By Joshua Head
This is a review I made on Tripadvisor and Cruise Critic. They are great places to get an idea of what to expect. These are MY views and MY experiences.
We cruised to Freeport Grand Lucayan on the Celebration Cruise Lines’ ship Bahama Celebration.
If you go and are disappointed, you did NO research at all
I went on this cruise to Freeport Grand Lucayan (It’s not in Freeport) with my elderly parents which one is handicapped and wheelchair bound nearly. I was very concerned going on this trip because of this. The check-in process was a pain but the folks working there were super nice and let me go off to the side with my mom while the others filled out all the paperwork.
The ship is OLD but OK. It is definitely not Royal Caribbean or Carnival. Upon entering the starboard entrance we were greeted by the only two elevators that would accommodate a scooter (which my mother uses instead of a wheel chair). However, one of those were out of order which left us ONE, and that was was as slow as frozen molasses.Once we returned to my parents room, we got them settled. We went to our cabin and found it was one of the suites
The buffet was more than adequate for this cruise. Hot dogs, hamburgers, salad, roasted carved turkey, potatoes, spaghetti, deserts etc. And believe me, other cruisers piled their plates FULL.
Dinner was a delightful experience (one of the few I had actually) with our head waiter Jose treating us like royalty. He quite possibly single-handily made this entire cruise a delight. His smile was infectious and he and the assistant waiters were at our beck and call. He loves his job and it shows. The food we had was very flavorful- we all actually had the prime rib which was mouth-wateringly tender. The Sommelier who brought our wine was knowledgeable and friendly and we even got a 10% discount on the second bottle (used on the cruise on the way home). They all were just as delightful on the way home as was the food.
The casino is small but very functional. The machines are tight and ate our money as quick as possible. Roulette fared no better unfortunately.
All in all, the cruise was fine and quite honestly, after reading the horrid reviews, it was surprisingly fairly fun and a good experience. It’s unfortunate that the staff on this ship are wasted on such a poor boat and low budget company. The other cruise lines could learn a lot from the staff on this ship. I’ve been on many cruises on RC and I can say with out a doubt, this ship has the best overall crew I’ve experienced. Mad props to them all. If you go, tell Jose he’s much appreciated.
Even though the experience was OK, I don’t think we’d go on this cruise again..EVER. Grand Lucaya is a time-share nightmare and once you get there you are STUCK with every place sucking the money out of your wallet. And on top of that, most stuff around it just looks abandoned. So although the cruise isn’t a great value, the staff really saved it for us.
The Hotel – Grand Lucayan, Bahamas
Grand Lucayan, Bahamas
I stayed at this hotel two nights along with my folks. The hotel gets fairly decent ratings on TripAdvisor but I guess I have higher standards for a hotel such as this.
In there room’s bathroom, the reflective material on the mirror had turned color about 9 in deep all around the edge. It looked old. There were nice views of the casino and A/C units. On the bright side, the people working the “time share” check-in were wonderfully nice and helped us get my handicapped mother to a room earlier than everyone else. Very VERY much appreciated that. Everyone around the area working at the hotel was nice and friendly. The hotel is huge and I am sure those that vacation separately from the cruise vacation package get the signature ocean-front rooms.The grounds were beautiful and stunning, and well kept.
Unfortunately, for this type of resort, it just wasn’t up to standard. PLUS, there’s the Resort fee, taxes, energy fee..etc etc. They fee you to death. This entire area looks as if someone built hotels around 1999 expecting lots of people to come and no one did. I would never go here again.
Casino and Market
The casino is smallish but clean and with good ventilation to help the annoyance of smokers. There were plenty of slot-machines with table games in the center. Table games… Actually, the entire casino was sparse of people. It was just empty. I assume it had to do with the location- nothing else around except the hotel.
The market across the street is a waste and if you go to Subway there, expect to splurge. Two foot long subs and two drinks, $28. Yup, the Lucayan and everything else around it know that you are trapped and rape your wallet every chance they get. All the restaurants around and at the hotel charge $25 a plate for dinner, $20 buffet breakfast. The cheapest thing to eat was at Domino’s- medium pizza w/ 2 cokes for 14.99.
Across from the casino is a small restaurant called Iries. It got decent reviews on TripAdvisor so we stopped in.
Our waitress was very helpful and attentive and even brought my mom a cushion for her back on the chair. I ordered the Jerk Chicken Pizza and Iries Salad. The pizza was more like that of store-bought “pop in the oven” pizza. I definitely wouldn’t order that again. The salad was delicious. My parents got the club sandwich and Cesar salad. Both were quite good. I wasn’t able to get a picture of the menu but prices ranged $10 for a hamburger up to $30 for a steak.
Unfortunately, if you’re in the Lukayan area, you’re kind of trapped and these places take total advantage of it. I’ll never visit that area again.
TIP *** Share a cab-van with others and save the $17pp. Bus transport- it was $5 a person and didn’t have to wait.
TIP 2 *** Above 6th floor minimum, ocean view if you can. Otherwise, go somewhere better.