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Carnival Fascination Cruise Review by LisaFlyer

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Carnival Fascination
Carnival Fascination
Member Name: LisaFlyer
Cruise Date: December 2005
Embarkation: Miami
Destination: Bahamas
Cabin Category: 4a
Cabin Number: u11
Booking Method: Local Travel Agency
See More About: Carnival Fascination Cruise Reviews | Bahamas Cruise Reviews | Carnival Cruise Deals
Member Rating   5.0 out of 5+
Dining 4.0
Public Rooms 5.0
Cabins 5+
Entertainment 4.0
Spa & Fitness 5.0
Family & Children Not Rated
Shore Excursions Not Rated
Embarkation 5.0
Service 5.0
Value-for-Money Not Rated
Rates 5+
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Ship Facts: Carnival Fascination Review (by Cruise Critic!) | Carnival Fascination Deck Plans
Carnival Fascination - Bahamas
Booking: Went through a travel agent and booked my Dec 2-5, 2005 cruise in August. Paid $545 for an inside cabin in category 4c. Got airfare online by doing a search through Travelocity/travelzoo/orbits to see who was cheapest, then booked directly with the American Airlines webpage for $173/person after taxes. Another couple decided to join us at the last minute, paid $655 for an inside 4c cabin, and used FF miles for Southwest. I believe the cruise was not that full.

Preparations: Made my list from comments on several boards. Packing was perfect- took everything we needed, and didnt pack anything we didnt use. List will be posted in later follow up. Posted on Roll Call and found other folks on our cruise and made arrangements to hook up. We psyched each other out, and couldnt wait to get down to Miami.

Embarkation: Our flight was that morning at 6am out of Washingtons IAD airport. Way too early! Had to get up at 3am to make it to the airport on time. There were 3 couples in our party. We did early check in online, so all we had to do was check our luggage using the AA self assist and off to the gate we went. Security line at 5am was about 15 minutes long. We got to the gate and opened up a few baby bottles of champagne and OJ and we each got a small glass of celebratory pre-vacation mimosas. We cheered, wished for a good vacation and got on a full flight. After sleeping most of the way, we landed, grabbed a taxi and were on our way. We asked our driver to take us to a store, so we stopped around the corner from the airport at the Winn Dixie for sodas and Red Bulls. The cabbie didnt charge us for stopping, but we tipped him extra for taking care of us and not charging us.

We got to the port about 10am, dropped our bags to a porter- he double checked our rooms and made sure we had all our bags properly tagged and we headed off to the embarkation area. We walked into an empty lobby, grabbed our docs, walked up to the counter and checked in. Effortless. We then sat back down, found our Roll Call friends, and got acquainted. Around 11am, they lined us up and we went through security. Again, effortless- at this point, there were about 100 or so people in line- there was only one boat in port at the time, so it was not crowded at all. After we got through security, we stood waiting in another line to go to customs. About 11:12, we were released into the terminal and went through customs. After customs, we got our picture taken in front of the sign and walked through the gangplank. They took our picture for the S&S card and we were officially on the boat at 11:32.

Day 1: After we dropped our bags off in our rooms (the rooms were ready when we got there), we went up to the Lido deck for foofy drinks and lunch. Marvin is THE MAN!!!! He hooked us up the whole cruise with nice strong drinks, and was quick and prompt. His timing is impeccable! And, we got a couple free drinks from him later in the cruise. We didnt order from anyone except for Marvin! Lunch was excellent- had carved roast beef, salad, stuff tomatoes with garlic chips on top (these were fabulous!), cheesecake, fruit, etc. Everything was warm and excellent. Didnt really see any lines the whole trip except for the last day at breakfast for the omelets line and at the midnight buffet.

After we settled in, we explored until the Muster Drill. That was a little long- you had to meet in an area, and then were taken to the muster station. The last cruise we did, we just went directly to the muster station and it went quicker. Afterward, we watched the boat depart dock and off we went. We went and got ready for dinner and had a few pre-dinner drinks. We brought our own wine each night to the dining room, and were not charged a corkage fee. We had two waiters (the head waiter, and a helper in training). Service was a little slow, but we were enjoying each others company, so we really didnt mind. We had prime rib and mushroom soup- both were exceptional. The Prime Rib was cooked perfectly, was warm, and was served au jus- tasty! After dinner, we went to the casino, took in the Broadway show, and headed off to bed after a very long day around 1:30am.

Day 2: The vibrations of docking in Nassau awakened us. After about ½ hour, we were docked and announcements came that the boat was ready to let people assure. Inner staterooms are great- I can never sleep in after the sun comes up at 6am at home, but found myself sleeping peacefully until 9am on the boat. The beds were uber comfy and the duvets and pillows were fluffy and soft. We made it up to the lido deck for breakfast of nice hot, handmade omelets. The cook was from Croatia, and was very cute and very friendly. He remembered what I had on the third day and asked if I wanted the same as before! After a nice breakfast, we went ashore to Nassau and grabbed a cab to Atlantis. I lost $40, but hubby won $317 and his brother won $400. Cab over there was $4/person +tip. It took about 10 minutes to get over there, and there was a $1 toll across the bridge. Admission was free to Atlantis for the casino, shops, and the aquarium that is in the lobby. The main aquarium is part of a $25 tour we opted not to see. After Atlantis, we went back to the boat, had lunch up on the lido deck (restaurant is only open for dinner on port days, but on days at sea, the restaurant is open for breakfast and lunch as well). Lunch was a French theme and was excellent! After lunch, we went back to Nassau, walked around and did some duty free shopping and went over to Senor Frogs for a drink. Afterwards, we went back to the ship for drinks and get ready for dinner. We had requested late seating, but got early seating, hence, we missed the captains cocktail party (it is the same time as our dinner, so it was either miss dinner or the cocktail party- we opted for going to dinner). Dinner was Filet, pumpkin soup (loff it!), and cherries jubilee (no flames though). Everything was excellent. Then the crew sang an Italian song the captain taught them, and then we had a surprise- we were asked to stand and they played the chicken dance and everyone started dancing with the crew and each other! It was a blast!!!! I just love the chicken dance, but some people opted to sit and watch, which was fine too. It was our favorite dinner crew entertainment of all time!

After dinner, we hung out, did a comedy show, and went over to Senor Frogs. I ended up going alone because no one wanted to go out, but still had a great time and hooked up with a two couples that were on the ship. After stumbling back at 2am, we headed to the Diamonds lounge and kept dancing until they kicked us out at 3am. What a fun night!!!!

Day 3: With a slight hangover, we were awakened at 8am to the vibrations of the ship leaving port. 45 minutes later, I finally got up and we called for room service for OJ and wine glasses to make mimosas to get rid of the hangover. We went to breakfast in the dining room, and I got grapefruit half (fresh and juicy) and eggs benedict. The eggs were perfectly cooked, the sauce was tasty, and everything was hot. We met a lovely couple on their honeymoon, and a couple who used to work with Holland America as on-board florists. They shared some wonderful stories with us, and their granddaughter was a perfect angel and was very polite and friendly. After breakfast, we went up on deck and I met up with the two couples I met the night before. After a few more mimosas thanks to Marvin, we went up to the topless deck and laid out. Very nice and quiet up there, and the aft pool was adults only- very refreshing. No problem finding deck chairs or room, but again, I dont think it was a full sailing. After lunch, we played in the pool and tested the water slide. The little girl we had breakfast with was in front of us, and we said hellos and shared the excitement of the waterslide. After a few slides and lots of salt water up the nose, we laid back down again and watched the ice sculpting. After the ice sculpting, they announced the Fear Factor contest and my friend grabbed my hand and we went up there. Five teams competed, and we came in second. Afterwards, the alcohol and lack of food caught up with me and after two showers, I racked out until 11pm when I got up and took a third shower to try to get more of the mustard smell off of me from the Fear Factor gasme. The Midnight buffet was beautiful!!!!! Cheese, salads, mini filets, shrimp, and tons and tons of deserts. It was delicious!!!! After gouging on chocolate, all was good in the world once again and we went to the casino to lose more money. Afterward, it was off to bed to prepare for the long day ahead.

Day 4: We were awakened again by vibrations- I slept through ½ of it, so I guess I was getting used to it. What woke me up were the announcements about debarkation. Time to go L We packed some things, grabbed a shower, and then went up for breakfast. I had my usual omelets and some fresh fruit- very tasty and filling. After breakfast, we continued to pack (we did self assist- we were to discombobulated to get the luggage out the night before). We got off the ship about 9:30am and used a porter to avoid the line. Disembarkation was easy- simply get off the ship and go through customs. There were two boats disembarking- Imagination, and us. Lines were sort of long, but we used a porter and went to the front of the line. There were 3 people in our line, but the customs agent was having an issue with the card reader, and by the time we got through, the people that were behind us in line that didnt use a porter, were already through. So, will we use a porter again- probably not? Total time in line- 20 minutes.

Since our plane wasnt leaving until 8pm, we rented a car for the 6 of us. The porter took us over to where the car rental companies stop, and I negotiated a $59 rate for a big minivan for the day from Enterprise. All others were going for $69, so it was a good deal. Enterprise took us to town, we checked into our car, and to South Beach we went. We parked on 7th street in the public lot and waked up the beach and hung out and shopped. We asked a local about where to eat and he guided us to Puerto Sagua restaurant where we had the best sandwiches and beef stew around. Cheap and good! Rachel Ray would have been proud of us! After lunch, we visited a few hotels to scope out for our next cruise in Nov 06 and found The Hotel. Slam Dunk its the place to go! We setup our reservation and we headed for a beer. After a while, we headed to the airport, dropped the car and got to the airport. After learning that Virginia was having a blizzard, we started to worry about getting home. We checked in, and then went to the airport hotel lobby and had some drinks- best mudslides we had in a while. After watching the weather channel and deciding that we would be ok getting home, we grabbed a nap in the comfy overstuffed chairs and then went to the gate and boarded. Flight was full, but we left right on time.

After we landed, it took us a while to get the luggage, the car, and get out of the airport. Virginia was spared a bad storm, but we didnt walk in the door until 1:48am. Ugggg. Work would come early at 8am&

Summary: Pros: We had a blast! 1. Ship was clean, in great shape, and the crew was awesome. If you let them, they will pamper you and take care of you. Marvin our drink waiter at the main pool was the TOPS, as was our cabin stewards, the porters, the Omelets guy from Croatia (not to mention he was GQ cute)! 2. Everyone was there to have a good time. 3. Food was good and plentiful. Pizza was good and hot, fries were great, and omelets were made to order 4. Room steward made cool towel animals. We didnt see him much, but he kept our cooler topped off with ice and our room was kept spotless. I think they make it a game to do their job without being seen- we gave them a $50 spot for the great service- they truly can make your cruise go well. Cons: Not many- all were very petty 1. Every so often, you would catch a whiff of sewage. Normal for older boats, but it still wasnt that bad, but thought I would mention it. 2. Food was mediocre at times. Had to send back my filet when it was really really overcooked when I ordered rare. The waiter took it back with apologies and I had a fresh hot rare replacement steak within 4 minutes. 3. Only one captains cocktail party that the early seating missed 4. No return cruisers party 5. The best show on the ship- the Adult comedy show, was during the midnight buffet 6. Midnight buffet was too short- needed more time to gouge myself ;-)








Publication Date: 01/03/06
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