If you love water mixed with a little adventure, then treat your family to a trip to Atlantis, Paradise Island. I see alot of families torn on what to do when they get to Nassau. Some want to stay on the ship. Some just want to walk around the markets. If you have kids, the more pre-planning you do before the cruise, the better experience you will have.
Atlantis Paradise Island takes some advanced planning, but it is a resort with WOW.
So let's start with the pre-planning and booking Atlantis.
-Most cruise lines offer an excursion to Atlantis that includes transportation to the resort, use of the beach, pools/slides and access to the Dig/Aquarium. This would be a simple option if it wasn't so expensive.
-Atlantis Resort does offer day passes, but they have been known to have "limited availability". Once you get more than 2 people in your group, the day pass price is higher than the next option....
-Reserve a room and be a guest of Atlantis OR the adjacent property Comfort Suites Paradise Island. Guests of the Comfort Suites enjoy full use of the Atlantis facilities including the dig, pools/slides and beach. It sounds absurd, booking a room you will never use. But once you look at the prices of the room and compare the amount of money that you will save by doing this, it is the best way to "do Atlantis".
You can use a booking site like Expedia to search the prices of a room at Atlantis. Then compare those with the prices from Comfort Suites for the day you will be there....
You will be able to travel to Atlantis and "check in" to receive your water park passes upon arrival. You do not need to wait until the 2pm check in time. You can get your bracelets immediately.
Each room comes with up to 4 bracelets which includes access to everything on the Atlantis grounds, excluding some of the specialty excursions like swimming with the dolphins.
Even if you have young children, there are many different places to explore at Atlantis. There is so much to do, odds are you won't be able to see it all in one day trip. Note - some of the water slides and the rapids river at Aquaventure does have a 48" height minimum on it. That doesn't mean that young children have nothing to do. There are many children pools, some smaller slides and a Lazy River for the under 48" crowd to ride with their parents.
Getting to Atlantis
There are two ways to get to Atlantis from your cruise ship. Walk into the Nassau port building and up to the Transportation/Tour desk. Tell them you want to go to Atlantis. For $3pp you can take the water taxi (bring your courage cause they like to pack em in on these boats). For $4/pp you can take a regular taxi (my preferred method because I like the door to door service).
So don't stay on the ship in Nassau. Atlantis is one experience you won't want to miss.