestrooms and suites feature local artwork and range from deluxe ocean- or island-view rooms, to deluxe Corner Suites and Premium Penthouses. Each accommodation comes complete with Wyndham’s signature BeWell bedding, flat-screen TVs, high-speed wireless Internet, individual climate control and mini-refrigerator, as well as a private balcony overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, Cable Beach or the pool—a spot we recommend highly.

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“In 2008 we created the ‘Tropical Difference,’” says Zabawsky, “by adding leisure outlets poolside and overseeing extensive poolside renovations, including the addition of in-pool dining tables that complement the swim-up bar and grill, a spiral water slide, a seemingly floating island dance floor, along with rock formations, a private lagoon and a thatched roof entertainment level for poolside guests to enjoy the island rhythms.”

Adjacent to the pool, sun worshipers can enjoy a beachside lounge chair and take advantage of the oceanfront Da Daq Shaq, which offers fresh fruit daiquiris, mixed drinks and non-alcoholic beverages.

When it comes to dining, Zabawsky gushes over the resort’s food and beverage outlets. “They are a huge must. Black Angus and MOSO offer unique dining experiences not found anywhere else on the island,” he says.

At Black Angus, guests can dine on an array of juicy steaks and fresh seafood dishes, including Caribbean blackened conch, prime rib taquitos, skewered sugar cane shrimp and ahi tuna, and pan friend Nassau grouper. And, the a la carte sides here are big enough to share—tell your clients to try the lobster mac n’ cheese, it’s to die for.

MOSO, meanwhile, offers authentic Chinese cuisine fused with influences from Japan and Thailand. Here, there’s casual, family-style service that encourages the sharing of dishes. In fact, each table is equipped with a large lazy Susan for easy sampling of other dishes, which include velvet corn and crabmeat soup, MOSO prawn toasts, Oriental chicken salad, and steamed barbeque pork buns.

Other dining options include the Flamingo Pool Bar & Grill, serving a variety of tropical drinks, burgers, salads and sandwiches; Crystal Sweets with an array of ice cream flavors and other treats; and the Seaside Buffet, offering a wide variety of home-cooked favorites and authentic island dishes.

For pre- and post-dinner entertainment, guests can try their luck at the 30,000-sq.-ft. Crystal Palace casino, with 400 state-of-the-art slot machines, as well as 40 gaming tables, including blackjack, roulette, craps, and baccarat. Or, tell your clients to head over to 22 Above, a lounge featuring complete cocktail service and live music on Friday and Saturday nights starting at 9:30 p.m.

When clients are ready to go exploring, Nassau has a plethora of activities, but there are some that simply can’t be missed. “If you enjoy snorkeling or diving, you must visit Stuart Cove’s for amazing adventures with living coral reefs and marine life, including tropical fish and reef sharks,” says Zabawsky. The Educational Blue Tour Snorkeling Excursion, for example, allows visitors to enjoy some of Nassau’s most famous reefs and also go snorkeling among a school of some pretty big Caribbean reef sharks.

For something more low-key, Zabawsky says, “Sunset in the Caribbean is breathtaking; don’t miss dinner beachside or a sunset cruise to capture the moment forever.” He also suggests, “For local flavor, visit the local markets and taste fresh conch salad as the conch is prepared in front of you and pulled directly from the shell. Arawak Cay, known as ‘Fish Fry’ to locals, is also a great way to engage in Bahamian culture [and interact with the locals] and enjoy great seafood and drinks.”