Number of Cruises: 1
Cruise Line: Carnival
Ship: Carnival Fantasy
Sailing Date: April 29th, 2006
Carnival Cruise Lines
Fantasy Cruise Review
My husband and I traveled on the Carnival Fantasy for our honeymoon. We had been together for nine yesrs before our wedding so we wanted something really special. We chose a cruise because we had heard so many great things about them and decided upon Carnival because of the value and reputation. Neither my husband or I had ever cruised before so in preparation for the event, I searched the internet for as much information as I could find. I found it misfortunate that so many people were so negative over the smallest things. Nothing is perfect in life and it is what you make of your situation that will result in you enjoying your time or not. I did find many reviews helpful -- I added some things to my packing list because of them and it was nice to have an idea of what to expect, wear, etc. Thanks to all of those reviewers out there who were positive and made good suggestions for future cruisers.
We were originally supposed to be on the Carnival Sensation but due to engine issues on that boat, all five day Bahamas cruises out of Port Canaveral are now on that Fantasy. The Fantasy is Carnival's oldest ship and although it has been on the seas since 1991 and had who knows how many people onboard, we thought it was in great shape. The decor was a little Vegas-like but it is a vacation and different can be good.
The boarding procedure was simple -- it really speeds the process along to fill out your Fun Ship Pass online and print it off. I had all of our papers (Fun Ship Pass, birth certificates, drivers licences, credit card and blue reservation booklet) in a zip-lock bag on my carry-on for easy reference and for safe-keeping -- it helped a lot. After checking in and receiving our room keys and Sign and Sail cards (information about your Sign and Sail cards will come in the mail with your reservation packet) we waited in line to board the ship. The line was not long and there were chairs available in line for those who wanted to sit. They took our picture (the first of many!) and then we boarded the boat.
We entered the Grand Spectrum -- you have to see it to believe that you are actually on a boat and not in a huge hotel. We took our carry-on and headed up to the Lido deck for some food. They had a nice selection of grilled items (hamburgers, hotdogs, chicken, etc) and more food was available in the Windows on the Sea restaurant (directly behind the Lido Deck). We grabbed some food, had a seat and made some last-minute cell phone calls to our family. We were excited and exhausted (14 hour drive to the port the night before) and could not wait to set sail!
After eating we headed up on deck to watch us leave the port -- the wind was very strong! We lounged on some chairs, shared a drink and then headed down to find our room. When we arrived, my bag was already there (it was around 2:00). My husbands bags came within a half hour of us getting to the room. The room was a lot more spacious than what I was expecting. We had an interior room. The bed was comfortable and the room and bathroom were very clean. There was ample closet space for our clothes (hanging and folded) as well as space on the bottom of the closet for our shoes. We had a little vanity area with drawers and a large mirror. We were very pleased with the room. We brought along a battery powered alarm clock (they also have wake-up calls, though), sunscreen, pens, magazines, lots of film for the camera and high expectations -- our expectations were met and exceeded!
The emergency drill was no big deal -- there were life preservers in the room in the closet -- the cruise director let us know when to go and there were plenty of signs that led the way to our waiting area.
We spent that first evening exploring the ship and ate dinner in the Celebration Dining Hall. We were seated with two other couples about the same age as us -- we had nice conversations the entire length of the cruise. The food was great and the service could not have been better. They were all prompt and courteous and remembered from that very first night what you liked to drink, what kind of bread you liked, if you took coffee after the meal, etc. If you ordered something and did not like it, they were quick to replace it with a meal of your choice. You could order as many appetizers, entrees and deserts as you wanted. We chose the late seating (8:30) and it worked for us -- it gave us plenty of time to shower and all after being on shore and we did not feel rushed. And since it was our honeymoon, we wanted something a little more romantic with fewer small children and that is exactly what we got. The Pumpkin Soup (sounds strange, I know) was heavenly!
We stared to take in one of the shows but I started not feeling well. We had both taken Bonine the night before but my stomach is sensitive anyway so we headed back to the room about 11:00 and we both fell asleep.
The next day I felt great (I think not feelin well the night before was the rough seas and being so tired from driving). We booked our room near then middle of the ship and hardly felt the ship move. The first evening and into the first day the seas seemed pretty rough -- even some of the crew said it was rockier than usual. Just remember to take some motion sickness meds and to use the handrails and give yourself time to get used to the new sensation of being out in the middle of the ocean!
Our first day was spent on the sea and we took total advantage of the lounge chairs. There are plenty of chairs and I did not see people reserving them like I had feared (from reading too many reviews!). There were several decks you could go on -- every view was great! We laid out some in the morning and then went and ate some lunch and explore the ship some more. We laid out some more in the afternoon (we both fell asleep -- the slight rocking combined with the sound of the water and the warm ocean breezes -- boy, writing this makes me want to go back even more!!). Our formal night was that night so we went to the Captain's reception and then dinner. The Captain's Reception featured free cocktails and appetizers.
Every evening we had our picture taken (there are several different backdrops available each evening, color and black and white). I am a photo freak so my husband and I had to hit every photo opportunity that presented itself. We ended up buying three 8x10's and three 5x7's (the five by sevens were at the different ports of call). We also ordered one of the 8x10s in a package to share with our family. The quality of the photos makes it difficult to decide what photos to pick!!
The nest day was Grand Turk. We did not book any shore excursions. We walked along the beach until we reached Governor's Beach -- we hung out there for a little while (lounge chairs are free for your use). We then headed back to the port area where we went into the little shops. They are obviously just now building the port area so there were many shop areas not filled yet, but that was okay with us --we wanted to save some money! We sat by the pool that was available and listed to some music and drank some cool drinks. We walked along the beach some more, took tons of pictures and then headed back on the boat. We sunned for a little bit until the boat left port.
Half Moon Cay (the next day) is absolutely beautiful. The water is a greenish-blue and is so clear and clean! We rented a shade cover for out chairs so we would not back in the sun all day and headed for the water. The water was chilly but we got used to iit once we were in there for a little bit. We had brought an underwater camera with us on the cruise (if you buy one on the boat you will pay almost double for it) and took advantage of it's water-resistancy. We relaxed on the beach all day (we walked to one of the furher swimming areas to avoid a lot of people congestion. The weather was beautiful and words cannot do justice to the beauty and wonder of the island! They have nice walk ways for you to access the different areas of the island (very small since the island is uninhabited) and there are bar areas as well as shopping available. This is a wonderful place to sit back, relax and sock up the realization that you are on vacation in the Bahamas! Every picture you take here could be a postcard!
Nassau is much more developed than any of the other ports we visited. Since we had been doing so much water and sun the past few days, we decided to visit the historical areas of Nassau as well as hit some of the shopping opportunities! We had listened to the shopping talk done by the shopping expert on Fantasy and stopped by her desk to get some awesome saving coupond and give-aways from the merchants. When we first disembarked at Nassau it was a little after eight so none of the shopping areas were open so we walked to the Queen's staircase and the water tower. Since it was so early in the morning it was cool enough to head up the hill! The Queen's stiarcase was interesting but the water tower was closed to you could not walk up to the top. We went to the fort located right next to the water tower and were able to see across the island that way.
We found a little shop near the water tower that had shirts four for ten dollars so we got some for our family and by then it was time to shop. We had a fun time walking to all of the shops on our shopping map and ended up with a bunch of stuff to take home with us! We took pictures and headed back to the boat.
We went to the disembarkation talk -- go to it. It provides you with all of the information you need to know to get yourself and your belongings ready to leave the ship.
It was sad that last night knowing that our trip was coming to an end but we were so thankful that we had the opportunity to experience all that we had. We did not encounter one rude staff member -- they were all so friendly and helpful and they always had smiles on their faces. They are exceptional people doing exceptional jobs!
Disembarkation went smoothly -- we had decided to carry of our bags ourselves -- kind of scary once we passed through customs (which was a breeze) to see that we had to take our luggage down escalators but it is much easier than it sounds or looks! We had our car valet parked and once we turned in our ticket, we had our car in about ten minutes (it was nice not to have to lug our luggage around in search of our car).
This was truly a wonderful vacation. You can do as much as you want on the ship, or as little. Your attitude will make or break your trip -- just be positive, breathe in that ocean air, relax and enjoy yourself -- you are on vacation!