Embarkation: I would say, not too bad. We arrived at the port at 10:30 am, my DH dropped our DSs and myself off and parked. We stood in a line to check in, which moved rather quickly. The lady who checked us in, she was the one doing the boarding as well. She advised us she would begin boarding within the next 20 minutes. I would say within 30 min, we were onboard.
Our first stop, the excursion desk for our cabana at HMC. We were one of the first 250 to board, and by the time we got to the desk, we only had 3 cabana's left to choose from, no worries, we got # 14, which was what we wanted.
Lido buffet, 3/4 of the buffet is outside, ALWAYS long lines, no matter when you went to it. Inside, one each side-starboard & port-was two small buffets. The salad bar and dessert bar were inside. Even that buffet was packed.
We ate in the MDR 3 out of the 5 nights. The food was good, we had anytime dining, we always were seated very quickly, on the first night, we celebrated our oldest DS 16th birthday. I had preordered a cake, they came and sang to him. We got a nice table by the window, nice dinner. The other two times, my DH and I ate alone, the kids ate in the buffet.
Due to the weather, we did not use the one pool, we did not use the hot tub, and we did not use the slides. Our youngest DS went on the slide, said it was fun, but freezing. Our oldest DS and his friends used the hot tubs, he said it was a good time.
I thought Paul the cruise director was horrible. No personality what so ever. He would talk a lot about his multiple exwives. We never heard him make any announcements until the last day of the cruise-the fun day at sea. I called him the dream crusher. He had the final say in something on our DSs 16th bday and declined and in the game of love, this couple, it was their 50th anniversary, he turned them down to play the game to another couple who had been married for 52 years. Most boo'd him for that.
One of the commedians was very funny, the other, not so much. We did not see his adult only show, we saw him and the funny guy during the family show. We did see two times the very funny guys show, but it was the same exact show we had seen the night before.
It was Gospelfest 2012 on the ship. On our last night, from 7:30-whenever, they had the entire lido deck. During the rest of the cruise, they would have full use of other areas.
DH and I love doing trivia. Where they do trivia, it was like a hallway and if you didn't get there 30 minutes before, you could forget about getting a seat.
There was a lot of smoking. The casino had smoke pouring out. It was right next to the place where they had trivia. The tables where they have the trivia, they were no smoking, which made no sense. The nightclub-Diamonds, was smoking, it was so, so bad.
Speaking of the night club, my DH and I went for 70-80's night. We had to leave to go to the comedy show, but when we went back, the dj was only playing Lil Wayne and Rhianna songs, but 95% was Lil Wayne. Needless to say, we left after about 30 minutes.
On elegant night, there was NOTHING to do. Nothing! They did have the show Hey Mambo, but after that, nothing. On the last night, nothing again. I found there to be a lot of downtime.
There were two shows, Hey Mambo & Far From Over-which was an '80's show. I was really looking forward to it, it is the top rated show in the CCL fleet and is only on 3 ships-leaving the Fascination in January. I was so disappointed. It was good, I just didn't care for the songs. There is also a scene when they sing Purple Rain, in which there are 2 dancers on a motorcycle, very, very suggestive. I mean, very. And the costumes in Hey Mambo-the girls wore thongs through the entire show. Our 13 yr old said it was the best show he had ever seen. I saw no less than 6 couples leave in the middle. By far the most risque show I have seen on any of our cruises. The singers however, I thought were very, very good!
Our stateroom, always clean and tidy, so was our DSs-they had an inside across the hall from us. Our room steward-Gadai-was very nice and always greeted us by name. Our server in the MDR was Andrais. He was very nice as well.
The only main problem we had was with our oldest DS. In Karaoke, they told him to sign up for Superstar Live-he dances an excellent Michael Jackson. He went and the band director, Kevin Lower, told him-on his 16th bday no less-no, he had to be 18. So the next night, was Michael Jackson dance hour in Diamonds. Last year on the CCL Dream, he was able to go into the club and dance, it started 10 pm. The security guard would not allow him in. Again, he could last year. We went to guest services, they could not answer why our son was not allowed in. He would have left at 11, just like last year on the Dream. If the drinking age is 21, why would they even allow 18 yr olds in the club? No one could answer that. It appeared no one cared to help with any problems we had-which was again regarding our son.
We are not certain if we will sail Fascination again. There were a lot of lows and seldom any highs.
Debarkation: We did not get off until 10:00 am, it was a nightmare. Although I am still trying to get my landlegs back, I am very happy to be off that ship! We are considering even trying RCCL now.
Oh the kids clubs-Circle C and Club O2-both great! Our DSs made a lot of friends and raved all the way home about it.