The Atlantis Marina
24 December 2006 | Nassau
Well it has been an interesting week. We've gone from 2 people and a dog on the boat to 9 and a dog. Wow. It's kind of fun to have every berth in use. We have basically been parked so there hasn't been a lot of nautical stuff happening aboard. I think the week on the dock has been a good way to acquaint everyone with the boat. Living on a boat is not like living in a house. Everyone has now dealt with living on a boat (even if it is one plugged into shore power, and adjacent to Johnny Rockets and a Casino).
The Atlantis has been a blast for the kids and adults. The aquariums are awesome and the pools and water slides are a constant source of fun for the kids. The Atlantis is like a giant ocean based theme park. They have water slides that wind through shark filled pools, a set of tunnels that burrow through the lost city known as The Dig, many kids pools and some adult pools, a lagoon with a completely protected beach and lots of paddle boats and other toys, beach access with life guards and perimeter nets, jet ski rentals, scuba programs for the kids, an Internet library, crew's lounge with showers and a pool table, the list goes on. It is a great resort complete with restaurants of all kinds and a casino. It is also safe, unlike Nassau at large. There are guards and video cameras everywhere.
Some tips for cruisers considering a visit to Atlantis follow. If you dock somewhere in Nassau and come to the Atlantis with your family you will likely pay more than if you just dock here. The Atlantis park is an open area, you could be sneaky and get into a lot of the fun at the resort without paying. That said you need a wrist band to do the water slides and to even get into some of the areas. To get a wrist band you need a room key (or marina key) or you can buy a one day access pass. The one day pass runs up to $200 for a family of four. If you dock your 50 foot boat near the entrance of the marina you will pay $3 a foot (no extra charge for Catamarans!) or $150 a night. Not only will you get full access to the park for your whole crew but also a safe slip with good dock service, power, room service and everything else you have staying in a room at the hotel. No cab fares or dinghy rides either. IMHO this is the bargain of the century. We have 9 on board and pay $150 a night! Sixteen dollars a head is pretty cheap for the experience.
The Atlantis marina is located west of the bridges, which is great if you are entering the harbor from the West. Our stick is 72 feet above the water which means that I don't do bridges under 75 feet. The Paradise island bridges that cross the Nassau harbor are 65 feet. Most marinas here require us to enter from the far more tricky East side of the harbor, no fun in fading light.
Getting a slip reserved in the Atlantis Marina can be difficult during the holidays. The entire place has been reserved this year since August. However, weather and the whims of the rich and famous (who don't care about paying cancellation fees) leave slips open constantly. If you are willing to roll the dice a bit you can stay here as long as you like in my experience. Here's what I ended up doing: We called in September to discover that they were booked but we were told to call in when in town and they would see what they could do. December 16th we radioed in on approach and they said no problem for two nights, take slip 27. Unfortunately slip 27 is prime turf (an alongside spot big enough for a 200 footer) and ran $7 a foot. Yikes. The next day we moved into a slot that had become available up to the 23rd. We didn't want to leave the marina until after Christmas to minimize the challenges with 9 aboard. Lucky for us the 120 foot sloop taking up the alongside #1 and #2 spots moved into a prime slip so we shuffled over to #2 for the last few nights at the reduced rate of $3 a foot. As stated previously we would have had far fewer problems if our beam had been only 22 feet as there are many 25 foot slips for the mega yachts. Our beam of 26 and change had us scratching for the alongside slips only. If you are close to the entrance you only pay $3 per foot but have a good walk around the marina to get to the resort. The middle spots are $5 and the prime spots in the main marina area are $7.
They purport to be very green and I'm sure they try but the mega yachts are washing the topsides every day or two so there's soap and other cleansers floating around the marina regularly. You obviously need to be on holding tanks here but the marina pump outs at each slip are broken. The kind of broken where they will never be fixed I suspect. There's no fuel and the dinghy dock, if you're visiting, is at the very back behind an alley where they often have two mega yachts side by side parked two deep. If you can tie more than two dinghies up there I'd be surprised, they are not exactly encouraging outside boats to visit.