My fiance and I decided to venture out and look into the Bahamas Celebration package after receiving a sweepstake looking form in the mail. All the offerings sounded too good to be true and to a degree it did fall short. It was a chance we decided to take and we know not to do this again. It was a learning experience.
There were some things that were misleading...the certificate we received in the mail and what the rep told us over the phone stated that we would be staying at a "resort" in Ft. Lauderdale. This run down, 25 year past overdue for renovation, Ramada Inn, was the furthest thing from a resort. The food that was "free" at the dining hall was the furthest thing away from appetizing and we ended up eating out for every lunch and dinner for the total of 5 days we stayed there. On the last leg of the trip when we came back to the hotel, we had night visitors...adult and baby roaches hanging out in our bathroom.
The ship itself was good considering it was a More
29 year old renovated small ship. We had a spacious room compared to what we heard about other guests' rooms. We rated the food we were able to get as part of our package on the ship as good to fair (there were a few restaurants on board that had an additional charge). The Trattoria that was open all day long charged for caffeinated beverages and dessert and there was a fee for alcohol (similar to all cruise ships).
The scheduling of dinner was chaotic because some guests were forced to eat dinner at 10 o'clock at night. We were told reservations were made on a first come-first serve basis so even arriving at the port around 1pm (during the 1-3pm) boarding time window, we were stuck with a late dinner time. Also the sit down dinner that required certain attire was not enforced and people showed up in shorts and flip flops. This took away from the experience. This could have been better organized. Also, we found a few dirty dishes in the dining hall (2 separate occasions) and when we notified staff, they were nonchalant about it and did not work to fix the problem.
The staff was constantly pushy about the excursions in the Bahamas and reserving them in advance. As it turns out, the price of these pre-paid packages were much more expensive than if you were to book on the island.
The entertainment (comedy and dance club) were both entertaining but the other activities were cheesy and not very fun. The staff was international, courteous and very friendly.
The timeshare presentation took about 3 hours (not including travel time). Round trip travel time was about 2 hours. So this took up about half of our day. However, it was nice getting out to W. Palm Beach because we were able to use the remainder of the day to check out other sites. Most people did not purchase time shares and we were one of them as well. Don't get pressured if you are not in a position to buy!
When we got back home, we were curious to see how much we actually saved by paying for this package so we created Excel spreadsheets and itemized each cost. We determined that you end up paying the same if you were to book the cruise, hotel, food and rental car on your own. You also end up better off because you would not lose 5 hours of a mandatory time share presentation.
Overall, you are better off researching and booking this trip on your own or going through a travel agent. The benefit would be selecting a hotel of your choice, traveling on a recognized and much nicer cruise ship like Carnival and avoiding a time share presentation. So, if we could do this again, we would certainly opt out.