Carnival Fascination Cruise Review by Synthetic: Fascination - A quick cruise for the weekend
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Fascination - A quick cruise for the weekend
This was my 3rd time aboard the Fascination (first since it had dry dock renovations) and overall I will say it was as expected... Oh - FYI, I traveled alone this cruise.
Friday (Embarkation): Nonstop Northwest Airlines Flight from Memphis to Miami then a taxi from MIA to the port. Unfortunately my cellphone must have fell out of my briefcase in the taxi because it is missing in action. The line for embarkation was rather short (I arrived at 1:30-ish) so it went quickly and 15 minutes later I was onboard. I headed straight to the cabin (1A - even though I am Platinum with Carnival and booked a 1A GUAR, I still received a 1A. First time that has happened... I usually get upgraded significantly). My only real complaint (Since I was traveling alone) wasn't the cabin, but the fact that the service on the Riviera deck PALES in comparison to the other decks. I called for my room steward 4 times in the first day to no avail (I am diabetic and need ice to keep my insulin cold. I More made this clear to the person answering the room steward number but still had to go to the pursers desk to get resolution). Unpacked and headed to the Lido bar for those first few cocktails. This cruise I selected 8:00pm seating for dinner, as the Karaoke starts at 9:00pm and I love to sing. I made a few friends at the Lido bar (as is customary on a 3-day cruise) then went back to the room to check for my baggage (and it was there). Shower and change for dinner. Carnival usually does a great job of pairing tables and this was no disappointment. As a single man, I was at a table with 5 single women and 5 single men (although I was the youngest of the bunch, I guess someone has to be). Dinner the first night was very good. The service was excellent (usually Carnival short cruises are lacking in service but this time was a nice exception). Of course we had the Warm Melting Chocolate Cake for dessert. Karaoke at 9:30 or so was alot of fun. Cecilia was the hostess for Karaoke and she was really good (although their song selections are TERRIBLE! Good thing I brought along my own CDG discs). We hit the "Diamonds are Forever" Disco after Karaoke and danced (and drank) until 4:00am or so then off to the 24 hour Pizzeria.
Saturday (Nassau): Slept in until 11:00am (had to rest up for the days activities). I pre-booked my FAVORITE shore excursion - the Yellowbird Party Boat. I have done this excursion countless times in the past and it is always a blast. 200-300 people on a 3-deck catamaran with flowing complimentary rum punch. What is nice about this cruise is you are mixed in with people from other ships (a shout out to the amorous girl I met from North Carolina... I still have the shell marks). You sail for an hour of drinking then spend another hour or so on the beach then the party on the way back is ALWAYS a blast. They have a live calypso band and a DJ (even though the DJ needs new discs - his skipped alot that day). We were quite a bit 'toasted' by the time we got back to port, but headed to Senor Frogs regardless (another tradition). It was alot of fun... If for no other reason than simply people-watching. The balloon clown there is amazing! Back to the ship to prepare for formal night (I don't prefer formal nights on a full port day - I much rather they be on a day-at-sea). I hung my tux in the bathroom while I showered (a business traveler's trick I learned a long time ago - no wrinkles) and went to dinner... excellent meal (Beef Wellington that night was superb. A difficult task when cooking for so many people.) I was impressed with the wine list on the ship this time. They had some excellent choices (and very eclectic selection) Kudos to the person who selected the wines. Karaoke that night also then the club again. In bed by 4:30am.
Sunday (day at sea): Up at about noon (thanks Yellowbird) then to the Lido deck for some lunch. Not bad buffet selections this cruise. Typical day-at-sea with the men's hairy chest contest, survivor, etc. More drinking ensued and people were REALLY loosening up at the Lido Pool Bar (a couple of ladies had difficulties keeping their shirts on... this was a bit concerning since there were children at the pool.) Dinner that night was chateaubriand (surprisingly sizeable and very tasty!!!) paired with a GREAT Pinot Noir... again kudos to the wine list. Cheesecake was TERRIBLE! It tasted like a cheap, dried poundcake so we reordered the Warm Melting Chocolate Cake... YUMMY! To Karaoke once again then again to the Disco until 3:00am. I self-carry my bags off so I don't have to worry and clothes for the next day, etc. Pizza at 3:15 then bed.
Monday (Debarkation): knock at my cabin door at 7:45am (finally saw my cabin steward as he gave me my wake-up and told me to pack up and head to a 'waiting area' upstairs. Yeah, that's gonna happen... NOT! I took my time, packed, showered, then carried my bags off the ship. Short line to customs and outside. Met be a shuttle seller who said $10 to MIA airport. We waited for the shuttle to fill up then off... I recommend this option, as a cab will cost you $24. Arrived at MIA at 9:30am or so... Went straight to the NWA ticket counter to request an earlier flight (Mine was 4:00pm). I knew not to expect any luck (they call it "Cruise Monday" and all earlier flights are oversold) no luck, of course. Paid the $9.95 for the MIA WI-FI access and got some emails done. Flight from MIA-MEM uneventful (a full flight but I always get a first class upgrade so that didn't matter to me. NWA has one of the best Platinum programs in the business).
Overall a great getaways 3-day cruise.
PROS: Service on this ship was excellent. Weather was surprisingly awesome for this time of year - about 10 degrees warmer than normal...
CONS: Due to my low-budget deck, the attention of the hotel staff was non-existent until I went to the purser. Additionally, I know I only paid for a 1A but I am Platinum (and the ship wasn't sold out 2 months ago when they LOCKED IN my R-deck cabin). I cruise your lines for a reason Carnival - upgrade your frequent cruisers... Less
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