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Carnival Fantasy Cruise Review
4.0 / 5.0
Cruise Critic Editor Rating
1,122 Reviews

Pleasantly Surprised on the Fantasy

Carnival Fantasy Cruise Review by FrickeNomads

3 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: Dec 2019
  • Destination: the Western Caribbean
  • Cabin Type: Grand Suite

The family and I (four of us total) went on the Fantasy for our Christmas vacation. I read a lot of reviews about the Fantasy and I'll admit I was a bit concerned about the overall condition of the ship. However, I was pleasantly surprised on how good of a shape she is in for her age. Just as I read the reviews for better insights I share here my overall experience and views of the Carnival Fantasy.

Ship Condition: Overall, I felt she is in good shape. The crew was constantly cleaning the ship and in several spots they were doing some detailed repairs such as tearing up tile which was completed within a few hours. I personally didn't mind this as it had little impact and considering these ships are continually on the go, this should be expected.

(Rating: 4 of 5 stars)

Elevators: I know there is a lot of complaints and chatter on FB about elevators not working and here I would say this is a legit complaint. On day 1 and 2, both glass elevators worked, but then on day 3, the port side elevator was out of service. Forward elevators, 3 of the 4 were operating. Mid-ship, all four worked the entire cruise. Aft elevators, 3 of the 4 were operating.

(Rating: 3 of 5 stars)

Staff: Simply said, they were very professional, friendly, constantly working and helpful. I did not have a single bad experience with any crew member.

(Rating: 5 of 5 stars)

Dining: We ate dinner in the main dining room on four occasions. The menu changed out some. The food was good, but nothing wowed me. My favorite, sad to say was the chocolate flow cake. There is always the option to upgrade the meal at cost and on the last day I got a steak, which was disappointing.

(Rating 3.5 of 5 stars)

Buffet: It's a buffet, nothing spatular but it works well enough. For breakfast it was not until day 3 did I try out the omelet station and here is where I went the rest of the time. Highly suggest the omelet station. For lunch, did the deli once and that was good. I never ate dinner here.

(Rating 3 of 5 stars)

Guy's Burgers / Blue Iguana Grills: Perhaps the best place for lunch and if you want a mid day snack. I was surprised that they close at 6. Guys burgers are really good, but my favorite are the tacos from Blue Iguana and the variety of hot causes available.

(Rating 4.5 of 5 stars) (I knocked off some points for not being open for longer periods)

Bars / Lounges: Here is where they really miss the mark in my opinion. They were all too small and can not fit many people. Places like the Cats and Cleopatras don't have a proper bar in them so you have to wait for a server or go get the drinks yourself. This assumes you get a seat in the place. At the proper bars, I felt the stools were very close to the bar and very uncomfortable.

(Rating 3.5 of 5 stars)

Entertainment & Activity: As with any cruise there are a ton of activities / entertainment scheduled each day. Due to the size of the lounges, it can be difficult in getting a seat. So plan on arriving early and service for drinks being a bit inadequate. The girl playing the steel kettle drums was really good. Others were just okay. The DJ played good music, but he himself was not very entertaining. The comedian was lacking. The hairy chest contest... um, NO!.

(Rating 2 of 5 stars)

Ports / Excursions:

Cozumel: We did Mr. Shanchos. Well worth the cost and we were really pleased with the food, strong drinks, and it offered plenty of actives. (Rating 5 of 5)

Progreso: We took the Fantasy excursion for VIP Chechen Itza, Cenote with lunch. Don't let the two hour bus ride each way stop you from going on this. We were very please with this excursion and without doubt the highlight of our entire trip!! (Rating 5 of 5)

Ships Tour: My wife and I did this at a cost of $55 per person. It was roughly 2.5 hours in length. We saw the laundry room, engine control room, part of the galley, some crew spaces such as where they eat, behind the stage and the bridge. I liked the control room the best. Was it worth it. If you've never done one before, then yes. If you've been on one already, then No, it's not worth it. (Rating 3.5 of 5)

Chef's Table: There was some confusion on this as I booked this well in advance (like a year before the cruise) but upon arrival I didn't get any notice. So I went to the service desk and they didn't have me down and were starting to spin up the story that I was out of luck as there was no record of me signing up. BUT, I handed them the e-mail confirmation notice and then they changed their tune and somehow there was suddenly some space available.

I was disappointed in the location of this event. I was thinking it was going to be someplace nice or a blocked off section in one of the MDRs. I was also expecting the head Chef (as advertised). The reality is they hold this event in the library and the Chef is one of the underlings. There is no preparation table side with perhaps the exception that they plop something on top of some rice or pour on some sauce, while the underling Chef explains what it is you are about to eat. Granted, what they server here is good, small portions (but like seven courses or so) and it is unique dishes. Is it worth $75 each. NO!

(Rating 2 of 5)

Technology (HUB - WiFi - Pixels): We used the Carnival HUB and I really liked this application. It was very convenient in planning out your day and keeping an eye on your room charges. The chat worked okay, but was not completely reliable. The WiFi worked well and I though was well worth the cost. Pixels, it was okay. I don't think you get enough pictures for the price you pay.

(Rating 4 of 5)

Kids running amuck: Sure, it's a vacation. Sure, Carnival caters to families. Sure, Carnival has some areas and actives very specific for kids. Great and I'm perfectly okay with that. Have two kids of my own so been there and done that. But, going on a cruise should not be a ticket for a parent to simply open up the cabin door and let the kid(s) run about the ship like a banshee and left unsupervised. 12 kids (no exaggeration) in a hot tub and using it as if they were in a deep diving pool! I was extremely disappointed that little kids were permitted to sit at the bar and take up valuable seating while they complained about being bored and wiping their noses and then handling the menus. Now, I don't want to paint with a broad brush here as there were certainly well behaved kids with parents monitoring them and enjoying the various actives. BUT, be warned, there is a good sized group of unattended, bratty kids running about on this ship. (Rating 1 of 5)

In closing: Overall we enjoyed our time on the Fantasy and visiting Cozumel and Progresso. We are glad we took this cruise and has given us some great memories. There is a video from Cruise Critic which gives a tour of the Fantasy which was really good and the narrator gives a good summary at the end which I think is spot on. Which is along the liens of, 'the Fantasy is a good ship for first time cruisers and for cruises that are five days or less in duration.' I think the 5 days or less comment is an important point as on day four I was starting to feel the confinement of this smaller size ship. Would I recommend the Fantasy? I certainly would for younger generations and with kids.

Overall Rating: 3.45 out of 5.


FrickeNomads's Full Rating Summary
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Onboard Experience
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
Embarkation
Dining
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Fitness & Recreation
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Cabin Review

Grand Suite

Cabin - U75: This is a suite and glad we got this. The room is huge with plenty of elbow room, a couch is stretch out on, a large bathroom complete with a full sized tub and sink counter space, lots of storage space both in the closet and within the cabin itself, the bed was very comfortable and the balcony was plenty big enough for five or so people. Getting a cabin also provides several advantages such as priority boarding/disembarkation, discounts on pictures. If you can afford a cabin on the Fantasy, then I would highly recommend it.

(Rating 5 og 5 stars)


Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

Mobile

We never been to Mobile before and we were really pleased with this city and glad we came here a two early so we had some time to look about. The food was great and the people very friendly. Perhaps our top activity was going to visit Battleship park. We spent almost three hours here and really enjoyed the time looking at the USS Alabama, the USS Drum (submarine) and the various airplanes.

For places to stay, we actually went with an Airbnb located in the garden district and I'm really glad we did. Just a wonderful neighborhood to stay in with blocks and blocks of antebellum type homes.

As for parking we pre-paid for parking at the cruise terminal and that worked out really well. Easy in and out. I would highly recommend this.

Cozumel

For Cozumel we didn't go with a ship sponsored excursion. Instead we did the Mr. Shanco's beach and we all felt it was well worth the expense.

The pier at Cozumel is really nice and here there are plenty of shops and a few restaurants. I know from other reviewers there are complains about the shop owners being aggressive. We didn't experience any of this.

However, when we first got on the pier we essentially just walked on thru and went straight to the cabs. The posted prices is $17 USD each way ($38 total). We confirmed this with the taxi driver and in just 11 minutes we were dropped off at Shancos. We had reservations at Sanchos and the check in was quick and by 9:10 we were sitting in our chairs, ordering drinks and the kids were off to the wave-runner (jet ski). The water was clean, clear and warm. The kids were happy with the various actives and all of us enjoyed the drinks (they were not weak by no means) and the food was fabulous!! We did leave a bit early and the taxi ride this time took just 16 minutes. We got in some good shopping. I also noted that for souvenir type things I believe the prices at the pier were better than at Shancos, not to mention a much wider range of options to pick from.

My wife and I enjoyed Cozumel enough where we think this is a place which certainly needs more time for exploring and we'll make this a destination of itself and stay at a resort sometime in the near future.

Chichen Itza

Here we did the ship sponsored excursion, VIP tour of Chechen Itza, Cenote with Lunch. We were jammed on a bus but it was not as bad as I was thinking it was going to be. It was interesting in looking out the window and at some point they did play a movie. The drive was two hours with a short spot for a bio-break.

Once at Chichen Itza it was a bit crazy and glad we had an outstanding tour guide as he got us inside the park rather quickly. Seeing these various buildings and hearing about their purpose and the civilization from our guide was simply inspiring and a wonderful experience. Obviously there is walking involved but it was not that bad. Once past the main entrance you do walk past a good number of stands trying to sell their goods. Again, I personally don't think they were aggressive. They were friendly for the most part and most importantly willing to bargain. I purposely pulled my family to the side and asked them what they wanted. I then looked for two tables (different vendors) that had what we wanted and essentially go them bidding against one another. I felt we made out pretty good on the price. As an example, my daughter wanted a ceremonial knife. They started at $60 for one and we ended up getting two for $20. Be warned, you'll want to come to a price which you know you can cover evenly with the cash you have as change is usually given in peso's.

From Chicen Itza we got back on the bus and took a 5 min drive to the Cenote. here is where we ate (buffet style) and visit or go for a swim in the Cenote. Personally, the food was just okay and does the trick considering the last time you ate was (hopefully) for breakfast on the ship

I personally didn't drink or eat that much, considering there is not bathroom on the bus and the condition of the rest stop on the road. So, you may want to keep this in mind.

In the end, this excursion was the highlight of our entire trip, hands down. I would highly recommend this trip and is well with the four hours you spend on the bus. Both of my daughters when asked about the trip, most of the time they talk about their experience at Chicen Itza.

View All 38 Chichen Itza Reviews

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