We went on a cruise to Bahamas on Carnival Fantasy. Here’s our detailed Carnival Fantasy reviews and experience. I must say it was fun, unique, adventurous experience when compared to traveling by flight and automobiles.
We didn’t know what to expect during our first ever cruise ship vacation, but ended-up having loads of fun.
Carnival Fantasy Trip Details
- Ship : Carnival Fantasy
- Days : 5 Days (Dec 21, 2013 to Dec 26, 2013)
- Departure Port : Charleston, South Carolina
- Port of Call : Nassau and Freeport, Bahamas
Why Carnival Cruise Vacation?
We have been thinking about cruise vacation for few years, but never gave serious thoughts to it. Partly because of sea sickness and fear of ocean.
Madhu wanted to learn to swim before getting on a Cruise. So, we took swimming class, got the confidence to swim (atleast float). Not that swimming we learned will save us from May Day Call. But, it gave use enough confidence to think about Cruise Vacation.
We spoke with couple of friends who went on Cruise. They had wonderful experience and advised they we should go on a cruise.
Why Carnival Cruise?
It was cheap and port of Call was from Charleston, SC (about 4 hours drive from Raleigh). We looked at options from other ports ( Florida). Considering the cost of flying or Driving Florida, we thought Charleston will be cheap option.
The 5 Days Cruise from Florida had 3 Port of call’s during the cruise( they will stop at 3 different ports in 5 days)
From Charleston, we would stop at 2 ports instead of 3 due to the longer travel time to the Bahamas from Charleston than from Florida.
Economically, it made sense to take the Cruise from Charleston compared to additional 6 hours spend in land.
So, we narrowed down to find a Cruise from Charleston, SC.
Only Carnival Ships where operating from Charleston. We had 2 options to travel around last 10 days of December.
- 5 Days to Bahamas
- 7 Days to Eastern Caribbean Islands
Added to all these, we wanted to spend Rishi’s 4th birthday on the cruise. So, we decided to pick December 21 to 26th.
We had the following questions
- What kind of Stateroom to book : Interior, Ocean View, Balcony, Suites.
- Best room location
- Level vs Sea sickness
- Beds in the room
- Additional expense for room type
We had the above set of questions.
Suites were expensive. Balcony wasn’t available. Interiors room wasn’t an option ( we wanted to view the ocean and not to feel dumped). So we decided to book Ocean View Room.
So, we decided on the Ocean View room.
Before we did the research to find all the answers, I called the Travel Agent and booked Ocean view room.
I called the Travel Agent.
Agent: “How can I help you”?
I : ” I want to book Ocean View Room for 2 Adults and 1 Kid on the Carnival Fantasy from Charleston on Dec 21st”.
Agent: “Which Level?”
I : Said Empress Level.(I scrambled to Google the layout of the ship while on call.)
I had no clue about the location. It kinda looked the top most level where Ocean View Room was available.
Then we started reading about Best Room location, sea sickness, etc.
Carnival Fantasy reviews we read gave a conflicting reports about the best room location. Reviews were subjective based on individual’s experience. Plus most people traveled once and wrote their reviews on specific Stateroom and levels.
One of the reviewers said that Empress level (Level 7) will be noisy, since that’s where Guest Services, Open Bar was located.
By the time, we looked to change to room to lower level, all the Ocean View rooms were booked.
Then we had more questions about the Carnival Fantasy cruise ship and it was hard to find answers.
Here’s some of the questions we had :
- What to Pack
- How to Pack
- Baggage Allowance
- Visa to Bahamas
- Where to Park the Car in the port
- When to drive to Charleston (Friday or Saturday)
- Additional expenses within the ship
- Shore Excursions in Bahamas and Freeport
- Can we go on Excursions on our own, instead of booking via Carnival
- Dinning Options ( I opted for Your Time Dinning, while booking the cruise)
- Can we change the dinning options?
- How much to Tip and how to tip?
- How much cash to carry ( currency Exchange)
- Activities for 3 year old kid in Carnival Fantasy cruise
- Activities on board
- Tablets to sea sickness (will they really work, what if they don’t work and we are really sea sick)
- Safety of Shore Excursions
- Lot more questions.
We didn’t have answers to most of the above questions like 5 days to Cruise. We even called the customer support one hour before boarding the Fantasy ship.
It was time-consuming to read 100’s of carnival fantasy reviews from various forums to find answers to most of the above questions. Some of the cruise ship reviews were lengthy but offered little help.
Right after we got out of the ship, I told Madhu that we need to write a blog post about our Carnival Fantasy cruise ship experience and review. Our first Carnival cruise ship experience might help others who will be in the same situation and searching for answers to same/similar set of questions.
So, I’m going to write a series of blog posts about Carnival Fantasy reviews, recommendations and experience. Let me know if you have any questions.
I can’t wait to share our adventurous shore excursion, how it went haywire and people got hurt.
More Photos : Google Plus Page form the Cruise.