48 Carnival Fascination Caribbean - Eastern Cruise Reviews

I would have given this cruise a 5, except for the small balcony cabin and water that tasted like swamp water. Since the balcony cabins on the Fascination were apparently just added on to the ship a few years ago, the balcony cabins are ... Read More
I would have given this cruise a 5, except for the small balcony cabin and water that tasted like swamp water. Since the balcony cabins on the Fascination were apparently just added on to the ship a few years ago, the balcony cabins are really just outside cabins and are very small. We took this same cruise 2 years ago on the Valor and had a VERY spacious balcony cabin - it was wonderful. In comparison, the Fascination balcony cabin was tiny - no love seat or sofa, just one small chair. The lack of space for our snorkel gear etc. made the cabin feel very cramped. Our cabin attendant (Rafael) always kept our cabin neat and clean. He was very courteous and we were grateful to have such and excellent cabin attendant. We had an aft facing balcony, and it was fabulous. The balcony was actually big enough to sit on comfortably, and listening to the sea/wake was a very pleasant experience. I have never had bad water on a cruise before this cruise. It tasted and smelled simply awful. Swamp water with dinner was not a good experience. Nor was the water appreciably better in the cafe. Remember to order an ample amount of water ($3.99 for a 12 pack, delivered to your cabin) before you go on the cruise. It is annoying to have to pay for drinkable water on a cruise, but unless they do something about the filtration system on the Fascination, the water is too awful to drink. Since we took this cruise because of the ports, we really didn't do much on the ship and can't comment much on the entertainment. We were up early every morning to get off of the ship and to the beach. Thus, we were too tired in the evenings to stay up and listen to music, see shows, etc. We did see one "family" rated comedy show and it was just average. The buffet in the morning was a nightmare. We usually got to the buffet at around 7:45 a.m. The lines for breakfast were so long that after the first day I gave up and simply grabbed a yogurt and got a cup of coffee. Alas, there were never any spoons at the stations that had yogurt, so I usually ate my yogurt with a fork - not optimal. Nor did they seem to have butter at the station with muffins and pastries - you had to stand in the mile long hot food line for butter. Dinners in the dining room were very average. But, average is better than bad, and I don't cruise on Carnival thinking I am going to be presented with gourmet food, so I was not disappointed with my meals. We ate in the buffet for dinner several times because the pizza at the Pizza Pirate is usually very good. It seems like the tomato sauce was rather garlicy compared to the pizza I've had on other Carnival ships, but the pizza was still good. Our servers in the dining room were very good over-all, and we also had very good service at the pool bar, which is where we ordered most of our drinks. I felt that the prices for the drinks were fair, and the mixed drinks were quite good. The ports were just what we wanted for a Caribbean cruise. Beaches that are easy to get to at not too great a cost via cab or safari bus. On St. Thomas we went to Coki this time. We take turns going to either Coki or Magens Bay. I am a snorkeler, my travel companion is not, and this cruise it was my turn to pick so we went to Coki because the snorkeling is okay. Not great - the only really good snorkeling I've had in the Caribbean was at the Baths on Tortola. There is nothing to see at Magens Bay if you are a snorkeler. On Barbados we took the Carnival ship tour to Harrison's Caves. If you enjoy such things, it was an excellent tour. After that, we'd planned to go to the Boatyard to spend the afternoon swimming, but our dreadful cab driver insisted that the traffice was too heavy for us to go there and he dropped us at Brandon's Beach near the cruise port instead. The beach was nice and chairs/umbrellas were not expensive. However, the beach bar was not great - Wizer's, I think - and the service was poor. St. Lucia was an island tour day. We had a superb tour of the island, marred by the number of stray dogs and cats we saw. It was very disturbing, and next time I am on a cruise that goes to St. Lucia I will probably just stay on the ship as there are no beaches close to the port - in general, St. Lucia is not a beachy island. However, the tour was incredible and St. Lucia is a beautiful island. The highlight for us was the short stop we made a the volcanic mud bath. We could have stayed there all day! On St. Kitts we made our usual trek to the Carambola Beach Club. Not great snorkeling, but a lovely beach with immaculate facilities. We took a snorkel boat tour in the morning on St. Maarten. Not good snorkeling on that island, but it is always fun to take a boat tour with an open bar! Spent the afternoon at Great Bay to swim once more before we had to head back to tundra weather at the end of the cruise. Embarkation was a breeze. We got to the ship between 1:30 & 2:00 and were in our cabin in a jiffy. On the other hand, disembarkation was dreadful. If you have a flight to catch, get off of the ship by 8:00 a.m. After that, the lines are longer than they were at the buffet in the morning and it takes forever to get off the ship. My sister had an 11:30 a.m. flight, so I warned her not to dilly dally and she got off the ship easily at 8:00. I was staying in San Juan after disembarking and was in no rush to get off the ship. My mistake. By the time I tried to disembark at 9:00, it was impossible and I was on the ship until 10:30 until I could get off. However, it only took 20 minutes to get throught the customs line once I collected my luggage. Stayed at the Sheraton Old San Juan both pre and post cruise. A bit pricey, but worth it to simply be able to walk to and from the ship. Great location for seeing and doing things in Old San Juan. The one thing I noticed is that at bars the locals get MUCH better service than the tourists. We were frequenly ignored by the wait staff when we wanted to get a drink in Old San Juan. If you like a lot of ports, then I recommend this cruise from San Juan. It is worth flying to Puerto Rico to get 5 port days on a 7 day cruise. If you are more into the ship experience on the new ships, then skip the Fascination and try something else leaving from Florida. If Carnival was offering this same itinerary on a ship with a normal size balcony cabin (like our last Caribbean cruise with Carnival) from San Juan, I'd sign up right now for another cruise next year. However, the cabin really was too small for us and I don't think I'll sail on the Fascination again. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
We chose these cruises because of the itinerary which was port intensive. We start in San Juan. hit St Thomas, Barbados, St Lucia, St Kitts, St Maarten. We have cruised in and out of San Juan PR before and the onboarding and disembark at ... Read More
We chose these cruises because of the itinerary which was port intensive. We start in San Juan. hit St Thomas, Barbados, St Lucia, St Kitts, St Maarten. We have cruised in and out of San Juan PR before and the onboarding and disembark at this port was very smooth. This was one of the smaller ships we cruised on and found our way around very easily. Meals , entertainment, ports of call, service was as expected on Carnival and very good. We were lucky enough to dine at anytime dining and chose to stay with our great dining staff, Vladimir, Emina(sp), and Hector for the entire back to back cruises. Service was excellent and we were well cared for. St Thomas we chose to visit Coki Beach and were able to get there for a Taxi rate of 15$PP return. Coki has some great clear water, the site of the Coral world attraction. We were given dog biscuits for the fish and they were well trained and came for a freebie meal. Great snorkling on far left at the base of the rock face. Seats were 15$ per pair and the Beach beer bucket of 6 was also 18$ from Christine. We enjoyed Coki so much we returned the second week on lap 2. Barbados proved to be a hit and miss for us. We went by Taxi to Accra beach return 10$PP return. A bucket of 6 Banks were 15$. The beach was clean and well cared for chairs available. When we were there the sea was rough but swimmable. A good choice for a calmer day. We chose to try Holetown the second week and the beach was OK at best. Water was clear and calm but no snorkeling where we were. Banks again were 15$for 6. Chair rentals available. St Lucia Rodney Bay. Taxi fare gauntlet was walked thru and we were able to get 15$PP return. Taxi guys are very aggressive. be ready. We have been to Rodney bay on previous visits and had a very different day on the beach. On this cruise, we positioned on a busy section of the beach near Spinnaker's Bar. Our experience here was not enjoyable, and we should have moved to a quieter section of the beach. We were constantly asked for handouts, beer from the bucket, palm leaf art purchases, Aloe Vera rubdowns and the like. Chair prices were asked for 30$ US a pair which was completely out of the norm. ( See St. Kitts) I actually had to get up and wash Aloe off of my back and shoulders after an application made under protest. When I stood up and said back off a tip was requested for the Aloe used. Rodney bay was a great stop for us earlier and we will go to the far left of the beach away from Spinnaker's next visit. Beach towels on the sand next to the pair of chair we bought (15$ not 30$) were challenged for usage fees as the chair guys could not get money for front row space. Guy sent packing to pack sand... 6 cold Caribs were 15$. for a totally tranquil visit to Rodney bay, try hitting the beach and walking as far left away from hustle as possible. We had a GREAT time on Rodney bay in 2015. St Lucia - Pigeon Island. Much quieter than our Rodney bay experience and a great place to relax. The beach we went to was adjacent to the very posh Sandals resort. Chairs again 15$ a pair with umbrellas. Taxi fare was 18$PP return and Caribs at 15$ for 5 not 6. There was a vendor expat from the UK selling wood fired pizza if you got the nibbles. St Kitts Cockleshell bay. OK take my advice. If you visit St Kitts, go to Loxseen Beach Hut on Cockleshell beach and talk to Debbie. She and her daughter Jamilia will take good care of you. Beach chairs 8$ a pair. Shade free. 6 Cold Caribs by the bucket for 12$. we have been here before and Taxi fare was 16$PP return. Food is available. If you really must connect to wifi, stroll over to the left as you face the ocean and move thru crowds to the restaurant. Wifi is available for free there. We had a great time again at Debbies. St Kitts Carambola beach resort. We went to Carambola Beach resort on lap 1 of the cruises. taxi was 16$PP return 30$ for a pair of beach chairs with umbrella. Bucket of 6 Caribs 15$. Here there is some clear water and great snorkeling on the far right side of the beach beyond the boat dock. walk to a staircase that will get you into the ocean on the outside of the bay. Great clear water and plenty of fish. St Maarten - Dawn Beach. Mr. Busby's beach bar. David's by the Sea. 16$PP return for taxi. We returned to Dawn beach and the 1$ beach beer. Amstel Bright 6 for 6$, 1$ for ice in the bucket. Great food at the restaurant. Beach chairs were 15$ with umbrella. a smallish quiet beach with a few vendors that were genuinely not intrusive. Water was choppy this visit and there is some snorkeling on the left side of the beach at the rock face and beyond the point. Nice clean quiet beach. No wifi though and would be nice if it was added. St Maarten - Mullet bay. 18$PP taxi return. This was a NICE beach. Clean, large, clear water. The beach boat tours anchor here as the beach to visit on the booze cruise excursions. We had some great chicken here from Donna that was perfectly seasoned. Half chicken 4$. Cold Caribs 15$ for 6. Beach chairs from Chester 15$ a pair with umbrella. A genuine great beach day with snorkeling on the left against the rock face. A bonus is when the catamarans pull anchor they will toss you a beer before going. What more can you ask. Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
We chose the cruise because of the itinerary and we wanted to stay on Puerto Rico for a week afterwards. The taxi from the airport to the ship was only $25 for two persons with 4 bags. We had to wait a few extra minutes to get a driver ... Read More
We chose the cruise because of the itinerary and we wanted to stay on Puerto Rico for a week afterwards. The taxi from the airport to the ship was only $25 for two persons with 4 bags. We had to wait a few extra minutes to get a driver that accepted credit cards, but it wasn't that long. We got to the ship around 3pm and check in was quick and smooth. Our room was ready immediately. After dropping off our luggage we got off the ship and went to check out the duty free shops that are on the pier. We got 4 liters of Don Q Gold for only $30! We reboarded to drop off our liquor for storage, then got off again to go into town. We walked around town for a while looking in the shops, but many were closed since it was Sunday. Lots of vendors were open selling food and crafts. We also got to listen to a live band playing music on the plaza. Picked up Don Q Cristal rum - nice and smooth. Our cabin was on the Empress deck right next to the Atrium/bar. This was good and bad. The good part was you are close to a central part of the ship and getting anywhere from there is quick and efficient. The bad is they keep the music pretty loud until around 930-1000pm every night. We got this cabin at the last minute, so it was our only choice. It was a handicap cabin so it is a little roomier than usual. The shower can be a bit of a mess because the water can run everywhere on the floor. Ask staff to provide lots of extra towels for clean up!! The are no refrigerators in most rooms, including this one. Fascination is showing her age. Mostly in the stairways this is really obvious. Carnival really needs to install new carpeting here and in the rooms. We did Anytime dining and it was enjoyable. They are rolling out American Dining menu. It's good, but sometimes it seems a little limited in choices. St Thomas: Took taxi to Coki beach. Since we were the only ship in port, it never got crowded. Good snorkeling. Vendors selling drinks and food. At Sea Day: Went to Serenity adults only area and chilled for most of the day, reading and sipping drinks. Carnival staff did a good job of keeping kids out. Barbados: We walked 15 minutes to Carlisle Bay beach. Very nice! If you like rum, pick up some Cockspur - really smooth and inexpensive. Snorkel with sea turtles here for FREE! St Lucia: Island tour with Serenity Tours. Lots of fun and very enjoyable. Rum choice for here is Chairman's Reserve and we picked it up at the distillery. St Kitts: Rented a car and drove around the island. Black Rock is pretty and Brimstone fortress is very interesting and well preserved. St Maarten: Rented kayaks and went to Pinella Island. Great fun! We had our own chairs and lunch. Because of this we were kicked off the "restaurant's beach." Didn't know the beaches were private, and later on we found out they aren't! Take some bananas to feed the iguanas. San Juan: disembarking was easy and fast. Only did the farewell show; it was pretty good. Cabin service was good; had to keep asking for extra towels each day though. Room service was prompt and on time; coffee was lukewarm a couple of mornings though. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
We chose this cruise since the price was right and we, unlike most cruisers, boarded in Barbados. Most passengers boarded in Puerto Rico so we has a very easy time getting on and off at the end. First the ship; having been spoiled on ... Read More
We chose this cruise since the price was right and we, unlike most cruisers, boarded in Barbados. Most passengers boarded in Puerto Rico so we has a very easy time getting on and off at the end. First the ship; having been spoiled on the Glory and the Splendor, the Fascination did not meet the standard we were used to. The cabin seemed smaller but everything was clean and mostly in order. The lights around the mirror would not stay on and the one of the lights in the bathroom never came on. 4 out of 5 for the cabin. The ship was clean and easy to get around because of the smaller size. The casino was never full and we had lots of fun there. The gym was nice but did not have the forward-looking view of the Glory. Now for the service; here we often disappointed. The dining room was usually slow and the food was never hot. One night we were given pagers (I don not know ships had these!) because the line was so long. The ship appeared to be at maximum capacity and lines were normal. 15 minutes for pizza was not good service. They shows were very full with people sitting on the steps but Carnival made the Halloween night really fun and this made the cruise memorable. This is a busy cruise so if you are marking off the islands, you have six to tick. Some are better than others and I was really pleased to finally see Puerto Rico for the day. Ninety percent of the staff were pleasant and helpful and we did not feel slighted at any time. We met some great people on the ship and we hope to meet them on another Carnival cruise in the future. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
We really wanted to see the islands on this cruise. We arrived in San Juan, PR three days before embarkation. We spent those days walking all over Old San Juan, visiting the forts, touring the Bacardi distillary, and eating local ... Read More
We really wanted to see the islands on this cruise. We arrived in San Juan, PR three days before embarkation. We spent those days walking all over Old San Juan, visiting the forts, touring the Bacardi distillary, and eating local food. It was great! We loved San Juan. Boarding the ship was a little stressful, as, unlike other cruise ports, they kept the gates locked until 11 a.m. People, like us, who had arrived early, were left waiting outside in the sun and the heat. (To offer a comparison, when I sailed out of New Orleans, we arrived at 9 a.m., and our luggage was taken immediately, and we were told where to enter the port building. We waited in line for about 15 minutes in an interior hallway for our passport check, and the rest of our wait was in the air conditioned seating area with a view of the ship.) The area to drop priority luggage is not well marked, and we passed it and had to go back down the exterior sidewalk to leave our luggage. ONce we were inside the building, however, things went very smoothly. We never waited in line anywhere, and had a short, under 15 minute wait, to board the ship. The Fascination is one of Carnival's first ships, and it is very small. We had a balcony cabin, as we have on all cruises, and we were shocked at the size. There are no refrigerators in the balcony cabins; no counter space anywhere; the bathroom sink is a pedestal, so no counter space there, either. The only counters were the desk area and a sort of deep window sill on the window next to the balcony door. There was no sofa and coffee table, only a small chair. The end tables are about the size of a dinner plate. If you take this cruise, pack light! The intinerary was fabulous! There are no tender ports. The islands are gorgeous, and the people are extremely friendly. We never had an issue in any port. I will be leaving detailed reviews on Carnival's website about our excursions, but let me say here that there is nothing to criticize on these ports of call. There was one issue of poor planning, however, and that concerned the Meet and Greet coordinated by Cruise Critic. Many of us that belonged to the Cruise Critic group also belonged to a FaceBook group and kept up with each other on the days leading up to the cruise. We were looking forward to meeting each other in person. However, on embarkation day, we learned that the CC group, which had over thirty M&G memebers, would not be having their M & G, because just about a week before sailing, CC had sent out a message to the members that they had to re-enroll in the M&G and add info to their enrollment. We sent out the word to our FB group, and most of those CC members re-enrolled, but it you weren't in our smaller group, apparently, you didn't get the word. Because there were too few CC members enrolled, the M&G was cancelled. The Cruise Director apologized, and those of us with the FB group were given the Puttin' on the Ritz lounge for our M&G, and he brought a lot of "door prizes" for us to hand out. CC needs to figure out how to get all the enrollment done on one go, because a lot of folks don't do a lot of rechecking after enrolling the first time. All in all, this was a great cruise! We relaxed and saw beautiful islands that we may visit again. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
We chose this cruise to explore the islands of the eastern Caribbean. Last year we had a great experience on the Carnival Breeze visiting the southern Caribbean and so decided to book with Carnival again. Although the islands were ... Read More
We chose this cruise to explore the islands of the eastern Caribbean. Last year we had a great experience on the Carnival Breeze visiting the southern Caribbean and so decided to book with Carnival again. Although the islands were absolutely beautiful, I have to say the cruise itself did not compare to the experience we had on the Breeze. The cruise director on the Facination did not create the energy and fun cruise director Matt was able to create on the Breeze. We always saw Matt out and about interacting with passengers as well as hosting daily deck parties and other activities. The cruise director on the Facination was far less engaging. There was only one sail away party on the first day and one deck party during the 7 day cruise. Our waiter in the dining room was also less than friendly. He obviously connected with the guests at the table next to ours because of similar nationalities and blatantly took thier order before ours even if we arrived at the table sooner. In spite of this, I have to say most of the food was delicious. Twice during the cruise the wake-up call system did not work which made us have to rush to our port activities. We were not told we needed ID's in addition to our sail-away cards to get back on the ship until we were getting off making us waste more time by having to return to the room to retrieve ID's. I thought lack of communication was evident on the Facination and although I loved the ports we visited and also experienced plenty of friendly, helpful crew members, I have to give a thumbs down to the cruise director as well as some of Facination's staff. Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
My husband and I chose this cruise specifically because of the ports. Getting older in years (I turned 50, he turned 49, during the cruise) we decided to get some beach time in before we deemed ourselves too old to participate in water ... Read More
My husband and I chose this cruise specifically because of the ports. Getting older in years (I turned 50, he turned 49, during the cruise) we decided to get some beach time in before we deemed ourselves too old to participate in water activities. Our flight arrived in San Juan @3:30pm and we took a taxi for @$24 to the pier and we were on the ship in less than 20 mins. We did have to fill out the newest paperwork pertaining to the health questions since it had been updated after I had already printed ours at home. We had brought along tape for the luggage tags but no need to use it as they staple the tags together for you. We were each issued our Sign and Sail cards, waved goodbye to our luggage, and headed to the ship. Of course they take your picture while boarding, they will snap away every time you get on and off the ship if you allow it. There are also several chances for professional pictures on board, if so desired. We had to explore the cabin first since we had a small bag that we no longer wished to carry with us. We dropped that off and picked up a deck plan to find the nearest bar. We bought the Cheers! program a few days prior to sailing (saving $10/day) so we walked up to the closest bar and they put a sticker on our S&S noting the program. To those out there that think they can outsmart the system, be aware that your picture comes up on the the computer when a bartender scans your card. There are several places to get food on your first night aboard, read the "Fun Times" for times and descriptions. I recommend tearing off the perforated part daily and stuffing it into your pocket for reference throughout the day.That little guide will tell you exactly what is going on during the day, and what times the events are happening. The ship docked every day (except Sea Day) at 8am and departed at 5pm. I won't go into excursions because everyone has their own opinions on what is fun. I will say that we purchased two excursions through Carnival and both went smoothly. Dining notes: We had two Elegant nights for dining, one on Sea Day (Tues) and the other on Th. We opted for first seating in the Main (Imagination) Dining Room and were seated with four other couples. It is a little awkward at first but you get to know them during the week and by the end we had pictures taken and emails exchanged. The Menu is quite vast and I found something enjoyable on every dining day. To look up a sample menu go to FAQ's at Carnival. Don't be shy about ordering, you can order more than one appetizer, dessert, even entree! I elected to have at least one app and a salad before dinner and sometimes two desserts after. Food: The buffet food is as expected. Not great but not horrible either. It was great to be able to get burgers at the Midnight Buffet but I regret getting pizza at the Pizza Pirate because it was just not good at all. My favorite food on the ship was the flat iron steak on the Everyday menu in the dining room. People raved about the chocolate melting cake but I preferred the Apple Pie a la mode paired with the cheese platter. We enjoyed the Sea Day brunch as well. Entertainment: There were some great comedians aboard and we caught as many shows as we could. The shows in the main show room were lacking in professional talent, more amateur, but they were free and there was a variety. We saw singers, dancers, a juggler and a mentalist.The ship's version of the Newlywed Game was a snooze-fest due to the tired, boring questions and picking a couple from the audience that didn't understand the innuendos or English. We did not participate in Bingo, the Casino, the arcade, nightclub, karaoke. We did listen to the band at the Stars' Bar and they were consistently good. Service: We were well attended by the staff. Bartenders were always friendly, the waiters were attentive. Stewards were like little elves, as they would pop in and out unobtrusively. There have been negative reviews about the size of the ship but we found it just right. We could do smaller. We didn't use the pool (because of the kid factor), we never needed the waterslide, mini golf, ping pong, etc. We liked the Serenity Deck but it was too small to hold all of the adults who wanted to be there on Sea Day. No problem, we found some quiet chairs on an upper deck away from the pool. If you've never cruised before, be aware that your luggage needs to be packed and outside of your room by 11pm the night before debarkation (exceptions apply). We bring a collapsible zippered cooler to pack anything we need for the next day. It fits neatly into our luggage and we can use it as a carry-on if needed. We spent the night in San Juan after ending the cruise and stayed in a large suite for a little pampering after being inside the small cabin for so long. We then packed the cooler back into the suitcase and made our way home. Great Vacation!! Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
Carnival Cruise Itinerary and ship drew our interest for my husband birthday cruise. We spent three days in San Juan, Puerto Rico exploring the city before embarkation on Sunday afternoon that was smooth and efficient with accomodating ... Read More
Carnival Cruise Itinerary and ship drew our interest for my husband birthday cruise. We spent three days in San Juan, Puerto Rico exploring the city before embarkation on Sunday afternoon that was smooth and efficient with accomodating staff with wheel chair assistance that were professional and friendly. Ship: Lack luster and old no appealing ambience. In need of some glamour and energy and splash to address the enthusiastic cruise experience. Cabin; Balcony Empress E238: Clean and Comfortable in AFT of the ship, Cabin Steward Emerson was friendly and anticipated our needs and very professional Dining: Lido Deck Coconut Grove; Disappointing and Ordinary Buffet Menu Cafeteria Food .Lunch and Dinner was poorly prepared and presented , Nothing to rave about we avoided the Lido Deck Buffet and Outside Grill.Sensation room, Main dining room menu options were appealing and well prepared and served hot with professional and friendly wait teams. We chose room service for continental breakfast for convenience to allow us to sleep and enjoy our balcony breakfast before our shore excursions. Entertainment: Played Bingo that was fun anf frequent the Casino. The Illusion show was entertaining and quite brief for the amount of time to navigate the many elevators to reach the Palace room. We enjoyed the poolside DJ that rocked the music and promotions were fun. Shore Excursions: Highlight of our cruise,visiting the various ports and exploring the cultures and sights.Reasonable priced and accessible and informative and friendly tour operators. We had a ball in St. Thomas, Barbados, St. Lucia, St.Maarten, and St. Kitt,enjoyed the beaches and sampling the rum and vendors. Overall, we enjoyed the cruise experience it was our 6+ cruise and first on Carnival Cruise. We would have loved more activities on sea day that is engaging and fun for all age groups other than self help type classes. When on vacation you want to do engaged activities that are fun and innovative that offer prizes and publicity and excitement. Karoke and Trivia are not crowd drawers on mid day. Cruisers want to expand their imagination when on the Fascination that lacks the upscale energy type activites other than night clubs. Too boring for this 60+ frequent cruiser. Will most definitely explore other Carnival ships. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
Our experience was very good. We were celebrating our daughter's senior year graduation gift with this cruise. The meal plans were identical to those of the Carnival Valor when we traveled back on April 2013. The meals were very good ... Read More
Our experience was very good. We were celebrating our daughter's senior year graduation gift with this cruise. The meal plans were identical to those of the Carnival Valor when we traveled back on April 2013. The meals were very good and staff service on the Sensation Restaurant as for the Coconut Grove cafeteria in the Lido Deck were excellent. The employees servicing our room (M-255) were excellent replacing our bath towels and servicing our bed sheets twice daily and always greeted us with smiles and even learned our respective names. Here’s my gripe: Based on our experience, my only complaint was the self-service laundry facilities where one is located in the upper deck (near room U-156) and another way up front in another deck. Unless I'm wrong, there are only 2 self-service laundry facilities for passengers who personally wish to wash, dry and iron their clothing. It’s incredible that there are only approximately 8 washing/drying machines and 4-6 irons for more than 1,900 passengers (WHAT??!!) Many passengers had to get in line outside the self-service laundry room waiting to get their clothing either washed/dried or ironed. This brought much discomfort and lots of complaints! The fourth washer/dryer was shut down due to the ship’s draining/piping problems because it clogged and septic water overflowed in one corner of the laundry room and fouled the air with unpleasant odor. Two (2) plumbing services personnel arrived quickly and effortlessly tried to remediate the issue. If Carnival Cruises intends to use this ship for the years to come, they need to find more available space within the ship to accommodate additional self-service laundry facilities. I noticed that many improvements can be done to the existent self-service laundry facilities to increase efficiency. There is available space for an additional washer/dryer increasing the total of 10 units and up to 6-8 irons in both rooms. Ironing space needs to be redesigned for maximum and efficient space usage. Seating space can be implemented for those waiting inside the laundry room. To mitigate or minimize the issue of having people waiting in line outside the self-service laundry facilities, Up to 5 people can sit inside each laundry room while others continue washing, drying and ironing. Also to mitigate the heat inside, at least three (3) air vents need to be aesthetically implemented on the wall to purge out accumulated heat generated by the irons and dryers making it more comfortable for the passengers inside the self-service laundry facilities. I’m assessing and maybe I’m wrong but either Carnival Cruises wishes not to invest improving the existent self-service laundry facilities or it wants its passengers to irremediably use the costly optional laundry services which can ring over $20 per bag. That money should be used for purchase of memorable souvenirs or other ítems from your shore excursions! The best option is to wash, dry and iron your clothing either late in the evening while passengers are at shows or other events or while most passengers are off the ship enjoying their excursion IF you intend staying in the ship that day. Aside from this gripe, the rest of the cruising experience was excellent! We loved it! Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
This was the 3rd time we have taken this cruise out of San Juan and the other 2 times was on the VALOR--which we loved...the Fascination was such a let down and much too small of a ship. Our inside cabin was unfortunately directly below ... Read More
This was the 3rd time we have taken this cruise out of San Juan and the other 2 times was on the VALOR--which we loved...the Fascination was such a let down and much too small of a ship. Our inside cabin was unfortunately directly below the Galley...the noise level ALL hours of the night was horrific and RUINED our cruise experience on this ship. When we complained after the first night we were told to call the desk and they would send someone up to the galley to quiet down...well that lasted on 10 - 15 minutes. We were then offered ear plugs for the noise level - which did help...on the 3rd day we were offered another cabin but did NOT want to pack everything up only to unpack it in another cabin. I must say Carnival did their best to try and accommodate..but in reality these cabins should not even be available to be booked or be booked a greatly reduced rates letting guest know of this issue. Did not like the way the Casino is set up on both sides of the main isle. The small bands that were playing were in hidden areas. Our days on the island were fun and exciting. We are platinum members and will NEVER book a small ship again Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
We flew into Jacksonville the morning of day of departure. We caught a cab and headed to the port. Getting onto the ship went very smoothly. Everyone was courteous and all went well. It was just before noon when we got aboard and, as ... Read More
We flew into Jacksonville the morning of day of departure. We caught a cab and headed to the port. Getting onto the ship went very smoothly. Everyone was courteous and all went well. It was just before noon when we got aboard and, as our rooms were not quite ready, we headed up to the lido deck to relax and get something to eat and drink. Our rooms were ready fairly quickly, but all of our luggage did not arrive to our room till later in the afternoon and that did not pose a problem at all. This was our 1st cruise on Carnival. After reading many reviews, I wondered if I had made the right choice. BUT, I am so happy to say that I did! We always get an inside cabin and it was immaculate. Our room steward did an excellent job, cleaning and tidying up morning and evening, leaving us a different towel creature each evening. I honestly don't understand why some of the cruisers post such critical, scathing reviews. We were on the same ship. I have learned, after sailing on RC and Celebrity and now Carnival, that you can't really depend on reviews too much. Anywayyyyy......loved the decor of the ship. We do wish there had been more seating in the atrium area, on the higher floors overlooking the atrium. Also, the entertainment in the atrium left much to be desired, I'm sorry to say. But that did not, by any means, affect the enjoyment of our cruise. We loved it! We met so many wonderful people. The crew was so kind and helpful, courteous. I never cease to be amazed at the friendliness of the crews. The entertainment in the theater left somewhat to be desired, too. We left the shows on Friday and Saturday evenings because it was just a bit too racy and youth-oriented for us. Because there were so many families on this cruise we did think the shows should have been a bit more family friendly. But the show on Wednesday night? "60's,70's and 80's" was great! Very family-friendly! We loved it! :-) I will say that we were used to wonderful shows every night on our other cruises, so we did kind of miss that, as we don't do the bar scene and late night activities. Still, we had a great time, relaxing outside and so on. It would have been good if there had been chairs/lounges on the decks of deck 7, I believe it was. We did my-time dining in the Sensation Dining Rood and the food and service were impeccable. We had steaks most often and they were cooked perfectly. Most of the time, we ate in the buffet and were impressed with the different varieties of food at each meal time. It was always delicious. We loved the outside grill offerings and the deli and pizzeria. We enjoyed our time at Nassau;purchased a tour once on shore. We learned many interesting facts about Nassua, the Bahamas. Met some very engaging locals. Our driver was very entertaining. :-) Wished we would have spent more time at the public beach which was just a short walk from our ship. I would recommend this to future cruisers. We loooooooved Half Moon Cay and would have for-gone Nassau for two days here! Heaven on earth. Carnival provided a barbecue for everyone. Everything was just perfect here! We plan to come back with our son and his family. I loved that the library had games that you could take out. We enjoyed some of those. Enjoyed conversing with George who was in charge of the Art Auction publicity. Paul, the cruise director was very funny and entertaining. And, while waiting in the Palace Theater, to complete our muster, one of the young men from the entertainment troupe kept us up and entertained. He did a great job! :-) Our least favorite part of the cruise was disembarkation. We always do early/self-departure and have always been instructed to go to the theater or conference room where we waited. Refreshments were provided. (These were two other different cruise lines.) But on the Fascination, we were told to stay in our rooms until we heard the go-ahead but most everyone waited out in the hallway. We were then directed down a narrow stairway. A huge group of passengers, all needing to get off, endeavoring to go down a narrow stairway with their travelling companions, staying together. It was a tad harrowing but we made it and once off, everything went smoothly. We will definitely cruise Carnival/Fascination again!! Great value/Great cruise!! Read Less
Sail Date February 2016
Staff is short handed, worn out, and depressed. I get the feeling the are trying the best they can but they don't have the tools or resources that are needed. Seems like this ship is where cruise service careers begin or end. ... Read More
Staff is short handed, worn out, and depressed. I get the feeling the are trying the best they can but they don't have the tools or resources that are needed. Seems like this ship is where cruise service careers begin or end. Buffet was disgusting. It makes Golden Corral look like 5 star dining. Bar service is slow due to being short handed. Mixing is hit or miss on quality and quantity. Rooms were showing their age and cleanliness was lacking. (Hairs in the shower, cherry stem on the floor and "something" on the wall when we arrived) Casino was so smokey we could never enter. Photo taking was everywhere and in the way. Obnoxious and aggressive photographers and the photos were ridiculously overpriced. Dining room food was mediocre. It is sooooo past time to retire the dancing waiters. I felt bad for the 60 year old guys working their butts off then having to stop and dance like a monkey for no reason at all. Please stop this pathetic "show". Entertainment was all about quantity but not quality. Yes there was lot going on but nothing we could stomach for more than 15 minutes. The piano bar player was so grizzled and angry at his position in life it was like watching a train wreck when he tried to interact with the 4 person crowd in the place. We tried this cruise due to the location of the port since we are in the area. Should have known what kind of clientele this would have attracted. Basically, take a Black Friday Walmart crowd, mix in a Saturday afternoon flea market crowd and sprinkle in your local social security disability benefit fan club and you have 85% of the ship. The other 15% I would consider unfortunate tourists who got caught taking a wrong turn in cruise land or led astray by a no-nothing travel agent. In closing, cruiser beware! Run, don't walk, away from this cruise if you believe you fall into the 15% crowd. If you are in the 85% crowd then, by all means, go and enjoy yourselves. Just please remember that no one wants to see you in the buffet line wearing your complimentary robe, flip flops and shower cap. And no, this was NOT and isolated occurrence. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
First of all, I had planned a 4-night cruise on the Carnival Paradise out of Tampa in November. Due to a fatal accident on I-75 I was held up in traffic for 4 hours and along with misleading directions to the port from Carnival's ... Read More
First of all, I had planned a 4-night cruise on the Carnival Paradise out of Tampa in November. Due to a fatal accident on I-75 I was held up in traffic for 4 hours and along with misleading directions to the port from Carnival's website I missed the ship. Carnival rebooked me on a 5 night cruise on the Fascination out of Jacksonville for December 6, which was a much closer port to me. I did not have the travel insurance and was happy that they consented to rebook me and gave me a better cabin. On December 6, the incoming Fascination could not dock at Jaxport due to fog until about 2:30 pm, then it took hours to get everyone off the ship and be ready for new passengers to embark. I had arrived at the port at noon and didn't get to my cabin until 9:15 pm. It was a long long day of waiting. Although I've been on several cruises before, I cruised solo for the first time and decided that it was not something I would do again. The ship was clean, people were friendly, food was good but I didn't find a lot I wanted to do. I read a lot, ate a lot, and rested a lot. I was ready to go home two days before it was over. I think this reflects more on me than on the cruise itself. I was in cabin R152, oceanview on the Riviera deck. The cabin was great for one person, although the bathroom, while clean, developed an unpleasant chemical sulpher-like smell towards the end so I kept the door closed. The advantage of the Riviera deck is to get off the ship first (after priority guests do).   Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
This was our second time on this ship ,we live in jacksonville so when we need a break we go,I dont know what all the complaining is about ,but we find nothing wrong with the ship or port .easy on easy off,ship is small and older but it is ... Read More
This was our second time on this ship ,we live in jacksonville so when we need a break we go,I dont know what all the complaining is about ,but we find nothing wrong with the ship or port .easy on easy off,ship is small and older but it is clean ,staff friendly ,all passengers are friendly,food good and many places to eat.we crusie about ever four months out of port carnaval so we are seasoned cruisers ,the comedian Thomas Brown was one of the best we had seen,took side trip in nassua and Freeport a wide variety of excursions. Cabin was keeped very clean and we asked for ice every morning and evening we only had to ask once,we needed four more pillows ,housekeeping delivered in minutes ,husband has reflux so we always need more pillows .shows and game shows are good ,we have seen the same shows on other carnival ships but it's good ,liked the towel creatures class I took ,while husband took the behind the scenes tour of ship which he would recommend to everyone.enjoy your cruise ! Read Less
Sail Date November 2014
We stayed at the Hampton Inn at Jacksonville Airport, it was very nice and convenient to the port. The breakfast is always a nice touch and one less thing to worry about. Embarkation was easy and very quick. We did this cruise for ... Read More
We stayed at the Hampton Inn at Jacksonville Airport, it was very nice and convenient to the port. The breakfast is always a nice touch and one less thing to worry about. Embarkation was easy and very quick. We did this cruise for Halloween. We had a good time because my husband's whole family was there. But I wasn't impressed with the service and the ship definitely did not wow me. I had been on RCCL before and so I was comparing the two. I don't know if I would go on another Carnival, unless it was such a great deal that I couldn't pass up. The kids had fun in the kids clubs and they always were entertained. The shows were good, especially the costume contest, which my husband and MIL were chosen as finalists (it was so funny). Our cabins were connecting OV. We were on Main Deck and felt we were close to everything. Dining was never an issue, and they were happy to put a few tables together so we could all eat together. But our service was so bad the first two nights that they ended up moving us to another section. Half Moon Cay was my favorite port. The beach was beautiful and clean with plenty of chairs. We also stopped at Nassau, we did venture off and go the market. But if you've done it once there is no reason to do it again. The weather wasn't great, so we got back on the ship pretty quickly. All in all we had a good time, but there are too many other ships and cruise lines to try that I probably would not do this one again. Disembarkation was very easy and quick too. Read Less
Sail Date October 2014
This is the second cruise on the Fascination for DH and I, and also our second cruise overall in recent years. We live within driving distance to the port, so we drove down the morning of embarkation and parked at the port. After passing ... Read More
This is the second cruise on the Fascination for DH and I, and also our second cruise overall in recent years. We live within driving distance to the port, so we drove down the morning of embarkation and parked at the port. After passing the first security checkpoint, you proceed to the line to drop off your luggage with the porters, then to the parking lot where you pay $15/day. Embarkation process with Faster to the Fun was very easy. From the time we arrived at port, to dropping off our luggage in the room was about 30 minutes. The ship: It is an older, smaller ship and it is showing its age. However, it is well maintained and clean. Any time I passed through a public area that was not in use, there was crew there cleaning floors or wiping down tables. The crew really worked hard to make our cruise a pleasant experience. The music was not overpowering on the pool deck, but surprisingly, it was a little loud in the dining room. My major complaint was that the serenity deck was not patrolled. There were too many people in the hot tub, they were too loud, and their kids came to the deck because they couldn’t get their attention from screaming at them from the deck above. This lasted for 2 ½ hours and nothing was done. Guest services was no help, saying that Carnival is “the fun ship”. So be aware, the serenity deck may not be quite as serene as you think it should be. The room: We had an Ocean View, category 6B (R132). We stayed in this same room last year, and there were some things that were better this year. The room is very spacious, with room to walk around the bed. We did notice mildew stains around the ceiling, but other than that we were pleased. The hot water left a little to be desired, as it would run hot for 2 or 3 minutes, then switch to cold for about 5. This is probably an issue we should’ve gone to guest services about, but didn’t. The air conditioner was colder than last year, as well. The amenities provided were: a pen, a travel sized toothpaste, 2 bars of soap, breathe right strips, shampoo and shower gel. I was glad that I packed my power strip at the last minute, because my hairdryer and camera battery charger would not fit in the single outlet under the mirror at the vanity. Our room steward, Adrian, was average, but he did quickly fulfill 2 requests for amenities that we had last year, but were missing this year: an ice bucket and a note pad. Other than that, we spoke to him in the hallway if we saw him (he did not speak first). If he had an assistant, we were not introduced. Dining: We had Your Time Dining in the Sensation Dining Room. We requested a table for two each night, and did have to wait about 10 minutes on some nights. On those nights that we had to wait, we were offered tablemates, but declined and decided to wait for an opening for 2. We were given a pager that worked everywhere except the staterooms and casino. The dining room is typical restaurant style, but I feel the tables are too close together. On the first formal night, we were seated at a table for 2, in between another table for 2 and a table for 4. The tables were so close, that it felt like a table for 8, but nobody was talking to each other because we weren’t really sitting together. It was a very weird experience. The buffet is nice, as well. The tables are larger, so you may end up sitting at one end and another party at another end. We also utilized the Pirate Pizza, the deli, and the grill. The food was much improved from last year and actually had some taste. The sunripened tomato soup and the lobster tail were absolutely delicious. The only food complaint I had (along with others) was the overcooked hamburgers on Half Moon Cay. We were impressed with the sea day brunch, as well. It is the same menu every day, but there is a great variety to choose from. The ship has the Mongolian Wok and the Taste Bar, but we did not visit. Activities/Entertainment: I didn’t think the cruise director made a lot of difference in the cruise. But, Corey proved me wrong! He was great and very visible. We loved the ship’s band, Marv and the Magic Tones. We were quite surprised when we found out Carnival contracted each member individually and then put the band together. The chemistry was great. They were so good, that we used them as our entertainment for most of the cruise. We saw one comedian, John Dean Ester, in his adult show. It was actually tasteful and he was funny. We went to the first “episode” of Hasbro, The Game Show and didn’t go to the second. While neat to watch, it wasn’t all that entertaining. It was kind of cheesy, really. The Love and Marriage show, as usual, did not disappoint. There were all kinds of trivia and games and contests and stuff to keep you busy if you wanted to be entertained. Spa: I pre-booked a bamboo massage. I realized after I booked that there was an appointment available that would've worked better for me, but the links were broken for me to re-book online. So, on embarkation day I went to the spa and they were very nice about changing it to the time that I wanted. This was a deep tissue massage and my therapist made sure I was aware of that before hand. Unfortunately, because the room was located next to the locker rooms, it was not very relaxing. While there was calming music playing in the room, I could hear tennis shoes squeaking up and down the halls, and people laughing and talking loudly in the halls the entire 50 minutes. After the massage, came the sales pitch, which added to the relaxation buzz-kill. Next time, I think I will wait to see what the specials are before I book. For the day that I went, I could've gotten a bamboo massage, facial, foot/ankle/scalp massage for less than I paid for the massage alone. Service: The service was awesome. Other than our experience with guest services, all of the crew went out of their way to make our experience pleasant. Everyone was nice and polite. We booked a shore excursion for Nassau the evening before we ported there. The lady at the desk was very nice, polite, and patient while we discussed what we wanted to do. Port and Shore Excursions: In Grand Turk, we checked out the Splashdown Grand Turk exhibit. This was a nice little exhibit in tribute to the early spaceflight years. We walked the beach and hung out in front of Jack’s. Chairs were free and umbrellas were to rent. We really got a kick out of the poodle digging holes and swimming in the area. We were late arriving to Half Moon Cay and late waking up, but we were still on the first tender over about 10:30. We spent another beach day here and rented a clamshell. The breeze was nice and it was great to have shade and a covered place to put our stuff. We took the Atlantis Aquaventure full day with lunch tour in Nassau. Although a little high priced, this was a great experience and we will probably do it again sometime. We loved booking through Carnival because we did not have to worry about transportation. A Carnival rep walks you to a bus waiting for you at port, and the busses run every 30 minutes back to port starting at 1 pm. The waterslides were thrilling and the resort is really something to see. The lunch is a voucher to the food stands in the water park area, and is only for certain items (hamburgers and hot dogs, mainly). Disembarkation: We were asked to be out of our rooms before 8:30 am. At around 8, we went to our assigned waiting area. We were Faster to the Fun with checked baggage, so we were the 4th group to disembark. We disembarked around 10:30 and were in our car at 10:38. The customs officials were pleasant, and while they did thoroughly check out declarations list, they didn’t waste any time.   Read Less
Sail Date May 2014
We arrived at JaxPort by automobile. Jacksonville is close to home and one of my favorite ports because of the ease of getting there and parking. Embarkation is usually fairly easy at JAX. There were more people in the ... Read More
We arrived at JaxPort by automobile. Jacksonville is close to home and one of my favorite ports because of the ease of getting there and parking. Embarkation is usually fairly easy at JAX. There were more people in the Diamond/Platinum/FTTF line than the regular lines. As a Platinum we had to wait and wait until our turn. Part of this is Carnival's greed for money by selling FTTF options which decreases the perks of their frequent cruiser program. I booked a Grand Suite, U76, for my wife and myself and the suite was ready when we got there around noon. Our room steward, Joanna, was great. I can't say enough positive things about her. The cruise went to Grand Turks, Half Moon Cay, and Nassau. On the Grand Turks we have always hung around the pool close to Margaritaville, but this time we decided to see some of the countryside. We took the tram around the Grand Turks. The company tries to shove as many people into a tram as possible to the point of being uncomfortable. Half Moon Cay, we rented a cabana. It was great and well worth the money for us. We were supplied with water, sodas, and snack food. We were in cabana #10 which was close to the restrooms and a short walk to lunch. The beach was less crowded from cabana 10-15. Nassau, we have been there so many times on Carnival cruises that we don't even get off the ship anymore. We only went to one show, MotorCity, and it was excellent! We went to the Chef's table one night and it was wonderful. Chef R. Gomes and staff did a wonderful job. The food on Lido deck was ok. The dining room and brunch was absolutely wonderful. Debarkation was one of the easiest and fastest at any port. Overall, Excellent cruise Read Less
Sail Date May 2014
EMBARKATION: easy with RTF. OV room nice -Steward good. Weather: stank. I usually get a balcony room but glad I got OV. Balconies were closed most of treat I o due to very rough seas. Couldn't use pool due to weather. This was not a ... Read More
EMBARKATION: easy with RTF. OV room nice -Steward good. Weather: stank. I usually get a balcony room but glad I got OV. Balconies were closed most of treat I o due to very rough seas. Couldn't use pool due to weather. This was not a tropical vacation. We never saw the sun. Most active cities (hairy leg contest, etc ) cancelled due to weather. I went to bot tubs, fitness center most of trip. I d I did 2 massages on port days- deep discount. Steam room was not working most of trip. Our excursion in Bahamas was a nightmare. We were scheduled to do a private beach day. The operators took us despite rain showers. We got in a squall, rocking boat , getting rained on,- cold! They did a tourney tho g and asked for tips while going on nightmare boat ride. So wrong!they took us out to get their tips! AFTER 2 hours of misery they took us back to port and refunded our money. But they Got their tips! That's 2 hours I will never get back.I forgot name of excursion but its very popular. Due to weather, we couldn't port in Little Stirrup Cay. I was looking forward to that. Instead we diverted Freeport.not my favorite, so stayed on boat for cheaper massage. Food was good- went to Magnolian Wok daily,as well as made to order omelettes. ENTERTAINMENT DE T. W E LIKED Motown and Divas. Disembark: We were FTF and had early flights a due to some security issue, did not get off boat until 10ish.Cruise before us was 4 hours late and we didn't start. Boarding til 2. If you like no frills and small boats this cruise is for you. We go on bigger boats usually. We did Magic in Auguast and doing NCl Epic in March. We like more activities and dining choices. I would recommend this for those who want to snooze and cruise. We not go on A WINTER CRUISE AGAIN.   Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
We are regular cruisers. Usually between Royal and Carnival. We have been on Fascination before, so we knew what to expect. The check in process was pretty quick, even though we got to the port at peak time. Our cabin was ready so we ... Read More
We are regular cruisers. Usually between Royal and Carnival. We have been on Fascination before, so we knew what to expect. The check in process was pretty quick, even though we got to the port at peak time. Our cabin was ready so we dropped off our carry ons. The food is very adequate. The lobster tails were very good as was the prime rib and the fried shrimp. We had good but sometimes slow service in the dining room. No biggie... I was on vacation. Sometimes long lines at the buffet, but we have learned not to go at peak times. Our cabin steward did a great job. We have never had any issues with our cabin stewards. They work hard and do a great job. 99% of the crew were very pleasant and very friendly. The shows were also good as were the comedians. I have noticed that Carnival is cutting back on some things, but that is expected. We noticed that there was no bands out and around the ship. we have enjoyed the bands out by the pool and near the casino area. Still we feel we got a good value for what we paid for this cruise. We didn't do much but wander around Nassau. We went to Junkanoo Beach for a couple hours. It is a public area just about a 10 minute walk from the ship. I do recommend the beach as it was nice. Not too big. Bring water shoes as there is alot of rocks in the water. Ask any police and they will direct you there. Don't ask a taxi driver, they will want to take you there. We went to Little Stirrup Key. Very nice and relaxing island. Food over there was fair. There was alot of kids on this cruise. Don't get me wrong, we love kids(3+4 grandkids). We had to experience them running all over the ship wildly. Not the cruise lines fault. Just crappy parenting. Disembarkation was fairly quick. Could have been faster, but I'm generaly not a conplainer. We forgot a watch in our bathroom. I called lost and found to report it when we got home, only 3 hours later. They took all the required information and said they would contact us in a couple weeks. Never heard from them so I called after three weeks. They said they mailed it to us the day prior. WOW there are still honest people out there. Thanks Carnival for a great getaway. Read Less
Sail Date August 2013
I’m a married cruise virgin who is a father of 3 taking our first cruise vacation. For the journey, it’s my wife, two daughters (11 & 17) and my son who is 18 months. From Ohio, we traveled down to Jacksonville for our first ever ... Read More
I’m a married cruise virgin who is a father of 3 taking our first cruise vacation. For the journey, it’s my wife, two daughters (11 & 17) and my son who is 18 months. From Ohio, we traveled down to Jacksonville for our first ever cruise on the Fascination for 7 day sailing. I also met a good group of people on the CC Roll Call. I recommend everyone join a roll call, you meet great friends!EMBARKATIONI decided to park at the $8 a day parking outside of the terminal. I’ve read the countless reviews of this trips delay and embarkation that left a sour taste in people’s mouth. This was not the parking lot or Carnival’s fault; it was a Coast Guard issues that delayed boarding. The cruise parking was backed up and in the confusion, people being shuttled over was a little crazy. The lot owner gave everyone free drinks from his shelves that he was selling because it was hot! The lot was very accommodating and nice in getting people over. If I had to do it again, I would use them because I’ve seen their politeness and hard work in a stressful delay. I totally recommend them!SHIPOk, I’m a newbie, so the ship looked great to me. There was no loose trash, paper or anything like this around the ship. I always noticed that areas were being swept, vacuumed, polished or wiped down. This includes the serenity area, dining rooms, shopping areas, common areas, everything was neat and tidy. Even when I walked around the ship at 4am, the crew did a fine job keeping the ship clean around the clock. ENTERTAINMENTSince having my 18 month old with me, we didn’t do a lot of the shows. We enjoyed or relaxing and sleeping. My daughters on the other hand, made friends on the ship. They were busy doing stuff every night and I didn’t see them until the next day. They took part in the deck parties, karaoke and other various stuff. I did trivia one day but that was about it. CABINWe were in R75, inside. We had the king and the 2 uppers. I’m glad a chose this, we are not “sun-in-our-face” people, we like the dark. It was quiet, peaceful and we didn’t feel any movement from the ship. The beds were very comfortable, even the bunks were good. The bathroom was ok and the shower was fine. With 5 of us, we were able to all do what we had to do. The safe was there but we ran into a problem and need someone to unlock our safe. Other than that, I was happy.WAITERS AND ROOM STEWARTThe waiters were fantastic! Ioan and Charlie were great. They filled up my son’s bottle with milk every night for me. They even made menu recommendations and we joked about the snails and frog legs! I didn’t get the soda card, but my wife and 2 daughters did. The server for this in the dining room was a little slow in the beginning days, but came around on time by the 4th day. I imagine it’s difficult to remember the room of people and soda’s.Our cabin Stewart was great; he always had fresh towels for us. He knew that my kids go thru them like water and gave us twice as much. When my daughters over slept (just about every day!), he came back and cleaned the room after they got up late. This is the area Carnival shines at, the service from their employees!CASINOI’m not a gambler, but I did stop by there once. It was always clean and the sound of someone winning always draws the stares. I can tell you this from what I saw; Roulette seems like the game the house wins the most money!BUFFET My philosophy is if you make it better than me, I’m cool with it.The buffets were better than chain buffet restaurants. The morning breakfast was good. The first day, there were no “bacon police” present that I heard about from the boards. People were taking gobs and gobs of it like there was no tomorrow! Sure enough, the 2nd day on, they were out. I like the control, it was sad to see people going overboard! For breakfast, fruit, pancakes, French toast, eggs, danishes, toast, cereal. The guava juice was fantastic!For lunch, hot dogs, hamburgers, chicken fingers, fries, we did this a lot. Again, it’s ok for me, they did a good job. The buffets were open with different foods daily and that was great also. It was all about choice. I didn’t do the Mongolian Wok; the line was always long when I was hungry!MDRWe always ate dinner here and together as a family. The people that we were supposed to share a table with only showed up twice. We had 6pm dining; my 18 month old can’t wait until 8 pm to eat. The dinner was great with choices galore. They have new things to try every night like frog legs, escargot and alligator. They also have the chicken and steak as a regular menu item for people who don’t like to deviate from the “norm”. I always ordered something new and gave it a try. It was a great experience to do this all together with my family. The MDR is where we had the best time with food, wait staff and laughter. My daughter turned 18 onboard and they brought out her cake and sang Happy Birthday to her.Don’t expect a 5 star restaurant; just expect having a good time with good food.OTHER FOODOh man, of all the wonderful things on the ship, this is where Carnival must reevaluate efficiency. The 24 pizza station and deli. These places are severely understaffed and need to find a way to expedite quicker service. Every time I went, there was only 1 individual manning the areas. These were very good offerings onboard, but the lack of an efficient way to get food to people really made it difficult to go back. Ice cream and frozen yogurt was offered 24/7 as well as lemonade, water and iced tea, hot tea and coffee. I would always see someone with a cone.Room service was good, my late risers would order when they came back from being with their friends.DEBARKATIONSince we were right by the debarkation doors, took us 5 minutes from our cabin door to being off the ship. It was great!SUMMARYThe Fascination was a great ship during our 7 days. Food, staff and activities varied from adults, teens and toddlers. Again, the staff was the best part of the cruise. They made me feel comfortable, catered to all our needs and went above and beyond what I expected. I would recommend the Fascination to anyone wanting a great cruise and also a 7 day cruise! And again, it’s good to join a Roll Call and meet great cruise friends!Right now, I’m planning my next cruise! Read Less
Sail Date May 2013
My brother and I are veteran cruisers. My brother has done 11 cruises and I have sailed 17. We brought our cousin along this time for his first ever cruise. This was the Fascinations 1st 7 day cruise...it was GREAT! My brother and I drove ... Read More
My brother and I are veteran cruisers. My brother has done 11 cruises and I have sailed 17. We brought our cousin along this time for his first ever cruise. This was the Fascinations 1st 7 day cruise...it was GREAT! My brother and I drove down from Rockford IL to Indianapolis IN and overnighted there, picked up our cousin then drove just past Atlanta, woke up early again and hit the road to Jacksonville FL. We stayed over night at the La Quinta Inn airport north. It was fine for a quick place to sleep, but wasn't the best. It was around a lot of restaurants. Room was ok, a bit small, kind of smelled musty, but I have noticed most hotels in Florida, do smell like that lol. I booked this cruise because of the price. for a 7 day cruise, outside room, booking 2 weeks before departure we paid $450 per person!! we also looked at a 5 day cruise for $379, but we thought..heck, for the extra $71 per person and 2 extra days, lets go big! plus were driving 18 hours, we may as well make the most of it! The next morning we woke up and drove to the port. We ended up parking at a lot right near the port for $8 a day. You are given tickets and board in order. Apparently, this is hard for adults to understand. The ship took longer to disembark due to a drug bust/arrest from a passenger that tried to smuggle in drugs (idiot!). Their shuttles from the lot started at 1030. we were numbers 41,42,43. So, they started calling numbers 1-33 to get into the first few shuttles, somehow, people that got there after us, were numbers 60, 90 etc. managed to get on the shuttle. VERY disorganized. I told my brother, if we are to ever sail out of Jax again, we pay the extra and pay at the port. Embarking was ok. We went through security and got our cards in the VIP lounge with no problems. Around noon they started boarding and announced diamond and platinum members follow us (in the lounge) which at that time FTTF people merged in with our group (even though they weren't suppose to). they again made an announcement over the PA that they are ONLY boarding diamond, platinum and suite guests first, followed by fttf people. (once again..adults CANT listen). We were on the ship very quickly and went straight to lido for lunch..we were STARVING!(and yes, our rooms were ready before 130) The ship was beautiful and clean. So much to do. the entertainment was good. Divas was ok, it wasn't terrible, but I have seen better with carnival. their Motown show was great..loved that one. the comedians were extremely funny. We played a lot of trivia. I won the ship on the stick with a friends trivia and a medal for a congeniality award lol. my brother won a ship on a stick from a movie trivia. We had room M55, just a few doors from an elevator which was great. no noise at all and very convenient. The service on board was great. I was always addressed by my first name (which is another reason why I love carnival). We visited Grand Turk, Half moon Cay and Nassau. Grand Turk we went to margarittaville for a few hours and had a blast. Half moon cay we just sat at the beach and Nassau we did the Atlantis aquaventure. this is a must do every time we sail to Nassau! Dining was great. the food was always hot. the filet migion was very good. There were never any lines for the food in the lido restaurant. Disembarking took a while thanks to customs. We did self assist for our first time just so we could get an early start for an 18 hour drive back. we were told to meet at the theater on deck 9 at 720am and we were cleared at 8am, hopped in a shuttle back to our parking lot outside the port and on the road at 830am. My cousin absolutely loved his first cruise, and my brother and I, once again, cannot wait to sail with them again. Read Less
Sail Date May 2013
Carnival Fascination Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 3.5 4.1
Dining 4.0 3.9
Entertainment 4.0 3.7
Public Rooms 3.5 4.1
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.8
Family 4.0 3.8
Shore Excursion 4.5 3.7
Enrichment 3.0 3.4
Service 4.5 4.3
Value For Money 4.0 4.1
Rates N/A 4.2

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