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DarthGrady

Grand Classica Pictorial Cruise Review, 9/28/18

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Hello all, I’ve just returned from the Grand Classica andwanted to share my thoughts on the new ship. This was my first trip on theClassica, although I have previously sailed on her fleet mate (the GrandCelebration) three times. We sailed from West Palm Beachon 9/28/18 for two nights to Freeport.

 

Embarkation:

 

The valet took the car (valet is mandatory at WPB) and wetried to enter the building for the security check. The luggage porters have atable set up next to the door and are extremely pushy about wanting to tag andcheck-in your bags. They claimed that all bags have to be tagged now, which Ialmost bought. They went on to say that we wouldn’t be allowed into the buffetif we carried our bags on, per the cruise line’s policy.

 

Luckily I’ve sailed with BPCL before and knew this was totalgarbage. So we told them several times that we would not be checking any bagsand they finally let us through. This was very troubling since they got thesecurity guard at the front door in on the act, telling him to send all gueststo them to check bags. Once they figured out that we weren’t playing along,they finally let us in without any tags. This luggage tagging and checkingthing at WPB is all smoke and mirrors to get tips. If you want to carry yourbags onboard you certainly can. We had no trouble getting into the buffet withour carry on bags in tow.

 

The rest of embarkation was very easy once we managed to getinside the terminal. We had already filled out the onboard expense account formsand got checked in quickly. We made reservations for early seating in the maindining room and were allowed onto the ship about 15 minutes later.

 

The Grand Classica:

 

For being 27 years old, the Grand Classica looks very niceinside. Her former owners, Costa Cruises, apparently went to a lot of effort tokeep her up. The public areas and the cabins have all been well maintained andthe ship looked very clean. I was most impressed with the Encore Lounge, theYellow Elder dining room and the The Rock Café. The two main pools are fairlysmall, but with only 1200 or so guests they were never crowded. Our cabin(4043) was well kept and our steward did a great job with the daily servicing.

 

Compared to the Grand Celebration, the Classica looks muchnicer overall. The pool decks are more open and have more seating, and theEncore Lounge is larger and more elegant (now one of my favorite lounges amongall my cruises). On both ships the Encore becomes a hub of activity in theevenings with live bands and games. I did miss the aft pool having a bar, whichI tended to hang out at on the Celebration. The Crow’s Nest nightclub isawkwardly placed at the front/top of the ship on the Classica, whereas it’sright on the main promenade on the Celebration. Due to this, the nightclub hadvery few guests on the Classica. I also enjoyed the open-air Dancing Martiannightclub on Celebration which the Classica does no have.

 

Both ships have their pros and cons, but folks who careabout the ship’s appearance, relaxing and sunbathing should go for Classica.Those who prefer a more active nightlife should go with the Celebration. Thismakes sense as Celebration was a former Carnival ship, and Classica belonged toCosta.

 

Food, Beverages and Service:

 

After reading a few reviews complaining of bad service onthe Classica, I was a little worried that this was going to be a rough cruise.Of course these areas are very subjective, but I thought that the service wasgood overall. Some of the crew seemed new, and fumbled a bit with informationon beverage packages and dining, but I can easily forgive little things likethat. When big cruise lines start up new ships, they pull crew from other shipsto smooth the transition. BPCL probably doesn’t have that luxury. So it maytake a while before the whole operation is running perfectly.

 

I thought the food was good, on par with other cruise linesI’ve been on. The buffet is small, so there aren’t as many options as the largeships, but The Rock Café at the aft of the ship is a nice place to sit and eat.The service in the main dining room was good, albeit a little slow. But Ienjoyed both of my dinners in there, and the wait staff was friendly.

 

I spent a lot of time in the Encore Lounge, and I reallyliked the bartenders and bar waiters. They were all very nice and rememberedwhat we liked when we ordered. Beverage service on the pool deck and in thenightclub was also friendly and relatively quick.

 

Debarkation:

 

We got to the debarkation area outside the main lobby ataround 7:30 am. They began letting guests off at around 7:40 and we were in thecar by 7:55. The whole process was very fast. I strongly advise having apassport for West Palm Beachsince they have an express line just for US passport holders, and it goes muchfaster. WPB is also getting set up to use the passport app. I tried to use myapp, but the customs agent just swiped my passport since the phone scannersaren’t working very well yet.

 

Final Thoughts:

 

This was an enjoyable little cruise. I’m glad to see BPCLgrowing as a company and hope it continues. The Classica is a very nice ship,especially for two night Freeporttrips. I would gladly cruise on her again, and hope to in the not too distantfuture. I would like to see BPCL add longer itineraries, unlimited beveragepackages and a past guest program. Having those in place would help themcompete with the larger lines. I’ll be posting up some pictures later, pleasefeel free to ask any questions.

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Looking down into the atrium from the Encore Lounge, the funnels sporting the new livery, West Palm before sail away3245a5b70bd439926e9be2c626b39166.jpg677f5b20c60dfa981437f1afc90ca5a8.jpg92dae9486c2a0aab6cff7203a5cfb853.jpg

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Thanks for taking the time to review and post photos. A cruise is a cruise! We've flown into and out of PBI, but would have to add on a longer cruise to make it worthwhile and cost effective. Living in Florida is nice for cruisers!:D

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Thanks for the pix and the review, looks like we will squeeze her in when the Grand Celebration is back in rotation, (to lessen the crowds).

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Thanks Darth. Turns out that I was booked on the Celebration for November 2nd. So my cruise was not cancelled but now I will be cruising on the Classica. I had booked 3 Veranda suites for my granddaughters, their boyfriends and myself. I purchased the concierge also. So I did the math and realized that the Celebration has 14 suites where the Classica only has 10. I was on the phone to them first thing in the morning and was able to book the suites on the Classica. You did a wonderful review on the ship however, no one has reviewed the suites on this ship. So I will be doing a review on the suites on the Classica versus the suites on the Celebration. Love the pictures. I still haven’t heard from anyone if there is a ship model of the Classica in the shops.

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Thanks Darth. Turns out that I was booked on the Celebration for November 2nd. So my cruise was not cancelled but now I will be cruising on the Classica. I had booked 3 Veranda suites for my granddaughters, their boyfriends and myself. I purchased the concierge also. So I did the math and realized that the Celebration has 14 suites where the Classica only has 10. I was on the phone to them first thing in the morning and was able to book the suites on the Classica. You did a wonderful review on the ship however, no one has reviewed the suites on this ship. So I will be doing a review on the suites on the Classica versus the suites on the Celebration. Love the pictures. I still haven’t heard from anyone if there is a ship model of the Classica in the shops.
I never managed to get by the gift shops when they were open, so unfortunately I can't help with that one.

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Thanks for the review.

 

I know the MDR and the buffet the food is free.  🙂 Is there a charge to eat at the Rock Cafe? What  would you suggest that we eat at the Rock Cafe?

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I just seen my answer to the Rock Cafe that there is a charge.  In regard to the Rock Cafe and the Pizza, is the price about the same as it would be at Pizza Hut, and the cafe a more upscale price than like at McDonald's?  Just curious about prices at these couple of places?

 

When entering the ship, is everything bought/purchased on this ship put on a credit card from the beginning, like the other big cruise lines?

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8 hours ago, beshears said:

I just seen my answer to the Rock Cafe that there is a charge.  In regard to the Rock Cafe and the Pizza, is the price about the same as it would be at Pizza Hut, and the cafe a more upscale price than like at McDonald's?  Just curious about prices at these couple of places?

 

When entering the ship, is everything bought/purchased on this ship put on a credit card from the beginning, like the other big cruise lines?

Yes, you use your sign and sail card that is attached to your credit card. It is the same as on all cruise ships. Very easy. 

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