The Ultimate Guide To Day Cruises To The Bahamas From Miami

A Bahamas day cruise from Miami is the 24-hour break you didn’t know you needed and there are plenty of fast ferries that will take you there. Taking a day-long trip to an international paradise has never been easier than grabbing a fast ferry from Miami to the Bahamas. It is the perfect spontaneous getaway with little planning needed. 

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What are the best day cruises to the Bahamas from Miami?

Whether it is to the Bimini Islands or Grand Bahama Island, you can be to paradise and back in time to be to work the next morning. The best Bahamas day cruises from Miami are: 

  1. Balearia Fast Ferry 
  2. Gray Line Miami
  3. Bimini Day Cruise

Before you head out to the Port of Miami at sunrise to jump on your round-trip fast ferry to a tropical escape, you’ll need to know about the point of departure and arrival, which companies can take you there, and what to do when you get there. 

We have researched all possibilities to make it easier for you to get going to the Bahamas this weekend.  A careful look at the experiences of fellow travelers travel experts, and company reviews have given us the top options for who offers the best one-day cruise to the Bahamas.

What To Know About a Bahamas Day Cruise From Miami

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Is A Day Trip To The Bahamas From Miami Worth It?

A day trip to the Bahamas is like a bite-sized vacation for those that don’t have time for a break. A one-day cruise to the Bahamas is quickly becoming popular over the traditional week-long cruise ship vacation. 

So what is the big draw? It could be the white and pink sand beaches, the intriguing history full of anecdotes about Hemingway and pirates, or maybe it’s some of the freshest ocean cuisines you’ll have.

As a departure port, Miami is a fantastic place to arrive a night early before your cruise. With its vibrant night and culinary scenes, Miami can make both ends of your Florida to Bahamas trip full of dimensions and possibilities. 

It is worth it if you pick the right fast ferry operator and have a general idea of the itinerary beforehand. However, if you haven’t planned accordingly, it can be a bumpy ride dealing with unforeseen logistics instead of soaking up the sun with a cocktail.

Here are a few things to consider when planning your one-day cruise to the Bahamas.

  • Cruise Itinerary
  • Destination transfers
  • Inclement weather cancellation policy
  • Last-minute change of port notification process (rare, but this can happen) 
  • Double check your check in documents

Who Offers The Best Bahamas To Miami One Day Cruise

1. Balearias Fast Ferry 

The Balearias Fast Ferry leaves from Port Everglades, just 35 minutes north of Miami, and runs several days a week with arrival ports in either the Bimini Islands or Grand Bahama Island. 

The travel time to Bimini is approximately 2 to 2.5 hours, while the trip to the Grand Bahamas takes 3.5 hours on average. Both options will give you between 5 and 7 hours on the island. 

The Balearias is one of the oldest and most reliable companies running this route as well as one of the most economical. 

The ferry itself can hold up to 600 people at capacity. It is outfitted with internet, a small cafeteria and even a bar to grab a cocktail on the way. 

This operation all offers a day pass add-on to the ticket for two all-service resorts on Bimini, The Hilton By Resorts World Bimini and Viva Wyndham All Inclusive Resort. Both offer full access to pools, a beachfront for lounging, and many restaurants and bars to choose from. 

The Itinerary

  • The Baleanerias leaves Port Everglades at 9 am in the morning with check in from from 6 to 7:50 am
  • The boat arrives in Bimini at 11 am (same day)
  • Departure from Bimini is at 6 pm, with check in ending at 5pm
  • Arrive back at Port Everglades at 8 pm (same day)

2. Gray Line Miami

The Gray Line Miami services the Bimini Islands out of Port Everglades, 35 minutes north of Miami. 

The travel time to the Bimini islands is between 2 to 2.5 hours with a check-in of one hour prior to boarding. 

The Gray Line Miami runs several tours on both land and sea and can accommodate transfers between airports or hotels if needed. The ferry is a sleek, modern, and comfortable way to get you to Bimini Islands. It offers a full bar on board with some snacking options. 

The Gray Line ticket price includes a round trip ticket, port fees, and taxes, a day pass and transfers to and from The Hilton at Resort World Bimini. 

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The Itinerary

  • The Gray Line Miami leaves Port Everglades at 9 am in the morning, with check in at 7 am
  • The boat arrives in Bimini at 11 am (same day)
  • Departure from Bimini from 6 pm to 730 pm depending on the season, with check-in ending one hour before departure. 
  • Arrive back at Port Everglades between 8 pm and 930 pm, depending on the season (same day)

3. Bimini Day Cruise

Bimini Day Cruise offers the most economical solution to get you from Miami to Bimini in just over two hours. This fast ferry leaves from the Port of Miami and arrives in North Bimini. 

This is a no frills fast ferry with basic snacks, meals, and some alcoholic beverages on board. The ticket price includes a day pass and transfers to The Hilton at Resort World Bimini which includes full beach, pool, and dining access to the facilities. 

The Itinerary

  • The Bimini Day Cruise leaves the Port of Miami at 9 am in the morning with check in from 6 to 8 am
  • The boat arrives in Bimini at 11 am (same day)
  • Departure from Biminiis at 6:30 pm with pre-boarding from 545 to 615pm
  • Arrive back at Port of Miami at 830 pm (same day)

About The Bimini Islands

The Bimini Islands are the more laid-back of the two popular ports for a day cruise from Miami. While Grand Bahama Island is geared towards the masses of disembarking cruise ship passengers, Bimini is the quieter choice for a port of entry into the Bahamas. 

The Biminis are the closest Bahamian point to the United States, making for an easy day trip. There is a mega amount of beach, culture, and eco tours to be had in the Bimini Islands. 

Take A Tour 

Bimini Island Tours is a small, authentic operation that offers an in-depth guided look around either North or South Bimini with a local guide. The tours include stops at shipwrecks, the famed Dolphin House, and local markets. 

The tours also provide a richer experience, telling the stories behind their names and the history that happened in the surrounding area. 

Play  In The Water

The Bimini Islands are known as the “fishing capital of the Bahamas,” so if you are a fisherman, this is the place to be. Amberjack, Snapper, Yellowtail, and Grouper are all commonly caught off Bimini’s shores. Ernest Hemingway famously made a retreat here on a regular basis for Biminin’s world-class fishing, often coming to throw his pole in the water between writing his famous novels. 

One of the best fishing outfits in the Bimini Islands is Yellowtail Charters. A tourist favorite, Yellowtail offers deep sea fishing, reef fishing, and even tours out to Pig Island to snorkel with the famous tropical bovine.

Hit The Beaches

Obviously, no trip to any of the Bahamian Islands is complete without a trip to the beach. However, the beaches of Bimini are often said to be exceptionally pristine, often uncrowded, and have more of an authentic local island vibe than some of the more touristed Bahamian islands. 

Most of the beaches are on the west side of North Bimini, making them easy to access from the port that the fast ferries come into. 

Radio Beach is one of the most famous beaches in North Bimini. As the story goes, this beach was named for the old radio station that was housed nearby. From this location, Morse code was used almost 200 years ago to transmit communications with the rest of the world. Today the beach is known to be a raw natural beauty with an easy-to-reach coral garden for amazing snorkeling. 

Eat Like a Bahamian

Conch Salad is one of the most famous dishes on the island and likely goes from ocean to plate on the same day. For a great conch salad experience, among other dishes, try the Bimini Seafood Company located at the Bimini Big Game Club. Not only is the conch salad a winner, but the views and ambiance are Bimini vibes through and through. 

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About Grand Bahama Island

Grand Bahama Island is another popular port of entry for day trips from the Miami area.  The island of Grand Bahama boasts excellent water activities, including big game fishing, snorkeling, and world-class scuba diving. 

The beaches around the main town of Freeport are more developed than Bimini and are lined with luxury accommodations and nearby golf courses. 

Take A Tour 

What better way to experience any place than through the eyes and island pride of a local tour guide. Tours By Locals is a private tour service operating guided walks through either a Grand Bahama Settlement and Culture or Bahama’s Bush Tea Express Tours, which both cater to visitors who have a short time on the island. 

Play  In The Water

On the beaches of Grand Bahama, there are endless possibilities to enjoy watersports, including jet skis, paragliding, windsurfing, and snorkeling. Lucaya Watersports and Adventures is conveniently located close to the pier where the fast ferries come in and can help book and provide equipment for all your watersports needs.  

Hit The Beaches

The beaches in Grand Bahama Island are full service. Most are part of beachfront luxury accommodations or have many amenities beachside to make your lounging comfortable such as snack carts, bars, and seaside restaurants 

If you are in Grand Bahamas for a short time, consider a day pass to one of the all-inclusive resorts. The Grand Lucayan offers an all-day pass that includes food, alcoholic drinks, and the use of pools and the private beach club. 

Eat Like a Bahamian

Banana Bay Restaurant was voted one of Fodor’s best places to eat in all of Grand Bahamas.  Located on Fortune Beach in front of a sandbar, it is the ideal place to keep kids entertained while you enjoy a cocktail. Their specialties are homemade banana bread, conch fritters, and crab cakes. 

Port Information: Departure and Arrival

About The Port of Miami

The Port of Miami is just a short 10-minute drive from Miami Airport. Most cruise ships and some fast ferries will offer pick-up services. The best strategy for an early morning port departure to the Bahamas is to arrive the night before or even better, spend a day in Miami on either end of your trip. 

Miami is brimming with cultural, seaside, and edible opportunities. South Beach is a great place to experience a little bit of everything in a short period of time. 

If you have extra time, check out the ultra-hip Design District or take in a cabaret show at the Faena Theatre. 

About the Port Everglades

The Port of Everglades is located in Fort Lauderdale, just 35 minutes from Miami. It is a popular port for cruise ships and fast ferries to the Bahamas. Many companies offer transfers from the Miami Airport or hotels to the Port of Everglades for embarkation. 

About The Port Of North Bimini

Most fast ferries will arrive in North Bimini just outside of Alice Town. Almost all fast ferries have a relationship with one of the resorts and will offer transfers to and from their locations. 

About The Port of Grand Bahamas 

The fast ferries from Miami arrive at Freeport, Grand Bahamas, docking at Port Lucaya. There is a marketplace right off the docking pier in Port Lucaya or you can take a quick taxi into Freeport. Freeport is known for its long, clean, white stretches of sand, local flea markets, and every watersport you can imagine.