1. Home
  2. Cruise Reviews
  3. Carnival Fascination
We really wanted to see the islands on this cruise. We arrived in San Juan, PR three days before embarkation. We spent those days walking all over Old San Juan, visiting the forts, touring the Bacardi distillary, and eating local food. It was great! We loved San Juan. Boarding the ship was a little stressful, as, unlike other cruise ports, they kept the gates locked until 11 a.m. People, like us, who had arrived early, were left waiting outside in the sun and the heat. (To offer a comparison, when I sailed out of New Orleans, we arrived at 9 a.m., and our luggage was taken immediately, and we were told where to enter the port building. We waited in line for about 15 minutes in an interior hallway for our passport check, and the rest of our wait was in the air conditioned seating area with a view of the ship.) The area to drop priority luggage is not well marked, and we passed it and had to go back down the exterior sidewalk to leave our luggage. ONce we were inside the building, however, things went very smoothly. We never waited in line anywhere, and had a short, under 15 minute wait, to board the ship. The Fascination is one of Carnival's first ships, and it is very small. We had a balcony cabin, as we have on all cruises, and we were shocked at the size. There are no refrigerators in the balcony cabins; no counter space anywhere; the bathroom sink is a pedestal, so no counter space there, either. The only counters were the desk area and a sort of deep window sill on the window next to the balcony door. There was no sofa and coffee table, only a small chair. The end tables are about the size of a dinner plate. If you take this cruise, pack light! The intinerary was fabulous! There are no tender ports. The islands are gorgeous, and the people are extremely friendly. We never had an issue in any port. I will be leaving detailed reviews on Carnival's website about our excursions, but let me say here that there is nothing to criticize on these ports of call. There was one issue of poor planning, however, and that concerned the Meet and Greet coordinated by Cruise Critic. Many of us that belonged to the Cruise Critic group also belonged to a FaceBook group and kept up with each other on the days leading up to the cruise. We were looking forward to meeting each other in person. However, on embarkation day, we learned that the CC group, which had over thirty M&G memebers, would not be having their M & G, because just about a week before sailing, CC had sent out a message to the members that they had to re-enroll in the M&G and add info to their enrollment. We sent out the word to our FB group, and most of those CC members re-enrolled, but it you weren't in our smaller group, apparently, you didn't get the word. Because there were too few CC members enrolled, the M&G was cancelled. The Cruise Director apologized, and those of us with the FB group were given the Puttin' on the Ritz lounge for our M&G, and he brought a lot of "door prizes" for us to hand out. CC needs to figure out how to get all the enrollment done on one go, because a lot of folks don't do a lot of rechecking after enrolling the first time. All in all, this was a great cruise! We relaxed and saw beautiful islands that we may visit again.

Puerto Rico and the Eastern Caribbean!

Carnival Fascination Cruise Review by sealx

3 people found this helpful
Trip Details
We really wanted to see the islands on this cruise.

We arrived in San Juan, PR three days before embarkation. We spent those days walking all over Old San Juan, visiting the forts, touring the Bacardi distillary, and eating local food. It was great! We loved San Juan.

Boarding the ship was a little stressful, as, unlike other cruise ports, they kept the gates locked until 11 a.m. People, like us, who had arrived early, were left waiting outside in the sun and the heat. (To offer a comparison, when I sailed out of New Orleans, we arrived at 9 a.m., and our luggage was taken immediately, and we were told where to enter the port building. We waited in line for about 15 minutes in an interior hallway for our passport check, and the rest of our wait was in the air conditioned seating area with a view of the ship.) The area to drop priority luggage is not well marked, and we passed it and had to go back down the exterior sidewalk to leave our luggage. ONce we were inside the building, however, things went very smoothly. We never waited in line anywhere, and had a short, under 15 minute wait, to board the ship.

The Fascination is one of Carnival's first ships, and it is very small. We had a balcony cabin, as we have on all cruises, and we were shocked at the size. There are no refrigerators in the balcony cabins; no counter space anywhere; the bathroom sink is a pedestal, so no counter space there, either. The only counters were the desk area and a sort of deep window sill on the window next to the balcony door. There was no sofa and coffee table, only a small chair. The end tables are about the size of a dinner plate. If you take this cruise, pack light!

The intinerary was fabulous! There are no tender ports. The islands are gorgeous, and the people are extremely friendly. We never had an issue in any port. I will be leaving detailed reviews on Carnival's website about our excursions, but let me say here that there is nothing to criticize on these ports of call.

There was one issue of poor planning, however, and that concerned the Meet and Greet coordinated by Cruise Critic. Many of us that belonged to the Cruise Critic group also belonged to a FaceBook group and kept up with each other on the days leading up to the cruise. We were looking forward to meeting each other in person. However, on embarkation day, we learned that the CC group, which had over thirty M&G memebers, would not be having their M & G, because just about a week before sailing, CC had sent out a message to the members that they had to re-enroll in the M&G and add info to their enrollment. We sent out the word to our FB group, and most of those CC members re-enrolled, but it you weren't in our smaller group, apparently, you didn't get the word. Because there were too few CC members enrolled, the M&G was cancelled. The Cruise Director apologized, and those of us with the FB group were given the Puttin' on the Ritz lounge for our M&G, and he brought a lot of "door prizes" for us to hand out. CC needs to figure out how to get all the enrollment done on one go, because a lot of folks don't do a lot of rechecking after enrolling the first time.

All in all, this was a great cruise! We relaxed and saw beautiful islands that we may visit again.
sealx’s Full Rating Summary
Value For Money
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
Entertainment
Cabin
Shore Excursions
Service
Onboard Experience
Free Price Drop Alerts
Get Carnival Fascination price drops
250,000+ people have entered their email

Cabin Review

Balcony
Cabin 8B U194
Very small cabin. No counter space. No refrigerator. Basically, it's an interior cabin with a balcony.
Upper Deck Inside Cabins, Outside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • Turtle Swim
    This was the Tiami Turtle Snorkle and Sail. We were informed at departure that the original itinerary had changed in order to find a beach where turtles might be seen. That was fine with us. We put in at a lovely beach and we did see turtles. Not dozens, but if you were paying attention, there were almost always a couple in view. After about 45 minutes, the catamaran took us to a different beach for swimming. The beach was nice. There were some locals selling jewelry and other trinkets, but if you told them no, they didn't bother you again. There was rum punch and beer included in the cost of the excursion. It was a very relaxing day and the guides were great!
    View All 87 Turtle Swim Reviews
  • San Juan
    San Juan is very interesting. The people are very friendly and there is so much to do, we couldn't see it all in a week!
    View All 3,780 San Juan Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's San Juan Cruise Port Review
  • St. Kitts (Port Zante)
    A group of us cabbed over to a beach in sight of Nevis. We had our end of the beach to ourselves, with shaded beach chairs.
    The way this works, apparently, is the cab drivers have relationships with the owners of beach bars/snack shacks. Your cab driver will take you to that beach area, and arrange with you for a pick-up time. The driver will then return at that time to pick you up and take you back to the port. There will be one fee for the round trip, and you pay when the driver comes back for you. Our cost for two people, round trip was $14. Most of us gave her between 20 and 25.
    The owner of the beach bar will set you up with beach chairs for a small fee ($4 a chair). They sell sodas, beer, and mixed drinks pretty cheap, and have a grill area in the back of the bar for hamburgers, hot dogs, fries, sandwiches, etc. Your belongings are pretty well protected, but you still need to keep valuables inside your bags, as people do walk past your beach chairs.
    There are guys with monkeys that wander around. You will be warned to stay away from the monkeys. First, they bite, and the hospital is hours away. Second, the guys who have them on leashes will charge you for pictures, etc. if you mess with them.
    The water is beautiful, the scenery is incredible. The view of Nevis from the beach is great.
    This beach day was just what we needed after several busy days.
    View All 1,693 St. Kitts (Port Zante) Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's St. Kitts (Port Zante) Cruise Port Review
  • Island Tour
    This was probably the best tour of the entire cruise. We booked the land and sea tour through our FaceBook group, so there were about 20 of us. They had a bus and one private van. The van held the drinks (rum punch and beer) and my husband and I! Our guide was the manager of Herod's, Joseph. He was a great guide, telling us the history of the island, the economics and current politics, and stopping for all the "kodak moments"! We had bananas and the banana plantation, where we also sampled banana catsup (seriously!), sugar cane and coconut. We stopped at lots of overlooks for fabulous views of the beaches, mountains (The Pitons are awe-inspiring!), and towns.
    They took us to the volcanic hot springs and mud baths. Yes, the water is verrrry hot! But, most of us got in, got muddy, and got pictures! Once we washed the mud off, we headed to our next stop, lunch at Herod's mother's restaurant! She provides a lovely buffet lunch with lots of local flavors. After lunch, we went to the waterfall, where you can get into and under the fall.
    We were then taken to the dock at Soufriere to board our speed boat. We were taken to see a bat cave, and then to a beach where we spent about an hour swimming and shelling very near the Pitons.
    The boat tour guides point out celebrity homes, and movie locations on the way back to the port.
    This whole tour was a highlight and so much fun! My husband and I are planning a trip to St. Lucia in a few years, and when we go back, we'll take this tour again!
    View All 250 Island Tour Reviews
  • America's Cup Regatta
    Wow! What an amazing day! Shawn, our Captain, and Jonah and Eva, the crew were so awesome! If you've ever sailed, you'll know how thrilling it is to fly across the water under wind power. If you haven't sailed before, you have to try this! You can be part of the crew, or just cruise, your choice! I was a Winch Wench, and controlled the lines that harness the mainsail. My husband was a grinder.
    Our group was really small, so we didn't race, but that was okay. We sailed the True North out of the harbor, and set sail around St. Maarten. After getting into open water, Shawn turned the helm over to me, and I sailed the True North on my own for about 20 minutes. Shawn let every sailor on board take the helm if they wanted to. As with most all the other tours, there was soda and beer available. This tour was so much fun!
    Afterward, we were taken back to the small boat harbor to the Regatta Store where we could get souvenir's and the pictures taken by the photographer boat. At that harbor we hired a driver, Dexter, to take us to Maho beach. He took us to Maho and waited for us to take pictures, we then paid him extra to take us on a tour of the island. He took us over to the French side to a market and to the border between the French and Dutch sides of the island. We paid Dexter $60 for driving us around and waiting for us at Maho. It was well worth the money, as Dexter told us about the different statues that you'll see at the roundabouts on the island, about the history of both sides of the island (Dexter is Dutch), about the industries and the people of the island. He stopped at a beach in Phillipsburg so that I could collect sand from St. Maarten, and got us back to port in plenty of time to do some shopping at the port stores.
    It was a great day!
    View All 48 America's Cup Regatta Reviews
  • St. John Tour
    The St. John tour was very nice, and Chris, our guide was very informative. It is clear that he loves his home and loves to share it's beauty.
    I do wish, however, that we had done the St. John Snorkel excursion, as the water is lovely, and on the land tour, you make a very brief stop at a beach.
    View All 172 St. John Tour Reviews