Jump to content
hooforce

Carnival Fantasy Review (Feb 18 - 23, 2013)

Recommended Posts

My family and I just returned from our cruise on the Carnival Fantasy (5-day cruise) that left from Charleston, SC on Monday, Feb. 18, 2013. I will preface my review by stating that this was our 8th cruise (only the second time sailing with 3 of my boys ages 13, 10, and 5 - we left our 3 year old with family since we wanted to try and enjoy our vacation, lol) and by far, this was definitely our least favorite. We did have some really outstanding service in the MDR and our room steward was just awesome! If you have YTD on the Fantasy up through May 2013, ask for Fernando. His service was just simply outstanding! His assistant, Roger, was just as good! Their service in the MDR was, by far, the best I have ever experienced! Okay, now that is taken care of...on with the review:

 

We are currently living in Springfield, Virginia (just outside of Washington DC) and decided a couple weeks ago to surprise our 3 oldest boys by booking a cruise that left from a port that was fairly close - close enough to drive to in order to save some money. We found an excellent deal for all 5 of us to depart out of Charleston, SC on the Fantasy (about a 7.5 hour drive for us). We didn't tell the kids anything except that we were going to our house on the beach in North Carolina. They "bought" our story and very early Monday morning, began the drive to Charleston. Once we were about 30 minutes from the port, we finally told our kids that we were not going to our beach house in NC, but that we were going on a cruise instead! What's so funny is that they didn't believe us at first. I thought they'd be excited, but it took about 15 minutes before it actually set in that we were actually going on a cruise. Soon thereafter, the excitment set in and we were set to have an excellent time (we have some video of this, but I'll have to post a link to YouTube later)!

 

This was my first time visiting in Charleston, so I was a bit aprehensive about the parking and embarkation process. We decided to park at the port and after reading many reviews, it was clear that the parking and embarkation process would be a bit lengthy. When we got near the port at about 11:00, there were signs that clearly indicated where we needed to go, but when we actually got inside the port gate, that's is where the MANY lines began. It was like a maze that we had to drive through to go from one line to the next before we could actually park the car. I got frustrated at the first line we got to because it went extremely slow - they were checking our cruise documents. There were just not enough lanes to process all the cars coming in and therefore we found ourselves waiting 10 - 15 minutes or so just to get clearance to park at the port. Photo of the line:

 

IMAG0664.jpg

 

Once through this line, there was another maze of lanes we had to make our way through. Then we found ourselves in another line where payment was collected for parking. I thought I'd have to pay $102 ($17 X 5 days = $102), but to my delight, the charge was only $85! I'll take that! This alleviated my fustration from all the lines and so we paid with my MasterCard and off we went to yet another line...REALLY? This line was where we dropped off our luggage. We tipped our porter and then we were directed to follow signs to the actual parking place - FINALLY! We ended up parking in a wearhouse, which was odd, but sort of nice since it was secure and was covered from the elements. We parked and then unloaded the kids and our carry-on luggage and then (wouldn't you know it) we found ourselves standing in another line to get on a shuttle bus to take us to the terminal. Photo of our parking place and the line for the shuttle bus:

 

IMAG0665.jpg

 

IMAG0666.jpg

 

Another photo of the shuttle:

IMAG0668.jpg

 

As you can see, we weren't that far from the ship...I kind of wished they had given us the option to walk, but that option wasn't available. Oh well...off we went to the terminal.

 

Driving to the terminal:

IMAG0671.jpg

 

After we arrived to the terminal, there were numerous other lines we had to go through to get our room key to include the security line (no photos were allowed to be taken here...sorry). Though these lines were long, it didn't take too long to get through the lines since there were plenty metal detectors and the lines to get our room keys were efficiently run. Once we had our keys in hand, there was no more waiting and off to the gangway we went to get onto the ship! In all, it took about 1 hour to get on the ship from the time we pulled into the port. The process went faster than I thought it was going to take when I saw the first line, but the whole process was very crazy...not so much confusing, we just had to go from here to there to there to there and so on...just a lot of steps in the process, which is SO different from any of the other ports I have cruised from.

 

Walking up to the gangway:

IMAG0672.jpg

 

More coming...stay tuned....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It was a very cold embarkation day. I believe the temperature was in the upper 40s/lower 50s and once on the ship where the wind was blowing, it felt so much colder. Since this was the case, everyone was wearing a jacket and it appeared that we were all about to embark on an Alaskan cruise, but we were really headed for the Bahamas, thank goodness! I had heard that the Fantasy had just come out of drydock a couple weeks prior, so I wanted to see if I had noticed anything "new." Since this was my first time on the Fantasy, I couldn't do a good comparison, but I decided to take some photos to see if anyone on this site could see any difference. I can tell you that it appeared that the carpet in all the common areas looked brand new. Also, I noticed that the ship's funnel had just been painted with a fresh coat of red, white, and blue! Other than that, I could see no real changes that stood out. Overall, the ship definitely showed her age (there were some severe rust spots around the deck and there were even some obvious repair spots on the deck itself), but she looked good considering that her maiden voyage was in March 1990! Here are some random photos of the ship for your viewing pleasure:

 

Atrium:

IMAG0673.jpg

 

IMAG0674.jpg

 

Hallway in the Windows on the Seas buffet area:

IMAG0676.jpg

 

Main Lido Deck area:

IMAG0682.jpg

 

Forgot the name of the main walkway, but here it is. I loved the columns!

IMAG0699.jpg

 

Very nice decor:

IMAG0698.jpg

 

More on the way....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Nice photos I also like the walkway with the columns.

 

How was the lunch buffet can you tell me about that? Did they have any meat carvings, hot meat entrees and veggies? How was salad bar or was the food just fast food type foods?

 

Love to hear more and thank you.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We toured the ship and found some neat stuff. My kids really liked the Lego model of the Fantasy at the entrance of the Universe Theater:

 

IMAG0693.jpg

 

Here's a photo of the Circle C room that my 13 year old would call home for the next 5 days:

 

IMAG0690.jpg

 

IMAG0689.jpg

 

The library had some games and very few books:

 

IMAG0691.jpg

 

IMAG0692.jpg

 

 

More on the way....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My oldest son found the arcade where we did spend some time while the ship was docked in Freeport. We actually were able to grab an "Annoying Orange" plush doll out of one of the machines for my 5 year old! Never had we ever been successful at playing the "claw machine" before, so we were stoked and my 5 year old was very happy!

 

IMAG0696.jpg

 

IMAG0827.jpg

 

More random photos of the ship:

 

Elevator area:

IMAG0791.jpg

 

Stairs:

 

IMAG0792.jpg

 

Serenity Deck. We were going to use this deck on our last sea day, but all the spots were taken. I was a bit disappointed, but I didn't get there early (I must admit) and so my wife ended up sitting near the pool (only seat we could find) and I ended up sitting on the upper aft portion of the ship near the Waterworks on that day. There is just so limited space on this ship and the chair hogging was in full force:

 

IMAG0730.jpg

 

The Casino. I never spent any time here. I did try to get a free lanyard there, but they wouldn't let me because I was trying to get them for my kids and I couldn't get one either because I wasn't playing in the casino. I was a bit disappointed because I heard that you could, but it just didn't work out for us. If anyone knows anything different, let me know and I'll try again, but no lanyards for us on this cruise.

 

IMAG0803.jpg

 

More coming....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Nice photos I also like the walkway with the columns.

 

How was the lunch buffet can you tell me about that? Did they have any meat carvings, hot meat entrees and veggies? How was salad bar or was the food just fast food type foods?

 

Love to hear more and thank you.

 

The lunch buffet was great! I really loved the Mongolian Wok, but it is only open from 12:00 - 3:00 PM. Most of the time the line was fairly long, but so worth it!

 

They did have meat carvings. I didn't get any, but it looked like there was ham.

 

All the other meats were available as well: hamburgers, hotdogs, chicken...you name it, they pretty-much had it. Tons of fresh veggies were available (mostly at the salad bar to the rear of the ship). There were also cooked veggies available too. I think you would have no trouble finding what you want. Salad bar included, of course, fresh veggies, cold cut slices (turkey, ham, etc.), sliced cheeses, fresh fruits (both cut and whole fruits), etc. There were a few soft serve ice cream machines available and only 1 frozen yogurt machine, which I frequented everytime I passed by :D. Here is a photo of the salad bar area and the dessert island:

 

IMAG0731.jpg

 

Here is the Mogonlian Wok area. I learned that the lines outside were shorter than the buffet lines inside during breakfast and lunch, so that should help:

 

IMAG0816.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Okay, so I'm not going in order here so bare with me...I have a lot of things I want to get to that I thought were important and things I think you will find helpful as well. Now for the ugly..let me say this about entertainment...we've been on 7 Carnival cruises, so we are so over the hairy chest contest and most triva games, etc. I do; however, really enjoy the shows in the large theater at night. I enjoy the dancers, the singers and the overall productions that are "staples" of a Carnival cruise for me. On this cruise, we were so disappointed in the entertainment. I didn't go to the Welcome Aboard show since I had seen it so many times..."Up tight! Outta sight!" - you know what I'm talking about. I can't confirm that they did that show this time since I learned that there had been some changes, but I can tell you that the next night (elegant night) we went to see the show "Brits." Oh how disappointing! It was horrible and boring! The normal cast was non-existent! I couldn't believe it! I was so used to seeing 12 or so dancers and 2 singers...uh...nope! Not anymore apparently. Carnival really "screwed the pooch" here! Now, Carnival's production shows consist of 4 female dancers/singers and 5 male dancers/singers. It seems that not one performer specialized in just dancing or singing and the choreography routine was basic at the very best (more like a high school musical). No more Vegas-style show! Carnival has to fix this! This will be a deal-breaker for me if this becomes the norm on all of Carnival's ships. I just can't say it enough...such a disappointment!

 

Now, the "Brits" show was the first of only 2 shows for the week. What!? That's right, only 2 shows! Really!? The main theater was so under utilized - it was a shame! They did do the newlywed game really late one night at like 10:30 PM - really!? That was odd. They also did the Quest game as well as the gender game in the main theater. However, there were no other game shows like you'd see on other Carnival ships. No, Jeopardy-style games with the buzzer consoles, etc. Ugh...disappointing. I will say this, the second production show called "Motor City" was better than the "Brits," but not a lot better. Carnival just "dropped the ball" with entertainment and I was not expecting that on this cruise.

 

Here is a photo of the Universe Theater (beautiful - too bad it's going to waste):

IMAG0809.jpg

 

IMAG0806.jpg

 

I also noticed that some of the seats in the balcony area of the theater did not have a good view of the stage. I would definitely try to get a seat on the floor level if at all possible.

 

Then there was the comedy club or the Punchliner. I always enjoy Carnival's comedy shows. This cast of comedians also delivered quality shows. I went to both family shows - both were hilarious! I went to one adult show and it was also funny. I heard the guy (last name of Wiley) was really vulgar during his adult show, but I can't verify that since I did not go to his. Fantasy comedians = great. Fantasy Punchliner theater = not so good. This ship did not have a Punchliner theater dedicated to just comedy. Instead, it was a multipurpose room for just about everything else. The seating was horrible - none of the seating was permanent (mobile chairs, some padded, some not so padded) and the room was small. Also, (and this really got to me) there were huge, fat columns in the room that blocked the view of the stage if you were seated behind them. REALLY?! Don't get me wrong - I love columns...I think they look great, but this was not the place for them, expecially considering their girth. Seems to me that during drydock they would have placed some skinner columns there, but no. Here's a photo of what I'm talking about:

 

Photo of the whole room:

IMAG0812.jpg

 

...and this one...can you see the column?!:

IMAG0829.jpg

 

One thing they do for comedy shows on the Fantasy is that after each show, they make everyone leave the lounge to "reset" the lounge and then let everyone re-enter so that everyone can get a chance to have a good seat. REALLY!? Never have I seen this on any of my prior cruises! It was a huge inconvenience! There was so limited space in this lounge during the comedy shows, that people were actually sitting on the floor to see the show! Unbelievable! I can understand why the do this, but it's just so different and sort of unfair for those who get to the lounge early to get a good seat. Anyway...I digress....

 

I'm not usually negative about my cruises, but the above complaints were huge to me and really set the tone for the enterntainment for the week; something I really look forward to on Carnival. I think I'm going to write to John Heald about Carnival's new entertainment - it HAS to change or Carnival WILL lose clientele.

 

More on the way....

Edited by hooforce

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
look really nice, sooo much better than the ectasy!

 

I've also been on the Ectasy...I have to agree that the interior decor was nicer on the Fantasy - seemed a bit more elegant, but the layout of the Ecstasy is so much better (there are some differences). Overall, I did like the Ecstasy and I loved the Sensation - all Fantasy-class ships! Thanks for stopping by!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Lately, there is alot of complaints about entertainment on carnival. Honestly i almost never watched shows on a cruise but clearly NCL has a huge advance in that area

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Let me take a break from writing my review and just post some more photos I took of the ship and other happenings. Hope you enjoy!

 

Waterworks. My kids loved this and spent all day there mulitple days:

IMAG0708.jpg

 

There was one hot tub for both adults and kids on the ship, but this one ended up just being for kids. How many kids can you fit in a hot tub? Well, there are at least 16 in this one and it got even more crowded during the course of the cruise:

IMAG0728.jpg

 

Lido Deck stage:

IMAG0735.jpg

 

Did you know that the Fantasy had balcony rooms? Here's proof:

IMAG0773.jpg

 

Fantasy at Nassau:

IMAG0784.jpg

 

Parked next to the Norwegian Sky at Nassau:

IMAG0786.jpg

 

 

More to come....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Photos continued....

 

The Lido Deck at night:

 

IMAG0795.jpg

 

Funnel at night:

 

IMAG0796.jpg

 

Excuse our mess, but we had 5 people in this inside cabin (M50)! We bought the cruise with an Inside Guarantee room and ended up in a great location! I've never been in any room lower than the Empress Deck, but this one wasn't bad at all. We don't spend much time in our room anyway, so we just need a place to rest our heads at night - this room was great for that!

 

IMAG0719.jpg

 

Sushi bar at the buffet. They serve the same sushi here as they do at the sushi bar near the Casino and atrium:

 

IMAG0718.jpg

 

As we were about to set sail in Charleston, a pelican flew down and landed on the deck of the ship! Two of my boys (background) were captivated and watched as the pelican marched around the deck. Amazingly the pelcan was not fearful of the people, music, or the picture-taking! My kids were able to get quite close. He finally few away after a few minutes and my 10 year old said that his wing hit him on the head as he flapped his wings to take off. Funny!

 

IMAG0714.jpg

 

Then, there always seems to be one stange individual on your sailing that always ends up crossing your path during your cruise. We all got a "kick" out of this one - there was one individual that so closely resembled Santa Clause on our sailing! After we first spotted him on the first day, we saw him everywhere! I just couldn't resist taking a photo of him as much as I could. He always wore red and white and seemed to be friendly. Each time my 5 year old saw him on the ship, he would say, "Look! It's Santa!" One time, he said this so loud that the man heard him and waved. I was so embarrassed, but it was funny. Do you ever experience something like this on your cruises? Is there a certain individual that catches your attention on the first day (maybe an ugly couple, funny-looking person, etc.) that seems always cross your path on your cruise? It has happened to us during every cruise! This was ours for this cruise:

 

IMAG0703.jpg

 

More to come....

Edited by hooforce

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks so much for posting your trip report. The photos are great. We will be sailing on the Fantasy from Charleston soon and I like being familiar with it all before we go.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

On the Dream this past October we had a lady who thought she was a princess, she wore paper and plastic crowns daily, she had feather scarfs on, she had glitter on her face and she had a wand too.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On the Dream this past October we had a lady who thought she was a princess, she wore paper and plastic crowns daily, she had feather scarfs on, she had glitter on her face and she had a wand too.

 

That's funny! There always seems to be one coo coo in the nest! :p

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I'm on the right side. In the tall guy wearing a black north face

 

Wow! Well, I guess you never expected a photo of you being posted here without doing so yourself! If I have your permission, I will keep the photo posted - let me know if you feel otherwise.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you for an amazing picture review. We are going on the ship in June with friends (this will be their first cruise), so I hope they enjoy it as much as we do. A couple of questions:

Did your son enjoy Circle C - what kinds of activities did they do?

You don't by any chance have any photos of the Camp Carnival room? Our daughter and friends son will be in the Camp Carnival.

Thanks a lot. Again, great photos of areas that no one else seems to have captured previously.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't mind the picture. Tell the truth I was just looking on different websites to see if I can find these two girls i met on the cruise

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There is another thing I'd like to point out here about this particular cruise - I heard more country music playing on this cruise than any of my other prior cruises. I figured something out on this cruise that became blatantly obvious that I really never noticed before: cruise ships cater to their clientele. When we sailed out of Miami in January, the ship was filled with people with a more (how should I say it...) free and open lifestyle and the music played on the Lido deck certainly reflected that. On the Fantasy this past week, there seemed to be many folks onboard who were from the "bible belt" and more rural areas of the southeast. Again, the music on the Lido Deck reflected that with the country music. Now, I'm not saying either is right or wrong (I don't prefer one way or the other)...it's just an observation. I can tell you that there probably would have been a lot of unhappy people on my cruise that sailed out of Miami had there been as much country music playing as there was on the Fantasy. Just makes me chuckle inside when I think about the different dynamics I observed on both cruises.

 

With that said, the second to the last night of the cruise offered up a crazy, fun deck dance party where all walks of life were dancing and having a great time. I should know, my wife and I were among them! So, it just goes to show that there is a little bit of everything for everybody on Carnival cruises!

 

Main Dining Room:

 

We chose YTD and we enjoyed it immensely! We've done this our past few cruises and have never had a bad experience. I will say that we typically go to dinner right when the dining room opens (5:45 or so), which might be the reason for our good fortune. There were a couple nights where there was a line, but the line went quickly (I think the most we waited was about 5 - 10 minutes one night when we showed up a little after 6:00). On the first night, we landed an awesome server and we asked for him every night after that! Fernado was awesome! Here's a photo of us in the dining room and one of Fernando and my kids:

 

IMAG0742.jpg

 

IMAG0841.jpg

 

Food was always served warm when it was supposed to be and cold when it was supposed to be. I had one disappointment in the dining room...I waiting until the last night to order the Warm Chocolate Melting Cake as something special for me (I love the cake, but I love it too much and didn't want to gain too much weight eating it every night). Anyway, when I finally got it, I discovered that the cake had cooked all the way through (there was no uncooked portion in the middle). I should have had it returned, but I didn't - my fault. I ate it anyway. Sometimes, the WCMC can cook all the way through if it sits for a while or just cooks too long. That is the only thing negative I can say about the dining room - everything else was perfect!

 

Nassau:

 

We didn't book any excursions on this cruise. We've been to Nassau so many times that we are about tired of going, but several cruises ago we discovered Junkanoo Beach. It's not the best beach (kind of rocky and there is a steep drop-off as soon as you enter the water), but we like the atmosphere, the fact that it's close to the ships (you can walk there), and it's free! I like to snorkel there right off the beach. It's not the best place to snorkel, but you can see lots of fish if you know where to find them. There are concrete piers or jetty-like structures there and many of the fish like to hang out near those. Not a bad place to go for free! Here are some photos of our visit (sorry, no underwater camera...yet):

 

My 10 and 13 year old snorkeling right off the beach:

 

IMAG0757.jpg

 

My wife and 5 year old on the beach:

 

IMAG0762.jpg

 

Me and my kids (yes, I'm a UVA fan - graduated from there in 2002):

 

IMAG0766.jpg

 

On the way back to the ship we always stop by the sno cone place across from McDonalds to get a sno cone. $2.50 for a small cup, but the small cup is right large - a great deal:

 

IMAG0769.jpg

 

 

To be continued....

Edited by hooforce

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Nassau continued....

 

My kids were tired and sunburned by this time, but I had to get a shot of them in front of all the ships in port as we walked back to the Fantasy:

 

IMAG0770.jpg

 

We spent the rest of the day on the slides and in the pool! We had a great time and even though we've been to Nassau a lot of times (lost count), it is still a very beautiful place! Love the color of the water!

 

IMAG0789.jpg

 

I took some panoramic photos in Nassau...I wanted to see how they post here to see if it's worth it to post again in the future:

 

IMAG0780.jpg

 

...and another one:

 

IMAG0781.jpg

 

Fantasy in Nassua:

 

IMAG0772.jpg

 

View from the top of the slides in Nassau:

 

IMAG0783.jpg

 

More is coming....

Edited by hooforce

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I don't mind the picture. Tell the truth I was just looking on different websites to see if I can find these two girls i met on the cruise

 

Well, I hope you're successful - there were a lot of nice-looking people on that cruise! Who knows, one of my photos might have capture them! Good luck!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Thank you for an amazing picture review. We are going on the ship in June with friends (this will be their first cruise), so I hope they enjoy it as much as we do. A couple of questions:

Did your son enjoy Circle C - what kinds of activities did they do?

You don't by any chance have any photos of the Camp Carnival room? Our daughter and friends son will be in the Camp Carnival.

Thanks a lot. Again, great photos of areas that no one else seems to have captured previously.

 

My son loved Circle C! I can't remember all the activities, but I can tell you that they had dance parties, scavenger hunts (have to find items on the ship), ship bingo (where they have to find items or people that are described on their bingo card), group photo opportunity, video games, and various other games and tournaments. The good thing is that at the Circle C age, the kids can check themselves in and out, so if they don't want to participate in a certain activity, they aren't "force" to do so - they just check out and go swimming or whatever else they'd like to do.

 

I don't have a photo of the Camp Carnival room because I didn't want to look like a really creepy man taking photos of kids I didn't know, but I have this one of the line leading up to the room. All kids had to wash their hand immediately upon entering Camp Carnival. Yeah, I liked that:

 

IMAG0724.jpg

 

Take note that Camp Carnival is at the back of the ship (Promenade Deck, I think) and there are really two different rooms back there. This photo is of the hallway leading up to the room of the 2-5 year olds. To the right of this photo is the room for the 6-8 year olds. Another important thing: this photo was taken on the first day at sea. We are standing in line becuase the guy up at the front of the line is registering his kids (a long process). You can do this at home, on your computer before you leave for the cruise. It would save a lot of time, pain, and heartache if everyone did this. This guy didn't get the memo, so we waited 15 minutes for him to register his kids. Not cool. We already had our kids pre-registered and when we got there, they had all of our information and all we had to do was show them our Sail and Sign card and we were on our way. So much easier and so much faster - no one was inconvenienced!

 

Camp Carnival is wonderful! The kids really enjoy it. I know my 5 year old loved it. He's turning 6 in 2 weeks, so they let him move up to the 6 year old camp because he did get bored a couple times with the younger crowd. They did all kinds of activities and while I can't remember what they all were, my son did come out looking like this a few times:

 

Pirate Party:

 

IMAG0800.jpg

 

Face painting:

 

IMAG0833.jpg

 

I don't know what this was about:

 

IMAG0754.jpg

 

Spin art:

 

IMAG0826.jpg

 

I can assure you that your friend's daughter and son will not be bored and your friends will not be disappointed.

 

There is also a video screen outside of Camp Carnival that shows what the kids are doing in real time, so I thought that was also very neat.

 

Finally, at the end of the cruise (usually the last sea day) there is a talent show that the kids participate in. Usually, the kids sing, dance or display a special talent. My kid danced to Gangnam Style (the new and latest craze for kids and adults alike these days). It was cute and lots of fun to watch (this is another hilarious YouTube video I will have to post later).

 

Hope this helped. Enjoy!

Edited by hooforce

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for your review!! The fantasy was our second cruise and our first carnival cruise:):):)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Freeport:

 

Again, we have been here before and the last time we were here we found out that there is no way to just go to town without paying at least $10 per person ($50 for my family), not including whatever activity we'd do once we got downtown/the beaches. So, we've always elected to stay on the ship at this port. I'm sure it's a great place if you can find an excursion you like...we just didn't anything that we couldn't do anywhere else. So, this is the day we usually stop by the arcade and blow $20 on video games. The kids enjoy it and they usually leave us alone about going to the arcade after that - it is, therefore, a win-win for everyone!

 

We did manage to get off the ship to walk around the straw market, just to look. We don't usually buy any of the souvenirs at any of our stops. I think we did that the first time we cruised, but after that we discovered everyone else at all of the other ports sell the same exact things. Oh, and another thing, why do they call it a straw market anyway? I've never seen any straws there. I guess it sounds better than calling it a crap and junk market. Oh well. While we were in Freeport we walked by the Senor Frogs and got some photos of us and the giant frog (Gangnam Style - like the video...the part in the elevator):

 

IMAG0819.jpg

 

As we walked to where everyone was partying inside Senor Frogs, it was amazing! We witnessed a huge congo line and a guy standing up at the front the line pouring alcohol in people's mouths as they dance by! Now, that place was rockin'! Sorry, no photo of that, but it is engraved in our memories.

 

As we walked back to the ship, I took some more photos of the ship from the outside (try not to go to sleep now). That's how we feel about this port, but as they say: a bad port is better than an excellent day at work! Here's another photo of the ship's balcony rooms:

 

IMAG0821.jpg

 

Here's another one of some maintenance workers working on the ship:

 

IMAG0822.jpg

 

Some views of the actual port at Freeport taken from the back of the ship:

 

IMAG0825.jpg

 

IMAG0824.jpg

 

Finally, one last photo of the straw market below and a pretty cool-looking sailboat. This was taken just as we were about to pull out of Freeport:

 

IMAG0828.jpg

 

When we weren't in the ship's arcade, my kids were swimming, sliding down the water slides, or soaking in the hot tub.

 

More to follow....

Edited by hooforce

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Last day at sea:

 

This was just a day of relaxation for us. Kids hung out at the pool, waterpark, hot tub, or Camp Carnival. We spent time at the pool and ate whenever we got the chance. It was also the day we had to pack up and prepare for debarkation the next day. We did spend the evening watching "Motor City" and a comedy show. Here are some photos of our days at seas:

 

IMAG0725.jpg

 

IMAG0729.jpg

 

Debarkation:

 

We elected to do self-assist debarkation. I thought it was interesting that even Carnival suggested that folks do self-assist debarkation (this is not the norm) due to the lack of space for luggage in the cruise terminal. The ship arrived back at the Port of Charleston by 5:30 - 6:00 (I don't know exactly because I was sleeping), but when we arrived, it was raining...raining hard too! At that point I wanted the captain to turn the ship around and head back to the Bahamas! Unfortunately, that was not to be and it was time to go. We did get up early and ate breakfast at the buffet and the schedule showed that for our room on our deck, debarkation was to begin at 7:20. Like clockwork, 7:20 came around and we were allow to debark. Take note that they close all the forward elevators the morning of debarkation to allow folks who are debarking to use them. Here's a photo of the line to get off the ship:

 

IMAG0846.jpg

 

Again, there were numerous lines to get off the ship - one to get in the elevator, one to get off the ship, one to go through customs (this part went quick for us - it was an efficient process), and then one to get onto a shuttle to the parking warehouse. Theme for the Port of Charleston is LINES, lots of lines. Luckily, they don't usually last long, but they are intimidating. One more word of caution: if you are parked at a different warehouse or are parked at a hotel, make sure you get on the correct shuttle. There were a few people who got on our shuttle that went back to the parking at the warehouse who got onto the wrong shuttle. The problem was that there was no indication of which shuttle they needed to get onto and there weren't any signs that any of us saw. So, be careful and ask which shuttle you need to get onto in order to get back to your car. Since it was raining, I was glad there was a shuttle or else we would have been soaked.

 

Overall, this was a good cruise - not my favorite and probably my worst, but if this was my worst, then all my other cruises were absolutely fantastic! I just had those few issues (mentioned previously) that kind of put a sour taste in our mouths, but all-in-all, it was good. I don't know if I'd go on THAT cruise again (that ship from that port), but I'm glad we experienced it. Carnival still is a very good value and as long as they don't botch the whole experience up by cutting too much, I'll keep coming back.

 

Well, I took some more photos that I did not include in my review that I'll just post them here at the end (I like reviews with lots of photos). If you have any questions, please feel free to ask. Until we meet on a future cruise, Happy Cruising!

 

Free drink for being a past guest! Don't worry, it was a virgin strawberry daiquiri! Only "catch" is that you cannot order your free drink during dinner. Has to be during lunch or at some other bar on the ship:

 

IMAG0836.jpg

 

Santa Clause again at the buffet:

 

IMAG0813.jpg

 

More photos coming....

Edited by hooforce

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Finally, one last photo of the straw market below and a pretty cool-looking sailboat. This was taken just as we were about to pull out of Freeport:

 

IMAG0828.jpg

 

The sailing ship is the Alexander von Humboldt. She sails 3-hour excursions out of the harbor. We did Carnival's tour aboard her last year - pricey, but really a good tour. (I got to take the wheel!:cool:)

 

Thanks for posting your review - we did a 7-day aboard Fantasy in 2011 and really liked her. As for entertainment - it clearly has changed, and not for the better. When we started sailing with Carnival in 2004 we had 10-member ships' orchestras, jazz bands, and Caribbean bands on the Lido deck. The jazz and Caribbean bands have disappeared and the orchestra is down to 5 people. Lots of recorded music. There's still some live music, but very limited. It's not a dealbreaker for us since we're content to spend our evenings out on our balcony watching the sea go by, but I do enjoy good music.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Photos continued....

 

Ship shops:

 

IMAG0808.jpg

 

IMAG0807.jpg

 

Another photo of the main thoroughfare:

 

IMAG0804.jpg

 

Waterworks at night (for whatever reason, I took this photo. My wife hates when I do this...oh well.):

 

IMAG0799.jpg

 

Another photo of the Lido Deck at night:

 

IMAG0797.jpg

 

Photo of the outside seating area of the buffet at night (note ship in the background):

 

IMAG0793.jpg

 

Maybe a few more on the way....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The sailing ship is the Alexander von Humboldt. She sails 3-hour excursions out of the harbor. We did Carnival's tour aboard her last year - pricey, but really a good tour. (I got to take the wheel!:cool:)

 

Thanks for posting your review - we did a 7-day aboard Fantasy in 2011 and really liked her. As for entertainment - it clearly has changed, and not for the better. When we started sailing with Carnival in 2004 we had 10-member ships' orchestras, jazz bands, and Caribbean bands on the Lido deck. The jazz and Caribbean bands have disappeared and the orchestra is down to 5 people. Lots of recorded music. There's still some live music, but very limited. It's not a dealbreaker for us since we're content to spend our evenings out on our balcony watching the sea go by, but I do enjoy good music.

 

 

Thanks for providing the name of the ship. I knew there were some excursions available to sail her, but I wasn't sure if that was the ship or not. Obviously, no one sailed on her that day.

 

As far as the band being banned (excuse the pun) from the production shows, I was thinking that Carnival should use the live band that plays for live Karaoke and use them for the production shows as well! That means the band would play a lot more, but I think that if Carnival were smart, they'd do "more with less" and bring the karaoke band to the front of the ship! Just a thought. Thanks for stopping by!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Did you by chance get any photos or scans of the menus, daily activities, etc.? Which night were you dressed up in the dining room? How did you enjoy the food?

 

I didn't get any photos of the menus this time (I've done it before and never used them), nor did I get any scans of the Fun Times. Sorry. I can say that the food in the MDR was very good. Lobster and ribs served on the only elegant night (our first day at sea - Tuesday in our case). The last day at sea, Mahi Mahi. For me, nothing else too remarkable on the other nights except the usual, but I have a different palate than everyone else.

 

I also want to note that the scrambled eggs seemed better this time go round. They didn't appear to be the fake stuff, but I could be wrong. I wanted to mention that because many people on this board talk about how horrible the scrambled eggs are. Anyway, the food was great overall!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

More photos....

 

Panoramic photo of Charleston, SC:

 

IMAG0680.jpg

 

The family, just before pushing away from the dock in Charleston, SC:

 

IMAG0685.jpg

 

The gym:

 

IMAG0683.jpg

 

Oh, I did see them selling towels and robes at the towel hut on the Lido Deck. Here are the items that were for sale (sorry, didn't get the prices):

 

IMAG0677.jpg

 

My son playing mini golf. The mini golf "grass" appeared to be brand new:

 

IMAG0679.jpg

 

"The Maze." Also known as the Port of Charleston parking processing area:

 

IMAG0707.jpg

Edited by hooforce

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Forum Jump
    • Categories
      • Explore the Night. Sweepstakes - Enter now for a chance to win win a free cruise for two with Azamara Club Cruises!
      • Forum Assistance
      • New Cruisers
      • Cruise Lines “A – O”
      • Cruise Lines “P – Z”
      • River Cruising
      • ROLL CALLS
      • Digital Photography & Cruise Technology
      • Member Cruise Reviews
      • Community Contests
      • Special Interest Cruising
      • Cruise Discussion Topics
      • UK Cruising
      • Australia & New Zealand Cruisers
      • North American Homeports
      • Ports of Call
      • Cruise Conversations
×