I’ve wanted to take a cruise on Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line for awhile now. I’ve cruised on 10 different cruise lines and love experiencing the different things that cruise lines offer. After I saw a deal for $129 for an ocean view cabin on Grand Celebration, I booked a two night cruise to the Bahamas. They are currently offering a deal where if you pay more than $129 for your cruise, you get 10 free drink coupons.
I’ve heard a lot of different things about Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line but there is really only one way to truly find out what a cruise is all about. You have to try it for yourself. What was my experience like? Here is what I loved about Grand Celebration and why I will be cruising again with Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line again in the future.
Embarkation – Embarkation at the Port of Palm Beach was a total breeze. They have a separate line for those with U.S. passports and it is much shorter than the line with guests cruising with birth certificates. They also have a separate line at customs when you disembark so having a U.S. passport saves a lot of time from waiting in lines.
One thing I liked was after checking in, you can book shore excursions, dinner reservations, and drink packages right in the terminal while you wait for the ship to begin boarding. Not sure why other cruise lines don’t also do this.
Ship – Grand Celebration was originally built by Carnival Cruise Line and is the last Holiday class ship built by the cruise line. The ship went into service in 1987 but was recently refurbished after the vessel housed FEMA workers in St. Thomas this past fall.
For a 31 year old cruise ship, I was really impressed how clean and updated the ship was. During my cruise, I posted dozens of videos and photos on Snapchat throughout each day of the ship. I had a travel agent write to me saying how impressed they were with the ship after following along on my journey. It far exceeded my expectations.
While the ship featured many modern touches, it still had the charm of an older cruise ship. At 47,000 gross tons, you can easily navigate from one end of the ship to the other quickly.
I included a full video tour of the cruise ship farther down in this article.
Cabin – My ocean view cabin (E101) on deck 7 was larger than cabins I have been in on many of the mainstream cruise lines. One nice surprise was the size of the shower. I found it interesting that cruise lines built larger showers on cruise ships in 1987 than they do today. The cabin had a flat screen TV, plenty of storage space, and one 110 power outlet by the desk. You can view a short video tour of my cabin below.
My room steward did a tremendous job keeping my cabin clean with morning and evening service. He also made towel animals and placed chocolate on the pillows each evening. It was a nice little touch that I wasn’t expecting on a two night cruise.
Steakhouse/Seafood Restaurant (Admiral’s) – I normally don’t go into much detail about food since it is so subjective. However, I have to talk about my experience at Admiral’s on my last night of the cruise. I honestly had no idea what to expect but was pretty much blown away.
There is a $29 surcharge (plus gratuity) for the restaurant and I can honestly say it is worth every penny. I love to try all of the steakhouses on cruise ships and this ranks up there with the best of them.
The service was incredible, my filet was cooked to perfection, and the coffee cheesecake was one of the best desserts I’ve ever had on a cruise. I honestly can’t say enough good things about the restaurant.
Entertainment – For a small ship, I thought there was a good variety of entertainment and live music throughout the ship. I’m really not a show person and rarely go to them while on a cruise, but I made an exception for this cruise since I’ve never cruised on this cruise line before.
The first night was a variety show that had a family friendly comedian, an illusionist, and your typical cruise production dance show. It was similar quality to what the mainstream cruise lines offer on their older ships. The audience gave the production team a rousing ovation after the Riverdance portion of the show.
Around the ship at night, I came across the following live music:
- 5 piece cover band
- Tina Turner impersonator
- Man playing the piano and singing
- Saxophonist in one of the lounges
- Karaoke on the pool deck at night
Video tour of Grand Celebration
Odds and Ends
Grand Celebration offers two night cruises to Freeport, Bahamas from West Palm Beach. However, the ship offers something that no one else does. You can either take the two night cruise, or you can get off the ship when you reach the Bahamas and stay in a resort for a few nights. Once your stay is done at the resort, you take a one night cruise back to West Palm Beach.
There were always loungers available around the ship. The Oasis is an adults only area in the front of the ship that was never more than half full and is the perfect place to kick back and relax.
The ship never seemed crowded and rarely if ever had to wait in line for anything.
The entire inside of the ship is smoke free. Smoking sections are outside on the port side of the ship. Since the casino is also part of a lounge and you have to walk through it to get from one end of the ship to the other, it’s really nice not having to deal with the stench that come with every other casino on cruise ships.
The value for the amount you pay for your cruise on Grand Celebration is hard to beat. It is perfect for short getaways, birthdays, anniversaries, bachelor/bachelorette parties etc.
Before my cruise, I had someone ask me if I had to attend a timeshare presentation once onboard. Throughout my entire cruise, I didn’t see or hear one thing about timeshares, it was just like every other cruise I’ve taken (just shorter).
The buffet didn’t offer a large variety of items, but what they did offer was adequate for a two night cruise. Dinner only had a few options (pizza, pasta etc) so you will want to eat in the main dining room or specialty restaurant at night.
There was an adult comedy show one night that had a $12 surcharge per person. The same comedian gave a 10 minute family friendly show each night in the theater as part of the entertainment shows which had no charge.
When you do book a cruise on Grand Celebration, fill out all of the forms they send you before you arrive at the port. This will help speed up the check-in process.
Overall, I had a great time on board and will gladly cruise again on Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line.