Taking the Carnival Plunge
I have cruised with several lines and enjoyed each and every one of them. The opportunity came to cruise on Carnival when one of my groups planned a conference on Carnival. I had heard that friends don’t let friends cruise Carnival and had been forewarned numerous times that I would hate Carnival. I signed up for the conference and went with low expectations.
After all, the cruise visited Mexico, one of my favorite places, so how bad could it be?
We happened to travel during hurricane Dean, so we missed the Mexican port that I hadn’t been to and was excited to visit. This was replaced by Key West, which I thoroughly enjoyed.
And the cruise itself? The ship was clean and comfortable. We found the food to be satisfactory most of the time, only tasting one dish that we didn’t particularly care for. We could have just ordered something else, but we didn’t bother. It wasn’t as if we didn’t have ten other side dishes and dessert to satisfy us. We really liked the goat cheese pizza served in the buffet area and to be honest, we never expected this. We aren’t buffet people, but there are separate stations in the buffet serving such items as pizzas and sandwiches. We had a good Reuben on boarding day and had the pizza after a shore excursion when it was too late for lunch, but too early for dinner.
What we noticed on the Fantasy is that everybody was having fun. These are the Fun Ships after all. We didn’t see the drunks that we heard dominated Carnival. Actually, I saw them on another cruise line. But that brings up an important point: The same people don’t travel on the same ship over and over again. So, the chances of me seeing the obnoxious drunk in the elevator on the other cruise line the next time I cruise with them are slim to none.
Remember that a cruise is what you make it. Maybe going into the cruise with low expectations helped us, but we also know that we are on vacation and want to enjoy ourselves.. Sure, there are things on Carnival that don’t compare with Seabourn, but they are two different products and two different prices. Comparing apples with oranges is dangerous.
There were a few things that I didn’t like about the Fantasy, none of which would have caused me to have a bad time. I do like a promenade deck that encircles the entire ship for walking, which the Fantasy doesn’t have. Although it is a nice perk, it isn’t a deal breaker. Then again, if I could choose between two ships with the same itinerary and the same price, I would chose whichever one had the walking deck, but that is a personal preference.
I was almost sucked in by those who told me how horrid Carnival was. In retrospect, I think that few of them had sailed with Carnival; their comments resulted from hearsay.
If there is a lesson to be learned, it is to be open minded and most importantly to have a good time.