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Carnival Fantasy Review

2018 Best for Entertainment
2018 Best for Shore Excursions
2018 Best for Value
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Carnival Fantasy
4.0 / 5.0
1122 reviews

Exceptional service/friendly crew and passengers; tasty food; clean, comfortable cabins
Only one main swimming pool; oldest ship in the Carnival fleet
Bottom Line
Ideal for families; excellent value for singles/couples and first-time cruisers




Passenger to Crew


Shore Excursions
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Carnival Cruise Deals
Kaija Wilkinson
Cruise Critic Contributor

Carnival Fantasy Overview

Carnival Fantasy may be the oldest vessel in the Carnival fleet, but it certainly has style, and a warm and friendly atmosphere. Despite some crowding, the ship is ideal for first-time cruisers as it provides a taste of what Carnival cruising can be like -- nonstop (often corny but fun) entertainment, over-the-top decor featuring Grecian and Egyptian statues, top-notch people-watching, ports of call with stunning blue waters (think Cancun, Cozumel and Progreso, Mexico) and more food than you could ever eat, from pizza to escargot. There's nightlife and daily interactive games, but also solitude if you prefer. The cabins are nicely decorated and exceedingly comfortable: the perfect place to get away from it all. Service is unbeatable.

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For a pair of first-time cruisers, Carnival Fantasy delivered on Carnival's promises of first-rate fun, most notably with its stellar staff. Each day offered new surprises, whether it was Champagne and chocolate-dipped strawberries delivered to our door one night or an "impromptu" performance of the song "Celebration," in the Grand Atrium on another, complete with dancing and Mardi Gras beads.

Carnival Fantasy underwent a multimillion-dollar "Fun Ship 2.0" refurbishment in February 2016 that included the addition of several new dining and bar options, all on the Lido Deck.

Many portions of the ship look dated, but not in a bad way. In a sense, Carnival Fantasy is a perfectly preserved time capsule. The bright colors and futuristic font of the signs for the shops and Universe Lounge, for example, as well as the geometric carpeting in the common areas, hearken to a 1980s mall. The Grand Atrium, the first area one sees when boarding, is reminiscent of a casino, with plenty of neon blue lights such as those outlining the large, glass, diamond-shaped elevators, which are the atrium's focal point and stay in high demand night and day.

What was most remarkable about this cruise was the staff, who proved to be, in a word, awesome. Almost without exception, they demonstrated cheerful and caring attitudes. We were greeted with smiles daily, and dining, housekeeping and room-service workers remembered such details as where you were from, why you were on the cruise and whether you had been seasick the day before (Carnival reports this is rarely a problem and, indeed, veteran cruisers who are prone to seasickness came equipped with scopolamine patches, which they said worked wonders). More often than not, staff members called us by name.

An added bonus is that out-of-town cruisers will find a Mobile ready and eager to welcome them back after not having a cruise ship for approximately five years. In late 2016, the city unveiled the long-awaited Mobile Mardi Gras Park, within walking distance of the terminal, and Dauphin Street, downtown's central thoroughfare, bustles with restaurants, boutiques and bars that hop at all hours of the day and night. Several cruisers raved about package deals that include parking and hotel rooms.

Top Carnival Fantasy Itineraries

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Fellow Passengers

A typical Carnival Fantasy sailing has people of all ages, as well as quite a few families with babies and young children. On the opposite end of the spectrum, there are plenty of senior citizens, some happily traveling solo and some with their spouses, relatives or friends. Everyone is friendly and there's a feeling of "we're all in this together" camaraderie onboard. Everyone we encountered, whether passenger or crew member, was helpful and eager to share their stories of past cruises.

Carnival Fantasy Dress Code

The majority of the time, the dress code on Carnival Fantasy is Cruise Casual, which can pretty much be interpreted as dress however you feel. We saw passengers wearing everything from flip-flops and shorts over wet bathing suits to, on some ladies, 5-inch heels, glittery tops and jewelry, no matter the time of day or night.

There is one Cruise Elegant night per trip on which passengers are expected to dress up for the four- and five-night cruises out of Mobile. Elegance is be interpreted in various ways, with men wearing everything from collared long-sleeve shirts with khakis to tuxes and women wearing everything from slacks with a dressy top to long, sequined evening gowns. (Tuxes and ball gowns were definitely in the minority, making up maybe 20 percent of the diners on Cruise Elegant night.) It's all up to you, and almost anything (except looking like a slob) goes. We're pretty sure you wouldn't get kicked out the dining room for refusing to dress up.

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Carnival Fantasy Ratings

Public Rooms4.04
Fitness Recreation4.03.7
Value For Money4.03.9

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More about Carnival Fantasy

Where does Carnival Fantasy sail from?

Carnival Fantasy departs from Mobile

Where does Carnival Fantasy sail to?

How much does it cost to go on Carnival Fantasy?

Cruises on Carnival Fantasy start from null per person.

Is Carnival Fantasy a good ship to cruise on?

Carnival Fantasy won 6 awards over the years.

Awards and Recognition

Cruise Critic Cruisers’ Choice

  • 2018 Best for Entertainment
  • 2018 Best for Shore Excursions
  • 2018 Best for Value
  • 2018 Best for Families
  • 2018 Best for First Timers
  • 2013 Best for Value

Carnival Fantasy Member Reviews

Carnival Fantasy
Sail Date: Dec 2019
Just as I read the reviews for better insights I share here my overall experience and views of the Carnival Fantasy. Ship Condition: Overall, I felt she is in good shape.... Read More
Carnival Fantasy
Sail Date: Feb 2020
One of my favorite things on Fantasy was to go aft to the water slide area, which has a small hidden bar.... Read More
Carnival Fantasy
Sail Date: Jan 2020
The Fantasy is a smaller and older ship but that didn't hinder our fun in any way.... Read More
Carnival Fantasy
Sail Date: Jan 2020
I decided I was not going to drive further to a port (Mobile is within 4 hours) so we took a chance on the Fantasy.... Read More

Carnival Cruise Line Fleet

Carnival Ecstasy
3.5 / 5.0
Editor Rating

1118 reviews

Fun and friendly with a laid-back vibe; highlights include waterslides, a singalong piano bar, nightly Punchliner Comedy Club and mini-golf; carries some 2,500.

Carnival Ecstasy Cruises to the Bahamas View All Carnival Ecstasy Cruises
Carnival Elation
4.0 / 5.0
Editor Rating

Elation is the seventh of Carnival's eight Fantasy-class vessels (debuting in 1998), and went through a significant upgrade in 2009.

Carnival Fantasy
4.0 / 5.0
Editor Rating

Carnival Fantasy may be the oldest vessel in the Carnival fleet, but it certainly has style, and a warm and friendly atmosphere.

Carnival Fascination
3.5 / 5.0
Editor Rating

The 2,052-passenger Carnival Fascination debuted in 1994 and went through a significant upgrade to public areas, top-deck spaces and cabins in 2010.

Carnival Imagination
4.0 / 5.0
Editor Rating

Fun and friendly with plenty to do from sunup to sundown including high-energy pool deck fun and stage shows, plus waterslides, mini-golf and more.

Carnival Inspiration
4.0 / 5.0
Editor Rating

A smaller ship packed with energetic fun all day long; highlights include nightly comedy, enthusiastic karaoke, waterslides, mini-golf and 10 bars and lounges.

Carnival Paradise
3.5 / 5.0
Editor Rating

Smaller ship with a fun and family-friendly atmosphere: highlights include short warm-weather itineraries, a waterslide and mini-golf; carries about 2,500 people.

Carnival Sensation
3.5 / 5.0
Editor Rating

Fun, friendly vibe with a packed lineup of daily activities, nightly comedy, energetic stage shows, silly pool deck fun, and a multi-slide waterpark.

Carnival Victory
3.5 / 5.0
Editor Rating

Fewer attractions than other Carnival ships but only offers short sailings; highlights are the comedy club, four pools and water slide; about 3,000 passengers.

Carnival Spirit
4.5 / 5.0
Editor Rating

Family-friendly, 2,100-passenger ship, based full-time in Sydney, has the Green Thunder water slide, great dining, free poolside food, lively entertainment and fun crew.

Carnival Pride

Lively and fun with a dizzying art-through-the-centuries decor, nightly standup comedy, two waterslides, four pools, and lots of bars and lounges; can carry about 2,500.

Carnival Legend
4.0 / 5.0
Editor Rating

More than 2,600 passengers can enjoy the Green Thunder slide, Serenity Retreat for adults, Playlist Production music shows and excellent kids activities.

Carnival Conquest
4.0 / 5.0
Editor Rating

Unpretentious vibe with pool-centric fun and water slide, plus Hairy Chest and Mr. and Mrs. Conquest contests; also 11 bars and 9 eateries; carries about 3,500.

Carnival Glory

Lively entertainment and activities include nightly stand-up comedy, high-energy Playlist Production stage shows, twister water slide, and a nonstop schedule of daily activities.

Carnival Miracle
4.0 / 5.0
Editor Rating

Fun, family-friendly ship focused on Carnival signatures like the high-energy Playlist Production shows, nightly comedy, RedFrog Pub and line dancing deck parties.

Carnival Valor
4.0 / 5.0
Editor Rating

Silly poolside games, piano bar sing-alongs and PG- and R-rated stand-up comedy give this smallish mega-ship its fun vibe; also features the RedFrog Pub.

Carnival Liberty
4.5 / 5.0
Editor Rating

Fun, friendly vibe focusing on Carnival signatures like the Punchliner Comedy Club, gut-busting Guy's Burger Joint and cocktail-focused Alchemy Bar; holds about 3,500.

Carnival Freedom

Fun, laid-back and friendly; highlights include nightly comedy, high-energy stage shows, twister water slide and the popular RedFrog Pub; holds about 3,500.

Carnival Splendor
4.0 / 5.0
Editor Rating

Can hold upward of 4,000 passengers; features indoor/outdoor pool with retractable dome, Twister water slide, mini-golf and just one extra-fee restaurant.

Carnival Dream

Fun, friendly vibe; features Guy Fieri's Pig & Anchor Bar-B-Que Smokehouse, family-friendly and adult stand-up comedy, nightly karaoke, water park and mini-golf.

Carnival Magic
4.0 / 5.0
Editor Rating

Holds about 4,000; highlights include water slides, the RedFrog Pub, two-bathroom family cabins that hold up to five, a ropes course and Carnival's signature fun.

Carnival Breeze

Nonstop activities and attractions include top deck water park and ropes course, 4D Thrill Theater and nightly standup comedy; can hold up to 4,700 cruisers.

Carnival Sunshine

Fun and friendly with nightly stand-up comedy and short, energetic stage shows, plus a calorie-packed burger joint from celeb chef Guy Fieri; holds about 3,500.

Carnival Vista

Holds a bit more than 4,000 passengers; offers a waterpark, suspended-in-midair recumbent bike thrill ride, ropes course and the first IMAX cinema at sea.

Carnival Horizon
4.0 / 5.0
Editor Rating

Carnival's newest megaship, holding some 4,000 passengers, launches April 2018; highlights include new barbeque/brewery and Teppanyaki restaurants, an IMAX movie theater, waterpark, beer brewery and ropes course.

Carnival Sunrise

A completely reimagined ship, Carnival Sunrise is Carnival Triumph transformed with new venues, entertainment options, and a whole new Fun Ship look.

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