We chose this ship due to the Mobile port. We had never cruised Carnival and some of the reviews held me back of ships in New Orleans and Mobile. I decided I was not going to drive further to a port (Mobile is within 4 hours) so we ... Read More
We chose this ship due to the Mobile port. We had never cruised Carnival and some of the reviews held me back of ships in New Orleans and Mobile. I decided I was not going to drive further to a port (Mobile is within 4 hours) so we took a chance on the Fantasy. We aimed for low expectations due to reviews and we were surprised at how much it exceeded our expectations. The food in the dining room was the best food we've had on a cruise yet. I don't understand the reviews that say their food was awful. Ours was fantastic, everything cooked perfectly from their flank steak to chicken, etc. Tasty and wonderful! Our waiters were fantastic and called us by name as soon as we went in each night. They were delightful.
Our room steward was also great, calling us by name daily. He was in stealth mode and would slip in almost as soon as we left and the room would be clean when we got back from breakfast or wherever. We asked for ice one time and had it refreshed daily by him and his memory everyday. Asked for extra towels and he never forgot to do that either.
Our cabin was a window view on deck 7 and the location was extremely convenient. Just one flight up the steps to our dining room. It had no smells and I was worried about being hot after some reviews, but it was super cool. Air worked great. We actually had to turn down the air some and I stay hot...so I was pleased! No, the cabin is not newly decorated but the beds were comfy, there was lots of lighting, the air temp was great and our bathroom was always clean. Zero smells. All the previous bad reviews make me wonder was it the same ship. Most comfortable bed on a cruise so far. There was plenty of storage space. Tv was small (think small computer monitor size) but we got Turner classic (yeah!) and a few channels. It was better than other ships we've been on. We did not try the wifi or internet. We go to unplug.
I found crew to be cleaning all the time, and the food excellent. We had been to Cozumel before so we just shopped, as we just shopped in Progresso. We found the prices far better in Progresso on blankets, trinkets, etc.
We found plenty of quiet areas on the ship to sit. I am not a smoker, so I avoided the area outside the casino, etc. with the tables and chairs. Serenity had newer cushions on the chairs than youtube videos.... we always got a chair and enjoyed that. Smoke was always pretty thick there. We did venture in the casino one night and were able to play enough on what we put in to have an enjoyable time and leave with a little cash (very little but still was able to play on just a little). My husband saw someone the night before win cash from one of the grab machines...so they did pay off eventually for someone. People sat at them the entire trip!
We don't use the pool really, so that was not important to us. It was always packed to the max when we went by. I'm not sure I would want to get in that anyway (too many people).
Hot tubs on the Serenity deck never had more than 2 or 3 adults on it when we were on it and no kids was enforced. Husband said fitness room was fantastic.
The boat was a little rocky the last day but that was when the storm was in the SE. Seems like I felt it more on this ship but one motion sickness pill and I was fine. The entertainment is where I would like to see improvement. The performers gave their all in the shows but it was not along the lines of what we experienced on other cruises. It is not the performers who we didn't like, just the shows. We do not enjoy the adult pg or plus comedians or silly shows, and that is probably what Carnival is known for. We skip those. So, entertainment s the only area I felt like was not quite up to par with what we've seen before but those kids gave their all and were fantastic in their own right. We enjoyed captains talk and lectures on another line, would love some kind of history talk or something---probably not going to be on Carnival. Lastly, the spa people would ask each time you passed certain doors or coming off the pool area from lunch, etc. if you'd like such and such at the spa. It got annoying after a while but they accepted no. The people taking pictures were the opposite, if you said no they smiled sweetly and moved on. When we took a Royal Caribbean cruise, I felt like they hounded us more for pics.
All in all we had very low expectations and left the ship far above pleased and would do it again if the trip and price was right.... and the right time of the year (not spring break, etc.). Oh, and we found a mix from babies to middle age to seniors to a few college age. We sailed in Jan., so it was not a party cruise at all. Families were the bulk of this ship. Saw a lot of entire families like grandma down to babies meeting up for supper in the dining room. This was a nice mix of people. Read Less