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Atlantis Bahamas Review: Good and Bad

I don’t know about where you live, but here in the Northeast we are bombarded with commercials from cruise lines and Atlantis in the Bahamas from November through March. They make it look so enticing — water slides, pools, dolphin encounters, casinos, restaurants, and “great deals” — so a couple of years ago we decided to take the plunge (literally and figuratively) and escape to the Atlantis for a multi-generational family vacation over President’s Day weekend.

I’ll lay out the good and the bad in this Atlantis Bahamas review below, but let me start by saying that if you are looking for a relaxing, laid-back, authentic Caribbean experience, don’t go to the Atlantis.  If you love cruises, all-inclusives, waterparks and gambling then the Atlantis might be for you.

Atlantis Bahamas Reviews

Let’s start with the Good

The Waterpark

Atlantis pyramid slide

Pyramid slide at the Atlantis

Included in a stay at the Atlantis is admission to their massive waterpark, which includes over twenty million gallons of water, Atlantean-themed towers, high-speed water slides, a mile-long river ride with rolling rapids and wave surges, 20 swimming areas, a kids water-play fort and 11 swimming pools.  There is so much to do that you can stay busy all day.

You can float down the less-than lazy river, shoot through tubes underwater surrounded by sharks, slide through the dark, or splash down the baby slides. There were quite a few little ones in our group so we staked out chairs near the splash area but close enough to the more thrilling slides to satisfy the older kids (and adults).

The downside to the waterpark is the sheer size. It is hard to keep track of the kids, especially with different ages, with so many different attractions.

Marine Habitat

Predator tunnel at the Altantis Bahamas

Checking out the Predator Tunnel

I think one of the reasons why the Atlantis is so expensive is to pay for the upkeep of their marine habitat.  The resort offers 14 lagoons, eight million gallons of salt water and more than 50,000 aquatic animals representing over 250 marine species.

These exhibits are spread throughout the grounds with displays like The Dig (a psuedo-underwater archeological discovery featuring giant manta rays and other sealife), the predator tunnel (where you walk surrounded by the sea’s scariest creatures), and a number of different lagoons offering stingray feedings and dolphin encounters.

Sharks at the Atlantis Bahamas from Atlantis Bahamas Reviews from We3Travel.com

Water slide past the sharks

Dolphin Cay

If you have ever dreamed of swimming with dolphins or frolicking with sea lions, you can fulfill your dreams at Dolphin Cay. Prepare to pay through the nose, have less time than you hope for, and be totally ripped off if you want to purchase the pictures…but…the smile on your and your child’s face is truly priceless.

Just be sure to book early as this is a very popular cruise-line excursion and fills up early.

Dolphin Cay at The Atlantis Bahamas from Atlantis Bahamas Reviews via We3Travel.com

Kissing Echo at Dolphin Cay

Something for everyone

The Atlantis is a lot like a cruise ship on land…just much bigger.  You really can find something for everyone…teen dance clubs, cooking classes, swimming, waterpark, gambling, kids clubs, game room, water sports, spa, rock climbing, and more.

Just keep in mind that all this is spread out across multiple towers so it might feel like you have to walk a mile or more from your room to your selected activity.

Rock climbing at the Atlantis Bahamas from Atlantis Bahamas Reviews from We3Travel.com

Rock climbing at the Atlantis

Now, let’s take a look at the Bad

Food

Theoretically, the Atlantis offers great food options, including restaurants from Bobby Flay, Todd English and Nobu Matsuhisa. However, since you will probably only splurge for one meal at these fine dining establishments (unless you win big at the casino), the rest of the food is overpriced and just mediocre.

Since we were going with a large group of 14, we opted to try the meal plan since it seemed like it offered a cost savings.  What we weren’t told was that a lot of the family-friendly dining options like Johnny Rockets and room service were not included in the meal plan and we ended up double paying for certain meals.

The other options, like the chinese restaurant and steakhouse were just average and quite overpriced. The other downside about the food was the lack of Bahamian or Caribbean flair.  Out by the waterpark, all the snack bars offered the same fare.  It was very Disneyworld-esque, hamburgers, hot dogs, veggie wraps.  I left craving conch fritters or something authentic.

The Crowds

The Atlantis is big, really big.  Looking out my window at night was disconcerting.  I was in the Caribbean right? Why was I looking out and seeing hotel towers lighting up the sky? Was this Vegas?

But while the Atlantis can hold thousands of people, what you don’t realize at first is that the Atlantis is packed not just with people staying there, but it is also filled with cruise ship passengers that have bought a day pass to enjoy the Atlantis waterpark and facilities. Scores of cruise ship passengers and visitors from neighboring hotels fill the Atlantis.

The Rooms

Even with the amazing “deals” the Atlantis offers, the rooms were still over $500 per night in the non-centrally located Coral Towers. For that price, we expected something more.  The rooms were very bland and in need of a renovation.  They were spacious but more inline with an old Marriott or Hilton than a Hyatt / Westin or luxury hotel.

The Beach 

Atlantis beach

The small Atlantis beach

There are certainly more pools than you can swim in during your vacation but if you come to the Caribbean, you probably would also like to spend some time at the beach.  If you are a beach-goer, you really might want to look elsewhere.  There is a manufactured lagoon beach but the ocean beach is quite small and under-serviced.

The Bottom Line

The kids absolutely loved the Atlantis while all the adults generally felt it was overpriced, too big, and too commercial. What about you? Have you been to the Atlantis? Did you love it, hate it or in between? I’d love to hear your Atlantis Bahamas reviews in the comments below.

Looking for other family-friendly resorts in the Caribbean?

Be sure to check out our review of Beaches Turks and Caicos, Club Med Martinique, Eden Roc at Cap Cana on Punta Cana, and the Grand Velas in Riviera Maya.

You may also want to consider alternates like Bermuda or Hawk’s Cay in the Florida Keys.

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The Atlantis in the Bahamas is a large family-friendly resort in the Caribbean, but as beautiful as it is, it also has some drawbacks. In this Atlantis Bahamas review we go through the good and the bad of the resort. #atlantis #hotels #bahamas #caribbeanhotels #caribbean #familytravel #luxuryhotels

41 Comments on “Atlantis Bahamas Review: Good and Bad

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  1. Thanks for posting this review. I’m just wondering which activity did you choose for your daughter at Dolphin Cay? There are so many options but it looks like you chose a great one!

      Good question! It was a while ago so I don’t remember and they probably change. We visited with the dolphin, got to touch him and kiss him but we didn’t do much “swimming” with them.

    Hi,
    I went to Atlantis for my 25th birthday with two of my friends I absolutely hated the food there. They offer a resort credit but half the restaurants are closed. My trip was scheduled for 5 nights I finished all the activities and had nothing left to do. I would stay to enjoy the pool but the service and food is so bad I paid extra to get out of there. I would only recommend someone to come here for the weekend only and leave.

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