Fodor’s Expert Review
The ship that kicked off Carnival’s first ambitious new ship class, Carnival Fantasy was introduced in 1990. Now considered midsize ships, the Fantasy-class sister ships continue to be some of the line’s most popular. Carnival Fantasy has received numerous upgrades throughout her tenure, including the secluded, adults-only Serenity Deck, but there is no word at this writing on when the ship will be updated to feature Carnival’s “Fun Ship 2.0” upgrades. Carnival Fantasy departs from her home port in Charleston, South Carolina, on year-round five-night cruises to the Bahamas.Read More
Bathed in fiber-optic light, glitzy Fantasy-class interiors added expansive six-deck atriums and a new dimension to the original superliner concept. To keep the fun going, these ships offer an almost wearying assortment of places to have a good time. As times and tastes have changed, the ships have evolved as well, with new lobby bars, dedicated club spaces for teens and tweens, miniature golf, and Internet centers. Even newer are Carnival’s WaterWorks water park and the Serenity Adult-Only Retreat, which increase the appeal of the older Fantasy-class vessels.
Only one level below the Lido deck, the indoor promenade connects major public rooms on a single deck, with only formal dining rooms, shops, and other small spaces one deck below. Large in size and ideal for a short itinerary, these ships have sprawling outdoor pool and sunning areas, but they can feel cramped when sailing at maximum capacity. Cabins provide calm oases from sensory overload. With the exception of Carnival Sensation, Carnival Fascination, and Carnival Ecstasy, to which balconies were added to existing cabins, you’ll have to book a suite if you want the solitude of a private balcony.
The world’s largest cruise line—and one of the most widely recognized—originated its “Fun Ship” concept in 1972 and has been launching party-packed superliners with signature red funnels ever since. The line’s ever-growing fleet features entertainment and activities designed for passengers of all ages, from game shows and lip sync competitions to twisting waterslides and mini golf. These ships are a reliable choice for families as well as young singles and couples who want a vacation that won’t break the bank.
Nearly all onboard dining options are included in the fare, as are comedy and production shows, children’s programs, and use of state-of-the-art fitness centers. With some of the most comfortable accommodations at sea, large new ships are continuously added to the fleet and rarely deviate from a successful pattern, while older vessels are updated with popular features, such as the poolside BlueIguana Tequila Bar with an adjacent burrito cantina, the Red Frog Rum Bar that also serves Carnival’s own brand of Thirsty Frog Red beer, and Guy’s Burger Joint, created with Food Network star Guy Fieri.
- 10 passenger decks
- 2 dining rooms, buffet, ice cream parlor, pizzeria
- Wi-Fi, safe, refrigerator (some)
- 1 pool, children’s pool
- fitness classes, gym, hot tubs, sauna, spa, steam room
- 5 bars, casino, dance club, library, showroom, video game room
- children’s programs
- laundry facilities, laundry service
- Internet terminal
- no-smoking cabins