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Fantasy Review/Oct 10-14/2004


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This was our first cruise and we decided to take the kids(who were on fall break),and I'm glad we did. We booked the 4-night to the Bahamas instead of a 7-night cruise. That way, in case one of us didn't like it, we wouldn't be stuck on the boat. As it turned out, we wished we had a few more cruising days.

EMBARKATION: We wanted to get there early, but didn't arrive until 1:20. At first, the lines seemed long, but thankfully, with our fun passes in hand, we were eating from the lunch buffet by 2:10. I was glad to pay for parking up front. 40-bucks for the 4-night cruise. But they oughta build a parking deck for rainy days. That would've sucked.

THE SHIP: The first ship we saw was the Mariner of the Seas. Kids thought that was ours. Ha! On my salary? But nobody was disappointed when we saw, and eventually boarded the Fantasy. I had read good and bad reviews about it on this site, but we thought it was perfect size for your first cruise. Big, but not overwhelming. No smells. Never dirty. Can't compare it to the way it was before renovations, but the Promenade areas were nice. Pool area was nice. Always had chairs. Theatre room was great. Always found a seat. Plenty of places to "veg" out. Muster drill was very disorganized. Thankfully, no icebergs in the Bahamas. Ship rolled some the first night. I was the only one who felt queasy, but got my sea legs by the next night.

CABIN: We got two inside cabins for two adults and 3-kids. Beds were very comfy. Didn't need the over-the-door shoe thing. We had plenty of room. However, I wish they had a bin to store the personal flotation vests. That would've freed some room up in the closet. Also didn't need the night-light, since we sleep with the TV on. By the way, how about a few more offerings on the satellite TV. At night, it would've been nice to catch up on the days news from CNN, FoxNews and ESPN. Didn't need an alarm clock since we felt the ship docking every morning(which turned out to be our wake-up call). All in all, it wasn't luxury, but it served its purpose for an inside cabin.

FOOD: We are Outback and southern bar-B-que kind of eaters, but we were looking forward to the fine dining experiences. The service was great and we enjoyed dressing up(even the kids). However, the food didn't knock us off our socks like we expected. Still, it was enjoyable and after 2 1/2 lobsters, who can complain. The Prime Rib was very good and the deserts were excellent. We were also disappointed that many CC members made a big deal about the whole family dressing up and we go to dinner and see people getting away with wearing shorts. What's worse, they didn't look very good in shorts! If Carnival is going to be gutless to enforce their rules, then don't have any! Anyway, the 24-hr. pizza, soft-serve ice cream, snack bar burgers, sushi bar, and sandwich bistro were all outstanding. However, sometimes the lines to the buffet would get too long. The food was good at Windows to the Sea as well, but it's basically like going to a Golden Corral. Also, they need to do something about the flies. And, they also need a soft-serve ice cream machine at the snack bar. We felt awkward going into the buffet dining area wearing swim trunks and t-shirts to get ice cream. But, when we saw what some others were wearing, we didn't feel so bad. Midnight buffet was impressive and I'm ashamed how much I ate. Room service was also good and quick. As you can tell, we ate a lot. Had to get our money's worth, ya know. Didn't need the soda cards. We love fruit punch and lemonade.

EXCURSIONS: We're the active and adventurous types. We packed our snorkel gear and got off in Freeport. It still looks like Beirut. We made the mistake of going to the shops right off the ship. Wait 'til you get the Nassau. Everything was less expensive there without bargaining down! We then talked a cab guy, Ben Russell, to take us to Taino Beach for 55-bucks. He took us to a small condo resort and they only charged us 4-bucks for a chair. It was a quiet, pretty beach. We found tons of big shells. They say it's illegal to bring them on the ship, so we had to leave them, only to find other folks allowed to take theirs aboard! Again Carnival, enforce your rules or drop them!

In Nassau, we booked a snorkel excursion on-line(thanks to a CC member). Went to a private island called, Rose Island. Only about 35-of us and we had it all to ourselves. Good snorkeling and good lunch included. Cost us about 180-bucks total including transportation, etc. We decided against Atlantis since we couldn't book 5 to a room and we've been to some of the best waterparks and acquariums in the States anyway.

ACTIVITIES: Wish there were more feebies to win besides those cheesy trophies. Some pooside bingo and more poolside games would be great. We did everthing. The slide, basketball, table tennis, and the pool. The gameroom was weak, and never had time to get a workout in. I put my wife's name in a drawing for a spa and she won. But, she had to be present to claim it! A little heads-up would've been nice!! Back to the pool area: On the last day, I finally complained enough about roughousing kids that security threatened to kick them out of the pool. I just don't understand parents who just leave their kids to dive, jump, wrestle in the pools, showing no courtesy to others! We told our kids to stay out of the hot tubs, only to see them filled with other kids. The Carnival staff told us, kids could use one of them, but they were in all of them! I'm sure they don't want to tick people off, but if they're going to act like Barney Fife when it comes to checking out/checking in towels before 5-pm, how about a little security on the pool area!

The Shows: Broadway show was good. Comedy/magic was fun. Our kids enjoyed those. Outfits were risque, but we were warned. As you can tell, we did a lot of stuff together, so my kids weren't dumped off at Camp Carnival much. But, when they were there, they had a good time. Except our 13-year old. His group was pretty boring, so he mostly did his own thing or hung out with us.

FELLOW PASSENGERS: Most everyone was nice. However, since this was a bargain cruise, uh, let's just say that at times it looked like Bikers week at Daytona Beach meets "And One" basketball crowd at the playground. But, most folks were fun.

DISEMBARKATION: Not much to say. For us, it was easy and quick.


Overall Experience: We enjoyed ourselves immensely and gained about 8-pounds each. The best parts were 1)the private island in the Bahamas where we napped on the hammock and snorkeled off the beach,2)eating,3)just sitting on the back of the ship at night eating a sandwich,4)eating, and 5)doing the slide into the pool with my kids.

Worst parts: 1)unruly kids and their deadbeat parents, 2)the flies, 3)some buffet lines, and, 4)some "shady" passengers.

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We loved the Fantasy in February, and boy do I know what you mean by the 'wake up' call every morning as we were pulling into port...got to be a joke between hubby and I. Apparently we didn't mind too much as we are back on the Riviera deck on the Miracle.


The Fantasy was our first ship too..and I too was surprised at what folks got away with in the dining room. Our table mates were sights to behold! Short shorts, tank top and flip flops on her, and a tank top, board shorts and sandals on him. Formal night was a little better, he had on pants. :) But we didn't care...we enjoyed ourselves...


I watched a whole row of folks get up and walk out during the Broadway show...they didn't seem to care for the outfits...that's ok, gave me a better view of the cowboys...


Glad you had a good time...we are officially hooked now and are headed out to the western Caribbean in April on board the Miracle.


Didn't you just love the bedcovers?! I wanted to sneak one home!



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For a 3-day, that should only be $30-bucks. It was not a long walk at all depending on where they put you(kind of like parking at disneyworld where they direct you to spots). On return, I went and got the van while the wife and kids waited at the sidewalk with our luggage.

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Hello Dubmeister:


Loved your review and I had to laugh out loud at the "iceberg" comment. Anyway, I was wondering since you were a family of 5 (so are we, sailing in December) did you have to get 2 rooms? We have two rooms which are next to eachother, and were wondering if they were adjoining, (like hotel rooms)???

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The rooms we got were side-by-side, but were not adjoining rooms. In fact, I think our t.a. said that they didn't offer adjoining rooms on inside cabins. Not sure about outside cabins or suites. Anyway, there was ample room for us and I'm glad we got two rooms. At first, we only booked one which would've been really cramped. Two rooms wasn't that much more in price.:)

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