Carnival Fantasy Cruise Review by LAT173: First cruise, possibly the last
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First cruise, possibly the last
This is a lengthy review and I have so much to say that maybe it won't all flow well but I'll do my best (note: this is not a happy, upbeat review. We had a poor experience so don't expect a lot of enthusiasm). We left out of Charleston on our first cruise December 2013 on the Fantasy. It was a 7 day cruise to Grand Turk, Half Moon Cay, and Nassau. We are a young married couple (mid 20's for me, early 30's for him) and we have no children, it was only the two of us cruising. As soon as we got on the boat we went to our rooms and then looked around some. I stopped at a bar outside of the casino and asked the little blonde beauty if she would be able to give me just a cup of ice water (I'm blonde too so it's nothing against blondes!). She was EXTREMELY rude, grumbled under her breath about my request as well as another patron who actually wanted alcohol, and even rolled her eyes, slammed the drink down and turned away and then did the same thing to the guy who purchased an alcoholic More
beverage. She and one other staff person (get to him later) were the only two bad apples we encountered as far as employees go. We pulled out from port around 5pm or 6pm. It was extremely windy and a little cool but we went up on top deck to take photos and look around. After being on the water for about an hour, things turned sour. REALLY sour. The boat began to rock side to side and front to back like nothing I've ever felt before. We both had the seasick Rx patch on but I became very ill, vomiting in essentially every toilet I came across as well as off the side of the boat at one point; my husband felt terrible but never puked. We went to every deck and every area of the ship trying to find relief but the rocking was relentless, having to hold onto the walls on occasion just to get around without tripping. This went on all evening and all night. We bought some medicine from one of the shops on board, Bonine $8 for a travel size pack. It did help and we were able to sleep but I was so weak the next day that we didn't really do anything. I have no idea what went on that first night and second day as I was so ill I wasn't aware of anything going on around me. We did go to the dining room but I had to run out to puke. Our waiter (who was great) told us that it's usually not like this and that many of his guests hadn't showed up to dinner. What bothered me the most was that no announcements were made to explain to people why it was rocking so bad or show a little sympathy (couldnt someone have got on the speaker and at least acknowledged what was happening??). The tapestries hanging in the atrium (big open lobby area that is several stories tall) were swaying like crazy. People were lined up at guest services and they all looked just as white and sick as I did. One employee, after seeing me puke, said to get a green apple from Lido deck and eat it. It came right back up though.
Day 2, we finally got out of bed, the boat rocking much less than before, but still had some motion. I went to Lido Deck/Deck 10 to see about food as well as figure out what all we had been missing. The loud music was already blaring and apparently continued to blare throughout the entire trip. I know, I'm only 25, I should enjoy stuff like that. Sorry, but no! I work a professional job so partying and going clubbing and jamming out to loud music and dancing around in bathing suits doesn't really fit into my lifestyle well, just not something I've ever had time to do so I don't appreciate it like others seem to. I'm not judging anyone who likes to party, but I'm simply here to say that if you like PEACE and QUIET and RESPECTFUL adults, maybe Carnival Fantasy or Carnival in general isn't for you. Some of the fellow cruisers were very nice, quiet, etc while others were rude, loud, drunk all the time, messy, entitled (I'm sure you'd have this on most ships though). Deck 10 is the most important deck. Deck 10/Lido has all the food options as well as the pool and two jacuzzis (one of them being for adults only), two bars (only one in use during this trip), lounge chairs, and a stage for events/contests. I didn't get in any water on deck 10 nor did I have a drink at the pool bar so I can't rate those. Here's my opinion on the food: DISAPPOINTING! I'm from southwest Virginia. We use real butter, heavy seasoning, we grill stuff, fry stuff, bake stuff but whatever we make it always has FLAVOR. Not the food on this boat. There's the large buffets (two of them with the same food on them that varied some day to day-open for lunch and supper), the Mongolian Wok (lunch-fill a bowl with veggies and choice of noodles, then pick your sauce and meat-shrimp, beef, chicken- and they put it in a wok and cook it for you), the all american buffet (same thing every day-hotdogs, hamburgers, fries, chicken tenders), Pirate pizza (24 hour and GROSS) and a little deli (open 12 hours a day, wraps, reuben, grilled ham and cheese). For breakfast, mongolian wok turns into an omelette place where you build your own omelet-it was pretty good. Breakfast buffets were pretty good but on a couple days the loaf bread slices were so tough and dry it felt like it was over toasted before it was even toasted. They only had pancakes on a couple days. Always had eggs, bacon, salty ham, sausage, jelly, oatmeal. Apple juice was available at breakfast and I drank as much as I could. We didn't buy a soda card because I'd read bad reviews about how you only got a small drink, you had to find bar staff to get it for you as dining room staff doesn't do sodas, and it just seemed like an inconvenience to get your soda. At all times there was ice available (only on Lido Deck/Deck 10. It would be great if ice machines were on every floor in case you want a cold drink at night. They had lemonade, coffee, cold tea, and packs of tea for hot tea. It was all absolutely disgusting. I drink water almost with everything so not having soda was nothing new to me. I don't drink coffee so that's of no use. The water and ice are absolutely so gross, the first few days i felt sick from it. I guess they have to treat it heavily since it's probably in a holding tank somewhere in the bottom of the ship but it just has the worst taste ever. The desserts were beautiful but absolutely bland, dry, gross. The cheesecake was airy and spongy and actually sprung back after cutting though it and didn't leave a creamy residue on the fork. I've never seen cheesecake like this. We met a nice couple and sat with them for lunch one day and they too had never experienced a cheesecake like this. For supper each night we went to the dining room. Our head waiter was really really great and actually made us smile and laugh and forget most of the bad stuff. Food wasn't really any better in the dining room though except for a couple exceptions, and on most nights they were having many of the same things upstairs at the Lido buffet (no steak or baked potatoes but some of the basic options like same soups, same desserts, same starters). So in summary, most of the food was bland and gross but they had a good breakfast usually, the dining room staff was nice and attentive, the staff in the buffet never acted like it bothered them to clean up after people--and some people were absolutely rude and disgusting and wasteful and left a terrible mess, and I didn't mention the salad bar but it was extravagant and fresh and tons of cheeses to choose from (cubed). Having not been on a cruise before, I don't really know how the decor compares to other ships but the patterns on the carpet seemed kinda bleh (think old greyhound bus, wacky wild busy patterns). Our room was clean and our steward was nice, they did a great job making the beds, keeping us stocked in towels, making beautiful towel shapes each night. Photographers were nice except for one bald young male employee who I thought I was going to punch in the face and I NEVER say things like that but he was absolutely rude and thought he was the king of the world. I won't even go into detail but if I had his name I would most definitely turn him in for his rudeness and arrogance and I refused to let him take any photos of us after his rude shenanigan. Speaking of photos, most of the photos are so-so and the people who are employees who pose with you when you get off the ship look a little cheesy and non authentic, cheap looking costumes. The Punchliner Comedy Club was the BEST and most satisfying thing we did the entire trip. Sad, huh? The comedians were great though, and adult shows were very raunchy and funny (dont sit on the front row if you don't want to be picked on). The host of the comedy shows was awesome too. I have nothing bad to say about the comedy shows except that they need to take place in a bigger spot and I wish they had even more shows. As far as on board activities they had karaoke, some funny stuff that the audience participates in (the game of love, hasbro the game show, men vs. women), bingo, and some really redneck contests like hairy chest contest. I didn't get to see the hairy chest one in person but it was on re-run on the tv every day. They had a hypnotist get on board to do his award winning show and I couldn't tolerate it after about 5 minutes. His voice would make anyone turn themselves inside out and he actually kicked a cruiser off the stage and was rude about it! He told the participating cruisers they had to spit out gum and the one cruiser was trying to be funny so he threw off his hat and said he figured it would be a distraction. The hypnosis guy had an obvious attitude and made the boy leave for doing something funny and stealing the light...the show hadn't even began when he did it!! That instantly ruined any positive vibes we had and then he just continued to repeat the same sentence for 5 minutes in a ridiculous voice so we left, as did other people. They had a nightclub but it looked like only girls with skirts up to their waist were going in. The lady who is in charge of pretty much everything on the ship, her name was Risa *cruise director*. Most irritating voice I've ever heard but that's not her fault, what is her fault is that she talks so fast you only catch about 60% of what she is saying. We stayed in the front of the ship on Upper deck which was a huge huge mistake both for the motion and the NOISE. The noise was unbelievable when the ship would pull into port and down the drain went the idea of sleeping in on vacation! The entire ship sounded like it was about to be ripped in half, at one port it lasted for almost 10 minutes without stopping. Horrible loud banging and the vibrations were so strong things were falling (I had a cup i sat up in the porthole window/bench area and it fell off and the mouth of it broke, my shampoo also fell in the shower). I imagine a train derailing would cause less noise and vibration. Beds were pretty comfy but we have tempurpedic so nothing really feels as good as home does, the pillows were great! I did have one alcoholic drink, it was expensive and weak but tasted alright. Our last night, there was another charge on my bill for a drink from the day before at noon from the pool bar. That definitely wasn't something I bought and i disputed it at guest services and assumed i would just get stuck with it but I checked back on it after midnight and they had fixed it. They make you sign a slip of paper, then they compare the signatures to the bar ticket and if they don't match then they deduct the charge. Overall, we were not happy on this ship. I have to do a lot more research before I attempt to go on another one, and i will most likely try a different cruise line. 7 days is a long time to be on a boat with less than mediocre food and water that tastes like it came from a pond. The Comedy club and the scenery at Grand Turk and Half Moon Cay were the only thing that made this trip not a total fail. P.S. don't waste your time with the personal shopper person. It's all a scam/gimmick. I've read hundreds of ripoff reviews and better business bureau reports about the very stores the personal shopper try to get you to shop at. All the cruise ships have a personal shopper who has deals with these specific stores (diamonds international, tanzanite international, etc) and get a kickback when you buy from them. Less
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Feel every single wave and gust of wind in the front of the ship on upper deck. Insanely loud noise and vibration when pulling in and out of port (anchor noise I suppose?). At one point I thought the boat was being ripped in half, the noise and vibration so loud and strong and at one port it went on for 10 minutes!
Port and Shore Excursions
Overbearing rude natives, just come up and fasten jewelry onto you while you're telling them no and then expect you to pay them after telling you "It's my job, it's free, it's part of how we welcome you to the island". I told them I wouldn't pay for it because I didn't want it and they jerk your hand and unfasten it and walk off. The place stinks, looks run down and not well maintained. One lady in the straw market yelled at me because I didn't buy her coasters and told me I insulted her and to get back on the ship! (I purchased plenty of nice things but coasters wasn't something I wanted). Jewelry store after jewelry store at this port and they are all crooks. Read the reviews and don't waste your time with the personal shopper on the boat. I've read hundreds of reviews on ripoffreport, better business bureau, and trip advisor where people got conned and their items didn't appraise well at all when they got back to the states, also many said they were told their item was gold and it ended up being sterling silver. I did look at a pair of tanzanite studs. They dropped the price several hundreds of dollars in an instant. I still told them I wasn't paying that for earrings and suddenly they could shave a few more hundred dollars off because they really wanted me to have them??, then when i started to walk out they asked how much could i afford, and they would work with my budget. Way too eager to drop the prices and practically run you down to sell this stuff. Please read the reviews before buying expensive jewelry outside of US just because the "tax free" sounds appealing!