We are a family of 4 and invited my parents to join us on the cruise. My parents had been on a couple cruises years ago but this was a first time cruise for my husband and I and the kids. I have a 10 year old and 14 year old.
We boarded at Jacksonville (selecting this port since it is only an hour from my mother's house). We had two ports - Key West and Nassau.
We went through a TA to make our reservation as we thought they could give us a good deal and information. We are finding that it was a mistake - they did not know how to book the reservation or make sure our cabins were satisfactory.
My father is handicapped and we were told that my mother's stateroom would be able to handle his handicap and have a couch for him to sit on. That was not the case at all. My mother and father where put in one of the worst staterooms (U237) on the ship. It was very difficult for my mother to help my father into the bathroom. The room was noisy, the TV was not clear. This was a very subpar room.
We also wanted our staterooms to be near each other - I was assigned M106 - different deck, different location. This was no way to start a vacation.
While on the Fascination we found the following items as issues:
- On the Carnival website it states "Due to safety considerations, wheelchairs and scooters cannot be stored in the corridors." When we spoke to the Customer Service people on board about our room they stated that we could put our wheelchair outside our room - it would be no problem. If we had known this we would have brought our electric wheelchair instead of our manual one. - There was 1 small pool for the entire ship - there was never any room to swim or enjoy the area around the pool. The pool also closed by 8PM - we could not do any night swimming that my kids enjoy. They called it "resort style pool' - I think not.
- There were 2 ice cream machines next to each other for the entire ship and one was broken some of the time. The ice cream was always too soft - it would melt before you could eat it.
- There were no late night snacks like pretzels, popcorn. You could only get pizza at night - who wants pizza every night? - There was only one place to get our free drinks - why doesn't every bar offer iced tea, lemonade and coffee?
- They allowed guests to smoke on their balconies - so our balcony would smell like smoke if the guests next to us were out on their balcony.
- They had photographers all over the ship but the photos cost $22 for one 8x10 - I feel that is too expensive.
- At times the ships bathrooms were not cleaned and had a horrible odor. The doors were not always easy to get open.
- At Nassau my parents went on a tour while we went snorkeling. The tour was listed as Handicap - this was not the case. The people were very rude and made my mom push my father's wheelchair to the van over rough roads on the other side of the pier - not handicap friendly at all. (My mother was also nursing a broken wrist).
On the good side:
- The sit down dinners were very good. Service was excellent; food selection very good.
- We enjoyed the nightly shows - although you need to make sure to get there 30 - 45 minutes ahead of time to get a good seat.
- They cleaned our room twice a day and gave us fresh towels which was very nice.
- The kids loved the towel animals and went to the seminar to learn how to make them.
- In Key West the Glass Bottom Boat was very nice - the kids enjoyed the boat ride very much.
- My 10 year old enjoyed herself very much and met a friend on the cruise. They enjoyed the "water park" and camp carnival activities.
I am not sure we will ever do another cruise - if we do it would definitely not be Carnival. In the future I will also handle all the reservations myself - the TA should have been more helpful.