This was my 2nd cruise with my husband (both 40's), first one was on Princess, we wanted to leave from Charleston so that was the main reason we choose this cruise. After discussing the cruise with my husband yesterday after being home 2 wks, I decided to write this review and give a few suggestions along the way and I hope this will help someone make a decision that might be on the fence like I was on taking this cruise since so many reviews I read was from 1st timers or only Carnival cruisers.
The pros for us was the location of the port, being close to where we were headed to after the cruise, and not having the added of airfare since we are from Tn. We have visited Charleston on quite a few trips so we decided to not stay in downtown and save money and stay about 7 miles out, savings of around $150 since we went a day early to enjoy Charleston before cruise. If you have not gotten the chance to explore this beautiful city please go a couple of days early and do so, you will not be disappointed! Additional pros were: 2. food was good.. not great but good 3.ship was clean 4. service was good 5. stateroom service was excellent cabin always clean and fresh towel 6. shows were very good
Two of the things that concerned me ended up being the biggest downfall for me on this cruise and that was, the ship only having one pool and only hot tubs in the Serenity area (over 21 part of ship). That being said I will listen to my gut next time when something like that makes me wonder.
The cons for us both were 1.the location of the only very small pool it was located behind a stage so it could only be seen if you got a seat on the top level in front of it or right in front of it plus it was so cold my legs went numb 2. The music was loud and I am not an easy listener but it was horrible even for us, it sounded very distorted not sure if it was from the too high of volume or the sound system was old either way terrible 3. Someone needs to let Carnival know that everyone does not want to hear thump and bump from 8am until... the selection was as bad as the volume, understanding they are trying to create a party atmosphere please give some diversity to everyone that is wanting to at least try to hang out in that area, we never heard any island music or any other type except for a few country songs one day, I live in Tn and love country but and I am on a cruise folks Buffett might be a great idea note to Carnival 4. No chairs seriously no chairs if you get there past 9 suggestion to Carnival buy a few more! 5. Serenity section on back of ship is great once again not enough chairs 6. Serenity only has hot tubs it's 90 degrees outside and sunny suggestion to Carnival turn down the heat we don't want to sit in 102 degree hot tub at least make one cool water where we can cool off since we don't have a pool back here 7. No music at all in Serenity none very boring bring your ipod. 8. drink prices over the top and very weak be prepared 8. ship has been updated but it had an 80's feel to it 9. did not care for Freeport felt like it was a wasted port at best you must take shuttle somewhere because you are dropped of in the middle of an industrial lot 10. Room service too limited in selection mostly sandwiches 11. no fridge in room
We both came to the same conclusion for this cruise and please keep in mind we did the Princess cruise first so we did have something to compare it to and one reason we decided to try a few cruise lines to see which ones suits us best. In our opinion this is a budget cruise at best, great for the first time cruiser, younger crowd or like many those who live close to port. We went with no expectations and knew this was going to be a fun cruise for us which was exactly what it was. Do not expect a beautiful ship or a luxury experience. If you are not young at heart or you wish for that extra pampering this might not be your ship. That being said we said we enjoyed the experience but we would not take again. I feel Carnival lives up to what they advertise and it is a party type line that caters to the 20's and 30 yr that want a vacation at an affordable price. I did see alot of different ages on this ship but this only my opinion and I am sure older passengers would might disagree with me. Personally for the money we spent we know that for a few hundred more we can get a much nicer and well balanced cruise with Princess and other cruise lines as well. We travel often and love the whole cruising experience and I don't think there is ever a bad cruise or vacation only good, better, and best. I hope you will find this review helpful and answers any questions you might have about the Fantasy. Happy cruising!!