This was our first cruise. I don't have any other cruise experience to compare our cruise to, but we were very impressed with this ship! The ship is absolutely beautiful and clean. We drove to Venice and parked right at the port.
Since we have no babysitters near us, we brought our 2 year old and 5 month old along. We knew this was going to be stressful at times, but we were surprised at how easy embarkation and disembarkation was. They gave us "priority boarding" since we had babies and were sent to the front of the lines during embarkation and were on the ship in our cabin within an hour. We received our luggage about 2 hours later.
We had a balcony cabin and it looked exactly like the pictures on the MSC website.
We immediately went to eat lunch since it was about 1300. We ate at the buffet. The food was great for being buffet food. We purchased the Allegressimo drink package and we found it was well worth the price! We enjoyed unlimited different coffees, ice-creams, smoothies, beer, wine, and sodas.
All of the staff adored my baby. Every time we walked past a waiter or someone who worked on the ship, they would gasp and run up to us and laugh and talk to my children. This was such a huge relief because I was worried people would look down upon us for bringing young children on the ship. Every time my two year old started to cry or throw a fit, a crew member would try to calm down and entertain my son. This was great for us.
The only thing I didn't like about the Fantasia was that there were not many things to do with my 2 year old. All of the children's clubs are for ages 3+, and even the pools do not allow children who are not potty trained. Many other parents allowed their babies to run around in the pools any how, but we didn't want to get in trouble, so we stayed away from the pools.
The itinerary for this cruise was the reason I booked it. I loved all of the ports we stopped at! We just strapped our children into our backpack carriers and hopped off the ship each day and explored on our own.
I do have a complaint about a lady who worked in the shore excursion office. Every morning before we reached Corfu, we would receive a flyer that said they were offering an excursion for families who would like to go to the beach. It would be 85 euro for a 4 hour trip, including a little tour around the town and a stop at a beach. We went to the excursion office to sign up for this, but the lady said children under 16 couldn't go on the trip and it doesn't stop at the beach (Even though the flyer said BEACH trip for families, and there was going to be a mini club entertainer to entertain the little kids!). She had no idea what she was talking about. We went back the next day and spoke to someone else who signed us up for the excursion with no problems.
The excursion ended up getting cancelled (probably because that lady kept turning families away who wanted to sign up!) so we signed up for the regular beach tour instead. It was pricy, but it was so worth it! We were bussed to a little beach area that hardly had any tourists and it had a bouncy house and playground for children. It was a beautiful spot and we were given a beach chair and a free drink.
I also have to mention that I loved our balcony cabin. It was clean and had enough room for a crib for my son to sleep in. The man who cleaned our cabin came twice a day was very nice and always put out animal-shaped towels for my son! We stayed on deck 10 near the elevator. Even though we were near the elevator, we hardly heard any noise outside of the cabin. We were able to order complimentary room-serviced breakfast! This was a great convenience for us so we did not have to get up early and go to the mad-house buffet with our children. We were able to enjoy coffee or hot chocolate on our balcony and enjoy the beautiful view of the sea.
Overall, I would cruise with MSC again. I was impressed with the cleanliness of the ship and the delicious food and the kind crew members. Next time I will do more research on toddler-friendly cruises.