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havanadaydreaming

Sailing on Carnival's smallest ship after the biggies

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After sailing Harmony of the Seas, I just can't picture myself going on Carnival Paradise again.  I love the availability of all of the bells and whistles that are staples of the larger vessels.  Long lines aren't a problem with planning, timing, and patience.

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If the OP's friends had previously sailed on the MSC Divina, and that was their only cruise experience, then they might want to lower their expectations sailing on a Fantasy class ship.  Not have realistic expectations, but lower.

 

I'll guess that those saying it won't matter have not sailed MSC newer ships.  The decor is classy, modern with lots of chrome and glass.  Going from the Divina to the Fantasy might be like staying at a Marriott and then checking into a Motel 6.

 

If the friends are classy themselves, they'll be polite and not voice their real opinion, perhaps they'll just say it's "different" than their MSC cruise.  And then watch as they book their 3rd cruise on anything other than a Carnival Fantasy class ship.  BTW, the fares on Carnival and MSC are fairly  similar for the most part.  MSC does have some incredible post hurricane last minute fares now -  the Seaside  7 night 10/12 starts at $498 pp, and the Armonia 7 night 9/30 begins @ $249 pp.

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I have always found this formula handy for calculating the amount of space per passenger on any given cruise ship:  ships tonnage (tons of water displaced) / number of passengers at full capacity.

The higher the number, the more room the ship seems to have per passenger.  On Carnival, the Spirit class ships come on top.

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I don't particularly appreciate the implication that those of us who like the Fantasy-class ships only feel that way because the prices are lower, or that we don't care if the ship's a rust bucket.  I personally don't understand why people care if there's a little rust on a ship that's been sailing pretty much nonstop for almost 30 years.  Salt does that to metal.  What impact can that possibly have on your vacation experience?

 

Divina is a beautiful ship.  I believe I stated that.  Perhaps OP's friends are like me and sail mainly for the ports.  A pretty ship is nice but it isn't why I sail.  I've always wondered why, if the ship is the destination, why not just go to an upscale all-inclusive and leave the sea and the ports to those of us who actually want to visit them?

 

I'm on Armonia for the 2nd time in 4 months on 9/13 because of the incredible price AND because I really enjoyed sailing on a smaller ship.  But I'm sure there are plenty of people who don't like that ship because she's smaller and older and doesn't have all the bells and whistles.  Again, some of us don't care about those things. 

 

If OP's friends are made aware that the ship they'll be on does not have all the bells and whistles, then they'll have an idea of what to expect.  If they aren't aware of what the ship will be like, they'll be much more apt to be disappointed.  If they board thinking they'll watch movies on a big TV by the pool, they'll be disappointed.  If they board thinking they'll have dinner in multiple specialty restaurants, they'll be disappointed.  If people can't be bothered to do a little research or ask a few questions about the ship they'll be sailing, then maybe it's OK that they're disappointed. 

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I cruise the Fantasy Class ships of Long Beach, the INSPIRATION and the IMAGINATION frequently. I use them as a sandwich cruise between larger ships with longer itineraries. Fun to play "remember when" while walking these beauties. The ELATION used to do the premiere 7-day Mexican Riviera cruise in years long gone by. These babes are the ships that put Carnival on the map in the early 90s. With a reputation of being "party" ships, they never failed to live up to it. At times I think I only got 2 hours sleep the whole cruise. Great memories. 🙂

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4 hours ago, NCTribeFan said:

I'm on Armonia for the 2nd time in 4 months

She should have a sister the MSC Bleach 🙂

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1 minute ago, sanmarcosman said:

She should have a sister the MSC Bleach 🙂

Lololol! Too funny! 

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MUCH prefer Fantasy Class - we’re happily retired, approaching 50th cruise), travel with retired friends frequently, and everything we want is there.  We love Sea says (brunch is awesome, Tea Time is excellent) we love Port days (if you stay on board, you practically have the place to yourself), and when you do go ashore ports are much the same as the larger ships so itinerary remains excellent.  We have cruised bigger ships, however resisted the urge for climbing rock wall, bungee jumping, , etc.  so it’s all in what you expect from carnival - make informed decisions. If traveling with youngsters then the smaller ships won’t have quite the entertainment choice.  If traveling with friends to enjoy the ship as an  all-inclusive, then smaller ships have a lot to offer.  Regardless of size, Carnival wants you happy enough to do it again (and again😀).  ENJOY!

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I love the Fantasy class/  Bigger ships do have more bells and whistles, but we are older, don't need a lot of bells, and enjoy being able to walk from one end to the other-that said we have cruised 5 Fantasy class ships, the Legend of the Spirit class three times, and will be on the Horizon in 21. This cruise offers a ton of bells and whistles, which I guess we will get involved with, four sea days!

 

Enjoy your cruise!

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We have sailed Fascination twice and have her booked again for next February.  We sail for the ports, not the ship. We are in that group of passengers that actually do not like sea days.  A 7 night cruise, one sea day, and we get to experience 6 islands, this to us is heaven.  We are in our 60's, have no desire to go on waterslides, rope courses, go karts and rock climbing, but I do understand that their are plenty of people that enjoy these amenities on cruises.  I think there is a cruise for everyone. Small ships, lots of ports and as few sea days as possible, that's the cruise for us.  We do enjoy the Fascination, boarding is easy and fast, no lines for dining or shows, we have always been able to secure a lounger on Lido or Serenity when returning from port.  We also think the Fascination has the friendliest staff of any cruise we have been on.  I don't care if some people call her an old rust bucket, I guess I am too!  LOL

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The largest I’ve sailed is Conquest class, my favorite is the Spirit class, but I still love the Fantasy class. Always have a great cruise experience 

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On 9/5/2019 at 11:53 AM, havanadaydreaming said:

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?

We are just the opposite of you. Have not sailed a ship larger than the Conquest class. Will be on the new Mardi Gras for a back to back out of NYC next year. I’m not sure how I will feel with 4,000 plus passengers. Will be a new experience, no doubt.

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Our first cruise was a RCI voyager class ship in its inaugural year. We were amazed and loved all the planned activities, the sports and the shows were top notch- and the MDR food was amazingly. They also still had the midnight buffets back then, A few years later we took a short cruise on CCL Elation and were underwhelmed...but it was a harsh comparison. My husband has to be entertained, and there just wasn't the activities on Elation that we had on RCI. I can be happy in a shady spot with a book all day, but he went in expecting little and felt he got less. In Nov, we are going with a large group of friends on a short carnival cruise that one of them chose for a birthday celebration- they happened to choose Elation again! This is a fun group of people so I am hoping he has the built in entertainment he needs and with the right expectations this time, I plan to have a great time!  

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What sort of "activities" are people referring to on other lines on larger ships?  Every line I've been on has pretty much the same things happening during the day.  Shopping, bingo, trivia, art auctions, games by the pool.  I don't recall Vista or Horizon having anything happening that doesn't happen on the smaller ships.

 

I don't want to be entertained.  I want to find somewhere relatively quiet (very difficult to do on Carnival ships - even if you can find somewhere that's empty, there's bad pop music blasting away) and read.  THAT's my entertainment.  The last thing I want to do on vacation is run from venue to venue.  I entertain myself with a book.  Again, that's me.

 

So, what is it that other ships have that Fantasy-class doesn't?  Maybe things are going on and I just haven't paid attention because I"m not interested.  I just these comments curious.

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On 9/5/2019 at 10:11 PM, ccd228 said:

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. 

 

Maybe we were on the same cruise?  I also went to Cuba in February on the Paradise.  It was my first Carnival cruise. I usually sail HAL but I booked the cruise mainly to get to Cuba.  I enjoyed the time in Havana and Key West.  The entire cruise, I was thinking is this a normal Carnival cruise? I thought the cabin steward was a bit aloof.  He asked me on the first day if I wanted morning or night service each day.  I told him "night," so that's when he came each day but I never spoke to him again.  The buffet was a madhouse with piles of plates and cups left on the tables.  I thought the shows were good in the theater.

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On 9/6/2019 at 7:54 PM, soremekun said:

After sailing Harmony of the Seas, I just can't picture myself going on Carnival Paradise again.  I love the availability of all of the bells and whistles that are staples of the larger vessels.  Long lines aren't a problem with planning, timing, and patience.

To each their own, we found our cruise on Oasis to be far to much like planning for a Disney trip.  Ship was amazing but FAR from the best cruise we have ever taken.  Ship was much more like a floating island than a cruise ship, felt removed from the sea, which is a big part of why we cruise.  In no hurry to repeat that.

Edited by jimbo5544

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I like to compare ships to baseball stadiums; I will use a Chicago-centric example here.  Cubs and White Sox fans will get me right away. :classic_wink:

 

Fantasy class ships are like the Wrigley Field.  It's old, it's grungy, and most amenities looks shoehorned in, rather than feeling like they belong in the stadium.  Restrooms are dirty, and have long metal troughs instead of normal urinals.  The hard plastic seats are worse than airplane seats, since they were built when an average person was thinner than today.  But you can really feel the history and spirit of Chicago baseball.  It fully surrounds you and gets under your skin in a good way.

 

Newest ships are like the Guaranteed Rate Field (Cormiskey Park).  It's modern, it's flashy, and has all the bells and whistles.  Amenities are aplenty and clearly marked.  Seats are spacious and comfortable, even while being hard plastic.  Restrooms are clean and modern.  And yet, something feels like it's missing.  There's no history.  Unless you're an ardent Sox fan, the stadium feels like a pricey theme park with a baseball field in the middle, rather than a place where baseball happens.

 

You can obviously tell I'm a Cubs fan, both actual and metaphorical.  I will sail Fantasy class ships until they all get decommissioned.  They give off the fun spirit of cruising in a way newest ships just can't do.

Edited by LandlockedCruiser01

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2 minutes ago, LandlockedCruiser01 said:

I like to compare ships to baseball stadiums; I will use a Chicago-centric example here.  Cubs and White Sox fans will get me right away. :classic_wink:

 

Fantasy class ships are like the Wrigley Field.  It's old, it's grungy, and most amenities looks shoehorned in, rather than feeling like they belong in the stadium.  Restrooms are dirty, and have long metal troughs instead of normal urinals.  The hard plastic seats are worse than airplane seats, since they were built when an average person was thinner than today.  But you can really feel the history and spirit of Chicago baseball.  It fully surrounds you and gets under your skin in a good way.

 

Newest ships are like the Guaranteed Rate Field (Cormiskey Park).  It's modern, it's flashy, and has all the bells and whistles.  Amenities are aplenty and clearly marked.  Seats are spacious and comfortable, even while being hard plastic.  Restrooms are clean and modern.  And yet, something feels like it's missing.  There's no history.  Unless you're an ardent Sox fan, the stadium feels like a pricey theme park with a baseball field in the middle, rather than a place where baseball happens.

 

 

....and now I remember why I hate analogies.  Having sailed all current classes of Carnival ships, your bathroom analogy leaves me speechless, and that takes a lot.

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5 minutes ago, LandlockedCruiser01 said:

 I will sail Fantasy class ships until they all get decommissioned.  They give off the fun spirit of cruising in a way newest ships just can't do.

 

I had wanted to post a reply to this thread but didn't have the right words, and your words are perfect.

 

We've cruised most classes but feel like the Fantasy class gives us more a feeling of being on the ocean and enjoying the full experience, and that is why we cruise.  We are not into floating cities or malls, don't want to make a schedule or reservations for something we may not feel like when the time arrives.  We've never used a swimming pool on a ship, nor some of the other features available.  We do love the comedy club, and we miss the old shows as Playlist Productions isn't very enjoyable.

 

Haven't had a bad cruise ever - no matter the ship, the size, or the amenities.

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16 minutes ago, balcony bound said:

We do love the comedy club, and we miss the old shows as Playlist Productions isn't very enjoyable.

I'm not a standup comedy fan, so I never went into the Punchliner Theater, except as a shortcut to the Serenity area.  But I must say, I was pleasantly surprised by the Playlist Productions shows.  They reminded me of the singing parts of "West Side Story" or "Rent", for some reason.  I really enjoyed them.  (The old shows were more like the 1920's vaudeville performances.)

 

Based on the reviews I read on here and the descriptions on the Carnival website, I expected Playlist Productions to be giant video screens with performers dancing in front of them.  But they used physical sets that performers climbed all over to do their acts.  The only changes from the old stage shows were lack of live bands and greater use of flashing lights.

Edited by LandlockedCruiser01

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2 hours ago, jimbo5544 said:

....and now I remember why I hate analogies.  Having sailed all current classes of Carnival ships, your bathroom analogy leaves me speechless, and that takes a lot.

 

I have never, ever been in a dirty public bathroom on the Fascination, Glory or Breeze. Now I have also never been in the men's room on any of these ships, so, I can not attest to the remark about the urinals.   I have no idea what the OP is talking about regarding the hard plastic seats?  Toilet seats?  I too am speechless, trust me, my husband says that never happens.

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We've been on the Fantasy out of Charleston and routinely take the Inspiration and Inspiration out of Long Beach. We love this class. We've never had a problem of any sort on this class and frankly we prefer this size over the mega ships now.

 

We enjoy enjoy just heading up to Long Beach and taking a ship we know like the back of our hand. You see some of the same folks more often and I feel you can get to know the staff better. 

 

We don't mind the larger ships and will be taking a larger NCL ship out of Boston next week but it's just not the same.

 

We often take first time cruisers on the Inspiration and Imagination as it gives them a taste of what cruising it like without completely overwhelming someone.

 

I wish we could get a Fantasy class ship permanently here in San Diego.

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RE restrooms, I believe he was referring to the conditions in the Stadium and not the ship.

Edited by tandemcruzr

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5 hours ago, tandemcruzr said:

RE restrooms, I believe he was referring to the conditions in the Stadium and not the ship.

 

Ahh, thank you, tandemcruzr, I just can't get that visualization of that long metal trough out of my mind. 

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