One of the highest rated places to spend a day while your cruise is I. Freeport, Grand Bahama Island is the Grand Lucayan resort. What is it like spending your day there, and is it worth it?
Royal Caribbean is in negotiations to purchase this resort as the centerpiece for a massive new project, but in the meantime the resort is in a state of limbo as most of it remains shutdown.
Nonetheless, the Grand Lucayan is a compelling choice for a shore excursion for families looking to spend the day by the beach or pool.
The Grand Lucayan resort has a long history as the premier hotel on Grand Bahama Island, but lapses in ownership combined with hurricane damage have left the resort in a less than ideal situation. The resort is owned by the Bahamian government at the moment, although Royal Caribbean has intentions to purchase the resort and transform it into a new world-class destination with a one-of-a-kind hotel, convention center, water adventure park and more.
In the meantime, the Grand Lucayan is split among two resorts: The Grand Lucayan and Lighthouse Pointe at Grand Lucayan. Currently, only Lighthouse Pointe is open.
Cruise ship passengers can purchase an all-inclusive day pass to the resort by calling the resort directly. At the time we visited, the day pass rate is $75 per adult, and $65 for kids.
The all inclusive option includes food and drinks at all the restaurants at Lighthouse Pointe, house wines by the glass, local beers, and bottled beers and some premium liquors.
Perrier Water, Vitamin water, Gatorade, Wine by the bottle, and top shelf brands are not included.
You also have to pay for a taxi to get to or from the resort, which costs about $35 each way.
Like most hotels that offer a day pass, you check-in at the front desk and are given wristbands for use during the day.
The two big things that the Grand Lucayan offers is a large infinity pool and sprawling beach.
There is also a lap pool and hot tub you can use. Kids are not allowed in the hot tub.
The beach was manicured and groomed, with little debris around. While it was overcast on the day we visited, the ocean was lovely and the sand at the beach was powdery soft.
There are lots of chairs and umbrellas near the pool, and a few chairs under palapas at the beach. On the day we visited, there was no waiter service, but there is a nearby bar that opened at 11am to get drinks and food.
The pool bar has a menu of burgers, wings, fish and salads to choose from. I was pleasantly surprised at the quality of the food.
All the food and drinks we ordered were included with the all inclusive option, so it was just a matter of signing off for what we ordered for the pool bar's record keeping.
Being a day guest, the resort delivered exactly what it advertised: a relaxing day by the pool or beach with food and drinks to enjoy.
Clearly the resort is in need of upkeep, and in the case of the other side of the resort, a major gutting and rework. It sounds like if Royal Caribbean completes the deal to purchase the resort, that will be in the plan.
On our visit, it was quite strange that there were barely any other guests around at all. For the first hour or two, we did not see anyone else at the beach or pool.
By the time we departed the resort, we saw perhaps 10 other guests in total. That is not a bad thing, as we got to enjoy the facilities without any crowds, chair hogs, or large groups. But if you are looking for a lively party atmosphere, it was not there.
Like any all inclusive option, the question comes up of getting your money's worth. I enjoyed the facilities, but I am quite certain we did not break even on the food or drink included.
Overall, I was happy with our time hanging by the pool, and walking by the ocean. Our ship's time in port (7:00am to 3:30pm) made for a short visit, but it was a nice day.