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Just back off the Fascination for a 5 night sail to Nassau and Little Stirrup Cay. Overall, this was an outstanding cruise. There were four of us: myself, my wife, and or two children. Here is the breakdown: Embarkation We had a grand suite so we had priority embarkation. I am a little selfish here, but for those of us that are spending as much as we did on a suite, there should not be any Faster to the Fun sales allowed to get on prior to us. I know this sounds childish and we are all leaving at the same time, but it is just one of the few perks that should be granted to the suites and up as before. I even prefer having Diamond and Platinum members to get on prior to anyone, but the FTF cruisers got on before them too. The process though at the port was outstanding and they were very quick through security. Cabin We had cabin U80, a grand suite. We requested to have the room decorated for our kids birthdays and it was taken care of prior to us arriving. The room itself was very nice with ample space, but to be honest, part of me wishes I had just reserved a standard balcony cabin. With the small amount of time spent in the cabin, we would have been just fine with a standard cabin. My biggest issue was if the mattress in that cabin was part of the Carnival Comfort collection, then I will eat the mattress. It was the most uncomfortable mattress I have ever slept on since the new collection was put on the ships. I could not tell much difference between the couch the kids slept on and the mattress. Food The food on the ship was pretty much really good. I was disappointed with the Prime Rib and Chateaubriand. The quality was quite poor and the meat was rubbery. The Lobster and most all of the other dishes were outstanding though. Carnival really seems to be pushing you to pay the extra $20 to get quality meat on your plate. The brunch was outstanding as well as all the breakfast items we ate. Time in between the courses was perfect. We utilized “Your Time Dining” for this trip since we had the kids and we were able to get the same waiter for most of the nights. Our next cruise on the Breeze in June will see us selecting a set time for dining. Of course, the Warm Chocolate Melting cake was fantastic! Service Just about every person on the ship was extremely friendly and always quick to say hello. Our room steward was ok, I saw her interact much more with other guests, but that’s ok. The room was always kept clean and the beds made. Where we ran into issues was by utilizing the Cheers program. Once a bar waiter found out you were on the Cheers program, they seemed to forget you existed. Getting drinks took forever and it honestly could be 30 minutes before you finally got a second round. I spoke with them about how they get their tips from pre-paid and they said that everyone that serves you a drink shares in the pre-paid gratuity, but that it is a smaller share of the overall tip than normal. I really wish Carnival would not add the pre-paid gratuity and instead have the server add it every time your order a drink. I always felt like crap when I ordered a drink and added no additional tip. By the end of the cruise I was adding an additional dollar or two to the receipt just so I could get better service. It ended up costing me an additional $50 over the cost of the Cheers program itself. Our waiter, Charlie, was spectacular. He was always smiling and very helpful. He remembered our names by the second night and had our kids dancing with him for the songs. They loved it! Whenever we saw him on the ship he always asked where his Princess Savannah was or called to her as Princess Savannah. He truly was a great guy. Ship Lots of people comment about how this ship is really showing its age. Well that is crap! The Fascination just had a complete overhaul with new carpet, furniture, Waterworks, and interior items. She looks great and was not at all tacky in the old Joe Fargus way of interior design. The only time there were lines for food was at the Mongolian Grill and that was because the food was so good. The new Carnival Waterworks was great. My kids even got me up on the big slide quite a few times. It makes me look forward to the Waterworks on the Breeze, that looks like a blast! Other posters have said there was a sewage smell on board and I never smelled it. Not sure what they are talking about. Cruise Director Adam was a complete joke. He is part of the new group of young cruise directors that have lost the ability to interact with a crowd without using canned jokes. The last night he pulled out the “10 dumbest things asked on a cruise ship” and said that he just added a few of these during this cruise. Well, that is a lie. The Top Ten list is used by all the CDs and it should be presented that way. This was my 8th cruise with Carnival and he was by far the worst CD I have ever had. He did not seem to be able to connect with the crowd and was just going through the motions. Maybe the days of the old cruise directors are gone and that is a sad thought. I watched him the few times you actually saw him around the ship and he rarely talked with passengers. Shows and Activities We went to the Divas show and it wsa just ok. A few of the "singers" really could not sing. The guest show was great! I hope every ship does this. I also got the behind the scenes tour which was really good. The only complaint I have is that when we got to the Bridge, no one really explained how things work or how the processes go. We met the cabin and he asked if we had any questions. No one really knew what to ask. Wish that was a little more informative. Camp Carnival My kids fell in love with Camp Carnival. My daughter rarely wanted to hang with us and spent most of her sea days and port nights in Camp Carnival. They always had a craft or activity for her to do and she loved it so much. My son was in the Circle C program which meant he got a little more responsibility by being able to come and go as he wanted to. Most of his activities started around 8 or 8:30 and we never saw him until after 12:30 or 1:00. We trusted the director to keep the kids in line and she provided a lot of cool things for this age group to do. Overall I am biased to Carnival as that is all I have ever chosen to sail on. We really enjoyed this cruise and especially the stop off in Little Stirrup Cay. We could have spent two days there rather than one day in Nassau. Carnival is definitely starting to pull back on some things like the quality of the beef served at dinner, but I can accept that with the price I pay. If I really wanted to spend more, I could, and then choose another cruise line. But unless you go to Princess or someone of that caliber, you are just wasting your money.  

Great Time on the Fascination

Carnival Fascination Cruise Review by macsdad4

Trip Details
  • Sail Date: October 2014
  • Destination: Bahamas
  • Cabin Type: Grand Suite
Just back off the Fascination for a 5 night sail to Nassau and Little Stirrup Cay. Overall, this was an outstanding cruise. There were four of us: myself, my wife, and or two children. Here is the breakdown:
Embarkation
We had a grand suite so we had priority embarkation. I am a little selfish here, but for those of us that are spending as much as we did on a suite, there should not be any Faster to the Fun sales allowed to get on prior to us. I know this sounds childish and we are all leaving at the same time, but it is just one of the few perks that should be granted to the suites and up as before. I even prefer having Diamond and Platinum members to get on prior to anyone, but the FTF cruisers got on before them too. The process though at the port was outstanding and they were very quick through security.
Cabin
We had cabin U80, a grand suite. We requested to have the room decorated for our kids birthdays and it was taken care of prior to us arriving. The room itself was very nice with ample space, but to be honest, part of me wishes I had just reserved a standard balcony cabin. With the small amount of time spent in the cabin, we would have been just fine with a standard cabin. My biggest issue was if the mattress in that cabin was part of the Carnival Comfort collection, then I will eat the mattress. It was the most uncomfortable mattress I have ever slept on since the new collection was put on the ships. I could not tell much difference between the couch the kids slept on and the mattress.
Food
The food on the ship was pretty much really good. I was disappointed with the Prime Rib and Chateaubriand. The quality was quite poor and the meat was rubbery. The Lobster and most all of the other dishes were outstanding though. Carnival really seems to be pushing you to pay the extra $20 to get quality meat on your plate. The brunch was outstanding as well as all the breakfast items we ate. Time in between the courses was perfect. We utilized “Your Time Dining” for this trip since we had the kids and we were able to get the same waiter for most of the nights. Our next cruise on the Breeze in June will see us selecting a set time for dining.
Of course, the Warm Chocolate Melting cake was fantastic!
Service
Just about every person on the ship was extremely friendly and always quick to say hello. Our room steward was ok, I saw her interact much more with other guests, but that’s ok. The room was always kept clean and the beds made. Where we ran into issues was by utilizing the Cheers program. Once a bar waiter found out you were on the Cheers program, they seemed to forget you existed. Getting drinks took forever and it honestly could be 30 minutes before you finally got a second round. I spoke with them about how they get their tips from pre-paid and they said that everyone that serves you a drink shares in the pre-paid gratuity, but that it is a smaller share of the overall tip than normal. I really wish Carnival would not add the pre-paid gratuity and instead have the server add it every time your order a drink. I always felt like crap when I ordered a drink and added no additional tip. By the end of the cruise I was adding an additional dollar or two to the receipt just so I could get better service. It ended up costing me an additional $50 over the cost of the Cheers program itself.
Our waiter, Charlie, was spectacular. He was always smiling and very helpful. He remembered our names by the second night and had our kids dancing with him for the songs. They loved it! Whenever we saw him on the ship he always asked where his Princess Savannah was or called to her as Princess Savannah. He truly was a great guy.
Ship
Lots of people comment about how this ship is really showing its age. Well that is crap! The Fascination just had a complete overhaul with new carpet, furniture, Waterworks, and interior items. She looks great and was not at all tacky in the old Joe Fargus way of interior design. The only time there were lines for food was at the Mongolian Grill and that was because the food was so good.
The new Carnival Waterworks was great. My kids even got me up on the big slide quite a few times. It makes me look forward to the Waterworks on the Breeze, that looks like a blast!
Other posters have said there was a sewage smell on board and I never smelled it. Not sure what they are talking about.
Cruise Director
Adam was a complete joke. He is part of the new group of young cruise directors that have lost the ability to interact with a crowd without using canned jokes. The last night he pulled out the “10 dumbest things asked on a cruise ship” and said that he just added a few of these during this cruise. Well, that is a lie. The Top Ten list is used by all the CDs and it should be presented that way. This was my 8th cruise with Carnival and he was by far the worst CD I have ever had. He did not seem to be able to connect with the crowd and was just going through the motions. Maybe the days of the old cruise directors are gone and that is a sad thought. I watched him the few times you actually saw him around the ship and he rarely talked with passengers.
Shows and Activities
We went to the Divas show and it wsa just ok. A few of the "singers" really could not sing. The guest show was great! I hope every ship does this. I also got the behind the scenes tour which was really good. The only complaint I have is that when we got to the Bridge, no one really explained how things work or how the processes go. We met the cabin and he asked if we had any questions. No one really knew what to ask. Wish that was a little more informative.
Camp Carnival
My kids fell in love with Camp Carnival. My daughter rarely wanted to hang with us and spent most of her sea days and port nights in Camp Carnival. They always had a craft or activity for her to do and she loved it so much.
My son was in the Circle C program which meant he got a little more responsibility by being able to come and go as he wanted to. Most of his activities started around 8 or 8:30 and we never saw him until after 12:30 or 1:00. We trusted the director to keep the kids in line and she provided a lot of cool things for this age group to do.
Overall
I am biased to Carnival as that is all I have ever chosen to sail on. We really enjoyed this cruise and especially the stop off in Little Stirrup Cay. We could have spent two days there rather than one day in Nassau. Carnival is definitely starting to pull back on some things like the quality of the beef served at dinner, but I can accept that with the price I pay. If I really wanted to spend more, I could, and then choose another cruise line. But unless you go to Princess or someone of that caliber, you are just wasting your money.
 
macsdad4’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
Entertainment
Cabin
Fitness & Recreation
Shore Excursions
Ages 7 to 9
Ages 10 to 12
Service
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Cabin Review

Grand Suite
Cabin GS U80
Great cabin
Upper Deck Inside Cabins, Outside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins