Friday, August 29, 2014

Review: Atlantis' Aquaventure Water Park, Nassau/Paradise Islands, Bahamas


In case you don't know or forgot, I went with family on a 3 day voyage onboard the Disney Dream cruise ship out of Port Canaveral, Florida, down to Nassau, Bahamas, and Disney's private island, Castaway Cay. You can click here for a review of the ship and for Castaway Cay Island. In this post, I will be talking about the Atlantis Paradise Islands Resort and the Aquaventure water park.



On the third day of the cruise, I had woken early enough to see the ship slowly backing into it's place at the docks facing the colorfully vibrant city of Nassau, Bahamas. Joining us later on was the Carnival Sensation cruise ship that docked on our side of the ship, and afterwards spotted the huge Norwegian Gem pulling into the opposite side of the ship.

On this day, we were a bit lazy and ended up getting our day off the ship started later than planned, giving us less time to do the things we wanted. Once we did get off the ship, we visited a few of the local buildings near the ship's port to do some light sightseeing and speak with a couple of people we knew who worked within the area. By chance, one of those people were able to offer us a ride to the Atlantis resort, eliminating the need to walk or ride a ferry or hire a taxi. They were able to take us across the bridge which links the city part of Nassau to the Paradise Islands and dropped us off on the other side near the ferry's drop-off point, and from there we did the long walk towards Atlantis.

The Atlantis resort is very closed-in (but free to walk through), and offers higher quality amenities like the many high quality shops offering name brand clothing and accessories, as well as a casino that is required to walk through if you're heading towards the water park. The main floor within the hotel is very spacious and gives a sense of how wonderfully themed the entire resort is due to the heavy amount of artwork and sculptures located everywhere.

Finding the place to purchase daily tickets for the water park took quite some time as we had some trouble navigating the resort and eventually had to ask for directions. We were eventually led around a few corners and down a large flight of stairs to a desk that offered the wristbands for the water park and was able to make the trek out once we paid and were ready.

I should probably mention that the price for a single day non-guest adult admission to the water park is roughly the same price for a single day's admission to Disneyland, so I would strongly suggest to anyone to plan ahead if they would ever like to consider making a visit to the water park and are not planning on staying at the resort. But with that said...



Atlantis Resort's backyard water park, Aquaventure, is one of the highest ranked water parks in the world due to the sheer amount of theming found within every crack and crevice of this brilliant water park. The details come all the way down to the rock walls within the lazy rivers, to the intricate details inside the Mayan temple slide complex, to the dark atmosphere and sounds emitted within the Power Tower slide complex, to the many shark and manta ray tanks beside and around water slides and pools, to the incredible length and features of the action/rapids river, and so on. The level of detail within this water park makes this one of the highest detailed water parks in the world, among the ranks of parks like Aquaventure or Wild Wadi in Dubai, or Disney's Blizzard Beach or Typhoon Lagoon in Orlando, Florida.

But its high ranking doesn't end at its theming. The attractions located within the water park are some of the most exciting as well! Two of the park's main complexes house slides that range from 3 action-packed master blaster slides, to four thrilling high speed body slides, to the water playground for kids, and to the smaller standalone body and inner tube slides within the Mayan Temple. This water park has plenty of slides for everyone to be able to enjoy, as well as many standalone pools and an enormously-long rapids river.

Starting with the park's first and better-known slide complex, the Mayan Temple houses five water slides that ranges from beginner to extreme. Starting with the easiest slide: Jungle Slide is a lengthy slow body slide that starts about 1/3 of the way up the stairs leading to the top of the Mayan Temple and consists of a few easy left and right turns before dumping riders into a pool. Further up the stairs and completely hidden within the temple itself is the Serpent Slide, which is a dark enclosed inner-tube water slide that completes a few turns and helixes before emptying into a lazy-river like section within a long translucent box submerged within a shark tank so that riders can float forwards while seeing all types of sharks and mantas fly above and below them.

At the top of the temple sits the three speed body slides. Challenger Slide is dual speed slides that faces Power Tower and consists of an easy double-down (two drops) before splashing riders into a pool at the bottom. It's a great transition slide for those who are trying to work their way to the more intense slides in the park. One of those intense slides includes the speed slide sitting opposite of Challenger Slide, the famous Leap of Faith. This is a 60 foot tall freefall body slide that drops off of one side of the Mayan Temple, and levels out before shooting riders at full speed through a translucent tunnel submerged within a shark tank and parallel to Serpent Slide's tunnel. Riders on Leap of Faith also end beside Serpent Slide in the same pool.

The second and more outstanding complex goes to the Power Tower, which is a 121 foot tall tower that opened in 2008 themed to the Atlanteans' need to generate electricity to power their city, and is complete with dark ambient noises of gears creaking and voltage hums being emitting from within. The slide complex houses four of the water park's biggest slides, starting at the top with The Surge and The Abyss. The Surge is an inner tube master blaster water slide that consists of a high speed double-down before rocketing riders back uphill with the assistance of water jets propelling riders all the way, then they enter a tunnel to complete multiple helixes and turns before ending in its own river section. The river brings riders past water falls and rapid sections before spilling them out into the larger main rapids river.
The next slide located beside it at the top is a body slide longer, faster, and darker than Leap of Faith. The Abyss is a high speed enclosed body slide that begins with an initial 50 foot drop into darkness before re-emerging into light for a fraction of time, only to go back into darkness and drop further into the ground. A water curtain rains over the end of the slide, where riders are dumped into a pool inside a hidden underground cave next to tanks with alligator gars and other fishes that swim above.

Both The Abyss and The Surge water slides tend to take the lead with guests and visitors in being the favorites at Aquaventure.

 One level below the top sits two more slides that were only accessible via a conveyor belt that brought riders from the lazy river and into the tower (the stairwell that originally led to these slides was blocked off during my visit, possibly to control the flow of crowds). Once inside, you float in your tube down a slim lazy river to either one of two master blaster slides. The Drop starts riders with a 50 foot drop in total darkness before eventually re-emerging and shooting them up-hill via water jets to complete a few more turns and dumping riders into the river. The Falls begins riders with a similar drop, but not enclosed, before blasting them up two back-to-back uphill sections, completing a few turns, and dumping riders into the river as well.

The Current is the water park's signature rapids river ride that takes riders in inner-tubes through a mile-long river filled with rapids, water falls, a wave machine section, and a conveyor belt lift somewhere along the way. This enormously long river is something necessary to be experienced because of the amount o distance you cover doing a single lap around the entire course, and the incredible theming around the edges and within tunnels. From this river, riders can enter a separate river (all without needing to get out of your tube!) that will take them to a conveyor lift that brings them into the Power Tower to board either The Falls or The Drop master blaster slides.


Aquaventure is an incredible water park that is highly recommended for anyone staying within the Nassau, Bahamas area. The park is complete with many standalone pools, a water playground, and plenty of bars and restaurants for dining and drinking. If you plan to spend any nights at the resort, then the entire water park comes complimentary with your stay. This is my second time coming to this water park, and out of all the water parks I've ever been to, this ranks as my second-favorite (behind the Aquaventure water park in The Palms, Dubai).

Because of the late start the morning while we were here, I only had about 3 hours to kill at the water park before we had to get back to the ship for our departure in the late afternoon. In that time, I tried to cover as much of the water park within 2 hours, and then take one whole hour to photograph the water park. The park was had a lot of people that day and I wasn't able to reach every slide within that time, so I covered what I thought was necessary (including the rapids river, The Current). I documented my trip around the park in a video that was posted to the Water Slide Database YouTube channel, which you can view below!




Overall, I would highly recommend this quality water park to anyone interested in making a visit to it; especially to anyone planning a cruise that ports into Nassau, Bahamas.

Ratings for slides ridden (N/A= Unavailable):
Challenger Slide: 8/10
Jungle Slide: 6/10
Leap of Faith: 9/10
Serpent Slide: 8/10
The Abyss 9/10
The Drop: 8/10
The Falls: 8/10
The Surge: 10/10!

Overall Water Park Rating: 10/10!

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