I normally don't post a review, but thought it was appropriate to do so, considering the mixed reviews I read prior to our sailing. Sorry, this may be lengthy, but all an accurate description of our trip.
My husband and I took this cruise for his birthday, first time on the Fantasy ship, but have been on other Carnival ships that are similar, so we already had an expectation.
Charlestons port is slightly awkward. We were able to park and start the process at 11am. Not very efficient, and long lines. We were parked, checked in and on the ship in an hour and a half, where in other ports it typically takes maybe 30/45 min. Once on the ship we were able to head to the Lido deck to eat lunch and relax before our rooms were ready at 1:30 (average time).
We went with an oceanview room with a window, as there are no standard balcony rooms on this ship, only Junior and Grand Suites which are a huge leap in price. We stayed in M139, king bed and ended up having a pull down bed from the wall. This was not a problem, as the bed stays closed and out of the way. Plenty of room for 2 people and a small child, but no more. Bathroom was good size for 1 person at a time and there is a convenient clothes line in the shower to hang wet bathing suits. Closet space was plenty, just not enough hangers, which is understandable. Room stayed nice and cool, and the beds are the most comfortable out of any cruise i have ever been on. One suggestion is if you don't like a larger thick pillow, bring your own, as these are slightly bulky. Our steward was great, she always had ice buckets filled and even had an extra to chill my wine and champagne (1 bottle per guest).
Plenty to do for everyone. The cruise director was great, always involved and high energy. She was just getting over a cold, so her throat gave her some issues after talking for a while.. Casino was great, has both smoking and non smoking sections, and plenty of games. Many bars/clubs with live entertainment throughout the day. 2 shows, The Brits & Motor City... These were wonderful, great talent they have on board. Adult and Family friendly comedy, both comedians were hilarious and lots of different times available. Get there early, or you won't get a seat! The Hasbro Game show and Game of Love show were great, and was cool to see the other passengers getting involved, very entertaining! Lido deck activities by the pool were fun. Hairy Chest contest is always a hoot, Last Man Standing was great and there really was a good variety of music. They played everything from island music, rap, country and old rock & roll.. best variety on both seadays i have heard on any cruise we have sailed on.
Lido buffet always had a great variety and was fresh. The outdoor grill was great, burgers, fries, etc. Mongolian Wok is always packed, really great lo mein, have to stand in line most of the time. 24 hour sandwiches, pizza and room service. Room service had a good variety of sandwiches and salad, also desserts and beverages. We chose anytime dining as we usually do, and enjoyed it yet again. We always sat solo, not with a group and ended up having the same waiter each night, which was great. The MDR had a great everyday menu with pretty normal things and there was a daily menu with more gourmet items and a Didja Ever? appetizer which was always great. We had surf & turf, frog legs, prime rib, tilapia, bacon mac'n cheese, spring rolls, and stuffed mushrooms.. it was all delicious and fresh. Everything came out piping hot, and our main waiter was very attentive. Great little show each night, and the staff seemed to really enjoy it and get everyone involved. We had Breakfast and Brunch in the MDR, both were great. Brunch on our days at sea has a new menu which is very creative. I had french toast rolled in fruit loops, there is a mexican breakfast burrito and thick cut pork chops.. Brunch was our favorite!
Getting on & off the ship was a breeze at both ports. We did the Altantis Aquaventure and Shallow Water Dolphin experience in Nassau, booked through Carnival. They made the process of getting to and from the Atlantis very easy and efficient. This excursion was well worth every penny, will most definitely do this again when we return. We went to the Straw Market before returning to the ship and got Conch Fritters from our favorite place next to the market.. To die for!! We didn't book any excursions in Freeport. Took a taxi $20 round trip for 2, to the Port Lucaya Market and did a day pay, $15 p/p, at the Grand Lucayan Resort across from the market. Well worth it! Beautiful infinity pools, nice beach and had bars and restaraunts on the property and best part, no one to heckle you on the beach as it was private!
We had a great time. Yes, this is an older ship, but it is well maintained and very clean. The staff is always friendly and ammenities are great for a smaller ship. Will definitely sail this ship again, being only 3 hours away, very convenient. We had a blast and will definitely recommend!