Carnival Fascination Cruise Review by dcsetman: Family Cruise September 2013 (long - by day)
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Family Cruise September 2013 (long - by day)
Carnival Cruise 2013 Fascination
Friday September 20, 2013
Last night we picked up Kayna from Gymnastics and Kristi met us there with Bubba (Christian) and all their bags.. We got a phone call from Lynne that Matt had just been in a pretty serious wreck. Someone rear-ended him and ran underneath his trailer where he was pulling a bobcat (no, not the animal – even though that is what Kayna thought). He was just banged up, thankfully, but very, very sore.
So with us, leaving out early we have : Nana, Bop, Mema, Bubba (Christian) and Kayna. Dan and Genie will head out around 3:00 p.m. today, and Kristi and Seth, Lauryn and Kelsi will follow about 5:00.
We were up early this morning, packed the truck, picked up Mema, and headed out to Jacksonville. Kayna and Bubba have their headphones plugged into Bop’s Iphone and are happy travelers. Lunch time – one of our all time favorites that we can’t get at home any longer, Sonny’s More BBQ. Yum.
Friday Night – Hotel : Spring Hill Suites-
Dinner – We ate dinner at the Seafood Kitchen ( a small hole in the wall diner that has delicious seafood). Dennis and I ate there many times in years past when we went to the annual Jacksonville Pastor’s conferences. We had to make a quick Wal-mart stop for a few things before boarding the ship in the morning. After checking out, I remembered we needed change for the Jitney Bus in Nassau later in the week, so Dennis took everyone else to the car, and I went back in to the store. Dennis (Bop) told Christian (Bubba) they were just going to leave me, and he said “NO”! When Bop asked him why, he said, “because I love her” - awwww, so sweet Back in the hotel, Christian and Mema played cards cars with Mema while we all waited on Dan and Genie to arrive, then Kristi, Seth, Lauryn and Kelsi, later that night.
Friday night and Saturday morning, I was able to get a lot of my weekly student messages graded and responses posted so I did not have to buy minutes until Tuesday night (buying minutes is expensive on the ship. I am used to my Travel Agent Platinum privileges on Princess and Cunard ), so no day by day blog – everyone kept me too busy to write each day (not complaining about that, though – loved every minute. My feet didn’t – but I did).
Saturday Morning – We ate breakfast at the hotel, and prayed the gates to the port would be open before 10:30 (literally I did). That was important because Dennis was taking Kristi, Christian, Lauryn, and I to the port and dropping us off, then hurrying back to catch the 11:00 shuttle back to the port with Mema, Seth, Kelsi, Lauryn, Dan and Genie. If he missed the 11:00, he would have to wait until 12:00 to catch the next one. We were ready to get on the ship NOW and get to the buffet. He had a dream Friday night that he missed the shuttle over and over. Fortunately, he made it in plenty of time, and the gates at the port were actually open when we arrived at 10:15. Thank you, Lord!
As we were checking in at the terminal and going through security, Christian had to walk through the metal detectors by himself (security rule), and he got scared and cried. We were on the other side waiting for him, and he finally did it.
On the boat and to the rooms, where most of our luggage was waiting on us (thanks to our FASTER TO THE FUN ticket, kind of like a Disney Fast Pass – love it). Then to the buffet for lunch, I unpacked and the kids and Kristi and Seth rushed to the water slides. Christian stayed on the baby slides, while the girls tackled the big blue racing side by side slides. They all tried the BIG Twister slide that twisted high and out over the ocean.
Dinner was at 6:00 p.m. in the Imagination Dining Room. Ayu, from Indonesia was our waitress, and Iwyne our waiter. They are some of the best ever! Ayu fell in love with Christian and gave him so much attention. She has a little boy (almost 3), who she doesn’t see while she is working for six months at a time on the cruise ship. She hugged, loved and danced around the dining room with Christian. Iwyne taught him how to do the “thumbs up” and he would do it to him each time Iwyne would bring him ice cream after dinner for dessert. I ate Warm Chocolate Melting Cake for dessert ( I have been dreaming of this yummy dessert that is a Carnival Signature dessert since our last time on Carnival in 2010. When they set it down in front of me, I felt like saying, “hi honey, I’m home”). Genie and Kristi could feel the rocking of the ship a little at dinner (all the way aft at dinner), but fortunately did not bother them too much.
After dinner we went to the Motor City show in the Palace Theatre. It was excellent! Although, don’t ask Kayna and Genie because they fell asleep. Back in the room, we found out our King sized bed could NOT be separated, so Mema slept on the trundle bed, Kelsi above her in the bunk bed, Dennis and I on the king size bed with Kayna above us on the bunk bed. Around 3:00 a.m. pains in my legs woke me up and when I reached down to rub them, I felt Kayna there on top of my legs, sitting up, asleep. She had fallen out of the bunk on top of my legs. I scooped her up, still asleep, and layed her down next to the wall. This would NOW be our nightly sleeping arrangement. No more over the bed for Kayna
Sunday Morning - Buffet for breakfast for everyone and we headed to the slides. Weather could not be better. Hot and Sunny. Around 1:00 p.m. Kristi and I went to Bear Cuddly time at Camp Carnival with the kids on the 12th floor (like Build a Bear). Christian, Kelsi and Savannah got Freddie’s (Carnival Mascot), and Kayna and Lauryn got Carnival Bears ( a Carnival Chef, and Baseball player). Lunch in the buffet with ICECREAM of course, (available 24 hours a day and several of our group took advantage of that). More Sliding and pool time, Mema watched from under the deck awning out by the palm trees.
Dennis, Kelsi and I got a pool deck shoulder and neck massage. Kelsi and I went to the Spa/Gym for a while then took our showers in there (much better than a cabin shower)! TONIGHT is Formal night, so we are dressed up. We met SO many people from Paulding County: and a few people we actually knew. Kelsi saw 2 boys from her school, a teacher from Robert’s Elementary (Kayna’s school) , and MeMa saw her hairstylist’ daughter and husband. We met before dinner for formal pictures. A few really good ones, and the kids got theirs made on a surfboard. We didn’t buy them (too $$$) but very cute.
At dinner, Dennis, Kelsi, Seth, and I ordered two(2) lobster dinners with shrimp. Lauryn and Kristi also ate lobster. Very good. Family Comedy Show after dinner – Kayna and I sat right up front – Kayna wanted to be picked if needed an assistant. He didn’t really call for any “helpers” but it was a great show. Dennis and I always enjoy the Family comedy club on Carnival.
Just a side note here- in the Atrium, there are 4 sets of glass elevators. On one of them, there were these 2 boys (early teens who stayed on them, constantly, up and down, throughout the whole cruise)! It was funny running into them every time, the first couple of times, after that – it was just annoying. Bop and the kids nicknamed them “the Elevator boys”.
Monday – First Port Day at Half Moon Cays; A perfect day although a little, hot on Beautiful Beach. The food was “ehhh” but free. Later that day, getting back on the ship that afternoon, Mema got ‘stopped’ going through security. They told her to back up through the scanner, so she could walk through it again, but they didn’t explain it good, and when she backed up, she backed up right into the walk through scanner and held her hands up - Kayna now does a hilarious impression of “the Mema Look” while going through security. I later found out, the same thing happened to Dan while going through security. Back on the ship for dinner (Kelsi ate Froglegs for an Appetizer – that girl will eat anything, once almost! Then some of us went to the newly/oldie wed game. The teacher and her husband from Roberts Elementary was chosen to be a contestant. Kids went to Camp Carnival for a while, made Sand and Spin Art. Then out to the pool and hot tubs for a late night swim, and the girls and I played Ping Pong.
Tuesday – 2nd Port Day – our destination: Sheraton Nassau Resort – We had 2 day rooms reserved and Dan and Genie got day passes. The beach, all non-motorized water toys, and pools (5) were ours for the day. Our room was spacious and beautiful, and provided a nice place for Mema to just relax out of the sun and watch a little TV in peace and quiet for the day. This day, while very nice turned into a comedy of errors and not exactly idyllic. Let’s see – a quick run-down of the day’s events include:
Walking from the ship toward the Straw Market: we passed The Carnival Sensation, also in port that day, and Seth spotted Susan, Randy, Traci, and Caylee (not sure who else) up on the top deck of their ship. We waved to them and Dennis tried to take a zoom picture, but the humidity was too high after getting off of a chilly ship. At least we checked in with one another in this small way.
We walked through the Straw Market to the back street and business district to catch the Jitney (local) Bus # 10 to Cable Beach and the Sheraton. A nice uneventful 15 minute drive, and got dropped off right across the street from the Sheraton.
Beach toys consisted of Paddle boats (broken), Kayaks, snorkel gear, Water Trampoline (broken), Water Trike (broken), and Sailboat (broken). So a little disappointing, but we still had fun on the kayaks and snorkeling. Kayna and I did pretty well kayaking considering that I don’t paddle well (usually go round and round in circles) and Kayna had NEVER paddled. Later on, while I played in the pools with Christian, Kayna and Seth went out in the Kayak. Kristi and Kelsi Kayaked alongside Dan and Genie. Of course, I have to say that Seth and Dan got us all started for the day with Kayaking together – yes, in the same little shell of a boat, WITHOUT tipping it over… Yes, there are still miracles
Trying to get back into the room later that day, we found that our keys quit working and we were all locked out. Fortunately Dennis went to the front desk and had that quickly remedied.
The Wyndam Resort was right next door, and everything I had read on the internet said you could use their facilities, as well, if you were a guest at the Sheraton. So we tried it, however, we were politely asked to leave – a little embarrassing, but a honest mistake – no harm done. I guess they knew we didn’t belong there, because they absolutely had ZERO guest.
Snack time. I had bought several snacks, but somehow only arrived at the Resort with ½ of them – and NOT Dennis’ ½ Ã¯ÂÅ - but we made do. Later that night, I found the other snacks in a suitcase under the bed, back on the cruise ship. Ok – don’t think too badly of me, I’m trying to keep it all together for 11 people on this trip, #alittleoverwhelmed. Dan and Genie decided to split a $16.00 hamburger.
The Pools at the Sheraton were great with waterfalls and one zero entry, perfect for Christian. When I looked at Genie in the pool, I saw this huge ridge across her forehead. Her snorkel mask was a little tight!!
Ok here is the real excursion event for the day: ready? We left the Sheraton about 2:00 p.m. and loaded back up in the Jitney Bus # 10 to take us back to the Straw market. The first 3 minutes was much like the ride earlier this morning. Then things got interesting. I couldn't see it all, because I am short, but I saw looks of horror on family members’ faces, and a hushed shriek from Genie, sitting in front of me. Apparently our driver was weaving in and out and right on top of other cars. Then we started turning on tiny little alley type roads, bouncing up and down as we hit pot holes, and I don’t think the driver ever touched the brakes. We were going down a hill when all of a sudden the driver made a sharp turn onto a side street and I looked up and thought a telephone pole was about to come through the windshield at me (I quickly covered my eyes with both hands)! Finally, we were back – all intact .
We did a little shopping at the Straw Market and then headed back to the ship. The forecast at home before we left had called for Thunderstorms today in Nassau, but again, I prayed for good weather, and it was sunny and HOT!
Entertainment on the ship tonight is the Hasbro Game Show. I liked the way guests were chosen, as Cory, the Cruise Director came deep into the audience to choose participants and not just the front row. Christian stayed with Mema , he was ready to go to bed. Then out to the pool and hot tubs for a late night swim. Mexican Buffet at 11:30 p.m. >mmmmm good.
Wednesday – another ship day. Slides and Swimming, Loved the Deli for lunch – that was where I ate most lunches, Turkey Wrap and Hot Ham and Cheese. Before Dinner, I took Lauryn to the Spa, and then a deck massage (shoulders and neck) for her and Lauryn. Last night on board, dinner was fun and good, and Ayu got a little emotional when telling Christian and our family goodbye. Packing is always NOT fun on the last night, but we got it done and Dennis and I watched the kids while Seth and Kristi went to see Motor City. I stopped by the Coffee bar and got some chocolate covered strawberries to take to our room and then to another station and order two smoothie drinks. The waiter saw that I had strawberries and said, I must take some fresh orange slices too. He gave me two, then counted my strawberries, saw that I had six, and said, “ No, you have six strawberries, you need six oranges; so he loaded me up
Thursday – I accidently packed Kristi’s birth certificates in the suitcases that were sent to the luggage terminal last night, so a bit of a panic, but no problem after I checked with the purser’s desk. Happens all the time, she said, and we pick up our luggage before we have to show them to Immigration, anyway. So, now, time to say goodbye to our home for the week. We had breakfast in the dining room and Ayu and Iwyne happened to be our servers, Ayu was so happy. She made sure we had everything we needed, and filled Christian’s Souvenir cup up with Chocolate Milk before we left. Everyone off the boat, successfully and we are headed home. Less
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There were 5 of us in an Interior Cabin (standard 185 sq ft). My mother-in-law was able to sleep comfortably on the trundle bed at night. We have stayed in interior cabins before so I knew what to expect, and during the day all 5 of us were seldom in the room at the same time. My two older granddaughter's and I showered in the spa/gym area, so room in the small bathroom was not a problem either. Ample closet space for all of us. It is tight, but for the cost and what we needed, I would do it again.