1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2019
Well this was my first cruise ever and it was a blast. After doing some research and reading about cruises of all types I went into this with a completely open mind. I did not have anything to compare it to but I do understand the basics ... Read More
Well this was my first cruise ever and it was a blast. After doing some research and reading about cruises of all types I went into this with a completely open mind. I did not have anything to compare it to but I do understand the basics of traveling anywhere. Getting onto the boat was no issue at all, just a few minutes and we were in our cabin. Once on the boat it was VERY clean and easy to get around. Our room was clean with fresh linens and fresh towels. The halls, foyers, elevators everything was very clean. The staff was AMAZING! Super friendly, smiling and helpful. At NO time during our cruise was the staff ever grouchy or rude. The wait staff was attentive and timely and made you feel like you were on a 5 star gold liner flagship. The entertainment was vegas cheesy but a lot of fun! The drinks were solid, with several bars throughout the ship and all of the bartenders were fast friendly (and generous!) The drinks were cold, tasty but not watered down. The food was restaurant quality ( Chilies or Applebees) nothing "gourmet" but nothing bad. The restaurants were nice, quite and again clean. We stayed with the choices that came with our tickets and did not try any of the upgrade restaurants. The other travelers were working folks like us and we had not problems with anyone. Lots of families, lots of children, grand parents, young couples, retirees-a mixed bag of people. Everyone seemed to be having a great time and many commented that this was a repeat trip for them. All in all I would say for a quick affordable getaway weekend this is a perfect trip. We spent a couple of days sipping drinks on pool deck with a day on a tropical beach in between. It was Independence Day and the ship anchored about a mile off of Palm Beach that evening so we could see the fireworks all up and down the Florida-it was really cool. This was a great little cruise, we got to enjoy a couple of days on the water, some fun entertainment, we ate, drank, slept , visited and are looking forward to this trip again. If your on a budget but want a nice weekend getaway this is the perfect cruise. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
Took this on a lark since I had an unexpected 3 day weekend. The key to this experience is to set expectations accordingly. This is from start to finish, and by the line’s own admission, a party cruise. For folks like me who just want a ... Read More
Took this on a lark since I had an unexpected 3 day weekend. The key to this experience is to set expectations accordingly. This is from start to finish, and by the line’s own admission, a party cruise. For folks like me who just want a ship, clean room, view of the ocean, place to read and sunbathe, and a helpful crew it’s perfect. For folks who expect an experience comparable to any of the big 3, you’ll be disappointed. Boarding: efficient for US passport holders. I appreciated the ability to book shore excursions and make dinner reservations while waiting, I’m surprised more companies don’t do this. Ship: a classic, in a good way. A former costa ship (with lots of relics from its past) that has been reasonably refurbished. In a lot of ways it was actually a pleasant change from some of the more pretentious newer ships I’ve been on. I’m low maintenance though and it checked all my boxes - a well-equipped fitness center, plenty of lounge chairs, and enough quiet spots to read a book. Cabin: clean, basic, showing it’s age but given the turnover they go through (new passengers every 2 nights) unsurprising. Attendant was, well, attentive - regularly checked to make sure I had enough towels, etc. Dining: basic but sufficient. Again, for what it is they try hard. Food quality was what you’d expect at this price point (I’d say comparable to an Applebee’s). Which isn’t to say it’s bad, just not at the same level as the majors. One highlight - Indian food in the main dining room was quite good, as it tends to be on many ships (given the proliferation of workers from South Asia in the marine hospitality industry). Additionally, was able to sample drinks from several bars onboard; contrary to other reports of weak cocktails I found them to be stronger than average. YMMV. Port: Freeport isn’t anything to write home about, as anyone who has been there will attest. Took the shared taxi ($5 each way) to Taino beach, had lunch at the Stoned Crab (recommend) and a couple drinks (also recommend). Their loungers and umbrellas were included with lunch, space is great, and service lovely. Avoid the chaotic Pirates Cove next door. Crew: unfailingly pleasant, and trying the best with what they’ve got. Many have worked on other ships before and it shows. Fellow Passengers: most are locals and, as one would expect on a party cruise, here to drink, tan, and unwind. If Carnival attracts the Walmart crowd, this is the Dollar General crowd. Manners, speaking volumes, and attire follow accordingly. The old adage applies: you get what you pay for. Given the frequent ridiculously low fares on Bahamas Paradise it is fair to say this winds up being a good deal for folks who want a quick getaway and love to be on a ship. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
We just wanted 3 days away with no phones ringing. I really was thinking this was going to be the worst cruise ever after having been on Carnival and Royal Caribbean. Wow! What a shocker. There were maybe 300 people on board. Never more ... Read More
We just wanted 3 days away with no phones ringing. I really was thinking this was going to be the worst cruise ever after having been on Carnival and Royal Caribbean. Wow! What a shocker. There were maybe 300 people on board. Never more than 10 people nearby except at meals. We had the sports bar, library, hot tub, and most of the decks to ourselves. The interior cabin was a good size, the food was fine, a little too fancy and the buffet is small and not open for dinner which was different. The port was a breeze, but the valet parking is $20 a night, no other option. We didn't go to any shows, we were asleep early but at 5 am there was no one outside on the deck with us. And clean, wow, amazing. Polishing the handrails, picking up cups, attentive staff and they interacted well with each other and looked happy to be there. An enormous change from a 2000-4000 passenger capacity. And the option to get off and stay for a few days is fantastic. We went Wed-Fri and got back to an email for an upgraded room (an ocean view) for $129 with 5 free drinks, onboard credit and decided to book again. They have 2 ships. We were on the Classica and now want to try the Celebration, an old retired Carnival ship. The best relaxation I could ask for. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
If you do not expect a luxurious ship, you should really enjoy this ship. At a great price you can really have a short, fun getaway! The ship has been renovated and it is beautiful. Our ocean view cabin had a very large window and the ... Read More
If you do not expect a luxurious ship, you should really enjoy this ship. At a great price you can really have a short, fun getaway! The ship has been renovated and it is beautiful. Our ocean view cabin had a very large window and the cabin was large. The food is average and the drinks are strong. Entertainment was good and the casino was a lot of fun. Service was excellent especially Augus and Nomer in the dining room. Great value for your money for a short getaway. The pool was very small and we did not use it. We went during the week and it was not crowded at all. Pauola, the casino manager, was extremely friendly as well as the Peruvian hostess. I loved the Bahama Mamas. A good tip is that we priced rum and rum cakes in Freeport and on the ship and surprisingly the ship has the best prices. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
Took this cruise as part of a cheap package that included hotels stays from a travel agent that also included a timeshare tour for a low price. The only parking at this port is valet parking for $19 per day. It was handled well, but that ... Read More
Took this cruise as part of a cheap package that included hotels stays from a travel agent that also included a timeshare tour for a low price. The only parking at this port is valet parking for $19 per day. It was handled well, but that is your only choice as no other parking appeared to be in the area. We arrived at the port around 1 PM and embarkation was pretty fast as it seemed that most people arrived at the 12 hour when the ship started boarding. We had an accessible cabin 6116 because I had to take a mobility scooter. The cabin layout was different. It was a wide door that opened out in to the main hallway where normal cabins opened inwards to the cabins. The room was narrow with a path leading to the toilet and shower in the back of the cabin which turned out to be wider than the cabin area itself. The bathroom area had ample room for the facilities and provided plenty of room to turn the scooter around and use the path to the cabin door without having to back up out of the cabin. The cabin area had a desk and closet to one side of the path and the two beds against the wall on the other side of the path. All acceptable cabins will be interior and this cabin (6116) only had one 220V European plug which kind of makes it hard to charge a mobility scooter ion the cabin and no other plugs in the interior cabin. However after inquiring with guest services to have something work for me, they did provide an adapter and power supply that was 115V to charge the scooter and provided a USB plug for charging electronics. From what I understand all cabins only have one plug and the regular rooms have 115V outlets but I did not see that first hand for myself. It is an older ship and it was pretty well maintained with cleaning and painting. The ship was easy to navigate between areas and there were 8 working elevators. The elevator limit was rated for twelve people, but I doubt that you can get more than six or seven people in them at one time comfortably. The ship was decorated for Christmas. The band during this cruise was very good and the main theater had a very good show during both of our nights. Both nights also included a family comedy section as well as the main show. We opted not to see the adult comedy show because it was a $9 charge. The main dining room was clean and the service was very good. The complimentary menu choices are a limited, but tasted good. You get an appetizer, main course and a desert. We had the braised beef rib the first night and the sirloin flat steak the second night. There is no assigned seating and when the door opened at 6PM everyone in line entered at the same time. The staff lead you through the dining room and you were seated as a family or party of how many and given the option of a table with others so you can make new acquaintances. The buffet area is smaller than most ships but had plenty of seating. The food areas appeared to be clean and the food was good. Hot food table, fruit and salad area, and a desert and beverage area. The only major complaint with the food and beverages was the water. It had a strange after taste as if they added something to it or the distillers need to be replaced. It was just not good tasting. The easiest way around it was to get the lemonade or ice tea and shove some food in your mouth after taking a gulp. The buffet was open for breakfast, lunch, diner, and a midnight snack. Typical breakfast was eggs, bacon, toast, corned beef hash, cereals and fruits. Lunch and diner included a carving station, meats, cheeses, sides, salad bar, and deserts. Midnight buffet was tacos and gyros. There was a poolside BBQ on Sunday before we left the Bahamas. The service was good and the staff were all friendly. The activities staff always seem to have something planned around the ship and they definitely try to be in character to make things fun with costumes and off the wall wearing of items such as a one peace pajama or some wild tug along toy and even a guy dressed as a panda with a tutu during the sail away party at the pool. They played a few cash game bingo sessions and even had poolside karaoke at night. And also had a beanbag toss competition for two top prizes to get $25 and $50 dollars removed from your on board account I had seen many reviews about extra fees of room cleaning or making you try and make an up scale purchase and I had my reservations about that as well. When we boarded the ship they had have areas to get you to upgrade meals and get bar drink packages, but we were able to go by those without a hassle. We did not see a room cleaning fee as others have posted, but the do have a set gratuity of $13.95 per person, per day. That is not much different than any other cruise line I have traveled with. We did have two other additional charges that I am not used to seeing from past cruise lines I have sailed with. The first being a cruise terminal fee of $1 per person, and the second being a Fuel Surcharge of $18 per person. Most cruise lines say the fuel surcharge is possible but this is the first time I have ever been accessed that fee which is a turnoff to me. It is not like there was any big fuel shortage at a massive price increase. During this sailing the price of fuels has even dropped compared to recent months. It's almost like saying that they don't think the fuel should be part of the operating cost and they just want to get more money from you. If I didn't have to pay that fuel charge without knowing it ahead of time I may have rated this cruise 5 stars. But it wasn't till we closed out our account that we were notified about it on the billing statement. Everything is per person instead of per cabin and for two people that's an extra $36 you didn't expect. We did not do any shore excursions The main section of the port was closed on Sunday being that no other ships were in port. We only went to the pier to pick up a few t-shirts from the limited local vendors that were open. Disembarking was just as easy as embarking on the cruise with the exception of the line for customs. That seemed to go a bit slow and the line tended to get long from it in the terminal. As far as leaving the ship it was pretty fast getting off the ship , just the terminal wait was lagging in movement. Once outside the terminal they had plenty of people getting the vehicles up to the curb for you to load up and leave the port. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
I booked this cruise to try out solo cruising. I was pleased that they do appeal to solo travelers and do not charge a single supplement for oceanview staterooms. I was accidentally charged for double occupancy but this was quickly ... Read More
I booked this cruise to try out solo cruising. I was pleased that they do appeal to solo travelers and do not charge a single supplement for oceanview staterooms. I was accidentally charged for double occupancy but this was quickly resolved by their online customer service chat. Embarkation And Disembarkation: The embarkation was a breeze, I was met with very friendly staff that assisted and directed me through the embarkation processes. I do like the fact that they offer valet parking at rates lower than what it costs to park yourself compared to other ports such as the Port of Miami.There was an area where you can pre-book your dining, shore excursions, and spa before boarding. The staff was not that pushy. Disembarkation is simplified, either you can get off early or get off late. I would recommend getting or using your passport as I was able to breeze through the customs line with a passport while others with birth certificates needed to wait in line. Cabin: The cabin was clean and spacious. It had some wear and tear but nothing worse than what I have experienced on other vessels that operate for the bigger cruise lines. The biggest issues I had was with the firm bed, the cold air conditioning, and no phone directory on the phone. If you do have multiple things to charge, it would be wise to bring a power strip with you as there is only one outlet in the room. I read other reviews prior to going and brought my own power strip. The Ship: I found the Grand Classica ship to be in very good condition with some minor noticeable wear and tear. The public areas were kept clean and I noticed the staff and crew was very quick to remove any rubbish that was found on the floor. The ship could use better quality signage as the some of the directories that were plastered over the old ones were beginning to peel off. Service: I found the service to be excellent. All the staff and crew that I interacted with was helpful and addressed whatever questions or needs that I had. I did have an issue with being charged for a bottle of water that I did not consume from the room and being charged for a bottle of water and a carrying case when I only purchased the bottle. This was cleared up at the purser's desk prior to disembarkation. Dining: Breakfast: The selection and quality compared to the bigger cruise lines like Carnival and Norwegian was about equal. I did not have to really wait in line for an omelet. I stuck to the outdoor grill area in the back as I enjoy eating breakfast in the quiet area with some fresh air. Lunch: I did not really try out the lunch buffet food as I was not in the mood for anything offered on day 1. Instead I opted for a burger and fries. Not bad. On day 2 I ate lunch on the island instead of on the ship. Dinner: On night 1 I tried out Admiral's Steak and Seafood. The $33 cover charge gives you 1 appetizer, 1 soup/salad, 1 entree (some premium items cost additional), 2 sides, and 1 dessert. The food was very good and well worth the money. On night 2 I tried out the Yellow Elder dining room. I was surprised you only get 1 appetizer, 1 entree, and 1 dessert. I sometimes like to order other items on the menu to try out. Nonetheless, the portions were proper and the food was very good. I left satisfied and not hungry. I was surprised to find out that the eating dinner in the buffet was not an option as I would have loved to try that out if it was offered too. Entertainment and Activities: I did not have much of an opportunity to try out many of the activities. I did see both shows which I thought were pretty good. The acrobatic pair featured in the shows was amazing. Freeport, Bahamas: I booked the Crystal Beach swimming with the pigs shore excursion. The beach the excursion goes to was a small and well kept hole-in-the-wall off the beaten path that was not loud and overcrowded. The food and drinks were a bit pricey and it took a while for my order to be made. The pigs were brought out halfway during the excursion and we got to spend some time with them. Final Thoughts: Comparing how this cruise line operates versus the big league they seem to strive to operate at the big league level. They do some of the things a bit differently with their booking (couldn't look up existing booking or make reservations online), embarkation (could reserve dining, shore excursions, and spa right before boarding), dining, and disembarkation. There was a little bit of a learning curve as I have been used to sailing on the big league lines and on the newer and larger ships. It was refreshing to finally sail after all these years on a smaller vessel and not have to do a ton of walking to get to the other parts of the ship. The cruise was not fully booked, so the ship was not crowded and it was nice to not have to always wait in long lines or wait for a deck chair or dining table. While I feel there is still some need for polishing and improving, I felt what I paid for was worth it and for the most part I did have a pleasant cruise. I might consider coming back on this cruise line at a later time. Given that they now operate two ships, I would also be interested if they also offered 3 and 4 day cruises going to either Nassau, Key West, Cozumel, Havana, or just an extra day at sea. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
(A little about the reviewer: A long-time cruiser and cruise fan. Disney Platinum, Celebrity Elite, Royal Caribbean Diamond, MSC Black, many cruises on Carnival, Norwegian, also cruises on Holland American, Costa, Princess and several ... Read More
(A little about the reviewer: A long-time cruiser and cruise fan. Disney Platinum, Celebrity Elite, Royal Caribbean Diamond, MSC Black, many cruises on Carnival, Norwegian, also cruises on Holland American, Costa, Princess and several other cruise lines/ships.) Embarkation process was quick and easy. The Port of Palm Beach provides valet parking for all guest making parking a breeze. The luggage personal was friendly and helpful. Check-in was quick. The whole process from arriving to check-in was about 15-20 minutes. After check-in, there is an opportunity to make dinning reservations, book shore excursions, register children for the children’s programs, get spa information and make other arrangements. This setup is convenient. Cabin 7096 was in a good location and was a good size. It made for a good solo traveler cabin. It had lots of storage, both hanging space and drawer space. The bathroom was an average cruise ship size with storage under sink and plenty of counter space. There is one European style electrical outlet. (Be sure to bring your converter.) The steward was attentive and did a good job. Dinning was a pleasurable experience. The servers were attentive and made sure you had all you needed and wanted. The leadership team was always around to take care of the guest and their staff. The Yellow Elder is an attractive dining room and has nice views. Buffet food was good. The Oceanview Buffet is small in size but proportional to the size of the ship. The smaller buffet area means fewer choices but what was provided was good. An ice cream machine is located in the buffet area. Just aft of the Oceanview Buffet, The Rock Grill provides good omelets for breakfast and hamburgers, hot dogs, etc. for lunch. The buffet crew provides good service and good food. Entertainment on the Grand Classica was good and is on par with other major cruise lines. The production shows in the Legends Grand Theater were of high quality. The preforming groups in the Encore Lounge were enjoyable and relaxing to listen to. The Crow’s Nest Sports Bar & Grill has the best views on the Grand Classica. It also has electronic games (air hockey, darts, basketball, skeeball, car racing, a pool table) and about a dozen TV’s to watch games. Bar service crew was attentive and quick. Guest Services/Reception Desk was always helpful and courteous. Disembarkation was smooth and quick. Guest can get off the ship starting at about 7:30 or at their leisure up until about 9:00. Once outside the terminal, the valet brings your vehicle to the covered area quickly. Exiting the cruise port area is simple. Bottom line on the BPCL Grand Classica is a positive +++ recommendation. The Grand Classica is a classy classic ship. Just remember this is a $129.00pp cruise and not a $2000.00pp cruise. I plan on booking it again soon. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
Ship was clean. The room was clean. The food was good. The entertainment was good. The staff were friendly. What else could you ask for for $200 plus fees and taxes. Out the door price was just under $400 after taxes, fees, and tips for ... Read More
Ship was clean. The room was clean. The food was good. The entertainment was good. The staff were friendly. What else could you ask for for $200 plus fees and taxes. Out the door price was just under $400 after taxes, fees, and tips for two of us. We were expecting much worse. If you want a 5 star cruise then you need to pay 5 star prices. If you are looking for a short and cheap cruise to the Bahamas then I would suggest this one. Bur please remember that you get what you pay for. Do not expect a 5 star cruise with 5 star dining and 5 star amenities. The only negative (not the cruise-lines fault) was a couple that were arguing very loudly late at night. But after a call it was dealt with quickly. They had upgrades available for dining and beverages like every other cruise line. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
chose this cruise for price & quick getaway being local. Food was not bad for cruise food. While the buffett was closed due to the low passenger rate they wouldn't even give us the courtesy of a cookie. We basically had the ship ... Read More
chose this cruise for price & quick getaway being local. Food was not bad for cruise food. While the buffett was closed due to the low passenger rate they wouldn't even give us the courtesy of a cookie. We basically had the ship to ourselves being only 200 passengers on this cruise. Room was very clean & ship was being cleaned every minute 24/7. We did get the massage specials since we chose to not debark in Bahamas. $68 special was well worth the experience. Only complaint was we were inconvenienced first night due to no air conditioning. While our steward called maintenance 3 times no one showed up. Going to the desk to change rooms we wasted more time for this missing the shows for first night. Belen at customer service was not the least bit interested to compensate us with an room upgrade (which would have been good business since there were only 200 passengers & 450 rooms) or at least a drink coupon for our trouble. This left a bad taste considering …… The shows were actually very good for a 2 night cruise & very sorry for the performers that there were so few people aboard to enjoy them. I would definitely take this cruise again due to being a local & looking for a get out of town to relax. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
I'd seen a lot of negative reviews before going, but I always take reviews with a grain of salt, usually disregarding the 5-stars and the 1-stars and concentrating on the middle range. I would put this ship/cruise solidly in the ... Read More
I'd seen a lot of negative reviews before going, but I always take reviews with a grain of salt, usually disregarding the 5-stars and the 1-stars and concentrating on the middle range. I would put this ship/cruise solidly in the 3.5-star rating leaning towards 4. It was an exceptional deal for 2 nights away, especially as a solo-traveler, I can't say that it would have been the same if their had been 2 people going, since that borders into more nights on most other lower cost lines. But I got a clean well kept ocean view cabin for ~$210 including taxes as mentioned by u/ravrnorl, this was over the weekend so there was plenty of partying to do, there where also plenty of places to escape the party and just relax if that is your preference. The cabin was clean and had all the amenities a similarly priced room on land would have, though I do recommend taking your own shower stuff, its a single pump all in one gel there. But I tend to take my own personal items wherever I go, so it wasn't an issue to me. The entertainment is well fairly entertaining and lots of different options, definitely worth checking out if you're bored with the activities going on up on the top decks. As mentioned the buffet is, a buffet.. its a lot of quickly made food to serve a lot of quickly lining up people, but the MDR and Admirals room are both really good, with excellent service and friendly helpful staff so I definitely recommend it over the buffet when it fits into your schedule. Freeport itself was pretty fun, though I didn't like the trip to the Lucayan Resort.. it was fine aside from the parents yelling at their kids for "causing a scene" when all I actually noticed was the parents causing a scene #ghettolife, but its not like that doesn't happen everywhere something is cost effective. I did enjoy the market there, and wandered around the docks/market for most of the day after I left the resort. Personally if you want a tour and something to do, I'd schedule the tour ride to the market and just skip the resort option. There are more excursions available on the docks that will still have you back in time to get to the ship by 4:30pm. Onboard, I met a bunch of really cool people and we talked about a varying spectrum of interests, all in all everyone was pretty friendly and interactive. Cons: In the end the only real big "Con" for me was that it is definitely short (2 days afk is not really enough), and there are some people that expect too much from their low cost cruise and/or treat their kids like poorly but again that happens everywhere and isn't exclusive to this cruise line (or life on land for that matter). There was definitely an issue with the tap-water (which is used to make all the mixes in the buffet area too) .. It's terrible. It doesn't taste like it's unclean, but more like it's over-cleaned.. that being said, its exactly the same flavor as the tap water in West Palm Beach, so I'm thinking that's due to them just using the city water to fill up and not adding any additional filtration. So I definitely recommend paying the $4 it costs for 32oz of bottled water. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
Price This was a perfect getaway cruise. I originally saw it as a groupon offer but by the time I made up my mind... sold out!! anyway I went to the source and found that a solo traveler did not have to pay the total cost of the ... Read More
Price This was a perfect getaway cruise. I originally saw it as a groupon offer but by the time I made up my mind... sold out!! anyway I went to the source and found that a solo traveler did not have to pay the total cost of the room. Interesting . . . so I made that my choice. There was also a free $50 on board spending voucher that I received. Nice!! And yes I traveled alone. Alone but not lonely, It was a getaway trip after all. Embarkation The embarkation process was ok. Not a big hassle, I bought the drinks package. It did not make sense because you get a small glass at a time and the cost does not compute since there are drinks provided otherwise. Would not buy that again. I might as well buy just the one or two that I did end up drinking. The rooms are not ready until around 2-3 pm but you can choose to have the included lunch until the rooms open up. If you checked your bag, it will be delivered to your room after around 3pm. I would still pack a change of clothes or whatever I may need to use once I get in the room in my backpack next time. Staff/ Crew/ Service The staff/ crew were excellent in their customer service. Friendly smiling faces. I did not need much, but I was constantly being offered assistance. Food/ Dining I chose to take the offered dining choice included. Yellow Elder Dining Room. Very nice room. The bread was cold, they did warm it up for whoever chose that. The food was ok, not great, but I would not complain about it. The omlettes in the morning were the bomb tho. Entertainment Cannot speak on that. . . I did not partake. There was however always something to do. Most times for a price. I took walks around the ship, took in the views and that was fine for my getaway. Return Trip? Absolutely yes!! . I would absolutely go again. It is what it is and I enjoyed the experience. The cost was good, especially for a single traveler who wanted space. I thought an ocean view room for the price of one was great! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
I did this cruise with my wife as a short honeymoon. The price was very reasonable and I was really skeptical at first. I've done other cruises and I did not think you could get so much on an inexpensive trip. The ship was very clean ... Read More
I did this cruise with my wife as a short honeymoon. The price was very reasonable and I was really skeptical at first. I've done other cruises and I did not think you could get so much on an inexpensive trip. The ship was very clean the crew was very helpful. The food was okay the drinks were really good. The dining is more casual than on say a Royal Caribbean or Carnival in the dining area but I'm ok with that, no reason to bring a suit. We did an excursion to Wyndham Resort on Grand Bahama Island and loved it, awesome place! Don't know if it was the time of year or what but the ship was maybe at half capacity as passengers go. The ship layout is rather standard for older cruise ships kind of like a Fantasy or Sovereign of the Seas. This cruise is definitely worth every penny. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
It was a long weekend and I was looking for deals for vacation, as I was looking for a budget trip but due too long weekend the prices were high everywhere and sometimes dates was not available, finally i came to the page of Bahamas ... Read More
It was a long weekend and I was looking for deals for vacation, as I was looking for a budget trip but due too long weekend the prices were high everywhere and sometimes dates was not available, finally i came to the page of Bahamas paradise, after going through the reviews I was really horrified with what people stating but still I took a chance to go, I reached port of palm beach carried our passport, the process to check in was simple and nice, we were offered cookies and drinks before we enter the actual ship. INSIDE SHIP:- bit scared by reviews I entered inside and everything was decent, decent enough to praise everything for a budget trip, rooms took some time to be ready, so meanwhile we took a look to other sections, the upper deck was nice, nicely organized everything was good. still I was looking for something worst would come up but fortunately no, everything from entry to deck, rooms were much bigger, nice staff, decent dinning with good food, even they had option for indian food. so in short i would say u name a place in the entire ship and that was all decent, nothing bad nothing worst. but yes if you are looking for v lavish and fancy vacations than you need to pay high. Dinning:- our service staff,Randy, v v decent, he even asked us after our food that if we want to taste something extra, so delighted with his service. Shore Excursions:- affordable and good. TOTAL VALUE FOR MONEY. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
Time Availability, and Budget all factored into my choosing this cruise, since I was already in West Palm for other travel. I did not want to be gone long, and the ship is brand new and from Italy, so I wanted to check it out. The ship did ... Read More
Time Availability, and Budget all factored into my choosing this cruise, since I was already in West Palm for other travel. I did not want to be gone long, and the ship is brand new and from Italy, so I wanted to check it out. The ship did not disappoint. Unlike the mega cruisers offered, it had quaint charm and beautifully decorated throughout. You walk into the atrium with a Murano type glass sculpture and a up looking view 9 decks above. It was spotless. In fact, I travel globally often, and have not seen such attention to cleanliness detail from a staff like this ship's in a long time. The elevator buttons glisten, the floors are polished, the rails are varnished every day, and the carpets, upholstery, curtains, tables in public areas all were as clean as my own living room at all times. The Elder Yellow dining room was really nice. Food was average. Salmon first night was great, others had beef which was overcooked and tough. Service was fantastic, exceptional staff, every attention to detail one would expect, and beyond for the price of this cruise. Buffet: If you know Golden Corral restaurant, it is pretty much the same thing as far as quality and selection. No other way to describe it. Not bad, not good, just food. Soups were actually very good though. Seafood Gumbo and pepper pot very tasty. Breakfast had omelette station and what you would expect from Shoney's or Golden Corral. The area to eat at the buffet was nice both inside and out on the back deck of the ship. So food aside, the views were great, and service good as well. They have burgers, and hotdogs, fries, etc... outside as well. They were good. The ship is not overly large, a pleasant adult pool with two aft hot tubs overlooking the stern was really nice when leaving port. You can sight see and Jacuzzi simultaneously. Hot tubs were very clean and well maintained, as was pool areas. The second pool is the "activity area" pool and kids enjoyed it, my son won two contests and got virgin bahama mama's. So the other amenities are as follows: My cruise had 600 booked guests aboard. It was half capacity, you can't fault the cruise line for non participation in the events they put together, so here it goes: Casino was clean, smokefree, and what you would expect, nice new slot machines. Front room from there had awesome Latin band perform all night, they rocked. Front of ship crows nest nightclub was well decorated, had a modern dance floor with lights, smoke, etc... and a banging system with DJ but nobody went! Dead empty, not the cruise lines fault. The main lounge was like being in Monte Carlo, well decorated, tasteful seating arrangement, very open, airy, and great public space. Saw Donna Summer singer, was good. Night band was not that great though. The big shows were fantastic! No lie, they were better than the mega cruisers shows I have seen. Each night, same performers, totally different show. My teens had a teen area that was well thought out and a big space with full time staff to supervise. X-box, dance floor, etc... all for them. Went to Lucaya Beach on excursion, was pleasantly surprised by humor filled tour guide with microphone on our double decker open air bus ride to the resort. Very organized, safe, and gorgeous beach. Would do it again. The port itself has no reason to disembark, unlike Key West where you disembark and go on foot, there is literally nothing at this port but industry. USA Customs was slow and terrible getting off the ship at the end of the cruise. Waited an hour with only 50 people ahead of me. This has nothing to do with cruise line. Here is the thing, I feel bad for the bad reviews, everyone complaining seems to lack simple reading comprehension skills. How did you not know about drink vouchers, included vs non included amenities etc... BEFORE purchasing and boarding? I set expectations on what I paid for and knew other fees would follow, as is customary to cruisers, like gratuity, tax, etc... Being shocked about cruise economics is a newbie problem. The staff truly cares, Alex the cruise director is straightforward and humble of his beautiful ship. He asks everyone to fill out comment cards so "they can get better" and I do believe they want to, there is a sincerity in every cruise staffer I engaged with, my fellow cruisers were a true representation of South Florida with about 50 - 60 percent Black and Latino and about 70 percent under 50 if those things matter to you. Everyone got along, no issues whatsoever or bad vibes from everyone enjoying there getaway. Everyone greeted each other on the jogging track with friendly hellos as I passed by. Give this cruise a try and keep expectations reasonable and you will definitely enjoy yourself. I am not an unsophisticated traveler, been all over the planet, and my family came away from this experience smiling and enjoying the memories. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
People say 'You get what you pay for'. Well, that's true of this cruise. The Classica is the line's second ship, joining the Grand Celebration, which is an old Carnival ship. The Classica is the old Costa NeoClassica. ... Read More
People say 'You get what you pay for'. Well, that's true of this cruise. The Classica is the line's second ship, joining the Grand Celebration, which is an old Carnival ship. The Classica is the old Costa NeoClassica. She was built in 1991 before balconies became as popular as they are today. The décor and furniture are all bright Reds, Greens and Yellows. All things considered, this two day cruise out to Grand Bahama and back to West Palm represents genuine value, if you remember where you are. You're at Wall Mart, not Bloomingdales. You're on a DISCOUNT cruise line. I enjoyed myself onboard the Grand Classica. You can a lot of fun anywhere if you do it right. The ship itself is in fairly nice shape and the crew keeps at it to keep it clean. The rooms are OK. The crew stays very positive and friendly. The food is OK, but you won't write home about it. The one big complaint that I have is that they close the free buffet for the evening meal. This forced us into the Dinning Room, which I hadn't planned on, and hadn't packed the right clothes for. But since they ignore their own dress code, it doesn't matter. If you eat at the Hamburger line outside, you need to know that the local birds in Grand Bahama will swoop in, land on your table and fly away with your hot dog. Really. There is a pizza counter on Deck 9, but they wouldn't speak to us. They were in the middle of a photo shoot, having lined up all the pizzas on the counter. I heard the pizza was pretty good. When you get off the ship, everyone is required to carry their own bags. We were off the ship, through customs and in our car in about 15 minutes. If you're looking for a short cruise without spending a ton of money, this one can work. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
Bahamas Paradise Classico is so much better than I expected it to be . If I listened to the reviews I wouldn’t have booked this trip. But I wanted to form my own opinion.The food is Very good so far. We had the buffet lunch and for ... Read More
Bahamas Paradise Classico is so much better than I expected it to be . If I listened to the reviews I wouldn’t have booked this trip. But I wanted to form my own opinion.The food is Very good so far. We had the buffet lunch and for dinner we ate in the main dining room The salmon was the best salmon I’ve had in a while and the dessert was great . Our wait Ivan was quite attentive.Now We are walking around the ship .A beautiful ship with lovely art work. Our cabin is spacious and comfortable. The bathroom is big enough for two people to use at one time. The staff is friendly, efficient and professional. Saw the Donna Summer (Sharon Johnson) act in the Encore lounge and she was great . We had breakfast in the main dining room on the second day. Lovely luck we got Ivan for our waiter again this morning. We were offered danish, fresh fruit, omelets. Pancakes, toast, juices etc. Hearty and tasty meal. We have been to the Bahamas many times so we stayed onboard. Relaxed at the pool. Bahamas part 2 I decided to buy the 4 hour Internet package. It was $7. I checked my email and uploaded pictures to Fac ebook. The lunch buffet had a turkey carving station and fresh salad and fruit. Also offered pannini. I didn’t think I would like anything on the dinner but boy was I wrong. Goat cheese croquettes were yummy and so was the avocado mango chicken salad. 830 PM , Encore lounge had a Tina Turner tribute that was amazing. The show was called Superstition in The Legends Theater at 930PM . There was a musician, comedian , dancers and singers. Lovely trip. The only complaint is that there is not a drink station when dining areas are closed. You can buy alcohol etc. but coffee you need to pay for. I would give it a 9 out of 10. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
I saw lots of bad reviews but the buy one get one mothers day was too good to turn down. I can't say what experiences other had only mine so take it with a grain of salt. Boarding- Just flat out excellent. No waiting at all ... Read More
I saw lots of bad reviews but the buy one get one mothers day was too good to turn down. I can't say what experiences other had only mine so take it with a grain of salt. Boarding- Just flat out excellent. No waiting at all basically work right in and give them paperwork and set dining time. Do paperwork beforehand and no need to stop at blue desk. Go straight to counter. Took maybe 15 minutes front door to buffet. Done eating and rooms were ready. Cabin much larger then newer ships and even had an extra Murphy bed which we did not use but nice. Large nice porthole windows maybe even bigger then the square windows on some other lines. Bathrooms large as well all redone in all smooth fiberglass. A/c is in centigrade but right around 22 was about 70 degrees at least that's what my projection clock says. Exceptionally clean and room steward knocked and introduced himself. Agus was his name said we need anything let him know which we do prefer ice everyday in our room. Fresh ice no issue. Cabin issues zero. Buffet not much choice but just OK. The Rock Grill hamburger, dogs , fries bratwurst and sausages in rear where you can eat outside very good. Service in buffet about average but kudos for cleaning up fast. Sometimes too fast left to get something else and my silverware was gone. Buffet issues: water, all drinks except for coffee. They all had a chlorine taste way too strong. I think the coffee over powered the taste so what I drank mainly. Tea wasn't terrible. This cruise line doesn't allow anything even bottled water to be brought on board so this is a major issue unless you plan on alcohol for all your drinks which of course is expensive. Their sister ship Celebration does not have this issue. Moving to MDR fantastic service little slower then sister ship but getting up to speed. Service very good meals again variety suffers but definitely upgrade from buffet and beef tender was excellent. You can chose Admiral dining room naturally for up charge but more and better variety IMO. Eugene was our waiter. No complaints except for water issue as stated above. Entertainment: IMO they are as good or maybe even better then the big boys. Sound not too loud like Carnival always too loud. Dancing and singing much better the the Celebration. Performances all over the ship were excellent. One let us down a little the Piano man but still not bad. Heard worse on RCI. Many venues and different varieties you should be able to find something you like. We avid the DJ's and what I call the noisy side of ship but that's what you like plenty of that as well as island music,and latin disco. You can party hearty or just lay back and enjoy and anywhere in between. They do a relatively good job pleasing everyone. Now for the bad. NOTHING and I mean nothing is free. Ask for tomato juice upcharge. Free on all the other lines but then you pay double for it. They push drink packages hard especially the first day. 10 times I believe. Like most of the other lines doesn't include the 18% gratuity they call it. I call it a subsidy fee to cruise line. You are picky or want pampered the entire cruise. This line is not for you. Though I will say they had a speech about adults controlling the children. Kudos for trying but parents now days more interested in social media then watching their kids. So expect some rowdy children. Age groups where all kinds so you prefer older groups or younger you can find both. Compare it to Carnival for age groups but better variety then Carnival as for entertainment. No water slides and very small pools. One adult only pool and but one bath size hot tub maybe 5 people max. Actually had two but only one working but since it rained no one use them at all. Games and activities as good as the big boys and IMO again better. Nothing outstanding surfing, rock climbing mini golf just a typical cruise. Lot of wasted space and ship still doesn't have everything up and running including the Ice Cream machine. They have plenty of room for mini golf and sports court so not sure why. Thus the half the price of the others. Now during shoulder months price is almost the same in which case take a real cruise 7 days or longer and enjoy. Go for the gusto! However you just want to set back relax do nothing or party for 2 days without the clean up. This may be for you. Nice 2 day get away. Excursions more reasonable then the big boys and just as nice. Stay away from the cabs take the shuttle service for 1/4 the cost or ship excursion. You may want to check out others like shorexcurisoneer.com as well. You get what you pay for so don't expect all the amenities and services for the bigger lines and just enjoy cheap few days at sea. Disembark : We always take our own luggage off the ship and very fast. Maybe 20 minutes and we are in our car heading home. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
This is going to be long but I want to explain why this cruise is worth the money for anyone who is getting turned off from the horrible reviews! I was reading about this cruisline for a while and almost didn’t book because of such bad ... Read More
This is going to be long but I want to explain why this cruise is worth the money for anyone who is getting turned off from the horrible reviews! I was reading about this cruisline for a while and almost didn’t book because of such bad reviews. But then I saw The Classica was added so I wanted to try it out and I’m glad that I did! I can honestly say that the bad reviews I have read are about some pretty pathetic and nitpicking things! We did the BOGO deal and our total was only $350! Without gratuities or on board spending. First, there are NO “hidden fees.” If you read the webiste AND your confirmation emails that even has a FAQs and extra info in it, it literally explains everything!! From the fuel charge (ours was included in our taxes when we booked), 18% gratuities on anything your purchase, $13 comedy show etc. It is literally all right there IF people choose to read it! People just spend crazy on the ship and then get a bill at the end and forget that everything adds up. If you monitor what you’re spending then the prices on this ship can’t be beat! My husband and I set our expectations VERY low and I can honestly say that this boat is on par with both of the older carnival ships I have been on. I actually preferred this decor MUCH better! More modern and clean. Here are some key things I noted: Embarkation: the easiest on and off ANY boat! ESPECIALLY if you have a passport! You are treated like VIP! Took less than 20 mins from pulling up to valet to being on the boat. The ship - Very clean!!! The pool was really small but for only being on board for a total of a day and a half, I wasn’t expecting anything more. Adult only pool area is nice. Lounge chairs could be updated. Inside was really pretty. Nice hallways and stairs and the common areas were really nice with plenty of space! Cabin - We had an ocean view as part of the BOGO deal and the room was surprisingly big. Especially the shower and vanity space! Bed and pillows were both comfy. Room was very clean overall. No complaints there. Dining - We did the Yellow Elder (main dining) the first night and it was good. About the same as your other cruise lines. The second night we did the Admiral’s steakhouse and it was GREAT! I highly recommend paying the money to go!! The buffet was decent. Not bad, not great but it had plenty of options and was just fine for this type of cruise. Entertainment - We didn’t go to any shows but we caught the tail end of one right before bingo and it was pretty good. The band playing in the Encore lounge the first night was really really good. Especially the woman singer! We also didn’t participate in many activities but I saw some going on and everyone seemed to enjoy it. Service - The service staff was excellent! Very attentive and polite! I’ve read many reviews about how much they hassle you but we only got approached THREE TIMES the entire trip. Twice on the first day in the buffet and once poolside. If you just politely and firmly say NO, most of them will keep walking and not come around again. It wasn’t that serious like people in here are complaining about. Never once saw our room attendant but he/she did clean our room one night when we didn’t have our ‘do not disturb’ sign up. Freeport - The actual port itself is pretty run down and dumpy looking. With every excursion you have to take at least a 20 min bus ride away from the port which is included in your excursion. Our snorkeling excursion got canceled because of wind so we chose the all inclusive day at Wyndham resort and we had a great time! Check in at the resort took a little longer than it should have but the staff mentioned they were working on altering the process. We were treated to a large breakfast buffet, lunch buffet, all you can drink alcohol and soft drinks, beach chairs, pool access and pool side entertainment. Definitelty worth the $79pp! A few other things: Some of the really good things I noticed was how NOT CROWDED this ship was. It was sold out yet there was never crowds or lines (except day one at the lunch buffet) but other than that, there was more than enough room to not feel stuffy or squished like on other ships. We were on deck 6, mid ship and it was SUPER quiet. Nice change from other ships. The comdian Brian Bradley was SO GOOD! Pretty much picked on the crowd instead of doing his act and it was HYSTERICAL! Definitely worth the extra $13! The one really disappointing thing was the Crow’s Nest that was advertised as a sports bar with pool tables, arcade games etc. Well, that area isn’t even set up. Arcade equipment is still in pieces and everything was wrapped in Saran Wrap. It was only the second weekend that the Classica had been sailing but I was looking forward to spending some time there and was disappointed to see that it wasn’t even ready for guests. Hopefully that’s changed by now. Overall I would definitely recommend this cruise for a weekend getaway! My husband and I sailed to the Bahamas for $350!!! You seriously can’t beat that!!! Everything on this boat was well worth the $350. And the only people I can see not enjoying it are the people who had high expectations and thought they were getting a Norwegian experience at a super discounted price. Unrealistic!! Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
This review and ratings are based on my experience on the inaugural sailing of the Classica. I fully understand that this was an inaugural sailing, this is a lower priced cruise line, and thing will happen that need to be ironed out with ... Read More
This review and ratings are based on my experience on the inaugural sailing of the Classica. I fully understand that this was an inaugural sailing, this is a lower priced cruise line, and thing will happen that need to be ironed out with better processes moving forward – no one should expect a perfect trip on the inaugural sailing, in my opinion. I received an invitation to be a guest aboard the inaugural sailing of the Bahamas Paradise (BP) Grand Classica sailing to Freeport on 13APRIL2018 thru 15APRIL2018 from an Association of which I am a member of. No one asked me to write a review nor provide any feedback, and this invitation did not influence my review. This ship was formally the Costa neoClassica. The invitation was for travel industry professionals to experience the product, visit the resorts that BP partners with, and the company personnel. For those who have read any of my reviews here on Cruise Critic (CC) or other sites, you know that the review can sometimes be longer then the sailing. With this being the first sailing of this ship, I EXPECTED vast amounts of technical difficulties, process issues, confused staff, shortage of supplies and so forth – you go on an inaugural sailing, it should be expected. Confirmation of my reservation came a couple of weeks before the sailing, and about a week after accepting the invitation to join the festivities. It was an email with basic information including my ocean view room on deck 6 (6105), arrival time and links. I called the cruise line, waited 45 minutes on hold to talk to an operator, as I wanted to inquire about online registration – there is none – show up with passport, fill out one form when you get there. Made a mini-vacation out of this trip and headed down from North Carolina with my 75yo father in law who loves cruising almost as much as myself. We stayed at the Holiday Inn Palm Beach Airport Conference Center. Hotel was great – I stay at a lot of IHG hotels and get some good perks and great rates. We went to the port after dinner to see if the ship was in – still not in. I would not recommend staying right near the port itself. This was a quick 15 minute ride, just off 95. Early morning breakfast followed by a short ride to the port. We were told to arrive at 1000 but ended up pulling in shortly after 915. We were anxious, what can I say. Port was easy to navigate and small, but plenty of signs. There is only one terminal, easy to find where you are going. Pulled up to the front door, valet took the car, we took our backpacks and walked in the door 10 feet away. Right thru security, up the stairs and into the lobby that had only a hand full of people in it. We had a backpack, which they would not accept at the baggage area (“we don’t take backpacks”), and one small bag that they did take. It ended up in the hallway outside our door after lunch. There were many staff members present, and senior personnel giving direction, but still, much confusion. The band came in and played as I filled out the one form – my credit card information – and waited. And waited.. and waited. The staff stated we would line up at 10. 1030 came and went and some started to enter the queue. It was around 11 and the lines started to process. Immediately there were two issues – 1. The computer systems were not ready for guests. The frantic IT guy worked hard to get the up and running one at a time, did a great job. Should have been tested days before, but roll with it. 2. EVERYONE was a “VIP” it seemed. Since so many were invited guests and the paperwork stated to enter the VIP line, there were a few offended that they were not given the royal treatment. I was one of the first in line, ushered up to the window in about 5 minutes, and on my way a few minutes later. Once the window opened and we proceeded, my stint was about 10 minutes. Others were longer, especially those who waited to get in the lines. From the counter to the ship was an easy walk. Upon entering the ship, we were ushered from the deck 5 lobby to deck 8, Encore Lounge, for a cocktail reception. Industry guests were identified throughout the week with blue wristbands and nametags. About an hour after some cocktails and hors d'oeuvre, the festivities moved to the Legends Grand Theater where there was GB staff, politicians, and Bahamas reps talked about the new ship, economic impact, etc. Cut the ribbon and off to lunch in the Yellow Elder dining room. I then did a tour of the ship, so lets break that down. Muster – this was a CHARLIE FOXTROT – if you know what I mean. Direction was minimal at best. You report to your muster station (deck 9) but there was mass confusion here. I saw one person with the counter at a random spot in the hallway, but there is no way the count was accurate. The USCG was on board and even asked about the technique and method. There was no order going on and the staff, some oblivious to what they were doing, tried to get people to line up behind lifeboat numbers and stated that this was where they should go in an emergency. The room key states only which of the three muster stations to go to – they need to add in what lifeboat! In an emergency, this is a critical point of failure. I had little confidence in their muster process. Many people had no idea what was going on, and if this were their first cruise, a guest would be baffled. Deck 5 – Reception area was very basic – one statue in the middle and a cube like feel going straight up a few decks. One staircase twines suspended a few decks above. The ship was immaculately clean – no guests for a couple of weeks gave them time to ensure this. Throughout the 2 days, I saw a few people cleaning some elevators, banisters, and carpets. Late night on each night I did notice bottles and glasses “placed” in various spots throughout the ship (stairs, hallways, random spots). I attribute this to guests not putting things where they should (hold onto your glass or bottle, don’t just leave it on the stairs!) But the staff moved through and cleaned often. Shore Excursions and Guest Services were located here in the deck 5 lobby. This is where you can grab your daily planner of events going on. The day in the Bahamas, we never saw nor were we able to get one of these planners, they were all out of them by the time we went down to get them. They do not put one on your bed in the evening for the next day. Staff was friendly, lines moved quickly. The only hold ups I saw at the Guest Services related to people questioning charges on their accounts, all related to alcohol. Decks 4,6,7 are rooms only. There is zero advantage to pay and upgrade to be on any of them. With elevator banks in forward and aft section, the ship layout plays nicely. 4 elevators in each bank, and 2 sets of stairs to go up / down. Navigating the ship up and down as well as forward aft is relatively easy. Only one “cant get there from here” on deck ten where the 10 suites are located and you need to go to deck 11 to get to the buffet. My OV room was a good size. Large porthole window, air conditioner was freezing. Closet, section of draws, small safe, small refrigerator (seemed cold, I never used). No couch, 2 chairs. 1 US outlet was under the desk along the floor – it took me talking to someone about this to find out where it was, as I had only seen the European outlet. One plug. That’s it. Bathroom was clean, functional, good water pressure, lots of hot water (could not get a cup of cold water to drink). Overall, the room was a really good size. Deck 8 – LOTS of public space, more so then on many ships I have been on, if not all ships. Card rooms located off the halls, library, a non-working computer lounge (a work in progress, was not working yet) along with many seating areas. The Encore Lounge was huge, and offered many seats to watch the band that played nightly. Music I heard had mostly a Latin flare. Large bar offered many drinks, including the $5 large bottles of water. Bars accepted the drink coupons for drinks $12 and below. To the front of the ship was the first deck of Legends Grand Theater. A piano on the way in was played one time that I saw, as we walked into the welcome ceremony. The Theater was comfortable, but had some flaws that I could see. First, the floor seats are low compared to the stage. Offer a great head on view, but they are low. I preferred the side seats, around half way around and front row. Could see the stage great from here. Some seats higher up and especially those on the turns had poles. The theater was not crowded at any of the shows I attended. Lights all worked, acoustics were good for the shows. The theater was accessible from 8 and 9. Handicapped accessible through deck 8, but arrive early as you will want to move some of the chairs. The isles can get tight and would be best navigated with less people in them. Next on deck 8 was the conference center. While used only by staff on this cruise, I see this as a great place for groups to get together. Along with the card rooms off to the side, I envision this ship will be ideal for class reunions and other groups who want a quick getaway from this port area and to have some meeting space onboard. It was an excellent meeting place. The Admirals Steak House was the specialty restaurant. It was accessible from the starboard side of the ship – simply put, it is the seating area on the right hand side of the dining room and not a separate venue. This was not “open” on this sailing, per say. The dining room, named after the Bahamas national flower, is the Yellow Elder. Located in the aft of deck 8. The dress code is listed as NO shorts, no flip flops, etc. This was the furthest thing from the truth as people walked in with basketball shorts, Bermuda shorts, T-shirts and flip flops on both nights, and staff did not blink. No one told us to use hand sanitizer at any point of sailing on this ship to include boarding, dining, or buffet. Food is subjective, so I don’t go into great detail about it. First night service was comical, and I felt bad for the staff. It was like throwing them to the wolves to fend for themselves. No processes were in place, my waiter had tables on both sides of the vast dining room, they were looking for common items all over the place (no steak sauce yet, sorry). The menu looked good, but the food was warm, at best, for both meals. Looking at the menu, the left side is the dining room menu, and the right side was the Admirals Steak House upsell items. Lobster, filet mignon, etc. There were listed vegetarian options and the usual note about allergies. I did okay with my allergy to nuts. They have you order your appetizer, meal, and dessert all at once. I talked to a lot of people who sailed on the sister ship many times, and they all said that the food was better on the other ship – I attribute some of this to it being new. The highlight was when I asked for coffee after dinner. Took forever and the waiter brought it to me. He explained that the coffee machine in the dining room was not onboard yet and he had to run to grab it. I asked for creamer and he explained it would be a few minutes; he had to go back to deck 10 for it. I told him to not worry about it and attend to other guests. As for the service, all of it was because they were new – they were trying. The wait staff was friendly, and one or two were very personable. Want a seat along the windows, better get there early for one of the two dining times. It appeared as though everyone sat only with those they knew, lots of tables for 2,4,6. Overall, food was okay and the biggest issue with is was the temperature. Service, well, lets just say they really tried and were not set up for success and they were understaffed. The second night’s service was much better then the first night. All of this was expected (well, not the coffee location, that was new). Deck 9 –Memories is where you can buy the overpriced photos (want to say that it was $20 for the picture and you got a keychain and some wallets or something like that. “Special price”. The Lucaya plaza (another tip to the Bahamas here) was appealing and spacious. The stores were empty when we first boarded – and I mean empty – no product! The staff spent the first few hours loading the shelves, making displays, etc. Liquor store had a special that basically enticed you to buy three bottles to get 30% off. They had no cigars but hoped to get them. The apparel store had good prices on hats. There were no designer sunglasses around, and the other stuff was basic beachwear style. Jewelry store had a limited stock. The small candy shop seemed to have the most business and was priced to sell, only $1.50 for a candy bar and other snacks were not overpriced. Grand Café are 2 for-fee venues. A Slice Above was a pizza and calzone restaurant in they open plaza where you could pay $9.50 for your choice. On the other side was a coffee bar with limited selections for our sailing, but the prices were excellent - $4.50 was most expensive basic drink. There was often a sales pedestal here offering $13 tickets to the comedian show for night 2. While all shows are free, the comedy show is an up-sell. Not sure how many people went to see him, but based on the attendance of the free shows, I don’t know how many actually paid to go – did not meet anyone who did. I did not have anything from either of these two shops as an upsell, but they did look and smell good. Plenty of open seating areas. Moving down deck 9 aft, you come across the Par-A-Dice casino. Finally! A SMOKE FREE casino (aside from Celebrity and the Divina). Very basic table games with a roulette table and some blackjack. Did not see the craps table opened, but then again the ATM did not have any money in it from what people were saying. Slot machines of various types. Not a lot of people in here at first, picked up the first evening. Second night, same thing. Never overcrowded. The best part was the smoke free environment. Beyond this was a wonderful aft panoramic lounge called the Regal Room. Live music included the sax player, a Tina Turner impersonator act? And a piano singer. The best part was the sax player and the endless views. Again, LOTS of seating and a good size floor. If I drank, this is the lounge I would hang out it. Deck 10 – the Suites are located in the mid and forward areas of this deck. There are 10 of them in total. I took a tour of one and will say they were nice size. Large semi-circle balcony, a seating room with couch, desk and TV (TV service was not available on our sailing, still said Costa neoCLassica on the menu). Bedroom was a nice size bed and big tv. Bathroom was a deep-jetted marble tub, a shower and marble vanity area. Very nice. Not worth the upcharge IMO for a 2 night cruise though. I would see no advantage to any traditional ship perks on this getaway – there is no need for priority boarding, priority seating on sun decks, or at the shows. The Ocean View Buffet was extremely weird. The green block walls and other yellowish paint schemes made if feel unique at best – and the appeal was not good. Two ways to get into the buffet area and neither entrance had staff – this was a huge miss. No one used the hand sanitizers, and no staff were around to tell you to wash! The worst aspect was the second day when many (non-Americans) were coming into here in bathing suits and flip flops – no shirts, dripping wet – and staff said nothing to them. The buffet was okay at best for breakfast (there was a made to order grill on the left), and terrible at other times (late lunch / dinner). Limited options for food, the layout is difficult. Very basic selections. Day 2, they ran out of orange juice and it didn’t come back. Coffee was good! Same staff that is in the dining room for dinner was running around here. Again, processes not in place, confusion, and understaffed. Lets chalk it up to the first sailing. The health concerns with those in bathing suites and flip flops though, that could be addressed. Just beyond the buffet was an outdoor seating area that was really nice. I enjoyed dining out here for daily breakfast and a snack on day 2. Plenty of tables, great views (especially as we sailed into West Palm). Downfall, the Rock Grill was an evening restaurant that was selling burgers at dinner time (lunch was free burgers and dogs – huge difference in quality). The problem – there is NO FREE FOOD after the buffet closes around 10PM. So, late night munchies, you must pay. Went to Guest Services, and they told me to call room service (limited menu which was no where to be found, and still at a small fee). Deck 11 – the Adults only aft pool was filled one day. No one was ever back here, except some kids in the Jacuzzis. LOTS of deck chairs, like everyone could have 2 or 3 without issue. The main pool area on the port side was the only smoking area on the ship. Some were smoking day one right near the pool and the staff went over to them and talked to them. Pool was there, kids, some adults. Standard pool deck entertainment like DJs and pool side games over the course of 2 days. Kids Clubs – they were on the smaller size, but then again, there was only a handful of kids on the ship. Kruzers was for ages 3-6, open 3-430 and 6pm-1am on day 1, and from 3pm-1am on day 2. Free of charge. Movies, activities, toys. The 7-12 age group was in a different area, had some games, movie, and some activities, but was very basic. Coming from RCCL and NCL kids clubs my kids would be a little disappointed in this one, but then again, it is only for a short time and only 1-2 days at best. I did not see Xbox or anything, so not sure if they had them – I don’t think so. If your kids will only be there for an hour or two each day, this will work. I heard there was a club for 13-17, but never saw it and not sure it really existed. Spa – The spa area was doing a soft opening. I signed up for an 8pm, day 2, message. All services were ½ price for this sailing (limited menu). I usually do a message per sailing. The exercise area was nice, all the facilities clean. About 7 or 8 loungers in the “relaxation” area, but this was comical – the section is right off the main area of the gym, and open to the sounds of the gym as a whole. The entire time I was sitting there before my service the lockers were beeping – lots of beeping – and the doors to the spa area were opened to the pool deck, complete with dance music. The others waiting were laughing as well. The desk staff was doing their best with no computers, and a limited staffing. Went in, had my message and mentioned this, and the masseuse told me they had been beeping for weeks. For the first time, they did not try to sell me a bunch of useless crap! They were in the case for sale, but not one person even made mention of it. This is great. But what is NOT COOL AT ALL was that there is a sign, and it is on the receipt, and the disclosure form, that states there is an 18% SERVICE CHARGE for ALL SERVICES. That’s okay, this is the tip, I get it. WRONG! This does NOT go to the staff. I confirmed this with the front desk girl, the manager, and my masseuse. They tried to tell me that this is a tax that they have to charge, and were uncomfortable with it. I made a slight stink about how the girls would be loosing out on tips day after day since people will think that is the gratuity. They agreed but seemed hesitant to talk about it. This is a very misleading practice and I will be putting this as my biggest negative of their operation. I have called Bahamas Paradise, and messaged them but get run-arounds on an answer for this for a week now. If this is true, I dislike the practice. Overall, props to the staff, they did a great job. Excellent message, very nice facilities. The “quiet room” and “wall of beeps” are the only negatives, and trivial at that. Deck 12 – Jogging track – artificial grass, and lots of deck chairs. Rows of empty deck chairs. If you’re a sun seeker, look no further. There were foosball tables around the decks, along with some ping pong. No chair hogs on this sun deck – you could have your own row. Deck 13 – wait, what? No deck 13? Ship has an inaugural sailing on Friday the 13th, and the first return to port day is April 15th (Titanic Anniversary), and they don’t have a deck 13? Props to NCL as being the only cruise line I know that keeps it real. Deck 14 – Crows Nest Sports Bar – they were installing the pool table and air hockey tables, vast bar with great views – empty both times I came in here, but think that at night it is crowded. Lots of seating, and a DJ booth. At night, they tried to build a party atmosphere up here, not sure how it worked out, not my scene. Shows – I saw a good sax player, some snippets of the Tina Turner singer, a latin band with lots of dancing by the crowd, and the two production shows. The shows had 6 dancers and 4 singes along with a magician incorporated into the acts. Night 1 was billed as a Havana Nights themed show. Started off with some Latin style dancing, but before long Guns-N-Roses was being sung so don’t take names litteraly. Performers did a great job. Better then some shows I have seen on Carnival, not as good as say, Chicago on Allure or Brat Pack on Escape. Have seen lots of shows on ships over the years, this one was not that bad. The singers were passionate; the dancers were slightly exaggerated at times but worked hard. Not really sure how a magician came into the mix, but they did a good job at incorporating him, while using the dancers as his assistants. Some basic illusion tricks that amazed some and entertained others, the delivery needs to be worked a little more on some of them and props tweaked on the “spin me around” box night 2. The show was about an hour of non-stop dancing and singing. On the second night, same group, different theme. This time, it was a VooDoo theme, with many songs related to magic, voodoo, spells, etc. Again, great energy and performance with high energy and many outfits. I will say, the shows were better then I envisioned for a lower budget cruise line. Overall, this group did a great job and I am glad I saw both shows. There was a great selection of recognizable songs, and talented singers – no lip-synching. Other entertainment included a glow party, which I did not attend. Freeport Bahamas – Ships dock miles from anything to do, in the middle of the shipping yard. There is nothing more then a few junk stands at the port. All the tour busses are lined up. The cruise line offered us an opportunity to go see three resorts they use as part of their cruise – resort package, and I took them up on it. First stop was my favorite, the all-inclusive or al-a-carte option at the Lighthouse Point Grand Lacayan. Beautiful waterfront resort, infinity pool with lifeguards, lap pools, great spa and exercise room. We ended up having a luncheon here and walked to the marketplace for shopping afterwards. Market place was empty. Lots of shops, no people. Other options we visited were Pelican Bay, which was my least favorite. Some okay pools and dining, but no beach – you have to pay to go to the aforementioned Lacayan, or take a quick ferry to another resort, Flamingo Bay Resort and Marina. Depends where your room is, you may be near the beach or a quick walk away. Awesome pool with grotto swim up bar and waterslide. If I was taking my family, I would opt for the Grand Lacayan because of the location, beach, and amenities. The spa and exercise area was great, and the proximity to the beach put it above all others I visited. Disembarking – Extremely easy. We lined up, they opened the doors, and off we went. Heading into the customs area, passport holders to the left, others to the right. In a matter of minutes, I was at the curb. Handed the valet ticket to the attendant, and in about 2 minutes, my car was there and I was gone. From ship to drive off, under 15 minutes. They didn’t force people off the ship in a hurry, and offered people to go to eat so the rooms could be cleaned after a certain hour (was late if I remember correctly.) Since almost all do a carry off, not sure if people would put luggage out at night. Perhaps if you did a week on the island you may. The ship is in great condition for a 27 year old ship. The staff is ready to learn, but needs more processes in place and support from the experienced staff. The technical difficulties are expected on a first cruise. This ship is ideal for those who live in the Florida area, or are looking for a quick getaway. I would probably opt for a 3 day on another line if I were driving to Florida just to cruise, and visit a better island. While I am certain there are fun things to do on this island, it is a tough sell. This is also a good option for groups, as there are lots of public space on this ship and a small conference center where events could occur. It is an okay option for a first time cruiser who wants to see what a cruise is like, but not be gone for a week on a mainstream line. The good option for this would be to couple it with a few days on the island, which is something unique to this cruise line (cruise, hotel, cruise). I fully expect that they will move forward and bring those things that made people fall in love with the Celebration over to this ship. Many people I talked to went on that 4 or 5 times, and say they liked the ship and staff and were disappointed with this sailing and ship – again, I think a lot of it is because the ship is new. Since this is a first sailing, one has to expect challenges. It is how they deal with those issues moving forward that will dictate how good this cruise is. The public space is unmatched, seriously. Seats and lounge chairs everywhere. Classic smaller cruise ship feel. Some international clients. Since it only travels 58 miles, the ship moves slow and steady – it was amazingly smooth sailing (perfect weather and calm seas). Would I sail it again? Perhaps if it was on sale, AND I was in Florida for some reason. If I were driving down to vacation, I would opt for a 3+ day sailing elsewhere. I would consider it for the hotel stay option, but need to compare it to the overall cost of other resorts on more desirable islands where I could fly. Hits: 1. Cleanliness of the ship 2. Amazing Public space 3. Ease of embarkation / debarkation (aside from CPU issues here on day 1) 4. Smoke free casino 5. Production shows Misses (except for new ship / staff related factors): 1. The spa 18% Service Fee that does not go to staff 2. No free food options after 10PM 3. Buffet was terrible aside from breakfast 4. Dining room issues with the cold food and availability of basic items 5. No enforcement of dining room and buffet dress codes or hand sanitizer 6. No life guards 7. Fine print says fuel surcharge of $12/day if fuel is above $40 (Rarely below $40 - RCCL @ $60, NCL @ $65); not sure if they ever implement this. I contacted the line to ask them and have not heard back after multiple attempts. No other line has implemented in nearly 10 years. Overall, I would recommend giving this cruise a try for a quick getaway from the local area, but not as an option for someone making a trip to Florida specifically to experience a cruise. Read Less
Grand Classica Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 3.7
Dining 4.0 3.3
Entertainment 4.0 3.6
Public Rooms 4.0 3.6
Fitness Recreation 3.5 3.1
Family 3.5 3.1
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.3
Enrichment 2.0 2.9
Service 4.5 3.7
Value For Money 4.5 3.5

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