When my mom told me she decided to come down to Florida to visit me for the weekend I wanted to think of something fun and different that my sister, my mom and I could do together. I had recently seen on Groupon a trip to the Bahamas for the day by using a service called a Fast Ferry. The one in particular that I ended up using was called the Balearia: Bahamas Express and it takes you to the Grand Bahamas Island which is only 70 miles off the coast of Florida.
We arrived at the terminal at 7 am as directed by the representative to check-in at Port Everglades. Parking was easy but checking in could have been a little more organized, however before we knew it we were boarding the ship. We decided to only go for one day but there were families on the boat going to their family vacation and even when we returned people are coming back who had been on a week long vacation. If I was to do it again I would probably have stayed over in the Bahamas for at least one night instead of doing the back and forth trip all in one day. Traveling can be exhausting as it is, but traveling 3 hours to the location and then having fun in the sun and then 3 hours back – lets just say I was quite tired by the time I got home.
We had purchased a regular standard fair trip, however I would suggest purchasing first class – in the future I will be. Although there were many seats and you could gamble on slots and go to the bar, the first class just seemed way more comfortable, plus you would avoid the lines for food at the snack bar. If you are picky about food and don’t want to be overcharged then I would suggest packing your own lunch.
Once aboard the boat you can choose an expedition, which you pay for separately to set up your day on the island. We chose to stay at the Grand Lucayan Hotel, in which you get a day pass to all the amenities that the hotel offers to their guests. We boarded our bus to the Grand Lucayan Hotel, where they played music and got you excited about your day. Once at the hotel, there are a few things you can do. There is more than one hotel on the location but all are Grand Lucayan. The pool runs through all three hotels and is right on the beach. The beach itself is gorgeous as well and on the beach there are restaurants. Theres one in particular that is a local place and sells bahamian cuisine; we tried the conch which is supposed to be their famous dish. If you don’t like a little spice to your food I wouldn’t suggest it, however if you love spicy food and love seafood you will enjoy it. The best are the pina coladas!
Once you have exhausted yourself in the sun, you can gamble at the casino located in the vicinity or cross the street and shop tax free. At around 5:30pm, the bus returns to bring you back to the boat. Our driver served shots on the way home and played music so all the drunkies would enjoy their last half hour in the bahamas. Once you get back on the boat, remember you have another 3 hours till you are docked, which is why I would suggest purchasing first class so at least you have a movie to pass the time.
All in all, it was a great adventure. I would definitely do it again as long as I was at least staying overnight in the Bahamas. The whole one day back and forth was fun don’t get me wrong, but also exhausting but if you don’t mind that then go for it. It was definitely worth it.
Remember, you do need a passport to go the Bahamas! However, if you are traveling by boat, you only need a passport card. Contact Passport Study Abroad for all your passport needs!