This was cruise #24 for us and we did the 4 day New Year's Eve cruise to Freeport and Nassau leaving Jacksonville on December30th. The point of this cruise was for me to have a relaxing 60th birthday on December 31st and I certainly did. DH did too.
Jacksonville is less than 3 hours away for us and the easiest of ports from which to sail. We drove to the port the morning of the 30th and were whisked through VIP check, obligatory photo op and had champagne in hand well before noon.
Having sailed Celebrity Solstice over Thanksgiving we were interested to make some comparisons. While Fascination is an older ship and in no way as elegant as the Solstice, it is in very good condition with no problems that we saw.
Although we prefer a balcony, because this was a last minute booking we ended up with OV and it was centrally located on Empress deck. Very convenient for everything.
We had any time dining which worked well for us as we eat early rather than late. We always walked straight in. The first night our wait staff was so good that we asked to be seated in their area every night. Juan Pablo [head waiter] was great and Olga [his assistant] was fantastic. One of the best we have ever had.
Making some comparisons between the Solstice and Fascination: [our opinion only]
Better looking ship - Solstice
Better DEcor - Solstice
Better Menu Choices - Fascination
Better Food in general - Fascination
Better Service wait staff - Fascination [by far!!]
Better Room Steward - Fascination
Better Production Shows - Fascination
Better Singers - Fascination
Better Dancers - Fascination [by far]
Better Costumes/Choreography - Fascination [I used to teach theatre so I notice]
Better Secondary Entertainment - Solstice
Better Captain's/past guest party - Solstice
Friendlier staff - Fascination
Activities - about the same number of offerings, just different types.
We have been to Freeport before and relaxed onboard but in Nassau I went to buy perfume from my favorite store and discovered a parade instead. We stood chatting to locals and enjoying the spectacle. I never did get to buy perfume. I'll have to do that in March on the next cruise.
The aim of this cruise was relaxation and we achieved that. Despite it being a NYE cruise, it so not too loud or rowdy and we did not see any problems. We purchased some more cruise credit certificates for future cruises so we obviously enjoyed ourselves.
There is only one complaint I have and we did not discover that until we got home. My daughter had ordered a surprise for my birthday. She had ordered the cabin to be decorated, a birthday memory book and chocolate covered strawberries. When she asked if I was surprised I did not know what she was talking about as I had received nothing! She was horrified and after checking with the Bon Voyage Department, she was eventually told that, "We did not have any of those things on the ship, so the order was cancelled." Her credit card had been charged and she had not received a call to let her know that there was a problem and offer an alternative. Likewise no-one on board contacted me to say that something had been ordered and offer me an alternative either. I refuse to believe that Carnival did not have something on the ship they could have offered and I know I saw strawberries! Her credit card has been refunded now, but there has been no letter of apology either to her or to me which seems to me to be poor guest service.
The really bad thing about the cruise is that as I am a scrapbook fanatic I had gathered together some great materials plus a big selection of formal pictures, and about 400 of my own photos to make a special scrapbook for my birthday but last Monday our house burned down and all my tangible memories of the cruise are lost. Oh well, guess we'll just have to look forward to the next cruise and more memories.