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About Matt62

  • Rank
    Cool Cruiser

About Me

  • Location
    Charleston, SC
  • Interests
    Boating, travel, photography
  1. Cricket, you are welcome to email me directly. See email address above. If this all keeps up, I am going to have to book a Fantasy Cruise in October too! Regarding a post above about solo supplements not being charged on "most" Fantasy cruises, I wish this were so but it is not. I looked at the list and could only find a few Fantasy Cruises where they were offering this but I'd sure love to be proven wrong on that.
  2. Gabrielle, feel free to email me for more info on Charleston since that level of detail goes beyond a thread on the Fantasy. I have lots of maps and info, etc and am glad to share. dillon99@comcast.net
  3. Two feet of ice! Wholly smoke, no wonder you are cruise daydreaming. We were on the beach today with 82 degrees and sunny. I'll get you some Nassau advise and others will no doubt chime in as well. We hired Captain Carl Blades for a private boat excursion and he was a gem. He is well reviewed on TripAdvisor. There are some significant historical sites in Nassau but you just have to work your way around the crackheads in your way, the key is to walk like you mean it, don't amble like a tourist.
  4. Good advice but I was pleasantly surprised, no amazed actually, that the French Toast on the Lido breakfast buffet was pretty good and they have solved the weird partially cooked bacon problem and then there was this last breakfast related phenomenon. Why do people just stand in the first line they come to? Every morning I'd walk up to the Lido breakfast and there would be a huge line to the first "regular" breakfast buffet. I'd walk around the corner and find no line at all for the amazing omelette & real eggs-cooked-to-order guys or the other identical breakfast line. Lesson, don't just get in the first line, keep on walking.
  5. We were just on the Carnival Fantasy and at our advancing ages (50), mattresses, pillows and shower water pressure are becoming more and more important to us. Our group of 18 year old girls made no mention of any of that, only boys registered on their scale of concern. We were thrilled with all three. The mattress seemed new and proved you don't need a box spring to make a bed really comfortable. Best night sleep we've had in a long time. We wrote down the name off the pillows hoping to buy some at home and the water pressure was better than any hotel we've stayed at in a long time and that includes expensive places like the W, etc.
  6. Freeport is easy, The beach at Lucaya is one of the most beautiful in the Bahamas and the $15 resort pass to the Grand Lucayan Hotel is a great deal. This is a great resort and it is so spread out it is a nice relief from the crowds on the ship. No problem getting a lounger there. If you are interested in snorkeling, scuba or a dolphin encounter, Freeport is also perfect as just across the street from the Lucayan resort is Unexso, which is one of the best outfits in the West Indies. This is the "dolphin excursion" that Carnival sells, for a significant surcharge. This company is excellent, both in their professionalism, the condition of their boats and equipment and their treatment of their marine mammals. http://www.unexso.com/ My advice is to do a trip with Unexso first thing in your morning and when you get back to their dock at 12:30, walk across the street and spend the next few hours on the beach. The last shuttle back to the port leaves at 4:00pm, which is perfect to get you back before they want you back on the ship at 4:30pm. We took the 3pm bus back so as to have an hour in the area next to the ship and regretted it. A bunch of bad souvenir shops and a way too loud Senior Frogs is no reason to leave that beach any earlier than you have to. We like the Grand Lucayan so much we are going to fly there and stay there sometime soon.
  7. Gabrielle, first of all, you picked the best month of the year to visit Charleston and sail this particular cruise, the weather is perfect, the winds have died down and it is not yet storm season. The best port you will visit is, by far, Charleston so make sure you allow at least one night here to take advantage of that. Freeport has a spectacular beach, nicer than any in Nassau, so you will get lots of advice about taking the $5 roundtrip per person shuttle to Lucaya. Nassau is a bit trickier because of the urban congestion, traffic, etc but with some planning and advice, even the most jaded Nassau visitor can have a great time there if they do it right. I read daily about how much many cruisers hate Nassau and I understand that, it can be hard to like, but I've been more than 40 times, about 5 times via cruise ship, twice on business and the rest to land based resorts there and I can tell you that Nassau is a lot like food on a Carnival (or RCL or NCL) ship, if you can't find something you like, you are not trying hard enough. We were on the Fantasy two weeks ago and watched her sail from our harbor today and wished we were on it. While there are bigger, newer, prettier, fancier, etc, ships, the Fantasy is in excellent condition, it is a comfortable size, the cabins look like they were built last year, not in 1990, and the crew is absolutely wonderful. But, if you want this to be an amazing vacation and not just a nice one, make sure you spend at least one night in Charleston and let those of us who live here and frequent these boards guide you on some "must see" things to do while you are here. My biggest suggestion, other than my obvious pitch to take advantage of Charleston, is to be wary of the Carnival sponsored Excursions. Why? They are safe and use reliable vendors but they herd their too large groups like cattle and they are overpriced. Example: two of our teenage girls from our trip two weeks ago bought the dolphin encounter excursion from Carnival (Freeport). When they were on their excursion that morning, they met the others in their group who were doing the same (wonderful) experience for about $50 pp less. Same adventure, completely different price. Sometimes Carnival sanctioned excursions are great fun, particularly when they involve smaller groups, but they are almost always overpriced (priced over the same activity if bought directly from the same vendor) and frequently overcrowded. I was fascinated how frequently I heard Carnival announce that they could NOT assure your safety on non-carnival excursions (i.e. if you book with a third party, you are probably going to be stabbed to death), but the reality is that with these boards and Tripadvisor, you can find out all you need to know about non-carnival vendors. I have no problem with Carnival wanting to turn a profit, but I do not care for that particular way they do it by capitalizing on the fears of many of their passengers who are not familiar with foreign ports of call. Feel free to ask me about these ports and Charleston in particular. You are about to get plenty of advice about what to see, do and eat on the Fantasy.
  8. The State Court "nuisance" action was dismissed, the Federal Challenge to the permitting process necessary to build the new terminal, a challenge instigated by the same groups who were plaintiffs in the "nuisance" action, remains a huge problem. I agree that these groups have some valid points, namely: 1) it would be preferable if all cruise ships used shore power while at dock, that way only the poor people living near the inland power plants would have to deal with the exhausts created by power production (I hope everyone knows I am trying to be facetious), and 2) The land where our terminal is presently located, right at the base of Market St, is some of the most valuable waterfront property anywhere and it does seems that we could make better use of that particular piece of property and move the cruise port up the waterfront a bit. But if you want to know how grossly these groups overstate their positions, check out their website: http://www.charlestoncruisecontrol.org/ Our favorite is the image that shows the Whale Tail towering over Charleston as if it is about 500 stories high. You diminish your legitimate arguments when you overstate your case.
  9. Yes she was launched in 1990, I saw her in that first year when I was staying in Nassau at what was then Carnival's Crystal Palace Casino Hotel. She seemed quite stunning, the first of a new class of larger ship with a vivid, color changing "huge" atrium (at the time). I've sailed on older ships, the Festivale being much older when I cruised on it and newer, we sailed on a Disney ship in its early days. No doubt the Disney ships are more appealing to look at, they still are, and I could get a huge discount on a last minute sailing if I wanted to as my brother is a DCL exec but if both were based in Charleston with the same itinerary at the same price, I'd choose the Fantasy. Why? I'm 51 and my youngest child is 18. I like a great bartending staff and a good sized casino with nice employees and I want to see adults partying (in the proper places mind you, not in the halls) late into the night dancing to the band by the Casino Bar. I am past the point of having to chase or supervise the little kids. I loved that stage but I am at a different stage of life and this fact matters when choosing a cruise ship. This is exactly what I got last week. We didn't sail the Fantasy for the food, our food in Charleston cannot be beat by Seabourn or Regent. We did find plenty of good to great food and even managed to stick to a new diet. We saw lots of people gorging on crappy food, (I am past filling up on old fries and burgers at 11:00pm) but that is what they wanted to do so good for them. The choices are plentiful, keep looking and you will find what you want. We sailed the Fantasy because of its convenience and because our last experience on her was excellent and this one was even better. This ship shows none of the negative signs of aging, no smells, no faded paint, no rust, nothing broken and elevators that (amazingly) work like new. Our bed, bedding and pillows were also AMAZING, and the shower pressure was great and consistent so our cabin was perfect. We could afford to sail a premium line and I am sure we will for the right occasion (25th anniversary looming) but I'd rather take multiple trips on this ship that works just fine than one on a ship that is only slightly better, or even much better in ways that do not matter to me anymore. Bottom line, if you do your research, you should find the ship that meets your needs. If you do not, you may not be happy, regardless of how much or little you spend. Wow, I started to just reiterate just how well the old ship is aging and started into a rambling semi-cruise review. I think this is a symptom of acute cruise withdrawal. I am still missing my favorite bartender (Larry) from the 21st Century Bar (the Casino bar) who knew my name, drink preference (down to the right size glass) and folio number so I didn't even need to hand him my "Cheers" card. He was that good with everybody and they were constantly busy. Any questions about the Fantasy and the Port of Charleston or our city itself are welcome.
  10. Well I love your attitude. Most of the view from the ship is lovely and the location is perfect but it is that one completely unused building closest to the ship with the caving in roof that detracts from what should be a better sight to behold. And we do love our Ravenel Bridge which is as great to look at as to drive over every day. My complaint is that we have the money ready to build a facility befitting our lovely city and the level of tourism we enjoy and that litigation is leaving us in a bind, which is in fact, the worst of both worlds. We have neither the new terminal that the Port has been planning since I moved here in 1991 nor do we have a total ban on cruise ships in the historic area that the plaintiffs so desire so we are stuck. At least we are keeping my fellow lawyers busy. Again, as residents of Charleston, we appreciate your seeing past our port facility and look forward to your return. And as for the good old Fantasy, when we were aboard her last week and my friend, who lives in one of the adjacent, historic neighborhoods, and I commented that there is no way, at any price point, to get better bar service than we had on that ship. We had a lovely time, the service was uniformly excellent and the ship was in great condition.
  11. To make a very long story short, it was not dropped. As a lawyer I am prone to over-answering these legal questions but several of the plaintiff's (neighborhood groups and environmental groups) claims were indeed dismissed on appeal but enough were sustained to continue the seemingly endless process. The permitting process needed to build the new terminal was completely vacated requiring a new process to begin and be approved before anything can happen. The groups fighting the presence of this ship will fight the new permitting process at every turn. We were on the Fantasy last week and the view is bizarre. There is this amazing city in the distance with the most dilapidated building you can imagine in the foreground ruining what should be a great first impression for many. Oh well.
  12. As of our cruise which ended yesterday morning, (March 25 -30) it was "Island Girl", Murietta Durrant. We had Risa Barnes on the last Fantasy cruise and thought she was great. "Island Girl" is a sweet person and her Island accent is charming but it is almost impossible to understand her announcements. I am used to all kinds of accents from all over the world but she makes no attempt to pronounce many words in universally understandable and commonly accepted ways. My wife and I laughed every time we heard her talk about filling out the "Customs Decorations", but at least we knew what she was talking about when the vast majority of the time we had no idea. We skipped all the shows she emceed and could not understand much of what she was saying on ship-wide PA announcements. One the plus side, the cruise was GREAT. A fellow Charlestonian was onboard with me as we were both "chaperoning" four newly 18 year old high school girls and we both agreed, you could sail Seabourn (or more expensive if there is such a line) and you could not possibly get better bartenders than we had on the Fantasy.
  13. Well if I hear anyone complain about Nassau anymore I am going to tell them to read your review. It just goes to prove that EVERY destination is what you make of it. Great work.
  14. Thanks for the review, keep it coming. We are going to be on our second Fantasy cruise come next Tuesday. If you are within a 6 hour drive of Charleston, this is hard to beat (even if you have been on far newer and/or more expensive ships). If you have to fly, this is still a great cruise if you can take advantage of the best port you will visit on this trip . . . . Charleston. Can't wait to read more.
  15. Ok since that worked I will try another shot just about 30 minutes earlier.
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