It's been a bumpy year for the Florida-based Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line, as it has for most cruise lines.
The family-owned company, which normally operates two-night sailings from West Palm Beach, Fla., to Freeport on Grand Bahama Island, had to drop anchor in March 2020 when the CDC issued its No Sail Order.
"We were the first cruise line to achieve 'green status' from the CDC early in the No Sail period," said Kevin Sheehan, the line's president. "This meant that we produced a comprehensive document that implemented all the health and safety protocols and more required by the CDC for a passenger cruise line."
At first, the speculation was that the No Sail Order would be lifted within a few weeks. "So we initially announced we would resume sailings in May, but as time passed we had to change the date to mid-June and then to July, and then we stopped," Sheehan said. "It wasn't fair to our customers to always have to change dates after they'd made a booking."
When the Conditional Sailing Order came out last fall, "we hoped it was a path toward resumption of service," Sheehan said. "We're still waiting, but we're hopeful."
So hopeful, in fact, that Bahamas Paradise now plans to resume sailings on June 2.
"The Bahamas is starting to open up," he said. "There's a new administration in Washington, vaccines are reaching many arms and we're seeing demand building for travel.
"We're assuming that we will have guidance and information from the CDC in the next few weeks on the plan going forward."
The line plans to relaunch its website the week of April 5 with schedules, rates and promotional offers for sailings on the 654-cabin Grand Classica.
Capacity will be phased in when service resumes.
"We had to sell our second vessel, the Grand Celebration, last year, but the Grand Classica also will be offering a Cruise and Stay program that includes Nassau for two, four or six nights," Sheehan said.
The line is working with several hotels and resorts in both Nassau and on Grand Bahama Island.
The bookparadise.com portal for travel advisors that was launched in late 2019 will be up and running on the website with training modules, incentives, Zoom calls, webinars and offers for fam trips.