Our cruise was February 18, 2013. Overview: My mother in law & I were first time cruisers. I researched many questions on the Carnival Cruise Line site before we left and I fully recommend it. I've read other reviews on this site where people complained about things they didn't know and it could have been prevented if they just read information on the site. It really covers everything. I picked the excursions that we went on because of the descriptions, pictures & reviews. We were not disappointed in the least. I even used google satellite maps of the two ports to familiarize myself with the area and knew what to expect. We didn't have any issues at all on our cruise. From the embarkment to the disembarkment.
Drop off at the Charleston Port was very easy. We checked some luggage and carried one bag each. There were a lot of people checking in but it went smoothly. We did get our bags checked but it didn't take long. Everything kept moving and we barely stood still waiting. The representatives checked us in and told us there would be food available at The Windows of the Sea on the 10th floor. We easily made it to our cabin and my mother in laws luggage arrived right after we did. Mine was in my room after we came back from the safety meeting. It was very cold and windy as we left port, but I stood out on the deck taking pictures of my beloved hometown as we set sail. (even though I live in NC these days)
It was perfect for us. A seasoned cruiser recommended that I book mid-ship and near elevators so it would be easier to move around. She was right. I feel we booked the perfect spot. No unnecessary noises and very convenient to everywhere we wanted to go. Also a good spot to be if the ship is rocking. Our stewards were the best. The stewards were so pleasant and really added to our cruise experience. My steward made me a special surprise for my birthday.
There are activities all cruise long. Something for everyone. We played Bingo, watched shows (didn't care for The Brits but loved Motown), listened to karaoke and many more activities. We went to one of the adult comedy shows and Chris Wiles was great. I actually had seen him several times before. He use to headline our local Comedy club in NC.
Our two excursions were absolutely wonderful. Both had easy transportation with funny knowledgeable guides.
First Port Nassau:
Nassau had plenty of close shopping and is where we got all of our souvineers besides the ones that we purchased on the ship. We did the Blue Lagoon Dolphin encounter, which I highly recommend, and fully enjoyed it. My full review for it is on the Carnival Cruise Line site.
Second Port Freeport:
Freeport dock is in an industrial area but there are a few shops and Senor Frogs is there. Otherwise, you can be transported to shopping, site seeing and beaches. We did the ATV excursion which included a tropical garden and plenty of beach time. I also highly recommend and my full review is on the Carnival site.
We found that the buffets were good and had something for everyone. There are four different styles of buffets on the Lido deck. Windows of the Sea is the main buffet on the 10th floor. There are also other choices such as Pizza, Deli, Sushi, & room service. The dinning room meals are where you get a chance to try items that you wouldn't normally try. I had shark, duck, lamb and yes frog legs for the first time and enjoyed them all. They also have choices that you might already be use to. The service and entertainment was good too. We enjoyed meeting our table mates and continue to communicate with them after the cruise.
We decided to put our luggage out the night before and took our time in the morning to disembark. We had breakfast and then watched dolphins play outside our cabin window before we were led off the ship. Customs didn't take long and before we knew it we were at the end of the pier where my family picked us up.
The ship was very clean and pleasantly decorated. We went with open minds to enjoy every bit of it and we did. It was a wonderful cruise and experience. So wonderful we've already booked another cruise before the end of this year on the same ship with the same room. The only thing different is that we are bringing friends to experience it with us this time. The countdown has begun. Happy Sailing to everyone!