Carnival Fantasy - Bahamas: Carnival Fantasy Cruise Review by Minidonkey
Overall Member Rating
Carnival Fantasy - Bahamas
Embarkation: Port Canaveral (Orlando)
We chose to book a Carnival cruise at Port Canaveral because the port is very close to where I live which made the choice easy for us. Like I said, I had never been on a cruise before so I relied on reviews from this website as well as from some friends who have been on cruises before. I was told that the Carnival cruise ships are not the most luxurious of the cruise lines, but that they have a good mix of people on them and that they are supposed to be The Fun Ships as their slogan states. Our cruise definitely did have a good mix of age groups and we did have a fun time aboard the Fantasy (for the most part!).
We got a VERY good deal on the price of this cruise by booking in December of 2005 because Carnivals website had a special running called the More 12 Days of Christmas. They took $100 off the price of the cruise for each of us which was great! The one thing I wish I had looked at more closely was the itinerary because we did not spend a great deal of time in the ports. More on that later.
Arrival at the port:
We had a very easy time getting into the port and parking. We were guided over to an area in which our luggage was taken from us and was later placed outside our room within a few hours of boarding. We then drove over to a parking area in which we left the keys to the car to be parked valet.
This boat looks a bit old but is still kept neat and clean. It also was smaller than I expected, but I of course had no point of reference since it was my first cruise. There were only TWO places to eat and that disappointed me. I always heard there was so much food available on cruises and I didnt think there was much available on this cruise throughout the day. They did have some extra buffets set up in the very late evenings (around midnight or so).
The shopping was basically non-existent on board. There is a gift shop in which they sell generic Caribbean merchandise because I guess they do not want to change their products to ones specific to the locations the cruise is headed to at the moment. Everything else in the shop says Fantasy or Carnival on it. There was one other shop across the hall that sold jewelry, make-up, and perfume duty free. The room:
We stayed in the least expensive, inside stateroom. The room was plain but clean. I do recommend spending a little extra on a room with a window. It was difficult waking up without natural lighting. The bathroom had a small shower but it wasnt as small as I expected. The bathroom had a small basket of complementary toiletries (shampoo/condition, his/her razors, lotion, toothpaste, . There were no bath robes provided.
The only scheduled entertainment that we went to see during our cruise was the nightly shows in the Universe Lounge. I definitely recommend getting to the lounge early if you would like to be able to see the stage! The room is 2 stories but is poorly designed as I couldnt see over in the majority of the seats on the second floor. Maybe the seating on the first floor is better; however, the older folks always beat us to the lounge because I think it was what they looked forward to all day.
I had a hard time finding things to eat, but then again I am a very picky eater. The only meat I eat consists of poultry so the fancy dining room didnt leave me many options. We only decided to eat in there on formal night, so I am not the person to ask about that dining room. We checked out the menu during the day and they served things like duckling, filet minion, lobster, etc. We spent the rest of the time eating at Windows by the Sea which was a buffet that had a different theme each night (e.g. Italian, Indian, etc). It also had a 24-hour pizzeria and deli inside as well. I would have liked to see more options for food on board. The buffet was only opened limited hours during the day so if you were out at a port and wanted to eat when you came back on board, usually the dining rooms were closed. They had a soft-serve ice cream machine in the Windows by the Sea restaurant too and you could access it 24 hours/day as well. Shore Tours:
We only took 1 excursion and it was at the island of Grand Turk. THANK GOODNESS we took a shore excursion at this port because it is basically a deserted island!! Carnival recently opened this port in February 2006 and it is still bare. There is a Jimmy Buffet Margaritaville shop, bar and pool and I think maybe 4 stores in the straw market to choose from. Anyway, we took the Ultimate Snorkeling tour and it was great. We saw some beautiful coral reefs, lots of pretty fish, and some sting ray. I would definitely recommend this excursion because we had a blast.
On Half Moon Cay, Carnivals private island, there wasnt much besides the chairs on the beach either. We chose to snorkel on our own that day and only saw some sand dollars. The reefs are too far to swim out to on this island. If youd like to see sting rays on this island, you can walk down a path that is labeled Sting Ray Cove or something like that and you can watch the people on the excursion swimming with the sting ray. They have the sting ray in a pen and there is a guide who feeds the sting ray. We went down there to watch because I wasnt interested in being penned up with sting ray myself.
Our third port was Nassau. Here we paid $25 for a tour of the island. We were greeted at the port by a herd of taxi drivers asking to give us tours, so we went with 2 other couples on a tour of the island. It was a 2-hour tour and we were able to see a good portion of the island that day. It was pouring down rain while we were there, so it gave us something to do. I would definitely recommend paying $6 for the ferry right at the port that will take you round trip to Paradise Island which is where the Atlantis Hotel is. Once at the Atlantis Hotel, pay $29 for the wrist band that will give you access to the 600 ft. aquarium if youd like to see some beautiful fish.
Getting off the ship:
What a NIGHTMARE. I HIGHLY recommend going ahead and hanging on to your luggage so that you can leave first thing in the morning on the last day of the cruise. Otherwise, you will sit for hours on the boat waiting for your floor of the ship to be given permission to leave; however, if you choose this option, your luggage will be waiting for you on a conveyor belt. Once you get off the boat, you will have to wait in a very long line for the valet service to retrieve your car. I wish they just let us find our own car and not do valet, but that was not an option.
Carnival Fantasy was more of a bargain cruise in my opinion. I would recommend it for short getaways but I do not think I would travel with them again because there wasnt enough time spent in the ports. I think I would rather pay a bit more for a nicer ship as the majority of the Carnival cruise was spent on ship with only 5-6 hours at each port!! Pay close attention to the itinerary of the cruise before you choose it. Less
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