The islands of the Bahamas are one of the most popular cruise destinations in the world. Because of their location close to the southeastern United States, cruise ships can run many routes of varying lengths to the Bahamas, from two days to a week. Despite the fact that you’re leaving land far behind you, it’s often easier to pack for cruises because they’re all-inclusive with many on-board amenities.
Prepare for warm weather when you cruise to the Bahamas. High temperatures run upwards of 90 degrees during the summer months, with lows in the 70s. Lightweight, light-colored clothing and comfortable shoes are always good choices. If you plan on spending lots of time in the pool or at the beach, remember to pack several swimsuits. Additionally, you’ll want to check with your cruise line about special attire for formal nights in the dining room.
Cruise lines do their best to provide many of the comforts of home for their passengers. Often, they’ll provide complimentary personal care items such as shampoo, conditioner and razors. Check with your cruise line before your trip to see if such items will be in your stateroom. You’ll definitely want to pack sunscreen for your cruise to the Bahamas. A day of lounging by the pool while at sea can ruin the rest of your trip if you get sunburned. If you forget to pack sunscreen (or run out while on your trip), you can purchase it in cruise gift shops or while you are in port.
Money and Documents
Once you debark in the Bahamas, it’s best to use cash to pay for your purchases. Using cash allows you to avoid exchange fees on credit cards and can help you negotiate a better deal in some of the island shops. American dollars are accepted almost everywhere in the ports of the Bahamas. Passports or passport cards are required for American travelers to re-enter the United States after traveling to the Bahamas. Keep these documents with you at all times during your cruise.
Cell phone calls from ship to shore can be outrageously expensive. If you think you will need to use your mobile phone while on your cruise to the Bahamas, add an international calling plan for the duration of your trip. This will significantly reduce your charges. All the major cruise lines now offer Internet access, either in your cabin or at computer terminals on board the ship. Norwegian’s Internet cafes offer several access plans, as well as printer access and laptop rentals.
Grand Celebration was first built in 1986 for Carnival Cruise Lines (as Carnival Celebration) and retired from the line in 2008. Following a refurbishment, it began sailing under Iberocruceros, but it maintained the signature Carnival split funnel (albeit with a new paint job). In 2014, ownership was transferred to Costa Cruises. The ship underwent another refurbishment and was slated to join the Costa fleet, but it was bought shortly afterward by Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line and began sailing under the new company as its sole ship in February 2015. The vessel has nine public decks (10 total) and 751 passenger cabins.
About Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line
Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line launched in 2015, and its ship, Grand Celebration, is the only one that regularly sails from the Port of Palm Beach, offering two-night cruises to Grand Bahama Island. It’s an attractive option for those who don’t want to make the trek down to Miami for a short voyage. The quick turnaround time means little commitment, so it’s an ideal way to get started in cruising.
When Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line purchased 1,800-passenger Grand Celebration from Costa Cruises, few changes were made to the interior of the ship, though the exterior was painted and the funnel was modified. Expect a lively atmosphere onboard two-night cruises to Freeport on Grand Bahama Island.
Four dining venues are available, including a buffet that is open late, a main sit-down restaurant, a poolside grill and a specialty restaurant for a $20 charge that features a five-course menu.
There’s also a main theater that seats 850 passengers, a casino, eight bars and lounges, and a night club/disco. There are age-appropriate kids clubs, an arcade and game room, and a splash pool. The ship has two additional pools, three Jacuzzis, a spa, a salon with a sauna, a steam room and a fitness area.
Passengers include many first time cruisers, couples, international travelers, college students and Florida residents on weekend getaways. The average age varies from early 20s to late 60s, with most averaging around 40 to 50 years old.
The general, and best, rule of thumb to combat mal de mer is to prevent it from happening in the first place. Symptoms are hard to stop once they start. Fortunately, there are several ways to avoid seasickness or at least greatly decrease the potency of symptoms.
1. Avoid Being Ill-Prepared. Taking over-the-counter motion sickness medications, such as Bonine® and Dramamine® is a big help. Do make sure you purchase the non-drowsy or less-drowsy formulas, so you don’t accidentally fall asleep during dinner! Begin taking the medication at 1-2 days prior to sailing so the medicine is in your system before you step foot on the ship.
2. Avoid Powers of Suggestion. If you think – you are just totally convinced – you are going to get motion sickness, more than likely you will. Or if you suffer other forms of motion sickness (car, train, plane) the stress of past experiences can influence your well being onboard. Your mind is a powerful thing. Try to focus on activities on the ship, and though it might sound harsh, try to stay clear of anyone else that may become ill.
3. Avoid the Cabin. To acclimate to shipboard life and get those sea legs working, it is best to spend as much time as possible outside on deck. Use the horizon as a point to maintain your equilibrium. Your senses will be happy – visual input will agree with inner ear.
4. Avoid Key Triggers. There are a number of factors that can contribute to the not-so-great feeling of being off balance. It is a good idea to avoid fatty foods or those high in salt and sugar, avoid alcohol 24 hours prior to sailing, and poor ventilation as strong smells can overwhelm the senses and push you over the edge (metaphorically speaking of course!). Also, it is best to avoid reading. If you must, read small passages at one time and take frequent breaks to look up and find the horizon.
5. Avoid Smaller Oceangoing Vessels. Large, modern cruise ships of 70,000- to 220,000-tons are equipped with state-of-the-art stabilizers that greatly reduce the pitch and roll of the vessel. Most times passengers do not feel any movement; however, there are areas of the ship in which motion is more pronounced, especially during inclement weather. Think of the ship as a tree; when the wind blows, the leaves and branches at the top have all the movement, but the trunk of tree has little to no motion. So, a deck lower on the ship will experience significantly less motion, and they are closer to the stabilizers!
6. Avoid Choosing the Wrong Cabin Location. The lower and more centrally located your stateroom is on a cruise ship means the lower the possible threat of seasickness. A balcony stateroom is also helpful, as you can open your door and let in the fresh ocean air.
7. Avoid Multiple Days at Sea. Itineraries that offer more ports is your best bet. You want fewer days at sea and more days in port with an opportunity to get off the ship. A Transatlantic cruise or sailing with 2 or more days at sea in a row is not ideal if you are sensitive to motion. A good choice for a first time cruiser worried about seasickness is to find a 2-3 night weekend getaway. This way you have a chance to test your sea legs without the threat of being stuck in the bathroom on a longer voyage.
8. Avoid Becoming Anxious. If inclement weather becomes unavoidable, crews are typically very proactive. The captain will provide updates and the rest of the crew may pass out medicine, green apples and crackers. The best thing is to remain calm and shift your focus to other activities. Easier said than done I know, but you are on vacation after all. Enjoy your time and try to focus on all of the onboard entertainment. Hop in the pool, play some mini golf, take a dance lesson or fitness class.