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Jamman's Solo FANTASY Adventure - 2/11/14 (with Pics)

Jamman

Carnival Specialist
Community Sponsor
#1
Hello again, everybody. My name is Jeff “Jamman” Maskall, and I am a cruise addict!! Right after the holidays, I was wandering around the Carnival website, when I spotted a whole bunch of “no single supplement” cruises being offered. This intrigued me, since solo cruisers usually have to pay 200% of the fare. Now, my wife Patti is a teacher, so cruising at any other time of the year except summer, is pretty much out of the question. We are comfortable, after 20 wonderful years of marriage, that we can take short separate vacations apart from each other. She has her interests, I have mine, and mine just happens to be cruising!! (She also loves to cruise, but not as much as me!!).

One of the cruises offered was the Carnival Fantasy, sailing from Charleston, South Carolina, 5 days to Nassau, and my favorite place in the world, Half Moon Cay. This cruise was scheduled for February 11th, right after a very hectic month for me, between work and other activities I am involved with, which meant I was burning the candle at both ends. This would be a perfect way to recover!! So with Patti’s blessing, I booked it, choosing an inside cabin to save even more money. I was able to book a reasonable roundtrip nonstop flight from Newark to Charleston, flying in the day before. I was also able to get a GREAT deal on a suite at Spring Hills Suites ($82), for the night before the cruise. Now all I had to do was wait, and keep my fingers crossed that Mother Nature didn’t throw a wrench into the plans!!

Now…fast forward to Monday, February 10th. In New Jersey, we have been hammered all winter with at least two snow or ice storms a week. We had just had one the previous Friday, and another BIG one was on the way. As luck would have it, the 10th is a beautiful, but cold day, and there are no flight delays or cancellations. Yippie!! I was prepared to hop in the car and drive the 12 hours if I had to!! In any event, the flight was great and on time, the hotel was wonderful; especially for what I paid for it. My mini solo vacation is off to a GREAT start, so let us begin…..



Embarkation Day is here!! I can’t wait to get on the Fantasy again. This will be my third time on her. The first time was in 1990 from Miami when she was brand new. The second was in 2006 from Port Canaveral, but this will be my first time on her after her Evolution of Fun upgrades, when they put in the Waterworks, Serenity, and upgraded the Lido Pool area.

I awoke to a cloudy, rainy, dismal kind of day, with the temperatures only in the low 40’s. Not at all what I expected when I booked this cruise. The good news is that it was going to get much worse in the next 24 hours with a major snow/ice storm slated to hit the area. We would be long gone by then! After eating their free breakfast, I asked the front desk to have a cab pick me up at 10am to take me to the port, which they were happy to do. I’ll say it now, that everyone from Charleston that I interacted with during my short time here, were extremely friendly, polite, and helpful!

The cab arrived a few minutes past ten, and 25 minutes and $25. Plus tip later I was at the port. Things are done a little differently here at the Port of Charleston, so I’ll try to explain. If you arrive in your own car you will be directed to join the Port Grand Prix, following a course thru the orange barriers. (You will see pictures later). You will stop once to show your documents, stop again to offload your luggage, then finally park inside a warehouse. Then you will be directed to board a shuttle that will take you to the cruise terminal. If you are just being dropped off, whether it be by car, taxi, shuttle, etc, you enter a different gate, again having to show your documents, before proceeding to the baggage drop where you give your luggage to the friendly porters. Again, you will be directed to a nearby shuttle for transport to the cruise terminal. Sounds like a lot, but it went quite well.

By 10:40 I was aboard a shuttle, but after pulling up 100 feet, the driver informed us that they weren’t ready to check-in new passengers yet, so we would have to wait. No problem, as I was now warm and dry. At 11:10, the driver was given the green light, and to the terminal we went. What happened next was by far the fastest and easiest embarkation I ever experienced in now my 33rd Carnival cruise. I literally walked from the shuttle, thru the security line, into the VIP line, to the check-in desk, up the stairs for my embarkation photo, to the security photo, and onto the ship in 8 minutes!!!

I have arrived!!!.....



To the Lobby Bar for my first drink of the cruise…..



Atrium (Grand Spectrum) Elevators…..



Looking up to the Skylight…..



Guest Services Desk…..




To be continued…..
 
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Jamman

Carnival Specialist
Community Sponsor
#2
After having my first Bud Light of the cruise, (NO thirsty Frog Red on Fantasy Class ships yet), I decided to head over to the Shore Excursion Desk to sign up for the Behind the Fun Tour, which is limited to 16 guests on the last sea day. Sometimes they will add a second tour with an additional 16 guests if there is a demand. There was a second tour added on this cruise.

Shore Excursion Desk.....



Shore Excursion Guide.....



Behind the Fun Tour information.....



That being done, it was time to go check out my cabin. I didn't have to go far, as my cabin was literally right down the hall from the Grand Spectrum. There was this familiar sign on the door leading to the cabins though......



This is my cabin.....



Now having had an Aft Wrap on my last cruise, I knew that having an inside cabin was going to take some getting used to, but it worked out just fine. I did however, forget to pack my travel alarm clock, but Patti reminded me about the trick of leaving your cabin TV on the Bow camera channel with the sound muted, so whenever you woke up, you could tell if it was day or night. That worked for me! Here is a quick look at the cabin. View of the cabin from the hallway......



To be continued.....
 
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Jamman

Carnival Specialist
Community Sponsor
#3
Here are some more cabin photos. The Bathroom sink…..



The Shower…..



The Vanity / Desk area…..



Welcome Aboard papers…..



Plenty of closet space…..



The Keypad type of safe…..





To be continued…..
 

Jamman

Carnival Specialist
Community Sponsor
#4
My luggage had not yet arrived, and I was starting to get hungry, so I made my way up the three flights of stairs to the Windows on the Sea Bar and Grille. Here's a few pictures that I snapped before I decided what I wanted. Windows on the Sea Bar.....



The Deli.....



Pizza Pirate.....



Aft Buffet Lines.....



The Sweet spot.....



Here's where the Burgers, Dogs, and other goodies are.....



To be continued.....
 
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Jamman

Carnival Specialist
Community Sponsor
#5
The Rotisserie…..



The Mongolian Wok…..



The Lido Beverage Island……




I decided that I would do the Rotisserie for lunch and was not disappointed. I am a chicken and fixings lover! For your information, these venues are open for lunch from Noon to 2:30pm on sea days, and Noon to 3:30pm on port days. Off the Grille is open from Noon to 6pm every day, the Deli is open from 11am to 11pm every day, and the Pizza Pirate and Ice Cream stations are open 24 Hours. Lido dinner is available at the two aft lines from 6pm to 9:30pm.

After I finished my lunch I had some time to kill before the roll call informal meet and greet, so I walked around and took a few more shots. I could feel that the temperature was continuing to drop, and it was getting uncomfortable to be out on deck.

The Lido Pool area…..



Lido Bar Starboard Side and two lonely bartenders…..



My two new best friends, Josef and Neb…..





To be continued…..
 

Jamman

Carnival Specialist
Community Sponsor
#6
Here's another view of the Lido Pool area.....



Here's a view of the Lido Pool Hot Tub. Notice the steam?



Port workers loading the luggage and supplies.....



Looking towards downtown Charleston.....



Another view of Charleston.....



Here's a view of the parking lot Grand Prix. Make sure you stay between the barriers!!



To be continued.....
 
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Jamman

Carnival Specialist
Community Sponsor
#7
Here’s the port entrance for those being dropped off…..



View of the Terminal, and the gangplank to the ship…..



Charleston Waterfront view…..



Too cold to eat or sit outside…..



A view of the Fantasy’s Serenity area…..



The Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge…..





To be continued…..
 

gram

Well-Known Member
#8
:sunny::sunny::sunny:


Jeff,

I really enjoyed seeing the photos and hearing about your trip. I will have to read the rest when we get back from our cruise.

Glad you were able to get a good price for a single. Don't forget to think about the Dream in December with us.

Evie
 

Jamman

Carnival Specialist
Community Sponsor
#9
Another view of the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge.....



This is the view looking out to sea.....



It was now time to head back to the cabin, unpack, then venture up to the meet and greet. I joined the roll call about a month before sailing, and it was a very small roll call. We decided to meet at the Lido Bar Port Side at 2pm, and 5 hearty souls showed up. In reality, we weren't missing that many. Those that did show up were John, Joe, Jan, her daughter Lauren, and myself. Though it was chilly, we hoisted a few and chatted until it was time for the muster drill. Though I had my camera, I neglected to take any pictures. I guess I was having a real brain freeze!!

Anyway, when the Muster Drill began, I only had to walk down one flight of stairs to my Muster Station on the Promenade Deck. It's great not having to go back to your cabin to get your life jacket! I was assigned to Muster Station "B", which is on Promenade Deck, outside of the Club 21 Casino. I took this one picture at our Muster Station, sorry it's blurry, but that's probably how I felt at the time. Lol.




This drill seemed to take a pretty long time, and then we were led, two abreast, up to the Lido Deck, where we would actually board our lifeboat if the need arose. I think it was good that it was done this way. Though it was cold on the Lido Deck, emergencies can happen in all types of weather, so to get a little feel of it was eye opening.

We were dismissed from there, and I headed to the back of the ship to get some pictures of our sail away. You could feel that the temperature had dropped some more, and it was only about 30 degrees outside. As I stepped outside, I saw a new old friend pulling into the harbor. The Carnival Splendor.....









To be continued.....
 
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Jamman

Carnival Specialist
Community Sponsor
#10
:sunny::sunny::sunny:


Jeff,

I really enjoyed seeing the photos and hearing about your trip. I will have to read the rest when we get back from our cruise.

Glad you were able to get a good price for a single. Don't forget to think about the Dream in December with us.

Evie
Have another GREAT cruise on the Pride!! I'll never forget the GREAT times we had the time we cruised together on her!! Bon Voyage!!
 
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Jamman

Carnival Specialist
Community Sponsor
#11
The Splendor was there because of a medical emergency. The weather was too windy to send a helicopter out, so she had to come in. I understood that it was a crew person that had to be evacuated, but I haven’t seen that confirmed…..




We set sail at 4:30 pm. I am not lying to you when I tell you that every few minutes I had to run inside to warm up my hands. That’s how windy and cold it was…..










We are backing up past the Carnival Splendor. She would soon be sailing back up to New York, and the biggest snowstorm of the year!!








To be continued…..
 

Jamman

Carnival Specialist
Community Sponsor
#12
We continue to back up past the Splendor…..



The Carnival Splendor’s Funnel…..



I can see our Aft Wrap from last August!!!!



I made my way to the Lido Pool area, and they were actually having a sail away party complete with dancing……



Of course kids are hearty, and they had no problem hanging out in the hot tubs. I even saw a few get out, jump in the pool, then get back in the hot tub again. My heart would have stopped!!! Brrrrrrrr!!!!



I went back outside for a few last sail away pictures. We have a Coast Guard escort…….





To be continued…..
 
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Jamman

Carnival Specialist
Community Sponsor
#13
We are leaving the Carnival Splendor, and the City of Charleston behind…..



I went back to the cabin and napped until it was time to get ready for my first dinner. I then met for the first time, the room stewards that would be taking care of me for the week, Angel and Miss T. I say Miss T, because she had the longest, most unpronounceable name I had ever seen. Oh, and Angel was a guy!!

I elected to have Late Seating in the Jubilee Dining Room, and was assigned table 396, which was a ten top. There were only 4 of us at dinner tonight. We looked around, and none of the large tables was full by any means. Some had 2,4, 5, or no guests at them. I thought that because the ship was rocking a little, people may have chosen to skip dinner tonight, but this continued the whole cruise. I was told that the ship was nowhere near being full, with only 2,100 passengers aboard. The Fantasy can hold 2,650 or so, with all berths filled, so that may have been the reason for the empty tables, that, and the growing popularity of Your Time Dining.

How rude of me, let me introduce you to my new tablemates. This is Debbie, from North Carolina…..




This is Joe, from Charleston, and he was a part of the roll call…..




And Curtis, who is also from South Carolina…….




What a GREAT little group of people!! We also had a GREAT wait team for this cruise. Here are two of them, Ketut and Nenad……




I don’t usually take a lot of food porn pictures, so you won’t see many this cruise, but I do remember what I had to eat each night, so you can visualize it in your head, or you can search for photos of it on this site. Many photos do exist! Tonight I started with the Shrimp Cocktail, followed by the Gazpacho. Like most nights, I order more than one entree, so I had the Sweet and Sour Shrimp, and also the Linguine with Sausage and Peppers. It was all served at the proper temperature and promptly. For dessert I had two scoops of chocolate ice cream.

Afterwards, I headed to the casino to try my luck. The only shows that I usually go to are the Comedy shows. I don’t think I stepped into the Universe Lounge at all this cruise. That’s probably why I don’t have an inside picture of it. Anyway, for those who do attend all or most of the shows, here’s the complete entertainment schedule for the cruise…..



To be continued…..
 
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Jamman

Carnival Specialist
Community Sponsor
#14
Although I played Blackjack for three hours, I wound up losing about $100 dollars. I was at a nice table with a lot of nice folks, so it was worth it just for the entertainment factor. The dealers and pit crews were also very nice, and one remembered me from a previous cruise. BTW, every bar waitress knew my name by the time I left! Lol. So, back to the cabin I go, and what is waiting for me, my first towel animal.....




I was still a little hungry, so I ordered two sandwiches from room service, a BLT, and a grilled cheeses sandwich. They sure hit the spot.....




Oh, here's the room service menu in case you want to order something.....




Time to call it a day. It is GREAT to be out to sea again. Goodnight!!! Oh, almost forgot to turn my TV to the Bow Camera Channel. OK, it's all good. Goodnight again!!!

Coming up next: First Sea Day or What a difference a day makes!!!
 
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Donna - dsw

Well-Known Member
#18
Great review and photos. I love it when you share your adventure! It was so nice of your wife to let you go. If it is anything like Jim and I - it was a bit of a break for her too! lol

I know next week when Jim goes to FL to golf with his boys - mil and I will get take out from the places we like to eat! lol

Thanks for sharing and look forward to your next adventure.
 

connie seabee

Well-Known Member
Community Sponsor
#20
I'm really enjoying your explicit narration. The photos are awesome. Thanks for taking the time to post this, I can't wait to read more.