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Carnival Fantasy
Has The Fun
From Charleston

by Linda Coffman

Summer 2010: Designed in the 1980s and introduced one-a-year starting with Carnival Fantasy in 1990, the eight nearly identical Fantasy-class ships belong to one of the most successful classes of vessels in Carnival Cruise Lines’ fleet. Ideally suited for year-round 5- to 7-day cruises from her present homeport in Charleston, all that the 2,056-passenger Carnival Fantasy required to bring her up to the standards expected by today’s passengers was a bit of pizzazz and her “Evolutions of Fun” enhancements have accomplished just that.

Fun Inside
While most of the original décor elements remain, all public spaces have been refreshed. A popular Lobby Bar anchors the atrium and large flat screen televisions have been added in lounges that are mostly smoke-free.

An improvement in the bright and airy formal restaurants is the removal of booth-type seating, resulting in a more spacious look and feel. Numerous tables-for-two are a romantic—and welcome—addition. For guests who prefer dining in a casual setting, expanded food selections on Lido Deck include a New York-style deli, Mongolian stir-fry, and rotisserie chicken. Along Promenade Deck a specialty coffee café offers pastries and treats for a nominal charge and a Sushi Bar is complimentary.

Rebuilt and outfitted with state of the art amenities, the fitness center features treadmills, cycles, resistance machines, free weights, and an area devoted to exercise classes. Locker rooms feature chic glass basin sinks and a steam room and sauna. Passengers awaiting spa treatments find a spacious relaxation area complete with refreshments and calming, neutral decor.

Fun Outside
One of the most popular additions to Carnival Fantasy, Carnival WaterWorks is also the most visible of the “Evolutions of Fun” features. Four decks high, the 300 feet of spiraling slide and 82 foot long side-by-side racing slides are the centerpieces of shallow splash pools that feature multiple fountains and water sprays. Set in a deck surrounded by chaise lounges, it's a cool place for the entire family. It may look like kid stuff, but parents seem to have just as much fun as their kids on the slides.

For those whose tastes run more toward the traditional, the Lido Pool area (pictured above) has been transformed with a resort-like “island” look. Quirky palm trees dot the deck and faux thatched canopies cap the outdoor food service area, pool bars, and one of two hot tubs. Purists need not fear that the changes have spoiled the fun of a Carnival cruise. There’s still a lot of energy poolside, including music and traditional pool games. Pools and hot tubs open at 8am and don't close until 11pm.

With the former aft pool area devoted to families, it's only fair that the secluded children's pool deck is now the exclusive realm of adults. The new Serenity Deck  retreat (left) is a haven of calm, with cushy oversized loungers, two hot tubs, umbrellas, a shaded relaxation area, bar service, and endless ocean vistas. Prepare to chill out in the totally kid-free area.

Fun For All
Carnival Fantasy’s Camp Carnival facility for kids aged 2 to 11 was previously expanded and a Club O2 for teens aged 15 to 17 was also in place before the most recent upgrades. All new is the “Circle C” facility that fills the need for 12- to 14-year olds to have their own custom designed gathering space. For family fun, a miniature golf course on the top deck challenges “kids” of all ages.

Although packing a hairdryer is still a must, the Carnival Comfort Bed system insures everyone a good night's sleep on plush mattresses with fluffy pillows and duvets. Despite Carnival Fantasy‘s lack of abundant private balconies—only suites feature them—a bonus for families is the addition of doors that create 50 connecting cabins where there previously were none. Regardless of category booked, all passengers enjoy flat screen televisions, wireless Internet connectivity in their accommodations, and the use of robes during their cruise.

Carnival Fantasy offers a diverse set of itineraries from Charleston. Five-day cruises departing Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays call at Nassau and Freeport, The Bahamas. Six-day cruises departing Saturdays visit Freeport, Nassau, and Key West, Florida. Seven-day cruises departing Saturdays feature Grand Turk, the private Bahamian island of Half Moon Cay, and Nassau. For 2011, a series of once a month six-day cruises to Bermuda call at King’s Wharf between April and October.

Cruise Diva's Carnival Fantasy Blog:

  • Carnival Fantasy: Embarkation Day

  • Carnival Fantasy: Day at Sea

  • Carnival Fantasy: In Freeport, Grand Bahama Island

  • Carnival Fantasy: In Nassau

  • Carnival Fantasy: Final Sea Day

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