Took this on a lark since I had an unexpected 3 day weekend. The key to this experience is to set expectations accordingly. This is from start to finish, and by the line’s own admission, a party cruise. For folks like me who just want a ship, clean room, view of the ocean, place to read and sunbathe, and a helpful crew it’s perfect. For folks who expect an experience comparable to any of the big 3, you’ll be disappointed.
Boarding: efficient for US passport holders. I appreciated the ability to book shore excursions and make dinner reservations while waiting, I’m surprised more companies don’t do this.
Ship: a classic, in a good way. A former costa ship (with lots of relics from its past) that has been reasonably refurbished. In a lot of ways it was actually a pleasant change from some of the more pretentious newer ships I’ve been on. I’m low maintenance though and it checked all my boxes - a well-equipped fitness center, plenty of lounge chairs, and enough quiet spots to read a book.
Cabin: clean, basic, showing it’s age but given the turnover they go through (new passengers every 2 nights) unsurprising. Attendant was, well, attentive - regularly checked to make sure I had enough towels, etc.
Dining: basic but sufficient. Again, for what it is they try hard. Food quality was what you’d expect at this price point (I’d say comparable to an Applebee’s). Which isn’t to say it’s bad, just not at the same level as the majors. One highlight - Indian food in the main dining room was quite good, as it tends to be on many ships (given the proliferation of workers from South Asia in the marine hospitality industry). Additionally, was able to sample drinks from several bars onboard; contrary to other reports of weak cocktails I found them to be stronger than average. YMMV.
Port: Freeport isn’t anything to write home about, as anyone who has been there will attest. Took the shared taxi ($5 each way) to Taino beach, had lunch at the Stoned Crab (recommend) and a couple drinks (also recommend). Their loungers and umbrellas were included with lunch, space is great, and service lovely. Avoid the chaotic Pirates Cove next door.
Crew: unfailingly pleasant, and trying the best with what they’ve got. Many have worked on other ships before and it shows.
Fellow Passengers: most are locals and, as one would expect on a party cruise, here to drink, tan, and unwind. If Carnival attracts the Walmart crowd, this is the Dollar General crowd. Manners, speaking volumes, and attire follow accordingly.
The old adage applies: you get what you pay for. Given the frequent ridiculously low fares on Bahamas Paradise it is fair to say this winds up being a good deal for folks who want a quick getaway and love to be on a ship.