Crockett Foundation welcomes First Tee program

Posted on 17 May 2018 by LeslieM

By Gary Curreri

The Crockett Foundation recently partnered with the First Tee of Broward for a nine-week session at the Pompano Beach Golf Course.

Out of all the value-added programs we offer,” said Courtney Kambobe, director of programming from The Crockett Foundation, “the First Tee class is the No.1 program that the students love the most.

There were 14 middle schoolers that participated and learned the nine core values offered through First Tee. The coaches were T.J. Ziol and Karen Michaels, while the volunteers included Jillian Bourdage and Ted Drake.

Jillian is the most humble kid,” said Michaels, 65, of the teen who has won four straight Carol Mann championships and helped American Heritage-Plantation School to the Class 2A Girls state championship this past year. “She does so many clinics and things to help the game of golf that it just rolls off her shoulders.

Michaels shot an 87-97-186 total to finish 8th in the Championship Flight of the Broward Women’s Am., the recent Broward County Women’s Amateur Golf Tournament at Ft. Lauderdale Country Club in Plantation, which was a decent finish considering she was coming back from a hand injury and hadn’t spent much time on her game.

This was the first year that I played in the Broward Amateur and I challenged myself to get to know women who could play golf,” said Michaels, who has been a coach with the First Tee for 5 years. She is a Level 1 certified coach.

This tournament was great because there were women who were 80 years old and at least 65 percent of the women in the field were seniors.

The Crockett Foundation has positively impacted the lives of thousands of children since its inception in 2002. The after-school programs focus on math, reading, health and technology for middle-school students.

The middle-school kids are bused to Pompano Municipal and it is a great group,” Michaels said. “They listen. They learn, and we can make a big difference in their lives.”

The Foundation (spearheaded by former Pompano Beach residents and NFL football players Zack and Henri Crockett), has helped more than 1,000 students in our local community graduate from high school with better grades and a more positive outlook on life,” Kambobe added.

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FLICKS: “Scream Queen” Linnea Quigley to be at Savor Cinema

Posted on 10 May 2018 by LeslieM

By “Cinema” Dave

http://cinemadave.livejournal.com

What the record breaking Black Panther did in two months, Avengers: Infinity War accomplished in two weeks at the box office. With the exception of the documentary about Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, RBG, which opens this weekend, there are no movies opening with any kind of buzz to stop the Infinity War juggernaut this Mother’s Day Weekend. For those who do not want to see this Avengers film for the fourth time this weekend, there will be a unique South Florida experience this Friday evening at 10 p.m.

After three years at O Cinema Wynwood, co-founders & co-directors Igor Shteyrenberg and Marc Ferman are moving their Popcorn Frights Film Festival to Ft. Lauderdale International Film Festival’s (FLIFF) Savor Cinema. The Southeast’s largest gathering of horror films and fans alike, Popcorn Frights and Savor Cinema promise a year-round experience of the best in international genre cinema and cult film favorites.

The Return of the Living Dead kicks off this collaboration. Released during the summer of 1985 and directed by the late Dan O’Bannon, The Return of the Living Dead took the seriousness of George Romero’s zombie classic (Night of the Living Dead) and mixed it with dark humor.

The film opens with Frank (James Karen) talking with his prodigy Freddy (Thom Matthews) and explaining that George Romero’s The Return of the Living Dead movie is based on a true story. To prove his point, Frank takes Freddy to the basement to view these federal government canisters. After a bumbling accident, the canister releases a gas and inanimate objects come alive. The boss Burt (Clu Gulager) is called.

Freddy’s friends plan to pick him up after work. To kill time, the friends hang out at a nearby cemetery and seek refuge from the zombies. One of the friends, a punk rocker named “Trash,” performs a strip tease on a tombstone when the Living Dead return. Linnea Quigley, the local actress who played Trash, will be hosting the Friday night screening at Savor Cinema for Popcorn Frights inaugural film there.

Long time Observer readers are familiar with Linnea Quigley, one of the first actresses I interviewed for our Halloween issue in 2002. Since we met on the set of Jose Prendes’ Corpses Are Forever, Linnea has been involved in 52 independent film productions, co-wrote two books, including Night of the Scream Queen:Kiss of the Gator Guy with author Michael McCarty, and held a reunion concert for the band she was in —The Skirts — with bassist Haydee Pomar with special guest drummer Joey Image from the legendary punk rock band The Misfits.

While embracing her “Scream Queen” moniker, Linnea’s costars like Clu Gulager and Gunnar Hansen have spoken with respect to her acting talent. Who knows, with the right make up, perhaps Linnea Quigley could play Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg in a rock ‘n comedy version of RBG.

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Forrest commits to FAU

Posted on 03 May 2018 by LeslieM

By Gary Curreri

Blanche Ely High School senior basketball star Michael Forrest is taking his basketball talents 12 miles north to Boca Raton as he continues his hoops career.

Forrest, who led the Tigers to the state championship, made the announcement that he was headed to play basketball at Florida Atlantic University on his Twitter page and honored his grandmother in the process.

I would like to thank my grandma for instilling in me the value of life and working hard to achieve my goals. HAPPY BIRTHDAY GRANDMA,” Forrest wrote on Twitter. “With that being said, I am pleased to announce that I will be continuing my athletic and academic career at Florida Atlantic University. GO OWLS.”

Forrest averaged 26 points, five rebounds, four assists and three steals per game for the Tigers and helped Blanche Ely win their 5th state championship in seven seasons as they cruised past Jacksonville Creekside, 77-54, in the Florida High School Athletic Association’s Class 8A state championship on Saturday night at the RP Funding Center in Lakeland.

Forrest, who was named the Sun Sentinel’s Player of the Year this season, was also a first-team All-County selection as a junior when he averaged 14 points a game for the regional finalist.

She’s the one that’s always pushed me to be better,” said Forrest of the inspiration and motivation he was provided from his grandmother. “She said she would rather have me set a high bar and almost make it than set it low and get [there].”

Newly-hired FAU Men’s Basketball coach Dusty May said he was going to make South Florida recruiting a “high priority.”

Forrest also wrote: “I would like to thank GOD for giving me the ability to play the game of basketball. Thank you to all of the schools that have recruited me. I would also like to thank the coaches of Blanche Ely: Mr. Randall, Coach Reg, Coach BJ, Romaine Roshane and Dallas for pushing me and taking my game to the next level.

Thank you to Coach Sweat and the South Florida Spartans organization for believing in me,” he continued. “Thank you to my No. 1 supporters, my parents, for supporting me through everything.”

Junior lifeguard program gearing up

A little more than a month remains before the Junior Lifeguard program begins this summer.

Nemia L. Schulte, president of the Pompano Beach Junior Lifeguards, said registration for the four summer sessions is ongoing during business hours at the Pompano Aquatic Center.

She said there will be a parents’ meeting to discuss the summer schedule for the 2018 Junior Lifeguard/Grommets Program on Thursday, May 31 at 6:30 p.m. at the Civic Center.

The Junior Lifeguard program will compete on June 30 in the state competition (Ft. Lauderdale), then July 28 at the Regionals (Flagler Beach) and then on Aug. 8 at the Nationals in (Virginia Beach, VA.).

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Denoma wins club championship

Posted on 26 April 2018 by LeslieM

By Gary Curreri

Terry Denoma made the most of his recent “snowbird” visit to Pompano Beach.

Denoma recently won the Pompano Beach Men’s Golf Association Club Championship. The part-time Pompano, part-time Illinois resident is gaining ground on his wife Mimi, who won the Pompano Beach Women’s Golf Association Club Championship two years ago and finished second this year to Marianne Weber.

I retired last year, so I usually spend about four months a year in Florida,” said the 69-year-old Denoma. “I got to meet so many nice guys. This was the first year I was in the league. My wife won it two years ago, so I had to do something. She’s the real golfer. I’m a hack. I just got in the right division.”

Denoma said winning the club championship was unexpected.

I have always enjoyed match play versus stroke play,” Denoma said, “because I have too many bad holes and you just have to have the right holes in match play.”

Denoma started out the tournament in the C Class and shot 86-83 to win his division to advance to the championship round against the winners of the other classes (A, B, and D) and played in a one-day tournament where Denoma, and his 22-handicap, prevailed when he shot an 86.

It was just a lot of fun,” Denoma said. “It was my first year, so I didn’t know what to expect. The starter Dennis told me I got a parking spot now. Do I really get a parking spot? I will have to look at that when I come back down.”

Denoma said he has played ever since he got out of college and believes after this season in the Pompano Men’s Golf Association that his handicap will drop to about a 17.

The thing I will remember most is when you are on 18 and there is water on the left and the other guy is right down the middle,” he said. “You hit and hope that you stay in the fairway and that you can bogey the last hole and try to win it.”

Denoma parred the final hole and wound up winning by three strokes.

I’m a competitor and I always played sports,” Denoma continued. “I think that is why we all play golf because we can still compete at it, even at an advanced age. I am going to try and get better. That is the one thing about golf, you always look for the next shot or the next day. My goal is to beat my wife sometime.

I don’t think it is going to happen,” he continued. “She is like a 10 handicap and my son is a four, so I stay away from him. I also have to thank Deborah Brown for all of the time she puts into organizing this and stroking all of our egos. She puts a lot of hours in.”

What’s next up for Denoma, who admittedly said he isn’t as good of a golfer as his wife?

I have one hole-in-one, and my wife has three,” he said. “I guess I am going to be chasing her there too.”

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Blackburn gets personal best discus throw, aiming higher

Posted on 19 April 2018 by LeslieM

By Gary Curreri

Pompano Beach’s Sydney Blackburn keeps her goals close.

The talented Highlands Christian Academy sophomore track star recently accomplished one of those goals as she threw 151.02 ft. in the discus and won the District 13-1A title.

Her throw is the second best in the state behind Hallandale High School senior Amani Heaven’s 161.50 ft. throw at the Pepsi Florida Relays. Blackburn’s throw is also the 18th best in the country.

That felt really good because there were a lot of people from school there,” said Blackburn, who also won the shot put event that day with a throw of 37.10 ft.“The athletic director was there; the headmaster was there and so was my teammates.”

Blackburn said she sometimes feels pressure because she shoulders the load for her team.

I just know that I am one of the captains, so if I am having a bad day, it will affect the others on my team,” she said. “It helps me know that my team is depending on me, so it helps me calm down. The competition I have now is not as good as my summer track.”

She finished fourth at the state meet last year in the shotput with a throw of 36.1 ft. but scratched on all three attempts in the discus.

My throw would have been the winning throw at states,” said Blackburn, who was 9th in the state in the shotput in her 8th-grade year and was 14th in the state in the discus event that year. “They said I walked out of the circle wrong and didn’t count my throws. It was disappointing, but it really motivated me this year.

I want to get 155 ft. in regionals and hopefully 160 at state,” said Blackburn, who placed 4th in the National Junior Olympic Track and Field Championships at the University of Kansas in Lawrence, Kansas with a throw of 144.75 ft. last July. It was her previous best throw until the district competition last week. Blackburn competes for Broward Elite Track Club out of Pine Crest in Ft. Lauderdale during the summer.

The regional competition is Wednesday at Calvary Christian in Ft. Lauderdale.

Blackburn, 16, is a sophomore and has spent 10 years at the school.

It is a small school, but I enjoy going there,” Blackburn said. “With public schools, you get to experience more, but in my district there is very good competition.”

I like to keep my goals close,” Blackburn said. “My goal is to get into the high 170s by the time I finish high school. My highest last year was in the 130s, so I am improving each year.”

Blackburn is highly thought of by Highlands track coach Brenda King.

Sydney is our most valuable track member not just because of her points but she is our heart beat,” King said. “She is a fun loving young lady who does not mind working hard at athletics or academics.

Most importantly, Sydney, her family and me are all humbled to enjoy this great ride of her success through hard work.

Sydney has always desired to go to college and participate in a sport,” added King, who said that Blackburn has drawn interest from the University of Miami and University of Virginia as well as Butler. “Now, track has made it more real for her. Sydney has special God given talents and she must be treated in that manner. She reminds daily of why I love to coach.”

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Women’s History Hall of Fame Brunch

Posted on 06 April 2018 by JLusk

Women’s History Hall Of Fame recipients with commissioners (L to R) Marti McGeary, Vice Mayor Gloria Battle, Commissioner Todd Drosky, Bett Willett, Comm. Bernie Parness, Ginger Alvarez, Kelly Hampton.

By Rachel Galvin

Guests filled up the seats at the pink table-clothed tables at Johnny Tigner Center on March 31 for this year’s Women’s History Hall of Fame Brunch honoring four outstanding local women. Jan Muenzenmaier, who herself was honored in 2016, kicked the program off by introducing Vice Mayor Gloria Battle who, in turn, introduced Linda P. Knowles, of Emmanuel Christian Center Ministries, who did the invocation. Everyone enjoyed a wonderful brunch served up by L&B Catering followed by a humorous and powerful speech by keynote speaker Dr. Rosalind Osgood, who has served as a minister, community organizer, educator and author.

When she reflected over women’s history, Dr. Osgood came across some interesting “role models,” including Lucille Ball, who said the way to stay younger was to “live honestly, eat slowly and lie about your age.” Cher, she said, had fabulous clothes, although some church women might think she exposed a bit too much. There was Esther from Sanford & Son who would fuss and fight with Fred Sanford. Then, there was Edith Bunker, from All in the Family, the ultimate submissive, who was called “dingbat” by her hubby Archie. From her example, Dr. Osgood said she knew she never wanted to end up in that situation. She wanted to be Jeanie from I Dream of Jeanie, a woman with power.

Today, women have #MeToo, she said, but it all started with Tina Turner when she left Ike and kept being and looking better and better. She went on listing other examples of influential women, everyone from Mother Theresa, who, instead of using money for “creature comforts, dared to care for people” to modern examples of powerful women like Beyonce Knowles. We have to be all things… lead in the boardroom and at home, she said, adding that our sole purpose should be to make life a better place.

She talked about the meaning behind the “Super” in “Super Women.” The S stands for “Servant,” saying, “As a super woman, you serve [others].” The U is for “Unpredictable.” She told a story of women who united and used their diverse strengths to get what they wanted. P is for “Providential.” She said that woman is part of God’s providential plan. E is for “Elegance,” which she said women bring to everything. R is for “Relentless,” she said, adding, “When women make up their mind, there is nothing you can do. [When they come together, they make a difference].” She said women are writing their own stories day to day. She joked, some are writing The Days of Our Lives; some are writing As the World Turns or Bold and the Beautiful.

“As we celebrate women’s history, how are you helping younger women?” she asked. “What are you doing to make [the world] a better place?” (While the left hand is pulling us up, she said women’s right hand should be pulling up a younger woman).

“What will [this event] look like in 2040 or 2050?” she wondered, asking if women no longer would have to worry about equal pay for equal work, working twice as hard to prove themselves and would be living free of gender bias, and focusing time on the women behind them instead of fighting fights.

Before she left the stage, she was pinned with the deer pin (for Deerfield) and given a plaque. The honorees also received a pin, in addition to their awards. Their names were also placed on a special plaque.

The Butts Boulevard Global Creative Dance Group also did a wonderful dance presentation.

The 2018 Women’s History Hall of Fame Inductees:

(All women are pictured with Vice Mayor Gloria Battle).

Marti McGeary

Born in Philadelphia, PA, Marti McGeary served as president of the Future Teachers of America and was a charter member of the National Honor Society, as well as a representative to the Model United Nations at the University of Pennsylvania. In Deerfield, she has been active in The Original Save Our Beach organization, the Woman’s Club, for which she is currently president, and the Historical Society.

 

 

Ginger Alvarez

Ginger Alvarez started a neighborhood watch program, with her husband Ed, in 1990. She created a CB radio C.O.P. Program, is a member of C.E.R.T., helped to create the Citizen’s Action Group, served on the local Planning & Zoning Board, as well as the Broward County Municipal Advisory Board.

 

 

 

 

Kelly Hampton

After working managing agencies involved in foster care, Kelly Hampton served as Executive Director at the Century Village Master Management Company for four years. Now, she has become the Executive Director of the Deerfield Beach Chamber of Commerce.

 

 

 

 

 

Bett Willett

Currently co-president of The Original Save Our Beach, Bett Willett also has been a past president for the Deerfield Woman’s Club. She has served for four years as a member of the Broward County Planning Council and has recently been appointed to the Deerfield Beach Educational Advisory Board.

 

 

 

 

Butts Boulevard Global Creative did a dance performance.

The Woman’s Club always comes out to support.

A few Woman’s Club members with keynote speaker Dr. Rosalind Osgood.

Community activist Terry Scott with keynote speaker Dr. Rosalind Osgood.

Judi Stanich chooses her brunch selections wisely. Catered by L&B Catering, the brunch included chicken and waffles, eggs and more breakfast items.

The event, held at the Johnny Tigner Community Center, brought in quite the crowd.

Vice Mayor Gloria Battle with keynote speaker Dr. Rosalind Osgood.

Dr. Osgood shares with the audience.

Ready for brunch…

The honorees’ names will be put on this plaque.

 

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SHUZZ Art Fashion Show

Posted on 05 April 2018 by JLusk

 

Fashions by Patricia Gomez-Gracia.

By Rachel Galvin

The Pavillion at the Seminole Coconut Creek was packed for this year’s SHUZZ Art Fashion Show on March 15. Utilizing double runways, the models strutted down the runway showcasing for the first time the fashions of Patricia Gomez-Gracia, a designer whose looks have been seen on celebrities like Carrie Underwood, Katie Holmes and Kim Kardashian. There was also an elaborate dance performance in between the fashions, as well as a live auction. Ryan Beckett, from The Bachlorette’s and Bachelor in Paradise, and ESPN’s Josh Cohen served as emcees.

(see more below…)

 

The pre-show in a nearby room featured fancy drinks and hors d’ oeuvres, as well as a silent auction and models in cages and on tables, plus art displayed on the walls. Kendra Scott Jewelers (which has a store in Mizner Park in Boca Raton) sold “grab boxes”… you could pick your own box and what was inside was a surprise, valued at a lot more than the initial investment. There was a red carpet for photo opps with

Eye on South Florida, and other media, conducting interviews and taking pictures. Some pageant queens from International World Global were among

ESPN’s Josh Cohen, The Observer’s Rachel Galvin and ‘the Bachelor’ Ryan Beckett.

those who posed on the carpet, as well as local actors, PR moguls, philanthropists, business owners, fashionistas and other movers and shakers. The after party, in the same room, included desserts like donuts, mousse and more. It was quite the soiree.

But, it was the meaning behind the event that was most spectacular. SHUZZ is a group, founded by Rita Lombardo, which provides new shoes to children in poverty-stricken areas around the world. In addition, they donated water, food and more to victims of Hurricane Harvey, Irma and Maria. These donations were possible through partnerships with Grieco Automotive Group, Tito’s, Amazon and MLB. For more information on this worthwhile cause, visit www.shuzz.org.

Fashion designer Patricia Gomez-Gracia with The Observer’s Rachel Galvin.

Dessert, anyone?

The Buzz Agency’s Julie Mullen and Elizabeth Grace, The Observer’s Rachel Galvin and Modern Boca Mom’s Michelle Olson-Rogers.

Models struck a pose on tables and in cages.

Dancers rocked the catwalk in between fashions.

Kendra Scott Jewelers had a table where you could buy a box with a surprise piece of jewelry inside.

 

 

 

 

 

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Bubbles & Brunch

Posted on 04 April 2018 by JLusk

Shaina Wizov, of Take a Bite Out of Boca, with Michelle Olson-Rogers, of Modern Boca Mom, enjoy Bubbles & Brunch.

It was a beautiful morning on Sunday, March 18, at the Bubbles & Brunch. The event was held within Robb & Stucky’s beautiful new showroom (which just opened in October) at 1353 N. Federal Hwy. in Boca Raton. Guests could grab a mimosa, glass of wine and sample cheeses, fruit and other selections before walking around to look at all of the furniture and design. Others grabbed a breakfast sandwich. Food was provided by Broken Egg Café. Music by Manhattan Jazz Band added a wonderful accompaniment. After a bit of mingling, Creative Designer Mark Stuart assembled everyone so he could give a brief talk on new trends and inspirations from Highpoint Market.

This is yet another event leading up to the big Boca Bacchanal event April 6 & 7. Friday will be the Vintner Dinners starting at 7 p.m. with a five-course meal (at private residences). Each dinner will feature a unique Saks Fifth Avenue silent auction item and more. Tickets: $325 per person. Saturday will be the Bacchanalia from 7 to 11 p.m. at the Mizner Park Amphitheater. Enjoy a wine and food event combining incredible food from over 30 local restaurants with world-class vintners showcasing their wineries’ best — all for attendees to sample. Guests will also enjoy a high-tech auction of wine and lifestyle lots. Casual cocktail attire.   Tickets: $100 per person. All proceeds benefit the Boca Raton Historical Society. For more information, visit www.bocabacchanal.com.

 

 

Broken Egg Cafe served up drinks like wine and mimosas, as well as breakfast sandwiches and other items.

Nothing like Jazz music to start your day.

Guests enjoying brunch.

Enjoying the ambiance and fellowship at Robb & Stucky’s event.

The Observer’s Rachel Galvin & Mugsy PR’s Emily Taffel enjoy event in Robb & Stucky’s showroom.

Creative Designer Mark Stuart gave a brief talk on new trends and inspirations from Highpoint Market.

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Snell continues training in Australia

Posted on 03 April 2018 by LeslieM

By Gary Curreri

Pompano Beach’s Shannon Snell is doing quite well down underafter competing in the 2018 Queensland Surf Life Saving Senior State Championships in Maroochydore, Australia.

The 20-year-old Snell, a 2016 graduate of Cardinal Gibbons High School, recently placed fifth in the Open Women Beach Flags Final and seventh in the Open Women Beach Sprint despite a tight quad muscle. She was representing the Kurrawa Surf Life Saving Club.

Snell, who represented the U.S.A. Open Team in the DHL International Surf Rescue Challenge in New Zealand that was held from Nov. 30-Dec. 4, extended her stay in Australia to become even more proficient in her lifesaving skills.

I’m currently in Australia training in the surf-lifesaving sport,” said Snell, who placed second in the sprint and fourth in the surf ski events during the DHL in Mount Monguani, New Zealand.

Since they are 50 years ahead of the U.S.A., there are actually clubs to train with that you can get the proper technique and training sessions to excel when racing internationally and for the U.S.A. (United States Lifesaving Association) Nationals. I was beyond thrilled to be selected for the U.S.A. team.”

The DHL challenge has been held since 1999 and attracted seven countries from around the world to compete head-to-head in New Zealand for the title of International Surf Rescue Champions. Snell helped the United States finish third in the competition.

Snell has been pleased with her progress so far. In January, she also took second in the Open Beach Sprint Final at Ocean 6 Series and ninth place in Open Women Beach Flags Final in North Cronulla Beach.

To be able to race with the top athletes in the U.S.A. is always a very humbling feeling and knowing that the work you put in doesn’t go without being noticed,” she said. “I was very pleased too to place as well as I did with coming out of our winter training into everyone’s else’s summer since the seasons are different.

The goal for Australia is to learn as much knowledge as I can in this sport and take that home with me and become a better athlete,” Snell continued, “and to help the next generation in the states and in Florida to be able to see the sport continue to grow.”

Snell has been an Ocean lifeguard since 2016 on both the east and west coast of the United States, and, prior to that, was a Pompano Beach Junior lifeguard since the age of 9. During that time, she was selected to represent the United States Youth National Team in France in 2014. She also travelled to Japan and Australia the following two years.

Snell earned her fourth invitation to represent her country based on her performance at the United States Lifesaving Association Nationals in Daytona Beach this past summer.

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Bahamas Paradise expands

Posted on 30 March 2018 by JLusk

Want to get away?

By Rachel Galvin

If you want to go away on an excursion or a short getaway, you don’t have to travel too far. Just head to the Port of Palm Beach, jump on The Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line Ship and head to the Bahamas for the weekend. Now, it is easier than ever since they are unveiling a second ship. They already have the Grand Celebration. Now, they will be adding Grand Classica, which will have its unveiling on April 13.

With 12 decks, the Grand Celebration has plenty to do and see. While taking in ocean views, kids and adults alike can lounge in the sun and feel on top of the world. Families can have a great time playing corn hole or ping pong. Kids can go have fun in the arcade or spend part of the day in the day care playing video games or doing other fun activities. Take a dive in one of their pools or relax in a Jacuzzi. Their full service spa offers everything from massages and facials to teeth whitening and waxing. Enjoy entertainment in their almost 800-seat theater, including comedians, musicians, dancers and other ever-changing performances. (When headlining acts come in, they may charge a small extra fee). Once they get out to sea, the casino opens and guests can play slots, Texas Hold ‘Em, Blackjack, Craps and more. Go shopping and buy duty free merchandise unavailable in the states. Get your groove on during nightly dance parties. There are plenty of options for dining up to five times a day,  included in the price of the trip, or guests can sit down to a more gourmet meal for an extra charge at Admiral’s Steak & Seafood. (You can get all this for as low as $149 per person, which is very affordable when you think about taking your family out for just dinner and a movie alone on a weekend).

The new ship will have pretty much the same amenities, but will have its own vibe with a lot of marble and art, an Italian feel. It will have fewer staterooms but more space for larger events.

The Grand Celebration has had its share of events, however, including hosting the Susan Komen’s Perfect Pink Party Gala & Castaway Cruise in January.

The cruise line also helped out during Hurricane Irma.

CEO Oneil Khosa explained, “When Hurricane Irma happened, we sent the ship to a safe destination. We told people if they haven’t made plans, hop on board (for a nominal fee). We

CEO Oneil Khosa (right) with partner Kevin Sheehan and his son, Kevin Sheehan Jr.

went to the south of Cuba. After we came back, we opened it up to anybody to come and have food on board [since electricity was out]. We served a couple thousand meals. We had an open offer to first responders. We wanted to help out. We are part of the [community]. We got a call from FEMA asking if it was possible to send the ship down [to St. Croix and St. Thomas]. It was the right thing to do. We were there within three days with water, provisions and food.”

 

Something that he feels makes this cruise line different is the fact that it is a more intimate experience. Instead of having maybe 3000 or more people, there is room for a total of 1500, meaning a corporation can virtually have the ship to themselves if they book it for a large event.

“We want to be a neighborhood ship,” said Khosa, saying that booking a trip is meant to be very simple, that people don’t have to plan so far in advance; they can hop on board and just be away for two days and come back. (Those without a passport can bring an original birth certificate and a government ID).

“Everybody can rearrange their schedule to take off two days together and treat themselves,” said Cruise Director Christian De La Rosa, a.k.a “Mr. Chicago,” who handles all of the ship’s entertainment.

Now that they have two ships, that means ships will be out to sea daily. Guests can extend their stay, adding two, four or six days in the Bahamas, and coming back on another ship. Because they work in large volume, the cruise line can offer discounted rates on hotels and other excursions while guests are there. People may just sit on the beach in the Bahamas, or they might do outings like snorkeling, parasailing, swimming with the dolphins or going on a jeep adventure.

“Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line is a small niche cruise line with something for everyone — families, couples, corporate meetings. It is also unique as we are the only cruise line offering two-night cruises and a cruise and resort stay,” said Vice President of Corporate Community & Media Relations Anita Mitchell.

Two ships also mean more jobs. Mitchell said it translates into $100 million back into the economy.

“We have created a lot of jobs … small industries, fuel, merchandise….” said Khosa.

Although the ships are at the Port of Palm Beach (located at 1 E. 11 St. in Riviera Beach), Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line’s headquarters is right here in Deerfield Beach.

Ready to cruise? Find out more at www.bahamasparadisecruise.com.

 

PICTURES FROM GRAND CELEBRATION:

(photos by Rachel Galvin)

 

Always leave room for dessert, like this delicious tiramisu.

Admiral’s Steak & Seafood.

“Mr. Chicago,” the cruise director ensures everyone has a great time by lining up world class entertainment.

Plenty of entertainment in this nearly 800-seat theater.

Beautiful areas for quiet contemplation.

The chef has many selections to satisfy your sweet tooth at the Grand Cafe.

If you upgrade to one of these state rooms, you can join the “Concierge Club,” which includes many VIP amenities.

Take a dip in one of their pools.

Gambling galore… They have plenty of games to play if you want to take a chance, including Texas Hold ‘Em, Blackjack, craps and more.

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