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Epic Carnival Fantasy Review & PICS/March 23rd, 2012 Sailing


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First, let’s begin with an introduction of the main characters in what I hope will be a helpful and/or entertaining picture review. We are, Nancy (me) 38 years old and the Andrew, 42 years old. We live in a tiny town called Hollywood,SC just outside of Charleston.

We were taking this cruise to celebrate quite a few things. But mainly we were taking this cruise to escape the realities of a tragic year. January 14, 2011 the Andrew’s house burned to the ground. He went back in several times to try to find our cat, his phone and clothing and as a result was burned pretty badly. He was lifeflighted to Augusta Burn Center and they did a wonderful job with the skin grafts and if you look at him, you wouldn’t even know he had been burned. But, he wasn’t doing so well mentally. So, since we love cruising so much, I decided to book a cruise and see if I could get a smile back on that silly man’s face. It worked.

Well, there you go. You have the who, what, where, when and why. If you like reviews with lots of pictures then you should enjoy being swept away on our journey. I didn’t get as many pictures that I would have liked since my camera was malfunctioning and ultimately decided to meet it’s maker on the beach at Junkanoo. Luckily I had my Iphone as back up.

Ok, kids! Put down that Kool Aid pull up a chair and let’s away on a fantastical journey of epic proportions. Ready?

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Pre cruise: Since we live in Charleston and don’t have to travel, our pre-cruise is spent at home finalizing last minute things.


We decided to try our luck at smuggling on a bit of rum. On previous cruises we were successful at buying a 12 pack of water, wriggling a few bottles out of the shrink wrap, filling them with rum and wriggling them back in to the middle. I purchased a meat injector this time and commenced to filling.


And then the injector broke. We attempted to repair it with scotch tape. That definitely didn’t work.


We also used a turkey baster that over time had lost it’s suction.


Basically after an hour (and a few shots) we were done and pretty happy with the end result.


Did we make it on? Don’t get ahead of yourselves kids. Patience!

We removed our old luggage tags and stapled on the new ones. STAPLER!


Edited by All4fun&fun4all
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Embarkation day!: We drove my little Hyundai to my mother’s house in the West Ashley area of Charleston and called Yellow Cab to pick us up and take us to the port.




They were a little backed up and after what seemed like an eternity our cab pulled into the driveway.




Our cabbie was a super nice guy with mad driving skills.




In no time flat we caught our first glimpse of home sweet home…for 5 days.




We had our documents ready to show the authorities to enter and pulled up to the luggage drop off tents. Our cab ride was around $16.00 (which included tip) and handed our checked luggage to our porter and tipped him a couple of bucks.




We headed over to the shuttle bus that takes us over to the terminal. Big smiles…we are on our way!




There are of course no pictures allowed in the terminal itself but this is where you go through the security screening. Remember our 12 pack of “water”? Well, security guy of course wanted to check a bit closer. This happened to us last time with no problem but this guy….this guy took his job very seriously. He shook the whole case of water. Then he shook it again. And then he shook it so hard that I thought he may give himself brain damage. That’s when we realized…we are BUSTED. He said “you cant bring this onboard”. I said “what ever do you mean?”. He says “there is alcohol in here”. I say “whaaaaaat?”. Over comes mister supervisor who breaks open the pack and pulls the one bottle that I failed to put in the very center. He opens it up and smells it and just shakes his head at us. The whole thing ends up in the garbage can. I say “cant I at least have the water?”. He says “no”. The Andrew says “You can’t blame us for trying right”. No answer. Meh! No rum for us. BOOOO!!!! Next time: Rum runners.

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Absolutely LOVING this review so far!! Sorry you got nailed with the rum, but I heard they are really cracking down.:( So glad he had a great time...sounds like a TERRIBLY rough year....Cannot wait for the rest of it!:D

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We head over to the check in area which went super fast then off to take our embarkation picture and then up a flight of stairs to have our S&S card pic taken. Next thing you know we are climbing what appears to be a new gangplank system.


Last time we boarded and had to take an elevator to lido. This time we boarded at the atrium. Very cool. Keep in mind though that the gangplanks are a bit steep.


We are finally on our ship! Woo hoo! Our first order of business was to put cash down on our S&S card. There was a bit of a line but it appeared to move pretty quickly. We put $200.00 down on each of our cards and then it was time to mosey on upstairs to lido deck, which affectionately over time became known as "home base". I also had the guest services rep punch a hole in my S&S card because I intended on wearing my card on a lanyard this time. I brought my own.

By 12:31pm we were enjoying our first drink of the day, The Funship Special.


Shortly after that we had the pleasure of meeting pinkfloydfan and his lovely wife.


He bought us both a drink and gave the Andrew a Carnival cooler and me a Carnival backpack. Such a great guy and we enjoyed many conversations with him throughout the cruise. And for the very first time I got to see what a milestone card looks like. I cant wait to get my hands on a white S&S card!

At exactly 1:30 we decided to run down to our cabin and lighten our load a bit. We had cabin U239 which is an aft oceanview. It seemed a bit smaller than most cabins we have been in before but for 2 people it was perfect. We werent running over each other too much. Here are some cabin pics.


And this time I decorated my door! (just a little)


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The amenity basket was a bit on the light side. There was only a couple of packets of toothpaste, a packet of floss and about 5 packets of Breathe Right strips. (They must have heard of the Andrew's resounding snoring issue and planned ahead.)




This is what the bed looked like when we boarded.




This is what it looked like after we moved the bed.




At this point we hadnt received any of our checked bags so I decided to just unpack our carry-ons and begin organizing our space.




We then headed back up to lido so that the Andrew could order his first bucket of beer of the trip. (Cost with gratuity and tax since we hadnt left port yet: $25.94) He wanted to get Fosters since it was economically a better choice but unfortunately they had'nt gotten the latest shipment on the ship at that point. So Budweiser it is.




Shortly after this it was time for everyone's favorite time of day...MUSTER! Yay....I mean yay.

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mmmmmm mustard.




Our Muster station was E which is located at the Forum Lounge.




We ended up sitting next to another roll call member, Danimalrocks and his wife. Since the recent Costa Concordia incident I sort of expected people to be paying close attention and not making a ton of noise. This was not the case. The crew member in charge of this station had to constantly remind people to please be quiet and settle people down. The forum was packed with people. After quite some time the briefing began and we headed out to the area of the life boats.




Standing behind us was yet another CC member flowergirl66. Soon after the all clear sounded and we were ready to begin sailaway celebrations. We went to the deck above lido on the starboard side so that we could see Charleston get smaller and smaller. The Fantasy has to back out of port so that it can head into the channel around Castle Pinckney.




There is my smiling happy man!




Buh bye Charleston!




At this point we made our way back to the room to see if our bags had arrived and yes! They were there and I finished unpacking and setting up the over the door organizer and putting away the suitcases. They didnt fit under the bed but after nesting them we were able to put them in the closet that held the bathrobes.


We cracked open one of our carry-on bottles of wine with our wine tool we brought from home and headed back to lido.

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It was definitely time for a snack and one of my most favorite snacks onboard is SUSHI! Around 6pm or so we decided to treat ourselves to a couple of helpings since our assigned dinner time was the 8:15pm seating. Check it out, there is absolutely no line.




We never made it back to the sushi bar after this night which sort of sucks but we just were having so much fun that we totally forgot about sushi. Is that even possible? Sushi food porn:




The seating area on promenade is a great place with large windows to sit back and relax while you nom on your sushi.


We were able to get this lovely sunset-ish picture from those large windows.




We made our way back to our room for a little more wine and to plan our activites for our day at sea the next day.


The time arrived to head out to dinner and as I have said in our previous review, we do NOT miss dinner on the first night.


We are ready for dinner.




I dont like being late for dinner so we headed downstairs and...jam on brakes...super long line. We stopped into the majestic bar for the Andrew to score one more Budweiser (Cost: $6.61).


Here I am, irritated that we might be holding up dinner service.




Around 8:30 the line had died down enough to head into the dining room. We had table 388 which was a 10 top. We hadnt had a table like this since our first sailing on Carnival.


Imagine our surprise when we realized we were seated with yet another CC member, baldman70 and his wife.




There were cruise newbies at the table and I think we may have overwhelmed them a bit with us throwing so much cruise knowledge at them. We didnt see them at our table again, but we heard they changed to an earlier time. I hope that is the case. EEK!

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And for the moment you have all been waiting for...Dinnertime Food Porn! We take pictures of our food all the time and this time was no exception. I used my flash this time since we had a CC member at the table that didnt mind. I dont have the "official" names of the dishes but you will get the jist of it. I will give my thoughts (and the Andrew's thoughts) on what we thought of the dish since we heard that the food has taken a decline in other reviews we have read. Here you go:


Broccoli and cheese soup (VERY good)




Stuffed mushrooms (pretty good, kinda garlicky)




Another member of our table had this fruity dish




Salad! (very good basic crisp fresh salad with delish dressing)




Tilapia (fish was perfectly cooked the mac and cheese sadly inedible)




Pork tenderloin (excellent but sides were lacking..carrots were good though)



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Lasagna Bolognase (sp) ordered by another tablemate




Flat Iron Steak medium rare (Cooked perfectly. Andrew loved this so much he got one every night we went to dinner in addition to other entree's)





During dinner a member of the wait staff approached and asked if I was Nancy. Cautiously I said yes thinking maybe I was in trouble but that was not the case. One of my co-workers ordered some drink coupons for me!




The Andrew got another bucket o beer (Cost: $24.15 now that we are in intl waters)




We headed back to our cabin to change into comfy ship wandering clothes and to plug in the camera to charge. Here began the beginning of realizing my camera was starting a slow and steady decline. We had a chance to meet our steward IPutu. He was very efficient and constantly kept our cooler filled with ice along with the ice bucket. The room was always kept clean and at turn down service we always had our towel animal. It took him awhile to realize that the dollars we left for him on the mirror were for him to take.


Here is Iputu




And our room at turn down service. Doggie animal. I was kinda sad it wasnt the famous vagina towel this time around.




We had another glass of wine and the Andrew went up to lido while I waited for room service to bring a bottle of rum. Yep, apparently this ship is one of the ships that you can order rum from room service. We ordered a one liter bottle of Cruzan that lasted for most of the cruise. (Cost: $50.00) Yeah, I know that seems a bit steep but it really cuts down on the amount that we spend on a cruise to have "room rum". Plus it mixes well with the Guava Passionfruit OJ they serve in the morning. We would hit lido in the morning and fill my pink water bottle with the juice and leave it on ice in the room. Yum!

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Been looking forward to your review. So glad The Andrew (and you of course) had a great cruise.


Looking forward to the rest!!



Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk HD

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At the suggestion of pinkfloydfan, we decided to go to Cat's Lounge to check out Music Degree. These guys totally rocked the party! We must have timed it perfectly because as we settled in the chairs they returned from break. Some of the folks in the crowd started yelling "FREEBIRD" and the band said "You want to hear Freebird AGAIN?)


I have to say if you close your eyes, these guys could imitate any singer that they played. The crowd were a nice mix of young and middle and old but the college kids ruled the dance floor. It was great fun to watch the crazy dancing and at one point a guy poured an entire beer on his own head. Why? Just...why? Funny though. Go check out this band if you have the chance.




There was a VERY amorous couple sitting in front of us. I hope they were able to find a room at some point. I mean, I am in no way a prude and have been known for our PDA but the lapdance and foot rub...sheesh.


I never noticed the carpet in Cat's Lounge before (sorry eluchio24, there is a carpet picture. Avert your eyes! tee hee)




Then it was time to head back to lido/home base and use one of those drink coupons. I was curious how this would work and it goes like this: I ordered a Twilight Zone. The drink is $7.25. They subtract the $5.75 for the drink coupon which makes the subtotal $1.50 plus gratuity at .23= a grand total of $1.73. Next sailing, I am pre-ordering coupons. That works out pretty good.


Me and my new favorite drink, the Twilight Zone:




At about 2:00am we finally decided to retire for the evening


Day 1: A super silly busy day with a learning curve and confiscated rum. MEH! But yay!




We got up super early and went to lido for a smoke. I will interject for a moment and say that not being able to smoke in the cabin and other areas pretty much confined us to the lido deck but we found that this turned out to be a great place to meet new friends and to people watch.


The Andrew wandered up to lido around 6:30 am and the chair hogs were already in action. He was tempted to move things around but didnt. He came back to the cabin to get me up and moving. I didnt sleep really well that night but was ready to get as much out of this day that I could. We checked on the progress of the chair hogs but I guess it was still to early for serious pool-side hogging. This is what we found at about 8:30




CC member raydar found us and introduced herself. It was so cool this time to meet so many others on CC. Definitely will be participating in more roll calls.






Home base




At this point the camera began screwing up royally. I thought perhaps it was the battery. The lens/zoom started going in and out...in and out...and then turn off. I brought it back to the room to charge it since I forgot to plug it in overnight. So, there are no pics of our breakfast in the MDR. But the Andrew had Eggs Benedict, bacon, hashrounds and grapefruit juice. I had the salmon bagel thingy with some eggs and tried the chicken sausage. Me no likey.


A waiter came around with the bloody mary cart and of course we could not resist. We split the large one (Cost: $7.50 plus grats=$8.63) and it was perfectly constructed. Olives...mmmm.

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Before we cruised I contacted my PVP to see if we could use a venue that was not being used so that we could arrange an impromptu Meet and Greet with the folks on our roll call. He stated that it should be just fine to do so. So patthecma mentioned Cat's Lounge at 10:30 and if we wanted to show up, throw on some Mardi Gras beads and meet some folks from roll call. We had a great time talking about our time so far and what our plans would be for our ports of call. It was cool to meet everyone and put faces to screen names.


Here are a few pics from our Meet & Greet (I am only using screen names to protect the innocent):


pinkfloydfan & lovely wife








patthecma & husband




danimalrocks & lovely wife




katbur2 & hilarious husband (we ended up spending a lot of time with these guys at home base) and baldman70 off to the side




desaun is seated in the foreground (this guys is a champion. He took a bus to Charleston!)



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The Andrew looks a bit overwhelmed.




After the meet and greet we were headed to lido deck and came across this passenger who was playing beautiful music on the piano. He really was amazing and it's double awesome to see a kid of his age take a moment and play random classical pieces.




We made our way up to lido deck after making a drink with our room rum and guava passionfruit OJ. Here is what lido deck looked like just before all the contests.




Up first was the Master Mixology contest. There was a guy, Devin, who definitely was "that guy" on this cruise. Not in a bad way but he definitely stood out and was a character. He participated in the mixology contest. Here is a shot of Devin in action...with a mullet wig!




He didnt win but this guy, Philip, won with his drink The Fantasy Sunset




He's got the 24 carat gold plastic ship on a stick!


I ordered one of his drinks (Cost: $6.25 minus my drink coupon=.58)



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Enjoying your review so far, looks like you had fun! Can't wait to read the rest.


Do you have any pics of the waterworks area you could post? Also, what ports did you visit? Thanks. :)



Yes we do have some pics of waterworks. Oh, you just wait! Funneh stuff there. I dont think we have a picture of it from afar but I think there were pics of it at the end of my last review.


We visited Freeport and Nassau. 5 day cruise out of Charleston.

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Next up was the ice carving. It always amazes me the skill these guys have that has been passed on through generations. But for the life of me...I cannot tell WTH this is




I will say that the deck crew kept a vigilant eye out for kids in the adult only jacuzzi but the one that allowed kids was packed. We called this Kid Soup




And then it was time for the Hairy Chest Competition. This is actually one of my favorite lido competitions. I couldnt get the Andrew to do it again (and he actually trimmed his chest hair so I wouldnt get him in it) but I seriously laughed til I almost cried.


Here are the contestants




And the winner!




Devin came by and I got a picture with him




We stopped by the Galleria shops and got a carton of Marlboro Light 100's (Cost: $28.50) They had a deal for 2 cartons for $52.00 but we were on a pretty tight budget so we just shared this carton.


Yet another bucket o beer for the Andrew and we stopped by our cabin to refresh our drinks. Before the cruise I contacted John Heald on Facebook just telling him we were excited to be cruising. I wasnt trying to be one of "those" people and ask for anything. But, he did send something to our cabin.


Chocolate Covered Strawberries, a bottle of Santero champagne and a 24 CARAT GOLD PLASTIC SHIP ON A STICK! How cool! The Andrew was blown away and was reduced to tears.



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Strawberries YUM




A teary eyed Andrew




Moving onward, we found these little kiosks (one at the stairwell that leads from lido to the promenade and one at the coffee shop) that you can check your S&S balance at. You are not able to check your S&S on the tv like larger ships.




Here is the cooler that pinkfloydfan gave the Andrew to carry his beer in




At this point is when the Andrew decided that it was more economic to buy the Foster's 750ml beer and kept it cold by keeping it in the little cooler with ice. (Cost: $7.76 and higher alcohol content...yes we are lushes) I started drinking some water at this point. REHYDRATE!


Then it was time for a Miami Vice (Cost:$7.25 minus drink coupon=$1.73) We met a very cool couple that we ended up spending most of our time with. Ann & James. There will be pics of them later.



This night was Elegant Night and here is what we look like all dressed up. We clean up well!





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We arrived at dinner and there were 2 new people at our table who had moved because their table mates were a bit on the rowdy side. I reminded the Andrew to make sure his filter was securely in place.




More dinnertime food porn? Sure!


Alligator Fritters (Pretty tasty and the onion chips on the side were nice and crunchy)




Escargot (really chewy but good flavor) I cannot tell you how many times the Andrew said "look at that S car go!" *groan*




Greek Farmer Salad (was good with lots of feta but MANY peppers in it. He loves peppers but if you arent a big fan of peppers you may not enjoy it)




Lobster & shrimps (I had two of these and the lobster was tender and shrimps were flavorful)




And the Prime Rib! (Awesome. Cooked perfectly. Could have been a thicker slice but he ordered two)



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I ordered a cappuchino. Let me just tell you that cappuchino is seriously STRONG! Do not partake if you plan on sleeping anytime soon.




We, of course, went back to lido and met up with some silly folks that we hit it off with right away. After further investigation we found out that these guys were the one's that the new couple at our table moved away from.




I ordered a Mocha Chocolate Getaway and WOW! That is a tasty beverage! We decided to try to see the comedy show at 10:45pm with our new friends but by the time we got to the venue




Maximum fun level was reached. Sadly, we never made it to see any of the comedy shows...again. Pfft. We decided to swing by the room for a moment.


The Andrew is, for the most part, hard of hearing. This sign sums it up.




Towel animal tonight is the Froggie




It was pretty late but that cappuchino was kickin! So back to lido deck where we found all kinds of crazy things that people had left behind during the day.



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I want more! We live on the IOP, heard about the fire in the news, glad to see THE Andrew is doing better. We will be on the Fantasy May 9th, not much of a roll call going for our cruise. This will be our ninth, cruise in Nov will be Platinum... hopefully.

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