My wife and I sailed on the Carnival Fascination from Jacksonville on April 27, 2013, a 5 night cruise to Nassau and Half Moon Cay in the Bahamas. We booked this cruise mainly because of Half Moon Cay (Carnival's private island with fantastic beach) and a $300 casino cash offer from Carnival. Unfortunately, after the cruise started, the casino staff told us that they had no record of such an offer, even though our Carnival booking agent in Miami had definitely told us at time of booking that we would receive it on this cruise. After returning from the cruise, I asked the Carnival booking agent (who was conveniently away from the office and unreachable during our 5 days on the cruise) for a voucher guaranteeing the casino cash offer on a future Carnival cruise of our choosing (since that seemed fair), but he refused, so we will not be taking anymore cruises on Carnival. Instead, we will go to the Bahamas and Key West in the future on Royal Caribbean. Our local travel agent (with whom we book all other cruises) told us that Carnival is very inflexible, so I believe that now, as well as the fact that they don't live up to promises made by their booking agents.
Otherwise, we enjoyed the cruise for what we knew it to be (since we took the same cruise 2 years prior). It is not a Celebrity cruise and you had better eat dinners in the main dining room and avoid the Lido deck (where the food was not very good) except for breakfast and lunch. At dinner, we never waited more than 5 minutes for an "anytime dining" table in the main dining room and always got a table for two in the same area with the same waiters. Since there were other small tables nearby, we were able to converse with other diners too, just as if we had been seated at a larger table. There was one formal night but many cruisers did not seem to do better than wear dressier shorts and golf caps, so look elsewhere for elegance.
The captain stays out of sight (unlike outgoing captains we've enjoyed on other cruises like Oasis of the Seas) but we had smooth sailing, so that's the important thing, I guess. We never saw our cabin steward much but the ocean-view cabin was well kept, so no complaints there either. The bathroom was in nice condition, with a good-size shower and plenty of hot water and water pressure. The bed was comfortable and there was a good amount of storage space.
We liked the cruise director Paul who was quite funny (Not sure about his assistant whose fascination seemed to be that she always wore red shoes). We liked the Motor City show and the guests talent show but the Divas show was too loud and intense for some. There are nice water-park facilities for children on the top deck, but this cruise can't compare with longer, more expensive cruises on larger ships with ice-skating rinks, rock-climbing walls, diving pools, specialty restaurants, and more modern ship facilities. However, the voyage out of Jacksonville (including the thrill of watching the highest part of the ship just barely clear the underside of the bridge), the day at Half Moon Cay, two relaxing days at sea (unless you are near the loud pool area on the Lido deck), and the lower cruise prices are something to consider (but get everything in writing from Carnival).