This was our third cruise on the Fascination and second in six months. Our past experience had been very positive so we were looking forward to another trip on a ship we were very familiar with. It was a disappointment from the time before we boarded. Two days prior to departure (1/25-1/30) we received an e-mail telling us the ship would not board until 1PM so don't arrive early. We got to the park and cruise location we use in JAX at 1245 and were taken to the port a little after 1. When we arrived the port was not open even for parking and cars were being turned away. We waited till 2:30 to even get into the port area and stood in the security line till nearly 4PM. We went right to the check in and on to the ship but they should have done a better job of at least letting people into the terminal instead of having to go to a convenience store and Wendy's.
The people at Guest Services acted put out when I showed up to ask a question and really didn't respond to my inquiry. We normally don't eat in the dining rooms so are use to the buffet and have always enjoyed it. This time the food was poor and in some cases cold. In the morning the coffee pots were empty a lot of the times and when I told a person they acted like it wasn't their job. I looked for someone who appeared to be a supervisor but found none. We always enjoy the Deli and this time was no different. I do eat a lot of cheese and after getting our sandwiches I would go by the salad bar to add some cheese and more often than not found it empty.
Our cabin attendant spoke to me when we got there only to ask if everything was alright. That was the only conversation we had. He never put ice in the room the entire time. On the last night he didn't provide luggage tags or customs forms in the room. I went to guest services and they weren't happy that I asked them for it. Our room was clean but not much else.
Service in the lido deck area outside was hit and miss as far as bar service. As far as cleaning up the tables, it was totally miss! Bar service at the Stars Bar was excellent but even the lady we knew from the last cruise seemed unhappy with things though she did a great job. My favorite location to hang out in the evening has always been the Stars Bar because of all the great evening entertainment. This time there was one group that was fantastic but played only one full evening and a couple of hours of another. The rest of the time it was a single guitar player who sang. One of them couldn't even remember the words to songs but it could have been because he had been drinking all the beers being sent him rather than say no thanks.
The DJ on the Lido deck must have a brother in the hearing aid business. As you can imagine given the fact we were cruising in January it was an older bunch of people. The DJ cranked up the volume so much you couldn't talk to the people next to you and he insisted on playing rap and hip hop music with a heavy bass element. Like a lot of other older people I have tinnitus so after the time on there my ears are still ringing! I did bring ear plugs but you can't talk to people with them in!
Our departure was yet another disaster after being stuck on the steps between the 4th and 3rd floor for nearly a half hour. If they aren't ready for people they shouldn't call their numbers! On Celebrity out of Miami I was in my car headed home by 8AM even though I did not carry my own luggage. This time we finally got off a little after 1030!
We cruise quite a bit and will continue to do so. We live less than 2 hours from Jacksonville so this ship has been quite convenient. Even so this will be our last cruise on it unless there is some significant change being shown by those who follow us. Driving to the other Florida ports appears to be the best way to insure our experience the next time on Carnival is more enjoyable. But of course Celebrity is certainly worth a few bucks more!