Grand Classica Review

Grand Classica (Photo: Cruise Critic)
Grand Classica (Photo: Cruise Critic)
2019 Best for Entertainment

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4.0 / 5.0
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Dori Saltzman
Cruise Critic Senior Editor

Grand Classica Overview

-- Updated by Gina Kramer, Editor

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About Grand Classica


Beautiful ship with large, comfortable lounges, live music and impressive stage shows


Only 10 cabins have balconies, and food in the complimentary venues is mediocre

Bottom Line

A great, quick getaway option for anyone who is short on time or cash

Stepping onto Grand Classica is a little like taking a voyage back in time to an era when cruise ships were less about whizbang attractions like surfing, Broadway shows and laser tag. Here, cruising is more about lying in the sun, playing silly pool games and getting away from the daily grind -- even if only for a short while.

And a short while it is, with cruises going back and forth between West Palm Beach and Grand Bahama Island every other day, making for a quick two-night jaunt for passengers. It's particularly perfect for anyone who's been curious about cruising and wants to sample ship life without a big-time commitment. With the ship docked in the Bahamas for most of the second day of every itinerary, you might feel like you spend almost as much time on land as you do at sea. (Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line also offers cruise-and-stay packages, which allow cruisers to get off in Freeport and stay at a partner resort for one or more days, then take either of the line's two ships back to Florida.)

Sailings on Grand Classica are convivial; everyone's onboard to have a good time, and crew work hard to give the best service they can. Throughout our sailing, the crew never once lost their smiles, upbeat attitudes and can-do spirits.

Design-wise, Grand Classica -- previously Italian cruise line Costa's neoClassica -- is a stately ship with an Italian air, lots of real Murano glass decorations and roomy lounges perfect for live music and dancing. To lend a Bahamian vibe to the ship, the line has renamed all the decks after islands in the Bahamas (Exuma, Bimini, Paradise, etc.) but the ship's color palette and decor don't match the new names.

It's important to remember, too, that Grand Classica's age (the ship launched in 1991) and storied past sailing under the Costa name means it looks worn in some areas. You'll notice some rust near the spa and on the pool deck, for example; the pool deck bathrooms also look like they haven't been touched since the ship entered service.

In a similar vein, the experience -- from dining to activities -- also is pretty average, but it gets the job done. Grand Classica is designed for quick, budget-friendly getaways, so you shouldn't expect Broadway-caliber entertainment or celebrity chef-style dining menus.

All of these are easy to shrug off in the mere two days you're onboard the ship, though, especially when you’re more focused on lounging by the pool with an umbrella drink in hand, enjoying a beach day in the Bahamas or reveling in all the nighttime entertainment options. The bottom line is this: Grand Classica is comfortable and fun, and there's plenty of food and activities (some at an extra cost) to keep you satisfied -- so you can pack in as much or as little R-and-R as you want for a small investment of time and money.

Fellow Passengers

Grand Classica draws primarily from South Florida, with almost all passengers driving to port. But because South Florida has such a diverse group of residents, the passengers onboard each cruise are often an international mix. You'll especially find lots of Spanish speakers and, during school holidays, lots of families with children. During the college spring break period, you'll also find plenty of young 20-somethings. The ship draws avid gamblers, too, as Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line has a robust casino program that spans both ships.

Most people on the ship are there for the two-night cruise, but some passengers do opt to disembark in Freeport and stay at a resort for one or more days before hitching a ride back on either Grand Classica or Grand Celebration (via the line's cruise-and-stay packages).

Grand Classica Dress Code

It doesn't get much more casual than a Grand Classica cruise. Though technically you're required to wear shirts and shoes everywhere but poolside, don't be surprised to see people in their swimsuits practically everywhere. Yellow Elder (the main dining room), Admiral's Steak & Seafood and Rock Grill (both specialty restaurants) do require a bit more dressing up: at minimum, long pants or dressy jeans are required for men and women, with collared shirts a must for men. Most women don dress pants paired with a blouse or a sundress.

Grand Classica Gratuity

Fares on Grand Classica are exclusive of service fees; a $12.95 per person, per day charge is added to your overall bill for all food and stateroom services. Additionally, an 18 percent service charge is automatically added on all bar, drink package, specialty dining, and spa or salon purchases. The onboard currency is the U.S. dollar.

Grand Classica Awards

Cruisers’ Choice Awards

2019 Best for Entertainment

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Grand Classica Member Reviews

Grand Classica
Sail Date: Dec 2018
was low in my cup, they were there. We will be going again and again. Great job crew of the Grand Classica....Read More
Grand Classica
Sail Date: Sep 2018
Cruised on the Grand Classica 9/10/2018 to 9/12/2018 WoW! That basically sums it up. My wife and I have completed 70+ cruises. Every cruise line on the South East coast of Florida except Disney. 5 years...Read More
Grand Classica
Sail Date: Dec 2018
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...Read More
Grand Classica
Sail Date: Jul 2018
made a good time out of it given what we had to work with. I will definitely not be back on the Grand Classica. Here’s to hoping our next cruise is better!!...Read More

Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line Fleet