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1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2017
We picked this cruise because we've always wanted to do a Mexican Riveria cruise and this one worked for our time off from work. We did not travel with any children or anyone else...just the husband and myself!! The Miracle is a ... Read More
We picked this cruise because we've always wanted to do a Mexican Riveria cruise and this one worked for our time off from work. We did not travel with any children or anyone else...just the husband and myself!! The Miracle is a smaller ship compared to the other ships we've sailed on, but it was still an amazing vessel. The cabin crew, wait staff, and all other employees were very helpful and friendly! Embarkation and disembarkation went very smoothly. This was the first time that we purchased FTTF and it was worth it. We had a balcony room and it was nice to see the sea whenever we wanted from the comfort of our own room. It was also nice to see the sunsets/sunrise plus ports. The food on the ship was amazing. Most of our table had 3 lobsters on Christmas!! The entertainment was amazing. This cruise we also went to a couple of art auctions, it was a great experience and something that we will now look forward to on any future cruises! The ports we went to were: Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlan, and Puerto Vallarta. Cabo: We did a third party excursion of whale watching and snorkeling around Land's End. The time difference between local time and ship time made us a bit late so we took a water taxi to catch up to the sail boat. We had a fun time and we were able to see some whales! Lands End is really pretty. The snorkeling...lots of people were in the water but it was very cool to almost cold water. I don't do cold water so I ended up staying on the boat. I prefer Caribbean water as it is warm. Mazatlan: Here we did the hop on/off bus and we had a great time! We got off first in old town and went and took pictures of the Cathedral We walked around a bit of the city and had fun. The next stop was new town and had shopping and eating places by the ocean. Went to a shrimp place and had the best shrimp!! Third stop was to see the cliff divers...I would skip this as there isn't much to see or do at this stop. I would spend my time at the other to stops. Puerto Vallarta: If you want to sit back and relax, go to Marriott resort. We hung out poolside and had drinks and food all day plus got to play in the inifinty pool. Although it was fun to see the areas and explore Mexico we definately like the caribbean better with the warm beautiful blue/green waters! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2017
We decided to do this as a Christmas cruise with my parents as well as to celebrate their anniversary and my mom's birthday. This was my 8th cruise with Carnival so I kind of know what to expect in terms of how things go. I was ... Read More
We decided to do this as a Christmas cruise with my parents as well as to celebrate their anniversary and my mom's birthday. This was my 8th cruise with Carnival so I kind of know what to expect in terms of how things go. I was pleasantly surprised by the embarkation process. They now put your room keys in your mailbox on the ship so there were no lines and simply needed to flash our boarding pass and Since this was a "Journeys" cruise, we were expecting more in terms of exposing us to the different foods and cultures of the islands/ports we would be visiting, as advertised. We sort of got that, but let me just say, the food in the dining room for dinner was horrid just about every night. The most exciting part of dinner..dessert was an even bigger disaster every night. If you saw the pie crust they used for their pie of the day every night, you would weep in sorrow. It was like the pie filling sandwiched between two pieces of cardboard. I kid you not. The cafeteria (lido deck) at lunch time would be your best bet for food and I would always enjoy their BBQ upstairs. Desserts in lido were also way better than in the dining room. Breakfast in the dining room was a plus actually. They offered things like avocado toast and broken egg sandwiches Seaday Brunch was not a highlight, however, as these items weren't on that menu and I'd usually go with the steak and eggs but they almost always overcooked my fried eggs! But I will note, I never starved on the ship or anything, but the food almost always left something to be desired, especially dinner in the dining room. I believe quality has diminished because I do not recall it being this lackluster in all of my other Carnival cruises. The worst part was the entertainment. I agree with another review here that said it reminded them of a high school production. I mean, the singing and dancing was very sub-par. I don't know what happened! There also was only one variety act in the entire cruise and my last cruise I went on in 2016, we only had to endure something like two of the Carnival dancers productions and the rest was variety acts like jugglers, magicians, etc. That was enjoyable! I went to one comedy show and he was okay. Overall, there was a serious decline in the quality of the entertainment overall was not good. We actually found ourselves heading back to our room and watching movies on TV after dinner most nights and on seadays..well, there wasn't much to do other than the Academy of Fun sessions. Not a lot going on that didn't require you to spend more money. Way too much BINGO lol Anyway, I have to say, after this cruise, we are thinking of trying a more "upscale" cruise line. I'm just disappointed that it seems quality has diminished from Carnival and it wasn't like we're talking the best of the best of cruise lines either. They didn't have too far to go to be at the bottom and well, now, they are getting closer to that. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2016
The ships seemed to be a little short handed in crew or very over booked. There was a lot of mess ups on the schedule of when things were going on. Like elegant night was a big mess up, I heard lots of compliants on it. The shows were ... Read More
The ships seemed to be a little short handed in crew or very over booked. There was a lot of mess ups on the schedule of when things were going on. Like elegant night was a big mess up, I heard lots of compliants on it. The shows were messed up on schedule. A lot of peoples clothes were wet. My husband spend 12 bucks to dry his laundry the first night. A lot of complaint people didn't get luggage till 9 that night. There was not as good chooses on the food menu as usual. One night of cheesecake and one night of cream boulea. Our room was hot all the time so not much sleep. Not a lot to do but shop and play bean bag toss and go to the spa events on ship days. The best part by far was the New Years Eve Party. It was great. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2016
We had a wonderful vacation on the 11 Journey cruise from NYC to Miami over Thanksgiving. It was just myself (43 year old mom) and three sons (15, 13 and 10 yr). This was our third Carnival family vacation, but I have sailed on a dozen ... Read More
We had a wonderful vacation on the 11 Journey cruise from NYC to Miami over Thanksgiving. It was just myself (43 year old mom) and three sons (15, 13 and 10 yr). This was our third Carnival family vacation, but I have sailed on a dozen cruises on multiple lines. We had an Ocean Suite and it worked for us. The room had plenty of storage and was well arranged to make the most of the space. The bathroom was also very spacious. We didn't hear any noise (room 7353) and this was a great location. We never used the elevators. I only wish the room would have been a little cooler. I got hot a lot while sleeping and it couldn't be turned down and further. We had early dining and I thought food was very good. Not every meal was a hit, but certainly not bad and some things we excellent. We had excellent waiters and servers who worked very hard. Drink service was slow so I usually grabbed a drink before coming in the dining room. The Steakhouse was amazing!!! Food was outstanding. I was a little disappointed in the service. I had to ask for a second glass of wine (not on Cheers program) and for water to be refilled. Other than that, it was the best meal of the trip. We ate lunch at the Italian restaurant. It was good. We liked Guys Burgers and Blue Iguana. Lido deck was good for breakfast and lunch. I was surprised at how easy it was to find seats and how there weren't a lot of lines. Pizza had the longest lines so I only got it once. It isn't my favorite. We enjoyed room service a few times for snacks and lunch. The new Pig and Anchor was also good. There are so many places to eat that even in 11 days we didn't get to try them all. The salads in the serenity area were wonderful but the line is very slow. I would have had that more often if it didn't take so much time. Variety of options was outstanding! Yes the two main show lounges were horribly designed with moving chairs and obstructed views. Hopefully this will eventually be corrected or at the very least not repeated on any future ships. We didn't try the Imax or the Thrill theater. We loved the Skyride and Ropes courses. So much fun! We never had trouble finding chairs around the pool. Sometimes we had to go up a few levels but I preferred that anyway. The sports zone was awesome. Best mini golf on any of the ships I have been on and we enjoyed playing shuffle board, ping pong and the other games. Nicely done! The areas to sit outside were more then plentiful. Something for everyone. Casino. I didn't spend any time here. Too smoky to make it enjoyable so I spent my money elsewhere. I was surprised at how much I loved the Atrium. I didn't think I would like the LCD centerpiece but it was really cool. They could use some better shops. These were basic and boring. The live music was also amazing in the Atrium. They had a violinist playing popular music. Even my kids wanted to stop and hear them play night after night. And they had real steel drums at the pool. Yay!!! Keep that up. Shows I thought were a little lacking. The one production of Flick was amazing but didn't really care to see a lot of the others. The comedians were good. I don't mind rated R shows but it did seem like a lot of the humor was not very funny compared to my past Carnival trips. The outside movies were great. I found the crew to be very friendly and had no complaints on the service. I did hear some passengers complaining about the most ridiculous stuff. I think the reason why most ships don't get higher marks is because there are a lot of experienced cruisers on these ships. I heard conversations like "I like the booths in the dining room on such a such ship better" and I liked the décor better on "such and such" etc. They have so much experience that they will always have had a better experience somewhere else but not all the best experience on any one ship. Just my opinion. Many repeat cruisers on this ship and it had only launched 6 months ago! My kids were in each of the different age kid centers and loved it. They didn't always stay in the center, but would meet up with kids and then go play in the arcade or get food etc. Try to encourage your kids to visit it on the first day so they can make friends. My kids only want to cruise now because they get to meet people as opposed to going to a resort and being stuck with mom at night. :) I did not do the cheers program and think it was the right call for me. I did really enjoy the Alchemy bar. It was so fun to sit there and watch them make drinks and light things on fire. You could just give them a suggestion and they would make something up for you. I would say I want something light and not very fruity. Voila, a drink would be concocted. I did learn to bring a drink into the comedy shows because bar service was spotty. They only had 2 waiters working and depending upon where you were in the lounge they may not have gotten over to you. Grand Turk - We enjoyed Jack's Shack and Margaritaville. Bonaire - We loved the SeaCow excursion. We had all snorkeled before but we really enjoyed this trip. Aruba - I booked Jolly Pirate on my own and the kids and I had a blast! Snorkeling was only so but my kids loved the rope swing. St. Martin - We were here on Thanksgiving with 7 ships. I booked Robinson Boat Tours and we had a 6 hour 14 person speedboat that took us to both sides of the island including lunch, snorkeling stops and Moho Beach. It was the best excursion we have EVER taken. Highly recommend and they were great when Carnival changed our itinerary two days before and then changed it back the day before our sailing. Dismemberment was a breeze. We had the best vacation. Yes there are things we could find to complain about but why bother. We were on vacation. Great memories made! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2015

This is our third Carnival cruise and first time out of New Orleans. As many have said, Elation is an older ship, but she's a great value for the money we spent. The public areas were very clean and comfortable. The decor seems much ... Read More

This is our third Carnival cruise and first time out of New Orleans. As many have said, Elation is an older ship, but she's a great value for the money we spent. The public areas were very clean and comfortable. The decor seems much more subdued than her sister ships Paradise and Ecstasy. I really wish they could find a better way to vent cigarette smoke, because it sometimes became overpowering when the bars/casino were busy.

Embarkation

Easiest embarkation yet! New Orleans Port Parking was simple and the porters were friendly and very helpful. We arrived at 1030 am and boarded at 1130ish. Our room was ready by 1230. Our luggage arrived just before muster.

Stateroom

We had a porthole room on the Main Deck. M 14. The room was very large. We had a lot of motion, but it wasn't really a problem. The ship moved quite a bit everywhere. The water was rough and we had some 50 mph winds.

Entertainment

We probably spent 75% of our time in the Comedy club. We loved both comedians. They showed college and NFL playoff games on the big screen in that room. They provided football clappers and poms. I wish they would have had popcorn and/or munchies, but it was a great place to watch a game.

We enjoyed several trivia games and won a ship on a stick.

The shows were okay.

Food

As long as they continue to serve warm chocolate melting cake, I'll always give the food good reviews. I prefer the main dining room over the buffet, but both were good. I really loved the pumpkin soup and lobster. Breakfast in the dining room was good as well. I would have eaten the buffet more, but the wind was really strong, making our preferred outdoor seating impossible.

Service

The service was just okay on this cruise. Our cabin steward wasn't around as often as we've come to expect from our previous cruises. He was nice, but he seemed to just be going through the motions. I called about ice the afternoon of the second day and he kind of snapped that he was off duty and I'd have to call room service. I was ok with the room service referral, but the attitude was a little off putting. I asked for extra glasses and he looked at me like I was asking for something impossible. The girl assisting him was very friendly. Most members of the dining staff were great. The customer service desk was very helpful.

Cozumel

I love Cozumel. We booked Mr Sanchos All Inclusive for the second time. They provide great service! Our waiter, Erizel, gave us a cabana and table away from everyone. He was always around for yummy drink refills and food. We left Sanchos and spent a few hours shopping at port.

Disembarkation

This was not my favorite disembarkation. They call so many groups down together, it created very long lines. Why have zones at all if you're going to lump them all together?

Overall

I really enjoyed this cruise. My experience on the ship was mostly great. I believe it was well worth the money we paid. I would go again tomorrow if I could!

 

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Sail Date: December 2014

The Ecstasy is an older ship, even though it had a recent upgrade with painting and carpeting changes. But it is old. Nothing in the cabin lavatory works correctly. toilet does not clear everything, Sink lights are burnt out. No ... Read More

The Ecstasy is an older ship, even though it had a recent upgrade with painting and carpeting changes. But it is old. Nothing in the cabin lavatory works correctly. toilet does not clear everything, Sink lights are burnt out. No glassware. Hardly any storage space. Sink stopper when activated, will not release. Don't turn shower up to 50 degrees, you will not be able to turn it back to a normal temperature.

Other then these inconveniences the room was ok. A bit small. No refrig. No ice bucket. Did have a safe. Little storage space. But comfortable. Some sound from thrusters when docking. Occasional wave sounds hitting the sides. 2 Portholes give good light and vision.

I don't know if it was the Xmas holiday, or if it was normal, but the main entertainment was pretty poor. Singing and dancing was not good (maybe these were holiday substitutes). And the shows were inconveniently schedules between the main dining seating times. Other on board entertainment was good, lots of variety for everyone, and the adult comedy shows seemed to be the best attended.

Food in general was just OK. Breakfast: bacon was as thin and greasy as can be. Take the ham instead. Eggs were good. Stay away from any potatoes. Pastries must have been purchased a week ago. Everything else was so-so. Ice Cream was a big breakfast hit for the kids. Main dining dinners had limited selections, and the meats had little taste. Nothing to write home about. Deserts were not spectacular and had little taste. Lunch: fresh deli sandwich were always great, as well as the 24hr. Pizza. Lunch Cuisine varied daily French, American, Asian, etc. but had little variety. Hamburgers and Hot Dogs and Chicken Strips were always popular by the pool.

Key West was ... Key West. It has not changed much. Just enough time in port to get off, do some shopping, walk around the old town and to Hemingway's House, then time to get back on the ship and depart.

Cozumel was a long stay, but docket after noon. Little time to take a long tour to the ruins as sundown was just a few hours away, so had to stay close. Walked and shopped around town, and spent some time at Senor Frogs for some good food and a big drink.

Ship was unable to leave the dock. It tried for about 5 minutes, but the winds were too strong and kept us at the dock. Three hours later, with all propellers and thrusters at peak, we were able to back out of the port, and kept going backwards for quite sometime, until we were able to turn around without drifting into something !! 50 mph head winds kept the waves hitting the sides, and the ship rocking and rolling slightly. As it was past midnight when we left, it was very nice sleeping.

As it was Xmas, there was lots of caroling in the main lobby, Songbooks were passed out, and everyone participated. Very well done.

All in all, a memorable trip.

 

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Sail Date: December 2014

Living only an hour from the port, we look forward to our Christmas Carnival cruise, however this year's cruise may well be our last on the Elation.

Since we are platinum cruisers, this was probably the smoothest embarkation and ... Read More

Living only an hour from the port, we look forward to our Christmas Carnival cruise, however this year's cruise may well be our last on the Elation.

Since we are platinum cruisers, this was probably the smoothest embarkation and debArkation process of all our cruises. Unfortunately, there aren't many other compliments I can give about this cruise.

Evidently, with the recent "upgrades" to the ship, cruisers have limited controls over cabin temperatures and no controls over airflow in the cabin. After contacting our cabin steward a second time, we were told the cabin temperatures are kept between 71 and 74*. Only once during the cruise did I notice anything more than minimal airflow through the ceiling vent.

We decided to try "Your Time Dining" this cruise. Unless you arrive at the dining room near the beginning of end of the dining room opening, you will likely be given a pager to notify you when a table is available. Our wait was anywhere from :20-:40. Not a problem, just be aware and plan accordingly.

Service in the dining room was definitely lacking on this cruise. Our first night, Randy was our server...he was terrific! Thereafter, service was slow, to the extent that food was cold and servers seemed to disappear. At brunch on our last full day, it took :30 for our server to bring bread to our table, the tomato soup was barely room temperature, and the pork chop was cold. For supper that night we requested Randy. In hindsight, we should have done that for the entire cruise.

Our cabin was on the Empress deck below the galley. On the first and last night, we were awakened by crew in the galley at 3 a.m. It sounded like they were dropping plastic buckets on the floor. After being awakened the first night, I slept with ear plugs, however I couldn't do that on the last night because I needed to hear the alarm in the morning.

This was our first time getting off the ship in Progresso. It was a short 2-3 minute walk to the bus stop and a :15-:20 bus ride into town. We decided to have lunch at a downtown restaurant. The food was pretty good and the prices were reasonable. With weather threatening, we decided to get back to the ship, so we didn't do much walking around. I don't think we missed much. Progresso seems to be a very poor town.

Having been to Cozumel before, we decided to stay on the ship.

We did enjoy the Christmas sing-a-longs in the atrium and Christmas trivia games near the Drama Bar. I don't remember these on previous cruises to the extent they occurred on this cruise.

Unfortunately, unless things change, we won't be sailing with Carnival next year. It might be time to give Royal Carribbean a chance. Very sad.

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Sail Date: December 2014

Ship information - Elation is one of the older ships in Carnival's fleet (1998) and it shows. Out toilet would not flush one night but was fixed soon after we called. At night you hear groans and noises from the older ship. There was ... Read More

Ship information - Elation is one of the older ships in Carnival's fleet (1998) and it shows. Out toilet would not flush one night but was fixed soon after we called. At night you hear groans and noises from the older ship. There was not a running track that encompassed the ship. There was ample deck seating and 2 pools. There was a small water slide for people taller than 48 inches.

Activities - Standard cruise activities. Offered kids and teen camps. Adult only (Serenity) area existed but was not very large (80 people max) and had only 2 hot tubs and no pool. Serenity area was at back of ship but not secluded as multiple decks over looked the area. Mini-golf course, VB, and basketball courts where also present.

Port & shore excursions - Standard cruise excursions. We booked the Progreso excursion off ship and had a great private tour with Lawsons. Booked local tequila tour in Cozumel with Carnival that was pretty bad. 3 of the 4 local tour guides called in sick...seems the had too much to drink on Christmas Eve. Carnival did contact the your company and got refunded 50%. Better then nothing.

Travel to embarkation Port - New Orleans has a $14 flat rate tax ride from airport to port. This is kinda lame since many other cities have a flat rate for the cab of around $20. I guess we have to pay for pumps to keep the city from being flooded ;) Try to pick a hotel with free airport shuttles and then taxi to port from there.

Cabin - Our 4A cabin showed its age but actually was a bit more spacious than other ones in this class. Non of the room had mini-refrigerators. You could call and get a blow driers if desired since none were there initially. Cabin stewards as always where friendly and accommodating. No balconies rooms exist on the side of the ship.

Dining - Main dining was good but not as great as on other ships. We had meals each night where we needed to order other entries since the initial one was lacking. They did have creme brulee the last night but the desserts were prep'ed too early and the topping was soggy (like oatmeal). Also the ship being older did not have any themed up-charge restaurants so the main dining menu had a small up-charge section where you could get $20 lobsters and such. The buffets were good and had specialty sections but did close at times during the day.

Children's clubs - Children and teen clubs existed. our granddaughter went to camp carnival from time to time but did spend more time with us then in the club. Not sure if this was because she was the only kids on the trip or the club was not exciting.

Entertainment - I've have taken several cruises in the past 5 years and Carnival has been my favorite. What impressed me about Carnival has been the value of the entertainment. The combo of exciting nightly feature acts and George Lopez comedians has been a winner for me.

Unfortunately on the 12/22/2014 cruise on both Christmas eve and Christmas Day (both port days) the main entrainment was non-existant / very, very sub standard. To be exact on 12/24 the Mikado (main room) event was 7:45pm Michael Jackson Trivia and 8:15pm Michael Jackson Thriller dance contest, followed by bingo. Then at 11pm one comedy event happened (not the 4 that usually happen nightly). Then on 12/25 at 8pm "Guess that song 90's" and 8:30 "disco dance class" with no comedians at all. To be honest these are 2pm shows on sea days NOT main event on holidays. In essence on the 2 biggest nights of the cruise there was nothing substantial to do and it was noticed my all 14 of us on the trip. This experience has left a very sour taste in my mouth and makes me doubt Carnival a lot now.

Also the comedians were not switched out during the cruise. Usually when at a port (like Cozumel where different Carnival ship where docked) the comedians are swapped to make it better for both ships. This did not happen and added to the entertainment disappointment.

Disembarkation - Standard practices followed. Carnival offered early self disembarkation for people with needs. This process helped us so we were in taxi's by 8:30 and at the airport by 9.

Summary - My least favorite cruise of all 6 that I've done. The lack of decent main entertainment ruined it for me. Did anyone else experience on a past Elation cruise? Was the entertainment on 12/24 and 12/25 normal for the Elation or were the crew given the nights off?

--> If this was the normal cruise then I do not think the cruise was worth the value.

--> If the staff had time off over the holidays then I doubt the cruise director. The people on the cruise (me) paid a 2x or 3x premium to be here over Christmas. They could take the extra money they made and hire temporary entertainment.

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2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2014

On December 27 our family boarded the carnival fantasy for a new years cruise. This was about my 8 time on the fantasy over the last 12 years so i have other cruises to compare it to. The cruise was way over booked we knew this by the ... Read More

On December 27 our family boarded the carnival fantasy for a new years cruise. This was about my 8 time on the fantasy over the last 12 years so i have other cruises to compare it to. The cruise was way over booked we knew this by the crew telling us. At dinner dervice we had to wait a hour to get our food sometimes a hour just to get our appetizers. I dont know if carnival is cutting back but there cruises are nonthing like they were 10 years ago. The crew worked hard but when you have that many people to take care of you miss a lot. Shows were ok but it wasnt something you write home about. Our family was on the same floor except for one of us had a cabin on a different floor and it was right under a kitchen. And they do the cleaning every nite banging and loud noises our family in there complained and they said they knew those rooms were bad and they usually booked them at the last min.......so how we get one we booked our over a year in advance. The food quality was terrible in the alternative dining where we ate breakfast and lunch. It was like well like i read another cruiser say it was like hospital food. My mom and brother went for lunch one day and both took a bite of there chicken and it was totally RAW, they showed them and was told sorry. Unless you stood inline for a hamburger that was 30 min long or stood inline for a omlette nonthing else there was worth eating. It was a very long cruise. This cruise was expensive and figured being a new years cruise something big would be planned but the band went on the lido deck played and got a paper hat and a blow toy. I am a Platinum member but if this is the direction carnival is going then im switching to Royal. I have another cruise planned for the dream in may i hope this was just a bad cruise. As for the ship for being the oldest ship in the fleet it was clean and nice just need more balconys. BTW im sure i wasnt the only one complaining about this cruise the line at the guest services always had a line with pissed off people.

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Sail Date: December 2014

My Background: Over 30+ cruises - All major lines. Positive about the industry. A bad day on the ship is better than a good day at work. Cruising is the way to travel on a budget!

Pre-Cruise:

Charleston is a wonderful ... Read More

My Background: Over 30+ cruises - All major lines. Positive about the industry. A bad day on the ship is better than a good day at work. Cruising is the way to travel on a budget!

Pre-Cruise:

Charleston is a wonderful City to embark from. Charleston has a wonderful southern flare that can be a vacation all its own. Several wonderful restaurants encompass this beautiful historic city. We really enjoy the Charleston Crab House. Our favorite location is on Jamestown. Carriage rides, souvenirs, ghost walks, and historic sites are great ideas for your stay. If you stay downtown, you will have access to even more things to do. There are several hotels and bed & breakfasts to stay at in town. I highly recommend Vendue Inn. This is an elegant place to stay that is right on the park and battery. If you want to stay at a chain hotel that is relatively close, I recommend the marina view of Marriott's Courtyard Harbor. It's about a 10 minute drive to the port.

Embarkation:

Charleston is an interesting port. Many of the people that live in town are opposing the ports existence. Even thought the port has been there from the 1600's, they feel threatened by the footprint they believe the ship leaves. Due to current restrictions, they generally allow one ship at a time. The Carnival Fantasy is allowed to be here year round. I am not sure where the local governments stand right now with adding more to this port. Keeping this in mind, the port feels very retrofitted for the task at hand. I have left out of this port previously on the Carnival Victory. I knew what to expect. It has improved some over the past 11 plus years the port has been used for cruise ships. It still has a long way to go to be considered a great embarkation port for this reason.

You will be asked to show up after 12:30 noon. While they will allow you to line your cars up outside of the port, you will not be allowed to go in. They will allow you to drop your bags off early, but you can not park. I definitely recommend that you do not show up early. Enjoy the town during this time. If you are parking, they will ask you to pay for the parking up front. The cost for parking was $119.00 if I remember right (7 night). If you have someone in your party that is handicapped, they will not charge you parking. This happened with another couple in our party that needed extra assistance. You will park your car in a covered warehouse. It is actually one of the safer feeling places I have parked. You will need your cruise information during this process of dropping off your luggage and heading to the lot. After you park your car, you will to a quickly moving line that will load you on a bus. The bus will take you directly to the cruise terminal. Once you enter the terminal, you will complete your check-in and get your cruise cards. One thing we noticed is that we were able to get to our rooms right away. Our luggage was delivered quickly since we were considered priority with our Platinum status and mini-suite room selection. The staff at the port was very nice. We were able to get on the ship with ease. Elevators were available.

The Ship:

The ship is one of the "fun ships" that Carnival has become famous for. The Fantasy is a 70 thousand ton "tion" ship. It is a money ship for Carnival. It has been improved over the years. They have not completed the 2.0 enhancements, nor have they added a steakhouse. The ship is well built, and per the customer service staff, they expect it to go back into dry dock in the future for more upgrades. There are no expectations at this time for the ship to be sold.

The common areas are silver, blue, and neon. The old flash of the Carnival's past is evident around the ship. Accents have been made to give it some modern feel. You can see this most on the pool deck and in the staterooms. These areas have been improved over the years. The extra added balconies that you see on some of the other funships, such as Imagination, are not present. The ship is freshly painted. The wear has been covered some which makes the ship feel newer than it is. The dining rooms have the low ceilings that you do not see anymore. Both dining rooms are one story. The theater is flatter than the newer ships which causes more seating to have restricted viewing. If there is a particular show you want to see, be sure to get there about 20-30 minutes early to get a better viewing seat. The pools seem to be maintained and actually the pick-up service seemed to have the ship under close control. This is something that all cruise lines seem to have a challenge with. Very few times did I see plates stacked or drinks just sitting around for a long time. The piano bar, game room, and club rooms are really nice. The only room that could use a little update on decor is the back room where the comedy shows take place. I would like to see it look more like a comedy club basement look. Still, the ship is well maintained and looks good.

Staterooms:

I can only speak for the V-17 balcony that we had on level 11. The room was very nice for a balcony. The actually balcony matches the width of the standard balconies, but is very narrow in depth. It is only about three feet from the door to the railing. It sits high up above the rest of the ship. The four balconies on either side towards the center of the ship have obstructions due to life boats. V-15,17,19 all had good views with little obstruction at all. A bonus, these rooms have a lot of privacy since they are in their own little area. Very little hall noise! Nothing above or below to distract you. The Grand Suites in the middle of the ship are HUGE! My mother and father and law stayed in those during a previous cruise. The noise is much higher, the view is lower to the water, but the rooms are great! Back to V-17... The flat screen TV's are fine, plenty of storage, great lighting, and decent size showers. As most know, Carnival's rooms are generally bigger than matching categories on other lines.

Dining:

Dining options are more limited in regards to places to grab a bite, but they seem to be more available to serve throughout the day. Room Service is very fast! Pizza 24/7. Nice deli on the back of the ship in the lido deck. The Lido offers different choices each day. The place is kept up well. I love the seating off the back sides. Wonderful place to eat. There are two TV's in the lido deck that were popular during the college bowl games. The bar service is great unless we are in port. Since many of the staff may have leave, you may have to hunt down a few. I recommend that you tip on-top of the automatic 15% gratuity. 1$ per order will go a long way. They will remember your name and be there for you more. Remember, all Lido food on all ships have pluses and minuses. You can find something you like. If you do not like the lido deck food, then you may want to eat in the dining room for breakfast or lunch. Breakfast in the dining room is the only way to go - it is the best. Great service and the food tastes even better.

Alright folks.... this "anytime dining" is really getting the raw deal. I always recommend eating at a set time each night. Early or late... The anytime dining is a huge line that means you have to wait. You can do that at home. A little secret. If you want a specific time, talk to the Matre'd. See if he/she can set up a time for you and your family that works each night. They can even have the same waiters for you if you want. This way you get a time you want, and you do not have to wait in line. Stick with the set early or late times, and you will not have a problem. If you like something at dinner - brag on it. They love this. If you do not like something - nicely tell them that you did not like it. This helps them out a lot! A steak comes out overcooked, tell them... give them a chance to make it right. The dining room staff take their craft seriously. They work very hard to get these positions. A shout out to Assistant Waiter Puthut and Team Waiter Maryna at table 370. Excellent team. The Matre'd helped us on the first night by getting us a better seat with them. They were magnificent. They really cared about the customer! They went the extra mile! The meals were excellent. Will you like everything? No! Try other things then! Don't just say the food is bad. Tell them what you like and you will be surprised. I am a picky eater, and they did wonderful! I actually like Carnival main dining over RCCL, Disney, and Celebrity. They need a steakhouse like they have on all of the 90k ton ships+. I am sure they are working on that. You can order specialty steaks/lobster for $20.00 currently on the Fantasy. They also need a Guys hamburgers.

Entertainment:

Carnival has always had a strong schedule for ship entertainment. They currently have a cast of 8 men and women who not only dance, but can ALL sting. They did not have a live orchestra. They are singing the program shows such as "Motown" and "The Brits." I have seen these shows on different stages. The Fantasy staff performs their shows really well. They have some very strong singers! The magician and George Lopez comedy club comedians are always packed and fun! I have seen these comedians before. The adult shows can go over the top some. Just because you can say cuss words does not mean the whole show needs to have them. A few perfectly time cuss words can make the impact that audiences are looking for. RCCL and Carnival have the entertainment part covered. Great piano bars and live music around the ship. Again, not stage band for the productions shows on this ship.

Itinerary:

Day 1 - Leave out - Safety drill is a little longer than some ships. Some of the groups need to be walked to their assigned life boats. This is due to recent changes and the design of the boat. 20-30 minute process. A little long, but not a big deal. Always much better than wearing the life jackets like we used to about 5+ years ago.

Day 2 - Sea Day - go to the Spa - sleep late - hangout on the Serenity deck on the back below the lido.

Day 3 - Sea Day - repeat

Day 4 - Grand Turk - Yes, they have excursions... but why waste the money. Go to Margaritaville right at the docked port. Have some food and drinks and swim in their huge pool. Have fun with the great DJ there. If you want to swim in the ocean, it is right there at the port. Take a Taxi to the even nicer beach on this very small island.

Day 5 - Half Moon Key - Hard to beat when cruise companies have their own private island. Beautiful beach, music, and fun awaits. The food is included. Drinks are not... not part of beverage plan either. You actually pay a round a dollar more for drinks. The food is free though. The only real downside, you have to tender. The use the big boats that lows up to 250, so the process is actually pretty smooth. Great stop as always. You can rent water equipment at the beach. They do have excursions here.... but why? The horseback riding did look pretty cool though.

Day 6 - Nassau - Here is where I recommend taking a nice excursion. I also recommend you shopping here. They have added a VAT "Value Added Tax" starting this year. This does not apply to watches and jewelry. The stores may require you to pay a small refund fee for the VAT, but they have ways to negotiate with you on that. Reduce the price by the few dollars it costs. We love Venetian Jewelers on Nassau. Vince, the manager there is always great with us. Hard rock and other restaurants have free wifi. The ship wifi has not received the upgrade yet... it is slow. Go to a restaurant that is not that crowded, and you will have the faster connections. They will give you their password if you are eating or drinking. Atlantis is nice, but very expensive. If you been to Vegas, the resort will be a letdown. The beach is nice, but there are better ones you can see outside of Atlantis.

Day 7 - Sea Day - do your thing! Pack

Day 8 - Debarkation

This is the area of biggest improvement for me. This was so awesome. The self assist platinum folks meet in the Piano Bar. At 7:20 ish. They will pick you up and hold elevators just for you to go down to the proper floor - 3. You will disembark , got through customs, and take your backs to the truck that will load your luggage and take you to the garage where you parked your car. I dreaded this process, but they have it down. Minimum wait. The driver was very friendly. To get out is very easy. I expect that the other folks leaving may experience some of the same. They will not allow you to roll your bags from the ship to your car like we used to. Again, the process went very well for us.

In Conclusion:

I really enjoyed this relaxing cruise. That is what we wanted. We had set our expectations appropriately which created some pleasant surprise moments. Veterans of cruising that are positive will find this ship to be nice. High expectation folks who have never cruised or have not been on Carnival may not be 100%. New cruisers reactions may differ depending on their expectations and the people they are with. Generally, most will take this vacation to be something very nice. New cruisers - this is an older ship - you will feel some movement that you may not feel on larger ships. Take a non-drowsy Dramamine, patch, or wristband, and you will be fine. It is very light. I heard very little concerns about this from the different first time cruisers we talked with. Don't let seasickness fears ever be an excuse from having fun. If Charleston is your call, then go for it!

 

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