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5 Charleston to Caribbean - Western Cruise Reviews

This was the longest cruise I've been on. I will not do one this long again. Four full days at sea is far too long. I thought the embark and disembark process in Charleston was way too slow and disorganized. It also felt as though it ... Read More
This was the longest cruise I've been on. I will not do one this long again. Four full days at sea is far too long. I thought the embark and disembark process in Charleston was way too slow and disorganized. It also felt as though it was the first time the staff had done everything - safety drill, excursions, meals, etc. Everything took longer and was way more disorganized than I imagined it would be. Every "event" seemed to come as a surprise to the staff. And the cruise director was an annoying and barky constant presence. Why do people still smoke? And why is it still allowed? I used to smoke so I do try not to be judgmental but in enclosed rooms and bars (one right by the kids' camp) just seemed very odd to me. Walking down the hallway past the bistro and your hair and clothes smelt of smoke. Food was awful. Both grills were gross and I literally never wanted to eat in the Lido restaurant. Our service in Jubilee was so painfully slow we stopped going. Our waiter kept bringing my kids' meals well before mine and I found that really obnoxious. I didn't experience one remarkable staff mber nor did I enjoy any part of the ship. I did enjoy our semi-sub excursion in Grand Turk and Half Moon Cay is gorgeous. Nassau Balmoral dolphin swim was expensive and the "island" is run-down, disappointing and SOOOO expensive ($3.15 for one lunch-sized bag of chips and $8.00 for a soda). All thanks to tips on here I knew not to buy the dolphin pictures there but to wait and buy them on the boat. Also - why were the photographers on the dolphin excursion so unqualified and why did they take such bad pictures? Very disappointing. I would my cruise this boat again. I will never leave from Charleston again either. Even to save flight money.   Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
Background....this was my husband and my 9th cruise and first on Carnival and my daughters 5th cruise and first on Carnival. We have cruised mostly with NCL but have also sailed Princess and Royal Caribbean. This cruise was booked last ... Read More
Background....this was my husband and my 9th cruise and first on Carnival and my daughters 5th cruise and first on Carnival. We have cruised mostly with NCL but have also sailed Princess and Royal Caribbean. This cruise was booked last minute for March Break because we wanted to get away from the northern cold and snow! Drive to the Port......we drove from southwestern Ontario Canada. The first night we stopped in Charlotte, NC and stayed at the Home 2 by Hilton right off the 26. We would definitely stay there again. In the morning we drove the additional 3 hours to the port. As has been stated before, Charleston is certainly an interesting port to drive and park at. Althought it took a good 30-40 minutes to get the car parked it wasn't the end of the world although I would rather drive and park at the port of Baltimore or Brooklyn any day instead because of the ease of the process. Ship......This is our first experience with Carnival. We have avoided it due to the reputation of being "party ships". Since it was Spring Break we expected lots of college kids so we came prepared. First off, we did purchase Faster to the Fun. It is worth every penny. Within 20 minutes of being on the ship our luggage was at our room (inside on Rivera deck). We were unpacked and off to check out the ship. At first glance I thought it was dark in the elevator areas but overall the layout and ship were just fine. This is an older ship but has been refurbished quite nicely. We had no issues with the ship condition overall. Activites.......There was always something to do including our favourite.....trivia. We could be as busy as we wanted to be. Service......I felt that the staff on board were always very happy and did a great job of keeping the ship clean and tidy. Our cabin steward was quick and efficient. Dining......We had "My Time" dining and never had to wait. We had the same waitstaff every night and the waitor did his best to remember us by name. We always went to the omelette station for breakfast which was fantastic and we also enjoyed the 24 hour deli and ice cream. The pizza was OK but not to our liking. The buffet contained a lot of crappy food so we stuck to the dining room, deli and room service. Room service was usually fast but the orders got screwed up quite a bit. Gym.......I loved that the gym had life fitness equipment as well as free weights and treadmills. The weird thing about the gym though is that the showers have no area for you to set down your clothes or get ready. There isn't even a plug for a blow dryer. My DH and I always went to the gym in the morning when the girls were still sleeping. It would have been nice to have been able to get "ready" at the gym but this wasn't possible. Ports of Call.....We stopped in Nassau, Half Moon Cay and Grand Turk. We have been to Nassau numerous times and decided to walk to Junkanoo beach for the day. It was awesome.....we rented 2 chairs and an umbrella for $30 and had free wifi for the day. It didn't hurt that it was 80 degrees and not a cloud in the sky. We have never been to Half Moon Cay and it was incredible. With Faster to the Fun we had priority tenders which was nice because we didn't have to wait. We rented a 4 person paddle boat which was fun. Grand Turk was a great day as well. It was 88 degrees and not a cloud in the sky. We hung around the port and spend most of our time at the pool at Margarhitaville. No complaints. Entertainment......the singers were good. We saw both shows and enjoyed Motor City the most. The comedians on board were OK but the comedic magician was the worst. We had to leave after 10 minutes. The piano player in Cleopatra's (Dave I think) was excellent but we didn't find him until the last night of the cruise. Summary.....for what we paid this cruise was well worth it. I would definitely sail on Carnival again which totally surprises me. The ship was clean, the food was OK, the staff was excellent and the weather was of course the best. For those of you that would never sail Carnival I say give it a try. At least the Carnival Fantasy. Read Less
Sail Date March 2014
We left Charlotte,N.C. at 6am saturday dec. 8th for a nice short drive to Charleston ,stopping in Orangeburgh for breakfast at a Cracker Barrel. Arrived at the port @ 10am and dropped luggage off then left and drove back around and waited ... Read More
We left Charlotte,N.C. at 6am saturday dec. 8th for a nice short drive to Charleston ,stopping in Orangeburgh for breakfast at a Cracker Barrel. Arrived at the port @ 10am and dropped luggage off then left and drove back around and waited a while till they opened for parking. They staged the cars for parking and we sat till 11:30 ,it was $119.00 for the week . We have left from this port twice and embarkation has been a breeze both times! We were thru security ( had to have our bottled water checked )on board and had my relaxing drink in hand by 11:55. As we entered the ship they were announcing the rooms would be accessable @ 12:30 . The Deli up on Lido was our first stop , I think it is some of the best food on the ship. Our 1st sea day was a CC meet & greet and Carnival supplied the Cats Lounge and some prizes, Thanks John Heald , Laura did a great job organizing the event and it was great meeting the other CC cruisers. We were very lucky with the weather , mid 80's every day. Food was fair . Debarkation was also very good , the silent debarkaton works very good , we docked @ 6:15 got off and thru customs & shuttled over to parking by 8:10 & on our way By 8:20. The ship is still in great shape and the crew was great , We will probably do the same cruise next year ! Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
So this is our first time on the Fantasy, and the first time leaving out of Charleston. When you go to get at Charleston, you and your car are herded into a loooooong line of cars waiting to drop off luggage. There is only 1 luggage tent ... Read More
So this is our first time on the Fantasy, and the first time leaving out of Charleston. When you go to get at Charleston, you and your car are herded into a loooooong line of cars waiting to drop off luggage. There is only 1 luggage tent and perhaps 3 or 4 handler groups unlike other ports where there are multiple ports. This setup meant that we spent an hour in our car, in line, in 100 degree heat...dying to go to the bathroom. Once we got thru the line, we were directed to park our cars in a warehouse across the road and were picked up by a van to go back to the port.Check in was ok, and we got on the boat. Yea!! Immediately we noticed that the boat was crowded, way too crowded. I have been on other cruises that held more people, but this boat was packed!! Also noticed that most of the cruiser were 1st timers. I think that Carnival must have noticed this also.. Since there were hardly any shows on the cruise. (Same 3 shows that they were showing 2 yrs ago.) and the comics were showing in the Forum which is a smaller venue. The comics were good, but you had to practically show up an hour before and run like heck to get a seat. Also trivia seemed to be the #1 attraction on the boat and was played, everywhere, constantly. The room service was excellent as usual. But the overall attitude of the employee on the boat was well below par. Our waiters in the dining room seemed to have amnesia as to who we were and why we kept ordering the same drinks every night at the table. The "guest services" people were overall nice, but was basically called a liar by one lady there when I asked why a particular store was not opened, then she called to find out it was not opened, and then lied to me that it was. (Dur, I was standing there and heard both ends of the conversation.) Also a photographer told us that he had a job to do and could not help us locate the pictures that he was constantly moving. But did get help from Josepha and she was awesome!!)I tried to bring some of our concerns to the attention of staff, but was blown off. This was a overall bad cruise and waste of $3000. Read Less
Sail Date July 2011
Checking in and off the ship was a breeze. I had expected a bigger hassle. The amount of smoking on this vessel is certainly a big negative. Given that most Americans don't smoke, and some are allergic, one would think that ... Read More
Checking in and off the ship was a breeze. I had expected a bigger hassle. The amount of smoking on this vessel is certainly a big negative. Given that most Americans don't smoke, and some are allergic, one would think that the smokers would be to confined to at least half the public places. It was difficult to find a smoke free locale outside of the dining areas. The goal of the ship is for everyone to be having "FUN" every minute of the day. The louder the music and encouragement, the more fun we must be having. Every bar excepting one I could find was so loud as to make conversation impossible. The bass is so loud one can feel it in the chest, thumping, thumping, thumping. I found that wax earplugs, when attending the shows created an amplification level which was tolerable. Mind you all, I'm old, not deaf!!! I seriously suggest passengers carry ear protection to avoid possible injury to hearing. To give some idea of the noise, I live three blocks from the home port of the ship in Charleston. On the day of departure, information is broadcast throughout the ship. I can hear and understand every word, three blocks away. I really should say something good. The personnel aboard were really caring. The folks who served us the late dinner, Margarita, Tatiana and Denis, were great. Our cabin steward was efficient and our cabin spotless. So, if you bring your gas masks and ear plugs, I do think you'll have a good time on the Fantasy. Read Less
Sail Date February 2011

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