Number of Cruises: 2
Cruise Line: Carnival
Ship: Carnival Fantasy
Sailing Date: December 1st, 2005
Carnival Cruise Line
My husband and I did not enjoy the Carnival Fantasy cruise to Nassau Dec 1st. We had only been on one other cruise before and Carnival just didn't measure up much less exceed our expectations (as the cruise director kept saying in his presentations).
Basically, the things that made us unhappy were:
Ship Layout: We just didn’t like the ship. The layout wasn't good, we couldn't walk "around the ship" and often had to go up one or two decks to go "over" to the other side of the ship (from front to back essentially) and the signage had no connection to our room or deck and there was no crew positioned to help anyone in navigating the corridors or decks, as Royal Caribbean had. As well, the lighting was too dim to read the little map properly and the sign of the boat in between the elevators was useless due to the fact, it wasn't lit so squinting in the dark became the rule. Also this time our cabin was on the outside toward the front of the ship, so we had port holes. Those were nice when it came time to pull into port and at night to look out and see other ships going by in the distance. However, since our cabin was near the front we heard the engines/anchor and things when we came into and left port. It was fairly noisy!
Private parties: I have no idea why a boat would even allow such a practice. This totally excludes the rest of the paying guests on the ship! 2 clubs closed on two different evenings for "private parties", one of which, we were told later had the best band on the ship. Unfortunately we didn’t have the opportunity to check them out. Sad. As well, when we looked in the windows their “private parties” seemed small so that they could have left the club open to other guests. Really ridiculous.
Trash: We noticed that trash and dirty dishes were generally not picked up around the ship… we’d see a coffee cup here or a plastic cup there in main areas, dishes in our hallway on the floor would sit there all day, etc. Basically, the staff was inattentive to these kinds of things.
Regarding the bar staff: Mostly they were inexperienced, and with obvious language barriers. Once I ordered one kind of drink and got something completely different. She just wasn’t paying attention I think. A few made up for the bad experiences with good personalities. One night some guests (in their young twenties) were getting loud and boisterous - trying to break dance on the floor in the main area bar – they were rude and obnoxious and the bartender actually egged them on a few times… there was no security to move them along or tell them to go to their rooms, etc.
Embarking/Disembarking: There was confusion on arriving at the terminal and the "fun pass" we downloaded online was totally useless, it did nothing to expedite the boarding process. Upon boarding we're handed a little color coded map of the boat to find our room, it was too small and hard to read though it did match the sign by the elevators. Exiting of the boat at the finale of the cruise was a total cluster hump. No order, no design, just wait until you here the signal to disembark... instead of taking the ship in sections or decks and making it orderly and without much crowded stress... it was a joke and could have been a serious safety issue as well. Overall, the lines for people boarding and exiting the ship lacked organization, when they did try there weren't enough staff to control people and people cut in front of us and others in the lines because there was a lack of direction especially around baggage pickup. Winding back and forth in between luggage tables while people tried to find their bags was totally unprofessional and just plain stupid. Whoever designed that situation should be fired... and I’m sure it wasn't U.S. Customs because Royal Caribbean had no problems such as these.
Children: Some Camp Carnival thing had counselors who "paraded" some lineup of children through the main bar area on the 9th deck I believe it was, at 9am on Saturday morning singing to the top of their lungs, and all I can say to this is not everyone is there for “this type of entertainment".
Shows: The main show singer Tia Thompson only sang two songs at the show Friday night, spending much of her time preparing three men from the audience in some female get ups in order to “be her backup singers”… it was amusing on an elementary level… guess that’s why the kids who were there enjoyed it. I thought it was bad taste really. We didn't go back to see her Saturday night.
The show was only offered at 10:30pm on Friday night, when that would have been better to have had one later since most people left the ship on Friday to tour Nassau. Plus, kids were at this 10:30 show and it was more adult in theme (I didn't feel it was appropriate for them to be there).
The only two things we did enjoy about the cruise was that our bed was very comfortable with the down pillows and comforter and our wait staff was quite nice to us and somewhat funny at our main late dinner every evening and we had a table of six to ourselves the last two nights. I didn’t have a hair dryer in the room but when I thought to ask for one on the last night, one was promptly provided. (Aren’t these usually in the rooms? I could swear I remember one being in the Royal Caribbean bathroom).
Summarizing, we shall not be cruising with Carnival again. We would rather cruise with Royal Caribbean as we did earlier this year. The Sovereign of the Seas ship was better laid out with more bars/clubs and more to do, no private parties and so forth.