Just returned from our third trip on the Fascination out of Jax! Here's the Scoop! First getting to the port is a breeze! We're only 2hours away and coming in from the west, we get off of I-10 to I-295 North and it takes you straight to the port. We arrived about 12:00 and was on-board by 12:30. Very efficient! IT WAS COLD and WINDY! Froze our Butts Off, taking pictures while going under the Bridge! But at least I was "Cruisin'"! It had been a year since we were on the Fascination, so I went to check out the renovations. The ship was in Great Shape, very clean. They've added the waterslides and the Serenity Deck. Both were very nice even though it would be 2 days before it would be warm enough to enjoy them! We had a PT cabin on the Upper, 6th, deck I met our room stewards, Elgy and Ara, they were the best we have ever had! Carnival now uses a steward and assistant working in tandem instead of them splitting the duties, this seems to speed up the service a lot! The crew on the Fascination was the best I've had! They all spoke and the ones that I met always called me by name. Latter when I took the "Behind the Fun Tour", which I really enjoyed, our guide, Sophia, told us that in training, Carnival is pushing their "Share-a-Smile" and "Know Their Names" programs. It seems to be Working! The only change that I'm not sure about is the Mongolian Wok. This is where you choose noodles, meat ,and veggies and they cook you a stir-fry. The food was very good but the drawback is that the line is usually long and slow and since CCL used half of the poolside grill for the wok, the hamburger side of the grill also gets a longer line!
We used the "Any Time" dining and liked it a lot. Me and Honey Bun, got our own table but were close enough to another couple to visit. The first night we had a nice young couple from Ohio and the second night we were next to a retired couple from Indiana that was on the second leg of a back-to-back-to-back cruise! I was Very Envious! Our waitress, Dao, assistant Hadji and our bar girl, Jasmine were just Outstanding! They all would visit with us and wherever we saw them on board they would call us by name! The Maitre-D was also very friendly and would often stop by our table to check on us. The food was very Good, the hot stuff, Hot and the cold stuff Cold!
The shows and the entertainment were very enjoyable! This was our third time seeing them as they rotate the dancers but not the shows. Far From Over, [eighties music] is one of my favorites. I didn't like the "comedians" very much, not into crude, I guess! Had a Blast doing Karaoke. All cruise long, people would recognize me, even on shore! It was a Hoot!
This was our first trip to Freeport. It was very windy and they had trouble parking the ship! They had to use tugboats. I got some really neat pictures through the port holes in our cabin that showed how close we were to the Pride while they were turning the ship around! I had tried to book the Seaworld Explorer with snorkeling, a few weeks ago and the man advised me to not book it and just show up. The tour was at 1:30 and since we were not supposed to dock until 12:00, he said if we arrived late we might not make it. This was very nice of him because we were late and it was still pretty cool. Maybe next time! We went to Port Lucaya and did some shopping. Had a good time all though their straw market vendors are even more "Pushy" than Nassau's! When we returned to the ship, we enjoyed the shopping there just as much as downtown. If the weather had been good, I think I would have enjoyed Freeport.
Nassua was Nassua! The weather was beautiful! When we arrived at 8:00 we were the third ship there, and by lunch time there were 6 ships! Way to Crowded for comfort! When it started getting really crowded we took our "Treasures" back to the ship. It was kinda cool seeing all the different ships there. There was another Carnival ship, The Imagination, RCCL Monarch of the Sea, MSC Poisea, HAL Noordham, and NCL Sky. So we spent a few hundred in the jewelry shops and spent some time on board. This was the only time on our cruise that I felt like they didn't have enough for the guests to do. Mid afternoon after the lunch buffets closed to get ready for the evening, it was like they ran out of ideas, so we took a nap!
Fun Day at Sea was just that. We slept late, ate, and generally "Vegged-Out"! It Was Great!
Overall this was a very good cruise! The Fascination is in Great shape and as I mentioned, the crew was absolutely the Best! Even though the weather hampered us from doing all we had planned, we still were very "Busy" having a Great time. Enjoyed the "Behind The Fun" ship's tour, spent some money, ate waaaay to much and really had a wonderful time! When we got back to Jacksonville it was raining, but we were in the car headed home by 9:15 which was pretty good for over 2600 folks! Already planning to be "Fascinated" again in OCT.
Thanks Carnival! Be Blessed! Mikey<><