Overnight cruises to Bahamas approved

By Chuck Weber - bio | email

RIVIERA BEACH, FL (WFLX) - After an absence of more than a decade, cruises from the Port of Palm Beach to the Bahamas are back.

Thursday Port of Palm Beach commissioners unanimously approved a deal with Celebration Cruise Lines. Starting March 17, the cruise line's 680-foot Bahamas Celebration vessel will sail to Grand Bahamas Island every other day.

Right now day-only gambling cruises are the only passenger excursions from the Port of Palm Beach.

"To actually have a cruise ship that touches a foreign port is something we've been after a good ten years," declared Port Commissioner Ed Oppel. He predicts the new cruises will provide a boost to tourism and add jobs to the local economy.

Charles Kinnear, of Celebration Cruises, says his 500-cabin ship will offer two-day excursions starting at $150 per person, as well as 4- and 6-day trips, which include hotel stays on Grand Bahamas, something Kinnear says is unique in the cruise industry.

Kinnear said Celebration might also offer day-only gambling cruises, in between trips to Grand Bahamas Island.

A representative from The Palm Beach Princess, which runs the Port's only day-cruises, said if that happens, it would go out of business.

Port commissioners emphasized they want both cruise lines to succeed.