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What better destination to embark on a cruise than Charleston, South Carolina? Not only is it a World-class tourist destination to add on a pre- or post-cruise extension, but its Southeastern location is within a half day’s drive of half of the United States. No wonder Carnival Cruise Line decided to offer year-round sailings on their recently refurbished Carnival Fantasy.

Setting sail on a Friday afternoon gave us a great excuse to head to Charleston early in the day to do a little exploring on our own and to have lunch at the appropriately-themed Buccaneer before boarding. Once Fort Sumter and Shem Creek were well behind us, we looked forward to spending the next day at sea exploring the ship and engaging in a little R&R.

From the swankified staterooms with flat-screen TVs to the addition of the aquatic amenities of Carnival WaterWorks, Serenity Adults-only retreat, and the new tropical resort-style pool to the City Sports Park sporting a 9-hole golf course to the sushi appetizers at the Fantasy Sushi Bar, the Carnival Fantasy was going to be a fantastical home away from home.

And with year-round sailings on five-, six-, and seven-day itineraries with ports of call at familiar destinations including Freeport, Nassau, Grand Turk, and Carnival’s private Bahamian island, Half Moon Cay, planning a get-away-from-it-all junket has never been easier.