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Jim Swift

Age: 34

Occupation:Systems Engineer

Number of Cruises: 2

Cruise Line: Carnival

Ship: Carnival Fantasy

Sailing Date: July 17th, 2006

Itinerary: Bahamas

Carnival Cruise Lines
Fantasy Cruise Review
Bahamas

Jim Swift

My wife and I decided that we would take a cruise for our 13th anniversary and we chose the Carnival Fantasy for our trip.

Boarding was a little hectic. We had VIP boarding status and proceeded to the VIP office upon arrival at the port. The representative in the VIP office was completely swamped when we arrived with one family of 6 who had evidently not filled out any paperwork before they arrived (there are always a few on every cruise). We waited patiently and were escorted to the main check-in desk and checked-in and on the boat in less than 10 minutes (including pictures).

We enjoyed lunch in Windows of the sea and then proceeded to our room. We booked a guaranteed category 11 suite room and were fortunate enough to get a bump to the penthouse suite. The room was amazing with a whirlpool tub, walk-in closet, mini-bar, and private balcony. Our room steward was OUTSTANDING and must have cleaned the room 2 or 3 times a day.

The first night we skipped main dining and opted for the buffet. On formal night and for the rest of the cruise we dined in the celebration dining room where our server (Costel) did an AMAZING job. Formal night was crowded but the other nights were slower and he took some time to sit and talk with us. When we saw him on Half moon cay and on the ship, he immediately knew who we were (calling us by name) and greeting us with a smile.

Grand Turk – The island was nice, although we never made it past Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville. They really should tell people about this place in the Carnival Capers. Had we known in was here we would have worn on swim suits and taken advantage of the pool. By the way, the DJ at this place is great!

Half Moon Cay – A nice island. We had been to Royal Caribbean’s private island and Carnival’s does have more activities. If you find a piece of shade, HANG ON TO IT!!! There is very little shade on the island (RCCL had shade trees, hammocks, and the like) so when you find some shade, you’ve got some prime real estate. We did the glass bottom boat excursion which was nice. Even though the seas were calm, the boat moved A LOT, which made several of us nauseas. I would definitely not do it again. We did enjoy the sun and sand and the crystal clear waters of Half Moon Cay and recommend the island if you are a true beach lover.

Nassau – What can I say? We shopped till we dropped and then shopped some more. We had been to Nassau before and chose to take advantage of the shopping rather than any shore excursions. We found something for everyone (including ourselves) and the prices were great. Make sure when you go to Nassau you stay in the port area if you are walking. There are some areas close to the port that you simply don’t want to venture in to.

Disembarking – ABSOLUTELY RIDICULOUS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We went to the disembark talk and everyone was told not to congregate in the atrium or the hallways. We were to find a lounge or go to our designated area for early flights or shore excursions (we had booked a Kennedy Space Center Tour and were told to wait in Cleopatra’s lounge with the early flight people). Everyone on our tour was given a VIP badge for priority disembarking at 7:45 a.m. (there were 9 of us). Evidently, our group was the only one who listened and followed the rules because everyone else waited in the atrium. When the ship was cleared, all hell broke loose as people ran for the exits. We were placed on the floor above the exits and nobody bothered to bring us down for priority disembarkment. At 9:45 a.m. we finally made it off the ship and cleared customs. We found out tour person who was extremely upset that we were late (the tour for Kennedy had left over an hour before we arrived). The tour company had to arrange for transportation for the 9 of us to Kennedy so we could catch up with our tour group and we missed the first 3 hours of our 5 hour excursion. When we did arrive at Kennedy, we were not given the opportunity to put any carry-on luggage on the tour bus so we had to carry it in through KSC security. At 11:00 a.m. we finally caught up with our tour (after missing the IMAX movies, which I was told were the best part of the tour). The rest of the tour was great. Definitely check it out if you get the chance.

I contacted Carnival the morning of the shore excursion (from the port parking lot while waiting on transport to Kennedy) as well as from the airport and was told that guest relations representatives were not in on the weekends and I would have to call back on Monday. I phoned Monday and a “folder was opened” for my complaint about the shore excursion. Tuesday I phoned back and was told that my wife and I would each receive a $50 on board credit on our next cruise (we paid $89 each for the excursion to Kennedy). I was told that we could have gotten a complete refund if we had phoned on Saturday or if we had contacted the shore excursion desk. The shore excursion agent was no where around when we were getting off the boat so talking with him was not an option and Carnival does not post their guest relations number on any of their tickets or billing materials (you have to call someone at carnival and have them give it to you). So now I have two $50 on board credits that I have to sail with Carnival in order to use. I may decide to try Carnival again, but will NEVER cruise on the Fantasy. On top of the disembarking fiasco, the ship moved entirely too much (we felt it every day and one of the shows even had to be stopped in the middle because of the movement). If you want to cruise and have a good time, stick with Royal Caribbean. They are cheaper and will give you much better service.
 

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