Carnival Cruise to the Bahamas
A few years ago we decided to embark on a Carnival cruise to the Bahamas for our vacation. (November 2012! Wow, it’s been a while.) This was my first time going on a cruise. The Bahamas are a frequent destination for a lot of cruise ships that leave from the East Coast. Our cruise ship departed out of Charleston, SC and we sailed the seas for 5 days. Overall, it was a pretty good vacation. There were things I loved about it and things I definitely did not love. We had two day stops during our trip: one day in Freeport and one day in Nassau. The Bahamas are definitely touristy, and overall it was a nice, easy destination to travel to outside of the United States.
Cruise Ship Days
During our cruise, we spent more than half of our time on the ship itself while we were traveling to the Bahamas. There were a lot of activities on the ship, such as a few pools, casinos, live shows, a gym, putt-putt, and LOTS and LOTS of food. You can eat, and drink, pretty much 24/7. This kept Kyle and I entertained for about a day and then we felt sort of stir crazy being on the ship. We prefer to get out and explore places. But I know a lot of people love going on cruises. So, it depends on what kind of traveler you are as to how your experience will be.
I loved the convenience of everything: it made it easy to relax without having to think about anything, really. I hated a number of things. It ended up being more expensive than expected because there were a lot of additional charges. On our cruise drinks were not included so all the drinks we had were added to a bill at the end, some restaurants were not included, and any type of activity/excursion was extra. I know not all cruise ships are like that, so it’s important to research all the details before booking. I also got very sick one night. Which could have been the rougher waters in November, or that our room was lower on the ship, but nevertheless, it sucked.
Freeport was the first stop of our trip. The ship will dock for a set length of time so you are able to get out and explore the town. It’s important to keep track of time so you board before they take off again. In Freeport we decided to take a tour around the island for a portion of the time. We saw a lighthouse, a beach, and stopped at a local market and shopping mall. The main area (where all the cruise ships are) has a few restaurants, bars, and shops for those who just want to take it easy and not do an excursion. There are, of course, plenty of excursions you can sign up for while on board the cruise ship.
We definitely had a good time exploring Freeport. However, it was very touristy. You know, locals trying to sell you random garbage, oh… I mean, souvenirs. I’m glad we got out of the main area and took the tour to see what else the town has to offer. We hit up Senor Frogs (right next to the port) for a few drinks before getting back on the ship. Overall, it was a pretty fun day and MUCH better than being stuck on the ship all day!
The next day we stopped in Nassau and had the whole day to explore there. We walked for about 10 minutes to the closest beach, Junkanoo Beach. IT WAS TERRIBLE. There was trash all over the place and just an awful beach. There was a little building that served alcohol, so we got a couple of drinks before making our way back to the port area. We strolled through the Straw Market (flea market type place) on the way back. There are a lot of restaurants and shops near the port. We decided to take a water taxi over to Paradise Island to find a nicer beach. There are a lot of resorts on Paradise Island (including Atlantis Resort) but there’s public beach access as well. I think we ended up walking to Cabbage Beach. It was beautiful and totally made up for going to crappy Junkanoo Beach first. We hung out and relaxed on the beach for the rest of our time in Nassau. There was a man who sold rum and a coconut drink on the beach, and would dig little rum bottles out of the sand. Pretty funny. Relaxing on the beach in Paradise Island was my favorite part of the trip.
Overall, it was a good vacation. I now know that cruise ships are not my thing. It was still and fun and enjoyable experience, for the most part. I used to think I would NEVER go on a cruise again, but I might change my mind if it were to somewhere awesome. (Like Alaska!) I’d also go for a better cruise ship company. Carnival is more the lower end/budget cruise, which is the reason we went with them. Cheap vacation. My favorite parts of the trip were when we were not on the ship. So, probably not going to on a cruise anytime in the near future. There are just too many awesome places to explore and the inside of a cruise ship is not one of them.