Save Money on a Flight and Drive
Most Marine Corps bases are near ports that you can easily drive to, saving on airline tickets.
- Camp Pendleton and 29 Palms can easily get to San Diego, Long Beach or Los Angeles.
- Quantico, Pentagon, 8th and I can easily get to Baltimore, New York, or New Jersey.
- Camp Lejeune and Cherry Point can easily get to Charleston.
- Kaneohe Bay can get to Honolulu.
We’ve driven and left our cars in secured cruise ship parking areas while we’re away.
Hurry Up and Wait
The worst parts of the vacation are getting on and off the ship. Sometimes if you time it right, you can get on and off quickly, but the cruise ship has to completely debark earlier cruises and clean, refuel, and restock. Have a little patience and expect to wait; bring entertainment with you and a portable charger if you have one.
Know that your checked bags may not show up right away. When you check your bags, they first get screened and then sorted for the appropriate floor and room. You may be waiting several hours to get your bags, so if you need something, it’s best to take it with you as your carry on.
You can also bring one bottle of wine per booked member, ages 21+, in your carry on. Any beverages or prohibited items will be removed and stored until you debark from the cruise ship.
The first hours on ship are typically spent discovering your room (which most likely is still being cleaned) locating Camp Carnival and subsequently registering the kids, and completing the emergency evacuation procedures.
Our Latest Trip to the Bahamas
Check out our recent vacation we took to the Bahamas. We boarded after a 2 hour drive to Baltimore, Maryland from Quantico, Virginia.
Our first stop was Port Canaveral (Orlando), Florida. I did a bit of research to see if I should fit in Disneyworld and decided against it after weighing the cost/benefit. We wanted to do something and I figured that we’d need transportation because the port wasn’t in walking distance to anything.
We booked a tour through the ship for an ‘Airboat Tour and Alligators’ excursion through the Central Florida everglades where we saw eagles, alligators, and other beautiful birds. We sampled alligator tail and afterwards a small shelter brought rescue animals where people could get photos taken with them for a small donation.
The next day we arrived at Nassau, Bahamas where we knew we could easily walk off the ship into a bustling city. We loaded onto the boat taxi and made our way over to Atlantis’ private beach because we weren’t sure if paying the higher price through the Cruise Lines would be worth it.
The beach was beautiful, but the waves were large and the ocean got deep quickly. We saw a stingray swim through a wave and the water was colder than we imagined, because I imagined it warm like Hawaii or the Caribbean. Next time we would definitely pay for a day pass and use the resort’s bay and amenities. They had water slides and all kinds of activities for kids which were much safer for young children.
Our last stop took us to Freeport, Bahamas. We knew there wasn’t much the island had to offer, so we booked a glass bottom boat ride for the girls, and my dad was going to take his grandson on a fishing trip. Unfortunately the glass bottom boat ride was cancelled due to the rain and the fishing trip was cancelled due to lack of signups. We had very upset kids that day, but tried to redirect with other activities on ship.
Best of all the Carnival employees are very kind and welcoming. Our kids absolutely loved Neli our server and Arman our stateroom steward, who were both amazing and went above and beyond to take care of us while we were there. A big thanks to Mirel for welcoming us on ship and even providing some free wifi so I could let you all know about the COLA cuts headed our way so we could fight back.
All in all, we had a fantastic time and highly recommend you get out there and try cruising.