Berlitz Cruising & Cruise Ships 2017 (Berlitz Cruise Guide) (2016)
Ship: 308 out of 500
Accommodation: 138 out of 200
Food: 212 out of 400
Service: 256 out of 400
Entertainment: 73 out of 100
Cruise: 244 out of 400
Overall Score: 1231 out of 2000
Carnival Fantasy Statistics
Size: Large Resort Ship
Cruise Line: Carnival Cruise Lines
Former Names: Fantasy
IMO Number: 8700773
Builder: Kvaerner Masa-Yards (Finland)
Original Cost: $225 million
Entered Service: Mar 1990
Length (ft/m): 855.8/263.6
Beam (ft/m): 103.0/31.4
Draft (ft/m): 25.9/7.9
Propulsion/Propellers: diesel-electric (42,240kW)/2
Passenger Decks: 10
Total Crew: 920
Passengers (lower beds): 2,056
Passenger Space Ratio (lower beds): 34.4
Passenger/Crew Ratio (lower beds): 2.2
Cabins (total): 1,026 or 1,028
Size Range (sq ft/m): 173.2-409.7/16.0-38.0
Cabins (for one person): 0
Cabins (with private balcony): 152
Cabins (wheelchair accessible): 22
Wheelchair accessibility: Fair
Cabin Current: 110 volts
Casino (gaming tables): Yes
Slot Machines: Yes
Swimming Pools: 3
Hot Tubs (on deck): 6
Self-Service Launderette: Yes
Dedicated Cinema/Seats: No
Onboard currency: US$
This is ultra-casual cruising for the whole family
Overview. Carnival Fantasy is the first (in a series of eight almost identical ships) in the Fantasy-class. Carnival Fantasy has always been a popular ship - aimed at anyone taking their first cruise.
The Ship. The ship, now almost 25 years old, sports the company’s trademark red, white, and blue wing-tipped funnel. The open deck space is inadequate when the ship is full and the weather’s nice. The aft decks used to be less noisy when all the activities were focused around the main swimming pool and hot tubs, but now that a Carnival WaterWorks - complete with long (about 300ft/90m) and short water slides and water-burst fountains - has been added, it’s now the noisy, active area. If you enjoy European-style sunning there’s also a topless sunbathing area, as well as Serenity - an adult-only ‘quiet’ lounging space on Deck 9 aft.
There is no walk-around open promenade deck, although there is a short jogging track atop ship. The lifeboats, six of which double as shore tenders are positioned high in the ship - an old design that’s not acceptable today.
The interior spaces are well utilized. The general passenger flow is good, and the interior design - the work of Miami-based creative genius Joe Farcus - is clever, functional, and extremely colorful. The ship’s interior design theme is inspired by the ancient city of Pompeii, and includes a colorful mix of classic and contemporary.
The interior focal point is an ‘open’ atrium lobby. It has a balconied shape, and is dressed to impress. Spanning six decks, it is topped by a large glass dome. The lowest level of the atrium lobby is where you’ll find the purser’s desk and shore excursion desk, together with a popular Atrium Bar (with live music), as well as a small sushi bar off to one side; it’s a good central meeting place.
There are public entertainment lounges, bars, and clubs galore, with something for everyone (except quiet space). The public rooms, connected by a double-width Via Marina Promenade, combine a colorful mix of classic and contemporary design elements. Most public rooms and attractions lead off from this boulevard - a sort of shipboard Main Street which runs between the showlounge (forward) and The Forum aft lounge. Gamers and slot players alike will enjoy the almost non-stop action in the Club 21 Casino. There is also a nice-looking library and reading room, but few books.
Carnival Fantasy is a floating playground for the young and young-at-heart, and anyone who enjoys constant stimulation and lots of participation events. Because it’s a large resort ship, there will be lines for things like shore excursions, security control when re-boarding, and disembarkation, as well as sign-up sheets for fitness equipment.
While the cuisine is just so-so, the vibe gets going at sundown when Carnival really excels in volume, lights, and shows. From venues such as the Electricity Dance Club/Disco to the Majestic Cigar Bar, the ship’s bars and lounges will certainly entertain you.
Carnival Fantasy, however, is not for those seeking a quiet, relaxing cruise experience. There are many annoying announcements, and the never-ending hustling to get you to buy drinks and many other things. Also, shore excursions are booked via the in-cabin ‘Fun Vision’ television system, so obtaining advice and suggestions is not easy.
Families. Youngsters have their own play areas, with children’s programs divided into five age-specific groups under Camp Ocean (ages 2−11 - with children ages 2−5 called ‘Penguins’; 6−8-year-olds called ‘Sting Rays’; 9−11-year-olds called ‘Sharks’). Tweens have ‘Circle C’, while teenagers have their own ‘Club O2’ - a chill-out (no adults allowed) room/disco. Also, soft-drinks packages can be purchased for children (and adults).
By the end of 2015, the words and world of Dr. Seuss will have been rolled out as part of Carnival’s children’s program (check before you sail) − from ‘green eggs and ham’ for breakfast, served by waiters in Dr. Seuss-inspired uniforms, and characters such as the Cat in the Hat, Thing One and Thing Two, and Sam attending, to special showings of movies such as The Cat in the Hat and How the Grinch Stole Christmas (these will be shown outdoors on the poolside Seaside Theater screen on Lido Deck).
Accommodation. There are several accommodation price grades. What you pay will depend on the size, and location. The standard outside-view and interior cabins have decor that is rather plain and unmemorable. They are marginally comfortable, yet spacious enough and practical (most are of the same size and appointments), with good storage space and practical, well-designed no-nonsense bathrooms. However, if you have a queen-bed configuration instead of the standard twin-bed layout, note that one person has to clamber over the bed - an ungainly exercise for those of a heavier build.
Anyone booking a suite gets more space, whirlpool bathtubs, and some rather eclectic decor and furniture.
Some 50 cabins feature inter-connecting doors - good for families with children who want them to be close - but not so close.
Room service items are available 24 hours a day, although in standard-grade cabins, only cold food is available, while occupants of suite-grade accommodation have a greater range of items (both hot and cold) to choose from.
Dining. The two large main dining rooms, Celebration and Jubilee, are located amidships and aft. Both have ocean-view windows and attractive, but very bright decor, but they are noisy. Choose either fixed-time dining (6pm or 8.15pm) or flexible dining (any time between 5.45 and 9.30pm).
The food is not memorable, presentation is simple, and few garnishes are used. Many dishes are disguised with gravies and sauces. The selection of fresh green vegetables, breads, rolls, cheeses, and fruits is limited, and there is much use of canned fruit and jellied desserts. The waiters sing and dance, so it’s really more about ‘foodertainment’ than food quality. If you want something really simple, there’s an ‘always available’ list of ‘Carnival Classics’ that includes mahi mahi (fish), baby back ribs (beef), and grilled chicken. Note that the two main dining rooms are not open for lunch on port days.
Other dining options. A Lido café, the Paris Lido restaurant, features the usual casual self-serve buffet eats, most of which are very basic. The venue includes a deli counter and pizzeria. At night, the venue morphs into the Seaview Bistro, and provides a casual alternative to the main dining rooms, for pasta, steaks, salads, and desserts. A patisserie offers specialty coffees and sweets (extra charge), and a so-called sushi bar off to one side of the atrium lobby bar on Promenade Deck is open prior to dinner; if you know anything about sushi, don’t expect authenticity.
There is no specialty (extra-charge) restaurant, as aboard some of the larger ships in the Carnival fleet.
Entertainment. The Universe Showlounge is the venue for large-scale production shows and major cabaret acts - although 20 pillars obstruct some views. During a typical cruise, there will be one or two high-energy production shows, with a cast of two lead singers and a clutch of dancers, backed by a large live band.
Spa/Fitness. SpaCarnival is a large, glass-wrapped health, fitness, and spa complex located on the uppermost interior deck, forward of the ship’s mast, and is typically open from 6am to 8pm daily. It consists of a gymnasium with ocean-view windows that look out over the bow and the latest in muscle-pumping electronic machines, an aerobics exercise room, men’s and women’s changing rooms, sauna and steam rooms, beauty salon, and body treatment rooms. Some fitness classes may incur an extra charge. A common complaint is that there aren’t enough staff to keep the area clean and tidy.
Sporting types can play basketball, volleyball, table tennis, or mini-golf, or go jogging.