Number of Cruises: 1
Cruise Line: Carnival
Ship: Carnival Fantasy
Sailing Date: August 19th, 2006
Carnival Cruise Lines
Fantasy Cruise Review
We cruised on the Fantasy the third week
of August. We all had a fantastic time which I will detail below.
This was our first cruise and we picked the five day Carnival cruise because of two factors: its affordability and good word of mouth about Carnival. We had some airfare we needed to use by the beginning of September so our decision was made with a little haste. Our party consisted of myself, my wife our two kids (one thirteen and one seven) and my mother.
We arrived in Canaveral the morning of the cruise. Embarkation was a breeze. Lines were long, but there was plenty of personnel to take care of everyone and keep things moving. Before we knew it we were aboard and checking out our rooms and the rest of the ship. We headed up to the Lido deck for some lunch. The band (Innocence) was playing island music and the grills were working to provide all with hamburgers, hot dogs and French fries. My kids still talk about the French Fries. They say they were as good as McDonalds and always available.
Our first evening was spent at our dining room (Jubilee 8:00 pm seating). Our table guests were not very happy and gave the head waiter (Francisco) a lot of problems. Luckily, they moved to a different seating and we did not have to deal with them again. Our personal wait-staff was excellent. Our head waiter entertained our children as well as made sure everything was as we wanted it. Our wine server remembered what we ordered each night and asked if we wanted the same the next evening. And the food was tremendous every meal.
We spent the entire next day at sea. My kids enjoyed exploring the ship. They did not want to partake in the camps available so they did things with us and by themselves. They enjoyed the pools (especially the waterslide) and the mini golf on the sports deck. We spent the day relaxing pool side and attending some information presentations by the ships staff. My youngest wanted the temporary tattoo. At $10 it was advertised to last for 5-6 days but worn off by the next afternoon.
Our first destination was Grand Turk. As previous reviews had mentioned, there is not much to see here so we booked our excursions for this island. My oldest daughter and I decided to swim with the stingrays. My youngest, wife and mother decide to take the semi-submersible boat tour. The Stingray encounter was well worth the cost (around $60 each). My daughter got to kiss a stingray which made a good picture op. My wife and youngest thoroughly enjoyed the semi-submersible tour. Although, if you are prone to seasickness you may want to pass on this. My oldest and I were also able to snorkel right off the beach near Margaritaville and saw plenty off fish.
Our second destination was Half Moon Cay. This private island will turn some people on and some off. To me it was a turn off. Since we were planning to stay the day we decided to rental a couple of half-shell shades. When you rent, you pay at a hut and then have to see the beach attendant to set up the shell. Well, the staff was short that day and it took 45 minutes to find someone and get our shells set up. I enjoy snorkeling and was looking forward to a day of exploring the waters. Well, these waters are as barren as a desert. A blasted wasteland of ground coral sand as far as you can swim. I saw more discarded paper cups than shells and fish. Unsatisfied, I continued to swim until a lifeguard boat came up and told me to return to the swimming area. I hung up the gear at that point. The rest of the family enjoyed the powdery sand and warm water. The kids really enjoyed the kiddie area with its slides and water toys. The cruise ship crew came ashore to provide food and entertainment. My wife and I closed out the day at the grass-hut bar enjoying a pina colada while watching a 20-something guy nearly collapse. He was so drunk they must have had to carry him off the island.
The last port was Nassau. We did our own thing this day. We walked the port area and did some shopping. We went to the Pirates of Nassau museum which the kids really liked. Our time was short and it was hot so we only spent a few hours. Next time we will go see the Atlantis, which we heard good things about from others on the cruise.
Concerning the cruise – We attended the shows each night. They were very good, even for me (shows are not my cup of tea). The kids loved them. The food was great and plentiful. The shops had what you needed and the casino seemed large enough to satisfy those that wanted to gamble. There were plenty of options for nightlife. At least 6 different bars and clubs. Walking the promenade felt like you were walking down the street in Vegas. Different shops and clubs. Real nice.
As for the ship, yes it is old, but I could not have told anyone that. Some of the décor colors seem dated, but it made no difference. One thing that surprised us was that we could feel lots of movement. Unfortunately our rooms were the last two at the end of the Upper Deck. Being situated over the ship’s props we felt constant vibration in our rooms. The boat swayed a lot despite calm seas. I attribute this to sometimes windy conditions. My wife was grateful that she took Dramamine everyday. The rooms were clean and the bed exceptional. Next we will try to move more to the middle of the ship. (we had an outside cabin btw).
My only real complaint about the entire cruise was the constant shilling that went on. I can’t remember many times when I felt that I was not being prompted (urged) to buy something. Excursions, photos, drinks, tattoos, spa treatments, duty free items, jewelry, and even art work were constantly being offered like we were watching QVC. We were constantly photographed and then asked to view and purchase the pictures always with special incentives. We did (my wife could not resist) and spent $130+ on photos. We could even buy the entire bed we slept in. By the end of the cruise, I felt like I could have bought the boat if I offered enough. It was tiresome and bothersome.
That is my only real complaint. Next time I will ignore it all and just enjoy myself. The crew was tremendous also. Our Steward (Rino) must have been the hardest working guy I had ever met. He was up when I got up (sometimes early) and was around when we retired after the shows. Everyone smiled and said hello when you passed. Overall, I would recommend Carnival and the Fantasy.