We chose to drive to Charleston, SC from NE Pennsylvania to spend some time at this port prior to embarkation. We have a lot of friends in this area and absolutely loved it! I would recommend Isle of Palms beach and Downtown Charleston as a visit before or after the cruise!
Although worried about having all of the right paperwork for embarkation, Carnival staff members and SC Customs Dept were very helpful to make sure we were all set as none of us had passports. Birth Certificates and Photo ID in hand, we were boarding the ship in no time.
The ship was spotless, amazing. I was a little dissappointed in the rooms- seemed a bit out dated and tight, but really, we didn't spend much time in the room at all and the beds/comforters were SUPER comfortable! I slept like a baby!
Our dinner staff in the Jubilee dining was amazing. It was like they became a part of our family for the 5 nights we were on board. They referred to us by first names and catered to our every need. Dinners were tasty- standard to adventurous choices available every night.
The buffets on the lido deck were delicious too- not fancy, but lots of choices. Self serve ice cream/frozen yogurt was available 24/7 along w/ pizza.
I had my parents (65 yrs old) and my son (8yrs) with me on this cruise and
there was something going on at all times for each of us to enjoy! My son LOVED the waterworks....and so did I! The slides were super fun. There were always enough lounge chairs to relax on. I also got to enjoy the Serenity Deck for 21+years.
I did enjoy the piano bar, The Cat's Lounge, Comedy nights, paddleball, mini golfing, the pool deck, and the funshops on Deck 9!!! Our Cruise Director, Matt, was funny, and talented, making sure everyone was having a great time! (and easy on the eyes!)
I felt that child safety on this ship was a very high priority, which made me feel great.
The first stop in Nassau was great. We booked the Blue Lagoon/Dolphin Encounter excursion through an online site directly w/ Blue Lagoon and felt that this was a better choice than booking through Carnival- saved money and felt secure. The staff at Blue Lagoon was wonderful. This excursion was well worth it, we ALL enjoyed ourselves- it was like paradise (if you go, follow the sandy path over the dunes and you will find an untouched paradise). Be aware of your time to return to the ship- they will leave without you!!
Freeport, not as nice as Nassau. We went to Port Lucaya Marketplace- lots of fun shops and a straw market- make sure you bargain there! There were also many restaurants to choose from at Port Lucaya. We were recommended to go to Lucaya Beach by a local and was extrememly disappointed- lots of seaweed and narrow beach- just not pretty. I am sure it was nicer in front of the resort. However, we made up for that with a GREAT Banana Boat ride w/ Ocean Motion Watersports- incredibly fun for $25 pp!!
The ocean was like glass the entire trip- smooth sailing. The Captain, Francesco, would come on deck and mingle- very approachable and nice.
De-embarkation was a smooth process as well. We left our luggage out the night before and it was waiting for us at port. We never felt like we did not know what to do-Carival was great at keeping us informed. Lucky for us, we ran into a porter, who wheeled us right to the front of the customs line and out to the street to be picked up by a friend. If you have a lot of luggage...find a porter!! Otherwise, you will be dragging it through a long line at customs and Charleston is HOT!
I will definitely sail with Carnival again, I enjoyed the ship's entertainment, I enjoyed the food, and I enjoyed the wonderful staff! Thanks for a GREAT first cruise experience Carnival Fantasy!