This was my husband and my second time on the Fascination and we are looking forward to going back on her again!:) Went this time with my Weight Watcher Posting Board Group and had an absolute blast! Ok, step by step review:
Embarkation: We highly recommend completing the new Fun Pass Quick Check In Online at Carnival.com!! There is a special Fun Pass line at the Miami cruise ship terminal and there was hardly any waiting in line once we got there!! We arrived around 11 a.m., zipped through security and the Fun Pass line, sat in lounge type waiting area with some of our fellow cruisers and were on board the ship a little after Noon! Though we were told the cabins would not be available until 1 p.m., we found out that they were all pretty much available when we boarded! Dropped our stuff off and headed to Lido deck for lunch!:)
Cabin: First time on her, back in 2001, we were on the Riviera deck. This time we were on the Empress deck. Wonderful for getting on and off the ship in Miami!! Straight shot! Cabin looked great and our cabin stewardess was wonderful! Cabin was always kept clean and she would stop by and check to see if there was anything at all that we needed!
Food: We were in the Imagination Formal Dining room for main seating and we found the food there to be excellent! Wait staff were all fabulous and very friendly! Lido deck buffet was great! Everything from cheeseburgers and french fries, to carved roast turkey and trimmings! 24 hour pizzeria was great and I declared myself to be the Official Frozen Yogurt Taster that week! LOL:)
Entertainment: While the main nightly stage shows were wonderful, they were also very familiar to us. Same Broadway and Hollywood shows they had on her back in 2001, so they could probably stand some updating by now:) Dance lessons, bingo and trivia games were all fun to take part in and you can never beat the Lido deck for just some fun in the sun time! Although deck chairs were very hard to come by!
Ports Of Call:
Key West: Was our first time there and we loved it! We decided against a set shore tour and chose instead to just walk around the town and explore it on our own. Did not feel like the usual over crowded tourist town at all! Found some great buys there, especially at Kino Sandals, where I bought myself a pair of leather sandals for only ten bucks! Tortuga Rum Cake Company was another favorite stop of ours! Had stopped at one last year, in Grand Cayman, so was happy to find one in Key West too! Ate lunch at Two Friends Patio Restaurant and enjoyed it a lot! Excellent grilled fish served with rice pilaf and the key lime pie left me wanting a lot more of it! LOL:) I do admit to taking pictures of the chickens running loose everywhere, as well as the cats! My husband found that to be funny, being we have three cats of our own at home!:)
Cozumel: This was our third time there and we loved it just as much as we did our very first time! Again we skipped the shore tours and just took off with two friends in a taxi. Went downtown to do some shopping and got some great buys on a tablecloth, hammock, and clothes! Del Sol, the color changing item store, is one of our very favorite places to go! Shirt designs are black and white until you get in to the sunshine. Then they come alive with colors!! Ate lunch at Panchos Back Yard Grill, a favorite place of ours! Excellent food and wonderful atmosphere!:)
When we were all done shopping we asked a taxi driver to recommend a beach for us and he told us about Playa San Francisco! Took the taxi there (cost about 14. dollars one way for four people) and fell in love with that beach! Hardly anyone on it! Gorgeous crystal blue water! Massages on the beach! Restaurant, vendors and rest rooms on site! Even a bar with swings as its seats! Left there a few hours later, tired, cooled off from the water, and ready to go back to the ship:) Taxi back also cost 14. dollars. That's back to Port Maya, where our ship was docked. Ok, we tendered in to Cozumel when we first got there but, after the Glory left at 4:30 p.m., the Fascination then docked so we just walked back on to the ship that night.
Debarkation: We chose to carry all of our own luggage off the ship and, by doing so, we were off the ship between 8:30 a.m. - 9 a.m. We recommend this, as there were no lines to struggle with and no luggage to find in the terminal later:)
Pros: Great ship, friendly crew, good food, good ports of call, very reasonable prices!
Cons: Only one and that is that the Diamonds Are Forever Disco was closed to adults most of the time as it was being used for the Camp Carnival Kids activities. Don't mind that so much but, when you head down to the disco at 9 p.m. with some friends, only to find the disco is closed off, again and again, for the use of 6 kids, that tends to become annoying. It finally opened up for the adults one night around 10 p.m. but, by then, we were ready to go relax back in our cabin and plans our next days activities.
Booking: While I originally booked this group cruise for all of us through Carnival, we turned the cruise over to a local travel agent near the end, so she could accept final payments and mail everyone's tickets out to them. Next time, we'd go directly through this TA to avoid any problems in the beginning:)