My biggest piece of advice for these ports is, if you have long hair, tie it up and wear a hat. The locals will follow you and stalk you to get your hair braided. The more you ignore them the more they follow you. Freeport IMO had better shopping, in the international bazaar that's where we went. In Nassau, you can get cheap cab rides (don't worry there will be a MILLION cabbies trying to get you to ride with them so you don't have to search to hard for a cab), and I believe you can get a free tour of the Atlantis hotel on Paradise island in Nassau. If you want beach time in Nassau, you don't have to buy an expensive 40.00 a person beach shore excursion, all it cost us was 8.00 to get on a very nice beach on paradise island with a view of the blue lagoon. There are lots of people on the beach also willing to rent you Jet Skis and beach chairs if you need them. The 8.00 was for the taxi ride. Don't go to the straw market unless you want to get harrassed by locals, we tried to just walk thru there and oh my god they won't let you even look. If you drink water, bring it on the cruise ship with you otherwise the only water you get is for over 3 bucks a bottle. The people in the ports know how much Carnival charges you for food and beverages, we thought we would be smart and buy some goodies cheap and they are as expensive on the ports as they are on the cruise ships.
When we arrived in port we thought we would just walk around and go shopping. Everyone seemed to be going to Paradise Island. They were selling tickets inside the port "shopping complex" and the lines were long so we just kept following the crowds to the "taxi boats". They call you in and tell you the price (which is cheaper than what you would have paid in the "shopping complex". We got onboard of one of the water taxis and my husband gave him enough money for a round trip ticket like we would have gotten in the "shopping center". Being the niave people we are, we got ripped off for our RETURN trip. If you give them money, they ASSUME the rest is a tip. We had to buy return tickets to get back to the shipThere is a public beach on Paradise Island, but it is nothing spectacular. We accidently followed a group of people into one of the big hotels along the beach area and were politley asked for our room keys. When we told them we were just trying to get to the beach, they told us where the public access area was. We kind of felt like "trash trying to crash a party". Just keep asking questions on this board before you go on your cruise, and you will find out a lot of interesting things..........not all of them negative of course. I always say a vacation is what you make it, and a little advice can make it better. Happy Sailing