Great First Carnival Cruise: Carnival Fantasy Cruise Review by duluthga

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Great First Carnival Cruise

Sail Date: June 2011
Destination: Eastern Caribbean
Embarkation: Charleston
Carnival Fantasy June 4-11 7 day

Charleston-Nassau-Half Moon Cay-Grand Turk-Charleston.

We booked this cruise about 3 months ago to celebrate DW 50th birthday and our 30th anniversary (June20).

Saturday - June 4 - Arrived pier around 11:15. Traffic was backed onto city streets from parking lot. Once you enter the gates you snake around a giant parking lot, get checked a couple of times and finally pay to park ($105). Once you pay you drop your luggage and are directed to park in warehouse. Once parked you catch a shuttle for the 200 yard ride to the terminal. No line in the terminal, got our cards, got our picture and were eating lunch in the Lido by 12:15. Room was ready on time (R248) and met our steward "Ten". We took a tour of the ship and had a nap. We had early (6:00) seating at a table for 10. There were four couples the first night. One had friends at a different table and were able to move and another couple joined us the 2nd night. Erik from More Indonesia was our waiter and Andri was his assistant. We had excellent service all week. The shrimp cocktail (5 small shrimp) was fairly tasteless with about ½ teaspoon of cocktail sauce. A small Caesar salad was also fairly bland. I had Lasagna Bolognese which was a large portion and very good. DW had the tilapia which she enjoyed. We both had our very first Warm Chocolate Melting Cake (CMC) and were hooked! The CMC is amazing. The welcome aboard show was very late for us so we turned in early.

Sunday - June 5 - I was up early and at Lido when they began serving breakfast. I had an omelet from the made to order station in the back. Also had pancakes, grits and fruit. There was a large selection of fruit (except for watermelon) at the buffet all week. The bananas were gone by Thursday though. The bacon police were out later but not initially. Went back to room for DW. Had second breakfast and found great chairs on Serenity deck under one of the umbrellas looking at the wake and ocean behind the ship. Went for trays from grill by pool with hamburger and fries for lunch. Around 12:30 they announced an "operation brightstar lido aft stat" (I think that's what she said). They had blocked off a hallway between lido and pool with lots of staff in white uniforms. About 2:00 while staring at the wake I felt then noticed we seemed to be making a big curve and speeding up. The wake stirred up and changed to a lighter blue as we started making faster turns on the prop. About 4:30 the captain came on and said a staff member had an accident and we were heading to Port Canaveral to get him on land. We would be missing our stop at Nassau the next day. At dinner that night they announced it was our maitre d and he had a heart attack. It took about 10 hours at 19 knots for us to get to PC. We pulled up to a concrete pier, they loaded him on an ambulance and we left by midnight. Sailed all Monday to get to Half Moon Cay on Wednesday.

This was our first formal night. I had the Lobster and shrimp which were good. Strawberry bisque and Greek farmer salad were very good. Also had the prime rib which was okay. Definitely not Longhorns! Cherries Jubilee for dessert which was good but only had 3 cherries. Went to PG rated comedian show. He was ok. Went to late Ship dancers' show which was good. We then went up to top deck and watched the ship pull into Port Can.

Monday - June 6 - Slept in until 8 which is great for me. Went to Dining Room for breakfast. Had the eggs Benedict which were very good. DW had French toast which she thought was very good. I had a fruit starter and thought the quality of the fruit was better in the dining room as well (although the melon in the Lido got better as the week went on and the fruit ripened.) Erik, our evening waiter, was also our breakfast waiter. He's been on Carnival ships for 18 years but on the Fantasy for just four months. He has picked up a delightful southern accent and can say bacon and coffee just like my more rural relatives. I did not like the very small coffee cups they used in the dining room and would always go to the Lido for a larger cup after breakfast and dinner. Went to Serenity and found two loungers we could put together. Another guest went to the crewman and had him remove towels from chairs that had been left empty by chair hogs. Later on we got a letter under the door from the captain saying they were looking to see if we could add a port to make up for Nassau. Cruise Director, Craig, came on and said they would add several activities on the extra sea day. Dinner was very good tonight. We both had the salmon and CMC. I had the fruit plate to start and DW had the French onion soup which was good and came out steaming. Saw the 2nd comedian tonight - John, he was very funny.

Tuesday - June 7 - Half Moon Cay - Arrived around 6:15. I went up for early breakfast and back with DW for hers. Caught tender around 9 after a short wait. Rented a clam shell tent for $17 for the day. That was money well spent as the sun was hot and direct. Ate Hamburger and hot dog for lunch. Both were very good. Cooked over charcoal on shore. We came back on board around 1:30 to beat the rush and because it was so hot. Got ice cream, took a shower and then a nap before dinner. I had the tomato and mozzarella starter along with the Thai chicken starter. Both were good. Red Snapper for entrEe was just okay. DW had mushroom soup she really liked and Filet and rib which she really liked. Apple pie and Ice cream for dessert. DW had CMC.

Ticket to ride was the show tonight. The dancers were very good and the singers were ok (what did Simon Cowell say about cruise ship singers on American Idol?). Almost doubled my money on the slots - put in $5 and came out with $9.50 which I contributed back the next day.

Wednesday - June 8 - Grand Turk - We were headed to dining room for breakfast by way of the Lido for coffee and saw they had eggs Benedict and French toast in Lido so we ate there. Really enjoyed breakfast outside on the back deck. We read in our room until 11:30 when we went to Lido to get a grilled turkey sandwich. It was surprisingly good. We had the 1:00 Ultimate Snorkel Adventure. At the first stop there were three stingrays swimming below us, a lot of coral and fish. At the second stop water was a little deeper and the coral more dramatic. We did not go to the "wall" which I thought we were so I was a little disappointed. We went back to ship, cleaned up and back out to see a little of Grand Turk. Not much to see at port and we didn't have time to leave the port area. Dinner tonight was my least favorite menu. I had fried cheese, the potato soup (which was very good) and the seafood Newburg. Dessert was birthday cake from a table mate and I also had the cheese selection. No show tonight as it was deck party and Mexican buffet at 11:30. We didn't make the buffet.

Thursday - June 9 - Happy 50th Birthday to my DW! At breakfast in dining room again. Enjoyed the service and food. It was misting outside so we sat under the cover on Serenity and read a while. Seas were somewhat choppy and you could feel the motion of the ocean. Had an early nap and went to dining room for lunch. We went to the future cruise presentation and bought a future cruise certificate. We enjoyed our Carnival cruise so much we decided we could do it again. Went to the gym and worked out a while. I normally work out 4 days a week before work but enjoyed sleeping in this week. Tonight was second formal night. Table mates shared a bottle of wine and one of champagne with our table. One couple was not there and DW doesn't drink so five of us split them. Very nice addition to the meal. I had the Chateaubriand which was very good. DW had the salmon from the Spa Carnival section of the menu. We both had the CMC for dessert. We picked up two new comedians in Grand Turk. Heard the first one (Jeff Jenna) tonight. He started slow but ended up strong, we laughed a lot. Main show tonight was Manuel Zuniga, a juggler. He was very talented and also funny.

Friday - June 10 - Last day! Had breakfast in buffet and then read for a while. DW booked a spa-topia package for 11:00. I went to the disembark meeting. After the meeting I went down and met the Cruise Director and some of his staff as I had a question. Being the lowest floor, farthest room we had the last self assist departure time. As we were driving we wanted to get up and go. They said no problem, leave whenever we wanted. For dinner I had the Panko crusted shrimp which was very good and had them bring a rib plate also. The ribs were very tender although a little fatty. We both had the baked Alaska for dessert which I was disappointed in. Thankfully I had also ordered a CMC which was great as usual! Comedian was Just Jane. She was very funny. There was a hypnotist show tonight. We sat through about one half and then left as it wasn't very entertaining to us. We walked outside a while, the pool deck was deserted, they had drained and were covering the pool. Went to cabin and packed for departure.

Saturday - June 11 - Had 5:30 wakeup call and room service breakfast. Both were on time. We could see the shore lights in the distance. Around 6:15 we left the room as we could see we were about finished docking. Around 6:35 they started letting us off. We were probably in the first 100 off. Went through customs and out. You had to load your luggage on a trailer and get on a shuttle bus for the short ride to the warehouse where you reclaimed your luggage and your vehicle. Even with all that we were out on the road by 7:05 and home in Duluth by noon.

Summary -

This was our first Carnival Cruise. DW has cruised RCCL four times in the past 6 years and I've cruised RCCL twice in the past five years (both on Mariner of the Seas, a much larger ship). I had read many reviews on CC (thanks to all) and was prepared to be disappointed based on some. Overall we were very pleased with our Fantasy cruise and rank it right up there with our RCCL cruises. The food was as good as RCCL. There was not as much selection in the buffet but I like how you could get food in the buffet and out by the pool as well. The pizza was better on Carnival. In general I thought the RCCL Cruise Directors were more "out there" than the Carnival. We don't participate in a lot of on board activities but from watching some on the TV drew that conclusion. I always wondered when the RCCL CD's slept. I also thought the RCCL decks were kept slightly cleaner than Carnivals. Interiors were fine. We enjoy comedy and enjoyed having four comedians on the cruise. That was nice. We didn't miss the "headliner" show RCCL has.

For the price difference we would always take the Carnival. We would like more ports as the 5 days at sea got a little long. We did get a .61 cent credit for not going to Nassau! Less

Published 06/17/11

Cabin review: 6AR248 Ocean View

quiet location, last cabin on lowest floor. no hall traffic.

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