If your like me you came on cruise critic weeks or months before your trip and were traumatized by some of the reviews you read maybe you even thought about cancelling. I am going to explain below step by step exactly what you should expect from the Bahamas Celebration. I travelled Aug. 2010.
Background on me: I am 26 y.o, a first time cruiser, went with my boyfriend, I am a nurse that was in desperate need of a vacation that could fit with the limited amount of vacation days i had left.
1. BRING A PEN! if you haven't filled out your embarktion papers there will be none available and it was chaos trying to track one down and you can not fill in the papers with pencil.
2. The lines were decent we were able to get up to the counter in less than 5 min.
3. You have several options to open your account on the ship you can use credit card, which is easiest, debit if you live in the states i guess, and cash. NO CASH ON THE SHIP, except for the casino.
4. The attendant will take a picture of you, you fill out some forms and recieve your key cards for the rooms which if u used credit card to open your account will double as an easy way to purchase things on the ship. You can have other people in your party added to your account so they recieve a card with their names on them but will be charged to your credit card if preffered. They will also ask you if you want to choose a disembarktion time. We chose 9 am so we could take advantage of the breakfast.
5. Then you move on to another area where you can take a picture (you pay later) or you can skip the picture and choose your shore excursions ...if your not sure about the shore excursions DO NOT STRESS they have a shore excursion desk on the ship and they will announce a million times that it may be sold out but that i'm sure is just a sales tactic.
6. Then you move on to the area where you can purchase bottles or wine or the soda package(ONLY WATER AND ICE TEA ON THE SHIP AND ORANGE JUICE IS FREE AT BREAKFAST) again you can do all this on the ship as well if your not sure
7. Then most important lol you book the times you will eat at the two restaurants the attendant will give you times to choose from. The Crystal Room is the fancy one and The Rio is more casual.
8. Then you pass two officials who will check you passports and boarding cards (white cards) one more time and YAY! now you board the ship.
9. Once on the ship you are greated by a few people who give you an itinerary of the days events and advise you that you can not enter your room until 2 pm. They will take your luggage (PLEASE IF YOU HAVE ANYTHING REALLY VALUABLE TAKE IT WITH YOU AS THEY JUST LEAVE THE LUGGAGE IN FRONT OF YOUR DOOR AT 2PM)
10. If you arrive before 4pm to board upstairs on Deck 9 they have a nice spread for a buffet lunch, they had fish, coconut chicken, pasta, salads, hamburgers, hotdogs, fruit, etc etc. YOU WILL BE BOMBARDED BY THE BAHAMA MAMA DRINK PEOPLE ITS 8.00 then you keep the cup and its 4.00 after that ....its up to you just say NO if your not interested.
Deck 9: lounge chairs, pool for adults and kids, jaccuzi, DJ's free icecream shop and the tiki bar. This area has lots of dancing and a dj playin calypso musics based on your intinerary they may have drink tastings, line dancing, and competitions
Deck 6: Ocean Breeze Lounge, we almost missed this place and its soooo nice its also got an area where you can go outside and use the lounge chairs its more initmate set up like a jazz/piano bar. Its got a full bar inside as well. There is a library area and an area for board games and bingo during the day.
Deck 5: The View nightclub/stage can be seen from this upper level
deck 4: Main entrance for the view and this deck has the casino, the crystal room and pub on one side and the trattoria (oh! the trattoria all you can eat pizza and pasta until the wee hrs of the morning) on this deck you will also find the Rio and an area where you can take photoshopped pictures and such.
Deck 3: Internet cafe, shore excursion, info desk, spa and gift shop
There is a kids club area, medical area, gym all of which i have no idea where they are as i didn't utilize any.
The ship is clean and professional looking.
We had an ocean view room and it was suppppppppper small so anticipate that reality. Its smaller than you can even imagine. the shower stall floor has a small incline but generally is on the same floor as the toilet so it will get wet in there; all over. But, you wont be spending that much time in there anyway - you wont want to lol.
The Crystal Room:
Fancy, make sure you dress up, the food is fantastic a wonderful upscale experiance for the night. Full waiter service
More casual. Waiter serves you only your main course and drinks . for appetizers and desserts there is a buffet.
The cove: is an extra 25.00 i never went there but why pay 25.00 its similar to the crystal room i think you can purchase lobster or something perhaps thats why.
Overall the Food on the ship was actually pretty decent the only thing i didn't like was the Curry dish in the Rio ...this is not curry i left that on the comment card.
The circus-y type acts were ok i loved Steve Zimmerman i was in tears laughing; really enjoyed that.
Some of the other singers in the pub were questionable.
You will be donating...no winning in that casino.
My boyfriend and I still can't get over just how nice everyone was it was like almost unbelieveable the service we got for the little that we paid to be on the ship. People are willing to get you multiple refills of free drinks even though they make their tips off the alcholic beverages and such. The housekeeper was fantastic and all the waiters as well. Lots of Mam's and Sir's .Wonderful service.
We chose the lucaya beach for 39.00 shore excursion.
The water was warm and wonderful they had different activities going on
you got use of the beach towels and lounge chairs
There was 2 pools, lane swimming area and a hot tub.
There was beach volleyball, trampoline in the water and jet ski's
You could walk the road to the lucaya shopping area to be honest not much there everything is really expensive in the bahamas. I was able to get a few souveniers for people back home.
We got a beatiful beach sunset painted picture with a man and woman holding hands at one of the local shops and they painted on it our names and vacation in freeport 2010 free of charge it cost us only 15.00 and it was beautiful memory of our trip.
The shuttles come to pick you up either at the shopping area or the beach every hr. we planned to eat something authentically bahamaian at the port for lunch but found we were disappointed and saw only domino's pizza, a greek and meditteranian restaurant. So we saved out hunger and ate for free on the ship.
The port time is from 8:30 to 5:30 last shuttle for our excursion was at 5:00 ____________________________
You leave when the homeland security people say you can despite your boarding pass. if they are backed up your not leaving. fortunately for us everything was on time. once you get off the ship there will be a line it took about 15 min to get through and then your on your way .
Disembarktion times are between 730 and 1030.
Liquor is dirt cheap (well for us canadian's) in the gift shop bottles that normally cost 20 or 30 dollars in canada were 10.00!!! we took full advantage of that. _____________________________________________
oh, there were people who rec'vd there trip via a timeshare presentation we met a couple and their advice was the sales people are piranha's stick to your NO like solid steal they must give you your cruise passes at the end. They will be pissed but who cares. Good Luck!
Hope i didn't forget anything if i did i don't mind answering any questions; I was once the person very anxious to even board this ship