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Just off Fantasy 7 day!


bakechef

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Just debarked the Fantasy 7 day out of Charleston SC, Mar 10-17th. I have been wanting to sail a Fantasy class ship, but unwilling to do less than a 7 day cruise, I was excited to find this cruise and it's only a 4 hour drive from my house! WIN WIN!

 

No pictures on this review, I barely took any at all, I'm usually a shutterbug, but this time just used my smartphone.

 

Embarkation

 

This was crazy easy for us, one of our travel mates had a connection at the port, we got a VIP van from the parking warehouse and were lead to the VIP check in, don't ask me how this happened, 'cause I don't know but it got us from the car on to the ship in less than 20 minutes flat! We arrived at about 12:30, or 1:00, much later than I wanted to, one of our travel mates has a way with being unorganized and she was driving... At this time embarkation looked like it would have taken a long time, there was a long line at the terminal and 3 shuttle buses waiting to let people off. Show up early, when we were on the NCL Majesty in '07 embarkation was very easy because we were quite early.

 

Ship

 

This ship, as most will know is the oldest in Carnival's fleet. She looked really good for her age. I'm comparing this to another older ship that I have sailed (NCL Majesty) and this ship felt much younger. The lido buffet, many public areas and public restrooms, all looked very nice and updated. The Atrium was one sore spot, it looked very dated and quite cheap during the day, lots of plastic that had yellowed a bit with age and the skylight had lots of peeling paint. At night it looked much better all lit up (still dated though). None of these things impacted my cruise in the least. The stairwell areas could use an update too. The Celebration dining room, the one used for "your time" dining was updated as well, we had breakfast there one day. Our assigned dining room, the Jubilee dining room had not received the same updates, but was again in good condition, even if dated in decor. All in all I really liked this ship. Never found the gym, didn't look for it.... Back to my regular gym tomorrow!

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Fellow passengers.

 

This was a spring break cruise! I was a little worried about this because the average age was YOUNG. To our surprise this was a pretty well behaved bunch, I didn't witness any destruction of the ship, fighting, or barfing in the hallways. I'm not exactly old, not quite 40 yet. We picked good cabins at the end of a hallway so no crowds passing by at all hours (more on the cabin later). I might even say that these were some of the most polite fellow passengers that I have sailed with, no line cutting, just polite for the most part. I even witnessed a middle aged guy throw an apple core on the floor and a spring breaker call him out on it.

 

There were less children on this cruise than I have seen in a long time and the ones that I saw were good, with parents taking care of them.

 

Cabin

 

We were in an upper deck (6) porthole room, at the very front of the ship. We were very happy with this choice, it was recommended by our Carnival Vacation Planner, one that I've used since '07 and he seems to get me great cabins for my budget.

 

The cabin was in very nice condition, a little plain in the decor, with the exception of a very "80's motel" looking print on the wall. The carpet was very clean and looked quite new. The bathroom fixtures were in good condition and the "affectionate" shower curtain was there. Since losing quite a bit of weight since the last cruise, I didn't have much issue with the shower curtain. As usual on Carnival ships there was an abundance of storage. All of my other cruises had almost identical cabins, this one was different, but still very functional

 

The TV is not an interactive TV, I missed that feature. Because it wasn't an interactive TV, the HDMI port on the tv worked and the option to change inputs was on the remote. I hooked up my tablet and watched stuff on our "lazy days" we really appreciated being able to do that.

 

Our steward was Wayan, he was very personable, and did a fantastic job. His evening helper Jelena, was one of the most fun cabin stewards that I've encountered. This team together come out on TOP as the best of 12 cruises for me, that says something!

 

With this cabin being at the end of the hall, it was very quiet for the most part. We were concerned about our loud neighbors, at first, but they quieted down after the first day, maybe they found their "indoor voices" :D

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Food

 

We ate early seating in the Jubilee dining rooms. The two dining rooms were named after two ships now retired from the Carnival fleet, the Celebration and Jubilee.

 

The Jubilee dining room (assigned) is in need of an update, but still well kept. The Celebration, has been remodeled and is more elegant looking.

 

We ate every dinner in the dining room. The food comes out near the top of our 5 Carnival cruises, it was very good. Our head waiter was Christopher from India, he lacked a bit of polish, such as serving the wrong plate to the wrong person, but quickly corrected it. He was very personable.

 

My standout dishes were the Chateaubriand, Filet mignon, bitter and blanc, melting cake, the list goes on and on. The chateaubriand was melt in your mouth tender, and perfectly cooked. The filet was still served on top of a short rib to make it look more substantial, the result being two excellent tasting pieces of beef.

 

We love the chilled fruit soups and had them every time that they were offered. The French onion was great as was one of my favorites, the pumpkin soup.

 

Lobster tails were plentiful ( I don't eat lobster but my travel mates do), and they did look like "Maine" lobsters or at least from the north Atlantic. I'm originally from Maine.

 

Desserts were satisfactory for the most part, with my favorite being the bitter and blanc, I look forward to that every trip. I wasn't feeling great that night, but I ate it anyway, it was worth moaning in the cabin for a while :D

 

Carnival, PLEASE improve the cheesecake! Good cheesecake can be made very simply with very few ingredients. Yours is barely a step above a kitchen sponge flavorwise. I'll even come into the galley and show you how!:)

 

The buffet

 

Well it's a buffet, it is what it is, and with that said wasn't bad. We ate all but one breakfast there, and it was consistent with our other Carnival cruises, a bit boring after a few days, but very serviceable. A new addition that I enjoyed was the sticky buns, they were no Cinnabon, but were tasty (could use a bit more cinnamon and pecans instead of walnuts) and quite substantial. Coffee was noticeably better than previous Carnival cruises and actually tasted like coffee. The Lido coffee is very strong, but I added a bit of hot water from the other spout and made it just right for me. Dining room coffee was brewed a bit better.

 

We ate every lunch there. There was nice variety. Beyond the "themed" buffet line there was the Rotisserie, offering rotisserie chicken, another meat (changed daily), mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese and cornbread. The grill as usual, with burgers, hotdogs, chicken tenders and all the fixings. Mongolian grill, Pizza pirate, Deli, salad bar, and Sweet Spot. I didn't eat from the grill, except for chicken tenders, the deli, or Mongolian. My friends got rubens from the deli and enjoyed them, they looked good and melty. Making our way around to the different stations created a tasty lunch.

 

The pizza was just as I remembered it, a bit bland, but some dry spice and parm cheese made it plenty tasty enough for me. It was always fresh and very popular.

 

The lines at the buffet were always very short, and this was new to me, the dream always had lines.

 

We didn't utilize room service.

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Ports

 

First port was Nassau, we were't excited about this port since we have been there a bunch of times, but we took a cab to Atlantis, we hadn't been there before. We tossed some money into their casino and roamed around a bit, it's a beautiful resort and we enjoyed our time there. Be aware, if you don't purchase a tour from them your access to the resort is very limited. We rode back to the pier to Festival Place where I found some free WIFI, so I could do a facebook check-in, just to rub in that I was in paradise!:D We returned to the ship to see if there would be any runners. Our sail time was 5:00 and as you can guess there was a couple being paged and was leisurely walking up the pier at 5:05pm. They didn't even pick up their pace until the pier workers started yelling at them, they were just waiting to untie the ship!

 

Our second port was Half Moon Cay, OMG PARADISE!!!! This place was just stunning, everything you could want in a tropical beach getaway. The beach is huge, and if you want to do a bit of walking, you can get to a more quiet part of the beach. We settled in a more "upbeat" place near the pirate ship bar. We spent most of the day in that beautiful water. We really enjoyed how the lunch areas were set up. Small huts with lots of vegetation, so to avoid a large "cafeteria" feel. Lots of cute lizards and chickens roaming around. The food was OK, I enjoyed everything but my burger, it was cremated..., but everything tastes better outside in paradise, even a cremated burger! :D My partner doesn't enjoy nature that much and is very fair skinned, so he returned to the ship after lunch. He still managed a sunburn on his legs that looked like he walked through fire, he doesn't even sunburn normal! LOL The line to the tender and that process was long, if it had been any hotter it would have been miserable. I used my towel over my head to avoid sunburn. Everyone seemed to take the wait well, and was in a good mood after lots of fun and lots of booze in paradise.

 

Our third port was supposed to be Grand Turk....

 

Our third port ended up being Freeport. Freeport isn't a good substitute for anything, but we took in in stride and was happy that they made the effort to replace the port. We were told that Grand Turk was cancelled because of GI issues (aka norovirus), as some ships had sick passengers after leaving there. The reason that I believed this story is that Carnival stands to make lots of money at this port since they pretty much developed it, and stand to make very little in Freeport. I was thankful that I didn't have to develop an intimate relationship with the toilet!

 

We took a cab to Port Lucaya, $5 each way. It's about a 20 minute ride and there is a beach and lots of shopping and dining. We roamed around, bought a few trinkets had some ice cream, and just enjoyed the surroundings. I once again found some free WIFI at Rumrunners bar, and some more in front of the Subway, just so that I could remind my friends that I was still in paradise. Took the cab back and boarded the ship for a late lunch, and to chill until dinner.

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I can't provide much on entertainment, this was a very low key trip for us, focused on relaxation and not having to follow a schedule.

 

My partner attended a show and enjoyed it. Our friends did some trivia, and won some ship's on sticks;)

 

The assistant cruise director was quite fun and personable. I don't think that I ever saw the cruise director in person, I saw her on the TV and heard her announcements. It was nice to have a cruise director with an American accent, she spoke very clearly and her announcements were clear.

 

They showed Skyfall in the Universe Theater, which was great and not so great. The dvd lost audio about 3/4 of the way through the movie and we couldn't see the end. I saw one guy so mad that first Grand Turk and now this, you'd think that he'd been forced to eat onion sandwiches.... It could be that he was still mad that we took his seat, that he had laid a blanket on to save it.... He was trying to save multiple seating areas.

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Fellow passengers.

There were less children on this cruise than I have seen in a long time and the ones that I saw were good, with parents taking care of them.

 

The bathroom fixtures were in good condition and the "affectionate" shower curtain was there. Since losing quite a bit of weight since the last cruise, I didn't have much issue with the shower curtain. With this cabin being at the end of the hall, it was very quiet for the most part. We were concerned about our loud neighbors, at first, but they quieted down after the first day, maybe they found their "indoor voices" :D

 

Wonderful phrase!!

Wiish I had said that. You have my admiration.

Best phrase I have read in some time!

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Debarkation.

 

This was the first time that we've done self assist. One of our travel mates had to travel back to PA, and wanted to get an early start.

 

There were no announcements during this debarkation. You just followed the designated times given to you. The forward elevators were blocked off until your designated time. This went surprisingly smooth considering how many people were doing it. Time from room to customs officer, under 30 minutes, with a line stretching from the ships to them. 45 minutes and we were in the car and on our way! This might be the best debarkation yet.

 

Final thoughts.

 

I had set my expectations a little lower, with this being Carnival's oldest ship. I really didn't need to at all. This cruise was consistent with all of my other Carnival cruises to date. Maybe it's because I don't cruise for perks, or that we are just laid back, but I really didn't notice cutbacks. I'm sure that there must be some, but they weren't noticeable to us.

 

We got our free drink coupons but didn't use them. They are only good for breakfast, brunch, or lunch in the dining room. Come on Carnival, make them available to use at other times, it's obvious that you know that many won't be redeemed because of this restriction! We forgot ours when we went to the dining room for breakfast and they went to waste, but we had fruity drinks at dinner.

 

My friends have been considering trying another cruise line, just to shake things up a little. The recent issues that Carnival is having might nudge us to try another. We aren't ready to give up on Carnival, but we'll be watching closely what goes on. The biggest reason that we'll try another line, is that even after a 3 year absence, the Carnival cruise is pretty predictable, as it would be on any line that you have cruised 5 times in a row.

 

I have now been on 3 ships that have been in the news, the Legend, Splendor and the Dream, I hope that we haven't jinxed the Fantasy!:D

 

It was nice to be back on a cruise, our last two vacations (with the same friends) have been a week in Vegas and a week on property at Disney, both were fantastic, but not as relaxing as a cruise, or as affordable!

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Nice review ,we are sailing on the fantasy on the 22nd ,,our third time ,we really like the fantasy and cruising out of charleston being that it only a 90 min drive for us .Bakechef ,do you recall seeing a fun team member Orlando ,tall jamaican guy? ,just wonering he was on our last cruise in november and a very personable fellow and funny too.The CD Risa isn't around with the exception of a few shows ,but a very good CD.Thanks in advance for any info.

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Nice review ,we are sailing on the fantasy on the 22nd ,,our third time ,we really like the fantasy and cruising out of charleston being that it only a 90 min drive for us .Bakechef ,do you recall seeing a fun team member Orlando ,tall jamaican guy? ,just wonering he was on our last cruise in november and a very personable fellow and funny too.The CD Risa isn't around with the exception of a few shows ,but a very good CD.Thanks in advance for any info.

 

Don't recall Orlando.

 

She was a good CD, but not as visible as others. This didn't bother us though, her staff was GREAT!

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Nice review ,we are sailing on the fantasy on the 22nd ,,our third time ,we really like the fantasy and cruising out of charleston being that it only a 90 min drive for us .Bakechef ,do you recall seeing a fun team member Orlando ,tall jamaican guy? ,just wonering he was on our last cruise in november and a very personable fellow and funny too.The CD Risa isn't around with the exception of a few shows ,but a very good CD.Thanks in advance for any info.

 

We absolutely LOVED Orlando Magic! He was awesome! So full of energy and such a fun guy! My husband participated in one of the trivia contests (set up kinda like Jeopardy) and Orlando had him do some CRAZY things. Just a gem that Carnival has!

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Fellow passengers.

 

This was a spring break cruise! I was a little worried about this because the average age was YOUNG. To our surprise this was a pretty well behaved bunch, I didn't witness any destruction of the ship, fighting, or barfing in the hallways. I'm not exactly old, not quite 40 yet. We picked good cabins at the end of a hallway so no crowds passing by at all hours (more on the cabin later). I might even say that these were some of the most polite fellow passengers that I have sailed with, no line cutting, just polite for the most part. I even witnessed a middle aged guy throw an apple core on the floor and a spring breaker call him out on it.

 

 

My husband and I have noticed that folks in our age bracket (38 and 45) and older are the rude ones more than not :confused: Its very sad to see your own peer group act so horribly! I was shoved down on my rump getting off a tender boat to the ship by a man who couldnt have been much past 50. I guess he wanted off first? I was raised that ladies, children and the elderly go first if they are near by and Im a woman.

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