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Carnival Fantasy - Great for a quick getaway

The Carnival Fantasy is a great ship for first timers. It is usually scheduled for 3 or 4 day trips out of Port Canaveral or other south Florida embarkation ports. It is an ideal way to get your feet wet so to speak and see if you would like cruising. (Of course my personal opinion is that if you don't like cruising you should see a doctor ASAP as there is something wrong with you-but I digress) It is easy to extend a Disney or other south Florida vacation by adding on the extra couple days on one of these short trips.

This ship (Carnival Fantasy) is not for cruise aficionados. I don't have to repeat that do I? Do not go on this ship if you have been on multiple cruise vacations. I have noticed that the more ships people go on the more they become "cruise snobs"-nit picking about everything.

The Carnival Fantasy is about 70,000 tons. It is a perfect size. Not so big that you have to line up for everything and not so small that you feel motion on the ocean. The Fantasy is the first in this class of ships of which there are ten.

The Good

As per usual on a cruise ship the service is excellent. There are often many trainees learning the ropes on shorter duration cruises but the standards are pretty much the same. The menus are the same across the board on all Carnival ships-yummy. There is one night for lobster and yes you can have more than one. Food always tastes better when served by tuxedo clad waiters. For that matter you can order more than one entree or any other menu item you like.

If you can stand to have more than two people in your cabin (185 sq ft for a standard cabin) you can save money. The third and fourth person rates are usually about half that of the first two people. The extra people sleep in murphy beds that pull down from the wall. During the day these are secured to the wall giving you extra space. Having said that the last time we booked a triple cabin my travelling companions called it the penalty box because of the number of times we body checked each other during the course of getting ready to go out.

The Cat's lounge is a must see on this ship. Everything is laid out as a cat would see it really really big. Cleopatra's bar features an Egyptian theme in a piano bar setting-way cool.

The bad

The Carnival Fantasy is showing her age in spite of last years refurbishment. Most notably in the teak deck boards that you can spring up and down on.

On all Carnival cruises (including the Fantasy) your tips are already added to your shipboard account when you get on. To remove them you have to stand in line behind 2500 people at the pursers deck . Since the service is worth at least what they recommend that you tip I suggest that you just leave them on. Unless you really like handed out the envelopes with the tips in person.

The Ugly

The Carnival Fantasy has a childrens program called Camp Carnival. I have sailed on this ship 3 times and have used the services of Camp Carnival all three times. Although not all three were aboard the Carnival Fantasy. The first two times all went well. My son loved it all. The last time the staff at Camp Carnival (Fantasy) were the worst I have ever seen. Suffice it to say you are better off leaving your child with a steak tied around his neck in a lions den than with the staff on the Fantasy.

On the cheap

If you want to go on the Carnival Fantasy cheaply, go in the off season ie September or October for the biggest savings. Book far ahead or if you don't have to worry about fluctuating airfare book less than a month away.

Take a taxi to the beach from the Carnival Fantasy instead of joining up with the ships excursion of "beach party" .

Eat on the ship (the Carnival Fantasy has some of the best food at sea), instead of on each island ie come back for lunch . Or just have a big breaky so you won't be hungry while you are off the ship.

Book a guarantee cabin ie you are guaranteed that category of cabin or better just not a specific cabin. YOu will often be upgraded this way and will always sail cheaper.

Note: Between my brother and I we have cruised on the Carnival Fantasy 7 times now. Its short iternerary makes it ideal for a long weekend getaway, or to accompany a Disney vacation.

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About the Author: Johnny is a software engineer with 30 years experience. He has seen the landscape of computing change from the days of no personal computers and mainframes which took up entire rooms to the ipod shuffle (the clip on one)...amazing stuff. He's spent the last 10 years working on the Java platform and is a strong advocate of Java technologies.

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