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35 Charleston to Bermuda Cruise Reviews

On 15 September I was on the Carnival Fantasy to Bermuda. They don't call these the "Fun Ships" without good reason and thus the line's reputation for a mandatory good time is merited. The Fantasy is the oldest ship in ... Read More
On 15 September I was on the Carnival Fantasy to Bermuda. They don't call these the "Fun Ships" without good reason and thus the line's reputation for a mandatory good time is merited. The Fantasy is the oldest ship in the fleet being over 20 years old, however she doesn't look the part, largely from a 2008 refurbishment. There are many things to appreciate about this ship. *** Activities are plentiful day and night. The day provides almost endless trivia and other games. The party goes into the early morning hours. ***The super slide in the Carnival Waterworks is one of my favorite slides anywhere...land or sea. *** Some people live to eat, while I tend to eat to live, so of course I found the food more than meets my needs. Carnival's new main dining room menus are two sided....one is traditional favorites which are every night and the other half being nightly specials. Chocolate Melted Cake is available every night !! *** Food always seems to be available on the Lido deck. *** The two big bang production shows provide energy and sizzle. The first one is "Nightclub Express" with a talking sofa which promotes music of varying genres. The Second show is "Ticket To Ride" and is understandably a Beatles tribute. *** The staff, as always seem to truly enjoy their jobs and I enjoyed their camaraderie. *** Both embarkation and debarkation were simple and relativly quick under somewhat odd restrictions due to being in a historic district. While the Fantasy worked, Carnival's Bermuda itinerary just didn't function so well. The biggest problem with the Charleston to Bermuda itinerary was it allots one day in port, which is hardly worth the two days at sea effort. Unfortunately that one day in Bermuda was a Sunday when much of the island shuts down. On Saturday evening, I enjoyed a Carnival excursion on a glass bottomed boat. For Sunday I did the ship sponsored island tour which was rush, rush, and rush ! While we visited the Gibbs lighthouse, there wasn't sufficient time to actually climb up. While we stopped for a photo at a beach, there was not enough time to enjoy that beach. We were allotted 15 minutes in Saint George, which ironically enough was sufficient since the town was largely closed down for Sunday. The tour stopped in Hamilton for about 30 minutes. There is a majestic cathedral there of which I took some photos, and then got back on the van. If one wishes to cruise to Bermuda I highly recommend at least 2 days in port, preferably *not* on a Sunday. Hamilton seems to be a better of call than the Dockyards where we docked. While the dockyards are picturesque; they appear to still be developmental stage. It would be advisable for Carnival to make Charleston-Bermuda into a 7 day cruise ( not 6) where one gets two full days in port. Pre-cruise I spent an extra day in Charleston where I stayed on Meeting Street and walked to historic sites. I can highly recommend that future cruisers absorb this great historical city as part of their vacation. Between the ghost tours and the authentic Low-Country cuisine, I found Charleston to much more fulfilling that Bermuda. In summary, I can highly recommend the Carnival Fantasy and Charleston, while we needed more time in Bermuda. Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
Though I had visited Bermuda some 25 years ago, my husband had never been there, and we were looking forward to this cruise. Unfortunately, Hurricane Irene interfered, and we ended up in Key West and Cozumel instead. Now, we've been ... Read More
Though I had visited Bermuda some 25 years ago, my husband had never been there, and we were looking forward to this cruise. Unfortunately, Hurricane Irene interfered, and we ended up in Key West and Cozumel instead. Now, we've been to both these ports several times and were not happy to be routed there. Moreover, rather than driving north to Charleston for three hours, we could have driven south for the same amount of time, traveled out of Cape Canaveral and visited more ports for less money than this cruise cost! However, we wanted to make the best of an unfortunate situation so we determined that we would enjoy the trip. Because we were traveling with friends who were restricted from any strenuous activity (one was in a wheelchair), we opted for tours in both places. These were rather expensive tours for what we received as in both places we were forced to walk MANY blocks to board tour vehicles and to subsequently return to the ship. In Cozumel, the day was rainy and the so-called tour, except for a small museum, actually consisted of stops at small shops and a brief unsavory shopping area in town. This "tour" cost $59 each. One funny thing: when we stopped in town, vendors came out of shops on the street to entice us into their shops. One actually said to us, "I've got the same junk as everyone else here, but mine doesn't cost as much!" In Key West, the transportation was wooden trams with seats too narrow and short to accommodate two people comfortably. This took place in blazing heat with no opportunity to obtain cold drinks. The trek back to the ship was miserable. Had we actually have gotten to Bermuda, we fully understood that stores closed only an hour after we were to arrive on Saturday and were not open on Sunday. As well, transportation throughout the island was limited. Though we expected these inconveniences (I don't shop in ports, anyway), we wondered why Carnival would schedule such a cruise, since many people thoroughly enjoy shopping. Nevertheless, we would probably try it again,since cruising on another line to Bermuda from a port farther north would entail our having to fly to the port. As far as the ship itself was concerned, our cabin was very nice and clean and our cabin steward was excellent. Yes, we did rock and roll the first night out and helf the next day, but we survived it nicely. We did the "dine around" thing, but ended up at the same table area in the Celebration Dining Room each night. Our head waiter, a young lady, was wonderful. I can't remember her name but it was the tables 148 and 149 area. The food was fine as we are not picky eaters. Some critics have stated that the personnel on this ship are not friendly. We definitely found that was not the case. Even the officers smiled and nodded when we spoke to them. Read Less
Sail Date August 2011
This was my fifth AND LAST cruise on Carnival. We wanted to go somewhere special and visit a port that we've never been to. I was very disappointed that our itinery had changed. I had checked several days in a row before our vacation, ... Read More
This was my fifth AND LAST cruise on Carnival. We wanted to go somewhere special and visit a port that we've never been to. I was very disappointed that our itinery had changed. I had checked several days in a row before our vacation, and even checked Carnival's website at 7am the day of the cruise. There were no itinery changes mentioned. We found out when we checked in at noon and they told us that we were going to Key West and Cozumel. We've already been there a few times, so we weren't too happy about it, but we wanted to keep a positive mind-set, especially since we paid a lot of money for this vacation. We called Carnival to ask for a price adjustment before we actually boarded the ship, but I was told they couldn't do anything until we got back. "Not being able to do anything about it" is a common phrase we heard this past week. The other option was to not go on the cruise, but we would not be reimbursed. I don't understand how they could have waited so long to make this decision. It's just not right of them to do something like that. Now, this is what upsets me more. You have a couple thousand people that are going to be disappointed, especially since they paid a premium to go to Bermuda, and Carnival doesn't offer a price adjustment from the start of the trip or at least throw in some freebies (internet, free soda, alcohol, daycare, photos, on board credit, etc.)? I'm not saying to give us all of these things, but it sure would have made a difference to us if Carnival at least tried to offer us something. We did pay a premium fare to go to Bermuda, and if you're not going to take us there, why should they profit from it? They're were a lot of unhappy and complaining people on board (justified of course), so they could have fixed it from the start of the trip. I called Carnival after we got back, and all they said was that it wasn't their fault about the weather. I completely understand about the weather, and if you have to make itinery changes, fine. But, I paid for a "Special Voyage" at a premium price, so do the right thing and reimburse me the difference you would have charged me if we were suppose to go to Key West. The lady that I spoke with tried to take credit for Carnival reimbursing the difference in the port taxes. That's not Carnival's money in the first place, and yes Carnival had to do it. Now the second thing that upsets me. Who in their right mind heads into a hurricane? I did not feel safe, especially at 3am. The seas were way too rough and I think it was completely wrong of Carnival to make this attempt. Another route or a cancellation would have been better. It was absolutely horrible. Barf bags taped to the elevators, people falling down the stairs, people throwing up near the dining rooms. My youngest daughter wouldn't take the elevators because they smelled so bad. You had to hang onto the railing when you showered or took the stairs. Just walking from Port to Starboard felt like climbing a steep hill and then running down it. Sleeping the first night was really difficult because of all the motion and being tossed around. All I could think about at 3am was what an ass-nine decision to go into Irene (sorry, the 'outskirt of Irene'). There were a couple of women that had bandages on their heads and they looked pretty banged up. I witnessed one lady falling down the stairs. Another gentleman was really bruised too. The second day was still too windy/rocky for the kids to use the water slides. And as the large waves subsided to only being 12 feet high, is when our Captain decided to make an announcement. Wouldn't it have been nice to hear from him so he could tell us what to expect and how long to expect it before? How about kindly explaining why our route to Bermuda would no longer be doable? And since Bermuda is known for it's famous beaches, how about picking a port with some nice beaches? Again, I am not blaming Carnival because of the weather. They could have just made the experience a better one. We had no idea boarding the ship about how bad it was going to get. If passengers were told before boarding, and given the option to cancel and be reimbursed, I'm sure many would have done so. We would have. Carnival has lost our future business. Read Less
Sail Date August 2011
What was supposed to be a trip to Bermuda ended up being a trip to the Western Caribbean because of Hurricane Irene. The folks at Carnival thought it best to steer us directly into the path of the storm instead of sending us straight out ... Read More
What was supposed to be a trip to Bermuda ended up being a trip to the Western Caribbean because of Hurricane Irene. The folks at Carnival thought it best to steer us directly into the path of the storm instead of sending us straight out to Bermuda. Big mistake. There were many sick people and there were barf bags tapped up beside each elevator. I have been on six cruises and I have NEVER experienced rocking like that before. I was terrified. While I am still quite angry at Carnival and I am seriously questioning whether I would ever book with Carnival again, there were some positives. The ship is old, but it has been completely refurbished and it looks new. It is very clean and it has modern décor (not the tacky Vegas-like décor typically seen on older Carnival ships). There is even an adults-only area on the back of the ship called Serenity. It has very nice chaise lounges with cushions and umbrellas. My only complaint about Serenity is that there isn't a pool, only two hot tubs. Not comfortable when you need to cool off on a 90+ degree day. The food in the main dining room was excellent and I really enjoyed the anytime dining, although most nights we did have a wait (no more than 15 minutes). It was still nice to be able to choose what time we ate dinner each night instead of being restricted to one time. Most nights we had a table to ourselves, so no awkward conversations with strangers. The food in the lido restaurant was ok. Though they really need some new breakfast options. I have been on six Carnival cruises and they all serve the same exact thing for breakfast everyday. The shows were sub-par at best. The first show we went to was so crowded, we had to stand for the entire show which made it hard to enjoy. The second show was a Beatles themed show, which I had previously seen on another Carnival ship. They really need some new shows! The band in the lounge played a variety of songs and were quite good. I do have to mention that on the last two nights of the cruise, there was a sewage smell in my cabin. I am not sure if it was because the cabin was in the back of the ship or not. I did mention it to the cabin steward who said that he would look into it. Read Less
Sail Date August 2011
This was a below average cruise. We arrived in Bermuda at 4:00 on Saturday, and the ship did not provide a tender to Hamilton. We had to pay to take a public ferry, only to find that the shops close at 5:00 for the weekend. Given only 24 ... Read More
This was a below average cruise. We arrived in Bermuda at 4:00 on Saturday, and the ship did not provide a tender to Hamilton. We had to pay to take a public ferry, only to find that the shops close at 5:00 for the weekend. Given only 24 hours in Bermuda, there was not enough time to do any more than one activity or excursion. The food was below average. The best item for dessert was the Warm Chocolate Melting Cake. The steaks we ordered were cooked incorrectly every single night of our cruise. The last night we ordered the Chateaubriand, and it was leathery, instead of tender. There was a lack of entertainment and shows. There was not a so- called "Midnight Buffet", besides the Mexican buffet at 11:30 one night. The nightlife was dull, aside from one or two nights. The service on the ship was wonderful. Our cabin steward was very friendly and attentive. We had the Anytime Dining and had different waiters every night, which we did not like. But most of the waiters we had were very helpful and the service was very good. We had a Outside Cabin with a porthole. The cabins weren't a bad size for a cruise, but had very limited storage space. It seemed as though the bunk beds were an addition when they upgraded this ship, as the Murphy bed stuck out of the wall about a foot and a half right above one of the beds. At least once a day you would hit your head on the corner of it getting in and out of bed. There was only one pool on the ship, and you were lucky if you could find a deck chair anywhere on a Day at Sea. Read Less
Sail Date June 2011
Dessie the lady matrade was the greatest. She work! Never seen an officer that was as nice and worked harder. You would think she really cared. All staff, working staff, was great. Why go to a port when everything is closed. Sat 5:00 ... Read More
Dessie the lady matrade was the greatest. She work! Never seen an officer that was as nice and worked harder. You would think she really cared. All staff, working staff, was great. Why go to a port when everything is closed. Sat 5:00 the Sun 3:00-the boat could get there at lunch on Sat would help. It would appear as if the boat is not in port you can spend more money. The TV was terrible! The movie of the day was not published. When you found it the picture was so poor could not watch. Remember you are on that boat for over 100 hours. Food was ok but not in same class as the other trips Avoid the cab with the red bumper. We paid $240 for 4 hrs to see the island. I think our driver hated everything about America. I wanted to come back to the boat after about an hour. I heard all I wanted about America and it low wages, gun lover, high crime and on and on. Avoid that van with red bumper. All and all this was a great trip but would carry extra books and stay in Charleston an extra day great people. Getting on and off was the very best ever. This is one thing that Carnival and Charleston has right. Read Less
Sail Date June 2011
We chose this cruise as it was a short drive from our NC home. Experienced cruisers, we had low expectations of Carnival and we were pleasantly surprised. Good service, lots of food and food choices, easy embarkation and debarkation. We ... Read More
We chose this cruise as it was a short drive from our NC home. Experienced cruisers, we had low expectations of Carnival and we were pleasantly surprised. Good service, lots of food and food choices, easy embarkation and debarkation. We will go again! Not all was perfect of course, but it was a nice getaway. Charleston streets are well marked for cruise traffic. The cruise staff was friendly, our room steward called us by name the first night, and unlocked the door for us several times when he saw us coming down the hall. We elected my time dining, never waited for a table, had various waiters who were friendly and eager to please. Cons: Only in Bermuda 24 hours. We knew this, but others on ship seemed disappointed. Bermuda closes shop after 5pm on Saturdays and on Sundays. However, several shops stayed open longer at the Dockyard because the ship was in port. Do your research folks! We did not go to shop. We took the Famous Homes tour which was informative, enjoyable and reasonably priced. We spoke with others who also took tours and enjoyed them very much. Henry at the piano bar was great. There was some type of entertainment for everyone. This was an older ship, but well maintained. We felt little movement for a smaller ship. Again, this cruise was enjoyable and relaxing. Read Less
Sail Date May 2011
The Carnival Fantasy cruise to Bermuda itinerary is basically a cruise to nowhere, but in a good way. You can have a wonderful getaway for a week, enjoy the scenery in Bermuda, without a lot of shopping. All the itineraries are Saturday ... Read More
The Carnival Fantasy cruise to Bermuda itinerary is basically a cruise to nowhere, but in a good way. You can have a wonderful getaway for a week, enjoy the scenery in Bermuda, without a lot of shopping. All the itineraries are Saturday 4pm to Sunday 4pm. This allows you about 1 hour to hit the specialty shops that are closed on Sunday. In other words, no time at all. This is not a problem for most of us that did our research prior to the trip, but many fellow travelers expected Carnival to do the research for them, and tell them ahead of time that the stores close on Sunday. I now realize why Americans have such a bad reputation overseas. The complaints were loud and obnoxious. I would suggest that Carnival place an "A-frame" just off the gangplank - or even an information sheet in your room - giving directions to the bus terminal, trolley stop, and taxi area to make it less confusing. Bermuda is a beautiful island, and after walking around the Royal Dockyard on Saturday, we bought bus passes ($12 each) and took the ferry to Hamilton, and the bus to Gibbes Hill Lighthouse. Horseshoe Bay beach is still very beautiful, but the sand is not as pink - hurricane damage? The lighthouse is not the same, a bit run down, and the Tea Room is gone. Still, the island is beautiful, with a lot of historical sites. Sunday ferries and buses are on a shortened schedule - something to be aware of when you visit. The Fantasy is one of the older ships in the fleet, but is very nicely laid out, and to me, a not so gaudy version of the rest of the fleet. We enjoyed the trip immensely. Much to do, which is typical of Carnival, excellent variety of food and drinks. The Bistro is top notch. We did the "your time dining", and prefer to have assigned seats, but this was not too bad - missed the show in the dining room, as you cannot see it from the side seating. We attended the Chefs Table, which was nice, but for the money, I would take the Steakhouse next time. The sea bass was excellent, but the Filet was the same that you get in the main dining room. I expected to have a steak similar to the filet I ordered at the Steakhouse on the Legend - which was wonderful. The chef went out of his way to make sure that I received a special sugar free dessert, and also a shellfish free meal. It was delicious, and the experience was great, but once you have done it, I don't feel the need to repeat the experience. I have the same comment as always about the crew - officers do not smile or even speak to the passengers. The "peons" are friendly, courteous, and go out of their way to make your stay wonderful. Our cabin stewards were great to us. I last traveled on the Fantasy in 1996, and remember paying $10 each time my sons lost a basketball overboard. Glad that court is gone! They made a few changes, but we enjoyed walking around and remembering the different decks and themes. All in all, it was a great trip, and we plan to make this a regular getaway for us. Read Less
Sail Date May 2011
This was our third cruise with Carnival. Embarkation was very efficient considering that Charleston apparently is not wild about cruise terminals. But the terminal staff did the best they could given the circumstances. Early drop off of ... Read More
This was our third cruise with Carnival. Embarkation was very efficient considering that Charleston apparently is not wild about cruise terminals. But the terminal staff did the best they could given the circumstances. Early drop off of luggage was great, after we dropped off our bags we were able to drive down to Battery Park and enjoy the scenery. Once on board, we made our way to the Lido deck for lunch and drinks. Our rooms were ready by 1:30 and the luggage arrived shortly thereafter. Our room was an OV which at best was just okay, a little tight and we have been in worse. Our room steward did his best to keep up with everything, but as on other cruises, it seems that they are cutting back and the staff that is left has to carry the extra load. It's the economy, stupid! We arrived in Bermuda on Saturday at 4:00. Debarking was a nightmare. Two days at sea and everyone wanted to get to firm land. When we finally made it outside, it was raining and we could not get through the crowd so we decided to return to the ship and get dry and head out for a few drinks. Others who braved the rain were very upset as the stores were either closed or about to close. So we all figured that the next day, Sunday, would be the best day for shopping. What a joke. Apparently, Bermuda does not need those stinkin' American dollars as the town was for the most part, closed down. We were in port at Kings Wharf and many took the ferry to Hamilton assuming that the capital would have open for business, but alas, not so. Plenty of grumbling and Carnival will be hearing from many cruisers in this regard. My suggestion would be to cut out the week-end cruise to Bermuda. Debarking was excellent! It was very organized and as we had opt to take out luggage with us, we were off the ship, in our car and on the road by 7:30 a.m. Great job on this, Carnival. We know that it is not Carnival's fault re Bermuda's thumbing their nose at American dollars, but I really feel that they should cancel any cruises to Bermuda on a week-end. Read Less
Sail Date May 2011
Big Positive:We usually enjoy our cruises, but there are some usual malfunctions that we must overlook to have a good time. And after traveling on NCL, we had almost given up on Carnival. BUT the Carnival Fantasy fixed them all! The ... Read More
Big Positive:We usually enjoy our cruises, but there are some usual malfunctions that we must overlook to have a good time. And after traveling on NCL, we had almost given up on Carnival. BUT the Carnival Fantasy fixed them all! The mattresses are usually the biggest problems with any cruise line: We were surprised and delighted by the "new" (new to us) mattresses. Frankly, the rest of the cruise improvements were just the icing on the cake after getting good sleep and rest breaks on those mattresses. The new (to us) wall papers and colors throughout the ship were a treat. The Fantasy still looked and felt like a Carnival ship, but she really had changed our ideas about Carnival. How great is that!Small Negative: The new computerized system in the casino was not very "user-friendly." But we usually do not gamble, so this was only a minor distraction on an otherwise great cruise.Bermuda, as always, was the best! Not a single "Senor Frog" or "Emeralds International" in site! Wish we could live there. Read Less
Sail Date April 2011

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