In our opinion, the Bahamas Celebration Cruise truly is a rip off. I did some research and read many reviews before committing to this trip and thought that I could stay on top of things. I thought that I had handled and set straight every problem prior to the trip. That was not the case and here I am now adding my own opinion to the many others.
I don't know where the positive reviews come from, but I can tell you that every negative review you read is true and worse. Although some of the facts are different, our story and experiences are not dissimilar. The bottom line is, our trip and association with the ship and all connected with it - was a disaster ! We were (to say the least) nickeled and dimed to death; misled; lied to; and paid for upgrades that were non-existent. We will never again travel with "Caribbean Cruise Lines"; "Bahamas Celebration Cruise Line or the other 7 or 8 names they go by.
It is said that there is strength in numbers. Perhaps we can't stop this Cruise Line from deceiving and taking advantage of others, but maybe we (together) can slow them down. Maybe we can help some other innocent and trusting travelers from experiencing the same hardships and dishonest, fraudulent treatment we encountered.
Here is our story, add it to the others, learn from it, pass it on
I made a donation to a children's foundation and this trip was my Thank You Gift. (Obviously they sold my name.) Although I turned down the gift a number of times, I kept getting phone calls from "Caribbean Cruise Lines" - so finally I said, Okay, tell me more. - and so the start of misleading, ambiguous and confusing information.
Although there were many problems, I have chosen to limit them to the few listed below.
Trip Cost: A free trip that was to have been only $200 (to pay for taxes and misc. fees) ended up costing more than $1,200 and another $1,000 + in transportation. I had incurred some of the fees because of upgrades.
Upgrades: All the upgrades we paid for were non-existent and non refundable.
Transportation: We were given a ½ price airfare voucher which we could not use - none of the discounted travel dates offered coincided we our trip dates.
Free 8 day Car Rental: We were led to believe that we could use a rental car in the Bahamas. Not True. We could only use it for the 2 days we were in Fort Lauderdale. We were to have paid only $20 for the two days, but instead had to pay $60. I can't answer why they gave us the car for 8 days, unless it was to get more money (for days not being used).
Restaurant Voucher: We were to have been given a $50 voucher to Cafe Aruba. We never got it.
Time Share: We didn't know anything about a time share presentation until about the fourth phone call (of more than 2 dozen calls). We were led to believe that it would be a power point presentation in the same hotel we were staying. The presentation turned out to be a one-on-one in West Palm Beach - an hour drive from our hotel. However, unlike some of the other guests' reports, we didn't feel pressured. Although we originally had no intention of buying, it was right for us, good locations, good price
We didn't have any problems with the Time Share Reps, but we did with the Cruise Line reps. They misled us as to the location of the meeting and the time we had to invest. Basically, all 3 days in Fort Lauderdale were wasted at our expense - literally.
Charge Card: Discover card was one of the ship approved charge cards. Prior to travel, we notified our credit card companies and although we completed all the ships forms notifying them that we would use the Discover Card, the ship turned down its use. At 9 am on the first day of disembarkation in the Bahamas, there were 23 passengers that were refused its use. As time went on, the number quickly multiplied.
The problem was not with Discover, but with the ship. The same problem was repeated on our return home. Prior to boarding, ship officials again took the Discover info, but upon disembarkation in Florida - they refused it. We were fortunate to have brought another card with us. Some of our fellow passengers were not so lucky.
Complaints: All our grievances were shifted from one individual or department to another and another ... All our concerns and complaints went unsettled. I was finally able to find out that I had booked directly through the Cruise Line, but this info was difficult to attain and also went nowhere.
Very early on in my involvement with the Cruise Line Reps, I knew I had to keep notes - day, date, time, reps name, title, phone number, summarization of discussions, etc. Later on, before hanging up, I asked the rep to repeat what was in the computerized notes. I have more than 26 pages of notes. All bases covered ? NO !!!! I found that regardless of what they tell you, they skillfully change the contents, give misleading information, and in most cases give one lie after another.
1. Paid $349 extra for more days in the Bahamas. They gave me Orlando. This problem was corrected.
2, Paid appx $250 extra for a Ship Cabin at the highest level, facing the ocean, king/queen bed with a balcony. I found out the ship was not built with any. There are no balconies.
I was offered a deluxe cabin suite, but another call and yet another rep told me that it was located below deck (no windows). I turned it down. Later found out this info was not true either.
I finally agreed to a large cabin on level 8 with a king bed and a wall to wall window facing the ocean. The cabin turned out to be smaller than a closet. The king bed was 2 singles pushed together up against one side of a wall. A slant was created where the mattresses met. This slant kept rolling me into the wall. The feet of my 6'4 boyfriend hung over the bed. There was so little space that we both had to climb over one another to get in and out.
So much for having pre informed them of our senior status and some handicap issues, which I was assured, would be honored - they weren't.
3. Paid extra for better accommodations and food packages in both Florida and the Bahamas. Both were non existent. We were at the Ramada in Florida (no beach anywhere for miles; very small swimming pool; too many kids; lots of skers; awful food; poor room accommodations).
We were assigned to a hotel in the Bahamas that had been closed for 3 years. Can't tell you why this was never corrected, nor where the money for the food package went.
At the Lucayan, we were going to be charged $87 extra per person, per day for food and $50 extra per person for a 10th floor room facing the ocean. We turned down the food pkg, but stood our grounds on the room. They compromised with a 9th floor room facing the Marina - no extra charge (and we had no intention of paying more, yet again). We accepted, only to find that in order to see the marina we had to look past the bldg roof tops, air conditioning units, and all the streets in between. Yes, the marina was visible, if you had binoculars.
Before travel, I asked and was not told the truth about Grand Bahamas and Lucaya. I later found that the Grand Bahamas Island consists of the Freeport Bonded Area and the districts of East and West Grand Bahama, and that Lucaya is a suburb of Freeport. I understand that Freeport is one of the poorest locations in all of the Bahamas. And, from what we saw and experienced, we found this to be true.
Alan Thicke and his wife (Tanya) are spokespersons for this cruise line and the vacation packages connected to it. Based on what had to say in all the advertisements connected to this trip, I was especially expecting the Grand Lucayan Resort to be spectacular. It was not. The beach and pools were disappointing. Nice people, pretty grounds, lots of tourist souvenir shopping and eating areas in the Marketplace (across from the resort and Casino), and several excursions available - but not much else. I don't understand why it's called a resort - far from my definition and expectations of a resort. In addition, you don't dare want to travel too far away from the resort and Marketplace.
This has certainly changed my opinion and trust level of Alan Thicke and his wife. I wonder if they have taken this cruise, stayed at any of the hotels, attended the time share presentations or even bothered to check out any of the information they are so free and cavalier in broadcasting. Maybe they should both go under cover and experience for themselves the hardships and difficulties we had to endure. Let's see if they like their trip with the Bahamas Celebration Cruise line, their stay at the Ramada, etc. However, if they are aware of the cruise lines deceptive and unethical practices, and have chosen to support them anyway - well, shame on them. That makes them just as culpable, dishonest and unprofessional !!!
During our trip, we met and spoke with many other travelers. No problems were experienced from guests who had come in on Norwegian or Carnival. However, almost everyone else we met who had come in on the Bahamas Celebration and had just as many horror stories to share. None of us paid the same money for the same thing. The prices ranged from $187 to $3,000 All of us agreed that we will never take this type of vacation again.
For my boyfriend and I, it is not about the money we spent. Certainly $1,200 plus transportation is more than a reasonable (and actually - a cheap) price to pay for a 9 day vacation for two. It is, however, the fact that we were misled, lied to, deceived, duped by unethical, conmen/women who used discriminatory practices and deceptive marketing tactics in order to lure and attract clientele for the purposes of making money on selling non existent services and upgrades, time share properties and a host of other products.
We didn't get the trip that was advertised, the trip we expected, and we didn't get the upgrades and services for which we paid additional money beyond the original quoted price. We feel we have been swindled and have no way to make things right. As stated earlier - we will never again travel or do business with "Caribbean Cruise Lines", Bahamas Celebration Cruise Line or any of the other names they go by.
So, I now ask again, Are you certain you want to accept a free trip from Caribbean Cruise Lines ? Do you really want to travel on the Bahamas Celebration Cruise Ship ? If your answer is still, Yes - Good Luck !!! I'm sure we'll be hearing from you in the next few weeks.
:( A Disappointed Traveler in Ohio