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John Gawne

Age: 59

Occupation:Faculty Administrator

Number of Cruises: 15

Cruise Line: Imperial Majesty

Ship: Ocean Breeze

Sailing Date: N/A

Itinerary: Bahamas

We found this older ship with a rich history online and thought it would provide a quick weekend getaway between longer cruises. With Southwest Airlines offering internet fares in the low double digits, this low cost cruise is very affordable. The ship, while 48 years old, is well maintained. Small by today’s standards, it had everything the larger ships have, including spacious cabins, casino, bingo, a small disco, evening shows, photographers, excellent dining room service and good food, plenty of the obligatory frozen drinks in souvenir cups, and so on.

The history of this gem is located at: http://www.maritimematters.com/oceanbreeze1.html
and includes then and now photos. She had a very successful west coast business in an earlier life, and more recently was a part of now defunct Premier Cruise Lines.

We were unable to find a travel agent willing to handle this low cost cruise, and booked by contacting the company reservations listed on their web home page. We were booked into a large obstructed ocean view room, Atlantis Deck 517. This was the largest room we have had in 14 cruises. Four windows. The bed was a true queen, not two twins made up together with a crease in the middle. No TV.

We taxied from FLL airport to the pier at Port Everglades, where the ship uses the Princess terminal at berth 3. They do confiscate any alcohol and return it in the terminal upon debarkation. Forms must be completed at the terminal, as all we received was an electronic ticket. We arrived at 1pm and there was no line. Entry was quick and we were aboard in about 20 minutes. While we had late seating confirmed, we had no table assignment. During check-in we were able to request a table for two and were assigned one. After unpacking in our room we went into the hot tub on the pool deck, and later the pool before life boat drill. The ship sails at 5pm and there is a large observation deck area forward of the “island” where the bridge is, which is perfect for sail-a-way celebration.

Our table for two was really a table for four which they set for the two of us. A wonderful service team made the two days exceptional. We ate in the dining room for two breakfasts, one lunch, and two dinners. Fresh flowers on the table at every meal. Steaks, fish, prime rib, chicken and vegetarian selections were the dinner menu. No eggs benedict, but omelets and so on. A combination baked Alaska/cherries jubilee the last night complete with dancing waiter balancing a lighted dessert on his head. Dress for dinner was casual the first night, and resort casual the second. There was a captain’s champagne welcome reception on the second night, which included canapés. There are snacks, canapés, or tea sandwiches available each afternoon by 5pm. There is no room service.

The Miramar Café is the site of buffet lunch with seating both inside and on the open-air stern of the ship. It includes and ice cream bar, hamburger grill, and bar. In the evening a musical trio played and there is a dance floor. One night was a 50’s and 60’s night.

The evening shows vary. On our two nights the first was The Tropics and the second Country Western. Small troupe but talented. Only 3 pillars, few obstructed views.

There is one elevator aboard, and it does not reach all decks, including not going to the Pool deck.

The ship arrives in Nassau about 8am and departs at 6pm, providing a nice long day. We were berthed across the pier from, and dwarfed by, from Explorer of the Seas. We taxied to a local church, and walked back to the ship, stopping to purchase at one of the few stores open on Sunday. After lunch aboard we caught a local bus across the street from the Straw market for $1 each and rode to Cable Beach where numerous hotels are located. He dropped us at a public beach where I enjoyed good snorkeling at a reef area.

The ship returns to Fort Lauderdale at 9am on the third day, and debarkation was swift. Breakfast was at 7:30 in the dining room or continental till 9am. Those passengers who have only carry-on luggage were allowed to leave the bags in the cabin till after breakfast. All customs and immigration is done in the terminal. We were off the ship by 9:20 and into a taxi.

This was as very pleasurable weekend getaway. We weren’t looking for glitz and newness, just an affordable good time. This ship exceeded our expectations, including a complimentary bottle of wine sent to our table by the Captain, apparently because I spoke a few words of Greek to him.

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