This was our second time on the Fascination and in my opinion I find the passengers from Jacksonville the least friendly of all the ships. My husband and I always nod politely or say hello to people in the halls or on the elevator and usually on other ships people respond and you can strike up small conversations or jokes anywhere but not on this ship. The people seem to travel in large family groups and they keep to themselves. Believe me we weren't looking to hone in on their good time but a smile or a nod goes a long way--after all we are all on holiday!
I talked to someone from Buffalo NY who married a Jax native and they said that many people were from rural areas and were suspicious of northerners from urban areas. I don't know if that is true but it's one theory.
Anyway, as far as the ship I love the layout, it is so easy to get around from one place to another. I love the Lido deck and Hollywood Boulevard. The crew were first class, very friendly and attentive.
The food in the main dining room was just OK. The waiters were rather obsequious and that was a bit of a put off but overall it was OK.
The Coconut Grove has some weird smell thing going on, it was very unpleasant--it smelled strongly of urine in many places, I don't know where the smell was coming from but I found it terrible. I think it may have colored my impression of the buffet. I found the food rather bland and at times inedible but there was a nice dessert table and thankfully bags of English Breakfast tea.
I didn't think the shows were very good they were rather amateurish but the crowd seemed to enjoy them.
The cabins were much smaller than the usual so it was a bit of a trial getting ready but the biggest thing was that it absolutely STANK of cigarette smoke! Someone was smoking in their cabin and it carried the smell into ours (according to an engineer on the ship) I am allergic to tobacco and having to phone the purser repeatedly and turn off the ventilation really ruined this trip for me. Our clothes stank of tobacco and the room had a constant funk--one that beat the funk in the Coconut Grove!
This is definitely a budget cruise--I envy the people who can just drive to port, they are certainly getting good value if they get a non-polluted cabin, but for people like us who have to fly this can be quite a disappointing cruise. There are way nicer ships to travel on.