The marketing of this cruise is fairly sleazy, but if you refuse upgrades and decline offers of stays at hotels in Florida or Grand Bahamas you can avoid the time-share sales pitches and come away with a very excellent low-cost cruise. This is a low-cost cruise, not a "free cruise" and you don't really "win" the cruise.
Hotel Info (if any)
We didn't use any of the hotel options offered by the resellers who were marketing the cruise. As we had to go to Ft. Lauderdale to exchange vouchers mailed to us for new vouchers, we elected to get a hotel on our own, and had a good time at the Sun Tower Suites Hotel right on the beach. I'm glad I didn't stay at the Ramada Inn that was offered as an optional add-on.
The Bahamas Celebration was a ferry boat, used in Europe. It was very much like overnight ferry boats I've taken in the Baltic Sea. I would describe it as "very nice" or "pleasant and enjoyable" but not luxurious or opulent.
The crew offers some entertainment, games, parties, music, and so forth. There are organized activities for children, youth, teenagers, and so forth. The cruise offers activities while spending the day on Grand Bahama Island, but I think for experienced snorkelers with their own equipment or those who know Grand Bahama, you may get a better deal by simply renting a car and doing your own thing.
I found the quality of the service in most respects to be very high. Certainly every one of the staff members with whom I interacted was polite and friendly. The staff who process paperwork to get you on the ship at the port of West Palm Beach seemed to be slow or else overwhelmed, as this process was overly lengthy, but aside from that one point, I have no complaints. And in fact, the staff on board the ship generally deserve high praise.
Port & Shore Excursions
Didn't try these. Prices seemed reasonable, but on the upper end of reasonable. Renting a car for the day and doing things on your own may be a viable option for some.
Travel To Port of Embarkation
It's easy to find the embarkation place in the Port of West Palm Beach.
I had the basic, cheapest (free) inside cabin arrangement for myself and my son. This is like a two-person sleeper on a train. It's very small, but it's big enough. I'm six feet tall and just fit the bunk bed. If you're taller than 6 feet, I think the bunk will be too small for you unless you curl up a bit while you sleep. The beds were actually more comfortable than typical hotel beds. The shower was nice, with good high pressure.
There were sufficient vegetarian options, and the quality of the vegetarian fare was quite good. As all this food was included, I tended to overeat.
I observed the 10-13 year-olds playing video games, but my 12-year-old son thought the games were old, and he wanted to stay with me all the time, so I can't say much about the quality of the activities for older children and younger adolescents. We saw the children (6-10) out on deck while a staff person told them stories, and they seemed to be having a great time, and the adult supervisor was a very skilled narrator and story-teller.
Saw a magician, acrobats, and a comedian. All of these were entertaining, and I enjoyed myself.
At Grand Bahama, if you aren't staying the night, and you aren't doing an organized activity, you can just walk right off the ship almost as soon as the doors open, and there is no hassle or waiting at all. When returning to the States we arrived around 7:30 a.m., and without waiting in line we decided to leave the ship just before 8:00 a.m., and found it easy to get to passport control. At passport control in West Palm Beach it seemed those with American passports were given better treatment, while those with just birth certificates, or those without American passports had to wait much longer.
I went with my 12-year old son on a cruise from 2:00 on a Wednesday afternoon until about 8:45 a.m. on a Friday morning, and our total costs for everything related to the cruise were under $290, and that includes about $50 of extra purchases I made on the ship. That's a tremendous deal. It's no luxury cruise, and the passengers are an interesting mix of ages, families, ethnic backgrounds, and so forth (I like diversity, and don't like cruises where all the passengers are middle-aged or elderly, wealthy European-Americans). So, overall, it's well worth doing if you want a short, cheap trip to Grand Bahama Island.