Love for the Carnival Fantasy class

Although the Carnival Fantasy class represents Carnival’s oldest and smallest ships they still have a lot to offer.  I may be a little biased as 12 of my 34 cruises have been on a Fantasy class ship.  They almost feel like home to me and I’m reminded of this each time I step on board.  The class gets a bad name at times due to the ship’s outside appearance and age but through routine maintenance and the addition of new features during dry dock, they can still give an excellent cruise experience.

The first ship in the class, the Carnival Fantasy, was built in 1990.  Seven additional Fantasy class ships would follow with the last one, the Carnival Paradise, being built in 1998.  The first major revitalization of the class came in 2006 through the “Evolutions of Fun” program (EOF).  Through these upgrades, six of the eight ships in the class received updated pool decks, the addition of a waterworks area, updated staterooms, and even the addition of balcony cabins on some ships.  The EOF initiative was completed in 2010.  Since the Carnival Elation and the Carnival Paradise were the two newest ships in the class they did not receive the full EOF upgrades at that time.

As of recently the class has started to undergo upgrades through Carnival’s 2.0 program.  This has included the addition of Guy’s Burger Joint, the Blue Iguana Cantina, the Red Frog Rum Bar, and the Alchemy Bar.  By 2019, all eight of the Fantasy class ships are slated to be retrofitted with 2.0 upgrades.  These refurbishments have enabled these  twenty something year old ships to stay competitive in the ever so changing cruise market.  With the amount of money being invested into the class, one can only assume that they are here to stay for the immediate future.

I personally love the class for a number of reasons.  The ships offer everything I enjoy about cruising.  I don’t always utilize the bells and whistles of today’s newer  ships so I often can find a more affordable option on a Fantasy class ship versus paying a premium to be on a line’s newest and biggest ship.  The size and layout of the ship are great for first timers.  It is not so intimidating and it has a good flow.  Essentially all the main public areas are focused on two decks which makes it very easy to learn the layout quickly.  This gives you the opportunity to enjoy your vacation immediately versus trying to learn the lay of the ship.

The one limiting factor to the class may be the fact that since they mainly run Carnival’s three to five day cruises, you are quite limited to the number of itineraries they offer.  Depending on their home port, they are generally offering itineraries that include the Bahamas, Cozumel, Jamaica, and Grand Cayman.  However, as of more recently, the Carnival Fascination has redeployed from its new homeport of San Juan Puerto Rico and is now offering  seven night Southern Caribbean itineraries.  This new itinerary really appealed to me as it offers me a very port intensive sailing on a ship that feels like home to me.  This will allow me to focus my planning efforts on the ports themselves versus the ship when I sail on her in early 2018.

If you are like me and enjoy sitting by the pool people watching during the day and enjoy abundant night life including dancing the night away then I would certainly recommend checking out a Fantasy class ship.  If you rely on activities like ropes courses, rock climbing walls, or simulated surfing to enjoy your cruise vacations I might suggest you pass on these ships.  Like I mentioned before, it’s a great class to get a taste of what cruising has to offer at a great price point.  In addition to newbies, you’ll find experienced cruisers like myself sailing these ships until they are eventually retired.  I cannot wait to be “welcomed home” again!

I know there will be people on both sides of the fence.  Are you a lover or a hater of Carnival’s Fantasy class?

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Cruise Life Matt


John Trivedi

Great post, Matt. I’m definitely a fan of the Carnival Fantasy class ships. Our first cruise was back in 2009 on the Sensation, 4-night Bahamas, and I was hooked after that. I’ve been on the Paradise as well back in 2014, which was my cruise following Allure of the Seas, a big difference. I agree that these smaller ships are more intimate and you aren’t wondering about exploring the whole time, you can just sit back and relax on a nice ship, even though it’s older and doesn’t look as “cool” with the new features. I’ll be going back on a Fantasy class ship at some point in the future I am sure… heck, any cruise ship is a win in my book!


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