Recently, I had a chance to get away and go enjoy the sun, the sand, and the surf. My best friend and I took a 5-day cruise to Half Moon Cay and Nassau aboard the Carnival Ecstasy. Overall, I enjoyed my time, and what’s not to love about being blessed enough to take a cruise to the Bahamas. Although I’m leaving with mostly positive memories, there are some things that I wasn’t too thrilled with. Let me break it down:
Seeing as this was approximately the halfway point for the two of us to meet up, we left out of the Port of Charleston. I had read reviews stating how horrifying this port was, but we were determined to keep an open mind. We didn’t have a lot of trouble finding the port, but I do think they should have more signs directing cars where to go. To speed up the process I would recommend attaching your luggage tags on your bags before you leave your house. When we reached location to drop off our luggage, we encountered some unprofessional porters. They were attempting to advertise their looks so they could receive bigger tips. That left a bad taste in my mouth. We finally parked the car, and took the shuttle to the ship. That system was a bit confusing, as they were directing people to shuttles that were already full. Once we got onto a shuttle though, it was a breeze getting onto the ship.
Debarking at Charleston was way more stressful than arriving. Getting off the ship was super easy, but once entering the building to retrieve my luggage was when the trouble started. I couldn’t find my bag, which was odd because my friend found hers no problem, and our bags should have been together. I tried to remain positive throughout the situation, as I do know mistakes happen. I did have a group of Carnival employees dedicated to helping me find my bag, for which I am truly grateful. My luggage was eventually found, without any explanation as to why it was misplaced to begin with, and both wheels were broken. To say that I was livid would be an understatement.
We wanted to save some money, so we chose to have an interior room, U130. We were pleasantly surprised to find the room more spacious than we had imagined. We had requested two twin beds, but when we arrived we had two twins with a king sheet pulled over the two beds. When we asked to have them converted back to twins, our concern was addressed quickly. It was a bit of an adjustment to having the room so dark, especially during the day. To address this issue, we kept the TV turned on the ship’s camera view channel to have as a ‘window’. The room only has one outlet and it’s a bit on the chilly side. There is no hair dryer or fridge, but there is room service!
|BREAKFAST| Breakfast was so good! We didn’t eat on the Lido deck, but instead chose the dining room. You can choose from eggs Benedict, omelettes, various breakfast meats, fruits, and juices. Sea Day Brunch was the best. The options included those not offered on regular breakfast menu, such as steak and eggs, cereal covered French Toast, and even dessert.
|LUNCH| So many different options to choose from on the Lido deck. From burgers, to tacos, to sandwiches, to burritos, to anything else you can think of. I would definitely recommend Guy’s Burgers and Blue Iguana Cantina. Be sure to check the hours of all food locations, as they are not all the same. Finding seats outside is a little difficult. There were several times we cleaned off a table so we could eat outside.
|DINNER| We did early dining, which starts at 6:00pm. We were seated at table 309, with four other pairs of two. We ended up getting along great with our dinner mates, and every dinner was an evening filled with amazing food and endless laughter. The dining staff was incredible, and we loved the shows they put on. The food was incredible, as well. Appetizer, entree, and dessert. Every single night we left the dining room beyond satisfied. We never even tried dinner on the Lido deck.
|PORTS OF CALL|:
|HALF MOON CAY| This Carnival-owned island has a long stretch of beach. You can book excursions here, but only through Carnival, since it is their island. They offer a BBQ lunch on the island, consisting of hamburgers, hot dogs, rice, various fruits & vegetables, and an assortment of desserts. We just enjoyed the free beach day, and we checked out the few shops on the island. Be sure to note, if you purchase the Bottomless Bubbles or Cheers Program, they will not work on the island.
|NASSAU| To say this stop was overwhelming at first would be an understatement. Getting off the ship was super easy, but once we reached the city, we were bombarded by people trying to sell us various tours, encouraging us to get our hair braided, or promising us great deals on trinkets. As soon as we politely declined one person, there was someone else asking if we’d like a different service. I understand that this is how some of them make their living, but it was a bit stressful. We didn’t even have time to take in our surroundings. We had booked a day pass at Breezes Resort which includes all you can eat, drink, and various non-motorized water sports, as well as a pool, a hot tub, and the beach. If you’re looking for a place to party, I would say this isn’t the spot for you. It was a pretty relaxed environment. We took advantage of the included kayaks, and it was an amazing experience to kayak out in the middle of the ocean. We weren’t planning on going too far, but before we knew it, we were out pretty far without even realizing until we started to head back. The food was okay, and the drinks were good! Ask for Michelle at the outdoor bar, she’s great!
I would definitely take another Carnival cruise; however, you will not find me sailing out of Charleston again. This is not to say that others have not had pleasant experiences sailing out of this port, I just personally had a stressful experience. If you only had time for a quick 4 or 5 day trip, then I would say go for it, but I would just recommend you carry your luggage off. I don’t know that I would ever cruise on the Ecstasy again, just because it is a smaller ship, and I could feel the waves a lot more than I’d like. The shows are great, the cruise director is hilarious, and the staff is amazing! If you have any questions about my time on board, please be sure to ask. I’d be more than happy to answer if I can!
Thanks for reading!