"It's not a luxury cruise in the traditional sense, but it's definitley a step up from a water taxi or what people normally think of as ferry services," Balearia spokesperson Jackie Hribar tells New Times. "It's an economical and fast way to get to Grand Bahama Island, where you can enjoy a swimming pool, the restaurant, and the casino area as you get there."
The Bahama Mama takes over where Balearia's Pinar del Rio ferry service left off. That ferry also offered the same daily route.
But the Bahama Mama is almost twice as large as the Pinar, boasting room for 1,000 passengers, whereas the Pinar del Rio was a 463-passenger ferry. The Bahama Mama also offers private cabins to lounge in during the three-hour crossing.
The ferry is scheduled to depart daily at 8 a.m. from Fort Lauderdale and arrive at Grand Bahama Island at 11 a.m. Return trips have the ferry departing Grand Bahama at 7 p.m. and arriving back in Fort Lauderdale at 10 p.m.
Daily trips will range from $126 to $251. First-class tickets will range from $206 to $250. Prices for suites on Bahama Mama are not yet available.
Hribar says passengers have the option of staying overnight. Balearia has partnerships with some hotels in the area, though those prices have yet to be released.
"The prices vary based on day and season," she says. "But there are always daily deals."
The ferry had a soft opening on Wednesday but is scheduled for her maiden launch on Thursday morning at 8 a.m. from Port Everglades Cruise Port, located at 1850 Eller Drive in Fort Lauderdale. The ferry will travel to Freeport Harbour on Grand Bahama Island. The Bahama Mama's maiden launch will take off from Terminal 1.
You can check out photos, on the next page, of the Bahama Mama's interior.