DH and I left our home near Concord, NC very early in the morning on Saturday and arrived to Jacksonville Port around 10am. We easily parked and rolled our 2 pieces of luggage into the port (we packed light since it was only a 5 day and only the 2 of us). We had Faster to the Fun and since we were already early, we were actually the first ones there with FTTF. Staff forgot to take our pictures when we checked in, but fortunately we overheard someone mentioning it and went to take the pictures before boarding started. They boarded handicap, platinum, suites, then FTTF. Once on board we went straight to our Room E60 which was not only convenient but very clean and plus luggage was already there ready for us (FTTF). Very nice. We would certainly want E60 again, not too noisy, but very close to atrium, elevators, purser's desk, shore excursion desk, bar. Went to Shore Excursion desk immediately to specify which Cabana # we wanted at Half Moon Caye (we had previously booked Cabana but could not specify number ahead of time). We chose #7 which was near restrooms and bar; in hindsight, we should have booked #6 which remained in the shade a good bit of the day due to a big tree.
Food: Very happy to realize that they have the Mushroom/Goat Cheese pizza on this ship! I had sailed the Dream in Spring of 2013 and it was NOT available which was very disappointing. Loved the Wok, of course, it takes SO long and it would be great if they could move people through faster. Loved the Mushroom/Goat Cheese pizza which is located on Lido at the back of the ship. It's right beside the deli (Reuben sandwich is wonderful) which is located right beside a Bar. All 3 of these are indoors and situated in between two TV's showing SportsCenter or a Football game (sailed during Sept/football season). Loved this spot for lunch to cool off, but only wish you could hear the TV a little better; of course, it's vacation and I'm not there JUST to watch Football. Food in dining room was awesome, especially the Lobster this time around. Great Service, a little slow 2 nights but nothing to worry about. We did breakfast in dining room one day b/c DH wanted fresh Eggs Benedict. I on the other hand, would rather grab a quick bite and get on up to the pool area. Fortunately the Lido buffet food was almost just as good for breakfast. In the evenings, they did have a sampler taste station near the Casino one or two nights (where sushi used to be offered). Didn't sample either time and wish sushi was back instead. Did Room Service twice for breakfast and both times, food arrived as ordered and on time by super friendly guys.
Pool area: had no problem finding chairs near pool much to my surprise; it was and older cliental so maybe that was the reason? Loved the DJ sounds and really didn't experience too much chair hogging. At Serenity deck, there seemed to be chairs available too on and off and that was quite comfortable. Hot tubs at main pool seemed filled with kids and I'm surprised the parents let their kids dive and go under water in those. When I wanted hot tub, I just went to serenity area which was adult only. Pool isn't huge, but mostly you could find some room to hang. There were a lot of kids in the pool too and if they would only move a pool to the Kids Waterpark area, I think we could solve some of this issue, but again, it was not really a problem and that's likely because we sailed in the off season when most schools were in session.
My favorite area that I found was at the Kids Waterworks on the back of the ship; plenty of chairs, not crowded, I could get wet with some of the soaker features and go lay back down and read. There is a very nice/clean restroom just around the corner from a Bar. Oh yeah, this was the BEST!
Entertainment: LOVED Selkie! She was performing at different locations at different times so check the Capers! Wonderful voice to listen to and takes requests without greedily asking for tips. Comedy usually isn't my thing and I will say, the comedians this time around weren't all that great. My husband liked one guy, but the other guys was just terrible. Wished I would have checked out Karoake which is always fun and a guy came to our table at dinner with a Magic trick and said he would be performing one night at 11pm (which was too late for me)- he was really really good so I hate I missed his show.
Half Moon Caye: With Cabana rental we had priority tendering which was great. Cabana was well worth it. Loved the blue floats you get that are awesome in the ocean. The lunch they served at the cook out was disappointing but mostly because my burger wasn't cooked all the way. I could have got another one, but chose to eat some other things. Again, no worries, I snacked on Cabana Guacamole and chips, fruit and once back on the ship, could get whatever I wanted anyway.
Nassau: We chose to stay on ship, except for hubby who went to pick up Harley shirt and a few other things.
Summary: After sailing the Dream during Spring Break 2013 I was SO happy with this smaller sized ship. It was just like my maiden voyage on the Fantasy, a great size. Most of the staff was very nice and I would definitely sail Fascination again. Don't miss the past guest party, which for us was on the last night of our sail. I wish it had been another night but I'm sure that's intentional on Carnival's part.
Casino: Played a few slots but I'm very much NOT a gambler. We usually put about 5 dollars in and pull the lever for 10 mins and we're done. Such as waste of time for me who would rather be watch SportsCenter and/or reading by the pool.
Did self debark/Faster to the Fun and was off the ship very quickly that last morning. Faster to the Fun is a must do and Cabanas at Half Moon Caye are a must if you like having ability to sit in the shade in very comfortable chairs.