Length: 855 ft
One of the oldest "Fantasy-class" Carnival ships (1991), fine for short inexpensive getaways but the age shows in decorBest For People Who Want
Non-stop entertainment, lively casinos, extensive deck space for sunning, large, if very pink, facilities for fitness/spa and children's activities, large cabins, dozens of varieties of good food, and very informal service. Especially recommended for families, singles in groups and first time cruisers.Should Be Avoided By People Who Prefer
Sophisticated "seen but not heard" service people; cabins with private verandas; mega-ship action; understated elegance in a low-key environment; no children.Onboard Experience
Identical in all but décor, Carnival Fantasy and her seven Fantasy-class sister ships (Carnival Ecstasy, Fascination, Imagination, Inspiration, Paradise, Sensation) always seem to have something of interest going on, and thus are ideal for the up-and-at-'em style cruiser. Carrying 2,052 passengers, the ships are big enough to provide a week's diverse entertainment, ample deck space for those whose idea of being entertained is basking in a warm sunshine glow, and separate facilities for kids and adults.
Having been launched in 1990, in today's whirlwind pace of change in the cruise industry Carnival Fantasy is not so much a dinosaur as she is a floating museum of what was once considered to be ultimate chic in cruise decor. That standard has thankfully changed over the years, but is worth taking a look simply to harken upon what once was. Neon-like light-strands (now converted to LEDs but still anachronistically accurate), chrome, mirrors, Tivoli lights... they are all a part of the Fantasy decor, reflecting (pun intended) a time when the cruise industry looked upon Las Vegas as its greatest competitor for tourist dollars.
Sometimes the decor sets the mood for the people on board, making them lively and animated, and sometimes it feels starkly inappropriate, as on formal night when fashionably-dressed ladies & gentlemen stroll arm in arm through the garish corridors. In any case, this is an older ship, and as such one can expect to find bargain sailings on her, and if a week's escape to Fantasy-land is what you have in mind, this can be an especially affordable ship to provide it.
An upgrade to all eight Fantasy-class ships includes upgrades to the pool area, staterooms and some public rooms. There is a snazzy new pool area with teak decking, new umbrellas, a tile "beach" for the pool water to lap against and new thatched roofs for the hot tub and stage areas. The kids will rave about "Carnival Waterworks," the new water park featuring a 4-story tall and 300 foot long "Twister Water Slide." Another slide is three side-by-side tubes 82 feet long. This is all part of a waterpark with all kinds of sprays and other devices to keep the kiddies cool and fresh. There's also a new nine-hole miniature golf course.
As if that isn't enough for the kids, "Camp Carnival" received a makeover with dedicated rooms for various age groups including a teen disco and a gaming room for the "tweens." The ship also has new interconnecting staterooms for families.
The adults haven't been left out; there is a new "adults-only" area called "Serenity" with a deck of solid teak panels for soft cushioned loungers in sun or shady areas and two hot tubs.
New enhancements indoors include a coffee cafe with specialty coffees (for a price) but free pastries. A new art & photo gallery and the atrium bar are now in place. New sound and lighting systems have been installed in every public room, and the ship now has flat screen televisions in several places to keep up with sports and other vital information.
Ideal as it is for the sort of person who likes to have loads of activities planned, Fantasy also offers lots of out-of-the-way places to read or just contemplate the sea. During summer cruises, however, when there are hundreds of kiddies aboard, quiet contemplation might become a luxury reserved for another ship.Decor
As the first ship of these eight ships now known as the Fantasy-class christened in 1990. In her day, Carnival decided to make Fantasy appear bigger in life by adding tons of glitz in the form of neon, chrome & mirrors. Though it was state of the art when created, by today's standards this ship is a relic that a serious cruiser can appreciate mostly as a step back in time to a period when cruise lines considered Las Vegas their most formidable competition.
Check out the Cat's Lounge for Andy Warholesque oversized art pieces based upon popular American logos such as Tide Detergent and Goodyear Tires. Or go to the Crystal Lounge to see what a high-tech open architecture ceiling would look like if all the conduits were replaced with neon strips.Public Rooms
The ship consist of 10 decks with most of the public rooms concentrated on Atlantic, Promenade and Lido decks (decks 5,6 and 7). The cabins are mostly concentrated on decks one through four; Riviera, Main, Upper (which is actually a lower deck 3) and Empress decks.
The ships centerpiece is the soaring seven-deck high Grand Spectrum atrium. Here is where you will see Joe Farcus design at its most flamboyant. At the bottom is a rotating sculpture, while all around is a mixture of twinkling lights and enough neon to make Las Vegas shade its eyes. The two-level, 1300-seat Universe Lounge at the front of the promenade presents live production shows, comedians, magicians, and passenger talent shows, with exemplary sight lines and good seating throughout.
The ships' most fanciful decor is in such entertainment venues as the popular piano bar. In Fantasy's Cleopatra bar an enormous circular piano doubles as a bar for those who like to sing along. You'll also find a vibrant disco and cabaret lounges along the boulevard.
All of the public rooms recently received new sound and light systems to add a touch of excitement. Flat-screen televisions have been added to many lounges to keep up with sports and other events. The ship now has a specialty coffee bar, new art and photo galleries and purpose-built conference facilities.
Other public areas include the Galleria shopping mall, the Virtual World arcade, and the ship's photo gallery. The Internet cafe offers access for 75 cents per minute; for those who plan to spend more time on the computer, there are 100 minute packages available for $50 (50 cents per minute) and 250 minute packages for $100 (40 cents per minute).Cuisine
From the best pizza afloat (available 24 hours per day) to haute cuisine in the main dining room, Carnival really delivers on the food front.Restaurants
Total Choice Dining provides for four dinner seatings in the main dining rooms, and alternative Bistro dining every evening. An increased number of service staff is required to provide all these options and Carnival has provided enough that service is generally prompt and the food served warm. Passengers are assigned a table for dinner in one of the two main dining rooms -- The Celebration on Atlantic Deck, mid-ship, or the Jubilee on Atlantic Deck, aft -- (these ships have a tradition of naming their dining rooms after other Carnival ships) at one of four seatings; 5:45 p.m. or 6:15 p.m. and 8 p.m. or 8:30 p.m. There are very few tables for two in either of the two main dining rooms; expect to dine with four, six, or eight fellow passenger.
You will typically have a choice of six starters, two salads, six or seven main courses (pan-fried fillet of red snapper, sweet and sour shrimp, rack of New Zealand lamb and Beef Wellington) and a few items that are on the menu every night for those who prefer the expected over the delightful. The menu also includes Spa Carnival selections for those trying to reduce their intake of calories, sodium, cholesterol, fat, or meat.
Added in the 2007 renovation were a coffee bar in the atrium and New York-style deli in the Lido restaurants
Additionally, the poolside Lido eateries are converted into Seaview Bistros between 6:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m. each evening, offering buffet dinner with no reservations or advance notice required. The informal Windows on the Sea (T-shirts and shorts are OK) Restaurant on the Lido Deck offers both inside and poolside seating. All meals here are served buffet style, with open seating for all three meals.
Other alternative eating options include a 24-hour pizzeria, a complimentary sushi bar and 24 hour room service.Service
Don't expect formality. Indeed, expect wacky dances after dessert - and then to come back to your cabin to find that your cabin steward, cutup that he or she is, has left a towel folded to resemble a dog on your bed. The hi-jinx never stop!Tipping
Carnival automatically adds $10.00 per person per day in gratuities to your Sail & Sign card unless you're under two years old, and if you're reading this, you're probably not. This includes $3.60 for the stateroom steward; $5.50 for the Dining Room team, and $.90 for service in the alternative dining rooms. Visit the purser's desk during the cruise to raise or lower this amount.
You may also prepay gratuities for all service personnel at a rate of $10.00 per person per day. On Cruises-to-Nowhere, gratuities of $10 per person per day must be prepaid.
A 15 percent gratuity is automatically added to all beverage tabs. Tip the maitre d', room service, spa, casino and other staff as you deem fitting.Entertainment
The prime entertainment venue is the 1,300 seat Universe Lounge is made to have a "Star-trek" feel. Karaoke draws big crowds to the Cats Lounge. The Electricity Dance Club stays open until the wee hours. A variety of live bands and individual performers entertain nightly along with its elaborate stage shows. Regardless of what sort of music you like most, you're pretty much assured of hearing it.
By day, there are bingo and Trivial Pursuit contests, not to mention such highbrow events poolside as the men's hairy chest contest.Cabins
Because they were built just before the shift toward lots of verandahs, just the 26 demi-suites (250 square feet) and 28 full suites (400 square feet) have balconies.
All of the staterooms now have new flatscreen televisions, for example, a subtle change but one that lends a significantly different feel to the room while also adding a little extra space - which never hurts.
The cabins on these older ships always appeared spartan compared to the newer Carnival ships due to their lack of wooden desks and cabinetry. The colors, fabrics and linens have all been upgraded, but they are still light on amenities (a color TV with CNN, telephone, radio, no hair dryer, and a basket of "free-sample" toiletries). The cabins are roomy, however: inside measure 185 sq. ft, outside 190 sq. feet. Even in the minimum category inside or outside stateroom you'll still enjoy ample space. for four and five are understandably popular with families, and go fast.
Oceanview staterooms and suites offer a mini bar, bathrobes, and fairly large bathrooms with a shower (with wand) and medicine cabinet. There are also 26 mini-suites (226sq.q. feet plus 36 square foot private veranda) and 28 suites measuring 350 sq. feet with 71 sq. foot balconies.Fitness/Spa
The "Evolutions of Fun" upgrades of 2007 paid particular attention to the spa area with more elegance and amenities. With no fewer than 12,000 sq. ft. devoted to fitness and spa facilities, these ships are a dream come true for those who like to keep in shape during their cruise.
The gyms have a private trainer and 35 state-of-the-art exercise machines. There's a day-long schedule of aerobics, and stretching yoga, and Pilates classes (usually around $10 each), as well as body composition analysis and personal training sessions, $75 for 60 minutes. There's a fully jogging track and a volleyball court. Women who want to sunbathe topless will find secluded areas in which to do so.
Those who prefer to skip shore excursions and snorkel on their own can rent equipment for $26 for three days. The inescapable Steiner's of London operates the ship's spa, which offers lots of different kinds of massage - and pushes its beauty products rather more zealously than most passengers would prefer.Children's Facilities
Carnival's celebrated Camp Carnival program offers a full schedule of supervised activities, from finger painting and singalongs for younger children to photography workshops, late-night movies, and pool parties for their older siblings. The ships' 2,400-square foot "Children's World" play areas are stocked with a computer lab, a climbing maze, an activity wall, and an assortment of toys, games and puzzles.
The 2007 upgrade added a nine-hole miniature golf course as well as a waterpark that is better than the larger Carnival ships. The kids will love these supervised diversions giving you plenty of time to relax by the pool.Attire
On the two "formal" nights per week, most men wear a dark suit instead of tux. By day, nearly everyone wears shorts, T-shirt, sneakers/sandals, bathing suit, and a hat.
On 15 September I was on the Carnival Fantasy to Bermuda. They don't call these the "Fun Ships" without good reason and thus the line's reputation for a mandatory good time is merited. The Fantasy is the oldest ship in the fleet being over 20 years old, however she doesn't look the part, largely from a 2008 refurbishment. There are many things to appreciate about this ship. *** Activities are plentiful day and night. The day provides almost endless trivia and other games. The party goes into the early morning hours. ***The super slide in the Carnival Waterworks is one of my favorite slides anywhereâ€¦land or sea. *** Some people live to eat, while I tend to eat to live, so of course I found the food more than meets my needs. Carnival's new main dining room menus are two sidedâ€¦.one is traditional favorites which are every night and the other half being nightly specials. Chocolate Melted Cake is available every night !! *** Food always seems to be available on the Lido deck. *** The two big bang production shows provide energy and sizzle. The first one is "Nightclub Express" witha talking sofa which promotes music of varying genres. The Second show is "Ticket To Ride" and is understandably a Beatles tribute. *** The staff, as always seem to truly enjoy their jobs and I enjoyed their camaraderie. *** embarkation and debarkation were both simple and relatively easy considering the restrictions of being in a historic district.
While the Fantasy worked, Carnival's Bermuda itinerary just didn't function so well. The biggest problem with the Charleston to Bermuda itinerary was it allots one day in port, which is hardly worth the two days at sea effort. Unfortunately that one day in Bermuda was a Sunday when much of the island shuts down. On Saturday evening, I enjoyed a Carnival excursion on a glass bottomed boat. For Sunday I did the ship sponsored island tour which was rush, rush, and rush ! While we visited the Gibbs lighthouse, there wasn't sufficient time to actually climb up. While we stopped for a photo at a beach, there was not enough time to enjoy that beach. We were allotted 15 minutes in Saint George, which ironically enough was sufficient since the town was largely closed down for Sunday. The tour stopped in Hamilton for about 30 minutes. There is a majestic cathedral there of which I took some photos, and then got back on the van. If one wishes to cruise to Bermuda I highly recommend at least 2 days in port, preferably *not* on a Sunday. Hamilton seems to be a better of call than the Dockyards where we docked. While the dockyards are picturesque; they appear to still be developmental stage. It would be advisable for Carnival to make Charleston-Bermuda into a 7 day cruise ( not 6) where one gets two full days in port.
Pre-cruise I spent an extra day in Charleston where I stayed on Meeting Street and walked to historic sites. I can highly recommend that future cruisers absorb this great historical city as part of their vacation. Between the ghost tours and the authentic Low-Country cuisine, I found Charleston to much more fulfilling that Bermuda. In summary, I can give thumbs up to both the Fantasy and Charleston, but we needed more time in Bermuda.
We sailed Fantasy for our first cruise last week & enjoyed ourselves. So much so that we bought a FCC & are looking forward to cruising again. This is long because I typed out thoughts as they came to me so sorry if this isn't in the best order, but don't want to forget. I'll end with pros, cons & random thoughts.
I know most are more interested in the cruise itself, but I'm adding a short review for the SC restaurant, park & cruise hotel we stayed at, & ports as well:
Had dinner at Hyman's in downtown Charleston. JMHO, this restaurant is an overrated tourist trap. Food is average at best, & the wait wasn't worth it. Service was excellent though.
Aloft Hotel: We did the park & cruise package here, and I wouldn't recommend it to anyone. The hotel itself is fine, but Aloft recently picked up a contract with an airline to shuttle pilots back and forth to the airport twice a day for 2-4 hours each shift depending on how many need a ride. Since Aloft gets paid extra for that, guests aren't a priority for shuttleuse unless they're going to the airport â€“ and even then pilots get first dibs.
I confirmed use of the shuttle to get to and from the port several times prior to arrival (thankfully I got names of those I spoke with â€“ this helped later). Upon arrival I again asked for confirmation & this time was told that they weren't sure because Aloft no longer offered the park & cruise program. I stated that nobody informed me of this during any of my earlier inquiries, & was told I'd have to speak with the manager in the morning. I was upset not only because we paid for the service, but because I knew we'd be tired after the cruise & I had not researched other options to get back to the hotel. Yes we could pay for a cab & would have done so if necessary, but doing so made the park & cruise savings irrelevant as we could've paid much less to simply park at the port & not stayed at a hotel at all.
The next morning the Aloft manager said they would honor the agreement, but we couldn't leave for the port until 1:00 PM & depending on what time we got off the ship, we'd have to wait for a return ride until after the pilot shuttles were complete. In the end, we only waited about 30 minutes for the return shuttle after the cruise disembarked, & since we stayed at the hotel one more night after the cruise returned they let us in at 10:30 AM, probably to make up for the initial drama. Nevertheless, next time I'll stay at another hotel that offers this service.
CRUISE: Embarkation went smoothly for us. We excitedly arrived at the port at 1:30 PM & was onboard by 2:20 PM, having our first DOD by 2:30 PM. No complaints there but walking up that steep gangway to get on the boat was no joke! I'd happily do it again though Which leads me to ...
We took entirely too much stuff with us! I created a master list based on the super sized master list on these boards & was glad I didn't take most of it. We'll pack much lighter next time!
We stayed in an Ocean view on the Empress deck in what I deemed a perfect location, it was easy to get to everything. I learned the layout of the ship pretty quickly, finding shortcuts to different areas, & Hubby said I was already too comfortable LOL. Room was a decent size, but read here the Fantasy's bathrooms are larger than other ships â€“ YIKES LOL. I'd hate to see what other ship bathrooms look like!
We hung stuff up in the closet from the garment bag but for the most part we never unpacked, just lived out of suitcases. Only unpacked toiletries.
I liked that on one side was some kind of fire station room so it seemed like we really only shared a wall with one cabin â€“ luckily we only heard one fight & after they cursed each other when she told him to get the eff out, he went quietly & that was the end of that drama ... we never saw them face to face. Walls are definitely thin.
Although I read several times Fantasy is this oldest ship in the fleet, she looked very well maintained. Everything was as clean as could be, damn near spotless EXCEPT for the smoking areas. Ashtrays need to be emptied more regularly there (most were overflowing with ashes & butts & when the wind blew went all over the place) & tables need to be cleaned/cleared more often there as well. Hubby did this cleaning himself wherever he/we sat every time we went there. Everywhere else, someone was always cleaning, wiping something down, or painting something. Which leads me to â€¦
Smoking section: Hubby is a smoker, I am not (used to be though). He wasn't happy with the smoking arrangements. It didn't ruin his cruise but he complained often that the permitted areas were too few & far between, & since he had no idea smoking used to be a free for all onboard, he wasn't just rebelling against a new policy. We decided on our next cruise to see if we can splurge for a balcony so that he can smoke in the room without having to walk halfway across the ship.
There was a lot of talk on these boards of a foul odor aboard the Fantasy. I can only state that we never smelled anything foul anywhere at any time, & nobody I cruised with ever mentioned a bad smell anywhere either & we all stayed on different floors (Empress, Main & Upper).
Silent debarkation went well, but if you're doing it to attempt to sleep in a little later as I thought I would/could â€¦ forget that! The self assist crowd will wake the dead LOL! Plus since we were on the Empress level everyone gets on/off there so it's louder. Debarkation is very controlled by the Carnival employees & organized I must add (assuming you go when your level disembarks). But doing the relaxed mode gave us time to enjoy a leisurely hot breakfast with our co-cruisers before going our separate ways.
We left our bags in the room & returned to get debark info from Channel 17, which was helpful as we got to our room just in time for them to call our dreaded debarkation number. Although I wasn't happy to be leaving, I was happy to get off a little earlier so as not to spend a lot of time on those gangways while getting off the ship, I'm sure they're safe but they made me nervous & when I looked behind me there were tons of people that seemed stuck waiting on them. Took about an hour from the time we left our room till we cleared customs & back to reality.
PROs: Dwi, our room steward, was excellent! He knew us by name & greeted us every time we encountered him. He was on point throughout the entire cruise & hubby gave him something extra for doing so.
On a Cruise Critic tipping thread, I wondered aloud why cleaning the room twice a day was necessary (having never cruised before, I could only compare to hotels which clean once a day) & must confess that I loved this perk, especially on port days. We'd go out, come back & the room was clean with fresh towels. We'd take showers & go back out. Return after dinner to fresh towels, etc. & the animal. That was wonderful, it really is the little things sometimes. Clothesline in the shower is nice too & although nothing ever dried fast enough it was nice to have somewhere to put wet suits that was out of the way.
Although we weren't enthused with all of the employees, they do work extremely hard for whatever they're making, although neither of us are fully convinced they make as little as these boards claim and if so, then I still believe Carnival can & should do better. However, the majority of employees we encountered definitely earn the $10/per person per day we're charged in tips.
Lost too much money playing Bingo, but had fun trying. Tried every DOD & they were all tasty, but especially enjoyed the one served on the first day (ordered them several times throughout the cruise) & the one served in the monkey's head ... although it was waaay overpriced (ended up giving it to a kid anyway).
Food was good, we enjoyed pretty much everything we ate. Although we had some issues with the MDR wait staff, I'll give them props for working with our table mates, who were frequently late, somewhat demanding, & usually closed the dining room out during the first seating.
Of course the warm chocolate melting cake was delicious, fave dinner was the St. Louis ribs which fell off the bone. The rum raisin ice cream & bread pudding dessert was absolutely DELICIOUS! Dare I say (as I don my flame retardant suit), that the bread pudding/rum raisin combo was better than the warm chocolate melting cake! Enjoyed everything we ate at the Lido buffet, which was standard buffet fare for the most part & for some reason I loved the chicken fingers & fries. Really enjoyed the French Toast made with raisin bread in the Celebration dining room for breakfast, as well as the hot coffee (best free coffee on the ship to me). Also loved the cherry danishes for breakfast (at buffet & in Celebration). A co-cruiser loved the sushi which was made fresh at a stand near the casino, couldn't stop raving about it & said sushi served in the MDR wasn't as good or fresh. Hubby enjoyed the flat iron steak & ribs. We also enjoyed the southern fried chicken and pastas. Hubby wasn't always happy with the portion size & began ordering two entrees. Fried mozzarella was a nice treat, & the Caesar salad was good each evening. I enjoyed the prime rib (one of my faves in general) & the short ribs in particular were very tender and tasty â€“ even more tender than the filet mignon if you can believe that - could've used that filet mignon as a weapon!
Re: birthday cake you can order via Bon Voyage, although I didn't get to taste it everyone said it was delicious.
I really enjoyed my spa experience. After a co-cruiser raved about the massage she got (except for the heavy selling tactics) I was jealous & went for one myself on Wed. evening but they were booked solid. However, they agreed to honor the port special price of $99 for three services (neck, back & feet) the next morning. On Thursday, I noticed there was another round of bingo occurring at the same time, & they graciously moved my appointment back an hour. Tracey in the spa took good care of me & made me wish I'd splurged for the full body massage (tried not to be greedy since I had one the day before the cruise left Charleston!) I told her up front that I wasn't buying anything & gently advised her to use that time to take herself a longer break in between customers. She LOL, but didn't try it & earned herself a nice tip so I didn't have to deal with that.
Comedy club was the height of our entertainment experience, including the comedic juggler. Comedy club is way too small though, standing room only both nights & we had to get there early to get them. We spoke with one comedian who was being flown out the next day to do a one night stand on another Carnival ship & play golf â€“ what a life, huh?
We enjoyed listening to Henry play at the piano bar every chance we got, & had drinks there several times throughout the cruise. Luckily he wasn't far from our cabin on Empress. Various triviathons held daily throughout the ship were fun as well.
Had no problem using our drink coupons (saw varying Cruise Critic posts on this). There were times when a drink exceeded the $5.75 that they offered to take 2 coupons ... it's cheaper to pay the difference on the one drink but that's up to each individual.
CONs: Reading on these boards about the nonstop picture taking didn't make it easier to deal with. We eventually asked them not to take any pictures of us & ran by them when getting off the ship every chance we got.
Although we were NEVER rude, demanding, and/or nasty to employees, we encountered a few that seemed to have negative attitudes, especially if you weren't willing to spend money. Maybe they were overworked or just having a bad day, but there it is I said it.
Jubilee MDR wait staff (and Celebration wait staff in the mornings) were just okay, not great. Many times at dinner they'd bring food out & just sit it down in front of anybody, not seeming to care who ordered what. Sometimes food was served lukewarm & a few times different people at our table sent food back to be reheated. Many times we asked for sides and/or coffee that were never received, or we'd have to ask several times in order to get it.
The MDR drink waiter was the most annoying â€¦ I know he's just doing his job, but asking every 2 minutes (literally) if I want a drink that I have to keep declining (either because I already have a drink or just don't want one) is annoying. When he didn't like the response, his negative attitude clearly showed on his face & body language. The next day he was serving drinks on the Lido deck & we ordered a few. I said to him, "See why we don't order alcohol at dinner? We do all our drinking poolside!" He laughed, but continued on in the MDR.
He was so unrelenting that one guy at the next table eventually told this waiter that he was an alcoholic & the constant inquiries about drinking were going to make him fall off the wagon â€¦ I don't know if the guy was serious, but it didn't matter because the waiter returned 2.5 minutes later asking again what he wanted & pushing the DOD.
It got to the point where as soon as we saw him coming we'd order a soda or something â€¦ ANYTHING just so he'd leave us alone (which he always did once we ordered a beverage). So I guess mission accomplished in the end â€“ he made Carnival more money & got his tip in the process.
Which leads me to â€¦ and I'm sure this will irk some folks but it is what it is â€¦ Carnival really should teach some of their employees basic English before they just send them out there to the masses â€“ and I'm not just talking about being able to recite what the DOD is or the prices â€¦ although sometimes I suspected employees knew exactly what people were saying and/or asking, & just didn't care.
The two times I got a hot dog from Windows on the Sea (two completely different days & times of day), it wasn't cooked & cold on the inside. Same with the hamburger I got there & Hubby got a good laugh at my luck. I stopped trusting the food in there except for fries. Didn't like the pizza, but I'm a native New Yorker & our pizza is a hard act to follow. Oh well, whatcha going to do, right? Wasn't the end of the world since there were other food choices around.
Nightlife was lacking, there just wasn't enough that interested us. We went to all of the shows, the welcome show was fun. Hubby is a fan of Beatles music & was disappointed that they didn't really sing many of the songs but instead danced to most of them. He enjoyed the old Beatles videos played prior to the show more than the actual show itself!
Music Boardwalk wasn't all that in our opinion. It was almost like hearing music in an elevator but not really listening to it. Not sure if that's the attitude they're going for. I made it a point to go listen to them during the Reggae hour, but early on in the set they were playing "Brick House" by the Commodores. We didn't stay long & I wasn't feeling what little reggae music they did play. I'll give them props for their performance during the Beatles show though, the band truly was the best part of that show!
PORTS: Freeport was just okay, we went to the free beach & enjoyed that. Key West hubby went on the 2-hour waverunner tour of the island & loved that. I tried to go on a parasail tour (just to ride on the boat) but think they got more people who paid for the parasailing activity, & the board left early without me. Fury Watersports refunded my money & I instead enjoyed the pool on the Fantasy for awhile since most people were in port. We enjoyed Nassau most, also visited their free beach and walked through/explored Atlantis. Considering doing a long weekend land vacation there in the future.
RANDOM THOUGHTS: I was pleasantly surprised at how few unruly kids we encountered. Perhaps I just blocked them out though. But it didn't feel like the boat was overrun with kids & I worried about that since school was out.
Yes there were a few rude ones, particularly in & around the glass elevators. We got on with a group of teens & one made a comment about how people were riding the elevators interrupting whatever it was they were trying to do ... I don't know if I inadvertently shot them the look of death, but the others didn't follow up his commentary in our presence.
Running in the cabin halls was out of control at times, though (never looked out to see if it was kids or adults, sounded like kids though). Every single day we heard running, many times late at night. I also saw many little kids hanging & swinging from things they shouldn't have been, while parents stood around glancing in ANY direction other than where their kid was located. Just glad I didn't see any kid get hurt.
I got the impression many kids were just bored & looking for something to do, especially those that were maybe too old for Camp Carnival (or felt like they were too old for it). But I would say the majority of kids/teens we encountered were good, well behaved and well mannered.
I suspect that most of our MDR tablemates removed their tips, because that last night service was horrible. We sat there for a good 20 min. before our food order was taken, although the drink waiter made several stops at our table during this time.
Knowing you are on the last day of your cruise is already a bummer, but what made it worse is watching everything slowly shut down around you. We went to dinner (early seating) & returned to the Lido to find the pool drained & being cleaned. I might have felt deprived if I had not hit the pool & hot tub earlier in the day for one last hurrah. Employee attitudes also seemed to change on the last day, most were less friendly, everything and everybody moved slower, & many employees seemed to have disappeared - probably somewhere prepping for the next go round. Several cruisers commented that they felt now that Carnival had gotten all they could from this crowd it was time to concentrate on the incoming group. But I guess if they don't shut stuff down, some will party until the boat docks in Charleston again LOL.
We took these feelings & thoughts as a good sign that we had fun on this cruise. If we didn't, we would've been packing & counting the hours till we could get off.
Overall, we really enjoyed our first cruise. While I can't say that anything about the cruise or Carnival in general was really horrible, there is always room for improvement in any situation & this was no different. We'll give Carnival another try since we bought a FCC onboard, which we'll use in 2013 for our 10 yr anniversary, looking forward to that.
Good news for Charleston cruisers was cruise director said Carnival will get a new port & probably a new ship there in 2012. Bad news is she didn't think the itinerary would change much on either ship because of the amount of time it takes to get to certain ports from Charleston. We may try to fly out of Florida next time although the drive from GA to SC made this trip a lot cheaper & convenient since we didn't have to pay airfare.
Strangely enough for about 2 days afterwards, at times I felt like things were moving even when I stood still & my stomach was a little queasy. Hubby is sick now with the flu & he doesn't normally get sick easily, so wondered if that was from the cruise but it won't stop us from going again!
I hope this information was helpful to someone cruising the Fantasy. I would definitely cruise on this ship again. Any questions, just ask! I'd love the opportunity to be as helpful to others as people were to me.
We boarded at the Mobile terminal with no delays. Example we were on the ship within 3o minutes of arrival. We live about 40 minutes from the mobile terminal so did not plan the leave our car but we would have our son drive it back for disembarktion.
The weather on the cruise was to coolfor many activities so we enjoyed time on the ship. The shows in the main theater were of good quality . I have seen better and worse.We particularly enjoyed the vintrilquist. Dining was enjoyable here i refer to the people at our table. It would have been hard to find 10 people who could get along with each other so well.
Food was also very well prepared everyone tried the chocolote melting cake and all enjoyed it. I was disappointed with the lido decks food there seemed to be very little choice.
The only problem was the cold weather we had a balcony but could not enjoy it for this reason.