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7 Night Southern Caribbean Cruise from Barbados

7 Night Southern Caribbean Cruise from Barbados

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Carnival Fascination
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Itinerary

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  • Day 1
    Barbados
  • Day 2
    Cruising
  • Day 3
    San Juan
  • Day 4
    St. Thomas
  • Day 5
    St. Maarten
  • Day 6
    St. Kitts (Port Zante)
  • Day 7
    St. Lucia
  • Day 8
    Barbados

Carnival Fascination

Carnival Fascination - Carnival Cruise Line

Pros

Smaller ship that does not require lots of walking to get from place to place

Cons

Limited dining variety and onboard activities

Bottom Line

Comfortable, well-maintained ship perfect as a base for port-intensive cruises


Cruise Reviews

First of all, huge kudos to Carnival for taking very good care of us in these crazy times. They started by giving us a generous OBC per cabin (we had 2 with the kids in a connected room) the Friday before our cruise left on Sunday. It was ... Read More
First of all, huge kudos to Carnival for taking very good care of us in these crazy times. They started by giving us a generous OBC per cabin (we had 2 with the kids in a connected room) the Friday before our cruise left on Sunday. It was for staying on the cruise, but we had to cancel 3 days before. So, we were excited about the OBC. They switched out St. Lucia ahead of time since St. Lucia did not have their covid-19 rules in place, so that we had port that would accept us instead of learning the day of that we could not dock. We made all our ports and only had a challenge when ready to disembark in Puerto Rico. Puerto Rico had added new rules, while we were gone, that would require we quarantine in the ocean for few days and other rules (but full details were not given). Carnival got clearance in Miami, though some concern that the clearance may be removed before we got there. They opened up the phones and internet and helped us get through to American Airlines. Also, kudos to American for getting us on a flight from Miami instead. Rescheduling flights for 4 people from a cruise ship is not easy, but everyone helped out. The sail to Miami gave us 2.5 extra days on the ship where additional days and service charges were complementary. Carnival also provided airport transfer in Miami complementary. I’m sure they were eager to cut ties with us after the extra 2.5 days, but they kept up spirits and service level. Now a little bit about us, we are a 40-something couple traveling for Spring Break with two sons, 11 and 14, traveling in 2 connected rooms -- oceanview cabins. This was the 14th cruise for the adults, and 3rd and 4th for the kids. Embarkation: This was a rougher embarkation. We originally just wanted to drop off our luggage early, and had read this was possible, and then go back and explore Old San Juan more. We had tired of hauling luggage around. By the time we found someone taking it, they said they were full and told us to go to another line, which was regular check in, ahead of our scheduled arrival time. There was a health survey – our way of life had not been too disrupted when we left on March 8th but got very tough while we were away – asking if we had visited countries noted by the State Dept as do not travel to due to Covid-19 or if we had been around any sick people in the last 14 days. Then check in with our paperwork and passports was fast. Then they took our temperatures before we entered the security lines. Security line was long and slow. Security tossed 2 out of 4 empty water bottles – grr – we need them for ports and the airplane back! This really annoyed me and left me with a sour start to the cruise. Though I believe the security employees are San Juan’s not Carnival’s. After security was a long wait to board in three lines that they were slowly taking a few people from each. Our boarding experience on Carnival in Miami was much, much better and in Galveston much better. After boarding, 3 out of 4 of us enjoyed our first delicious Guy’s burger, and husband enjoyed some buffet samplings. They warned us on embarkation about no self-serve in the buffet. We appreciated the care to keep everyone onboard healthy (which was successful, to our knowledge), but it is harder to try just a little of several things. We were served larger portions then we would take for ourselves. We planned to get some soda for our rooms before boarding (and even promised the kids, who do not normally get soda), but after getting through the boarding process, we decided it was too much trouble to get back off. They were selling, I believe, 6 tall cans packs (not in a box) in the terminal before security. I had read beforehand that Puerto Rico had 8 pack cans instead of 12 pack cans in boxes, so maybe this was 8, but thinking less. When rooms were available at 1:30, we rested a bit after our overnight flight to San Juan from DFW. After I did not fall asleep, I checked for luggage, and it had been delivered. So, I started unpacking in the kids room until husband got up. Best muster drill of any of our previous cruises. Normally painfully long on our previous Carnival cruises, but it quicker – we were in the Theater – and our host with the mic was funny. Dining: We had your time dining, which is in the Sensation Main Dining Room, and went each evening (early) as a family of 4. Good service and food that was pretty quick. Lois from Peru was awesome. We would normally get a kid’s menu and regular and let the kids pick which to order from. Some of our favorites or not so favorites: - Mac and Cheese side – kids and my favorite - Port of call fish the first night (San Juan) was not husband’s favorite. - Oldest son who does not eat too much meat tried the vegetarian Indian dish – which was huge – and was not a fan. Husband was and ate some and had it a couple of other nights. - Braised brisket the first night was very good! With our extra nights, it was offered again where it was still good but not as good. - Caesar salad -- is a favorite of the kids and me (though I like NCL’s better). - Fried oysters – husband loved - Prime rib – very good - Tiramisu – favorite, melting cake and Crème Brule – always favorites - Hazelnut cake – so good with delicious chocolate sauce - Lasagna – one kid like and the other did not We also enjoyed breakfast in the Main Dining room several mornings. Normally, slower than dinner, but good. The broken egg sandwich was a new one for me, and myself and youngest enjoyed it. I also had the Deli a few times, and it was always good. I was also able to get the dark chocolate sea salt cookies that I could not get on our last cruise. They were good. I had the ham and cheese panini a couple of time and the special of the day once, which was either a teriyaki beef or chicken, I think beef. It was good. And, of course, we had more Guy’s burgers, some Blue Iguana tacos, and some more buffet. The Continental buffet for breakfast, also in the Buffet, was not too crowded and worked. At the beginning of the cruise, I toasted my own bagel, but later they figured out pre-toasting them and bread/toast worked better. It did; however, the challenge was that the cream cheese was not beside the bagels but in one of the two main buffet lines (mostly in one but moved around). Again, Carnival excelled at cakes with the best chocolate icing. We also enjoyed the Alchemy Bar a couple of times – I like the Deal Closer. Husband had the martini flight that was good. We visited the candy store – very good, but challenging without self-serve, trying to explain how many of each weighed item that you want. Entertainment: Better TV than we have come to expect. They had Cartoon Network and Nick for the kids and HGTV with a guide channel. Also, the remote was one piece, easy to sanitize between guests, instead of individual little buttons. We all enjoyed the comedians. Four were expected, but with the virus, the original 2 was stuck with us the full time and the 2 new ones could not get on. Cole was our favorite. Our youngest got up on stage with the assistant cruise director to each tell a joke. He won a big lollipop from the candy store and a ship on a stick. He was excited. The kids enjoyed putt-putt, though very windy at the top, front while the ship was moving. Without a promenade deck on this ship (that was missed), we walked the walking trail around the putt-putt after dinner. That was very windy too, but the star viewing was nice. We also enjoyed trivia and a game of trivial pursuit. Our youngest noted that they should have a video game trivia, and few days later, they did. Though we told him not to get his hopes too high because some questions will probably games from before he was born. He knew some. We missed the Harry Potter trivia for our oldest. Husband won the food and drink trivia. Disembarkation: The planned Puerto Rico arrival time was 7:30am, Sunday; when we did not see land outside around 7am, hum set in. We watched the location on the TV – circling. The first announcement was about 8:30 when we were at breakfast; Puerto Rico added new rules that cruise ship had to comply to before docking (since the week before). The Captain and team would follow up with an update in about an hour. When they came back, one rule was quarantining at sea for a few days before docking. So, the new plan was to sail to Miami where clearance was currently granted. A request by the Captain to allow Puerto Rican citizens to disembark was denied, which seems crazy because they are going to fly home after getting to Miami anyway. This update noted a Tuesday morning arrival. Later announcement of opening the satellite phone lines and wi-fi for travel re-arrangements and letting family know. We were not getting through to the airlines to change our flights. Our original flight from SJU was early Tuesday morning, so we expected to fly on the same day. Husband was not sure that he was doing the call correctly – there was a button on the room phone and a code to get out that they gave in to the announcements. We assumed these did the same thing, but being not sure, I called the Service Desk to ask, noting not getting through. She asked the airline and offered to try and connect me if she got through. Since Tuesday morning was the time frame, we got a 3:30 pm flight. Right after I got it changed, I found a note outside saying Tuesday noon arrival and then cruise director staff recommended a 7pm or later flight – doh! On the last night, we saw a lull in the normally very long Service Desk line and asked if they had an earlier disembarkation for those that did not know until later not to book as early of a flight. After asking someone else, they said to just getting off with the first group. When we did, they questioned us, asked flight time, and let us go. The ship arrived about 11am instead. So, though initially concerned, but we had plenty of time. We arrived in Miami an hour earlier than announced. It was good to see a familiar skyline approaching (from a cruise the Nov before). Oh, no, there were lots of police outside; that is concerning. Still not knowing for sure if we would be allowed to get off or under what circumstances. Then someone was brought off the ship in handcuffs and one more escorted off by police. After that, the police presence dropped some. Then we saw our comedian and others on the entertain team disembark – good sign. Then fairly quiet for a while with only trickles of people in the disembarkation ramp to the terminal. We were port side with a great view of the disembarkation proceedings. Then later a better stream of people on the disembarkation ramp, but no announcements or decks called yet. So, we decided to check and were permitted to disembark with a higher deck going then. In the terminal, the process was normal – escalators or wait for an elevator up, through passport control/friendly gentleman, and outside Carnival directed us to the complementary airport shuttles. When at customer service the night before, I noticed custom forms, asked if we needed it, told yes, and filled it out. At passport control, he had not interest in it. We are glad that we got to take a Spring Break cruise with the kids and glad our ship stayed healthy, not taking or picking up the virus from the islands we visited, and still healthy. The world became scary while we were gone. Prayers for nurses, doctors, and first responders; they are working hard now! Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
My Second cruise, Wife's Fourth on Carnival Fascination. Compared to other ships I view while docked in San Juan PR and other islands we stopped at this ship was the smallest, but I wouldn't have known any better because it was ... Read More
My Second cruise, Wife's Fourth on Carnival Fascination. Compared to other ships I view while docked in San Juan PR and other islands we stopped at this ship was the smallest, but I wouldn't have known any better because it was only my second cruise. We chose the Southern Caribbean 6 Island 7 day cruise starting out in San Juan PR because for the price and everyday stops at 6 different islands. We had to fly in from Atlanta, GA on the 8th March 2020 for embarkation and sail to ST Thomas that night arriving in ST Thomas the next morning. Our First day 9 March 2020 our excursion Parasailing was canceled because of bad weather. We left the ship and walked in to the strip shopping plaza in ST Thomas where I made a dumb mistake of stopping at the first souvenir store and payed way too much for a two caps and a shirt, then went to another store and the same items were as much as 50% off, very stupid of me never buy from the first store without doing some comparison shopping. The Second day 10 March 2020 we stopped at ST Marrten and left the ship for our second excursion The Big 3, Flying Dutchman Zip Line, Canopy Chair Ride to the top of the mountain and the Tube slide down the mountain. Definitely not worth the price that they charge and the Tube slide was horrible and dangerous down the mountain. The Flying Dutchman Zip line too time consuming because you had to go through three practice runs on smaller zip lines before you were allowed the 2000Ft drop from the top of the mountain down to the bottom. The Third day 11 March 2020 we arrived in ST Kitts and left the ship for our excursion at the beach. The beach and water was beautiful. But the facilities were run down dilapidated antiquated. The food was horrible there too. Only thing good was getting in the water. Bad excursion not worth the price get a taxi and tour ST Kitts on your own. The Fourth day 12 March 2020, we were supposed to go to ST Lucia but their government would not allow the ship to dock because of the Corona-virus outbreak. So went sailed to Dominica where we never left the ship. We spent that day just walking around on the ship and relaxing. The Fifth day 13 March 2020 we arrived in Barbados where we went on the excursion Best of Barbados beach and family fun.We went to two different beaches the first one was beautiful but very turbulent waters. The second one was okay but had a lot of rocks in the water plus you had to pay $10.00 for your beach chairs, i thought this was ridiculous. the tour guide Andrew remind me of Kevin Hart was a riot so funny him and the bus driver.. Plus we were served Rum Punch, beer and soft drinks the entire time. Better bring some snacks though no food served. the facilities were not that good either. The Sixth day 14 March 2020 was all at sea sailing back to San Juan PR so we just relaxed and tried to find entertainment when and where it was showing according to the ships schedule. Their entertainment can use more improvement and shows especially at night not enough adult shows and entertainment. The Seventh day 15 March 2020 was supposed to return back to San Juan PR for disembarkation from our Southern Caribbean Cruise ship Fascination. However the Puerto Rico Government would not allow the ship to dock because of the Corona-virus. so we had to sail another two days more to Miami Florida where we were allowed to disembark from the ship, very scary too we missed our flight from San Juan to Atlanta and had to buy new tickets from Miami to Atlanta but we considered our selves blessed other people from the ship were left in very worse travel situations than us. Overall, I will not take another cruise on the Carnival Fascination again too small and outdated cruise ship.The food in the Lido deck cafeteria was always very bland and just not very good. Although Guys hamburgers were great at lunchtime. We only used the elegant dinning room once and the food there wasn't good either. The excursions were way over priced and the advertising was very misleading. Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
Thank you for an amazing cruise.Our destination was , St. Thomas, st.kitts, St. Martann Dominka (bc st.lucia closed their boarder) and Barbados Cruise March 1 2020. We enjoyed the entire experience. The rooms, dinning and entertainment on ... Read More
Thank you for an amazing cruise.Our destination was , St. Thomas, st.kitts, St. Martann Dominka (bc st.lucia closed their boarder) and Barbados Cruise March 1 2020. We enjoyed the entire experience. The rooms, dinning and entertainment on board where fantastic. We booked our excursions online before boarding the ship which we enjoyed and was easy to do. Highly suggest that you download the Carnival app onto your phone as its very useful throughout the cruise. We would like to give out a big thank you to Mrs. Joanna our housekeeping manager and the staff who cleaned room M249 as they did a fantastic job always. Highly recommended this ship to anyone looking to enjoy a week out on the waters and exploration. We highly recommended booking the trip "Beach Hopping - Family fun" in Barbados. With an open window bus Andrew will take you to Barbados's two best beaches, and show you around Barbados with music, jokes and fun. Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
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