We chose this cruise because Charleston was about a four hour drive & we wanted to try an interior cabin, to stretch our cruise dollar. Would we go stir crazy?
Wow! I like the Port of Charleston! (even though they recently raised the parking price to $20 per night). Our first trip from Charleston and just off the Ecstasy last week -- every employee from the Port of Miami should go to Charleston to train -- nice, friendly, helpful.
A week ago Thursday, we pulled into the port parking lot around 10:30 am, not much line, paid, they put a sticker on our windshield and then said we could leave and come back at 11:15. We did a quick drive around and stopped at Harris Teeter (grocery store) and got some items we forgot. We got back a few minutes early and they had started parking people. We got to park in one of the warehouses. As we walked out of the garage, there was a shuttle, but if you can walk, skip the shuttle, it's not far and we got to the embarkation point before the shuttle we would have been on did. Embarkation was a breeze -- I had Blue Iguana taco in hand by 11:45.
(did not do Faster to the Fun)
One good thing about doing a four night cruise is you can pack very light, we carried our own bags. We did not have to pay the porter extortion (tip us or we'll destroy your stuff).
Most cruises we've taken were out of Florida and a bulk of the people are from Florida. This cruise, being out of Charleston, most everyone was from South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia, Virginia. The cruise had a different feel -- different, not in a bad way, just different. We were surprised they only had one corn hole game running (bean bag toss for folks not from the South).
We got the Carnival Hub chat feature, no internet package - it's a great way to keep in contact. This was our second time using the chat and we love it. Sure it's a little wonky and there are dead zones on the ship, but it sure beats leaving notes and wondering if someone got the message. It's nice being able to change plans on the fly and let others in your party know the plan.
The Ecstasy is old, but we like the Fantasy class (took the Fascination last spring-loved it). The Ecstasy recently got a makeover.
We checked out all the views from the ship. Great looks of the Arthur Ravenel Bridge and across the river is the USS Yorktown (WWII aircraft carrier). Before my cruising days, spent a couple nights on the Yorktown with my son & his Cub Scout pack. Fort Sumter can also be seen in the distance.
We roamed the ship then checked our room. (U171 Interior Upper/Lower, Category 1A, one twin bed and one upper pullman) when we got there, there was a roll away bed from the last occupants. We asked the room steward to keep it in the room and he did. With the roll away, we did not bother with the pullman, but we did lose some of the limited floor space, but we didn't use the room much, other than sleeping/showering/changing.
We roamed the ship some more and found a place to relax.
We had Early Dining and had a great team serving us (Shawn, Victor, & Holif). Every meal was great. If nothing excites me on the menu, I always order the Indian Vegetarian. I ordered it two out of the four nights. One other night I had the sea bass and on the port night, there was a Bahamian marinated steak thing that was the bomb! The food was on par with other Carnival ships we've sailed on.
After Dinner, it was the comedy club for a PG show. The comic was The Fryman and he was funny.
When we sailed the Vista earlier this summer, we really enjoyed the piano bar with Elizabeth. So we thought we would give the piano bar a try. We had fun, but Elizabeth set the bar pretty high. Another downside was each night, it started at 10:00. I'm an early riser and my wife (DW) likes to watch the sunrise, the show was good, but not great, so we only went to the piano bar one night.
Next morning, up to watch the sunrise. Then I went to the gym and DW played her ukulele outside on the Lido. The gym and the men's changing room on the Ecstasy is better than the Vista. More showers, more lockers, more room - you would think it would be the opposite.
After cooldown and shower, met DW for breakfast in the dining room. Just as dinner, the food was on par with other Carnival ships we've sailed on.
Then we gave the Serenity Deck a try and let's just say that a number of travelers didn't understand the meaning of "Serenity" - it was almost comical -- it would have been a good routine in the Punchliner Club. Did not return to the Serenity Deck. One of the downsides of a four night cruise, a lot of newbies.
Almost skipped describing lunch: Blue Iguana tacos -- that's our "go to" lunch. I could eat a bowl of pico. DW likes to make a salad out of the chicken taco and salad bar in the Marketplace.
Found a place to relax then later got ready for dinner, formal night. Before dinner, we went to the main atrium for solo guitar sounds with Alex. he was great. Then off to dinner. This is one of my main "beefs" with Carnival -- I take up room in my suitcase for dress shoes, slacks, dress shirt, something I'm going to wear once. At the table next to us (table for 10) all eight women and girls are dress up appropriatly, but the man and boy come in wearing shorts & tshirts. There's a very nice buffet on the Lido deck if you want to wear shorts & tshirts. Why bother with a formal night if it is not enforced?
Off to the comedy club. Another PG show. The comic was Reno Collier and he was funny too. Then we hit the show in the main lounge - Motor City was the name of the show. Lots of good music, singing and dancing.
Next morning, Nassau, was just like the first, up to watch the sunrise, gym, ukulele, etc. Met DW for breakfast in the dining room. We had time since we didn't dock until 9:00. Disembarking was a breeze -- Another advantage to a smaller ship... It was HOT in Nassau and little breeze.
We did a walking tour (on our own). We had a good map, however, at a lot of the streets were not marked. We almost missed some of the spots. Walked to the Queen's Staircase and the fort. Then over to John Watling's Distillery. They gave a quick, free tour and then on to the bar. They served a really good Piña Colada (not free). Walked back towards the pier. Stopped in the Hilton to cool off a little. Had rugby playing on the TV, so I cooled off a little longer. Quick walk through the market and down the main street.
Found a liquor store and got a can of Bahamas Goombay Punch (non-alcoholic) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Goombay_Punch. It's a Coca-Cola product, but bottled in the Bahamas. I always like to try something local.
Back to the ship for some lunch... I switched it up today and got a Guy's Burger (and one taco).
Back off the ship and we hit the water taxi -- hang a right, just out of the terminal building there's a stand. It was $4 one-way and $8 round-trip to Paradise Island. We must have just missed the boat. They run on the half hour and we had to wait. After a short narrated boat ride, we walked over to the Atlantis Hotel & Casino. We love the blown glass sculptures by Chihuly - the Atlantis has a number of his sculptures. We saw four of them.
Back to the water taxi and back to the ship.
Dinner in the main dining room. Took it easy after walking around Nassau
Next morning, just like the first two, up to watch the sunrise, gym, ukulele, etc. Though met DW for breakfast in on the lido, wanted to eat breakfast outside.
Then we put our bathing suits on and hit the Water Works. There were a couple of short, straight slides that were fast and always gave me a wedgie. The one large slide must have been having some problems, only the smaller kids were making it all the way down. You'd run out of steam about 10 yards from the end and have to get up and walk the rest of the way. We only did that one once and went back to the wedgie slide. Then we relaxed by the pool with some books and adult beverages.
Near lunch time, DW had a quick taco salad did the ladies pamper party in the spa. While she was there, I enjoyed a couple of tacos, found a quiet spot and read my book.
Packed up a little since this was the last night.
Dinner in the main dining room. Went to the show: "The Brits!" -- they sang and danced a tribute to the British invasion - The Who, Rolling Stones, etc. Good show -- sang along. We went to two shows in the main lounge and they were on par with other shows on other Carnival ships.
Next morning, finished packing, left the room. Went for breakfast in the dining room. Disembarking was a breeze. Got our car and parked in another garage in downtown Charleston and walked around the Historic Charleston City Market -- too bad it was too early for a number of the stalls and shops to be open (most opened at 10 am).
Overall a great trip - even though it was a four night cruise it was relaxing and did not feel short. We like balcony staterooms, but would do an inside cabin again -- we have another one booked next summer....
We could sleep, change, and shower.