My husband and I are looking into taking a cruise next May on Carnival. This would be the first cruise for both of us and I've been gaining a ton of useful information from these forums!
I finally feel like I found the perfect cruise: the Glory is leaving from Charleston, SC on May 24 for a 5 day cruise with stops in Freeport and Nassau. We were looking into 4 day cruises leaving Port Canaveral, but after researching flight, hotel, and car rental prices I realized it would be a little cheaper and so much less headache to drive 3 hours to Charleston and pay for the parking there. Also, the reviews I've seen for the Glory are awesome! We wanted a ship that had a ton of food options and entertainment, and everything about this ship and cruise seemed perfect.
BUT...the departure time from Charleston is listed on the Carnival website for 10:00 p.m. on Monday, May 24. How does that work with a departure time so late? In reading, it seems like there is a lot going on that first night - lifeboat drills, waiting for luggage, etc. Will we be doing drills at midnight, not get our luggage until the next morning?? Has anyone had any experiences with a departure time this late? How many hours prior to departure time can you normally begin boarding?
I haven't booked this cruise yet, so I suppose I could find another cruise - but everything with the timing of the week we'd be able to cruise, the location and the ship lined up perfectly for us. It's just this late departure thing that is really bothering me at the moment, and I don't know if it should or if it's really not a big deal.
When we did the Southern Caribbean we had a 10 PM departure. The life boat drill was at 10, we had our bags before then. There were other sail-away activities but we skipped them after a long day's flight to San Juan.
Unless you are traveling with very young children you should be fine. You won't be up all night unless you want to be.
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I agree with the above posters. 10 P.M. departure is unusual, and IMO the only inconvenience will be the late life boat drill, but I'll bet they keep you busy with other stuff until that happens. Glory is a GREAT ship, and I have no doubt that you'll enjoy the cruise. I agree with you too, that driving to the port, and parking beats hell out of having to fly, taking a taxi, or shuttle to the port, perhaps paying for a hotel for a night or two, etc. etc. etc.
Good choice IMO. BOOK IT!
I am thinking the reason for the late departure is because of the short travel time to your first port of call. If the ship left earlier, and got to the port earlier, they maybe charged for extra berth time. I say this, because I have never heard of a late departure on any ship before, other then a San Juan departure...
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The Carnival brochure has a different departure time, so you might want to call your agent or Carnival and double check. Things can change between the time they print the brochure, but best to know for certain.
I'm glad to know that even though this late departure is pretty unusual, it shouldn't cause any major issues. Our young children will be staying with grandparents for the week, so no issues with that. I'm especially glad to know that we should get our luggage that evening, because it would be annoying to have to bring a bunch of nighttime stuff in a carry on bag too. But, as many of you have mentioned, this is a great cruising opportunity and a minor inconvenience shouldn't be enough to look into another cruise - although I will follow-up about the actual time the cruise leaves, thanks for the tip. I definitely plan to book this cruise now. Very excited!
When we cruised on the Spirit, our departure was at 10:00 p.m. but guest was allowed to board around 2:30 p.m. and so they could do anything they wanted on the ship. They were also allowed to board and then leave if they wanted. Since I would be departing from my home state, we decided to fly in about 4:00 p.m. went straight to the ship and there was no waiting. We then went up to our rooms, freshen up some and then went off to the LIDO deck to grab something to eat. We also were able to have dinner before we sailed off and I just actually found it to be great. It made it less rush, rush. Our muster drill was at 10:00p.m. and then we were off. I personally would prefer leaving later.
Miracle to Aruba Feb. 23, 2011
Valor to Belize Sept. 2011