My family is on their first cruise together on the Carnival Fantasy departing out of Charleston, SC to The Bahamas and it is a totally different cruise experience than my previous romantic getaway. I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect on the Carnival Fantasy, but once we were on board the Fun Ship, the excitement hasn’t stopped. Here are some of the top things my kids (ages 12 and 14) loved about our family cruise experience:
1. Mini Golf – My husband and son had fun bonding on the Sun Deck playing on the mini golf course. They even played in the Mini Golf Tournament and placed 2nd and 3rd. The mini golf shuts down at 8pm, but on the forward part of the Sun Deck, just in front of the mini golf course, there’s a perfect spot for star gazing each evening.
2. Circle C – My daughter says this is her favorite part of the cruise ship. The 12-14 year olds have their own club with scheduled activities all day, and into the night. She’s made some new friends and has found a little bit of freedom that she’s been looking for. Each night, she outlasts her dad and I with events going on until 1 am. My son opted to visit the arcade off and on in lieu of spending time at Circle C. At 14, he’s not quite old enough for Club O2 (15-17 year olds) and preferred to hang around with me (which as a mom I really loved spending quality one on one time with him).
3. Water Works – Kids and adults will have fun on the multiple waterslide area located in aft (back) of the Carnival Fantasy. Both of my kids had waterslide races and we even all took a slide down the curvy longer one. I staked out chairs near the slide entrance, which also overlooked the ship’s pool area, giving me a great view of everything, including the ocean. The best part? I was right near where the kids were, yet far enough away to still feel like I was getting some Me Time.
4. Making New Friends – My daughter has been running around the ship with other girls she met at Circle C. Sometimes they attend the scheduled activities together, but they’ve also been running around getting snacks, playing at Water Works and spending time at the pool. At night, they’ve had so much fun running around to the various photography setups and taking group photos for the fun of it. I think I may secretly purchase one for her so that she has a memory captured as a picture.
5. The International Crew – Both of the kids have enjoyed chatting with the crew members who all hail from various countries. The kids love all the different accents and asking about where they live when not on the ship. It has been special and even educational for our family.
6. The Shows – My daughter loves live performances, so it was no surprise that she would check the ship schedule to see what shows are going on in the Universe Theater on the Carnival Fantasy. All the activities and shows are easy to find in the Fun Times, which is the newsletter delivered each evening letting us know about the next day’s schedule. It even comes with a perforated pocket-size schedule to keep things handy and accessible.
7. The Food – This is my third cruise, but the first with Carnival Cruise Lines. I have to admit, the food is much better than I anticipated. Each night we have dinner with MommyMusings and her family and we are treated to some very good meals. One night lobster was on the menu. My son ended up eating three of them! The kids also like that room service is included in the cruise price and that anytime they want they can get burgers, pizza, and ice cream from the buffet at Window on the Sea Restaurant.
8. The Beds – Our room was an ocean view cabin and I will admit that at first glance it looked small for a family of four. However, after settling in, we realized the room is quite cozy. The kids loved the layout, with a king bed for the parents and an upper and lower bed for the kids. My daughter had packed her own Justin Bieber poster and placed in on the wall next to her upper bunk.
9. The Towel Animals – Who doesn’t love towel animals in your room after dinner? We played a game trying to guess which animal would be in our room each night. A frog? An elephant? It didn’t matter. Just seeing the cuteness when we walked in was half the fun.
10. The Onboard Activities – Besides the mini golf matches and Circle C activities, there were activities going on all day long and into the night. There were line dancing lessons, towel animal demonstrations and karaoke. There were shows and a magician who walked around the ship, especially during dinner. My daughter and I even experienced a mother/daughter spa treatment.
As you can tell, the kids enjoyed their first cruise experience on the Carnival Fantasy. And to think, this was just the ship part of the trip! We’re already planning our next family cruise. Have you been on a family cruise? What were some of your children’s favorite moments on their cruise? Do you have tips for saving money on a cruise? Share them in the comment section below.
Special thanks to Carnival Cruise Lines who hosted our family cruise experience.