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Top Celebration Cruise Line Ships
Editor's note: Celebration Cruise Line ceased operations in 2014. It no longer offers Bahamas cruises.
The atmosphere on Bahamas Celebration, the sole ship in Celebration Cruise Line's fleet, is all about partying. The 1,250-passenger vessel sails every other night from the port of Palm Beach, Florida, to Freeport in the Bahamas, where it remains for a full day before returning. Another draw is the company's unique cruise-and-stay option that allows customers to disembark and stay at a partner hotel on Grand Bahama Island for two to six days, essentially making the ship a large passenger ferry.
That isn't surprising, given its history; the ship began as a converted car ferry. That means cabins are generally quite small, with roughly 50 being of the upper-lower berth variety. Moreover, there are no true balconies. (There are, however, four suites with enclosed balcony configurations.) That's because the open deck space is somewhat limited, also attributable to the fact that the ship was originally built for icy climes.
The main attractions of the two-night cruise are price and convenience: starting rates are often lower than those found on mainstream cruise lines. The quick turnaround time means little commitment, so it's an ideal way to try cruising. The catch is that the extra packages the company emphasizes at every opportunity (alcohol, excursions, specialty shows) are difficult to resist and can quickly add up.
Several complimentary dining venues are available, with two dinner seatings (6:15 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.). Specialty restaurants allow added options for an additional charge. The ship also features a pool area, kids clubs and waterslide, teen nightclub, spa and fitness center, casino, several bars and lounges, and 630-seat theater.
Onboard, passengers include many first-time cruisers, couples, international travelers, college students and Florida residents on weekend getaways. The average age varies from early 20s to late 60s, with most averaging around 40 to 50 years. Although there are some families with children, the cruise isn't geared toward them.
Celebration Cruise Line Fleet
The 1,250-passenger, 16,631-ton Bahamas Celebration is the only ship in Celebration Cruise Line's fleet. First built in 1981 as Prinsesse Ragnhild, a ferry in Norway, the vessel was acquired by Celebration Cruise line in 2007. It saw major renovations -- to the tune of $55 million -- to public rooms and cabins before debuting in 2009.
In 2013, even more changes took place, including the introduction of two additional specialty restaurants, a number of design and cosmetic enhancements, and upgrades in the suite staterooms. There's plenty of evidence to reveal the ship's age, and although the public rooms and restaurants sparkle from these improvements, it's still by no means a luxury vessel.
The ship sails to Grand Bahama Island on two-night cruises that each include a full day spent in Freeport. It's the only cruise ship to sail from the Port of Palm Beach, about an hour's drive north of busy Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale.