Miami to Bahamas-Flight vs Cruise- which is better?

When I decided to include visiting Bahamas during my USA trip, I had to select between two options- flight or cruise. I did a quick evaluation of both options and decided on flight, as it was best suited for me. But depending on your preferences you may chose cruise.
Why I chose flight?
I got good deal- some 97 USD Washington to Nassau via FLL on Southwest and 163 USD Nassau to FLL return flight. I spent about 6000 INR for an AirBnB at Bahamas (3 nights) and some more money for food, local transport and site seeing. This puts my 3 day Bahamas trip at about 97+163+95+100= 450 odd USD including everything. If I subtract some 40 $ for IAD-FLL leg, I am looking at a spend of about 400 USD

How much a cruise to Bahamas would cost?
Above: Screenshot from a cruise website payment section

Cruise would cost me lot more- particularly because of single user supplement (if you’re alone, you pay more). While the cruises advertise a fare of about 220 USD for a 3 night cruise to Bahamas from Miami, the minimum amount you’ll pay will be about 550 USD if you’re single, 860 USD for two people- after factoring single user supplement, taxes and other charges. And this is for the cheapest category of inside rooms (no window or ocean view) but would cover stay, food and a bit of excursions on the shore. You may still need a 100 or 200 USD for expense not covered in the package

Another problem with cruise is that cruise gets boring after sometime. Within a day you’ll exhaust all entertaining options inside the ship, then you may end up spending lots of money at the casino or other paid services inside the ship. You get very little time at the destination- roughly half a day at Nassau, while in flight option you can spend as many days as you wish.

Note that this particular cruise would have given me just 5 hours at Nassau-arrival at 8 AM and dismemberment after 2 hours- effectively you can get out of ship only after 10 AM- departure by 5 PM and you should be inside the ship 2 hours before (3 PM)- effectively 10 AM to 3 PM you will get hardly 5 hours- I am sure another hour will be lost to delays, rush and waiting in queue. So just 4 hours- barely enough for a quick glimpse of Bahamas, let alone explore it a bit.

Factor
Flight
Cruise
Cost- Travel
Around 150 USD or less (return, if you can get good deal), 200-300 USD normal, more for last minute/peak season
550 USD all inclusive for one person
861 USD for two
Includes food, drink & tax, stay onboard (inside room)
Cost-Stay
30 USD per night onwards
Included
Cost-Food
20-30 USD per day onwards
Included
Site-seeing
Extra- Boat/flight trips to nearby islands or spend time at leisure
Just 5 hours at destination for some basic exploration
Time at destination
More
Plan as many days as you wish
Less-Only 4 to 5 hours
10 AM to 3 PM (could vary)
Schedules
Flexible- multiple operators between FLL/MIA and NAS
Flexible but less than flights- departure dates are fixed
Pros
Flexible, less expensive, more time at destination, can do boat/flight trips to other islands
Good views from top if you can get window seat
Cruise Experience
Extra stop at Great Stirrup Bay
Most expenses covered in package cost
Longer cruises available
No need to keep moving your luggage- can be left in your cabin
Cons
No cruise experience
Some times flight can get very expensive
Need to plan everything else separately (stay, food, exploration etc)
More expensive
Very little time at destination
I am not saying don’t go for cruise- there’re 100s of cruise options of various duration, various itineraries- if you plan a longer cruise visiting multiple destinations and have a group of 2-4 people, a cruise might be more sensible than flying to each destinations individually. Also for those who like a relaxed approach to life, cruise may be more comfortable that the madness involved in flying. So do your research and decide.

Read my Star Cruise experience in Hong Kong

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