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“Balearia Bahamas - you get what you pay for”

Discovery Cruise Bahamas
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Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: More than 3 hours
Owner description: This is a round trip cruise From Fort Lauderdale Cruise Port Everglades to Freeport, Grand Bahama Island, Bahamas and back. $73 plus $48 port charges and taxes equals $121. per person. We always runs super specials.
Reviewed 9 January 2013

This is my first review of any sorts on TripAdvisor. I decided to write because I check reviews constantly (especially for this one) and I felt I had I justify this ferry boat considering all the reviews against it. I bought the Groupon for the Balearia Express- it was $59 a person for a day trip. My husband has a very busy schedule with work, and we have 2 dogs, so this was the perfect day getaway we could have. I read the horror stories on tripadvisor the night before we were suppose to leave, and started second guessing taking it. It was late and I debated buying some food/snacks for us- but couldn't find anywhere on site or information if we could take them, and didn't want to buy food to go in the garbage if we couldn't. We ended up going, which I am glad we did.

We arrived at 8:00 am (which was suggested) and we went through check in process within 10 minutes. It wasn't a full ship, so maybe that's why we got through so easily and quickly... but the hour and half wait to board the ship seemed to take forever. This wasn't anybody's fault- we got there early, and if it had been busy it would probably would have been necessary. Side note- the ladies that checked us in were super friendly, funny, and you could tell they like didn't hate their jobs.

Boarded ship, and it left right on time. We ordered food, and it was overpriced and not good. I expected this. I saw that people brought their own food, and wanted to kick myself. Yes, you can.. and Yes, you should.

Boat ride was a little uneasy. We sat in the back and it still didn't help. My husband was very sea sick and a worker noticed and offered help. He let him go outside and gave him a breath of fresh air. That's all he needed. The workers were so nice and helpful to us. We arrived right on time to the Bahamas.

Took a taxi to Port Lucaya, spent a couple hours walking around, went to beach. Ate at a some sort of deck sports bar restaurant- way overpriced and terrible food/service. Bought pretzels, crackers and protein bar at a little drug store in the plaza. Wish we would have gotten the Dominos Pizza we were laughing about.

Taxi back to port, got back early and watched the sunset on the rocks. Went through check in/boarding process that took maybe a half hour. A more calm ride back. They keep the boat a little colder on the ride home, and we didn't have a blanket- nor could we buy one anywhere on the ship. One of the nice guys that helped us earlier lent us his personal one- which was one of the most kindest gestures I've seen. I would say that all the seats were incredibly uncomfortable if you are trying to catch a nap. We thought about asking how much it would be to upgrade to the first class seats on the ride home- any amount would have been worth it for how tired we both were. We did encounter one rude worker--- we were trying to return the workers blanket and we couldnt find him, so we asked the lady working at the reception desk if she could put it aside from him. She couldn't understand what we were talking about, and was snapping back rudely to us, so we just said "nevermind" and asked another worker who gladly helped us and took it to give back to him.

The boat left on time, and arrived at 10. We were hanging around the door by the time the boat docked, so we were out, through customs, and at our car by 10:07pm.

This was a fantastic day (besides my husband getting seasick) and we really enjoyed ourselves. For the price we paid, we felt like we get our money's worth- and then some. I know this boat does run inexpensive specials and deals, so it's ideal for people on a budget. So with that in my mind, we walked in thinking that it would be the bare minimum, and didn't expect anything more than that. Both my husband and I work in customer service industry and so we have patience and understanding when it comes to people doing their jobs. We treated the employees like humans, not workers, and in return- we had some of the best service we have ever received. I think if people came on this boat with the realization of what they paid to get on it, and treated workers with respect (not like they or the company owe them things) they would feel like they got their money's worth too. Like I said, we didn't take a plane, or an expensive cruise ship over here- we went on a deal, and it was well worth it.

39  Thank mariejoy86
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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50 - 54 of 271 reviews

Reviewed 22 December 2012

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.

15  Thank appeal2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 9 December 2012

If you are looking for an ordeal - go by Bahama Balearia Express, the most terrible ferry service you can get to know. They sell tickets for ferries which usually do not go and then leave you alone in the harbour, no matter whether you need an urgent connecting flight or not. No information about any changes of schedule. And if you claim your damage they don`t react; you get an answer only after calling for a lawyer. And then they tell you lies like poor wheather conditions, although their staff already said, that they printed wrong tickets. No sevice, no solution, no interest in customers. So go on, pay for nothing.

4  Thank Irene N
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 30 November 2012

If you look the photo I attached, this ship is not a cruise bu a ferry. the ship is so small and it waves a lot on the sea so make half of the people on board sea sick especially on the way back when it is dark. They only kept the restaurant for a couple hours then the rest of time you are just waving. It is good for people who just wants to get drunk with their cheap alcohols, but not for us.

It would be a better idea if we had took an overnight real cruise headed out from Palm Beach and got to Bahamas after a good night sleep and feel fresh. We stayed on Bahamas for 4 days, it was beautiful.

6  Thank Cool008
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 11 November 2012

Picked up around 6.45 at the hotel, picked up people at other hotels.
Around an hour to drive to the harbour, waited there for a long time before we went to the customs, 10 o"clock the ship was leaving the harbour and yes it is a 2,5 hr ride.
But it took about one hr before it was laying down and before we could leave the ferry.
Taxi's are waiting outside for a 10 dollar you have a roundtrip to the beach and marketplace, we had a good 4 hr on the island, short but wel worth the trip to get the nice atmosphere and to see if we will come back a next time for a week or so.
Ferry is a bit run down, no outside seating, food menu was terrible and looked awefull, soda and coffee prices were ok.
Restrooms were very run down and dirty.
Duty free shopping was great, 30 Dollar for a carton of Marlboro, 20 for a liter Bacardi 8.
Gambling on the ferry was a big joke.
Entertainment, only a tv :P

2  Thank JojoBreda
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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