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Sailing on Carnival's smallest ship after the biggies

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I wanted to ask folks on the board about their experience sailing on Carnival's smallest ship class, Fantasy, after getting accustomed to the bigger ships in the fleet. 

 

We are sailing on the Paradise the last week of the year.   2 in our party are making their maiden voyage and won't know any difference.  The other 2 in our party have only sailed once (on MSC Divina) so I wonder if they will really "feel" a difference. Personally, the only negative for me is not have a video screen on lido deck for Dive In movies.  I'm going to miss that!

 

Thoughts?

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We prefer the Fantasy class ships. We've cruised on the Triumph and the Breeze (when it was the newest Carnival ship), but feel we get better service and get to know more of our fellow cruisers, as well as the crew, on the Fantasy class ships. They may not have all the bells and whistles of the bigger ships, but they work for us.

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I was really worried this past February after sailing the Sunshine last year (which I absolutely loved).  This year, we did the Fascination.

 

I don't know about rust and dirt and stuff- i'm kind of oblivious when it comes to that stuff.  I did notice a lack of planned activities.  But, I think a lot of things happened when we were in port.  That itinerary is pretty unique, and I'll always pick more port time over ship activities. 

 

I started off the week saying I'm never doing this type of ship again, it's too small.   

 

As the week went on, I realized I never really waited in line for anything.  And I could get back on the ship and have my pick of lounge chairs.  And the piano bar was never full, even though the player was great.  And getting food after getting back on the ship was easy- everyone was starving but hardly a wait to get food.

 

By the end of the week, I was ready to book that route again.  

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We love Fantasy class. The bigger the ship the longer the lines.

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this is great news.  I didn't even think about not dealing with lines or waiting!

 

not taking into context supply and demand we kinda "overpaid" for a week after Xmas cruise, at least compared to what we've booked historically.  (our eldest son is getting married and being called to Guantanamo next year...so we're splurging on one last family blast.) 

 

 

 

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This is a great question. My wife and I have thought about the Fascination without the kids, and I was thinking about how different it would be compared the Dream class ships (I have also been on RCCL Harmony and Independence, which are immense). I like what i'm hearing from everyone!

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The people who haven't cruised yet would not know the difference, and I am unsure whether they would take another cruise after the Paradise experience.

Those who have cruised the MSC will notice the difference in the entertainment/shows but most importantly, the food in both the buffets and the MDR.  I would think they would be disappointed and notice the differences between MSC and Carnival.

 

I prefer the newer larger ships, but I also take turns in cruising the smaller ships for shorter cruises.

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2 hours ago, canes20 said:

We love Fantasy class. The bigger the ship the longer the lines.

 

I hear this frequently on this site, but that hasn’t been our experience. We have cruised on Paradise several times and there were always lines at the Lido buffet during peak hours, similar to the lines experienced on bigger Carnival ships.  

 

Additionally, the Serenity areas are small and tend to get crowded very early on sea days.  I find the crowds on Fantasy class ships to be similar to other ships with the exception that both theaters usually don’t get packed, which is a plus if you like production shows or comedy shows.  

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As far as Carnival ships we have been on the Victory, Sunshine and Paradise in that order.  

 

It may have been itinerary related as we sailed the Paradise to Havana, but we had no issue ever finding a place near the pool or in the Serenity area and while there were lines in the buffet area at times, they were nowhere near what we experienced on the Victory.  We had a great time on the Paradise and would sail her again with no hesitation.

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You will probably feel a difference.  You may like it, and you may not.  The lack of bells and whistles is noticeable, but the Fantasy class ships have a certain charm to them. You tend to see the same people more often than on the mega-ships.  In the end, it comes down to personal preference.  Is the lack of the big screen on Lido, Red Frog Pub, basketball court, etc. going to make a difference in the enjoyment of your cruise?

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Love the Fantasy class, I have been on larger ships (not the super mega ones) and I have a real affinity for the Fantasy class... there is no better set up, for my money, than sitting in a comfortable chair on the promenade with a latte watching the passengers flow by

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Depends on the person. I just went down to conquest class from the last four cruises being dream and vista classes and I could feel the difference. Also the deli lines were the longest I've seen on any carnival ship.

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My family was on the Fascination in June. (The only other cruises I've taken fairly recently were to Alaska on the Princess in 2001 and Royal Caribbean in 2016, and I don't remember how big those ships were.)

 

I loved the Fascination cruise. We never experienced crowding or long lines, and the atmosphere on Carnival is so much more friendly and fun than we experienced on the Alaskan cruises. I don't know if that was because of the destination or the cruiseline.

 

I'm going on the Vista in November with a casino bounce back offer, and I'm excited to experience that class of ship, especially the sky ride and ropes course and the thrill theater, but I'm nervous about the lines, elevators, and walking.  

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Fascination was a great ship and I loved the unique port intensive itinerary. The service was great. I have been on bigger ships and besides them having more activities (bells and whistles) the small ship offer a more intimate and personal cruise experience. The issue is balconies come at a premium - but I didn’t feel I needed it.

 

Try it once if you don’t like it - you never go back.  

 

 

 

 

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I agree I took a couple on the Paradise in Feb to Cuba they didn't know what they were missing. I sure did but it was ok it was a good price. Now I would not take someone or go back on the Ecstasy. I just got off that and it smelled like sewage on multiple decks, dining service they couldn't get a steak medium and the cabin service steward came so late in day and night we couldn't enjoy being in our room or they would skip us and come that much more late 8:30 or later for the night service. Never again. 

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In the past 3 years we have sailed the following (in this order):  CCL Dream, CCL Sunshine, NCL Escape, CCL Fantasy, NCL Getaway, and CCL Magic.  Next month we will be on CCL Sensation and next year CCL Mardi Gras.   As you can see we don’t discriminate between large and small ships.  We sail on the smaller ships when we get a great price for a quick getaway.  We don’t expect the bells and whistles on the smaller ships that we get on the larger ships...we don’t pay for them either.  For us they are just a quick getaway from the real world.  We expect much more from the larger ships, we expect the bells and whistles, and we pay for them to.  IMHO it’s all about setting realistic expectations for the vacation you purchased.

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I loved the Inspiration as much as the Dream.  I like the intimate feel of a smaller ship. But I also loved Allure! I think all the sizes have their plus sides.  

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6 hours ago, bnbeyer said:

I'm going on the Vista in November with a casino bounce back offer, and I'm excited to experience that class of ship, especially the sky ride and ropes course and the thrill theater, but I'm nervous about the lines, elevators, and walking.  

 

I wouldn’t get my hopes up about the SkyRide. From the beginning there have been issues with this ride both on Vista and Horizon. I am not an engineer, but I am surprised they have had so many issues with this ride since it appears to be pretty basic mechanically. I don’t have the exact numbers, but it sure seems like the ride is closed more often than it is working.  

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We have been on several of the large CCL ships and about an equal amount of fantasy size. We simply enjoy the escape that a cruise allows. Yes, there are differences, but I would jump on the Paradise again tomorrow if I could. We have sailed her 4 times and enjoyed each cruise. 

It is really what you make of it and the attitude going into the cruise. We have a great time with our family, so they are what is important, not the ship.

I will add we have been given fantastic service on all of the ships, so the crew makes each trip special.

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We had always sailed on the Destiny/Conquest, Dream classes for seven or eight days.  We went on the Paradise to Cuba for a five day cruise and felt lost.  We knew where everything was on the other ships.  By the time we found everything, the cruise was over.  That and the fact that we always had balconies and the only ones on the Paradise at that time were the suites and we didn't book a suite.  

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I sailed Divina last December for my first on MSC.  Absolutely beautiful ship.  And, as has been noted plenty of times, it's a totally different experience on MSC due to so many non-North Americans sailing.  But, for me, she was a little too large.  11 night sailing and I was discovering places I hadn't noticed on the last day!  Then I sailed MSA Armonia, which is smaller than the Fantasy class.  Loved being back on a ship that size.  The entire experience just seems so much more personal.  Going on her again on 9/16.  Then on Sunshine to Bermuda at the end of October.  Then B2B Med/TA on Legend next October.  Then my first Celebrity in March 2021.

 

I have about 50 nights on Fantasy-class ships and over 30 sailings on Carnival.  My last on Carnival was the TA on Horizon.  We sailed NCL Star eastbound (my first on NCL), stayed in Barcelona for 3 nights, then sailed Horizon westbound.  I preferred Star to Horizon even though she was heading right into dry dock and needed some work.

 

I love the Fantasy class.  I couldn't care less that there isn't a big TV by the pool or that there isn't a steakhouse.  To me, all of Carnival's ships (with the exception of the Spirit class) are just variations on the same theme - what I refer to as the "Floating Shoe Box" layout.  Two dining rooms with a galley that blocks 1 or 2 decks; show theater up front, atrium and bar with shopping, casino mid-ship, spa forward and high up.

 

And same activities - art auction, bingo, karaoke, comedy club, trivia.  Just more places to do the same things on the larger ships.

 

People who have sailed larger ships just need to do a little reading, look at photos, read some reviews, and go on their cruise with realistic expectations.

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9 hours ago, PhillyFan33579 said:

 

I wouldn’t get my hopes up about the SkyRide. From the beginning there have been issues with this ride both on Vista and Horizon. I am not an engineer, but I am surprised they have had so many issues with this ride since it appears to be pretty basic mechanically. I don’t have the exact numbers, but it sure seems like the ride is closed more often than it is working.  

 

I'm an engineer (or used to be), and I am also surprised at all the issues they've had. The team that designed it was obviously not a "high performing team!"  🙂 

 

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18 hours ago, CruisesRMe said:

The people who haven't cruised yet would not know the difference, and I am unsure whether they would take another cruise after the Paradise experience.

I have sailed every class of ship on CCL - will be on the Breeze next week and it will be my 25th cruise with Carnival. 

 

I really liked the Paradise.  I first sailed on her in 2016 after sailing the larger ships for the 3-4 years prior.  I was a little apprehensive about going back to the smaller ships, but was pleasantly surprised.  I will be going back on the Paradise for the 5th time in November.  Not sure when you sailed on her, but she has been upgraded with the inclusion of Guys, Blue Iguana, etc.  I think she's a great choice when you want to take a shorter cruise.

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14 minutes ago, sc4125 said:

I have sailed every class of ship on CCL - will be on the Breeze next week and it will be my 25th cruise with Carnival. 

 

I really liked the Paradise.  I first sailed on her in 2016 after sailing the larger ships for the 3-4 years prior.  I was a little apprehensive about going back to the smaller ships, but was pleasantly surprised.  I will be going back on the Paradise for the 5th time in November.  Not sure when you sailed on her, but she has been upgraded with the inclusion of Guys, Blue Iguana, etc.  I think she's a great choice when you want to take a shorter cruise.

We sailed the Breeze this year along with two other smaller Carnival ships, the Breeze was not our favorite ship only because there were so many "traffic jams" and the breakfast buffets were the longest lines that we ever experienced on our Carnival cruises.  Carnival needs to rethink where certain items need to be placed, for instance, at the end of the line was the bacon and they always ran out of bacon, so you had to wait for the bacon to come plus the condiments/syrup and such are at the end of the buffet line which held up the lines even more.  They need to place those items somewhere away from the buffet line to keep the lines moving faster.

I would like to hear your experience when you come back....any cruise is better than no cruise so Bon Voyage!

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1 minute ago, CruisesRMe said:

We sailed the Breeze this year along with two other smaller Carnival ships, the Breeze was not our favorite ship only because there were so many "traffic jams" and the breakfast buffets were the longest lines that we ever experienced on our Carnival cruises.  Carnival needs to rethink where certain items need to be placed, for instance, at the end of the line was the bacon and they always ran out of bacon, so you had to wait for the bacon to come plus the condiments/syrup and such are at the end of the buffet line which held up the lines even more.  They need to place those items somewhere away from the buffet line to keep the lines moving faster.

I would like to hear your experience when you come back....any cruise is better than no cruise so Bon Voyage!

I loved the Breeze (sailed on her 4 times) but the last was in 2016 and I've heard some not so great comments about her lately.  I tend to eat at odd times, so I don't normally  hit the long lines.  We will be in a balcony on Deck 9, so I'm thinking we will be grabbing food on Lido & eating it on our balcony to avoid crowds. 

 

I'm very excited about Bermuda - I haven't been there since I worked on board (I was a gift shop girl for 2 years on 3 of their 4 ships a long, long time ago).  We did 4 cruises to Bermuda when I was working on the Mardi Gras.  I'll come back on when we get back and share my thoughts.

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