Cruise from Charleston, SC

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The 70,000-ton Carnival Fantasy operates year-round five-, six- and seven-day voyages from Charleston, S.C

Close your eyes and imagine yourself relaxing in the warm sun, surrounded by the turquoise blue waters of the Caribbean, sipping a cold drink and tapping your feet to island music. Until now, most Carolinians have had to drive or fly to Florida to catch a cruise bound for the Caribbean, but with Carnival’s newest port of departure in Charleston, S.C., cruising is easier and cheaper than ever.

Once a week, every week year-round, passengers sail for five-, six-, or seven-day voyages to the Bahamas aboard the cruise line’s newly renovated “Fantasy” funship. Catering to families, the 2,056-passenger ship features a new aqua park with a 300-foot-long water slide, 82-foot dual racing slides, a mini-golf course and Camp Carnival, extensive supervised activities for children and youth in three age groups.

But singles and adults without children can have an equally fantastic time with adult-only amenities that include a sun area, fitness center, 12,000-square-foot health spa, casino, 12 lounges and bars, and even a lighted driving range and golf program to tune up for tee times at top courses in the Bahamas.

Ports of Call offer an amazing array of onshore excursions which are geared for every age—from the active sports enthusiast to the senior citizen, and range from $35 to $200.

 Freeport is located on Grand Bahama Island. A sampling of excursions includes an island bus tour, tropical gardens, a glass-bottom boat ride, snorkeling or diving, biking, Jeep adventures, swimming with the dolphins and a shopping spree at the Port Lucaya Marketplace.

 Nassau, the bustling capital of the Bahamas, offers pastel houses and pristine landscapes, a historical highlights tour, a visit to the famous Atlantis Beach Resort on Paradise Island, a harbor cruise, a city segway tour, water sports—like a catamaran tour and coral reef snorkeling—plus beach excursions and the famed straw market.

Copyright 2010 Sandra Chambers–All rights reserved (text & photos)

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