10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
This was our 14th cruise overall, the 13th with Carnival, and our first as Platinum VIFP guests. We booked the 7-day cruise out of San Juan, going to Eastern and Southern ports. However, Mother Nature had other plans in the forms of ... Read More
This was our 14th cruise overall, the 13th with Carnival, and our first as Platinum VIFP guests. We booked the 7-day cruise out of San Juan, going to Eastern and Southern ports. However, Mother Nature had other plans in the forms of Hurricanes Irma and Maria, which devastated not only San Juan, but several of the destinations. Consequently Carnival canceled the cruise, and offered this 4-day to the Bahamas for only port fees and taxes. So we decided, "why not?" The ship is one of the older/smaller Fantasy class ships, so not as many bells and whistles, which we don't really mind. We like the smaller ships -- 2000 passengers is just about right. (We have no desire to cruise with 6000 of our closest friends!) We had a mid-ship balcony cabin on Empress Deck, our favorite deck for these smaller ships. However, this was the tiniest balcony cabin we had ever had -- no couch nor small table set-up at all, just a bed and 1 straight back chair. Décor and bathroom fixtures had been updated somewhat, and we hated the bathroom updates -- instead of the corner shelves on either side of the mirror, now only one small shelf under the mirror -- room for virtually nothing, LOL. But no big deal. Everything else was in good shape. Our steward was ultra-accommodating and congenial. Our dining room was the centrally-located Sensation Restaurant, where we enjoyed Your Time Dining. It was very-well-run, and we only waited for 10 minutes on the first evening; other nights we just walked right in. Menus were familiar, but we always found something to enjoy, and everything was prepared and presented well. We were happy to see they still offered escargots on one night! Service in the dining room and at the bars was generally excellent. And a first for us -- we made a daily trip to the coffee shop and had lattes -- very nice start to our days. We did the Sea Day Brunch, and also ate breakfast in the MDR every morning. We particularly enjoyed the piano bar with Martin, and the atrium music. We attended two big shows: the Welcome Aboard Show (ugh) and the Divas Show (meh). We went to one adult comedy show and it was good. We got off the ship briefly in both Nassau and Freeport, just long enough for a little shopping, then back on. This was a different cruise for us, and we were just in relax-on-the-balcony mode! Embarkation and debarkation were well-organized and very quick. We are looking forward to being back on the Fascination next year when we try again for the San Juan itineraries. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
What a great trip. Embarkation was effortless, probably because I’m a Platinum member and the ship was sailing well below capacity as it was an unscheduled cruise out of Port Canaveral. Previously, the ship had been home ported in ... Read More
What a great trip. Embarkation was effortless, probably because I’m a Platinum member and the ship was sailing well below capacity as it was an unscheduled cruise out of Port Canaveral. Previously, the ship had been home ported in San Juan. After doing some evacuation work in the Caribbean, she did a brief cruise out of Canaveral for four days to Nassau and Freeport. The cruise was a bargain. My expectations were not great, but the trip really delivered. The ship is a Fantasy Class vessel, well over 20 years old. It was immaculate. Numerous upgrades were present. I can’t really think of anything about this cruise that disappointed me. Having stateroom service only once a day was less than we are used to, but it was completely adequate for our needs. Our stateroom attendant, “Wee” was awesome. Dining was great. One night I ordered off the steakhouse menu and it did not disappoint despite the $20 upcharge. The filet was spectacular. The other offerings, for the other three nights, were fine. I tried things I’ve never had, and when they weren’t exactly to my palette, replacements were enthusiastically provided. The wait staff was terrific. The only real alternative dining experience was the Chef’s Table, which we declined, as I’ve done it many times before. The lido buffet was the usual fare. Everything was tasty and hot. On the one occasion we used room service, it was prompt and tasty. Bar service was a little uneven, but we never had a problem being served. We both bought the Cheers! Package and managed to max it out most evenings. A nice thing about that package is that you can get Grey Goose VX. Superb stuff. After a few Bloody Mary’s in the afternoon, beer was basically free up to your 15 max per day (which I had a problem achieving). The best part of the cruise was running into so many amazing cruise industry professionals. As it was unscheduled, they had notice and made the trip. Awesome group of people. The crowd was more mature than you would normally find out of Canaveral on a “party” cruise. I received so much advise and really want to become a cruise consultant now. We’ll see how that works out. We had an outside stateroom with portholes on the Empress deck. It was perfect for our needs. We had plenty of space and the location was excellent. Again, a great cabin attendant made it even better. Towels were always fresh and we assumed an impressive collection of towel animals. Ice and bottled water were always plentiful. On the last night of the cruise, we learned that the ship was headed for FEMA charter in St. Croix. While this must have been a major disappointment for much of the crew (who depend on tip income), the disappointment was never apparent. This remains my favorite class of Carnival ship. They are smaller and easier to navigate. The tradeoff is more dining and entertainment venues. That said, we never felt disadvantaged. All entertainment was great. The service was good, and the company was excellent. Disembarkation was effortless. We were singled out by Customs and Border Protection, which probably speeded out departure. A word of advice once leaving the port: if you are staying locally, pay the $5 for the resort van. Uber and my usual cab company didn’t respond to my requests for a ride to my condo in Cocoa beach. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
There were 11 total in our party to go sailing to the Bahamas embarking out of Jacksonville, FL. Originally we were to sail on the Elation and we picked the Elation because of the destinations it was taking us to AND it was an upgraded ... Read More
There were 11 total in our party to go sailing to the Bahamas embarking out of Jacksonville, FL. Originally we were to sail on the Elation and we picked the Elation because of the destinations it was taking us to AND it was an upgraded ship. But 4 days before we are to embark we got switched to the Fascination which is an older ship. but we were told it was the same exact sister ship. So We should have gotten a clue of how the rest of the trip was going to be based on that and how disorganized the process was to get on the ship. Our "appointment time" was 12:30-1pm so we arrived at 12noon. We didn't get on the ship until after 2:30pm. It was MAYHEM! No one knew what they were doing and the small space didn't help for over 5000 people to be moving around. But once on the ship we thought to ourselves "ok now the fun can start and we are going to shake that stressful part off our minds". Oh no that didn't happen. all the staff was running around like a chicken with their heads cut off.We didn't get our luggage OR the 12 pack bottle of water that I prepaid to have waiting in our rooms until after 4:30-5pm! And then we even had to go get the luggage OURSELVES! Luggage was piled up by the elevators just sitting there on baggage carts. So we go and try to shake it off ONCE AGAIN - so we go to the bar and have a drink on the Lido Deck. Bartenders were RUDE and didn't care what experience you had getting on the ship or if you are having a good time at all! The whole ship was dirty, outdated,old, and the most unstable I think I have ever heard people talk about! ever! People that sailed before were disgusted at the quality of the ship. We were very disappointed as soon as we stepped outside and looked around. One pool for 2000 people! come on! The food was like a cafeteria quality food and really the servers in the main dining room looked like they hated being there. the only reason our kids had a good time is because they could eat at all hours of the night and it was free food! The comedy show was good the 1st night but downhill after that. No funny jokes and no funny comedians. We didn't get to go on our shore excursion due to be rerouted to Freeport. The one reason I chose this ship sail date was because it wasn't going to Freeport but we ended up being detoured to Freeport anyways. Freeport was a waste of time but we had no choice to try and have a good time. I dont want to save money for 9 months and take time off from my work for a "NO CHOICE" kind of situation ever ever again! we will NEVER EVER EVER GO BACK ON A CARNIVAL CRUISE OR ANOTHER CRUISE AGAIN!! Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
Long time cruisers, Gold CCL members. We booked this cruise for 2 reasons: (1) for a refurbed Elation with a month long dry dock before our cruise date and (2) for HMC. We accept that CCL can't control weather. We are dismayed that CCL ... Read More
Long time cruisers, Gold CCL members. We booked this cruise for 2 reasons: (1) for a refurbed Elation with a month long dry dock before our cruise date and (2) for HMC. We accept that CCL can't control weather. We are dismayed that CCL seemingly threw a SHOULD BE RETIRED Fascination in lieu of a better ship. Jax, moreso than Charleston SC or Port Canaveral seemed to have an inordinate share of rednecks well into their 40s and 50s too loudly cheering and singing for colleges they might have attended too many years ago. When competing team supporters got into the fight song contest, it got old real quick. DO NOT BOOK the Airport Microtel! We booked them 90 days in advance through Booking.com and spoke to people at the property 4 times in the 90 days prior as well as emailed to ensure our late arrival availability. We arrived at 530 pm only to be told that they had cancelled our reservation and had called and left a message. I then pulled out my phone, and yes, they had called at 12:17 pm, while I was driving I 95. They did not, as the desk clerk claimed, leave a message to advise us of the cancellation. They then claimed that we had cancelled it. My question as to why in the hell I'd show up to a hotel I had cancelled has yet to be answered. This property did the same to at least 3 other families. We did find an alternate hotel, at a increased cost of nearly 80 dollars for the night. AVOID THE MICROTEL AIRPORT location. 1. Embarkation. Sailing a day after the LV shootings, we expected some reaction. The shuttle driver did not/could not fasten the rear door closed, and it opened twice during the ride to the port.. Fortunately, no luggage was lost. At the port entrance, an elderly grandfather type port officer stepped into the entry well of our shuttle bus to see photo ID from everyone. Mind you, he never stepped into the bus aisle but requested we hold up a picture ID. Unless his eyesight was laser precise, he missed the fact that the gentleman behind me held up a picture of his grand daughter. The lines to embark were long, slow moving, and tedious. There was no shade, no water station, and one working bathroom for men and another for women. At least there were porters available for both embark and debark. 2. Ship substitution: We booked this cruise specifically for 2 reasons: (1) Elation was undergoing a 30 day refurb and would be practically a new ship, and (2) our first call at HMC. I get that CCL does not control weather. So, Elation was refurb was delayed because of the hurricane and CCL looked around, saw that Fascination could not port in San Juan and threw an old tired ship in as a replacement. Instead of a Preakness racer, we got a tired old horse that should have been put out to pasture years ago. The shows and ‘entertainment’ are lamer than ever. The CD’s accent made him difficult to understand. The majority of the on deck crew were pleasant, yet seemed worn out and were minimally engaging with passengers. Serenity was not, as there were competing groups of rednecks yelling college fight stuff from one hot tub towards the other. Guessing they had no clue as to what serenity means. The hot tubs were lukewarm. 3. HMC port of call was cancelled. We found this out on the first sea day, that in lieu of HMC, Fascination was calling on Nassau, and then on the trailer park of the Caribbean, Freeport. Nassau would normally be ok, but Freeport is in the same league as the faux Mexican tourist rip off South of the Border, in South Carolina. Given that the weather was already iffy (and we grant that CCL has no control over it) CCL should have had some indication that tendering at HMC was going to be improbable at best, and should have advised up before boarding at embarkation, so we could have had a choice to cancel or go. 4. Cabin & Steward: We had cabin M224 configured in a king bed setup. The cabin also has pull down bunks to enable 4 passengers in the cabin. Requested an extension cord for CPAPs 60 days ahead. Was advised a couple of days pre-cruise that we had to bring our own. Our steward, Ariel, made a minimal appearance in the mornings, and vanished. We did need a towel exchange and called his number on the card, getting housekeeping. Requested 4 bath towels. 15 minutes later, we received 4 wash cloths. (Same material, hardly interchangeable) Called again and spoke to a bad attitude housekeeping staff. Finally got towels 90 minutes after asking for them. One towel monkey lasted 5 days. On the 6th, a little heart with a suck up message was left. By then we knew that exceptional service was not in the cards, nor was the expected level of service. 5. Dining: The bright spot of the cruise was our table mates at dinner. We had a great time with them. The menu, sadly, was not as good as the choices at a Golden Corral or any other mass market buffet. The menu needs a revamp STAT! The evening wait staff dancing should be retired. There was no apparent consistency in how bar drinks were made. Margaritas at dinner were much better than at the lobby bar. Buffet lines were not as long, as ship wasn’t at full capacity. Nothing on the lines was remarkably good. Most was ‘meh’ and some was just terrible. Coffee on the Lido was good the first day, turning into deck swill by day 2 onward (thankfully we brought freeze dried and had hot water). Pizza was ok….deli station was just ‘meh’. 6. Shows: Old and disappointing. Sounded to us as if the entertainers were the people who didn’t make it past their local city tryouts for talent shows. The Piano player was uninspiring, unengaging. Entertainment needs a revamp STAT! 7. Casino: Was unforgivably tight for slots and machines other than card games. Felt as if Carnival was trying to make up for excursion revenues and other losses by small, infrequent payouts. Probably should have loosened them to give passengers something to feel positive over. 8. Debarkation: We went to the theater to wait as our cabin was number 21 on the list, and were told to expect a 1030 or so debarkation. The debarkation appeared delayed and, as usual, some people tried to get ahead of the line before their number was called. We were in a group of about 14 people in the theater at 9, and the staff member told us to go ahead and leave. We got off, our bags were already at the 21 area in the terminal, hired a porter and were on the fast track to the shuttle bus. Overall, this was the worst cruise we’ve ever encountered. Weather notwithstanding, the crew seemed overly tired, and barely engaging. The shows were terrible, as was the casino. The ports of call were disappointing. The dinner menus, food, and the Lido stuff was hugely disappointing. This cruise has made us reconsider our relationship with CCL. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
We chose this vacation for the ship that we were suppose to sail on the ELATION, needless to say we were put on the fascination the ship from HELL. Oh ccl was smart they used this to their advantage, get that all mighty dollar no matter ... Read More
We chose this vacation for the ship that we were suppose to sail on the ELATION, needless to say we were put on the fascination the ship from HELL. Oh ccl was smart they used this to their advantage, get that all mighty dollar no matter what the passengers thought.Food was terrible I got food poisoned on the lido deck buffet, ship was old and delapedated. Carnival you may have won because you got the hard earned people's money, but you loose because you have lost the business from a lot of cruisers, and the respect from all. Our cabin had black mold, when we were out of our cabin maintenance came in our room and painted over the mold, so now we had paint fumes to deal with.The doctor on board was a big fat joke, I was in horrible pain, vomiting my head off he just stands there like an idiot and the nurse over rode the dr and gave me a pain injection. Yes, carnival you have got the money from all of us but no more! I will never cruise you AGAIN!!!! Read Less
Sail Date: September 2017
Due to Hurricane Maria causing damage to cruise port in San Juan, the Fascination diverted to Jacksonville for two cruises. I'm platinum and thought we would board quickly. Unfortunately, one of the people in my cabin booked within 24 ... Read More
Due to Hurricane Maria causing damage to cruise port in San Juan, the Fascination diverted to Jacksonville for two cruises. I'm platinum and thought we would board quickly. Unfortunately, one of the people in my cabin booked within 24 hours of sailing which caused confusion at JaxPort. He had to go through security twice and none of the JaxPort staff really didn't know how to handle it. In addition, the wrong cabin keys were in our packet. It took about 40 minutes to board the ship. The ship was clean and the crew was friendly, but nothing really stood out to us. Marcello the CD did his best to keep everyone entertained, but I definitely prefer Matt Mitchum or Jaime Dee. The best part about the cruise was the 80's Glow Light party on the Lido deck. The food was ok, bar service was very slow like they really didn't want to serve you. The last night of the cruise we hit 8 to 10 foot seas. The captain never came on the loud speaker to prepare the guests for the heavy seas! Marcello did come on the speaker to say the bars were still open, but had to cancel one of the shows due to high seas. Just walked around Nassau and didn't even get off the ship in Freeport. Lots of confusion on debarkation. Lots of people blocking the stairs. Probably the most disorganized debarkation I've ever experienced. In conclusion, it was an ok cruise, but not a memorable one. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
Our entire immediate family plus extended family members chose this one as it was the only one that met the most of our requirements. It was a first for Gary and I at 65 yrs old. We flew into San Juan a day early, stayed at the Sheraton. ... Read More
Our entire immediate family plus extended family members chose this one as it was the only one that met the most of our requirements. It was a first for Gary and I at 65 yrs old. We flew into San Juan a day early, stayed at the Sheraton. Staff there were wonderful, especially the concierge. The man was so friendly, helpful and knowledgeable. We were on our way the next day. The ship was big enough to get lost on and absolutely beautiful. Our room was on deck 5 and "Sudi" and his group took great care of us. The room was spotlessly clean every day before we got back from any excursions, fresh water and glasses always available. Family members scattered at each island to go their chosen ways and one of the best memories was dinner when all 12 of us met at our table each day and talked about the things we did and what we saw. Not only was the food incredible (not only at dinner but everywhere), so was our head waiter, Rasvan, and those working with him. One of the BEST times at dinner also was the magician, Rakesh Regan. CARNIVAL - YOU"VE GOT TO KEEP THIS GUY! Shore excursions were really good. We stayed with those associated with Carnival mostly. The helmet dive and Atlantis submarine were highlights as was the tour with a guide named "Delisia", of the Botanical Gardens and Catamarand Tango Two on St. Lucia. A kayak trip was really good also. Everything about this cruise was what a REAL VACATION should be. I've never been treated better anywhere. When we began our cruise Harvey was pounding land north of us, at its end Irma was snapping at our heels. Our hearts go out to all the people we met of the islands, from the concierge and Sheraton staff in San Juan, to Juan, a very special bus driver on St. Martin on our last island tour. We pray you made it out safely. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
The staff did a commendable job of entertaining and facilitating the passengers during what could have been a disastrous experience! Our schedule had to deviate from its original plan to stay clear of Hurricane torn destinations (St. ... Read More
The staff did a commendable job of entertaining and facilitating the passengers during what could have been a disastrous experience! Our schedule had to deviate from its original plan to stay clear of Hurricane torn destinations (St. Thomas and Saint Martin) by making stops in Grenada and Antigua. We ended up staying at sea an additional two days as our port of origin (San Juan, Puerto Rico) sustained heavy damage while we were at sea and could not return. Instead we were re-routed to Miami where our cruise concluded and had to re-book flights. The Cruise Director, Captain and staff kept us as informed as they were able to, making onboard entertainment adjustments on the spot to cater to us all! In fact, due to the storm damage left in the wake of Hurricane Maria, only residents were permitted to disembark when we arrived back in San Juan. If they decided to continue with the rest of us (which several passengers did, then Carnival had arranged return airfare home for the Puerto Rican travelers at NO expense! YOU WERE AMAZING CARNIVAL AND ONCE AGAIN PROVED TO ME WHY YOU HAVE BEEN OUR CARRIER OF CHOICE THROUGHOUT OUR CRUISING HISTORY! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2017
I'd like to think that the problems with this cruise had more to do with Hurricane Maria than anything, but the hurricane was only a very small part of the issue. My first Carnival cruise was so wonderful I never saw this experience ... Read More
I'd like to think that the problems with this cruise had more to do with Hurricane Maria than anything, but the hurricane was only a very small part of the issue. My first Carnival cruise was so wonderful I never saw this experience coming, on my second! Customer service was anything but... very long lines to speak to anybody (an hour or longer), only two persons working the guest service desk, and as quickly as you asked them a question and they responded, they moved on to other guest without ever asking if that answered your question or took care of your problem. If it did not, you had to get in line all over again to follow up, and they didn't want to help you any more the second or third time around either. I paid for a Grand Suite, which was advertised to come with Faster to the Fun benefits. When we arrived we were confirmed as Faster to the Fun by the porters taking luggage. They directed us to our VIP check in, where again we were treated very well and confirmed as Faster to the Fun. After needing assistance from guest service and waiting in line for more than 30 minutes we finally made it to the window... the Faster to the Fun window is what opened up. The guest service representative told us that we would not be helped at that window again and were not Faster to the Fun, as we hadn't paid extra for it. When we asked for the problem to be addressed, we were directed to the Shore Excursion Desk, where we waited in line again. That desk advised that only SOME Faster to the Fun benefits would be ours and we should look for a letter in our suite, advising us of this. No letter. They told us to check with Guest Services for a letter; I refused another 30 minute wait I line. They had a supervisor bring us the letter and then dismissed us. Letter said we needed a special sticker on our card; no sticker. Waited in line another 30 minutes to get the missing sticker but they refused to give one to my aging mother, who could not stand I that long line; no appearance, no sticker. One line after another, no service in either. That was the first day. Every day thereafter was more of the same callous treatment. Spa staff was horrific and was nothing but a daily bait and switch. Will never sail with Carnival again. There was just no reason for the bait and switch they pulled at every opportunity, for the art dealer who knocked at our stateroom door demanding to come in and show us artwork we didn't want, then making my sister dig through the trash to return a $200 off coupon that was left in our cabin since we weren't going to buy their art, and the guest service and shore excursion fiascos. Let's not even talk about Hurricane Maria - they wrecked this cruise before the hurricane ever became a factor! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
I along with almost 50 friends and family were on the Fascination, Southern Caribbean cruise on September 3 and feel I have to post the wonderful way this cruise ship handled our cruise. We were blessed because we went to St. Thomas ... Read More
I along with almost 50 friends and family were on the Fascination, Southern Caribbean cruise on September 3 and feel I have to post the wonderful way this cruise ship handled our cruise. We were blessed because we went to St. Thomas first so we missed the weather there and it hit Puerto Rico early enough that it did not impact our flight out of there on September 10. We were not able to go to St. Maarten because Irma had already hit there but the captain was amazing in keeping us up to date on what was going on. Before I got back to my cabin after listening to his announcement there was already a letter under my door outlining the situation and explaining there would be a return of taxes and port charges on our sail and sign card which totally surprised me and I have to say was not my first thought. The staff did a fantastic job of now changing to accommodate the fact that they would now have us on board for a sea day that was not planned and you would not have known this was not a part of our original itinerary. We had no rough waters at all as a result of the storm and my hat really goes off to the guest service crew because they were busy ALL the time but always helpful and polite. I bought the internet package but was unable to get through to the airline and my transportation service so I was given a code to use the phone in my cabin at no cost to me. Thank you Carnival Fascination from my family and friends because a lot of them had never cruised before and this was a wonderful trip for this despite the devastation of the situation. Read Less
Carnival Fascination Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.2
Dining 3.0 3.9
Entertainment 3.0 3.7
Public Rooms 3.0 4.1
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.8
Family 4.0 3.8
Shore Excursion 3.0 3.7
Enrichment 1.0 3.4
Service 3.0 4.3
Value For Money 4.0 4.1
Rates 3.0 4.2

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