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Cruise Port of Call Wheelchair Accessibility Review: Freeport, Bahamas

Grand Bahama Island, just one of the 700 islands that comprise the Bahamas, is home to Freeport. This northernmost island in the chain is approximately 55 miles southeast off the coast of Florida, and can easily be reached from Fort Lauderdale, Miami, or West Palm Beach. While visiting the island, you will notice that it’s almost like you never left Florida! All cruise ships arriving in Freeport dock at the Lucayan Harbour on the west side of Grand Bahama Island. It is a very industrial area, and there is nothing to see within rolling distance.

Once you disembark your cruise ship, you will go through the immigration and customs area in the terminal building. Many people disembark from smaller cruise ships and spend the night in Freeport, so if you are only there for the day, you can roll past the lines of people needing to check in with immigration. The terminal building is completely flat and has accessible restrooms.

Once you are outside of the terminal building, you will see a drive-through lane for taxis and a small parking area beyond that. If you would like to see any part of Freeport, you will need to take a tour. The only company I was able to find with an accessible van is Fran’s Travel and Tour. The van they used has a lot of space and plenty of headroom. The ramp is portable and folding, but it is long and was securely attached to the back of the van. My driver and tour guide was Brice, the vice president of the company, and he was very nice and well-informed. They charge $65 an hour, and I took a three hour tour — which, honestly, was all I needed to see pretty much all there is to see in the Freeport area.

Once we got out of the industrial area, Brice took me through some of the nicer residential areas and we talked about everything from history to real estate to local plants and animals. Then we drove through the business and government districts, where I saw some of the beautiful government agency buildings and bigger businesses that operate in Freeport. Then we stopped at a local souvenir shop, where I was able to go in a back room and see how they make scented candles for tourists, as well as delicious rum cake.

After that, Brice dropped me off for about an hour at the Port Lucaya Marketplace, which is basically a large area filled with souvenir shops, restaurants, and bars. There were accessible restrooms there, and either flat entry or ramps to get into all the restaurants and shops. On the day I went, it was completely empty since we were the only ship in port, and any tours taking passengers there had either not arrived yet or already left. Our last stop was the Lighthouse Point resort, which is part of the Grand Lucayan resort that was damaged by Hurricane Matthew. While the beach itself was not accessible, I was able to roll around the grounds and the pool area for some great photos for about 20 minutes before we returned to the ship.

Overall, Freeport is not particularly interesting or scenic, but if you’re looking to get off the ship for a few hours, the Port Lucaya Marketplace is a nice spot to relax, have a drink or bite to eat, do some souvenir shopping, and take some great photos on a beautiful day. If you cannot maneuver into a minivan, which is what all the regular taxis are, you can make arrangements in advance with Fran’s to get transportation to and from the marketplace if you’re not interested in a full tour.

Are you ready to book an accessible cruise that stops in Freeport, Bahamas? Contact me at Spin the Globe/Travel and we’ll get started!

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