We had a great time on the Fantasy! We flew in a day early and stayed at the Residence Inn by Marriott at the port. I can't recommend this hotel enough. Large, clean rooms, nice decor, and a great breakfast is served in the mornings. We had rented a car from Budget at the airport, and returned it the morning of the cruise around 10:45. We were promptly shuttled to the port, and went thru security and were checked in within a matter of minutes. We were told boarding would start around 11:30, but it was more like 12:00, but that was okay because we had seats to sit in and were comfortable.
We found the ship to be very clean and in good condition. The colors aren't to my taste, but that's okay. We have only cruised once before on Sovereign of the Seas, and I think I like their public areas decor better. However, the staterooms and showers on the Fantasy are much nicer and more spacious, and the bedding is terrific like everyone says. I especially liked the Promenade deck on the Fantasy. It is gorgeous, with plenty of space to just kick back and enjoy a drink. Look for the Via Marina.
Our room steward, Hadi, was terrific. Every need was taken care of. We got to have a long conversation with him one night, and he told us all about his job and family. He misses his family very much, and nearly cried when talking about them. It made me really appreciate what the crew does to take care of their families. Hadi is going to take a 2 month vacation in June, and was so excited to go home. He said it had been 6 months since he had seen them. He also told dh and me about his duties. We learned that he has 2 assistants helping him, and he does the beds and dusting, and someone else does the bathrooms. If you clean the bathrooms, you aren't allowed to make beds, and vice-versa. We found that interesting. Also, if he cleans a room that is being used by someone who is ill, he cannot do the other rooms for fear of cross-contamination. He also said that if someone rings him with a request during his off hours, he has to fully dress in his uniform before he can come up to that deck. So he tries to make sure every need is met before going off duty. We brought a cooler and some drinks along, and he kept us with ice. However, we decided it was too much trouble, and next time we'll just buy what we want on board. I cannot sing Hadi's praises enough..he was a terrific steward!!
We did room service for breakfast. It was very prompt. For lunch, we did the Lido grill, pizza, or deli sandwiches. All were very good. We never did eat at the buffet (Windows by the Sea) I always buzzed by it, but the other choices always interested me more. We liked SOS's buffets better, but liked that Carnival offers the deli and grill items, because we didn't get that from RCCL. Dinner was eaten in the Jubilee dining room every night. Our wait team, Koran and Armando, were excellent. We were allowed to order 2 entrees at once, or two desserts, etc. A couple of times we didn't like what was on the menu, so we ordered steaks with baked potatoes. Be sure to try the melting chocolate cake...it's devine! The food was very good...not excellent, but very good. I was surprised at the way people dressed. We had seen shorts in the dining room! Also, some people were really underdressed for formal night. I even seen an older gentleman wearing sweat pants!! But we had fun, and didn't let that bother us. They had two midnight buffets, one was the Gala, but IMO they had a lot of weird food and I couldn't find anything I liked. But I was full from dinner anyway, so that wasn't a biggie. The Mexican buffet was really good. Carnival, IMO, didn't come close to the midnight buffets that we had on Sovereign, but again, it wasn't that big of a deal. They make up for it in other areas. Like...
The shows and entertainment were great! We went every night. The Fantasy dancers really put a lot of work into their productions. Marahscalh Stanton, the cruise director, is wonderful! I don't think they could find anyone who could do his job any better. I especially enjoyed the shows where the audience participated. 3 in our group were actually up on stage at some point during the week, and it was a blast! The night of the captain's cocktail reception, I ran into Marahschalh, and he remembered me, and took me over to the captain and introduced me. It was great. Definitely go to the reception, free drinks, and its just fun to see who runs the ship! The comedians were very funny. We went to both of the midnight R-rated shows and laughed our heads off. The talent show consisted of 3 acts. The first one wasn't very good (we had already heard it during karaoke, and it didn't get any better, LOL) One guy played an acoustic guitar, and he was great. Then an older gentleman sang the blues/jazz and he brought the house to their feet. He was awesome. After his act, Marahscalh sang a little bit, and he was great as well. We also went to the Karaoke bar after the shows and that was a lot of fun.
Grand Turk is nice, but it just wasn't what I had pictured. We paid $3 pp to take a taxi to Governor's beach, and we just weren't that impressed by it. We stayed for a little while, then walked back over to the beach by the dock. Its somewhat of a jaunting walk. You just walk on the beach, but have to get in the water twice to go around some unloading docks. We liked that beach just as well (the one in front of Margaritaville) and Carnival provides lots of chairs to lounge in. The water is clean and it's just a fun beach day. I did walk up to Margaritaville, but it was very very crowded, so I didn't stay long. We wound up going back to the Ship early and got some chairs by the pool and hung out.
Half Moon Cay was gorgeous. Be sure to get their early to rent a clam shell. If not for that, we couldn't have stayed long because it was so hot. The water there is gorgeous and there were fish swimming around us. It was great. The lines to the buffet were very very long. We waited about 45 minutes. But once we did get our food, it was good (especially the jerk chicken). When going to HMC, get to the lounge early to get a ticket. We didn't, and we had to wait about 45 minutes for a tender. However, the other couple we were traveling with got there on the first announcement, and they got to go straight to the tenders. They rented the clamshell for us, and good thing, cause they were all rented when we finally did make it. It was very windy that day, and I think that's one reason it took longer to tender. We were just happy that we got to go at all!
Nassau rained us out. It was pouring. We hadn't brought an umbrella, so we took our beach towels and covered out heads with them. We went to the straw market for a couple of hours, then went back to the ship. The line to get checked in was really long, about a 20 minute wait, but we were so soaked that it didn't make a difference. We had originally planned on taking the jitney to the Whyndam hotel. Maybe next time. A carnival employee was waiting with dry towels for everyone once we got back on board. That was a nice gesture, and it was nice to get one, cause we were very cold.
The morning of debarkation, we waited on the Lido til our colors were called. The line was about 20 minutes to get through. Once outside of the terminal, we walked over and waited for our Budget shuttle to come. Then, we were told to go back to the terminal. We were told there was a "breech of security" and the port was shut down while the bomb squad investigated. One guy told us there was a suspicious bag left in the parking lot, and a man from port authority told us it was a bottle of anti-freeze, so I am not sure which is correct. I didn't time it, but it felt like we waited about 45 minutes before given the all clear. The port authority came around with in the first ten minutes and delivered bottles of water, so we thought we would have to wait for forever, but we didn't. I guess they learned from the Sensation fiasco to hand out water to make people happy!
All in all, this was a great cruise. We had an absolute blast. The ship, even though some places show age (like the colors in some areas), was in great condition, and we couldn't have asked for it to be any cleaner. The staff is the hardest working group I have ever seen (and for those who stiff on the tips, shame on you, cause these people earn every dime they make!) I look forward to sailing with Carnival again and would highly recommend them! Any questions...ask away!