Bahamas Celebration lacks the "amusement park" amenities (rock climbing, zip lines, ice skating rinks, etc.) that have become the norm on many other ships, but there are certainly enough activities to keep people busy for two days.
The music doesn't stop from the moment passengers step onboard, with most of the action on Deck 9. Many cruisers lounge by the glass-enclosed pool or in one of two hot tubs, and others sip on coconut drinks from the adjacent bar or join group dancing.
Scheduled events happen throughout the day, including dance lessons, wine tastings, "Family Feud," Ping-Pong tournaments, pub trivia and bingo, as well as karaoke in the evenings. A listing of events is delivered to staterooms, and, while many activities are included in the cruise fares, some come with an additional charge.
Spanning two decks, The View is the main theater and lounge with balcony seating surrounding the center stage. It's transformed into a nightclub after the evening performances. Located forward, the 630-seat theater is an impressive space with angled floor-to ceiling windows, cocktail tables, decorative string lighting and a polished-wood bar.
A schedule of the evening shows is posted outside the entrance, as is a reservation booth for added-charge entertainment. For example, the early "Circus" show is complimentary and includes a comedian, a juggler and an extremely talented contortionist. The later adults-only comedy show is an additional charge of $10. Although the shows are not on the same level as the Broadway-style productions of other ships, they're still enjoyable.
The Wynmore Casino (get it?) is another option, and it even offers instructional gaming classes to help passengers learn how to spend their money on the tables. The casino is open until 3 a.m. and has plenty of slot machines, a bar and table games like blackjack, craps and poker. As usual, this is the one area of the ship where passengers need cash. An ATM is available, but it charges a hefty $8 per-transaction fee.
Pub 437 is a traditional British-style pub near the casino that showcases live music on a small stage (one musician playing "Free Bird" and other classics). There's a flat-screen television, half-booths for seating and plenty of room at the sparkling dark-wood bar. The bar is open until passengers leave, but it typically starts to shut down around midnight.
The beautiful Ocean Breeze Lounge can be a challenge to find, but it's located near the front of Deck 6. It features a dazzling chandelier, floor-to-ceiling windows, a glimmering piano, marble floors and wall panels with gold-trimmed polished wood. Karaoke contests are held there in the evenings.
The cruise line definitely pushes its shore excursions, and upon arrival at Freeport, the excursion desk will announce if it still has availability. Prices seem a bit inflated, but choices include snorkeling ($51 per person), jeep tours ($83), dolphin swims ($209), scuba diving ($141 for two tanks), beach resort days ($51), a deserted island cruise ($99), cave exploration ($59) and glass-bottom boat tours ($51). There isn't much in the port besides a few shops, so taking an excursion, hopping on a shuttle to Port Lucaya Marketplace or renting a car is recommended.
Upon entering the ship on Deck 3, passengers are greeted by a surprising central atrium that's home to the main glass-enclosed elevators. It's an inspiring welcome, and staff are on hand at the excursion desk, information center or concierge to help with questions or bookings.
To the right, a large souvenir gift shop can be found, and Deck 4 is home to a duty-free shopping table for jewelry and other pricier items. Souvenir photos, taken when passengers first stepped onboard, are available for sale near Rio's.
When exiting the ship, passengers gather at Deck 3, and announcements are made alerting them when there is no line. Those who take advantage of this will find disembarkation to be a breeze; otherwise, expect to be stuck in line when re-entering the United States.
The hallways of the ship are lined with brightly colored carpets that add to the tropical vacation theme, but corridors can be difficult to navigate at times, thanks to large, heavy doors that block hallway entrances.
On either side of the Ocean Breeze Lounge ,there's a card room and small "library" that offers board games in what could potentially be a place to catch up on a good book -- if it weren't for the nearby bar area blasting pop hits. These rooms contain classic porthole windows, giving them an old-fashioned, nautical feel that makes one want to sip on a scotch.
There are five computers in the entrance that charge a relatively reasonable 50 cents per minute for internet access, and WiFi is available for the same price for those who bring their own devices. A handful of small elevators is scattered around, and they're much faster than the main elevators, which are painfully slow. A conference room area is tucked away behind the Wynmore casino.
Another surprise is the Fountain of Youth spa and salon, which offers massages (with specials starting around $38), manicures and pedicures ($55), teeth whitening ($56), and couples' massages ($160), among other services. Although there is no sauna or steam room, the spa is a quiet, calming oasis and is larger than expected for a ship of Bahamas Celebration's size.
Calming scents linger through the halls into the lounge area, hair salon and four private treatment rooms. Within the spa is a small fitness center, and during the twice-monthly "Girls' Night Out" sailings, Bahamas Celebration offers complimentary Zumba classes. The spa is located on Deck 3, next to the entrance and gift shop.
On Deck 9, the main pool resembles a fish tank but is reserved for adults only. A kid's pool and waterslide are available on the opposite end of the vessel. There is also a recreation area with shuffleboard and some scheduled events.
For families, there are plenty of activities aimed at teens and kids, ages 3 to 12, as well as a 180-foot waterslide, splash zone and three separate kids club areas that are open until 1 a.m. There are no baby-sitting services, and clubs are closed while in port.
Club Coconuts (Deck 5) opens in the early afternoon and hosts events for kids of ages 3 to 9. Activities include Disney trivia, treasure hunts, balloon sculptures, face painting, "Simon Says," cupcake making and pajama parties. "Junior Cruisers" (ages 10 to 12 years) can head to Club Wave (Deck 5) to join in Xbox tournaments, music trivia, disco dancing, human twister, necklace making, movies and other games aimed at tweens.
Open Water Club Voyages is designed for teens, ages 13 to 17, and it's located on Deck 4 near The View nightclub. During the day, events include video game challenges, meet-and-greet activities and ice-breakers, followed by "Guitar Hero" jam sessions, "Wheel of Fortune," and "Are You Smarter than a Fifth Grader?" challenges. The dance club and karaoke kick off around 10 p.m.