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My family and I used to go to Disney every year and thought it was a good idea to change things up a little bit. We wanted something fun for everyone in the group (56, 46, 16, 14) and that was hot since we live in Canada and don't like going on vacation to somewhere cold, so we all finally decided on a cruise as my parents had been for their honeymoon many years ago and really enjoyed it. We chose this crusie as a starter because it was on a older, smaller ship to see if we liked it or not and it ended up being a great decisioin. The only problem we had with the vacation as a whole was Jacksonville. Our Crusie left on Monday so we decided to fly in on Sunday and check out Jacksonville because no one in our family had ever gone. We were very dissapointed with what we found. I don't know if this is usual or not but there was nothing open on Sunday. Our hotel was in "downtown Jacksonville" Which meant it was an hour walk from the mall. We got off our plane around 11:00am and by the time we got our bags and got to the hotel it was noon and we were hungry after our early 5:30am flight. We walked for an hour over the bridge and another half an hour just wandering downtown to find somewhere other than hooters open, which didn't end up happening so we all went back to the hotel and had lunch and dinner there. We stayed at the Crowne Plaza Jacksonville Riverfront Hotel and it was one of the worst experiences I have ever had. The hotel itself was beautiful and the rooms were beautiful and well looked after, but we were woken up in the morning to a fire alarm going off and we had to have the hotel staff cleaning the rooms direct us on where to go because we were unclear of that. Everyone staying in the hotel (there was only approximately 50) was standing outside in their pajamas and robes and it was not something I would like to expreience again. THE EMBARKATION: We took a cab from our hotel to the Jacksonville Crusie Port which was only $15 or $20. The staff immediatley had our bags out of the cab and were taking them away to be placed on the ship without us having to life a finger. We did not have FTTF which was fine because my family and I enjoyed standing in line talking and looking at everyone who was going to be on the cruise with us. We got to the port at 11:30 and the line up was quite long and wrapped outside of the building but they had us in and out of there within an hour which was amazing considering the amount of people ahead of us. Once we got on the cruise even though we didn't have FTTF our room was ready so we went and checked it out. We had a balcony-which is were we spent a lot of our trip- so we checked that out and then were off to the Lido deck buffett for lunch since our bags hadn't come yet. After lunch we went and explored the ship. Just a quick note, due to the amount of people trying to all get on the ship at once the elevators were few and far between like if you could get an elevator within 5 minutes of clicking the button you were doing good but after the first few hours they were fine and a LOT less crowded. When we were done exploring the ship we went back to our room to find our luggage waiting at the door. We unpacked and then it was time for the safety briefing which took 20 minutes tops. When the safety briefing was done if was time to sail away. The rest of the day was spent on our balcony just talking about how exciting my sister and myself's first cruise was with our parents. We had My Time Dining and usually ate around 7:00-8:30 5/5 of our night always in Roma's section who is no longer on this ship because as she told us this was her last cruise on that ship because they wanted her on a bigger one. Her and William were amazing and we only met the head waiter of that section once so I cannot remember his name. FIRST DAY AT SEA: Our first day at sea was quite rocket. August is obviously hurricane season which means cheaper cruises but you run the risk of meeting up with a storm. The first day at sea we were headed from Florida to the Bahamas while hurricane Cristobal was headed from the Bahamas to Florida, after a morning of walking around like drunks, which was really entertaining if I do say so myself the storm started to affect me and I felt very sick but after a quick trip to the gift shop to get motion sickness tablets I was good to go for the rest of the day. Our first day of sea we spent of the balcony in the morning after breakfast and then were off to lunch- most of the menu on this cruise was focused on Bohemian style food which is not my cup of tea but still good- and then we sat on the lido deck and danced the afternoon away. There was a ton of things to do that day on of them was giving away free shore excursions for the next 2 days. I had to go back to the cabin for this to lay down because I was not feeling good still when this happened but my sister ended up winning a free catamaran and snorkel so when they came to the room to come and tell me we went right to guest services and booked my sister, my dad, and myself on the catamaran, also that night was Motown show that they had later on in the evening. My dad is a HUGE fan of that style of music and so we both enjoyed listening to the songs I had grown up with and he had loved for many years and they did an amazing job at putting it on. After the show we sat out on the balcony again and then went to bed. DAY TWO; NASSAU, BAHAMAS: Our second day was spent in Nassau, where before we got off the boat they put an announcement over the P.A. saying the U.S embassy had issued a statement saying for everyone to keep a close eye on their purses and wallets because some tourists had been getting things stolen but it was no big deal all of our money and valuables were still with us at the end of the day. For the first hour or 2 we spent it walking around all of the little cute shops they had and then it was time for the catamaran and snorkel. The boat was amazing it had a beautiful little mesh part at the front where you could just sit or lay on and see the water, which was a little rough but it was way better the second day than the day before. When we got out to the little spot- about a 45 minute- one hour boat ride- we had a quick lesson on how to use all the equipment and then a little drill where when the tour guides yelled out everyone okay you put your fist over your head to single you were still okay. We were in the water for an hour and it was beautiful the spot they took us was so full of fish and other living creatures that no matter where you looked you would always find something to look at. When the tour was over the three of us met up with our mom on the lido deck and then we all had a lunch of jerk chicken. We decided to not go back out that day because it was a very overwhelming place so we just stayed on the balcony and watched the other ships that were docked beside us. Dinner that night I had the didja which was frogs legs which were amazing and my dad had his favourite thing Escargot. My mom and I had the Carnival lava cake that night and it is amazing- we also both had it almost every night after that except the second last night when we both had baked Alaska-. I believe that night was the comedy show which was really funny and good for people of all ages because there was no swearing. DAY THREE Our third day was spent at the private island. The beach was beautiful it had crystal clear water, a nice bar to get drinks, and a ton of beach chairs to lie in. My family and I aren't the beach type so we just went for 2 hour to see what it was like and then took the tender back. The tendering there and back was a breeze and there was no need for us to have FTTF because we got out there exactly when we wanted to and didn't have to wait because the tender was full and on the way back there was next to no one else on the tender, it was so quite on the way back my dad and I had the whole top to ourselves. When we got back my dad and I went down the waterslide because everyone else was still at the beach and there was no line. After that we found my mom and sister and went for lunch. My dad and I had rubens for lunch that day because we didn't like what they were serving which I forget what it was now. After lunch we were back out on the Lido deck to people watch and enjoy each others company and just catch up because we hadn't seen each other all day seeing as my mom and sister left the beach an hour before my dad and I did. For dinner that night I had the didja again which was Alligator fritters and they were amazing. My dad and I went to trivia that night because it was 60's, 70's, and 80's trivia put on by our AMAZING cruise director Adam. My dad and I came in second and then we went back to our room to hang out on the balcony with my mom and sister. DAY FOUR; LAST FULL DAY :( On our last day at sea they had their bracelet sale on so we spent the morning there and then just hung around all day on the Lido deck talking about how much fun we had and how we couldn't wait to come back next year (We are leaving in 5 days for a 5 day cruise to Mexico about the CCL's Paradise. That night there was an amazing superstar show I believe is what it was called. It was the performers from the Motown show putting on a show of singers from this decade which included Lady Gaga, Beyonce and so on which was another phenomenal show put on by the cast. DISEMBARKATION: Being that it was my parents first cruise in 18 years and the last time was pre-9/11 so there were no passports or checking documents they booked a flight for 10:50, which weather you've cruised before or not seeing as we didn't get back to port at our scheduled time of 8:00am was a terrible idea. The process to get off the boat for non-U.S citizens started at 7:00am in the main theatre. They go by rows of people so we left our cabin at 6:30 and we were in the 5th row. This was just where they checked passports to make sure everyone who needed to be there was there and so on. It didn't even take half an hour and we were out of there. Everyone was given a customs sheet so we could declare what we brought with us which we filled out, grabbed our luggage and were gone to the library where they sent people with early flights. This is where it got a little messy. Everyone with an early flight was told to go to the library and wait to be come and gotten so they could get of first, but after almost an hour of waiting in the library we all ended up leaving and just getting off the ship with every single other person, it was fast but if would have been nice if we were given a little more direction on what to do and where to do. It was a simple 20 minutes to get off and then only another half an hour to get through more customs and to the airport. By the time we got to the airport it was 9:45 and our plane was going to be boarding shortly so we went and checked in. We flew southwest and they don't have assigned seating until you check in so we all got seated in different seats. After we got checked in we were off to get security check point to go through the body scanner which was mandatory and everyone had to do it, we put our bags though the bag scanner, were off to Starbucks at 10:15 and then we went to our gate. When we got to the gate they were about to start boarding but the workers at the gate noticed we were not sitting together and so they moved us all beside each other... in first class... free of charge which just made our trip that much better. We got home at 3:20 after a quick layover in Atlanta and a plane change and just like that the trip was over. Some other great things about the cruise. Our cabin steward Felix was one of the most amazing people we met that whole trip. Not only did he keep our room clean, he went above and beyond to get us everything we needed- none of the blowdryers worked so we kept asking for new ones lol so that's one thing I would recommend bringing- but he took the initiative to know my mom, dad, sister, and my name by the second day and he told us all about himself and his family which was fascinating to hear because we learned so many neat things about India that we never knew before. Some of the entertainment they had were the Hasbro family game night, punchline comedy club, Motown show, trivia, towel animal making demo, a game where you being a bunch of random things in a bag and he'll call something out like a passport or 5 black belts and the first team to bring Adam the item(s) wins a point. They also have big round windows with a pillowed edge and chairs around it near the casino that you can look out that was another place we liked to spend our days. The night of the last show everyone that went to it and the dancers moved the party into the atrium and everyone on the ship was at it which was so much fun. They also had a hairy chest competition, a dance off, a scavenger hunt and a whole bunch of fun things to do. I'm sure I left out a ton of stuff but there was just so much fun to be had it's hard to keep track of it all. Overall it was a good choice to go with the smaller ship to start it was so much fun and I can't wait to do it all over again in 5 days!!

Review of My First Time Cruising on the Carnival Fascination

Carnival Fascination Cruise Review by mustanggirl78

1 person found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: August 2014
  • Destination: Bahamas
  • Cabin Type: Balcony
My family and I used to go to Disney every year and thought it was a good idea to change things up a little bit. We wanted something fun for everyone in the group (56, 46, 16, 14) and that was hot since we live in Canada and don't like going on vacation to somewhere cold, so we all finally decided on a cruise as my parents had been for their honeymoon many years ago and really enjoyed it. We chose this crusie as a starter because it was on a older, smaller ship to see if we liked it or not and it ended up being a great decisioin.

The only problem we had with the vacation as a whole was Jacksonville. Our Crusie left on Monday so we decided to fly in on Sunday and check out Jacksonville because no one in our family had ever gone. We were very dissapointed with what we found. I don't know if this is usual or not but there was nothing open on Sunday. Our hotel was in "downtown Jacksonville" Which meant it was an hour walk from the mall. We got off our plane around 11:00am and by the time we got our bags and got to the hotel it was noon and we were hungry after our early 5:30am flight. We walked for an hour over the bridge and another half an hour just wandering downtown to find somewhere other than hooters open, which didn't end up happening so we all went back to the hotel and had lunch and dinner there. We stayed at the Crowne Plaza Jacksonville Riverfront Hotel and it was one of the worst experiences I have ever had. The hotel itself was beautiful and the rooms were beautiful and well looked after, but we were woken up in the morning to a fire alarm going off and we had to have the hotel staff cleaning the rooms direct us on where to go because we were unclear of that. Everyone staying in the hotel (there was only approximately 50) was standing outside in their pajamas and robes and it was not something I would like to expreience again.

THE EMBARKATION:

We took a cab from our hotel to the Jacksonville Crusie Port which was only $15 or $20. The staff immediatley had our bags out of the cab and were taking them away to be placed on the ship without us having to life a finger. We did not have FTTF which was fine because my family and I enjoyed standing in line talking and looking at everyone who was going to be on the cruise with us. We got to the port at 11:30 and the line up was quite long and wrapped outside of the building but they had us in and out of there within an hour which was amazing considering the amount of people ahead of us. Once we got on the cruise even though we didn't have FTTF our room was ready so we went and checked it out. We had a balcony-which is were we spent a lot of our trip- so we checked that out and then were off to the Lido deck buffett for lunch since our bags hadn't come yet.

After lunch we went and explored the ship. Just a quick note, due to the amount of people trying to all get on the ship at once the elevators were few and far between like if you could get an elevator within 5 minutes of clicking the button you were doing good but after the first few hours they were fine and a LOT less crowded. When we were done exploring the ship we went back to our room to find our luggage waiting at the door. We unpacked and then it was time for the safety briefing which took 20 minutes tops. When the safety briefing was done if was time to sail away. The rest of the day was spent on our balcony just talking about how exciting my sister and myself's first cruise was with our parents. We had My Time Dining and usually ate around 7:00-8:30 5/5 of our night always in Roma's section who is no longer on this ship because as she told us this was her last cruise on that ship because they wanted her on a bigger one. Her and William were amazing and we only met the head waiter of that section once so I cannot remember his name.

FIRST DAY AT SEA:

Our first day at sea was quite rocket. August is obviously hurricane season which means cheaper cruises but you run the risk of meeting up with a storm. The first day at sea we were headed from Florida to the Bahamas while hurricane Cristobal was headed from the Bahamas to Florida, after a morning of walking around like drunks, which was really entertaining if I do say so myself the storm started to affect me and I felt very sick but after a quick trip to the gift shop to get motion sickness tablets I was good to go for the rest of the day. Our first day of sea we spent of the balcony in the morning after breakfast and then were off to lunch- most of the menu on this cruise was focused on Bohemian style food which is not my cup of tea but still good- and then we sat on the lido deck and danced the afternoon away. There was a ton of things to do that day on of them was giving away free shore excursions for the next 2 days.

I had to go back to the cabin for this to lay down because I was not feeling good still when this happened but my sister ended up winning a free catamaran and snorkel so when they came to the room to come and tell me we went right to guest services and booked my sister, my dad, and myself on the catamaran, also that night was Motown show that they had later on in the evening. My dad is a HUGE fan of that style of music and so we both enjoyed listening to the songs I had grown up with and he had loved for many years and they did an amazing job at putting it on. After the show we sat out on the balcony again and then went to bed.

DAY TWO; NASSAU, BAHAMAS:

Our second day was spent in Nassau, where before we got off the boat they put an announcement over the P.A. saying the U.S embassy had issued a statement saying for everyone to keep a close eye on their purses and wallets because some tourists had been getting things stolen but it was no big deal all of our money and valuables were still with us at the end of the day. For the first hour or 2 we spent it walking around all of the little cute shops they had and then it was time for the catamaran and snorkel. The boat was amazing it had a beautiful little mesh part at the front where you could just sit or lay on and see the water, which was a little rough but it was way better the second day than the day before. When we got out to the little spot- about a 45 minute- one hour boat ride- we had a quick lesson on how to use all the equipment and then a little drill where when the tour guides yelled out everyone okay you put your fist over your head to single you were still okay. We were in the water for an hour and it was beautiful the spot they took us was so full of fish and other living creatures that no matter where you looked you would always find something to look at.

When the tour was over the three of us met up with our mom on the lido deck and then we all had a lunch of jerk chicken. We decided to not go back out that day because it was a very overwhelming place so we just stayed on the balcony and watched the other ships that were docked beside us. Dinner that night I had the didja which was frogs legs which were amazing and my dad had his favourite thing Escargot. My mom and I had the Carnival lava cake that night and it is amazing- we also both had it almost every night after that except the second last night when we both had baked Alaska-.

I believe that night was the comedy show which was really funny and good for people of all ages because there was no swearing.

DAY THREE

Our third day was spent at the private island. The beach was beautiful it had crystal clear water, a nice bar to get drinks, and a ton of beach chairs to lie in. My family and I aren't the beach type so we just went for 2 hour to see what it was like and then took the tender back. The tendering there and back was a breeze and there was no need for us to have FTTF because we got out there exactly when we wanted to and didn't have to wait because the tender was full and on the way back there was next to no one else on the tender, it was so quite on the way back my dad and I had the whole top to ourselves. When we got back my dad and I went down the waterslide because everyone else was still at the beach and there was no line. After that we found my mom and sister and went for lunch. My dad and I had rubens for lunch that day because we didn't like what they were serving which I forget what it was now.

After lunch we were back out on the Lido deck to people watch and enjoy each others company and just catch up because we hadn't seen each other all day seeing as my mom and sister left the beach an hour before my dad and I did. For dinner that night I had the didja again which was Alligator fritters and they were amazing. My dad and I went to trivia that night because it was 60's, 70's, and 80's trivia put on by our AMAZING cruise director Adam. My dad and I came in second and then we went back to our room to hang out on the balcony with my mom and sister.

DAY FOUR; LAST FULL DAY :(

On our last day at sea they had their bracelet sale on so we spent the morning there and then just hung around all day on the Lido deck talking about how much fun we had and how we couldn't wait to come back next year (We are leaving in 5 days for a 5 day cruise to Mexico about the CCL's Paradise. That night there was an amazing superstar show I believe is what it was called. It was the performers from the Motown show putting on a show of singers from this decade which included Lady Gaga, Beyonce and so on which was another phenomenal show put on by the cast.

DISEMBARKATION:

Being that it was my parents first cruise in 18 years and the last time was pre-9/11 so there were no passports or checking documents they booked a flight for 10:50, which weather you've cruised before or not seeing as we didn't get back to port at our scheduled time of 8:00am was a terrible idea. The process to get off the boat for non-U.S citizens started at 7:00am in the main theatre. They go by rows of people so we left our cabin at 6:30 and we were in the 5th row. This was just where they checked passports to make sure everyone who needed to be there was there and so on. It didn't even take half an hour and we were out of there. Everyone was given a customs sheet so we could declare what we brought with us which we filled out, grabbed our luggage and were gone to the library where they sent people with early flights.

This is where it got a little messy. Everyone with an early flight was told to go to the library and wait to be come and gotten so they could get of first, but after almost an hour of waiting in the library we all ended up leaving and just getting off the ship with every single other person, it was fast but if would have been nice if we were given a little more direction on what to do and where to do. It was a simple 20 minutes to get off and then only another half an hour to get through more customs and to the airport. By the time we got to the airport it was 9:45 and our plane was going to be boarding shortly so we went and checked in. We flew southwest and they don't have assigned seating until you check in so we all got seated in different seats. After we got checked in we were off to get security check point to go through the body scanner which was mandatory and everyone had to do it, we put our bags though the bag scanner, were off to Starbucks at 10:15 and then we went to our gate. When we got to the gate they were about to start boarding but the workers at the gate noticed we were not sitting together and so they moved us all beside each other... in first class... free of charge which just made our trip that much better. We got home at 3:20 after a quick layover in Atlanta and a plane change and just like that the trip was over.

Some other great things about the cruise.

Our cabin steward Felix was one of the most amazing people we met that whole trip. Not only did he keep our room clean, he went above and beyond to get us everything we needed- none of the blowdryers worked so we kept asking for new ones lol so that's one thing I would recommend bringing- but he took the initiative to know my mom, dad, sister, and my name by the second day and he told us all about himself and his family which was fascinating to hear because we learned so many neat things about India that we never knew before.

Some of the entertainment they had were the Hasbro family game night, punchline comedy club, Motown show, trivia, towel animal making demo, a game where you being a bunch of random things in a bag and he'll call something out like a passport or 5 black belts and the first team to bring Adam the item(s) wins a point. They also have big round windows with a pillowed edge and chairs around it near the casino that you can look out that was another place we liked to spend our days. The night of the last show everyone that went to it and the dancers moved the party into the atrium and everyone on the ship was at it which was so much fun. They also had a hairy chest competition, a dance off, a scavenger hunt and a whole bunch of fun things to do. I'm sure I left out a ton of stuff but there was just so much fun to be had it's hard to keep track of it all. Overall it was a good choice to go with the smaller ship to start it was so much fun and I can't wait to do it all over again in 5 days!!
mustanggirl78’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
Entertainment
Cabin
Fitness & Recreation
Shore Excursions
Ages 13 to 15
Ages 16+
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Cabin Review

Balcony
Cabin 8A E
The whole Cabin crew was amazing at keeping the room tidy and clean. When we went for breakfast and came back mine and my sisters beds were nicely folded into the wall again and when we came back from dinner they were put down again and had the ladder on the side ready for us to climb into bed. The cabin crew was amazing and I am so impressed with the way our cabin looked every day and how they got to know us so personally. They were amazing!!
Main Deck Inside Cabins, Outside Cabins, Balcony Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews