From the embarkation line, this was a bad experience. The Charleston port is nasty, an old warehouse like you see in crime movies. There was a long line in the car to have documents checked, another long line drop off the luggage, and then a long wait in the rain for a shuttle to the boat, and then another long line to get checked in after security. We arrived in line at 2:05 and were on the boat at 3:50.
The lobby was immediately disappointing. The 80s decor, and neon lights are truly an eyesore. Most of the boat smells like stale cigarettes. There were many places to smoke and they weren't at all closed up so the smoke penetrates much of the boat.
The pool was closed most of the time and the kids hot tub was always over crowded. Sometimes, this was because of weather, which is understandable, but it is very, very small, even if it was open. My son had a miserable time. He would have been in Circle C, 12, but it was small and incredibly cheesy. There were very few activities that did not cost extra. The spa services were a fortune. My husband had a shave and haircut and it was $80! The shows were mostly about the level of a decent high school show, but some were not as good. The lead singer had no talent and the directors are a disgrace, poor choices. Some of the musicians, the guitar guy and one band, were pretty good, but they played at weird times and had lots of breaks. Also, the water slide was only open for a few hours, the mini golf was very simplistic and full, and the ping pong tables were also always packed.
Food: We had late seating in the Jubilee dining, which was nice. The decor was again shameful, but the food was pretty good. The service, Kevan, was incredible It was the only good service we had on the entire cruise though. The other food was mediocre at best, I was most disappointed with breakfast. The pastries all tasted as if they were 10 days old reheated in a microwave and there was no variety. I would recommend the omelet station. For lunch, the Mongolian was nice and the sandwiches were ok, the rest was like a cheap, school cafeteria food. The pizza was not good either. I actually left hungry several times, thank goodness for a nice dinner!
BRING WATER! The water on the ship is nasty, I don't know how the filter it, but it still taste like the YMCA smells. You much pay $4 for Crystal Geyser water on board. Alcoholic drinks were about $8.75 for mixed drinks and cocktails, $5.75 for a 16 oz bud light, and $2 for soft drinks. All of it has an added 15% which automatically goes on your card. The drinks were very weak, I would recommend beer or wine. There was a good wine deal for dinner as well, 3 bottles for $99. Not cheap, but at least decent drinks.
There is a lovely schedule given to you every day, but it focuses on shopping and activities you pay for. There is a lot of EXTRA cost!! The tipping is $11.50 \day, the parking was almost $90, bingo was expensive, the arcades was puny and yet expensive. You really need to explore yourself too in order to understand all of your options.
Excursions. Thankfully, we didn't book through Carnival for Atlantis, we saved almost $100. The Aqua Adventure was truly worth it. In Freeport, we booked with Carnival and were disappointed. Freeport isn't nice. Snorkeling was great, but Freeport is dirty and poor. The historical tour had a great tour guide but it wasn't worth the money at all. I would only go to a beach or catamaran excursion.
Serentiy was the adult only place, and one day it was nice but very crowded and they did not reinforce the no chair reserving which was infurating. Once we finally got a chair, it was probably the only part of the cruise we liked.
Overall, we took this cruise because it was affordable and saved time since we can drive to Charleston. I would never do it again. In the end, after all the extras, it was a not a great deal, especially considering the level of service and quality of food and entertainment. We will never take this again and would not recommend it, unless it is your only choice for getting to the Bahamas. Nassau made the whole thing worthwhile, but next time I would fly and spend more on a nice hotel room.