Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line today marked the long-awaited return of the Grand Classica to Palm Beach.
The ship has not cruised since March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic and returned home today to begin formal preparations for the cruise line’s anticipated July restart, according to a press release from Bahamas Paradise, which operates two-night sailings from the Florida port.
The cruise line said that ahead of the launch date, the main priority is to begin the vaccination process for its crew, which will begin tomorrow at the port.
The ship was greeted by cruise line executives, as well as employees and partners, including members of the Port of Palm Beach team.
“This past year has been extremely difficult for the cruise industry and as a family-owned cruise line, we faced a number of obstacles that at times, seemed insurmountable,” said Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line CEO Oneil Khosa.
“Our team worked tirelessly during the pandemic, making difficult decisions and working with an innovative, solutions-oriented mindset, to ensure the future safety and enjoyment of those who cruise with us. I am so proud of the collective effort that has brought us all here today.
“I want to specifically thank our partners at the Palm Beach Health Department and the Port of Palm Beach, for their support during some very trying times. I also want to thank each and every member of the Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line team, our dedicated crew, our travel advisor partners and the many others who have helped us navigate uncharted waters over the past year.
“To those who have been waiting so patiently for us in our home-away-from-home, Grand Bahama Island, please know how much we have missed you and how excited we are to see you again very soon.
“We are delighted to welcome Grand Classica home and cannot wait to welcome our guests back onboard in just a few weeks.”
Port Executive Director, Manuel Almira added:
“We couldn’t be more excited to see Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line prepare for the resumption of sailings from the Port of Palm Beach. Before the pandemic, the cruise line was credited for generating more than $100M in local and state revenue and supporting more than 1,300 cruise related jobs. It’s time to get crew members, cruise line support staff and parking attendants back to work.”
The ship is set for a test cruise for CDC regulations later this month.