It seems you can’t keep Dad away from a good cruise. He really needed this respite break and some of the family was happy to join him. So Jackie, Jeff, Vickie and Doug set out from Charleston Harbor on Carnival’s Ecstasy for 5 days in October to enjoy the sand and sun.
Sail away day is the BEST day of a cruise … you grab your colorful favorite drink and the party starts right away as you leave your troubles behind. This was our first trip out of Charleston and the weather was just perfect to head past Fort Sumter and into the Atlantic.
After a day at sea we arrived off the shore of Princess Cays. Took an early tender and our snorkel gear to see what we could find. Since the drink package did not include anything on the island, we all figured to spend just the morning ashore and be back on ship for lunch, drinks and dinner. The snorkeling beach, however, was quite a surprise. It was one of the best small reefs we have encountered in the Caribbean.
A small sandy entry point gave access to a sloping reef that was loaded with fan and pipe coral, sponges and all sorts of reef fish. Several flounder were spotted, along with plenty of the other colorful reef fish: blue tang, parrot fish, sergeant major, angels … and a good size barracuda. What a good morning of snorkeling (oops, no pictures).
Dinner each night was in the main dining room and was good service with darn good food. Dad certainly enjoyed the selection. After dinner the guys tried their luck at the casino and the ladies did the shows. Doug and Jeff tried a new strategy at the craps table that started out really well, but ended up working against them. Overall, I think we all played as much as we wanted to and pretty much broke even.
Back to the “Cheers” program and our handy list of gotta-try drinks. Some of us were fretting that the prepaid drink program’s limit of 15 drinks per day was going to be a concern — but we must be lightweights, because only one of us hit the limit on one night (and we agreed it was because the day started with a bloody Mary!)
Our favorite bar was the RedFrog Rum Bar, poolside, but we also frequented the lobby bar, the BlueIguana Tequilla Bar, Alchemy Bar (for some wild martini productions) and the casino bar (but that was tricky — had to make your bets last until the drink arrived!) So, despite our history of craft brewery visits and beer festivals, we were quite happy to try lots of fruity and colorful concoctions.
The other island visit on this trip was a stop at Freeport, but we all decided to stay aboard ship and just watch the crowds wander the shopping plaza adjacent to the ship – and to giggle at the late arrivals who almost didn’t make the ship’s departure. It didn’t appear that the recent hurricanes had a significant affect on the two ports we visited. Jeff and Doug decided that with so many folks off the ship, it was time to try the Twister water slide. Pretty wet and wild affair, and we hung in there for several runs.
Overall, a good cruise and a nice ship with friendly staff and good food and drink.
The point of this cruise was to make sure Dad had plenty of sunshine, good food and companionship — and that he did.
Pretty sure this was one good week for him!