The two-level Legends Grand Theater (Decks 8 and 9) is the location for the ship's staged production shows, as well as the once-per-cruise extra-fee comedy show ($9 per person). The opulent theater features gorgeous glittery curtains, red carpeting and armchairs, and a very Italian commedia dell arte-style mosaic made from real Murano glass.
The staged musical productions are offered only once a night at 9:30 p.m. On the first night of the cruise they'll perform "South Beach Nights," featuring a selection of Motown, pop, swing and rock hits with some songs taken straight from today's airwaves. Night two's "Superstition" takes theater-goers on a musical tour of New Orleans' nightlife; the singers and dancers impressed, but the house magician, who features in both shows, does tricks you've seen dozens of times before.
Most of Grand Classica's scheduled activities take place at night, but there's still plenty to do around the ship in the afternoon. From the moment you board the ship, the cruise director's crew is hosting trivia, interactive poolside games, extra-fee wine or martini tastings, cornhole (beanbag toss) matches, Ping-Pong tournaments, dance classes and more. On the day the ship docks at Grand Bahama Island, there are little to no organized activities before 1:30 p.m. (passengers are required to be back on the ship no later than 4:30 p.m.)
At night you'll find plenty of live music including Latin hits or jazz saxophone in the Encore Lounge, a multi-genre band in the Regal Room and piano tunes in either the Regal or Legends Bar. Most nights there's also a Tina Turner tribute show with a mediocre but vivacious Tina impersonator.
Other nightly activities might include a dance class or karaoke.
The Deck 9 Para-A-Dice Casino offers a wide range of slot machines and seven table games, including Texas Hold'em. For those who want a tamer form of gambling, there's a game of bingo in the theater each night as well.
Late night is when most of the interactive "games" and theme parties take place with events like the Battle of the Sexes, Glow Party and Scavenger Quest.
Legends Bar (Deck 8): Though Legends is more of a place to grab a drink before or after a show in the theater, there is live piano music every night. There is limited seating for those who want to sit and enjoy the music, play Name That Tune or sing along.
Encore Lounge (Deck 8): The spot for live music and a drink, the Encore Lounge features a central stairway that leads to Deck 9 and A Slice Above and the Grand Cafe. The large space is lined with narrow floor-to-ceiling windows and full of beige and orange armchairs and couches, groups of which surround small cocktail tables. A dance floor is located in front of the ankle-high stage, and it's not uncommon to see people shaking their groove thing once the live music gets started around 6 p.m. The bar is located along the left side of the lounge; you can order drinks here or from roving drink waiters. On both days of your sailing, the entertainment crew will hold a session of trivia here.
Regal Room (Deck 9): This lounge lives up to its name with a deep red carpet with gold swirls, red and gold leather armchairs, and a dark wooden bar with gold inlay and burgundy panels. Used mostly for live music and dancing from the late afternoon into the night, it also hosts drink tastings, dance classes and late-night games (like Battle of the Sexes).
Rock Bar (Deck 10): This bar serves up the usual assortment of beer, cocktails, wine and nonalcoholic drinks to people choosing to take their lunch outside at the back of the ship. At night, when the venue turns into the Rock Grill and is shared by The Bull, it's where the servers pick up drinks ordered at the tables.
Plunge Bar (Deck 11): Located around the corner from the main pool, this casual spot offers nonalcoholic beverages, beer and cocktails.
Crow's Nest Sports Bar (Deck 14): One of Grand Classica's multipurpose venues, the Crow's Nest Sports Bar is a great place to sit and read a book during the day while everyone is off on Grand Bahama Island. It's got plenty of floor-to-ceiling windows letting in natural light and offering a great view out over the port.
In the evening and at night, it's a happening spot for anyone who wants to catch their favorite sports team, as well as competitive cruisers who make use of the well-stocked arcade. The sports bar, located on the port side of the circular space has several TV screens and the usual selection of drinks. Don't want to run to grab a bite for fear you'll miss a goal/homerun/touchdown? You can order a burger or pizza for an extra fee and have it delivered to the bar. The arcade's got a pool table, air hockey, darts, Skee-Ball and vintage arcade games.
Grand Classica has one main pool open to all ages, as well as an adults-only pool tucked away at the back of the ship.
The main pool, located on Deck 11, is surrounded by lounge chairs for lazy afternoons in the sun. On the day you depart from Palm Beach, you'll find a sail-away party here in the late afternoon. After 2 p.m. on Grand Bahama Island day, you'll find all kinds of silly poolside games, from big belly contests to balloon-between-the-knees hopping races.
For adults who don't want to share their pool space with the kids, loud music or silly games, the aft adults-only Oasis has a pool and two whirlpools.
A jogging track is supposedly located one deck above the main pool but we couldn't tell what was actually supposed to be the track. It's all artificial grass up there and nothing indicated it was a jogging track other than a sign indicating one lap is 180 meters and 10 laps is 1,800 meters (in miles, that's one lap equals 0.11 miles and 10 laps equals 1.12 miles).
There's no sports court for pickup basketball or other games on Grand Classica.
Sun worshippers will love Grand Classica; there's lots of sun deck space spread across the ship's upper decks. The preponderance can be found on Deck 11 by the main pool, as well as along the terraces of the adults-only Oasis, which surrounds the aft pool on three sides. The Oasis is a gorgeous space, with plenty of lounge chairs (some under umbrellas). It was also our favorite place to watch the sunset since it's quiet while most passengers are at dinner.
Go one deck up, and there's still plenty of loungers all the way around the ship. Our favorite loungers were those on a tiny offshoot of Deck 12 that juts out over the main pool putting you both at the center of all the activity and far enough away that you're not actually in the hubbub.
Grand Classica's main services (reception and shore excursion) are located on Deck 5 in the boxy atrium. Unlike atriums on other cruise ships, you won't find a lobby bar here, and there's limited seating. The centerpiece of the space are two giant cobalt-blue glass statues named Fred and Ginger, created by Italian artist Luciano Vistosi (a leftover from the ship's day with Italian cruise company Costa Cruises).
The ship's small photo gallery is on Deck 9, located next to Lucaya Plaza, where you'll find two shops selling fine jewelry, clothing, souvenirs and miscellaneous sundries. One level down is the 80-person conference room, the six-station internet cafe, a library and several card rooms. On our sailing, the library was still stocked with books from Costa Cruises in a variety of languages that didn't seem to include English. Wi-Fi packages available for purchase are as follows: $15 for 24 hours or $25 for 48 hours (or the duration of your cruise).
There is no self-service laundry on Grand Classica, but the line does offer a second-day special: fill up a bag and get everything inside washed and folded for $25. We assume those who are returning to Palm Beach after several days in the Bahamas are the only ones taking advantage of the offer.
Smoking is allowed on Deck 11, port side, as well as in the casino. It's prohibited on cabin balconies and other open decks.
The ship also has a small chapel and a medical center.
Most announcements are in both English and Spanish.
The Indulgence Spa and Salon, located on Deck 14, offer massages, facials, body treatments and salon services at reasonable prices -- especially if you're willing to stay onboard when the ship's in port for a treatment. Massages include standard deep tissue ($119 for 50 minutes) and aromatherapy ($99 for 50 minutes) to more exotic options such as Hawaiian Lomi Lomi ($99 for 50 minutes) and Four Hands ($159 for 50 minutes). You can also get 15-minute targeted massages (neck/shoulders, hand/arm/scalp, foot/ankle/lower leg) for $42.
Salon services include haircuts ($35 for short and medium length hair), styling ($45), waxing ($90 for full leg), teeth whitening ($109), eyelash extensions ($65), manicures ($30 for the basic option) and pedicures ($45 for the basics).
Inside the spa is a Turkish sauna, and behind the waiting area is a small relaxation lounge with comfy-looking loungers.
Right next door to the spa (you can see it from the waiting room) is the fitness center, which has a decent range of equipment and free weights and plenty of windows for staring out to sea as you sweat. Among the equipment are treadmills, spin bikes, ellipticals and various weight machines. Just don't plan on using a treadmill if you're tall. They're situated on an elevated platform, which constrains the space. At 6 feet tall, you have only a few inches of space above your head; any taller and you're going to hit your head on the ceiling.
We didn't see any classes listed, and we never saw the gym particularly full.
For families bringing the kids along for the ride, Grand Classica does offer the Kruzers kids' club for ages 3 to 17. The program is divided into three age groups: Club Kruzers for ages 3 to 7, Club Chill for those 8 to 11 and Club Vibe for 12- to 17-year-olds. Each group has its own space on different decks.
There is no in-cabin babysitting onboard but the kid club spaces are open until 1 a.m. each night so parents can spend some time enjoying the ship's nightlife.
Club Kruzers is for the smallest kids (ages 3 to 7) and is located on Deck 10. Inside are kid-sized chairs. Activities for this age group include musical chairs and storytelling.
For the 8- to 11-year-old set, Club Chill is a tiny space on Deck 11. Inside, we saw beanbag chairs and a handful of board games and nothing else.
Both Club Kruzers and Club Chill are open 3 to 4:30 p.m. and 6 p.m. to 1 a.m. on day one, and 3 p.m. to 1 a.m. on day two.
Club Vibe is for 12- to 17-year-olds and offers activities such as a sail-away party, scavenger hunt and karaoke.