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8 Charleston to Bermuda Cruise Reviews

This is my fourth cruise on this lady, Carnival Ecstasy, she is in good shape for an old gal! EMBARKMENT: My wife and I drove down from North Carolina and utilized the new cruise port parking arrangement. We used to park in an old ... Read More
This is my fourth cruise on this lady, Carnival Ecstasy, she is in good shape for an old gal! EMBARKMENT: My wife and I drove down from North Carolina and utilized the new cruise port parking arrangement. We used to park in an old warehouse and take buses after you dropped off the luggage at the parking lot. Now you drive in, they take your luggage and your park in the open air parking lot and take the shuttle to the cruise terminal. It appeared to be a little faster. The bottleneck at the terminal remained the same, long lines that are slow. You do get onto the ship in about an hour or so. ON BOARD: Your room key is now at your cabin's mail slot next to the cabin door, so when you get on board if you want a drink you have to show your boarding pass and give your cabin/stateroom number, the new system is a little faster, but not much. You head to the buffet on deck 10 and have the "standard" buffet food, good but not great. You get into your cabin by 1:30pm, you room key card and onboard charge card is in the mail slot next to the cabin door. INTERIOR: Rivera (4th deck) R63 is an interior cabin, with a queen bed, two twins pushed together. as my wife and I are CPAPer's we had the stateroom steward, Wayan, split the beds for us. He provided excellent service through out our cruise. Standard interior cabin, a little dated but functional. ENTERTAINMENT: On the ship, the entertainment is by cruise staff, all production shows, a couple were good, the cruise director, Deon, is a high energy and very personable. The Punchliner Comedy Club had a very good comedian, Jody White, we only saw her PG show and it was an entertaining 45 minutes. COST of DRINKS: They are getting expensive $6.50 for bottled beer and $9 and up for cocktails, similar to RCCL. PORTS OF CALL: My wife had not been to Bermuda in about 25 years, back in "those days" we did the snorkeling, glass bottom boat, the pink sand beaches and explored the island, now we sort of just walk around the port area. I will comment later about Bermuda it is a beautiful island to visit. MAIN DINING ROOM: We were "your time dining" from 5:45 pm to 9:30 pm, and there are long lines to get into the restaurant and your are given the buzzer that goes off when your table is ready, no matter what time we went, early or about 7:30 pm, there was about a half hour wait time. We dining in the Wind Star main dining room and fortunately got the same section at our request, with the team head waiter Iman and the team waiter Sentana, with a third rotating team assistant waiter at tables 138 to 146. They provided excellent service throughout the cruise. THE MENU: Standard fare, we had prime rib, two nights, beef tenderloin one night, and the menu varied on the beef and pork, with spare ribs, beef short ribs, along with the pasta, vegetarian, and seafood selection. There are two formal nights on the seven day cruise in which there are table cloths on the tables. The appetizers are standard, and they only have escargot (my favorite) one night of the cruise. Overall, the food was very good but not great. Now the "salt shakers" in the main dining room are the little cylinder ceramic shakers with three little holes onto and THEY ALWAYS CLOG!!! Five of the seven nights we had to have our waiter bring us salt shakers that were not clogged. Carnival get new salt shakers! If that was my main complaint, what am I complaining about. MEET and MINGLE gathering: I would have to rate it a poor compared to the Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines. There were about 25 Cruise Critic M and M folks, and they coffee, juice, water and danish. On RCCL's meet and mingle, they had bottles of wine and champagne, hats, a backpack and the coveted pens and markers. THE CASINO: My wife and I were here on the Carnival Players Club "bounce back" casino offer, it you gamble "enough", and I do, you get a offer of an interior cabin for $100 per person, plus port charges and on board credit of $100 each, so essentially, its a "free cruise" excluding the port charges and taxes. Unfortunately the casino is small, and as I play three card poker (only two tables) and WPT heads up hold 'em (only one) I had limited table time as this cruise was also a Carnival players club "Premier" players club cruise and people were sitting at the table to play before the casino opened. There was a mix of old and new slot machines, mostly older vintage, and I did not hear of any really big slot machine wins announced. DEBARKMENT: Under an hour we went from the gathering place, Sapphire Lounge to pick up our luggage, through customs onto the shuttle bus and to our car in under one hour. Amazingly fast. OVERALL IMPRESSION: It was a nice cruise on an older ship, with standard accommodations, very good but not great food in the MDR that provided excellent service,that visited the beautiful island of Bermuda. There few kids on board as it is the school season, a good age group mix. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
Check in was a snap, within 15 minutes of entering terminal I was walking on the ship. We were quite early so rooms weren't ready, we headed up to the lunch buffet and after lunch rooms were ready. I was guiding a group of 28, ... Read More
Check in was a snap, within 15 minutes of entering terminal I was walking on the ship. We were quite early so rooms weren't ready, we headed up to the lunch buffet and after lunch rooms were ready. I was guiding a group of 28, everyone was pleased with their rooms specifically the size and cleanliness. What was a shock and disappointment was that our room stewards informed us that they would only service our room once a day. I figured it was a cost cutting measure but am greatly disappointed in the service. Dining room service and quality of food were more than adequate but each year it seems Carnival cuts more services or "nickels and dimes" more and more. For instance for a good steak there is a $20 surcharge. The quality of drinks at the bars were excellent, prices higher than average but not overly high. The evening entertainment was varied, lots of options and excellent. Because we were at the dock in Bermuda for 3 days we opted out to contact directly suppliers for our shore excursions. We had a half day tour of the island and a half day sail on a private yacht (Sail Bermuda, Cpt. Caleb--I highly recommend him). The prices were much less than what Carnival offered and there was absolutely no danger of missing the ship. Debarkation went smooth as well. Carnival seems to have coming on and leaving well planned and executed. I remain disappointed in the "Generate Revenue 24/7" philosophy of Carnival. Constantly we were bombarded with offers to buy products and services. Cruising is certainly not as upscale with Carnival as with the other big box lines I've cruised with. If you are looking for a low cost, no frills cruise with a main goal of value I can highly recommend Carnival. Bermuda is spectacular, if you haven't visited there make it your next trip. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
This was the most relaxing cruise I have had. There was alot of older folks on this cruise - some even on walkers and canes. Hardly any children - 65 total. We were able to get on the ship within 30 minutes of driving into the terminal ... Read More
This was the most relaxing cruise I have had. There was alot of older folks on this cruise - some even on walkers and canes. Hardly any children - 65 total. We were able to get on the ship within 30 minutes of driving into the terminal parking lot. Bus driver was very friendly and cheerful. The ramp used to enter the ship was a hike - especially for the older folks. We saw several older people stop for a break. One couple had trouble because they carried on luggage. My husband offerred to carry it the rest of the way - they were very grateful. Carnival should have an employee on the ramp for situations like this. Food: All our meals were very good - whether we went to the buffet or dining room. Our dining wait staff was a little slower but very nice and apologetic - I think they were new. They also didn't get the orders right - but always corrected it immediately. If you get a chance, try out the cakes in the coffee area (not far from the casino) - the charge is under 3.00, but the portions were huge and both cheese cake and chocolate cake were incredible. Entertainment: The Beatles show was great - enjoyed the film before the show - so get there early. I heard the Cowboy comedian was great too. Casino was disappointing - everyone in our group lost a good deal of money - not making that mistake again. Combined with our travel agent foul up, we had bad rooms (location) which we paid good money for and the losses in the casino, we are rethinking a cruise for next year. Bermuda: Disappointed with 1 day in Bermuda (coming in on Saturday at 4 and leaving Sunday at 4). We left the ship at 4 and took a bus to Hamilton - food was great at Hog Penny - was the best fish and chips and large portion too. Reasonable prices. Went to several bars and headed back - next day we went to Horse Shoe Bay - its a public beach but pay for food and chairs - they have bathrooms and showers. One problem - walking down to the beach was a breeze but the hike back up was harder - you can pay $2 to be driven back up. This was a quick trip - left ship at 9 to have enough time and get back to the Dockyard by 1:30 so we could fit in a little shopping - the shops there were ok for the normal tourist stuff. I think another day in Bermuda would have been perfect - 4 days at sea is too much - but if you want to wind down and relax - it will force you to do that! Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
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 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
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

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