We all toss around the word Staycation lately, which is generally meant as a vacation spent in one’s state or close by rather than travelling a far distance, and usually is a handful of days rather than a week or two. Well the ultimate Staycation for us, South Floridian’s, is the one I just did onboard Bahamas Paradise Cruises.
Get ready to embark on a quick, easy, fun 2-night getaway that makes you the captain of your amazing experience. Best of all, they set sail every single day of the week, so they’re ready to go whenever you are. They have 2 ships the Grand Celebration, which they have been sailing with since 2015, and their newer ship, and the one I went on, the Grand Classica. Generally the prices I have seen for a window cabin is $149 a person, all in for 2 people with taxes, etc. is $433. They do have inside cabins for a little less money and of course they have suites available as well.
Oscar and I decided to pamper ourselves a little and bought the “Concierge Package,” which with taxes and gratuity comes to $293 (total, not per person), and includes all this (honestly, if I didn’t experience it myself, I would have never believed that they would give you all of this for such a small price):
- Express Check-in at Port
- Express Disembarkation at Port
- Priority booking assistance for Shore Excursions
- Priority luggage delivery
- Reserved Seating Legends Grand Theater
- Special seating arrangement for two at Your Choice dining in our Main Dining Room.
- Dinner for two in our Specialty Restaurant (one night)
- Special Stateroom Welcome:
- Day 1 : bathrobes, slippers, champagne bottle, fruit basket
- Day 2 : chocolate covered strawberries
- Free Internet (two devices per stateroom)
- Tour of the Bridge with Ship Officers
- Cocktail Party (open bar for 30 minutes – Day 1 in the afternoon)
- 50-Minute Couples Massage & Turkish Bath for two people
- 2 Tickets for the Adult Comedy Show (Day 2)
- Champagne Breakfast for two in our Specialty Restaurant (both mornings)
I think the best way to tell you about the cruise is just to write about everything we did. When we arrived at the port, you valet your car ($38 for the 2 days) and you walk right in. Because we bought the concierge package, there was no line, we checked in and then were escorted onto the ship where we met the concierge hostess who explained all the benefits we would receive and set up our dinning and spa times.
We then headed to the room and when we arrived our bags were waiting for us, and inside the room we went. Waiting for us was a fruit basket, a bottle of champagne as well as slippers and a robes (Concierge package items).
After quickly unpacking, we went to the buffet to grab a late lunch and then walked around the entire ship to familiarize ourselves with the layout. By then it was time for the Muster Drill. Following that it was already time for the Concierge 30 minute cocktail party, which included Hors D’oeuvres (they even had Caviar). Let’s just say Oscar and I took advantage of the open bar and had champagne and few frozen cocktails. We then headed back to our cabin for a 30 minute cat nap and then it was time to get up, sower and change for dinner.
Dinner was in The Yellow Elder, which is the main dining room and is named after the national flower of the Bahamas. This diverse venue features a different menu every day, melding classic American favorites with the zesty flavors of Caribbean cuisine. I had the Steakhouse Salad, followed by the Mustard Rubbed Petite Beef Tenders and ended the meal with Peach cobbler and sherbet (it’s amazing how I almost never eat dessert, but on a cruise have dessert with every meal), and Oscar had the Shrimp Avocado Cocktail, the Black Pepper Crusted Ahi Tuna Nicoise Salad and Ice Cream for dessert. We both agreed that the food was well beyond what we expected and we were very happy.
We then went back to the room for a 30 minute rest and to digest our delicious dinner and then it was off to the Legends Grand Theater where “South Beach Nights” was the show and features a Latin flair including pop hits through the decades. The show started with a 10 minute set by comedienne Luis Ramey, who was hysterical and then the performers came out, who are all very talented and clearly have fun with the show. There is a magician, Neil Croswell, who does 4 or 5 tricks throughout the show intermingled with the performers. We were originally planning on going to sleep after the show, but it was so much fun, it woke us up and we ended the evening gambling in the casino for about an hour. The miracle was, we came out even….to me that’s a win…LOL!!
We woke up the next morning and were excited for our “Champagne Breakfast” (Concierge package), which was absolutely delicious. Now normally, I don’t drink at breakfast, but when have you ever heard me say no to champagne?
We were originally planning on going off the ship and exploring the island, but we changed our minds and decided we would rather just relax by the pool. This turned out to be an amazing decision as there were only like 20 people by the pool, so it was a very relaxing afternoon that included lunch at the buffet, frozen cocktails, and meeting some nice people from many different places in the country.
Around 4pm we headed back to the room to shower, change, and get ready for our couples massage at the Indulgence Spa and Salon (do you not love the name?). I cannot tell you how relaxing it was to have this massage as the boat was pulling out of port in a massage room that has ceiling to floor windows. The view was amazing, well for about 3 minutes, until we were so relaxed we had to close our eyes! The couples massage, followed by the steam room and sauna were amazing and so relaxing.
We then went back to our cabin to shower and dress up for our concierge dinner at the upscale Admirals Steak and Seafood. I started out with the Jumbo Lump Crab Cake, which was so good it melted in my mouth. I followed it with the Classic Cesar Salad, and then had the New Zealand Lamb Chops, which was so delicious, and seasoned so well I was literally licking the bone (probably not the best behavior in an upscale restaurant…LOL). I ended the meal with Pistachio Crème Brule, which was so yummy. Oscar had the Ahi Tuna Sashimi, the Main Lobster Bisque, the Bone in Rib Eye Steak (he added a $10 Lobster tail to), and ended his meal with the cheesecake. We both agreed that this was one of the best meals we ever had on a cruise.
We missed the show on the second night, as the Admirals Steak and Seafood, and takes between 2 to 3 hours. However, there is always next time to see it. However, after the show on the 2nd night they feature a late night adult comedy show with comedian Luis Ramey. After seeing him for 10 minutes the night before, we knew this show was a must see, and it was even better than we expected. As part of his set, Luis adlibs with the audience and when I tell you we were belly laughing so much it was almost painful. This show is $9 per person, but included in the concierge package. One of the best comedians I have seen in a long time!
Our ships are packed with fun and activities for everyone. The moment you board, you’ll never be bored. Dance under the stars, or really wherever the moment strikes, because everyone else will be dancing, too. Dine to your heart and stomach’s desire as you pair your meals perfectly with your favorite handcrafted cocktails. Let the freedom and relaxation of the sea come to life as you enjoy a treatment in the spa. Roll the dice in the casino and own the night. Sit back and enjoy amazing live entertainment, from Vegas-style shows to late-night comedians. And as we stop at Grand Bahama Island, the fun is just starting. Explore the island, enjoy the beaches or just shop for that perfect tropical souvenir. It’s all waiting for you.
There are so many other things (For Ex: bingo, games, fitness glasses, gift shops, circus workshops, trivia, dance classes, adult scavenger hunt, karaoke, disco parties, singers and so much more) to do on the ship that we didn’t get to, but fret not, as we decided that we are definitely going back, so we can experience all the other activities (or some of them) next time.
I highly recommend you book your 2 day vacation at BahamasParadiseCruise.com.