I am fresh off my second cruise with Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line. The cruise line sails two night cruises to the Bahamas from the Port of Palm Beach. In addition, you can combine the cruise with a resort stay in the Bahamas to create a truly unique vacation.
The cruise line added a second cruise ship, Grand Classica, earlier this year. After have a great first experience with the cruise line (You can read about that trip here), I knew I had to check out this other ship that came over from Costa Cruises. Here was my experience and reasons why you should look into taking a cruise on Grand Classica with Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line.
No Single Supplement – Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line is the only cruise line to not charge single cruisers double. My two night cruise in an oceanview cabin came to $129 plus taxes/port fees. I ended up upgrading to a suite but I’ll get into that a little later. As someone who travels solo several times a year, not having to pay double occupancy is a breath of fresh air.
Check-In – Check-in at the Port of Palm Beach is as easy as it comes. They have a separate line for those with passports and it’s always shorter than the line with those checking in with birth certificates. After you check-in and are waiting to board the ship, you can book shore excursions, reserve dining, and purchase beverage packages. I’m not sure why more ports and cruise lines don’t do this.
When I was checking in, they had a sign up that listed oceanview upgrades for $59 and suites for $299. I upgraded to one of the 10 suites on the cruise ship, the only cabins onboard that have balconies. Cruise lines have been in the habit lately of listing larger cabins as suites, even though it’s all one room.
These are real suites with a large living room with a desk, couch, two chairs, and a TV. There is a separate bedroom that has a large bed and another TV. The bathroom had a jetted tub, separate shower, and his and her sinks. The balcony was huge and the cabin was well worth every penny of the $299 upgrade at check-in. You can see a short 2 minute video of Suite 1001 on Grand Classica further down in the article.
Ship – I’ve really learned to appreciate smaller cruise ships the more I cruise. I’ll admit I love all of the features that mega ships bring to cruising. But smaller ships are more intimate and provide a better cruise experience.
Take a video tour of Grand Classica
Grand Classica is a 53,000 gross ton cruise ship that carries 1,300 passengers at double occupancy. The ship first went into service in 1991 and has a classic elegance about her. There are multiple large lounges and you’ll never have a problem finding an open chair or lounger on the pool deck.
The ship has an adults only aft pool that not only has two hot tubs, but there are also umbrellas if you wish to sit by the pool and yet be in the shade. This area was always quiet and is a great place to kick back and relax.
Dining – For a ship its size, Grand Classica offers a wide variety of specialty dining. The buffet was closed for dinner and the main dining room offered open seating. The buffet was open for breakfast and lunch and was pretty limited, like buffets are on smaller ships. Even though the buffet had a weird layout, I loved the area in the aft part of the ship that offered al fresco seating.
In addition the main dining room, there are three specialty restaurants onboard. I dined at Admiral’s Steak & Seafood the last night of the cruise and it was fantastic. It rivals the steakhouses found on the mainstream cruise lines. It’s well worth the surcharge.
Other specialty restaurants are The Rock Grill and the Bull Restaurant. The Rock Grill features a unique dining concept that involves cooking fresh meats and seafood on serpentine volcanic stone slabs right on your table.
For those interested in a casual dinner, A Slice Above has calzones and pizzas located right in the heart of the ship.
Video Tour of Suite 1001 on Grand Classica
Crew – I really can’t say enough about how friendly the crew was. My cabin steward Christian was fantastic, he remembered my name every time I saw him. That almost never happens on two day cruises on any cruise line. I even had crew that remembered me from my previous cruise on Grand Celebration earlier this year.
Entire Inside of the Ship is Smoke Free – I loathe the smell of cigarette smoke. I find it repulsive. This is one thing I love about Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line, the entire inside of their ships are smoke free, even the casino. (For smokers, there are plenty of places on the outside decks where you can smoke.)
Entertainment – I’m not one of those cruisers who needs to be entertained on a cruise. However, I thought that they ship had a good amount and variety of entertainment each evening.
Each night in theater was your typical cruise production show. A comedian was onboard and did 15 minutes of comedy after each show every night. He did a paid, adults only show on the last night of the cruise. There was live music in several of the lounges as well as trivia and games on the pool deck.
Sports Bar – Grand Classica has by far the best sports bar on any cruise ship that I have been on. (Note, I have been on over 30 cruise ships.) The sports bar is in the Crow’s Nest at the top of the ship and offers 360 degree views over the ship and water. There are TVs all around the room along with a pool table, skee ball, a few arcade games, a foosball table, and air hockey. You can check out the sports bar in the cruise ship tour video I linked to earlier in this article.
Pool Music – Ever been sitting by the pool and you can’t hear the person next to you talking because the music is so loud? It’s not like that on Grand Classica, the music is played at a reasonable volume. The steel drums were a nice touch when you’re cruising to the Bahamas.
What This Cruise is Not – Cruises offered on Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line can’t be compared to a seven night cruise. These are short getaways and are perfect for people with limited vacation time, those who live in South Florida and need a quick, inexpensive trip, or maybe for a quick fix to hold you over until your next week long cruise.
One awesome thing that you can do is take the cruise to the Bahamas and get off the ship and stay in a resort for a few nights. After your resort stay, you reboard the ship for a one night cruise back to Palm Beach. No other cruise line offers this option. It’s perfect for those who enjoy both cruising and staying in resorts.
This was a popular option as I saw quite a few passengers getting off the ship in the Bahamas with their suitcases. It’s something I want to try in the future, perhaps on my next cruise on Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line.