7 Jacksonville Fitness Cruise Reviews

This was only our second cruise and they were 32 years apart. Great value, we enjoyed the shows the comedians the food even though they charge extra now for lobster...The weather was a bit cool and we only got sun on the last day. The ... Read More
This was only our second cruise and they were 32 years apart. Great value, we enjoyed the shows the comedians the food even though they charge extra now for lobster...The weather was a bit cool and we only got sun on the last day. The room steward William was very attentive and straightened up our room at least 2 or more times daily. He called us by our first names and made sure our room was always very clean. I wiped to check for dust up high but found none. The dining room waiters Chris were the same great service. Everyone who works for Carnival was exceptionally happy and friendly..The gym was like anytime fitness gym, modern equipment and plenty of it, nice steam and sauna rooms and spa treatments including massage and acupuncture. We paid extra for the message and acupuncture and also my wife got her hair done before dress up night in the main dining room, Great service everywhere on board Read Less
Sail Date February 2016
I went on this cruise with 2 of my friends. We did not really know what to expect as we all were first time cruisers. Boarding the ship was very easy. We got to the port by 10am. By the time we went through customs and then checked-in it ... Read More
I went on this cruise with 2 of my friends. We did not really know what to expect as we all were first time cruisers. Boarding the ship was very easy. We got to the port by 10am. By the time we went through customs and then checked-in it was 11am. We had to sit and wait to bored the ship until noon. It was very organized and there was no problem boarding. We did have to wait till 2pm to get into our room which was not a problem. There was plenty of food to eat for lunch as well as a DJ playing music. During the cruise we had amazing servers for dinner. The food was AMAZING! Our rooms were kept very clean. The service was beyond what we could have asked for. The servers at dinner remembered our names and so did the cleaning staff. I was very impressed. The ship was older but it was kept very clean. The shows where pretty good, I thought the girls could have dressed a little better but the shows where great. Ports where awesome as well. We went to Atlantis which is a MUST for families. It was worth all that we spent even though it was a cold day it was the best experience and for sure a memory of a lifetime. The slides where great, the free lunch was amazing (we had the pizza) the staff there was very friendly. The tour was short and sweet and our lady took us back to see them fed the fish. Half moon kay was a great stop as well. Lunch on the beach was very good. The ocean was really warm. I would say get off early to get a chair. We left and went back to ship after about an hour which was great. The ship was empty and we enjoyed the quietness! The way back we hit rough seas so we stayed in our room a lot, I would recommend taking meds along as well wearing a band. Thats what we did and we were fine. Once we docked and got of the ship we decided to go on another cruise! Mexico here we come! Read Less
Sail Date November 2012
I must first start by saying the first cruise my wife and I took was aboard Celebrity. We enjoyed our time on that cruise on were hoping for the same. We quickly figured out that was not going to be the case on this particular trip. Upon ... Read More
I must first start by saying the first cruise my wife and I took was aboard Celebrity. We enjoyed our time on that cruise on were hoping for the same. We quickly figured out that was not going to be the case on this particular trip. Upon arriving at the Cruise port(about 2pm), we waited in line for security and cruise check in until almost 3:30pm. While waiting in line, we were surrounded by other cruisers who were very rowdy and unruly. One of the groups around us included 6 adults and 14 teenagers! This wasnt the start we were looking for. We quickly figured out that this cruise was at least a step or more down from the Celebrity cruise we took a few years back. This cruise was a little cheaper as far as price, but the atmosphere was not what we were looking for. We did not feel like the service was very personable either. The cabin attendant only spoke to us twice, the waiters for dinner were nice but not as impressive at the ones we had on Celebrity. I did enjoy however getting to know several dealers in the casino. They were very nice and provided very good conversations. The food was pretty good. No fault of the Carnival, but we didnt enjoy either of the our ports of call, Freeport and Nassau. This cruise is fine if its your first time, you are looking for this type of crowd, or if you are looking to save some money. We will definitely not be cruising on Carnival ever again. I would rather spend a little extra money and sail with a better company! Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
Nine of us embarked from Jacksonville on the Carnival Fascination. Embarkation was really quite smooth/easy. We arrived at noon, went through the line fairly quickly, and immediately went to the pool bar on the Lido deck. While on the ... Read More
Nine of us embarked from Jacksonville on the Carnival Fascination. Embarkation was really quite smooth/easy. We arrived at noon, went through the line fairly quickly, and immediately went to the pool bar on the Lido deck. While on the Lido deck, an announcement notified everyone that all cabins would be ready at 1:30. We attempted to go sooner, but the doors to the hallways were closed. So, at 1:30 we headed down, changed into our bathing suits (we had packed 'em in our carry-on), and quickly headed back up to the pool bar. The ship is in good shape, especially considering its age. It's one of the smallest I've been on, so that made it fairly easy to keep up with members of our group. I was surprised to find out we did not have voicemail on our cabin phones, though (although, I didn't really try too hard to figure it out, so it could've been there after all). The steward always kept our cabin very clean and tidy. We had a midship oceanview cabin on the Empress deck (I've gotta have a window, although I would prefer a balcony) and its location made it easy to get to everything. I could feel movement almost all the time (throughout the ship), but it was tolerable (kinda fun, actually). The first dinner was "come as you are", and some (most) people did --- I was embarrassed for many. I'm not saying everyone should've dressed up, I'm just saying there's a level of self-respect that many of them lacked. It wasn't so bad at the other dinners, though. For the most part, the food was good, but there were a few ordinary items. On "elegant night" (they don't call it formal night anymore), two of the choices were lobster and prime rib. The lobster was very good, but the prime rib was extraordinary....the BEST I've ever had....it melted in my mouth. Speaking of "melting", the Chocolate Melting Cake was deeeee-lish too! I had read somewhere on Cruise Critic that punch is always available on the Lido deck, but I never could find it. Lemonade was all I could find, and I'm not a fan. I've been to Freeport and Nassau previously, so I pretty much knew what to expect. We should've stayed on the ship while in Freeport, but others wanted to go into town, so I went along. We took a taxi ($5 each way) to shopping and the beach (Port Lucaya, I think?). We ended up walking behind the Radisson Hotel and hanging out at a nice beach bar there. Nassau was much nicer, and there's no need to take a taxi anywhere because the dock is adjacent to the main part of town. However, we did take a water taxi ($3 each way) to Paradise Island so we could check out Atlantis. Paradise Island was the nicest of all, and Atlantis was even more amazing now than it was when I first saw it several years ago. If you want to go to Atlantis' beach, you can pay $35 by entering through Atlantis, or you can walk and walk and walk around the outside of Atlantis, down the street, through the sand, and to the back side of Atlantis to the restaurant/bar for free....that's what we did, but it was exhausting (the conch fritters were excellent!). Then you can exit through Atlantis with ease. I wasn't too fond of waiting and waiting for the next water taxi to take us back, so I wish we had taken a regular taxi instead. I almost forgot to mention how CROWDED Nassau was....there were SIX ships in port that day (five too many, in my opinion). And I learned an interesting tidbit of information from our "tour guide" on the water taxi (who, by the way, will be asking you to tip him for his services). He said they were dredging out the harbor to allow TWELVE to FIFTEEN ships to dock there in the future!!! How in the world can Nassau accommodate ALL THOSE PEOPLE??? Just another good reason to STAY ON THE SHIP! The entertainment on the ship was fine. The stage shows were ok....I guess it's just not my thing. I always find it entertaining to watch karaoke, and my fiancE tricked me into going on stage to sing "Puppy Love"....it was my first time and I was shaking like a leaf, but I survived. One of the comedians was kinda lame; the other was much better, but beware of the language at the late-night show (it's not for everyone, I don't mind eff bombs so much, but I can live without the GDs). The Passage to India night club was the favorite of my group (our ages ranged from late thirties to the early sixties). The disco (I think it was called the Diamond Disco) was always packed with younger people. At least half the people on board were not sunbathers, so we never had a problem getting enough deck chairs together to accommodate our entire group. I was very surprised at the number of children onboard --- shouldn't they have been in school??? They usually congregated in the pool area, so we opted for the opposite side of the stage or the next deck up for our relaxation. Our favorite day was the "day at sea". The weather started out kinda gloomy, but the captain steered us around until he found the sun (around noon)! They had a band on deck, a few trivia games, an ice carving demonstration....just small things to distract us ever so slightly from our sunbathing/relaxing/drinking. Ahhhhh....my real life is great, but cruisin' is awesome! Read Less
Sail Date October 2009
This was our first Carnival cruise. We live in Jacksonville, but had previously only sailed on Royal Caribbean's Sovereign of the Seas out of Port Canaveral. Those three trips were pleasant, but the two and 1/2 hour drive home was ... Read More
This was our first Carnival cruise. We live in Jacksonville, but had previously only sailed on Royal Caribbean's Sovereign of the Seas out of Port Canaveral. Those three trips were pleasant, but the two and 1/2 hour drive home was not, so we decided to give the Fascination a shot. I originally booked an interior room on the Verandah deck, but a Carnival agent called a couple of weeks before departure and offered a balcony suite for only $340 more for both my husband and me, so I jumped on the opportunity. The biggest upside to that upgrade was the VIP embarkation & debarkation. My father in law dropped us off at the port at about 12:30, and we went straight through the VIP entrance to the VIP waiting area, where we waited about 10 minutes before being checked in and personally escorted to the gangway. Once on board we familiarized ourselves with the ship and headed to our cabin. The suite was very nicely appointed with a king size bed, mini-bar with refrigerator, and couch. Our steward came by to introduce himself and inform us of the cabin service schedule, and he was absolutely delightful. For a fifteen year-old ship, the Fascination is in remarkably good shape. All of the areas we visited were extremely clean. When we vacation, we keep things very casual, so we didn't visit the dining room at all during the cruise. We ate all of our meals at the Coconut Bar and Grill, which had a good variety of food from day-to-day, ranging from spicy fried chicken to prime rib to baked ziti with a number of varied side items and baked potato bar. The breakfast was standard fare; scrambled eggs, ham, grits, oatmeal, bacon, etc., and of course the usual cereals and yogurts. There was an omelet station available outside on the Lido deck, which also served fresh eggs to order. The selection of fruit was very good at every meal. The pizzeria and deli are open 24/7, and we particularly enjoyed the hot grilled panini. I had a couple of reubens that were pretty tasty. The salad bars offered just about anything you could think of to put on a salad, and the produce was fresh. The deserts were just so-so, however. We did get cake delivered by room service that was much better than that served in the grill. Room service, by the way, was prompt. Every morning we asked for coffee to be delivered between 7-8 a.m., and it never arrived later than 7:10. The bar staff at all of the bars was very pleasant. The drink service in the casino was outstanding. We had one particular waiter who memorized our names and drink orders and never let us sit with an empty glass. Speaking of the casino, a couple whom we met the first day of the cruise won their choice of a BMW or $25,000 cash on the 2 cent slots, so the advertisement of the BMW prize is not a gimmick! They happily took the cash. Our day at Half Moon Cay was really nice. The tenders only take a couple of minutes to get you to the island, and there were plenty of activities for all ages once ashore. I staked out a couple of lounge chairs early and relaxed while my husband snorkeled for a while. He wasn't overly impressed with the snorkeling...he said there were barely any fish and no interesting formations to explore, just sand. Bar service on the island is pretty good, and we had a pretty decent lunch there...hamburgers and hot dogs and the like. Nothing too fancy, but they do a good job under the circumstances. We are definitely going to try the horseback riding the next time. Those folks looked like they had a really good time. We tend to go to bed early, so we did not see any of the shows. We did, however, attend the "Newlywed/Not so Newlywed Game" and it was a scream. The cruise director, Felipe, is a riot. He gave the debarkation talk the day before arriving back at port, and it was hilarious as well as very informative. I recommend attending so that debarkation is a smooth experience. To sum up, the Fascination is a great ship (soon to be even better after a dry dock renovation), and the staff were all just wonderful. Debarkation was a breeze...another perk to the VIP status we got along with our suite. The VIP passengers waited in the "Puttin on the Ritz" lounge and were the first called after the self-assist passengers got off. We were escorted to the gangway by a member of the staff, and from there it was a five to ten minute trip to gather luggage and breeze through customs. Brother in law picked us up, and we were home by 10:45! Read Less
Sail Date October 2009
This was our first cruise. We had heard good things about Carnival from our travel agent, and a friend who is a travel agent. So we went into our voyage expecting to have an enjoyable experience. Overall, the ship was well ... Read More
This was our first cruise. We had heard good things about Carnival from our travel agent, and a friend who is a travel agent. So we went into our voyage expecting to have an enjoyable experience. Overall, the ship was well maintained, with the staff doing an excellent job keeping the older vessel clean and presentable. There was the exception of some hot tub maintenance (painting) with guests aboard rather than in port in between guest's departure and arrival. We were pleased with the facilities, especially the room size, and pampering, provided by our cabin steward ("Gamma" E deck). The international staff was wonderful to interact with, and met or exceeded our expectations, even while serving guests that were often rude. Your staff was professional, polite and made us feel welcome from the moment we stepped on board with only a couple exceptions that I will now mention. GUESTS aboard the ship is my main complaint. We were unpleasantly surprised by pants hanging down with underwear showing, loud and often obnoxious with plenty of four letter swear words hurled across the ears of other guests, including other guest's children. Dressing in bathing suits, tank tops, unbuttoned shirts, and bath robes at the main dining facilities was more than distasteful. "Keep it at the pool area, and your bathrobes in your room please." is all it would have taken from a crew member to the passenger to rectify it. No one asked/reminded them to dress appropriately. Twice the pool was shut down, due to people defecating in them!!! I think the key word people should realize is that they are still GUESTS, and should behave accordingly. We had to call security 4 evenings out of our 5 night cruise These people kept us up all night, every night, except one in which we resorted to ear plugs. The guests were allowed to be loud, and obnoxious. They also spilled drinks and food in the hallways. In spite of making many calls to the guest services/security it was never resolved. When security would make a brief appearance, they would ask the guest to keep the noise down and leave. This would only make our rude neighbors angrier. She waited for security to leave, then began shouting in the halls threatening to knock on our door and keeping us up for calling security. This provided a horrible feeling of anxiety and frustration to be harassed and threatened, especially knowing the Carnival security was not willing to do anything to take control of the situation. I can assure you, had he attempted to strike at me, we would have been more than capable of ending the confrontation, but of course chose to walk away from someone with a chip on their shoulder and no manners. We aren't snotty prudes. We're both prior military and have traveled exstensively throughout the world in less than luxury conditions to say the least. We did meet some wonderful couples and even enjoyed the hot tubs, pools and disco where we met some fun and polite passengers. I realize this is a "fun ship" but the sleeping areas should be left for sleeping, and the partying up on Lido where it belongs. Not at all "fun" for us. Our two days in port at Half Moon Cay and Nassau were exhausting from lack of sleep. We simply cannot fathom Carnival being so desperate for passengers it allows blatant rudeness, disrespect, and vulgarity from one group of passengers towards another. If fellow passengers were rude to us, one can only imagine the disrespect and rudeness they directed towards the crew, and how discouraging that must be for people who are working so hard to give you a good experience. On another evening we were in the Diamond Club attempting to exit the doorway which it was obstructed by a man taking pictures with two security crew members. After the picture was taken, they all remained in the doorway talking. After saying excuse me several times we tried squeezing past the other passenger and a security crew member. Maybe we can blame the noise from the Club, which was empty, but our efforts to cordially excuse ourselves were met with the guest cursing my finance and getting in our face hurling threats because we "bumped" into him. Then he went on to claim we made him smash his watch against the glass. (impossible, because our bodies were between him and the glass. The smashing came when he threw up his arm and turned to curse at us and cause a scene) Not only did the man not move, security did not ask him to either. They placidly stood by; failing to prevent or control what could have turned into a violent confrontation. When we asked the security man if he was going to do anything about the other guest's rude and vulgar behavior, we were told everything is OK and they asked US to leave the area so the man wouldn't get even more upset. We also opted for a power snorkel excursion suggested on Carnival's main site. They give you a little speech about who all the houses belong to on the way out, and how much they cost, then drop you in a cloudy channel to snorkel in a small area between point a and b. The power units were a waste of money, as the only point to snorkel was about 20 feet off the boat, so all the people were concentrated in that one area. Many flippers to the face. When that was over, we got off the boat, grabbed a public bus, which no one mentions as an option, and hopped off to an amazing spot with no people, and prolific sea life of all manner for a couple hours. It redeemed the disappointing morning/paid for snorkel trip suggested by Carnival. Cruise Director speech about disembarkation. He LIED about "new information, that NO ONE knew about yet, that had just changed regarding customs". Completely not true. He LIED about some little old lady winning a free cruise and how she had filled out her comment card. He spent most of the instructional speech trying to sell videos and placing GUILT upon the passengers on exactly how to fill out the comment card; that every single column, that was applicable, should be marked "exceeds expectations", if we didn't hate the cruise. Also a hard push for giving extra tips/money to specific people. I do not appreciate being lied to, manipulated, and conned. Only five minutes was spent on the actual directions for leaving the boat in the morning out of 40 minutes. I would like to believe this was all his own doing, but Carnival must give crew very specific instructions and prepared speeches to perform with each cruise, and if "Carnival" wasn't aware of it, The Captain, Maitre d', and other crew members most certainly are aware. Other than that, we actually had an enjoyable time, enough so, that we are hooked on cruising from here on out as a vacation as a couple, and cannot wait to take our 6 kids with us as well, who are very well mannered, but we will never take this cruise route again. We will likely go to the Western Caribbean next, then Asia, Hawaii, Central and South America, and the Baltic States. Certainly another cruise line if this is standard operating procedure from Carnival. I sincerely hope this experience on Fascination isn't the norm. Read Less
Sail Date September 2009
The service on the cruise was fantastic. Our rooms were always made up and the hospitality staff always had a smile for us. In the dining room our waiter always made sure that we never had to wait for anything and the maitre d' ... Read More
The service on the cruise was fantastic. Our rooms were always made up and the hospitality staff always had a smile for us. In the dining room our waiter always made sure that we never had to wait for anything and the maitre d' checked in with us at every meal to ensure good quality service. We noticed a lot of children when we boarded but never really saw them again for the duration of the cruise. We appreciated how much they would let us take on the ship (in the way of beverages). We each were permitted to take a case of pop, water and a bottle of wine. This way we did not have to spend anything extra in the way of beverages. We also appreciated the Captains cocktail (prior to the formal dinner) and its unlimited selection of complimentary drinks. They also handed out free drinks in the liquor store both during the initial sales pitch on the first night and upon request during the rest of the week. The ship was a little more shabby then I expected but the crew did a great job keeping it clean. The rooms were plenty spacious and everything was clean and well kept. I did not really like the shows (that due mostly to personal taste) with the exception of the comedian/juggling show, which was actually really funny. TIP: Be sure to arrive early for the shows because there is a lot of bad seats in the palace and the only good ones are on the floor along the center aisle. The cruise director was really great and would never fail to get the whole room laughing in mere seconds. Overall though the cruise was a little less ritzy then what we were used to, we had a really great time and would go on this ship or another carnival ship again sometime. Read Less
Sail Date February 2009

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