Grand Celebration Cruise Review by jcruiser17
- Sail Date: May 2016
- Destination: Bahamas
We're from Tampa, but decided to drive over the night before so we wouldn't have to get up so early. We stayed at the Hawthorne Suites which was pretty nice and only about 6-7 miles from the port. The night before, we went out to eat/drink at CityPlace which is a big outdoor mall/restaurant/bar area. We had a lot of fun there hopping from bar to bar and exploring. We ate at Copper Blues and the food was really good and fun atmosphere. The area was only about a $7 Uber ride from the hotel.
The next morning we arrived at the port around 11:40. We used the valet to park our car, paid up front $18/day. Valet was fairly quick and the valet attendants were friendly. We got our bags tagged with our room numbers and headed into security. No one took our bags at the curb, you have to bring your luggage up to security and put it up onto the conveyor so they can x-ray everything. I had a large bottle of water and a couple of cans of soda in my bag. They scanned it and made me open my bag and I thought they were going to confiscate my drinks, but they just made me show them my water bottle so they could make sure it wasn't booze and gave it back to me. I saw a shelf in the corner that already had a bunch of confiscated beer/wine/liquor, so if you're trying to sneak alcohol, you better be sneaky about it! This cruise doesn't allow any outside liquor, not even a bottle of wine per person. It took us about an hour to get through all the lines and get on board.
Once on board, the ship layout was familiar. It's an ex-Carnival ship, so it's very similar to previous older Carnival ships I've been on (Paradise and Inspiration). They had burgers and hot dogs on the pool deck and the buffet inside was open as well, so we grabbed some food and started exploring. One thing we were kind of surprised at was how small the elevators are, even for a cruise ship! They seriously only fit about 4-5 people without being squished. Very strange.
We decided to hang out on the aft deck for a while. This looks like where a Carnival ship would have the Serenity deck with the 2 hot tubs but this area had a pool and a hot tub in addition to a bar. I actually enjoyed it more than the Serenity deck because I like to cool off in the pool occasionally while I'm tanning. This pool is also a little quieter than the main pool. The main pool was fun, but there was always a lot of people there and that's of course where the DJ is set up playing music and hosting competitions and stuff.
Some of us got the drink coupon book-10 drinks for $65. It's a decent deal if you're drinking the tropical fruity liquor drinks since those run about $7.50 but regular domestic beer is $6 so skip the package if that's all you plan to have. The coupons are literally just a coupon book, so you can even share if you don't feel you're going to drink that much.
We went to our room shortly after 2:00 and our bags were already delivered even though they weren't promised until 3:00. The room was a decent size, but everyone in our group had asked for the beds to be separated when we made the reservation, and out of our 4 rooms, everyone's bed was together. It wasn't that big of a deal, so we didn't mention it to the attendant. He was friendly and greeted us by name the entire stay.
They had some activities the first night: Karaoke, Bingo, and there was a Rave Party on the top deck and of course the casino was open. We went to the rave and it was fun, good music, crazy rave lights, and I think they were handing out glow sticks and stuff. We stayed for a little but had to go to bed to get up early for our excursion the next day. That's the bad thing about the 2 day cruise, no sleeping-in days!
We did the Our Lucaya Resort Beach Day with the lunch included. We were off the boat quickly and escorted to a bus stop area to get on a bus to the resort. Most of our group got on the first bus and a couple of the girls had to get on a second one. Unfortunately, the first bus was a horrible experience! It was a nice enough coach style bus, but the A/C was not working and there was no way to open the windows. The heat was stifling and although it was only about a 15/20 minute ride to the resort, it seemed like forever and we were miserable.
When we finally got to the resort and scrambled off into the fresh air, the resort itself was beautiful. Right on the water with several pools including an infinity pool and a swim-up bar. We all loved the resort and had so much fun. The only downside is that for the bar service, they only take credit/debit cards, no cash. If you bring cash, they make you put it on a gift card and use that at the bar. The included lunch buffet was okay. It was just hamburgers, hot dogs, fettuccine alfredo, rice and beans, salad, etc. You can choose to leave for the excursion at 9:30 a.m. or 10:30 a.m. and they have several options for return times: 2:30, 3:30 and 4:30. Needless to say, we were having such a good time we stayed until 4:30. The bus ride back was much better, it had A/C and the driver was great, cracking jokes and telling us about the island as we rode along. I guess we just drew the short straw on the way there, since the girls who got separated from us and took the second bus on the way there said their bus was really fun, basically a party bus that blasted music and had an open air top deck you could ride on.
Disembarkation wasn't great. We left our room around 9:30 and took the elevator down only to be told "The lines are too long right now, come back later on." So we went up and had some food from the breakfast buffet and hung out there for a little. We tried to leave again at around 10:30 and we were allowed to get in line,but it was quite a line. We were out of the terminal and in the car by around 11:20, but only because we had passports. People in our party without passports said they ended up waiting about an hour and half. We had another obligation that day so we needed to leave quickly, but honestly next time I would be fine with clearing my schedule for disembarkation day and just taking my time getting off the boat.
Overall, we had a really fun time. This cruise is nothing fancy but it was really pretty good for what we paid. I thought everything was clean and well maintained and everyone from the crew that we encountered was friendly and professional. The food was good for cruise fare. Next time I think I would consider staying a few nights at the Lucayan resort since that was the highlight of our trip.
- Read more Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line Grand Celebration Reviews
- Read Cruise Critic's Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line Grand Celebration Review
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