I enjoyed this cruise very much. It was perfect for four friends to get away from SC and sail the sea for a week.
Embarkation: I've done this three times before and this time baffled me. We arrived at the port very early (11 a.m.) and were welcomed by a growing line. Eventually the portal opened and the line filed through bag inspection and filtered into another un-moving line. After this one broke...we moved to yet another line that was not moving. After getting the cabin keys, we moved to yet another line to have our ID's checked. Then we were on our way to board the Fascination. I believe the cause of these slow lines was the fact that we were that early. I guess its crucial to arrive early, but not too early but we were anxious looking at our ship from the hotel window across from the port all morning.
The Ship: You could never tell this ship was as old as it is. Rarely did I see the imperfections I've read about. The ship was beautiful inside and out and neither did I see any "gaudy" decor. The scheme of the ship fit well with the colors and style.
Dinner and food: I love Carnivals foods and meals the present to passengers. The food was great and there was a variety. The only thing that I would change was the times it was served. There was not much to eat after midnight except for pizza and light buffet foods. The pizza was magnificent; some of the best I've had. The Deli was also great. It gave an alternative to pizza and the lunch buffet. Dinner was great as well. Our waiter Carlos was hilarious. We enjoyed our dinners very much as well as the food. Wonderful.
Activities: The comedians were very experienced and extremely funny. I know they change frequently but these guys were great. The cruise director Matt Goodwin was informative and one of the best directors I've sailed with. I met him on the Fantasy a year or so ago and was pleased to see him aboard the Fascination. Thanks to Arlene, most of the activities on our Sea Day was cancelled including the Hairy Chest competition and the ice carving. Our sea day was wet, windy, and rainy. Not to mention, the top decks were closed due to the HIGH winds and waves. No one could walk in a straight line. We didn't see any shows, but enjoyed people watching mostly. We visited the casino and tried out the blackjack tables. My girlfriend and I left the ship about $50 up, but our colleagues left almost $200 in the hole. Very fun and helpful dealers.
Key West and Cozumel: Key West was fun. We did the normal walk on Duval Street and the Southernmost point. The ship docks at the naval base, which was a bit tedious but understood. Trolley rides were fun, but hot. Not much to do there except walk around and say "I've been to Key West." Little did we know how much we would love our next port. Cozumel was worth the trip. I would even consider a short cruise to Cozumel alone. We booked the Catamaran Snorkel and beach Party. WORTH the $50. So much fun. Snorkeling wasn't as great as I've had before, but the private beach and free drinks made up the difference. We were a bit confused with the pier though, we couldn't find our way out into the city. It is almost like we were locked into the port area. If you go to Cozumel and dock at the Punta Maya, research before hand. I recommend and excursion of some sort.
Debarkation: More expected lines, but we took our time getting off the ship. No hassle through customs and we were off the ship by 10 a.m..
Overall, I would recommend this cruise. It is definitely not the high elegant service as more expensive ships and cruise lines offer, but fancy enough for us. I enjoyed the Fascination and have sailed on the Fantasy, Fascination and Imagination to date, and hopefully complete the entire Fantasy class. Thanks for reading my review and welcome any questions. Feel free to e-mail me.