WHY IT RATES: The cruise line will be the first to bring leisure travelers back to Grand Bahama in the wake of Hurricane Dorian.—Patrick Clarke, TravelPulse Senior Writer
Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line, which was the first cruise line to dock in Freeport, Grand Bahama Island following Hurricane Dorian – transporting critical humanitarian aid and hundreds of volunteers – today announced it will resume commercial operations with two-night round-trip sailings from Palm Beach beginning Friday, September 27.
With its return to Freeport, the company becomes the first cruise line to bring leisure travelers back to Grand Bahama following the storm. As part of today’s announcement, the company also revealed the inauguration of a second destination, Nassau, with sailings onboard Grand Classica, the cruise line’s second ship, beginning October 12.
“After ongoing discussions with the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism, we are thrilled to have been given official approval to resume leisure cruises to Grand Bahama Island, as well as to introduce Nassau as a second destination for our guests,” said Oneil Khosa, CEO of Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line. “Tourism is the most important industry in the Bahamas, and we all know the lifeline it brings to residents across the islands. While we remain focused on providing aid to our friends and family on Grand Bahama, we also know that returning to a traditional sailing schedule will make an incredibly positive impact on their economy. After hosting two successful humanitarian sailings, we are excited to invite travel advisors, and their clients, to sail with us back to the Bahamas.”
Revitalizing Tourism to Grand Bahama Island
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Beginning September 27, travelers can set sail from the Port of Palm Beach to Grand Bahama Island aboard Grand Celebration with cruise fares starting at just $109 per person, and 50 percent off the second guest for all sailings this fall. Guests will enjoy award-winning dining, ocean-class entertainment, a smoke-free casino, and more.
Once in Freeport, travelers can enjoy a Beach Getaway excursion, experiencing the south side of the island. Known as some of the best beaches in the Bahamas, those on the island’s south side feature long stretches of pristine sands, where sand forms into ripples at low tide, often referred to as the island’s “welcome mat.” Local flavor will abound with island-inspired food, Junkanoo-style entertainment and the opportunity to interact with Grand Bahama Island locals, known for their warm hospitality.
Travelers interested in joining the island’s rebuilding effort may forgo the Beach Getaway excursion and instead participate in a volunteer excursion, which Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line is currently planning with local organizations. Volunteer excursions are expected to include light manual labor, and as such, participants are required to wear athletic clothing and appropriate closed-toe footwear as a safety precaution. Volunteer excursions must be requested and booked in advance, through Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line and its official partners only.
Diversifying Bahamas Vacation Opportunities with a Second Destination
Beginning October 12, guests will have the option to cruise to Nassau aboard Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line’s Grand Classica, which is currently on its way home from a one-time Western Caribbean and Panama Canal cruise and private group sailing. Nassau has long been a destination of great interest for the cruise line, and the decision to add it as a port of call was based on current demand and feedback from guests and the travel advisor community.
Cruise-only fares start at just $159 per person for round-trip Nassau sailings and departures will be available to book starting September 25. Travelers can expect details on shore excursions soon.
“Our travel advisor partners have been asking for a second destination for quite some time, and Nassau has frequently come up in our discussions,” said Francis Riley, senior vice president, sales and marketing, of Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line. “We are incredibly appreciative of the support and flexibility of our travel partners through Hurricane Dorian and pleased that now, we are able to bring them – and their clients – a unique new way to getaway to Nassau. With the inaugural Nassau sailings, we will again be resuming daily cruises from the Port of Palm Beach, now serving two key Bahamian destinations with Grand Celebration and Grand Classica.”
Cruise & Stay Program in Nassau
Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line’s unique Cruise & Stay Program will soon be added as an option for guests sailing to Nassau to complement its existing and successful program on Grand Bahama Island. Travelers booking this option can cruise to Nassau aboard Grand Classica, where they’ll enjoy either an all-inclusive vacation or hotel stay at one of the cruise line’s partner resorts.
“Our Cruise & Stay options for guests are currently being finalized, but based on feedback from our guests who have enjoyed this option in the past on Grand Bahama, we know the demand is there and this will start a new chapter for many destination hotels in Nassau, as well as the outlying islands,” said Khosa.
The Cruise & Stay Program includes round-trip cruises from Palm Beach to Nassau, round-trip resort transfers, unlimited food and drinks at the all-inclusive properties, water sports, and activities, and daily and nightly entertainment.
Bahamians currently in the United States and looking to return to the Bahamas may book a one-way sailing to Freeport aboard Grand Celebration at just $105 per person, beginning with the September 27 departure. Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line will continue to deliver donated supplies from its warehouse to Freeport during future commercial sailings.
For full details, travel advisors should call 800-995-3143 or visit BahamasParadiseCruise.com.
SOURCE: Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line press release