I have never ever been on a cruise before, so I was a fish out of the water when it came to being prepared for what was about to happen for the next 6 days. The idea of a cruise has always appealed to me because every morning you wake up in completely new place. You can be in the middle of the ocean or could be ported, ready for you to get off and explore wherever you are at. So recently, I got the opportunity to go on the Carnival Sunshine to experience the first ever Carolina Country Music Cruise that was heading down the Bahamas! I have been the the Bahamas before but never like this.
There is a ton that I want to share with y’all about this trip and that is coming very soon, but I figured I would go ahead and share our itinerary to get us going. If you missed the first part of me sharing my trip, the Carolina Country Music Cruise Photo Diary, you can check that out here and see a bunch of pictures.
Charleston, SC — Day at Sea — Nassau, Bahamas — Princess Cays — Day at Sea — Charleston, SC
DAY 1-2: Charleston & Day at Sea
The cruise departed from Charleston, South Carolina, one of the major cruise ports on the East Coast. We made the 5 hour drive down to Charleston the night before, which was a super easy drive and we had absolutely no traffic, which was a miracle. One of the benefits of going out of Charleston and being so close, is that it is easy to find, book and board a cruise. Before we knew it we were checked in to our balcony room on the 8th floor of the Carnival Sunshine and digging into a plate full of delicious food ready for 6 days of country music, adventuring, relaxing (and more eating)!
We woke up the next day surrounded by water. Now I have to be honest, I do not have sea legs whatsoever and was seasick the whole next morning along with my step-sister because we had been hitting swells into the 20+ feet. It is such a surreal feeling looking out over your balcony with no land in sight. The morning started with an awesome spread of breakfast on the 9th floor where we were looking out on the water and surroundings. The rest of the day was spent relaxing by the pool, playing bingo and digging into a bunch of different food all over the boat. Sea days are a fun kind of day because you can just switch off.
While we were at see, the Carolina Country Music folks kept us busy and occupied with concerts all day from artists, meet and greet opportunities, flip cup tournament, bingo, scavenger hunt, and so much more. This made the day go by so quickly and made you forget that you were on a cruise ship doing all of these things. Later on in the night we had live concerts from Chris Lane, Lee Brice, and Jimmie Allen which made it so unreal that I was actually on a cruise ship doing all of these things.
Day 3: Nassau, Bahamas
I think placing a cruise day as your first full day helps you wash off any stress so that you can be up and ready to go on an adventure. After an extremely relaxing start to the cruise, it was time to explore our first port stop – Nassau, Bahamas. I have been fortunate enough that I have gotten to visit Nassau before, but it had been 12 years since I had been back. Out of the 4 people in our group, 2 of them had never been out of the country, let alone the Bahamas. So it was really fun to see their expressions as we got off the boat and they got to see the turquoise water and the different colored buildings.
We did buy shore excursions to partake in and the excursion that my step-sister and I got was swimming with the dolphins in shallow water at the Atlantis Hotel Dolphin Cay. This even allowed us to have access to the Atlantis waterpark all day while we were there. Now my mama and her boyfriend just got the day access to Atlantis so they were able to be in the waterpark with us and have a great time. What was nice was that night after our full day ported in Nassau, there were concerts up on the main deck where we got to listen to live country music from Cole Swindell and watch the sunset.
Day 4: Princess Cays, Bahamas
Continuing on in the Bahamas, we made a stop at a place that I have never visited before and can finally check this beautiful place off my list, Princess Cays. It is this beautiful island in the Bahamas that is a major port stop for cruise lines. Now we did buy another shore excursion to go snorkeling but because the wind was so high and the water was rough, they had to cancel it due to the conditions. This turned out to be an okay thing though because got to relax on the beach, wander the island of Princess Cays, listen to live Bahamian music, play in the water, and just enjoy the island. And the palm trees, don’t even get me started on how many amazing palm trees there were all over the island.
I can’t even describe to you how crystal clear blue this water was. It was absolutely beautiful! I have been to a lot of places and seen a lot of beautiful blue water like this, but it still never gets old and each place is so different. Now because this island isn’t big enough for us to actually dock on land, we did a water docking and they then had shuttles going to and from the boat every 15 minutes taking people back and forth. I am going to be honest when I say that I felt totally drunk walking around in the sand because I had such bad sea legs that made me feel like I was still on the boat even on land.
Once back on board, we were greeted with the most amazing golden sunset while we sat on our balcony. It was awesome for me to just sit there and watch it all and watch my step-sisters face, who had never really experienced places like this before. Made me really grateful for all the amazing traveling I have gotten to do and the adventures I have had so far in life.
Day 5-6: Day at Sea & Back in Charleston
Our last full day at sea consisted of all day country music, taking place all over the boat. This full day of sea though we had sunny weather and was able to actually enjoy it while sitting out by the pool. There was once again events like bingo, flip cup and beer pong tournaments, and a scavenger hunt that my mama and I participated in. I finally got a full nice day where I was able to go up top to the SkyTrack and get my run in up there taking in the sun and ocean as we were sailing.
Besides all the fun though, this was the day we had to start packing and get ready to get off the boat. Oh yes the good ole’ disembarkment. Carnival is very efficient with getting people off the boat because the same day we got off, they turned the boat around and had another sold out group of people getting ready to get onboard. The last day was so relaxing and everybody did whatever they wanted and it felt so nice to have just another day of relaxation. Once we got back to Charleston, it was super easy for us to get off the boat and go through security and customs. After all of that we were on our way and driving back home to Raleigh.
What an amazing trip we had aboard the Carnival Sunshine attending the first ever Carolina Country Music Cruise. I have more to share so stay tuned for more to come later this week. As always, thank y’all for stopping by and reading. I will see y’all back here next time.