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A unique escape from schooltime stress

International vacations are usually on the top of everyone’s wish list, and college students are no exception. What if students could leave in the morning, cruise to another country and make it back in time for “The Late Show”?  What if all of that was possible for less than $150?

Discovery Cruise Lines’ All-Inclusive Bahamas Fun Day Vacation takes passengers on a one day cruise to Grand Bahama Island, the fourth largest island in the Bahamas.

“The day cruise is a great way for students to get away,” said Anthony Parker, Director of Entertainment and Communication at Discovery. “They don’t have a lot of time to vacation and this allows them to take a mini-vacation to another country where they can relax and have fun away from school.”

So “bon voyage” and off we go!

First off, once passengers board the ship (security checks take close to an hour so arrive early), they are given an all-you-can-eat breakfast buffet on one of the upper decks. On the return trip to Fort Lauderdale a dinner buffet is served.

Once the ship sets sail there are plenty of things to do while journeying into international waters. Most excitingly, a fare not only includes the breakfast and dinner buffets, but it also includes all drinks… all day. Yes, all the alcohol guests could probably ever want.

The game room has everything from Dance Dance Revolution to old school Donkey Kong and Pac-Man, to Wii systems and ping-pong and foosball tables. The movie room shows newly released DVD movies. For those into different kinds of games, the on-ship casino might be more up your alley (once the ship hits international waters, of course).

If limbo and dance contests are more your style, the top deck is quite a party. There you can lay out on deck chairs by the pool while sipping your drinks and taking in the sunshine to the sounds of a DJ.

Although there are a few relaxing lounges around the ship, travelers also have the option of getting a cabin for the day (costs around $55 dollars extra) to store belongings or nap.

Once the ship reaches Free Port on Grand Bahama Island, there are a number of options. And of course for those who have no idea where to begin in the Bahamas, Discovery is kind enough to provide organized excursion options for your convenience (for an extra fee, of course.)

One excursion includes transportation to a beach resort that boasts one of the largest pools on the island (it also has a pretty sweet water slide and jet ski rentals), and then a ferry ride to local shops where you can see the famous Straw Markets (think Bahamian Chinatown). Other excursion options include a beach only trip, and a guided and narrated sight seeing tour of the city.

Spencer Del, a Bahamian student studying here at UM, says that the food is the one of the biggest reasons everyone should check out the Bahamas.

“You get seafood here in Miami, but they don’t really cook it right,” said Del. “It’s way better in the Bahamas. People should start with the conch salad.” (Note: a tour bus driver on the island said that conch salad is actually an aphrodisiac. Do with that information what you will.)

Aside from the seafood, UM alum Kere Blair highly recommends visiting the Bahamas as a quick getaway from demanding courses and hectic schedules.

“It’s a fantastic way to get away from the stresses of school,” said Blair. “I had a great time. I thought it was beautiful and I love the Bahamas. I don’t really gamble, so I just drank, ate, and was merry.”

If You Go:

FEES: $129.99 per person.

SPECIALS: Book before November 15 and get $50 off per couple.

Sail free the month of your birthday; just pay port fees (around $40)

DAILY SAILING SCHEDULE

(No sailing on Wednesdays)

Departure:       Port Everglades, Fort Lauderdale       9:30 am (gates close at 8:00am – be there no later than 7 am for check in)

Arrival:            Freeport, Grand Bahama                  1:30 pm

Please allow time for debarkation and transportation on island.

Departure:       Freeport, Grand Bahama                  5:15 pm

Arrival:            Port Everglades, Fort Lauderdale      10:30 pm

WHAT TO BRING: Valid Passport, Swim suit, Change of clothes, Towel, Camera

PARKING: At the port: $18, At the Park and Go lot: $12 ($11 for AAA members)

EXCURSION COSTS: beach: $20 / beach and shopping: $30/ sightseeing: $30

AL-A-CARTE DINNER: $25

CABIN: $55 and up.

DIRECTIONS: http://www.porteverglades.org/directions.php

MORE INFORMATION and BOOKING: http://www.discoverycruiseline.com/home/day_cruise

Editor’s Note: Discovery Cruise Line provided Jenna King’s trip free of charge.

November 1, 2010

Reporters

Jenna King

Contributing Columnist


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