Day 1 - Monday May 24th. We live local to Charleston so our oldest son drove us down to the port to drop us off. We arrived at the port around 1:30 PM and dropped off the bags at the Early Drop off point. They ran us into the area got the ... Read More
Day 1 - Monday May 24th. We live local to Charleston so our oldest son drove us down to the port to drop us off. We arrived at the port around 1:30 PM and dropped off the bags at the Early Drop off point. They ran us into the area got the bags and ran us out. Pretty good so far. (If you are coming down I-26, get off on the Morrison Dr exit and you will begin seeing the signs. Just follow them to the port.)
After we dropped the bags, we drove down to Market St. where he dropped us off near the Noisy Oyster (formerly Applebees). We walked the Slave Market area and grabbed some lunch at the cafe at the end of Market. BLT sandwiches are good.
During this time the Glory had arrived and was getting ready for boarding. After lunch we walked across the street to the shuttle area and quickly got aboard to get shuttled all of 500 feet. We were some of the first early arrivals so it wasn't rushed yet.
After getting shuttled around the loop and dropped off in front of the terminal. We went inside to congested and locked down Security checkpoints. There were 4 lanes and they were filling fast, but not moving. The Travel agents tour group and others were ahead of us and having some type of hold up. so we stood in line for maybe 20 minutes. Once they got going, they moved quickly.
Then on to the Check-In Desk where they were "Kind of" not with it and had to spend a few minutes getting our upgrades sorted out (NOTE: Be sure you have a current Funpass that shows your new Cabin #) . The counter folks aren't good at asking any questions.
We were put into Zone 2 and sat down after seeing several folks wearing the same Hawaiian shirt as I was wearing (Turned out to be a family group but we had fun with it all eveing). After maybe a 15 minute wait we were off to board the ship.
Once we got onboard, we went straight to our cabin on the Lido Deck and it ready for us. We met Elena our Steward and got things set up. Players Club sent our letters and also sent a plate of Chocolate covered strawberries. (So if you are a Player Club member, be sure to touch base with them before sailing.)
We went to the Aft/Bar Pool area at 5Pm for the Roll Call Meet n Greet. We saw a group of folks sitting near the back and went over to them and asked if they were a part of the Cruise Critics. They replied "Yes". I introduced myself and wifey went to sit down. She got the evil glare from one of the ladies (I guess she sat too close to this woman's husband). Then someone said Oh no, they weren't' a part of this Cruise Critics group. How many Cruise Critics forums are there ???? We sat for a moment with these folks then got the heck out of dodge. We roamed the ship trying to find the Platinum Dining Room and found that you have to go up and around the Golden Dining Room smack in the middle of Deck 3 and 4 so you are going to need to make plans to catch an elevator or stairs on Deck 5 (Promenade).
First night dining was open seating and we were placed at a table by the aft windows. Our table mates were also from the local area, but weren't overly friendly. My Meniere's and Inner Ear Dysfunction began acting up so I became deaf as a doornail for much of the dinner which was sort of good since they weren't talking to us much anyways. We had also found our assigned table and did not want to sit at a booth, so we found the Maitre'd and asked to be moved to a larger table
After dinner we went back to the cabin and waited to leave port.
Once the ship did leave, it took awhile as the ship had to back up enough to make it through the narrow part of the channel which was right next to where we were docked. The Charleston Pluff Mud is always moving and the port has to be dredged out on a regular basis. So it is important to be in the channel. Once we got out of the Charleston Harbor. The casino opened and away I went. I tried the slots and found them being very stingy for a first night run. I ran into some of the folks wearing the same shirts again and joined them at the Craps table. I had tried to learn Craps before going, but it did not make complete sense. Once I hung around the table and watched how they played, it became much clearer. So I had a blast playing this game for the entire cruise.
I started getting tired after this busy day so I headed back to the cabin for the night. Don't ask me what time. I just know it was late late.
Day 2 - Tuesday May 25 - Day at Sea We were awaken by Room Service with coffee and thoroughly enjoyed sitting on the balcony with a cup. We made it a late start and went to the Red Sail on the Lido deck to get breakfast. The omelets were cooked to order and the staff were everywhere keeping things clean. The ice machines on the Lido deck are prone to running out, so be aware of that fact. Coffee from the Lido Deck is strong. But I drank it all day long and enjoyed it. Wifey set herself on a upper level of the Lido deck and sunbathed all daylong She saw most of the activities going on and enjoyed herself people watching. The ship was going fairly slow and we would get caught in the troughs, so we had some rock and roll going on. There were many passengers who did not take anything beforehand , and they were feeling it. (If you are prone to seasickness or think you might be. Take preventive measures the day before sailing) I spent my day in the casino playing Blackjack and the other tables and then entered the Slots Tournament. I made the finals, but didn't win. I had met Daiana the Casino Hostess and she was very entertaining. We had a few reasons to go to Guest Services, and found them to be helpful and courteous, but not overly friendly. I first felt that we were on a business only no nonsense cruise, but over the course of the week, they lightened up. Some even cracked a few smiles. The first night was Elegant night. Wifey gets into this. I am more of a shorts/Hawaiian shirt type. But I put on some dress slacks, shirt & tie for her sake and we went to dinner. We had asked to be moved to a larger group table from a booth for 4. We were placed at a table for 10 (437) and it was on the side of the lower main area in the open. We could see all around. Yan was our server and he did an excellent job of taking care of us. Our table mates were from the local Charleston area and from Charlotte. Since it was lobster night, I asked for 2. Yan brought me 3, even though I could not do the 3rd entrEe. I wanted room for the warm chocolate melting cake. Barely had room for it. Yummy. We made the walk down the Promenade and had some pictures taken. We went to the show and they had to change it up due to the seas. So they did Rock n Roll from the 60's 70's and 80's. The dancers had a couple of quirks that we both seemed to focus on which kept us from paying attention to the overall show. The Singers had good voices, but were both screamers and that took away from their abilities. After the show, Wifey was tired so I tucked her into the cabin and off to the Casino I went. Where I had some plain old good fun....
Day 3 - Freeport, Bahamas We pulled into port early in the morning and there was a nice cool breeze blowing. But as soon as the sun got up high, it warmed up. Heat and humidity.. but the breeze kept it at bay sort of. We had breakfast on the Lido deck and then set off for town. We ran into some friends from Charleston and they were going on an excursion. We did not plan anything on this cruise as it was just wifey n me for a change. We had been going with others so there was always a group of some sort. This time is was just the 2 of us. It was nice to go at the pace we wanted to go without having to rush to meet up with everyone . Note to Carnival - Lose the cameras at the gangway. Folks want to get off the ship and not get hindered by the photographers shooting photos and not caring about what they shoot. The guy who took our photo wasn't even looking at us when he shot the picture, but was looking up at the ship and yawning.... Talk about a Point and Shoot with a nice customer service touch... That little incident sort of set my mood for Freeport. We took the taxi to the shopping area and wifey picked up some things for the grandkids. We walked the route backwards from out last visit there last August. And when done I walked with her to the beach area and of course. I headed to the Isle of Capri Casino... Did I mention that the Isle of Capri casino is not longer there.... It is now Treasure Bay Casino. When you walk in you will see many empty slot support bases and most of the machines taped up so you can't play them. The ones you can play are strategically placed along the pathways and they were tight. The tables weren't open at the time, so I collected wifey from the spot on the Beach and we headed back to the ship. What can we all say about taxis. They are in hurry to get you there, but not to bring you back. We had to waiti around for maybe 30 minutes before the taxi got 8-10 people before they would leave the area. Needless to I won't be heading the shopping area on my next trip to Freeport on the Fantasy in Sept. Back on the ship, we were able to get in to line for the Mongolian Wok beofere it grew. Wow, that food was good. Neither of us had ever had Mongolian so it was new to us how you put your ingrediants in a bowl then they cook it. It was a treat. Wifey had the black bean and I had the BBQ. The BBQ had a nice bite to it. Be very wary of the Schezhuan . That one will blow your rooftop off. You can get beef, chicken or salmon. I had all 3 and in the future will pass on the salmon. Just not a salmon lover. That evening was the Past Guest party and we attended. They were serving drinks and I had Amaretto something and it was good. I need to find out what it was so I can make some at home. Wifey had the Melon whatever. It wasn't the Melon-ball like we had before but she liked it. On our way to dinner from the PG party, we passed the Sushi Bar. I completely forgot about it. But since we were on our way to dinner, I had to forgo it. I missed out on it everynight .. Nutz! Dinner was Dinner. I am not into all that Fine Dining as much as Wifey is. But I will go along for her. The food was good and the desert was really enjoyable. Yan took very good care of us and worked hard to make sure we were happy. Be sure to get a coffee, espresso or cappuccino. They are all strong and delicious. Tonight was the Blackjack tournament and I was entered. Wifey had gone shopping at the shops and I of course, hit the casino. I got to having too much fun and next thing was hearing them cal me for the tournament. I dashed over there, played (the cards didn't like me) and went back to having fun. All the way til 1:30AM.. (I hadn't seen 1:30AM since I don't know when) For me, Freeport is a bust. But please don't take my words as trying to dissuade anyone from going there. There many other activities than the ones I chose to do.
Day 4 - Nassau, Bahamas Who needs an alarm clock when you got Room Service... Coffee and a fruit plate, along with a tasty croissant... Nice! Nassau was hot. Not a breeze around and the humidity was worse than Charleston. We began the morning with a walk along the waterfront to the knock off market (only way I know to describe it). The large tent building at the end of the waterfront. Wifey picked up some things and we made our way to the Starbucks. There we met some folks from Hanahan, SC and chatted with them for a bit. Then off to the shops for my Rumcakes. Met our tablemates Chris and Lou at a perfume store, where the ladies tried to buy them out. But luckily they did not succeed. Then back to the ship for lunch. We wanted to try the burgers since they looked so good, but the lines were already growing and we settled for the Deli. I forgot that you need to be very explicit when ordering some foods. Otherwise you will get plain jane. I also learned about adding some ice cream to coffee.. Finestkind! Wifey went out to lay in the sun and I took a snooze. Then we took the bum boat (ferry) to Atlantis. For $3 a head each way wasn't bad. The breezes picked up and it was a nice ride. Plus you get the nickel (dollar) tour of the houses that line the waterway. Our local Narrator was very eloquent giving you the skinny on who lives in which house and of course all about the Yoga folks. Wish they would do something about the old Club Med resort. It was looking sad. Once we got to Atlantis, wifey went shopping and of course, you know where I went.. Yup.. The Casino. I had been there last August, but did not have time to play as I was with a group and it was go go go. So this time it was time to play. I ran into Chuck from the ship at one of the tables. There was also a obnoxious probably highly intoxicated European there and he made the playing unfun. This guy would not follow the rules of the game, did what he wanted and generally made a pest of himself to everyone. The dealers were fed up with him and were definitely being rude to him, but they also took it out of us who were trying to be gracious players. So much for me going back to Atlantis. Be sure that if you go somewhere and are going to go separate ways, that you have a plan to meet up at a certain point at a certain time. Wifey and I did this and I was at our designated meeting point close to an hour early. We chose the round tree at the beginning of the shops near Johnny Rockets. I sat there for awhile, got hot and began walking back towards Atlantis. I sat down on the long white wall that borders those awesome looking yachts. My thought being that wifey would have to go past me on her way. So, here I am sitting quierly minding my own and a pretty young lady come walking up and sits down right next to me and strikes up conversation. A joke I recently saw immediately came to mind where and man walks up to a pretty young woman and asks her to talk to him for a moment or two. When she asked why, he said that he had lost his wife and as soon as he began speaking to a pretty young woman, she would show up.. Sure enough, Wifey shows up.... We headed back to the boat landing and caught the ferry back to the waterfront. Also a little note that the last boat leaves Atlantis at 6PM sharp. We saw the traffic going over the bridge and it was bumper to bumper and stalled. Dinner was enjoyable and desert as excellent as usual. All that walking took it out on us so back to the room for the night.. Cept, you know me.. off I went after a rest...
Day 5 - May 28th - Day at Sea Last Day of the cruise and it is going to be a depressing day thinking it is coming to an end. We took some time to reflect what we don't need to take on the next cruise. Now, wifey is a clothes fiend. And even though she did manage to reduce her bags down to 2 rollers and a carryon. She could do better. We carried a hanging shoe rack for all the small stuff, and hung it up. Not one thing got put in it. But we had it. We had brought along some mini bottles, but they were not touched as the Rum Runners did their job. I carried too many extra shirts and t-shirts. I had registered us for the Mardi Gras Slot tournament and we played. I qualified for #7 spot and wifey wanted to try again. But when she went to enter she had to go see Guest Services as she was declined. Apparently Carnival puts a cap on guests when they are on someone else card. We thought she was on my card, but due to the craziness at check in she wasn't on any card and had used up her OBC that she had from her funpoints. So they locked her down until she gave them her card number. So a warning to those sharing cards and such. Keep track daily of your expenditures.
So she made a 2nd try and did not have any luck. I told you those machines were tight, even for the tournaments. I got bumped from my faithful #7 spot, but won the wild card draw. Too bad it didn't help and I made 5th on the finals. But we had us some fun. The gent who won the $500 had more fun! Dinner time had us having our last 2 tablemates show up. Seems they could not make it out of their cabin in time for dinner until the last night. Not sure if they were newlyweds or what. After dinner, we went to the show and again, the music was good, but the vocals left a lot to be desired. If those 2 were able to tone it down some. Back to you know where. This time with Wifey as a good luck charm. I got her to throw some and she was pretty lucky. She'd throw and I would bet. She had some good beginners luck. We made it an early night knowing that we would have to get up early for arriving back in Charleston. So back to the room to pack and put out the bags. We did hear that we were going to be late due to having to divert closer to Port Canaveral for a medical emergency earlier in the day. We had to get close so the Coast Guard could come pick up someone. We hoped they are doing well.
Disembarking Day - Saturday - May 29th We were set to arrive in Charleston at 7AM. Due to the medical emergency we did not get back until closer to 9AM. Then the screwups began. Self assist is the way to go, provided you can handle your own bags. If you need help of any kind don't try it. As much as I would stand up and support Charleston. That port terminal is the Pits! The gangway is a hazard waiting to happen. You have to make a sharp left turn and with bags, that is going to be difficult. Then continue down the ramp to the ground level. The terminal building is too small to try to get more than 5 zones unloaded at a time and there was no real organization. One person would say hold up, and someone would come in from the outside and say to get the line moving, not knowing what was happening with the bags in the zones. Port personnel need radios and to have one person up on the 2nd level getting a birds eye view of what is going on and giving the directions. Once we got our bags, going through customs was quick and painless. Making that long walk to Concord St. while dodging returning crew members and the vehicles on the causeway was a real challenge. I didn't quite understand why they had parked everyone up at the Columbus St terminal and shuttle them down which made them having to shuttle EVERYONE back up to Columbus St. Instead they packed the main area with those new Beamers instead of cruise parking. You would think that Charleston would have gotten plenty of practice with X brand since they are coming in and out of Charleston regularly for the past many months. If this is the best they can do. Someone needs to find a new job.
I must say that if this is the only thing I have to complain about, Overall I had a fun time on a fun ship. Would I do it again. In a skinny minute. I personally feel that if you do a little research and planning. You avoid many of the pitfalls that we hear folks complain and whine about. This way you are prepared to handle them and not let yourself get worked up and stressed out. Also be sure to use a little common sense Remember you are on vacation. Read Less