I sailed on the Bahamas Celebration on June 4th and did the cruise and stay option. I traveled with 2 kids, aged 7 and 10 (without my husband) with a friend and her three kids. I have never been no a cruise before so had no idea what to expect. We had a fabulous time. My kids thought the cruise was the best part of the trip, however, I preferred the Our Lucaya resort. Highlights of cruise: Food fantastic on board. Lots to chose from (even for my picky eaters), lots of healthy options like fresh fruit. Water slide on top deck fantastic for kids (adults not allowed but I went down it and it was a fun one). Two Jacuzzi's and pool on front side of boat on top deck- very nice. There was a party atmosphere going to the island. Drinks were not too expensive ($8.25 for frozen cocktail- I think $6.50 for the next ones, wine around $6). I did not mind being offered drinks, it was friendly and I did not feel any pressure- I felt like it was done in a friendly way. Yes, I was asked probably 40 times if I wanted a drink but it was friendly and fun and I don't have a problem with that.. Service very friendly and good on board. It was much nicer than I expected. The kids enjoyed the free ice cream (in a cup, the cones are extra) and the Italian eatery. The entertainment was good. The comedian had me cracking up, he was very funny and my kids enjoyed him too. Also, the magician and the circus part of the show were entertaining, but my favorite was the comedian and I wish I could remember his name. He was hysterical and I have not laughed that much in years (and a lot of comedians I don't find all that funny, but he was authentic). Overall, the cruise was a very happy, fun experience that my kids and I will remember for a life time. I really was surprised at how nice it all was. Only negatives: One of the main elevators was out of order so there were long waits (I actually viewed this as a positive as I went up and down 6 flights of stairs 5 times and felt like I could eat whatever I wanted as a result!), the room for 3 was VERY very small! I have only very slight claustrophobia but found paying extra for the window was priceless. I did have to walk around when I woke up in the middle of the night due to loud people at 2am- and because the room was very small and the fold down bunk took up half of my bed it meant I could not move my legs very easily (I felt a very slight panic attack due to lack of space). If you are large (I am not), I would suggest upgrading to a larger room. Me and my two kids were practically on top of each other in the little room. But we managed ok. But pay for a window and larger room if you get claustrophobic! It took maybe an hour to get on board the ship...not too long really. It took about 45 minutes to get our passport and another 10 minutes to get off the ship the next morning. I enjoyed being on the boat - it was an adventure-especially the night going to the island, it was very rocky which I found exciting- the way back was very calm and the kids thought not nearly as much fun. There were so many places to explore and things to do. There was a kids club but our kids were having too much fun and there were not many kids in there so we did not use it...I felt like I would be dumping them off, it did not look very exciting but the staff there were friendly and had an amazing memory. I would have liked to have stayed up late to check out the nightlife but we were pooped from all the activities. The sunset from the top deck-amazing. It was lively, it was fun, it was relaxing. I wish I were back on board!
Our Lucaya resort: We paid $5 a person to share a van to get to hotel. Very easy and quick. The resort is lovely but it took 2 hours to check in! That was entirely too long and I am sure there is something they could do to improve that wait! Once nice touch was waiters giving out lemonade as we waited, that was a nice touch and made the wait not quite as miserable. But the long wait was a damper as we were eager to get on the beach. Also, our room had the ugliest view possible, over the top of part of the building. I had asked for an ocean view...try to get one if you can....The part were we were overlooked a/c units, it was loud and ugly. But for the price we paid, and because the resort was so nice, we did not spend any more time in our room than we had to (but one thing I liked about the room was the white duvet covers- it made me feel like they had to wash them for each new guest,...the rooms felt clean, the beds were comfortable and there were extra pillows which I like. Also, in addition to the coffee pot, the gave 2 bottles of water each day and that was a nice touch. The beach was fantastic, as were the pools and view over the ocean. It was much much nicer than I expected. There are some rocks just off the beach that have little sea urchins attached to it and little tropical fish- fun if you bring your mask with you. The kids felt like they were snorkeling. There was a pool down from where we stayed with a water slide for the kids but it was closed while we were there, but it looked like fun. The frozen cocktails (pina colada!!) were to die for. The kids liked the virgin daiquiris. Worth$6.50 and the bartenders were generous enough with the rum. The food at the bar was good too. The bartenders were friendly and fun. The endless pool was beautiful with the ocean behind it. Our kids enjoyed the Jacuzzi. Also, the water trampoline was so much fun! They had a blast. Also, after paying for more daiquiris than I wanted, we were able to get free lemonade from the lobby for the kids.
Across from the hotel is the Lucaya market place. We had fun looking for souvenirs and buying Gombay punch, our kids favorite soft drink when they go to the Bahamas. There are lots of restaurants, ice cream shops, bars etc. There is an old fashioned candy store that was expensive but the kids had a blast choosing candy to fill up their bag. The first night (a Sunday) lots of eateries were closed so we got a Dominos Pizza, brought it back to the hotel and ate on the beach. There was a picnic table in front of the water sports building that we used - it was old but quaint and sitting on the beach with the sun setting and wind whipping around our hair was priceless.
One of the highlights of the trip was our snorkeling trip. We chose Pat and Diane's boat b/c it had a slide and rock wall and I thought that would be fun for the kids. (It turned out to be fun for me! My son only used the slide once, my daughter not at all, but I must have slid down into the ocean 20 times or more and it was totally worth it! See Helen at the desk in front of the port in the marketplace, she was very helpful in booking the trip. The other lady there was also very nice and helpful). The reef was nice- shallow with some deeper sections, within view of the hotel, and there were loads of colorful fish (we must have seen 30 or more different types and they would swim up to you when you feed them the fish food purchased on the boat for $1).. This was my kids first snorkel adventure and it was something they will remember. I had a blast. The people working on the boat were fantastic, they made it so much fun! The music on the boat made you want to dance. The hotdogs and hamburgers on the boat only cost $5 (!!!) and were really really good. It was a very memorable experience, the boat was really nice and the people working it really enjoyed what they do and made it a very special experience.
Normally, I would not do the same trip again because I like to see new places, but this trip was such fun, and such good value, that I would like to do it again next summer, but this time with my husband so he can enjoy it too. The kids are begging me to do it again, and I was so sad when I left both the Our Lucaya resort and then the cruise. What an amazing trip. I am still blown away at the value for money and was really not expecting it to be as nice as it all was.