I sailed on the Carnival Fantasy out of Charleston last week. I traveled with my husband, 5 year old son, and another family of four (mom, dad, 14 and 15 year old girls). We stayed in room M108' which is an interior room. We prefer interior rooms due to the pitch darkness...makes for a great night's sleep!
The main reason we chose this cruise was because of the close proximity to home (about four hours from our home in Georgia). The Charleston port was easy to navigate. Parking at the terminal was $85 for the week. The whole process was quick and smooth.
We boarded the ship and immediately went to check out our rooms. Our room had a king and a trundle and our friends had a king and two bunks. If you've been on Carnival, you know what the room looks like... small but plenty of room to sleep, shower, and change. I took the advice of several on this site and brought an over the door plastic shoe holder. Best idea EVER!!!! It was a wonderful organizer and an amazing space saver!!! Our luggage had not arrived, so of course we went to find something to eat. We ended up getting lunch from the grill by the pool (burgers, hot dogs, chicken fingers, fries, etc.). It was yummy!
After eating, we checked our room again and our luggage had arrived so we unpacked. I unpack everything! I do not enjoy living out of suitcases. We then explored the ship and got our bearings including where the teen clubs were. We also went to the meeting about the teen clubs and made sure the kids were signed up (we had previously signed them up online). We went back to our rooms to get ready for dinner.
This is the first time we have chosen anytime dining. The first night we had to get a pager and wait about 10 minutes for a table. We got a horrible table and a very mediocre waiter (which has never happened to us on a cruise before). All of the other nights we were seated right away, at better tables, and with better waiters. We will probably not do anytime dining again. The flexibility was great but the dining experience was NOT at all the same as assigned. The personalization was missing as well as the wait staff entertainment. As for food, we loved just about everything...especially the flatiron steak, lobster, shrimp, beef stroganoff, and of course the warm chocolate melting cake!
We saw the new show with a Detroit theme (can't remember the name). Good music but just an okay performance. The kids went to there clubs and had a blast and we went to the casino to play the slots.
The first day at sea we slept in and spent most of our day laying out on the deck and watching the kids (and adults) go down the slides. Even though carnival says that saving lounge chairs isn't allowed....everyone apparently does it because it was very difficult to find chairs. We had to stalk people for awhile but we were able to get two and then two more opened up after a bit.
Our first stop was Nassau. It took about 30 min to get off the ship, big pile up in the hallways and stairwells going down. We decided to try to go get day passes at Atlantis. The excursion through Carnival was $189.00 per person so we thought we would take our chances on our own. We took a water taxi for $4 pp. not the best idea. It was a 10 minute ride but we had to wait until they filled the boat and it took us about an hour all together. I would take a van taxi next time. The aquaventure passes to Atlantis were $129.00 pp ($80 for kids 12 and under). We got them no problem and enjoyed our day. It was lots of fun but VERY spread out. I'm glad we did it but we probably won't do it again. We took a van taxi back for $4pp and it was very quick and easy. So all told, it ended up being $137.00pp for the passes and transportation.
Our second stop was Freeport. We made arrangements ahead of time with a private company, Pat and Diane's, to go on a snorkeling excursion. It was AWESOME!!!!!! Someone from the company met us right off the boat and bussed us to the boat. We paid ($42.50 pp) and got right on and fitted for our gear. The boat was fantastic...it had a grill area waterslide into the ocean and a rock wall. They took us out to a reef and off we went. The water was perfect and the reef and fish were plentiful and beautiful! Laura, our guide, was very knowledgable and super friendly. It was a wonderful excursion. We spent the rest of the day eating and straw market shopping. The same bus took us back to the ship.
On our next day at sea, we slept in again and then went back to the deck to enjoy the weather. We also did some shopping, gambling, eating, and card playing. We chose to do self disembarkation so we packed late. Disembarkation in Charleston is silent so you watch the tv to see when to get off. We were in our cars by 9:15.
Highlights: teen clubs, family comedy show, 24 hour frozen yogurt, food, great picture opportunities, snorkeling, sun, and friendly staff! We loved Carnival Fantasy!