The Commercial Appeal
IF YOU GO ...
Bahamas Celebration The ship: A renovated Norwegian cruise ferry just less than 700 feet long, it holds up to 1,200 passengers. The staterooms are small — the four leastexpensive categories are 86 square feet — and some have a fold-down top bunk like on a train; none has a balcony. Amenities: Modest compared to other cruise ships, but the ship has a spa with a salon and gym; a very small pool, Jacuzzis, a child’s water play area and slide; kids’ clubs for three age groups; five restaurants (some with an additional fee); casino with slot machines and table games; bars and a showroom. A variety of shore excursions are available. Where and when: Two-night cruises depart from the Port of Palm Beach every other day, arrive in Freeport, Grand Bahama, the following morning. Passengers have the option of spending the day on Grand Bahama and returning to Palm Beach overnight or spending two or more nights on the island. Cost: Starting from $99 per person double occupancy. Check website for frequent deals. Information: bahamascelebration.com, 800-314-7735 (to book) or 800309-5934 (questions and customer service)
Balearia Bahamas Express
The ship: The Pinar del Rio is a 243-foot catamaran that seats 463 passengers; no overnight accommodations. Amenities include a snack bar with bar service, duty-free shop, slot machines, movies. Where and when: The ferry makes the round trip from Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale to Freeport, Grand Bahama, six days a week (no service on Wednesdays) through Sept. 8, when the schedule probably will be reduced. Departs Fort Lauderdale at 9 a.m., arrives at Freeport at noon; departs Freeport at 6 p.m.; arrives at Fort Lauderdale at 9 p.m. On the island: You’re on your own when it comes to arranging shore excursions. A fleet of taxis meets the ferry. If you stay overnight, check with your hotel about activities. If you’re making a day trip, check shoretrips.com or cruisingexcursions.com for excursions. Cost: The best fare I could find was $145 roundtrip, including fees. Information: ferryexpress.com, 866- 699- 6988 Airlines
American Eagle flies nonstop out of Miami (aa.com).
Silver Airlines flies nonstop from Fort Lauderdale (gosilver.com).