Last April my man and I took a 2 day, 2 night cruise from Port of Palm, Florida to Grand Bahama Island aboard the Bahamas Celebration. They offer 2-night and 4-night cruises. I got a great ‘buy one get one half’ option which cost us a total of: $365.80. (122$ ea. plus taxes and fees 121.80). **When we arrived to board the ship we were charged another 40$ for “gratuities” which we weren’t happy about as I did extensive research and nowhere do they warn you about this fee.
I paid a little extra to get a cabin with a double bed and an ocean view (category 6) which was totally worth it as I loved looking out at the sea of blue whenever we were in our room. We were on the first floor.
Complete list of categories/prices: Bahamas Cruise Cabins
Our room was small as expected but it suited us fine. There is a small dresser-type-thing to hang clothes on to the left but I don’t believe it had any hangers. There is also bottled water in the room but you have to pay for them. The plugs in the room are German plugs so bring a power converter with you if you will be using electronics. Luckily I knew this ahead of time and packed ours (you can get one for 10-20$ at Walmart).
You have a private bathroom; again, think tiny, but it’s all you need. Toilet, sink/mirror and a stand-up shower. Ours had the configuration toilet on left, then sink, then shower to the right. (not my photo below)
First thing we did was explore the ship. Neither of us had ever been on a cruise before and we could not believe how much could be packed onto this floating hotel.
This is what you will see upon first boarding the ship. Behind the white stone benches are the elevators that will take you to each floor and up to top deck. I love that the elevators are glass so that you can have a good look around as you go up and down the floors. To the left of the entrance is the information desk.
While we didn’t spend any money in the casino we did have a walk around. We boarded the ship as early as possible (around noon) so that we could really get our money’s worth. The boat doesn’t leave the harbour until about 6pm. Because the casino wasn’t yet open they let us take photos.
OCEAN BREEZE LOUNGE
We were on a mission to find the elusive “Ocean Breeze Lounge.” There’s a very roundabout way of getting there but we did eventually find it (you get to it through a hallway on the 4th floor). It is at the back of the ship; there is an indoor part which hosts karaoke at night (my biggest complaint of the whole trip was their lack of current music and country music at karaoke). There is also an outdoor part which is a less crowded spot to lay out than the main upper deck. It’s a nice space but we preferred to be where the young crowds were.
TOP DECK/POOL DECK
After browsing the many eating places we headed up to top deck where all the action happens. We had a dip in the pool (was a little cool for me!) but we warmed up afterwards in the hot tub. There is a hot tub on each side of the pool. We even made a few friends while we were in there; we met people from Alabama, New York, and a host of other places (funny enough no one was from Florida). I am of course from Canada and my man is from England.
After a dip in the pool we dried off on the cushioned seating that wraps around the inside of the upper deck. There are also lounge chairs that line the outside of the deck. We had one drink each (my pina colada tasted more like watered down rum which is probably a pro for some but was a bit strong for me). I believe they were quite expensive, but it was lucky we only had one drink each as when the ship did finally depart it rocked back and fourth a lot (pool water was pouring over the sides, people holding onto walls, etc,.) and I think we would have both been sick had we been drinking. I’d also suggest swimming before the ship departs as the wind makes it quite cool on top deck.
They have a DJ above the pool and some of the staff got people up dancing. When “wobble” came on I had to throw my shorts on and dance. When I sat down again I realized I was wearing someone else’s shorts. Oops. Thought they felt a bit tight.
Before getting on the ship there will be staff trying to sell you meals you have to pay for but there is no reason to spend money when there are great places to eat free.
There are just 4 places where you need to make reservations: The Cove, The Rock Grill, Rio’s (dinner only, no reservations during the day) and The Crystal Dining Room. The Cove and The Rock Grill were both off the list for me as they cost another 30$ per person and 15% tip. Also why you would pay to cook your own food (Rock Grill), rather than have someone cook it for you for free, is beyond me. Instead I opted for the Crystal Dining Room which is free, and I’m so glad I did. I had even printed their sample menu’s so we could choose which day offered the food most to our liking. We chose it for our first night.
Their list of restaurants: Bahamas Celebration Restaurants
THE CRYSTAL DININGROOM
**Dress code: collared shirt, blouse, slacks and dress are acceptable (no cutoff jeans, cargo pants or t-shirts)
Unfortunately my man was feeling pretty sea sick by this time between the rocking of the boat and strep throat meds. When we entered the dining room it felt much like being in the second half of the Titanic movie and I was very surprised the plates stayed on the tables. Once I found the rocking didn’t upset my tummy however I actually thought it was quite fun. I had the antipasti to start which was delicious, followed by a twice-baked potato and roast beef with au jus. It was to die for. I could have eaten two plates of it it was so good. I think I gobbled a cheesecake for dessert, but we were in a bit of a rush by the end as my man wasn’t feelin so well. Pepto bismol to the rescue! (As I said I come prepared)
The boat continued to rock late into the night; it was so rocky that it would almost turn you onto your other side in bed; felt like sleeping on one of those rocking ship rides at an amusement park but I wasn’t bothered.
THE RIO (breakfast)
The next morning we had breakfast at the Rio; it’s a large buffet-style restaurant with tons of selection. You could have fresh crepes or pancakes, eggs, bacon, sausage, fruit, yogurt, choose-your-own-toppings omelettes, etc,. It turns into a sit-down at night which you have to make reservations for.
Afterwards we went on the snorkelling excursion and it was awesome (I booked online ahead of time as some of the excursions sell out). 100% recommend it. The reef was beautiful and alive (not blanched and dead like some) and there was such an array of beautiful fish. Bring an underwater camera! We had a good hour to spend in the water plus we got to spend a few hours exploring the market and beach afterwards.
TRATTORIA DI GERRY
We were quite hungry when we boarded the ship again so we stopped at Trattoria Di Gerry for all-you-can-eat pizza and pasta (I had about 3 or 4 platefuls). I’m a really big eater so I was in my element. They had some fantastic salads and sandwiches at the end of the bar as well. I think I ate everything before I could get a photo…
At the front of the Trattoria is a drinks and desserts counter however these cost extra. I’ll admit we did spend the extra few dollars and indulge in a couple chocolate dipped strawberries on our second evening.
The ship was much less rocky on our way home; we could actually walk in a straight-ish line down the hallways!
For our second evening’s meal we ended up back at The Rio. We didn’t realize you were supposed to make reservations for dinner but they were very nice and fed us anyway. At night it runs like a sit-down dinner rather than buffet-style. I remember the food being very good; so good that I thought perhaps we were at one of the restaurants you were supposed to pay for but nope! Free! I believe we had salad, soup and an assortment of meats and vegetables.
We did some more exploring…
THE BULL (pub). If I had stayed longer I would have loved to try out their burgers and pub food which is free! (I also wished we had the chance to check out the buffet on the top deck where the pool is which is also free.)
THE VIEW (club)
That evening we did some karaoke at The Ocean Breeze Lounge then headed to The View (on-board club) where we watched a sort of comedy show with lots of audience participation (and cross-dressing!) before they turned the lights down and the music up. We shared a few dances before heading off to bed.
The next morning be prepared to wait in a few lines; one to de-board the ship and then the customs line. My man being from England always has a harder time at the U.S. border than I do as they always finger-print and take his photo. Also they stamped his passport and not mine, I was a little jealous :p.
Overall we had a great time and would go again in a heartbeat. Just do your research and don’t expect the amenities of a high-end cruise. Extras will cost extra, but I think they give a great value for the money. I also think it’s a great introductory cruise; I was a little nervous about motion sickness but I was perfectly fine and wouldn’t hesitate to go on a longer cruise next time.
Overall I’d give it a 3.5-4/5 stars.
What have your cruise experiences been like? Have you been on the Bahamas Celebration?