Number of Cruises: 14
Cruise Line: Carnival
Ship: Carnival Fantasy
Sailing Date: January 26th, 2005
First of all this isn't Carnival bashing. We usually sail on Royal Caribbean but took this cruise as part of a group. We went with open minds even after reading dismal reviews of the Fantasy. Embarkation was smooth. The ship didn't look too impressive upon entry. We found our room U133. It was an outside cabin, not too bad size wise, bedding was very nice. Never met our cabin steward although the room was always attended.
The layout of the ship is very hard to navigate. I understand that the ship has been updated but the decor seemed very mis-matched and worn. The lighting through out the ship is very dismal.
We only ate in the dining room once. The food was ok. The service was ok. The waiter never introduced himself. Never gave any suggestions as to the menu. We never saw a cocktail server in the dining room. Our group would have certainly ordered drinks if given the opportunity. We decided to forgo the dining room experience from that night on. Note on the food. I don't think it's as good as RCCI. As an aside I think RCCI's food has been suffering lately. The variety of food was not there. You pretty much stuck with hamburger's or hot dogs.
The lack of service was very surprising. We never saw any waiter's in any of the bars. We did self serve all the way. Even the piano player had to try and find a waiter for his customers. That was probably the worst thing about the whole trip.
One thing I do have to say is that the entertainment was excellent. Much better that most of the RCCI cruise's I've been on. I can't speak for the shows, we didn't go, but the Catz Lounge Band, the pool-side band and the entertainment in the lobby bar were great. That made up for the lack of service.
Carnival has a reputation on being "Party Ships" and this being a 3 day week-end cruise I didn't expect anything else. The presence of security guards at the different clubs seemed to deter any problems. I will say that when any one got out of line they were escorted out quickly.
We didn't do any shore excursions just toured Nassau on our own.
Leaving the ship was pretty smooth. We opted for carrying our own luggage, as most of the passengers did. It made it a bit faster but carrying bags up stairs and then down stairs can be a bit of a problem. There really were no bags at baggage claim.
In summation I wouldn't choose to cruise the Fantasy again. It was a saving grace that we were with a big group, we made our own fun! The lack of attention to detail is very evident in all aspects. It is a value priced cruise and if you remember that you won't be disappointed. I will have to say comparing apples to apples that RCCI Sovereign of the Seas which sails from the same port is a much better value. You can party as much as you want on that ship but can escape it if you want. The food is better and the service is 100% better. Note that Carnival adds the gratuity directly to your bill. It was 60.00 for the cabin and the dining room. We didn't bother to dispute that we didn't eat in the dining room. I know those worker's don't get paid much money.
In conclusion I wouldn't sail on the Fantasy again. If you want a well rounded cruise experience for 3 or 4 day from Pt. Canaveral I would opt for RCCI. If you want to party for less then the Fantasy is a wise choice.