If you're thinking of going to Grand Bahama Island and this "convenient" high speed ferry service caught your eye, think again. The company is a complete horror show. They are unprofessional, incompetent and incapable of delivering any modicum of service. We flew to GBI on Bahamasair, another horror story in its own right, and decided to take the ferry back figuring it would be a nice variation. We knew things were bad when our Bahamian taxi drive informed us that he'd rather take the awful prop plane or a cruise ship to Lauderdale. He didn't say why, but it definitely got us thinking. We arrived at the terminal in Freeport, after passing industrial operations and oil tank farms, but hey ports are often located in such places. When we get there we see that the former operator's name is still emblazoned around the terminal. The scene is total chaos, reminiscent of the last train out of Nazi Germany or perhaps the last chopper ride out of the American Embassy in Saigon. Little did we know that things were about to get much worse. We wait on a 30 minute line to get out tickets and passports checked out. The lines are unclearly marked and it becomes every man and woman for themselves. We finally get out through that line and then it's wait around in an overcrowded lobby for 15 more minutes.
Then we start to move and we think we're getting on the ship. Wrong! Instead we are lead up to another lobby, this one a bit more spacious, with zero seating, zero air conditioning where we proceed to wait for another 90 minutes. The reason we're told, they need to load bins for tomorrow's trip back to GBI. Finally, we're allowed to board the ship, where we wait another hour for this insane company to get its act together enough so we can leave. Then the real fun begins. Evidently the catamaran they use is particularly susceptible to the rough waters of the Atlantic and the Gulf stream. I can only imagine what it was like to cross the English Channel before the advent of the Chunnel. But picture that for 2 hours or more and you start to get the picture. This ferry quickly became a vomitorium, where only those with the strongest stomachs survive with their innards in tact. Fortunately I was one of them.
We get to Fort Lauderdale and after waiting for the first class to disembark we're in the most horrible terminal in the US. It's now 12:30am, this ordeal has been going on for 6.5 hours. We clear customs in record time, these guys just want to go home. We get outside and presto, not a taxi cab to be found. Fortunately I see a car 954-777-7777. I call them up and the dispatcher is a breath of fresh air. She swears she'll send some one there immediately. While waiting for the taxi, I received three texts informing me of its progress and arrival at the terminal. Perhaps Bahamas Express could learn a thing or two about service from this cab company, but don't count on it.
To sum it all up, this is a horrible nightmarish experience that you wouldn't wish upon your worst enemy. They run on Bahamian time which means that they leave whenever they're damn well ready and screw the customer. They're unprofessional, incompetent and symbolize everything that government granted monopolies or franchises have come to symbolize. Just like your electric utility probably sucks, your cable company is even worse and lets not even mention the schools and other government delivered service, this ferry service makes them all look like efficient service providers. Travel at your own risk here and bring lots of dramamine.
It might be better in the Bahamas, but if you deal with this shoddy operator, you'll lucky to get their and back with your sanity in tact.
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