Carnival Fascination Cruise Review by JCMALLARD1: Pleasantly Suprised
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Second cruise on Carnival. First out of Jacksonville. Smaller older ship, but overall in great shape with very little complaints on the boat. Monday 5 night cruise with a stop in Key West, then another stop in Nassau. Boarding was very fast. We were on the boat in less than 20 minutes with our port arrival around 11:45. Ship is older with a 90's feel in decor, but was very well kept and spotless.
Ship went to dry dock and was upgraded to have the water slides at the back and fake palm trees around the Lido deck pool. Pool was very small overall, but in a first was never shut down for "cleaning" after an accident. Did resemble a people stew with all the people in it on the second sea day, but was overall a nice area to sit and listen to music and catch some rays. Chairs were available each of the days, but best to get one early and work on your tan. Water slides were fun even for the adults. Great way to cool off.
We had a cabin on Riviera Deck, which is Deck More 4 on the ship. R200 outside view. Cabin was on par with other lines as to space and layout. Bring power cord since only one outlet in the main room. Also bring your own hair dryer. Hate the older style shower with shower curtain instead of door, but shower curtain clips solved the curtain billowing up and touching me- YUCK! Cabin was right near the Aft elevators which were a straight shot up to the Lido deck, as well as Promenade deck so had easy access to shops, clubs and the casino. Little ship movement was felt except for the first night when we hit the remnants on the tropical depression near Jacksonville. Was some noise as crew area across the hall, but overall was an OK location.
Sea Day was Day 2, with pool time, Casino, etc.. Day 3 was Key West. Shopped and went to Sloppy Joe's, then returned to the ship for more pool time. Very hot in Key West, but hey it is July! Recommend for folks who have not done Key West to take the Old Town Trolley Tour- walk up and purchase tickets- or book a snorkel trip, as the Keys offer some of the best snorkeling in the world. Part folks have plenty of bar options and shopping for trinkets is abundant.
Day 4 was Nassau. Had just returned from a trip where we did Atlantis with kids so if this is outside of your price range (as it was for us this trip) then we headed to the Hilton by Senor Frogs and purchased a day pass. For $55 we got usage of loungers, the beach, beach towels and a $30 credit for food and drink. To me this was well worth it as we did NOT have to fight off hawkers at the beach and could just enjoy the beach and the water. Small pool is also on-site by the bar. Snorkeling led me to find no real fish, but some liquor bottles... Was fun exercise though. Can also use their kayak, but make sure you sit in the middle as it will throw you off..Ha, ha! Did save my drink from the sea, but ended up with a nasty bruise. Of course right by the market so you can do a quick lap of the shops. If you like high end shopping head to John Bull's. Have great jewelry to ogle.
Day 5 was another Sea Day. Again get there early if you want a chair. Encountered some overcast skies so headed in for Bingo and final meals.
Food was good. No real complaints. We did the Your Time Dining so could walk up and never really had to wait. Did encounter slow service on a couple of nights which was concerning. Could tell the staff was stretched a little thin, but they were always professional. Remember each adult can bring on one bottle of wine, which we used as our pre dinner cocktail. Can also bring on a 12 pack of soda or water per person. Must be brought in carry one. There is a Sushi Bar on the Promenade Deck if that is your thing.
Shopping on cruise was diverse. Entertainment was so-so. Main shows were good- 80's themed show was good and Mambo show was also. Some of the other Games and shows were a little dorky, like Liars Club and a rip off of Minute to Win It. Bands were pretty good, and the comedy had more shows with OK comics. Hennie was the Cruise Director and he was pretty good when he was around. Island Girl rocks and is knows how to get folks off a boat in port without letting line breakers in- go Island Girl!!! Casino actually paid off this time for us which was a real first.
Disembarking was painless. We did the self carry option and were the first folks off the boat. Went through a cursory custom look see and were out of there in 5 minutes.
Again fairly enjoyable experience if you go into it with proper expectations. Smaller, older boat with fairly low price for peak cruise season and a 5 night cruise to boot. Will not be the Ritz, but will definitely be great value for the money. Only real complaint is the bar stewards around the pool will hound you to death asking if you want a drink. We joked you could be two fisting it and have two buckets full of full beers beside you and they would still asked if you needed a drink. Was the only real annoying thing the whole cruise Less
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