$59 Cruises to the Bahamas

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I applied for a Diamonds International credit card when I was on my Alaskan cruise.  We had a full day at sea and not much to do.  So we shopped on the ship.  The Diamonds International store was giving away a free necklace with an approved credit card application.  I had nothing to lose and it was a nice, free necklace so I applied.  When the card arrived in the mail, I called to cancel it.  The customer service number was hard to read since it was written behind the punched out credit card numbers.  I called the number and a voice at the other end answered, “Caribbean Cruise Line.”  Since I applied for the card on a cruise ship, I thought they were connected so I listened to the pitch and before long I realized that what looked to be an “8” in that punched out area was actually a “3.”  That misdialed number turned out to be the best mistake I ever made.

Caribbean Cruise Line?  I never heard of them.  Caribbean is the marketing entity for Celebration Cruise Line.  “Celebration Cruise Line?” you say.  Right, never heard of them either.

What they do is market a free cruise with time share presentations.  All you have to do is pay the $59 port charges (which is reasonable) and you can set sail on a two night cruise.  Before you read any further, let me assure you that I have NEVER gone to a time share presentation and I’ve never paid more than $59 a person to go on this cruise.

Here’s the tricky part.  DO NOT agree to any upgrades (they will tell you how small the rooms are), vacation extensions, airfare, free rental car, free gas, free meals, Orlando vacation package, etc.  You have to hold your ground.  They will have you talk to about three people before you are finished.  The first person will always come back with, “Ms. Bella you are so lucky.  I just talked to my manager and because you are from insert state name we are offering a special vacation package just to the first 50 people from you state.  How lucky is that?”  Tell them, “No!”

I have told them every lie in the book and they still had a comeback for every one.  My favorite one was, “No, I don’t need airfare.  My husband works for the airlines.”  They had a great comeback, “Well, I can certainly understand that, but as an airline employee he can only travel standby.  Now wouldn’t it be a shame if you missed your cruise to the beautiful, sunny Bahamas because you couldn’t fly stand-by?”

Then there was this one, “Now, Ms. Bella, won’t you need a rental car?”

“No.  My mom lives in Florida.  She would love to see me.  She will pick me up and I will stay with her.”

The response was priceless, “We can certainly understand that, but you would be a burden to your mom.  You can’t do that to her.  This car is free.  Come on!”

They will try to get you to come to Florida a few days early because “Don’t you agree that it’s best not to fly in the day of your cruise?  It’s best to come down a few days before (so we can control you) so you can start your vacation.  After all, that’s what we work hard for, right?”  To that, I always respond, “I have a very nasty ex-husband and a strict parenting plan.  I cannot ask him to take my son a minute early or he will have me in front of a judge on Monday.  I can’t leave early and I can’t stay longer either because I have to be home for my son.”  For some reason, they stop at court orders.

Once you get through all the high pressure sales, they will eventually book you on your way to Freeport, Bahamas.  They will tell you that you have to come to the visitors’ center to pick up your boarding passes.  You don’t!  I’ve done this so many times that I actually have fun thinking up ways to get them to give up on selling to me.  The number to call is (800)-237-3505.

If you prefer to bypass the high pressure sales and outright buy the passage, you can do that as well, but you will pay a lot more for the trip and I just don’t think it’s worth that much for two nights when you can get it for free.  The number to book directly with the cruise line and avoid the high pressure sales is (800) 995-3201.

The website to the cruise line is Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line.  Remember if you want it for $59, you have to call the first number I listed above.

****Update 3/12/17-the port fees for the cruise are now $65 a person***

The ship leaves out of West Palm Beach.  Usually I fly to Fort Lauderdale on Spirit Airlines.  From there I take the Tri-Rail shuttle (free) to the Dania Beach Station.  From Dania I take the train to the end of the North bound line at Mangonia Park.  A Tri Rail schedule can be viewed on their website.  From Mangonia Park Station, I take a taxi ($15) to the Port of West Palm Beach.

What I like about this cruise is it is the only two-day cruise out there.  It leaves every other Friday and every other Saturday so a weekend get-away is easy to do.

The ship leaves West Palm Beach at 6:00 p.m., but people begin to board around noon.  The following day, the ship docks at Freeport at 8:00 a.m. and leaves at 6:00 p.m. and arrives back to West Palm beach at 7:00 a.m. the next morning.

The port is far from town so we typically buy the Grand Lucayan Beach Resort Day excursion without lunch and walk over to the Grand Lucayan Marketplace for lunch on our own.

Another option for the day can be found here.

Beach at the Grand Lucayan Resort

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Celebration’s cruise ship

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~Bella

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50 thoughts on “$59 Cruises to the Bahamas

  • July 7, 2015 at 11:24 AM
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    Let us know if you take this cruise.

    Reply
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  • November 4, 2015 at 5:39 PM
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    U Rock ! I’ve been on that cruise too last year
    Tried to call this year to go again, but my name was ib the system, so they wouldn’t offer me the cruise. How do I get around that ??

    Reply
  • November 4, 2015 at 5:50 PM
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    I meant my name was in the system… They said that they can’t offer it again for the 59$
    How do I get around that ??

    Reply
    • November 5, 2015 at 6:27 AM
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      Did you try the number at Holiday Cruise Line’s website?800-219-8695
      They have so many numbers. If you Googled “free cruise toll free” I bet you would find more numbers.
      Additionally, there is a link on Facebook where one can enter to “win” a cruise.http://www.fbgbclcruise.com/ If you register, I’m sure they will be calling you. I haven’t even registered and I “won” two cruises last month. They just called me randomly.
      Use your husband’s/friend’s/mother’s/travel partner’s name if you have to. I do think it is limited to one per year. But like I said, they offered me two last month.

      Reply
  • November 21, 2015 at 5:21 AM
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    Ok thank u for the info, I will try again

    Reply
  • January 20, 2016 at 2:09 PM
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    Good afternoon,

    We have about 10 ppl in our family who have paid the $59pp fee to Holiday cruise line, just to clarify one of my family members is being told then have to get tickets from Ft Lauderdale welcome center. I went on this cruise back in 2008 and went straight to the port…

    Can you please assure them that they do not need to go to the Welcome Center and exactly what they need to do at the port.

    Reply
    • January 20, 2016 at 5:31 PM
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      I went two weeks ago and did NOT go to the welcome center. We went straight to the port and we had no issues.

      Reply
      • August 4, 2016 at 12:33 PM
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        Hey Bella , your awesome for posting this. I was searching for this info because I did the whole thing presentations and all staying here and there back in 2005 but used it for a my honeymoon so in that case I happy for the week long vacation in Florida with a cruise to the Bahamas for 2 for less than $300. We were on a very tight budget and still are 3 kids later and want to definitely skip all the presentations and get right on the ship. So I will let you know how it goes going in Sept. Thanks again for the tips.

        Reply
        • August 14, 2016 at 6:07 PM
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          You’re welcome. Glad it works. Looking forward to your follow-up. When are you going in September? I’m going too.

          Reply
        • January 30, 2017 at 7:53 PM
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          You never gave us an update. How did it go?

          Reply
  • February 18, 2016 at 12:48 PM
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    so where does the timeshare presentation come in at??

    Reply
    • February 19, 2016 at 5:01 AM
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      I believe if they can get you to come down the night before and spend the night at the Ramada/Welcome Center for free.

      Reply
    • August 14, 2016 at 6:08 PM
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      It comes in at the “Visitors’ Center.”

      Reply
  • March 15, 2016 at 12:36 PM
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    If you don’t pick up your boarding pass, how do you get on? We are driving down (we’re in North Florida, so it’s not terribly far) and want to avoid going further if we don’t have to. We cruise this weekend and any help would be GREAT!!! Thanks!

    Reply
    • March 16, 2016 at 5:59 AM
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      Just go to the port. The ship has everything set up. There isn’t time to verify if you have a “boarding pass” or not. They are two separate operations. I believe the ship has to have its manifest ready for the port authorities. A boarding pass isn’t necessary.

      Reply
  • March 15, 2016 at 12:39 PM
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    If you don’t go pick up your boarding passes, does it complicate the boarding process? I want everything to go smoothly, but would love to avoid the detour if we can. We’re driving down from North Florida and cruising this weekend. THANKS!

    Reply
  • March 16, 2016 at 6:05 AM
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    I’ve gone on the cruise six times. The first time, I went out of my way to acquire a “boarding pass.” When I checked in for the cruise no one asked for it. Someone from the timeshare company will be calling you before your cruise date to try to trap you at the welcome center. Tell them that you are married and not traveling with your spouse. (Same last name? Say he’s your brother). Usually, at that point, they will even tell you to just go to the port; especially if you tell them that you’re short on time because you have to work that day until 9 a.m. or something. If you are married and not traveling with your spouse, they won’t waste the time on the time share piece since most people don’t make a decision like that without the other spouse’s approval. If you doubt you don’t need it, go to the port early. Be one of the first to check in. I think check-in starts at 11:00. If you need the boarding pass, this will give you five hours to go get it. Trust me; you won’t need it. Or go ahead a get it and see if anyone asks for it at checkin.

    Reply
  • March 17, 2016 at 4:25 PM
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    Oh, one thing! I have NEVER extended the trip and stayed two nights at Freeport. However if you are staying in Freeport in the hotel–extending the 2 day cruise to a 4 day cruise/vacation–then you need to go to the visitors’ center to pick up the hotel vouchers. If you’re just taking the 2 day cruise, then you don’t need to go.

    Reply
  • April 27, 2016 at 11:48 PM
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    So my husband and I are going on this cruse in August. They had us do the online check-in confirmation form. Do you all think that we should still do the whole time share tour?

    Reply
    • April 28, 2016 at 7:05 AM
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      Are you staying on the island or just doing the two nights on the ship? If just ship, skip the timeshare and everything associated with it. Don’t accept any of their upgrades, free car, etc… Just go to the port and your name will be on the manifest at check-in. They have all the room keys pre-made so they aren’t waiting for that “boarding pass” to let you on. You don’t need to go to the timeshare. Before your cruise date, they will call and pressure you to go to the timeshare. When they pressure you on the phone to go, just tell them that you will be there and go to the port instead. Or tell them you are traveling with your brother and not your husband. That often forces them to tell you to go to the port since people usually do not buy timeshares without consent of the spouse and they don’t want to waste time with you if there is no chance of a sale.

      Reply
  • April 28, 2016 at 7:17 AM
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    If anyone has successfully followed the advice I gave in the article and in these comments, I would appreciate feedback and updates for myself and others. Thanks
    ~Bella

    Reply
  • May 19, 2016 at 1:42 PM
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    Thanks Bella for the responds. Well we got the free car for 7 days and we upgraded to the doubletree Hilton hotel because we are flying in from phoenix, AZ and wanted to explore Florida. But I was just wondering if we really had to attend that timeshare tour because it would take most of our time. Plus we all ready did the whole online check in with the ship.

    Reply
    • May 24, 2016 at 6:23 AM
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      Like I said, if your visit includes a hotel stay and NOT cruise only, I can’t speak on that. Please let us know if you needed vouchers for the hotels or not. I’ve never taken the rental car nor the extended stay. I’ve only done JUST CRUISE and I never needed the “boarding pass.”

      Reply
      • September 19, 2016 at 2:33 AM
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        Any updates on this? Has anyone skipped the presentation and still been able to stay at the Grand Lucayan?

        Reply
        • January 30, 2017 at 7:52 PM
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          I updated this a few days ago.

          Reply
  • August 4, 2016 at 4:16 PM
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    So, what I am reading is that even if I just wanted to cruise with my daughter, sans husband, I could do this? I really would like to take a girls trip with my daughter and did not want to attend the timeshare, is this feasible?

    Reply
    • August 4, 2016 at 10:22 PM
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      You’re correct! Neither of us have attended the timeshare presentation. Bella has gone with her sister and son, I’ve gone with my daughter. Just stay strong and show up at the port. Your names will be on the manifest and the ship will welcome you aboard.

      Reply
  • October 29, 2016 at 4:47 PM
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    Do they allow the whole family to go? I would like to take our 4 kids with us.

    Reply
  • January 18, 2017 at 8:26 PM
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    Thanks so much for your helpful input. I have come to see alot of their reviews show additional “hidden” charges. Besides government tax what else was included in your initial phone call confirming the cruise? I would love to calculate what Im budgeting for this steal of a getaway

    Reply
    • January 19, 2017 at 6:46 AM
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      Bella is actually going on the Bahamas Paradise cruise this weekend. She will have an up-to-date number for all the costs early next week.

      Reply
    • January 28, 2017 at 8:30 AM
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      Out the door…after I paid the $59 (I think now it went up to $65) on the initial phone call, all I was charged on the cruise was:
      $1.00 Port Authority Fee
      $24.00 Tips for housekeeping and wait staff (all cruises charge this)
      $18.00 Fuel surcharge

      Total extras $43

      Of course drinks aren’t included so if you don’t watch it, the cost of those can add up. I had 10 beers and six mixed drinks and they cost me $109.16.

      Reply
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  • March 31, 2017 at 7:50 PM
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    Bella – great, informative post. I was the idiot who actually bought the extended package, so now we have to attend the sales presentations. I am dreading it. Does it really take up 5 hours of the day? They swore to me on the phone that it was 2 hours. Can I get up and leave after 2 hours????? — Noel from MN

    Reply
    • March 31, 2017 at 10:28 PM
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      I don’t know how long it will take since I never went. But since you bought the hotel package, I do advise you to go. They may hold your hotel voucher. Let me know if you needed the voucher.

      Reply
  • May 18, 2017 at 8:33 PM
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    I can’t seem to find a working number? The number I dialed was customer service. However, they did call me last year and I got the extended stay in Florida. I transferred the entire package though as a gift. Now I just want the cruise? Is there an updated number to call? I don’t mind the heavy sales tactics.. I can troll with them all day. Just want my cruise and to pay the port taxes and be on my way.

    Reply
    • May 20, 2017 at 9:37 AM
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      Try this and let me know if it works.

      888 **1-*1*1 any number works with *

      Reply
  • August 13, 2017 at 11:14 PM
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    (800)-237-3505
    The number above is for a sex line? lol

    Reply
    • August 20, 2017 at 8:46 AM
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      You must have misdialed it. I just called it and it is not a sex line, but a valid option for a free cruise.

      Reply
  • September 4, 2017 at 1:45 PM
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    Bella,
    You are correct, I must have misdialed and I was able to connect with someone. Unfortunately I am a Florida resident and they will not sell me the deal. 🙁 I wonder if I have a friend form back home in Missouri purchase for me?

    Christopher Padgett

    Reply
    • October 30, 2017 at 6:59 AM
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      Glad it worked! Bummer that you can’t get the deal living in Florida. Have you checked out the FRS Caribbean from Miami to Bimini? I am anxious to give it a try.

      Reply
  • September 26, 2017 at 3:04 AM
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    I’m going on this trip next Monday. I got a call year and half ago from holiday cruises for this $119 Bahamas cruise deal and ended up buying a $989 package for 10 days. 3 days 2 nights in Orlando 3 days two nights in Bahamas and 3 days two nights in Ft. Lauderdale. Once I booked they got me for another $180 for upgraded room to stay in Orlando bc I was told we were in Kissimmee not Orlando. Never received anything by mail two weeks before my travel dates called they changed my hotels and said only way I could keep dates was to pay for all inclusive in Bahamas which was another $357 bc they didn’t have a room for me otherwise so I did bc I didn’t want to lose my airfare I paid for. Week later still nothing about confirmed travel so I called back and now they said they have cruise ship it’s been sent to help hurricane relief. Understandable but I’m at a loss out of my pocket no cruise and all they will do is send me on a ferry and now my trip will be cut short in Bahamas. I’m also now just learning of the timeshare from reviews not from the company. I’m dreading my trip! Not to mention my hotels have been changed every time and at this point I still haven’t recieved anything confirming my trip where I’m staying. I called the hotels they said I would be at in all three locations and all have reservations for me. This has been a nightmare! I’ll update as this shit plays out!

    Reply
    • November 1, 2017 at 5:04 PM
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      What a bummer. I feel bad they took advantage of you. Try to make the best of it. At least they are sending you via ferry and you won’t lose all the money you spent to go to the all inclusive. Please update us.

      Reply
    • November 16, 2017 at 7:22 AM
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      How did it play out?

      Reply

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