My wife and I booked a cruise for 12/31/2013 through 1/5/2014, as it was out first anniversary on 12/31. This was my first cruise and her 3rd cruise, first one for her in about 8 years.
First off, the port of Charleston was great. It was a $35 cab ride from the airport, and if you are flying in, you can take the cab to Harris Tweeter (grocery store) to get snacks and beverage allowances and then walk to where you get on the boat (10 min walk with Luggage).
My personal opinion is that I was not ready for the onslaught of costs and hiked up rates on the cruise. We figured we were going to have to pay extra because it was a 'holiday' cruise but things like $8 beers and $14 martini's seemed high. I had a single mixed drink from their menu and it had close to zero alcohol in it and it was 'pre' made in a large container.
In terms of the food, we had Any Time Dining, which worked really well for us. We ate early our first two nights, with Heath as our server, and I felt like I was eating at a 5 star restaurant in Chicago. The next two nights we ate a little later and the service was lackluster (took forever) and the servers seemed very rushed. The food was very good in the Celebration Dining room and I really enjoyed how they had one completely random food every night to try. I think it was called DIGNI or something like that.
However, the food in the buffet area, called the Windows of the Sea, was horrid. After the first day there was avoided it at all costs. It was just chaos in there and their sandwichs were BAD. The grill area which is right by the pool was decent. They had the same stuff daily which was nice to have something reliable.
The Casino had by far the worst odds I have ever seen in any casino and was extremely smokey. That smoke would leak into that 9th floor hallway and elevator area and it made it unbearable to be around there.
The constant picture stuff is harassment. It drove me nuts having some random person in my face asking me to take a picture, which they in turn try and sell to you.
The Serenity area was good, but there were a few times where some 14-16 year olds wouldn't leave, or at least stop speaking so loud.
Weather was horrid, but there is no ones fault.
All in all, I was satisfied with the food, but if we wanted to have a normal amount of fun, say 3 drinks a night each, we would have left having spent an additional 1k after the tips, and we ended up spending about $200 total.
I'm undecided if it was worth the money, or if it would have been better to spend the money on a normal resort stay
Was very disappointed in this port as their was nothing there. It had all the same stuff as the Nassau in terms of products.
All the excusions were cancelled because of sea warnings so I can't comment on going to Port Lucaya
Nassau had plenty of things to walk to from where you are docked.
Straw Market was fun but very repeatitive. They try and tell you that the stuff is hand made in Bahamas but there is zero chance it is.
Junkaroo Beach is about a 10 minute walk, and it seemed nice.
We spent the day at Senor Frogs and it was fun.