Bahamas Ferry Express Day Cruises from Florida

Bahamas Ferry Express day cruises to Freeport, Bahamas

Want to play hooky for a day? Only have one vacation day left for the rest of the year? Try a quick one-day getaway to the Bahamas via the new Bahamas Ferry Express from Fort Lauderdale.

ScandinavianSunYears ago, there was the old Scandinavian Sun which cruised back and forth to Freeport, Bahamas from Miami. It was an older ship and moved at turtle speed which meant a midnight arrival into the Port of Miami.  Now there’s a faster way to get to Freeport and return before midnight aboard the high-speed catamaran, Pinar del Rio a.k.a the Bahamas Ferry Express.  The brightly painted ship carries up to 463 passengers and can travel up to 32 knots in smooth seas.

Bahamas Express Fast FerryBahamas Express Pinar del Rio is majority-owned by Spanish shipping company, Baleària, which specializes in fast-ferry routes around the world, primarily in and around Spain connecting to Gibraltar and North Africa.

Here’s the lowdown on taking that quick getaway when you just want to do something different, fun and convenient.  A passport is required if you are 16 or older. Refer to the documentation requirements on the cruise line website for accurate and complete information.

Check-in begins at 7am.  Because of the chance of a traffic backup at the port entrance, the cruise line recommends arriving no later than 8am.  Security gates for the Pinar del Rio close promptly at 9am.

Bahamas Express Fast Ferry loungeFor passage, you can choose between First Class and Economy. First Class passengers have more room, privacy and less hustle and bustle.

Departure from Port Everglades en route to Grand Bahama Island is at 10am.  Two and one-half hours later, cruising at a speed of up to 32 knots, you’ll arrive at Freeport Harbor, Grand Bahama Island.

Once there, you can shop at Freeport, grab a taxi and head for the beach, or even have a lunch at one of the island’s luxury hotels.

Bahamas Express Fast Ferry seatingDon’t lose track of time. Your return cruise leaves Freeport at 7:30pm for its 10pm arrival into Ft. Lauderdale.   Again, as you did just a few hours before, plan to arrive early at Freeport Harbor for customs clearance.  You’ll need to arrive at the port at 4pm for your 7:30pm departure. Gates close at 6:30 sharp. Regardless, you still have close to four hours to relax and explore in the Bahamas and five hours to enjoy being at sea.

Perks abound. You’re still on a cruise and of course there are ways to spend you money onboard.  The Pinar del Rio has a lounge with entertainment, movies and a full service bar. If you didn’t do enough shopping in Freeport, then there is always the onboard gift shop for a last minute souvenir.

Bahamas Express Fast FerrySmoking isn’t allowed anywhere; not onboard or on the cruise line’s premises in Ft. Lauderdale and Freeport.

At the time of this writing, fares for this Bahamian getaway are: Ft. Lauderdale to Freeport – First class $90, Economy $75.  The return fare is First Class $108 and Economy $93.  If your budget is a concern, I’d suggest Economy seating on the outbound and splurge on a First Class ticket for the 10pm return.  There might even be a round-trip special offered from time to time.

Photo credit: Baleària Shipping, ScandinavianSun

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37 thoughts on “Bahamas Ferry Express Day Cruises from Florida”

  • If you want to spend a day or more in Grand Bahama I suggest you fly, it may be a little more expensive ($149) but at least you get to see the Island.
    The Ferry is a Joke and in comparison you’d be faster on a surf board !!!

  • Hi Deana,
    Your best bet is to contact the cruise line and get the most up to date information. Have a fun vacation!
    Sherry

  • We are looking to travel To the bahamas over Thanksgiving break, stay for the week and then RETURN. Is there a round trip pricing or do I need to book 2 one way trips? Thanks so much !

  • Hi Barbara, Yes, you can make arrangements to stay overnight for one or several nights. Since Hurricane Matthew, the island is pretty much shut down until early November. Have a good time when you go! Thanks for your question.
    Sherry

  • People r over reacting. We went staff was awesome. Staff can’t control the waves. Yes little uncomfortable in waves but we’re in the middle of the ocean. Had awesome day in Bahamas. People go People who want everything perfect stay in your hotel room

  • My wife and i went on Bahamas Express last weekend November 23/2014 and came back and it was our worst experience ever. The
    captain announced that the ride was going to be rough going ,but it was
    not only rough ,it was extremely terrible and so many people on board were sick ,babies, my wife including myself , i will never again waste my
    money & my precious time again like this , what a waste .
    It was Terrible, Terrible Terrible !!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Hi Andrea,

    Unfortunately, it seems like there are a lot of negative comments going around. With such a great getaway concept, I hope the good comments soon outweigh the not-so-good ones.
    If you’ve not already done so, I’d contact Groupon and let them know what’s going on. Thanks for reading and leaving your comment.

    Sherry
    Cruise Maven

  • I purchased tickets on Groupon AFTER emailing the company and confirming that the dates were okay. I emailed several times giving them the information for the reservations. Each email was answered by a different person and repetitive; however, I complied and resent emails over and over again, Considering this is the ONLY way to reach them, the company is VERY inefficient at answering emails. After 2 days,of asking for confirmation, I finally received an email saying that they could not accept the Groupon because they had reached their limits for that day. But if I wanted to buy a tickets through them, they could still accommodate me… WHAT?????

  • My best advice would be to contact the cruise line directly. I know in the past, when operations began, there were delays at both ends. Hopefully, that is all resolved now.

    Sherry

  • There is NO way you can enjoy yourself in the Bahamas on a day trip!! Do yourself the favor and book a real cruise where youcan spend the day in various ports there!!

  • Good afternoon,
    we will be arriving Fort Lauderdale on 11/06/13 would like information on ferry service to Freeport/Grand Bahamma (schedule of dates and times) our return is on 11/13/13. We also need rates for two adults.

    Thank you.

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  • Superb post however, I was wondering if you could write a little more on this topic?
    I’d be very grateful if you could elaborate a little bit further. Cheers!

  • Hi Anna,

    You will need to contact the Bahamas Fast Ferries directly. They have a website and I think you can book online. Sorry I can’t be of more help.

    Sherry

  • hello. we want to ask if we can book your Ferry online
    is it possible, from the Dates 17.07. AM (Arrival date from Miami) to 19.07. PM (departure day from freeport)
    thanks for your help

  • Hi Julia,

    Cunard allows pets on the Queen Mary 2 but I do not know about the Fast Ferry. You’d have to call them to enquire. Sorry I can’t provide any further information.

    Thank you.

    Sherry

  • Dear Sherry
    Great site! I wonder if you can help me with some advice…

    My husband and I are planning on relocating to the Bahamas (Grand Bahama) next year from the UK with our 2 cats and 2 dogs.

    We would rather not put them through the danger & discomfort of flying and were thinking of all setting sail together instead… Do you know if this is possible/plausible?

    Thanks in advance
    Julia

  • Hi Charlie,

    Sorry you had such an unfortunate experience. Thank you for your comment.

    Regards,
    Sherry
    Cruise Maven

  • Do not under any circumstance take a day trip with this company. It will take much longer than the advertised time and you will have wasted most of your day and a lot of money. Overnight trip may be fine but take my advice DO NOT DO DAY TRIP.

  • Hi Monica,

    Have a terrific time if you should go. Good idea to stay at least one overnight there. Bon Voyage!

    Regards,

    Sherry
    Cruise Maven

  • I’m seriously thinking about this trip.. I wouldn’t do 1 day because you have to think about the unforeseen problems with boarding, weather and so on. You can’t go to Miami for $49 round trip these days. This is definitely on my “things to do list”

  • Hi Inna,

    Thanks for reading the article. If you’re going to go, do go with a bit of flexibility. I haven’t heard any updates lately, but have also read a lot of negatives about the embarkation and debarkation procedures. For a quick getaway and a “test” drive, I’d do it.

    Regards,
    Sherry/Cruise Maven

  • Any improvements in the ferry to Bahamas arriving late and departure late? I would like to go but concerned about some reviewers.

  • Sorry to hear of your unhappy experience. Hopefully there will be improvements in the near future.

    Regards,

    Sherry, Cruise Maven

  • I just went on the Bahamas Express this past weekend and it was the worst experience EVER!!!!!!! DO NOT waste your money!!! The boat was suppose to leave at 10am and arrive in the Bahamas at 12:30, however that is not the case. We left late and did not arrive in the Bahamas until almost 4pm. We were told we had to board the boat at 6:30pm to start our journey back to FL. We had about 2 1/2 hours total on the Bahamas. Their boarding process is terrible. Line after line and so very unorganized!!!! After wanting in line for over for a boarding pass, we had to wait in another line for an hour to board the boat. I wish I would have done more research before wasting a whole day and too much money!!!!! Terrible…Terrible…Terrible!!!!!

  • HI and thanks for your question. You will need to contact the Bahamas Express cruise line to make your reservations.

    Have a good cruise!

    Sherry

  • Hi Suzanne,

    Thanks for your question. Yes, you are correct, there have been mixed reviews. I have not been on the cruise so I can’t give a personal account but I do hope to experience the short trip in the near future. If you look at the entire experience as a one-day getaway to the Bahamas and include the time aboard the ship as part of the total trip, then four hours to wander around Freeport is plenty of time. In the past, if you went to one of the hotels for lunch, you could just mosey out to the pool area. That’s a good question and one that I will investigate.

    The distance from the port to the beach is about a 10 minute taxi ride. There might be a shuttle service available that you can use to share the expenses with other beach-goers.

    Thanks again and if you do decide to go, have a terrific day in the Bahamas!

    Sherry

  • We are looking at this closely and I have seen lots of mixed reviews, but not clear information about time do stuff, etc. Do you feel that 4 hours on the island is really worth it? How hard it is to get to the beach and other things from the port? Especially if you don’t want to rent a car. Will the hotels allow day usage of their beaches?

    Thanks for your input.

    Suzanne

  • Hi – thank you for reading my blog post about the Bahamas Express. You’ll have to contact them directly in order to book your reservation.

    Have a good time!
    Sherry
    Cruise Maven

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