Some background....my husband and I just started cruising in Feb '06 and these 3 B2B cruises on the Fascination brought our total so far to 10 cruises (We've been on 3 Celebrity ships, NCL Spirit and the Legend 3 times. We picked the 3 B2B cruises to help us on our way to Platinum status an, since we have to fly down from Vermont, we like to cruise as many days as possible.
We flew into Ft Lauderdale the morning of the cruise and took the Express shuttle from the airport to the cruise port for $18 pp (about a 45 minute ride).
Embarkation was fairly quick and we were up on the Lido deck eating lunch in no time.
Our cabin was way forward right by the elevators (no noise from the elevators). The new bedding, carpeting, flat screen TV, etc made the cabin very comfortable. Our room steward was Sunny and she was exceptional! Always pleasant and helpful..the best one we've ever had! A note about cabin location though...our cabin was the one directly above the gangplank you get off when you get into the ports. At 5 or 6 in the a.m when they drop the gangplank it sounds as though the ship has been torpedoed!.....and that's no exaggeration!
The ship is kept clean and workers were always painting and wiping things down. I never would have guessed the age of the ship from the look of things!
Of the 11 nights we were onboard, we probably ate dinner in the dining room 5 or 6 times. Our waitress was Leysa and both she and the assistant waiter were exceptional. The first night I mentioned that my husband hated sitting through the 2 hour dinners. From that point on we were in and out of there in 45 minutes. The lobster tail was good but I especially liked the grilled shrimp that came with it. On the last formal night I requested just a plate of the shrimp...yum! I also tried the sirloin a couple nights (1 night very good, the other night kind of tough). For the most part, we really enjoyed the meals.
The pizza was good and we seemed to stop there about every night for a late night snack. Of note in the lunch buffet was the turkey and baked ham...very good! Be sure you check out both sides of the buffet as they served up different items.
I spent way too much time donating money in the casino but ended up with some nice perks for accumulating points on my Ocean Players card. It doesn't cost anything to join and there are some nice benefits (we received 2 tote bags full of goodies, $50 & $75 casino credits and free drinks a couple nights).
Music Asia band was good and played in the Passage to India bar. Also enjoyed the band that played out on the Lido deck.
We didn't take any ship excursions. In Key west we just walked around. In Cozumel we shopped and then took a great horse and buggy tour. Be sure to haggle with the driver to get the best price and be sure to tip him. In Nassau we shopped, took another horse and buggy ride and then took a cab to Atlantis ($4 pp each way). We walked all around Atlantis and saw the huge aquarium that took up several walls inside. There was a monstrous Manta Ray with a 14' wing span that swam right up to the windows. Atlantis is a definite "must do" when in Nassau! In Calica we took a cab with another couple to Playa del Carmen where the shopping is on one side and the beach on the other. It was $10 for the cab so only $5 per couple each way.
I never had a problem finding a deck chair by the pool but my favorite spot was the deck above the Lido....plenty of lounge chairs, a pool and a hot tub and cooler than on the Lido deck. There's also a basketball court on that deck.
The fitness center is amazing and offers quite alot of machines. I also enjoyed the jogging track on the top deck. I don't know what material they used on the track but it's nice and spongy.
Overall this was a fantastic cruise! We met some nice people and the service and food, for the most part, was great! My only complaint was the drinking water. It smelled and tasted like swamp water to me. I solved the problem by having my cabin steward fill one of those large white plastic ice buckets and using the melting ice for drinking water (they must double filter the water for the ice).
I'd recommend the Fascination to anyone. We found the 3 day cruise was quite a bit more boisterous than the two 4 day cruises but we could always find someplace quieter if the mood struck us.