Ferries are a huge source of transportation between all of the many islands in the Bahamas. Not everyone can afford multiple plane tickets, but because ferries are much less expensive, it affords locals and tourists the opportunity to travel from one island to the next without breaking the bank. Ferry rides can also be a relaxing and pleasurable way to travel, and many people love hanging out on deck and watching waves and land masses pass them by.
There are numerous ferries that serve the Bahamas, and it can be hard to keep up with them all. Breaking the ferries down makes the whole system easier to follow. Although only two of these services regularly offer transportation to and from Grand Bahama, it is helpful to know about the others if you want to do some island hopping.
Pinar del Rio is a great way to get to Grand Bahama if you're from the southern United States or you find it cheaper to fly to the state of Florida and take the ferry. This service, also known as the Bahamas Express Ferry, offers international transportation between Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, and Freeport every day of the week except for Wednesday. It leaves Florida at 10:00 a.m., sails for two and a half hours before arriving in Freeport, and the makes the return trip at 7:30 p.m. The cost is $49.50(USD) for a one-way ticket. Bahama Mama, a ferry by Baleria Feries, is another option that leaves out of Fort Lauderdale.
The Maverick is another option, though it does not sail to Grand Bahama. Instead, it leaves from the Port of Miami and heads for Alice town, North Bimini. The ferry leaves from Miami on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays at 9:00 a.m., reaches the Biminis at noon, and begins the return trip at 5:00 p.m. It costs $49.50(USD), there is room for 350 passengers, and on-board features include several restaurants, a casino, a disco, and a pool.
For inter-island transportation, residents and tourists of Grand Bahama rely on Mail Boats as their main option. Mail Boats are run by the government in order to transport mail and freight throughout the islands, but also have passenger holds which offer comfortable accommodations for those who need to catch a ride. The biggest complaint is that Mail Boats are slow moving, but the trade off is that they are inexpensive. Most trips originate from Potter's Cay on New Providence, then sail to Grand Bahama, Abacos, Acklins, Andros, the Berry Islands, Bimini, Cat Island, Eleuthera, the Exumas, Harbour Island, Inagua, Long Island, Mayaguana, and San Salvador.
The trip to Grand Bahama from New Providence takes 12 hours aboard the MV Marcella III. The trip begins on Wednesday at 4:00 p.m. and costs $45(USD). If you have any questions, you can also contact the Dockmaster's Office at 242-393-1064.
Check the following chart for ferry details.
|6.1 mi. (9.8 km) West of Freeport|
Although not all of the ferries out there connect directly to Grand Bahama, they may come in handy. Keep the others out there in mind as you plan your tour of the Bahamas.
|Location Served||Dock A||Dock B||Company||Frequency|
|Caribbean||Freeport Harbour Terminal One||Port Everglades||Balearia Bahamas Express||None|
|Great Exuma||Freeport Harbour Terminal One||Government Docks||5 to 6 days per week|
|Nassau||Freeport Harbour Terminal One||Bahamas Ferries Potters Cay Dock||Bahamas Ferries||1 to 2 days per week|
|the Bahamas||McLean's Town Ferry Dock||Crown Haven Ferry Dock||at least daily|
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