After a long night on the Resorts World Bimini Night Cruise, we were skeptical about boarding again for the Day cruise to Bimini. But with our family already there and checked in, we decided to give it a shot. The check-in process for the day cruise was quick and easy just as with the night cruise. We were early and were through check-in before 8:00 am. The terminal was still pretty empty at that time so we were hopeful that this would be a better experience. Little by little though, the terminal began to fill up and the check-in line was getting longer. As opposed to the night cruise, the day cruise had a line formed to board the ship. Although it took a long time to board, at least there was order with the day cruise’s boarding process.
The ship was supposed to leave at 9:00 am but we didn’t end up boarding until about 10:00 am. At this point we have already been at port 2.5 hours waiting to even get let on the ship. Luckily we had seats and didn’t begin to make the insane line that was forming until closer about 9:00 am.
Once aboard, we went to the reception counter on Deck 7 to get the cabin key since our family had reserved a room but were advised it was not ready yet. We decided to have breakfast and come back. The deck 10 buffet as we imagined was packed, they were out of eggs, and so the line wasn’t even moving. We decided to go to the deck 7 Sailfish Bistro which luckily was not as congested and turned out to be free as well. The breakfast was pretty good. It was a mix of American and Malaysian breakfast items. My only qualm was that the scrambled eggs were very runny
After breakfast, we returned to reception and were able to get the room key. The room is small nothing to write home about but had 4 twin bunk beds and a clean bathroom. While the family headed up to Deck 10, Jason and I decided to rest for a little bit having been up all night. When we wake up from our power nap, we find out the ship had only just set sail towards Bimini and it was already 11:30 am. I wondered what time we would have at Bimini at this point.
We ordered a couple of beers that were $7 each. The Deck 10 entertainment consisted of music and dancers. On the day cruise there really wasn’t much to do save gamble in the casino, drink or dance. Not too many people were dancing but there were plenty of children enjoying dancing alongside the dancers.
At about 1:00 pm we decide to make our way to deck 7 to prepare to disembark. It turns out there was already a line formed and we were once again in that casino hall waiting to get off the ship. Déjà vu from the night before. The ship arrived at 1:30 pm and no one was off the ship yet. People started getting irate, as they had now turned off the a/c in the casino. A fight nearly broke out right where we were, but luckily we were able to appease both parties. At about 1:45 pm, an announcement came on stating that we would not have much time on Bimini, if anyone wanted to stay and be picked up at the 1:00 am pick up, they may do so or those who chose to stay on board or take the short visit to Bimini would be compensated with a free cruise on a future sailing. At this point, I thought they were saying no one was going to be allowed off the ship unless they wanted to be picked up at 1:00 am. However, a few minutes later they began to let people board the ferry. We missed the first run but were on the second ferry out. The ferry provided water bottles and cool towels on route to the island and all in all it took almost 40 minutes to get there. We arrived on Bimini at 2:50 pm.
We noted that we had to be back at the ferry dock by 3:30p so we had less that 35 minutes on the island. When we got off, there was no instruction as to how to get to anywhere. The main plaza near the dock had only a couple of eateries open and was mainly lined with empty closed shops. We asked about how to get to the beach from the plaza and no one could tell us how. We went back towards the dock and noted people getting on mini buses and finally approached a bus driver to take us to the beach for $10. At this point it is 3:00 pm and it took 10 minutes to get to the beach. We would have to be back on mini bus heading to the dock by 3:20 pm. We decided to at least get our feet wet and went to the beach.
The beach felt amazing and was beautiful. The only downside was that it seems that beach was recently dredged and there were rocks everywhere making it hard to step into the water. The waters were clear and delicious. I wish we had more than 15 minutes to enjoy the beach. There was also a small restaurant there but they hadn’t even built restrooms yet. After our 15 minutes were up, we found out mini bus and drove back to the ferry dock.
When we arrived to the dock, there was already a massive line to go through Bimini customs to board the ferry. We were worried but we figured the ship can’t leave all these people behind. In the meanwhile, one of the group went to go find food because we were all starved and I was started to get a headache. There was nothing to eat! He came back with a couple bags of chips and a cookie!
As we get closer in the line, we notice that they are searching thoroughly through everyone’s bag and that is what is taking so long. At around 4:30 pm, a Bimini official yells “no more” and closes the gate to get to the ferry! Everyone close enough to hear and see what was going on started to panic and yell. Where we really going to be left behind? We had been standing in the sun for over an hour already. After what looked like some discussion amongst the customs officials and other personal, they reopened the gate and they opened a second entry on the other side of the dock building, effectively splitting the line in two. Only, the people who got to go in the second line Bimini customs line were at the end of the line and last to arrive and luckily for them were allowed on the ferry before those of us who had already been in line for over an hour. The uproar continued with nearby passengers exclaiming to the customs official at just how unfair it was that those people who were late back to dock were allowed through onto the ferry before those of us waiting.
We were finally on a ferry at close to 5:00 pm. I was already feeling ill and was not looking forward to the ride back. Once we were out of the inlets and out onto open water towards the ship, the waves and the ride got really rocky. The ferry stopped just off from the ship and we looked on to see what the hold us was. Two ferries were already docked roped to each other and onto the ship. They were transferring passengers from one ferry to the next and onto the ship! It seems they were having trouble getting people back onto the ship due to the rough waves. We waited for 20 minutes in the choppy rough waters before we could approach. The ferry operator had a hard time docking next to the ship and crashed into the side of the ship several times. This whole time I am fighting the urge to vomit and ensure I take a seat next to the banister. We are finally let off the ferry and back onto the ship.
When we board, we are in what looks like the bowels of the ship and have to go through yet another security point as they screen our bags and have us go through metal detectors. Yet another line is all we could stammer. Luckily it didn’t take very long, but at this point my head feels like it’s going to explode. The lack of food and massive amounts of sun from standing in line had taken its toll on me. I go to reception to ask for aspirin or any painkillers for my head and the attendant barely acknowledges me when an irate customer starts yelling for assistance behind me. I abruptly interrupt advising I needed assistance and was first in line. She doesn’t understand what it is I am asking for and advises that any drug administration is done by the nurse and so she calls him. It takes the nurse 20 minutes to arrive. When he arrives I have to explain my symptoms again and it takes him a minute to understand what I am saying. Finally he goes and comes back with a pack of 200 mL Ibuprofen pills. The receptionist makes me sign a waiver and proceeds to give me one. I tell her I need two and she says she can’t give me two. I explain one will not do anything and I have already signed a waiver so what is the problem. So she gave me two. Never in my life have I gone through such an ordeal to get two Ibuprofens. I felt miserable.
After I down the two ibuprofens without any water, we proceed to get some dinner at the Sailfish Bistro. It is already 6:15 pm at this point and people were still trying to board the ship from Bimini. I can barely down dinner from how ill I feel and head to the room to lay down.
When I wake up, I find that we didn’t leave Bimini until after 7:00 pm, the time we were supposed to be back in Miami. I slept nearly the whole way back to Miami. We arrive in Miami a little after 9:00 pm and decided not to suffer through another line and waited in the seating area of the Ponce de Leon restaurant. People were in lines that extended outside of the casino and into the restaurants on deck 7. They had shut off the a/c and everyone was very antsy to get off. At around 10:15 pm they start to hand out water because all the food and drink stations on board had shut down. No one could give us a clear time as to when we were going to be allowed off. Everyone was miserable at this point. You could hear children crying and adults yelling at personal to get off the ship. The heat was nearly unbearable. At 10:45 pm we decided to get in line on the other side of the casino which seemed to be a little bit less crowded. However, we ended up in the cramped hallway by the elevator where there was no air flowing and the hot lights were making everything worst. Jason’s sister’s friend was there with us in line with 9 children and we had 1 child. We were audibly commenting about the children and other passengers were as well and finally someone came over and escorted our group to the front of the line but only let one parent and the children through. The rest of us were told we had to wait. Jason’s sister said she could leave without us and they said we would follow shortly but she stayed there and moments later we were allowed through and out. This was already at 11:00 pm and there were still an obscene amount of people to be let off the ship behind us. We were lucky to be let out since we had the children. The customs line to get out of port was another 30 minutes and we were finally out at 11:30 pm.
It felt like being liberated from hell. The entire day was simply a nightmare. I regretted boarding that ship that morning every minute since our arrival at Bimini. Line after miserable line for a mere 15 minutes on the beach. It was not worth it. I can’t recall a more terrible time. We found out the ship has about 1,100 people on board that day. Yes, they are early in their business and still testing out processes, but this was torture. We were used as guinea pigs and mistreated in the process. Oh, and we never received our “free cruise” voucher to come back since we didn’t get time on Bimini.
Another thing of note is that we were charged a $75 hold on our debit card that we were not advised of. We only found out about the charge two days later upon reviewing our bank statements. When speaking to Christine Corson afterwards in regards to the charge, she advised it was a “resort hold” like you would receive at any hotel. That’s fine, except hotels advise you of the fee upfront and provide you information in writing about the hold. We didn’t get the hold released until 8 days later.
The whole 28 hour experience between the night and then the day cruises left a really bad impression as my first time on the Resorts World Bimini Superfast Cruise. I find that the main issue lies in that the two cruises (day and night) have a span of 3 hours between them. With the amount of time it takes to clear customs at disembarking, there is no way the ship will ever be on time to board the next group. As it was, the night cruise for that evening we got back was cancelled, and the people who chose to stay in Bimini for the later 1:00 am pick-up were not picked up until mid-day the next day. Lucky for them, they were comped an evening at the Bimini Resort so they may have ended up with a better turn out than the rest of us. The other issue is the transit time from the anchored ship to shore on the ferry, which we were advised would be remedied by a dock that is being built on Bimini island. As an avid diver, I am worried as to what this will do to the beautiful reefs and sea life in Bimini waters and it seems the locals are none the happier either.
I think it’s going to be a while before they work out the kinks to this cruise. I would be willing to give it another go a few months down the line to see if things have changed. If the process is cleaned up, it would be a great option to visit Bimini.
Read about out Resorts World Bimini Night Cruise Experience