We just returned from a five day cruise on the Carnival Fascination out of Jacksonville, Fl. This was our second cruise but first for our children ages 14 and 15.
Embarkation Day-We arrived at the port around 10:45. There was already a line but the lines moved very quickly. All of the Carnival staff was very friendly and very efficient. We were on the Lido deck by 11:45. The line was much longer as time wore on. They were serving lunch and although it was crowded there was still room to sit inside or out. We were able to get to our rooms promptly at 1:30.
Cabin-We were in an inside cabin on the main deck. It had two upper bunks and two twins pushed together. I will admit it was very tight with the bunks down but that was just for sleeping and so as soon as the kids got up we put the beds up and didn't take them down till we were ready for bed. The cabin stewards are happy to do this for you we just preferred to do it ourselves. Because we spent so little time in the room it was not a big deal. I was concerned about storage but there was more than enough. We each had a shelf in one closet, we had plenty of space to hang clothes in the closet and the third closet we kept extra shoes and snorkel gear. There are drawers in the desk and again we each used one for cosmetics/personal care items etc. We also used the top of the desk for blow dryer and flat iron. The bathroom is small but adequate.
Kids Clubs-My son is 15 and went to Club 02. My daughter is 14 and went to Circle C. They both were a little reluctant to go but we told them they had to go the first night for one hour and then make a decision. The first night they didn't return for well over two hours. My son is kind of reserved while my daughter is very outgoing. They both met tons of kids just as reserved and just as outgoing as they are. During the day they hung out with kids they met and in the evening participated in some events or hung out with the kids they had met. They were never bored and enjoyed meeting kids from all over. My daughter ate dinner with her "club friends" three of the nights. I would highly recommend kids going the first night to the meet and greet and then decide if it's something you want to do.
Food-We are not picky eaters so bear that in mind! There is food for every taste and plenty of it. We are not dining room folks when we are on vacation so we mostly got dinner at the Coconut Grove and ate out on the Lido deck. There is plenty of variety every meal in every restaurant. Just a note...many of the entrees offered in the main dining room are also offered in the Coconut Grove and we could eat in our shorts and t-shirts out on the deck which we loved doing. We are not room service folks but did have coffee and juice delivered one morning. You fill out a card the night before and they deliver it in the morning.
Half Moon Cay-Beautiful is the first word that comes to mind. You can be where all the action is or walk down a little bit and have your own slice of heaven on earth. Rent a clam shell as soon as possible as they sell out quickly. There is shade in some areas. There are tons of chairs and plenty of sand! The buffet is burgers/hot dogs and some side salads. Kind of a beach cook out. We also rented the water bike by the hour.
Bahamas-It was gray/cloudy/sprinkles the day we were there so we changed our plans. We were going to do a Sheraton Beach Day and instead did a walking tour. We did the tour on our own and it was very easy to find everything. With the exception of the Pirate Museum everything was very inexpensive or free to get into. The Pirate Museum was $8.00 pp but kids and husband loved it.
Debarkation Day-This was super easy and efficient. We did the relaxed debarkation and were assigned a late group and requested an earlier time with no problems. No lines and off the ship in 10 minutes.
Behind the Fun Tour-This is a tour of the ship. I would reccomend it for those who like that kind of thing. You get to see areas of the ship that are off limits to the guests. It's a little over two hours and my husband and son loved it. it's $55.00 pp and sells out becuase they only allow 18 folks on the tour. Book it as soon as you get on board at the excursion desk.
There were 2600 plus on the ship with over 1000 under 18. They told us this over the announcements! The days at sea the Lido was crowded but there are plenty of places to find peace and quiet just look for them. There were no rude teens or drunk adults. There was some noise in the hallways at night but no worse than hotels where there are 1000 kids! I love Carnival and plan to cruise again next year.