Carnival Fantasy - First Time Cruiser

Jun 15th, 2004, 06:11 AM
  #1  
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Carnival Fantasy - First Time Cruiser

On a spur of the moment, I have just recently added a 3 night Bahamas cruise to a trip we already had planned in Orlando in November. There were many reasons we chose Carnival, the departure date, proximity to where we are going to be, and the price, but some (the majority that I've read) reviews on some of the websites including Fodors are really bad.

This cruise is kind of my way of taking baby steps to doing an Alaskan cruise next summer. I really just want to see if I like being on a ship before I spend major bucks on a luxury cruise. Will being on Carnival with this particular cruise and ship give me the absolute wrong sense of what it will be like? I know that the two destinations can't be compared, but is it really that awful on Carnival?
tmorrell is offline  
Jun 15th, 2004, 11:21 AM
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Depends on what your definition of awful is. Most will tell you that a 3 or 4 night cruise isn't representative of any of the major cruise lines 7 night or longer cruise. The crew is usually mostly new which means that the service won't be up to par. It's also very hard for them to get "up" for a 3 night cruise. By the time your cabin steward knows your name, the cruise is over. There really is very little incentive for service.

Now, for the really bad news (my opinion only). The people you will be sailing with are definitely not going to be of the same class (yes, I said class) as you will find on the longer cruises; especially Carnival. To put it in perspective, a local used car lot is running a special right now - buy any used car from him and you get a free 3 night Carnival cruise (probably the Fantasy). I've been by the lot - there isn't a vehicle in there worth over $15,000. These short cruises are so hard to fill up that the cruise line resorts to anything to get people on them. Unfortunately, its generally people that normally can't afford a cruise. They also tend to be of the younger generation who are used to partying all weekend long - so guess what you get on one of the "fun" ships for a three night cruise - party, party, party. And don't think that they're going to leave the noise on deck - nope - might be right next door.

So why take a chance. Do yourself a favor and save up for the seven nighter to Alaska and just save the few hundred on the three nighter.

Peter
PumpkinEater is offline  
Jun 15th, 2004, 04:03 PM
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Thanks for your honesty. I understand that Carnival is the rather "economic" cruise line. Although I am lucky and can afford to cruise a different line, I thought Carnival would be a good idea for a first time cruise considering I have serious reservations about cruising at all. All I really want out of this is just to get a feel for what it would be like on a ship, i.e., sleeping there, eating there, not being able to leave, motion sickness, etc. etc.

I'll be going with a friend and we are both in our late twenties, and although we don't party, party, party, we have been known to have a good time once in a while, so hopefully I won't let the atmosphere ruin my experience.

I think I'm just worried that it will be dirty period. Some of the bad reviews I've read have mentioned horrible smelly bathrooms, vomit in hallways, and generally unsanitary conditions. Surely it won't be so bad... right?

Thanks for your help.
tmorrell is offline  
Jun 15th, 2004, 08:12 PM
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Now for a different opinion... My hubby and I cruised on the Carnival Fantasy last New Years Eve and really enjoyed it! We thought the food and service were superb. By the way, the Fantasy was rated (by passengers) number one in Carnival's line for several months in a row at that time. That speaks very well for the crew, I'd say!

Yes, there was a variety of "types" on the ship, but our table mates were all very interesting and very educated travelers like ourselves. We found interesting people around the pool and out on the decks with whom we struck up conversations. They were friendly!

A cruise in the Caribbean, Bahamas is more typical than Alaska because cruises are usually in warm climates during warm seasons. Alaska is a different kind of cruise because the weather isn't all that warm (at least it wasn't when I went in June of 2000) and so the pool sits empty, as do the pool chairs. People dress up in rain gear and jackets and layers to visit Alaska. The Fantasy will be a good way to see what a cruise experience in a warm climate can be!

I say, go for it!
simpsonc510 is offline  
Jun 15th, 2004, 08:45 PM
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Pumpkin eater is an honest soul. I've done the Jubilee and Sensation and they were disgusting. Nasty bathrooms, YES! Smoking all over the ship. Drunks, kids knocking on the doors and yelling in the halls at 4 am. However, in November, you may be lucky. But true- on the Jubilee we met a couple of people who won their cruises by hubcap sales. This is not an "intro" to finer cruising. Think the Red Roof Inn or Days Inn cruise. I've been on 9 cruises so far. The only nice ship doing short cruises is Royal Caribbean's Enchantment of the Seas. wanrt an intro to cruising? Book that ship. Great staff, nice ship, amenities and entertainment are good. Cancel the carnival fiasco.
LLindaC is offline  
Jun 15th, 2004, 08:57 PM
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Thank you simpsonc510. I went for it! We booked a penthouse suite. It was good to hear that you really enjoyed the Fantasy. It makes me feel much better knowing it was rated so highly too. I never expect everything to be perfect (is it ever?), but I'll never know about Carnival until I experience it for myself and I'm sure it'll be great for my first cruise. Thanks again!!
tmorrell is offline  
Jun 15th, 2004, 09:09 PM
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LLindaC - thank you too for your honest response. Believe me, I did look into RC's cruises, but the dates did not work for me. This cruise is really on a whim because I'll already be in Orlando on specific days. I know this isn't "finer" cruising and I'm not expecting that so I won't get my hopes up to high for this one, but I won't know until I try it. Thanks again!
tmorrell is offline  
Jun 16th, 2004, 07:11 AM
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We sailed Carnival last yr. and would do so again in a heartbeat although this was for 7, not 3 days. Bon voyage and how about a trip report when you return?
jacketwatch is offline  
Jun 16th, 2004, 09:22 AM
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Thank you jacketwatch. I will post a trip report when I get back. Of course that will be in November. With all the mixed reviews, I'm anxious to find out for myself!
tmorrell is offline  
Jun 16th, 2004, 12:03 PM
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I think you'll be fine.
jacketwatch is offline  
Jun 17th, 2004, 01:11 PM
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Glad you booked it - I've sailed on the Fantasy and 6 other Carnival ships. Loved them all. Have sailed Royal Caribbean, but actually came back to Carnival. Everyone has their own opinion, go into it with an open mind and you'll be fine - especially in a penthouse suite! I'm jealous!
cruisin_tigger is offline  
Jun 18th, 2004, 06:42 AM
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Thanks cruisin_tigger. I can't help but be a little excited about it. It's my first cruise ever!!
tmorrell is offline  
Jun 18th, 2004, 07:31 AM
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Forgot to mention - you might want to check here. Lots of cruise info, ports of call, etc.
http://messages.cruisecritic.com/2/OpenTopic
cruisin_tigger is offline  
Jun 18th, 2004, 07:32 AM
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Thanks so much!
tmorrell is offline  
Jun 27th, 2004, 08:45 AM
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tmorrell,

We took the 4 night cruise last November on the Fantasy. The shipped had just been refurbished. I did not see any evidence of dirty hallways, stinky toilets, drunk or rowdy passengers, etc. My main complaint would be that it was freezing cold inside the ship - we had to wear a sweater or jacket everywhere inside! I had to ask for an extra comforter for my bed even though we had asked the cabin steward to turn down the air conditioner in our cabin.
As far as being seasick, it all depends on the weather and you cannot compare one cruise to another for that.
My preference is Royal Caribbean. In my opinion they have better food, better ambiance, better service, etc. but I would not hesitate going on Carnival again.
I do think you will enjoy your cruise on the Fantasy, though.
Dakota is offline  
Jun 27th, 2004, 11:31 PM
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I think PumpkinEaster is giving you excellent advice.
I've had lots of fun on Carnival cruiselines but after several 3 and 4 night cruises, I wouldn't consider going on anything shorter than a week and I would say this regardless of the cruiseline. It's just an entirely different atmosphere and overall experience.
Carnival often gets a bad rap...unfairly IMO.
petlover is offline  
Jun 28th, 2004, 08:42 AM
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Thanks Dakota! I had read somewhere else recently about the ship being a little cold. I'm cold natured as it is, so I'll be sure to bring a jacket. Thanks for sharing your experience. I'm sure I'll have fun.

Petlover, I've heard many past cruisers say that longer cruises are THE way to go, but for my first time, I'm just too chicken! I wish I had been able to book through RC, but the dates were off and I couldn't make it work.

Thanks again!
tmorrell is offline  

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