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A ‘fun day’ at sea

SmarterTravel

Editor’s note: Erica Silverstein is at sea this week posting about her experiences onboard Carnival’s Fantasy. Follow along from the beginning at the Ship to Shore homepage.

On Carnival, everything is “fun.” The ships are “fun ships,” its mascot is “Fun Ship Freddy,” and a day at sea is a “fun day at sea.” On this five-night cruise, only one day is a sea day, so I’ve tried to see and do as much as possible.

I started the morning with a 9 a.m. Pilates class. Either the early start or the $10 charge scared away most of the participants, so the class consisted of two women and the instructor. Ten bucks and tip isn’t a bad price for a semi-private workout session. I haven’t done much Pilates before, but I can attest that it was an intense workout. The ship’s rolling didn’t affect me too much, except for in some of the balance poses.

Next, I headed up to the deck for some R&R. The adult-only pool area was quieter and less crowded than the main pool deck, so I did my reading up there. I was sorely tempted to order a tropical drink in a monkey-shaped coconut for $14.95, but I couldn’t bear to start drinking before 11 a.m.! I was in the minority on that one.

After a quick lunch in the buffet, I watched ice sculpting and the hairy chest competition by the main pool. The hirsute men were forced to dance, give a Tarzan yell, and pose like bodybuilders while four lucky women and the rest of the onlookers chose the manliest man. I tell you, you haven’t lived until you’ve witnessed a hairy man contest. Later, I competed with some new friends in the trivia contest. I won the first game with my partner and am now the proud owner of a Carnival gold medal. Unlike other cruise lines, Carnival doesn’t seem to hand out tokens for winning games that you can later trade for logo swag.

Other afternoon activities included multiple sessions of bingo, an Austin Powers dance class, and an art auction (with free champagne). The casino, shops, spa, and fitness center were open all day, and when in doubt, guests could always find something to eat or lay out by the pool. Personally, I would have liked a few more organized activities because I can’t sit in the sun all day long.

A reader asked if seniors would enjoy a Carnival cruise, and I think they would if they enjoy any of the aforementioned activities. Carnival so far hasn’t offered bridge, discussion groups, or informative lectures—activities that cater to a more mature audience. But if you’re young at heart and like to have fun, Carnival is a fine cruise line. If you’re worried about a ship filled with screaming children, just avoid school breaks and summer holidays.

Tonight is the Captain’s dinner and formal night. On the menu, we have Pacific salmon, broiled lobster tail, sweet and sour duck breast, prime rib, grilled brochettes of fresh vegetables, and trunnette puttanesca (don’t know what that is, but as my fiance can attest, I hate anything puttanesca). Tomorrow, we arrive at our first port-of-call—Grand Turk.

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