1. Home
  2. Cruise Reviews
  3. Carnival Fascination
We originally booked a cruise on the Carnival Victory. A few months after booking we were sent notice that our cruise had been switched to the Fascination - an older and much smaller ship. For the Victory we had carefully planned where our cabins would be - away from noisy mechanicals, etc. When we were switched to the Fascination, we were told we were given comparable rooms. Lies. When we arrived at our cabin, we found we had been given a cabin with bunk beds in it. We had booked twins configured as a King - which we had, but we had a shelf for bunk beds directly above our heads. Every time we rolled over, we'd bonk our heads. The room was much smaller because the second bunk cut into the space at the end of the bed. When we contacted the desk we were told they had no rooms for us to switch to, but might have one the next day. Which they did... but the process to get to the point where they offered us a switch took constant calls and visits to the customer care line. When we were moved we were moved to E146, which was the right style of room but directly underneath the scullery. It sounded like people were bowling over our bedroom all night. Talking, clanking, rolling, noisy! Terrible. Comparable room? I don't think so!!! Before I continue to complain - the cruise director Phillipe was FABULOUS - probably the best I've seen, and so was our dedicated dinner staff Iki - our favourite staff on the cruise. Honestly, they saved the trip. The entertainment staff was fun. Now for my laundry list of complaints... 1) Faster to the Fun was a rip off. The "dedicated line" rang and rang on several occasions and would never be answered. It really didn't give you anything except late disembarkation. waste of money. On several occasions when FTTF should have been an advantage we were told to get to the back of the line. 2) There was a definite language barrier with some of the staff. In five days the dinner drink server could not understand I wanted cold milk with my coffee. My coffee was cold by the time I got it. Pretty sure our room staff didn't read English. 3) I earned free drinks in the casino by the second last night... however, if you were paying for drinks they'd arrive in 5 minutes, free drinks took about an hour. Once 75 minutes. I think they are slow on purpose to make you spend more. 4) I've never been in a situation where I'm paying for service, and the people providing it were so passive aggressive, humourless and often confrontational. Several guests complained about the overall terrible treatment from and attitude of the boat staff. I was brought the wrong drinks on more than one occasion, only to be told I was wrong, and had to take the wrong drink anyway. Crazy. Requests were often met with impatience, like I had bothered them by asking for anything. One male server at the Palace Theatre was so mean to me, I was close to tears of frustration and disbelief - which is hard to do. Notes for the room staff didn't mean you would actual GET a wine glass or extra towel. It was like pulling teeth. Wake up calls were often early or late, and breakfast came at the wrong time constantly - basically when it was convenient for the staff and not us. If we didn't open the door immediately, when they were waking us up 20 minutes early, we were met with frowns and impatience. It was freaking terrible how we were treated in general. Another guest commented they had never seen such passive aggressive staff - and I was relieved that I wasn't the only one. We were talked down to, reprimanded like children for asking for things we should have been able to ask for, etc. etc. It was terrible. 5) Common areas were often filthy. Waste baskets over-flowing. Counters sticky and dirty. Staff would step in front of people to put out "closed for cleaning" signs - because god forbid they wait for a paying customer to go to the bathroom before closing it. But when you went back in the sink would still be dirty, and the toilet would have clumps of paper in it.... Sometimes several bathrooms in the same area would be closed at once. It was often easier to just go to our rooms. 6) So many amenities were broken - yogurt machine, beer dispenser, sinks backing up. 7)Staff had no regard for sleeping guests. We were often woken up at 6am by vacuums banging against our doors, or staff talking loudly in the hallway outside our room. Everyone complained about that. 8) Massive over-crowding. We didn't get near the pool or hot tub after the first night. So many people in the pool, it was stand and bob room only. Trying to eat in the buffet meant standing in line for sometimes 20 minutes. Once more like 30. To get "meh" level food. Especially at night when the chicken nuggets were obviously recycled and hard as rocks. Same crap every night - hamburger, hot dog, cold fries, greasy chili - if you were willing to stand in line for 15 minutes or more they had decent pizza. 9)Weird smoking rules. You couldn't smoke on any outside deck away from people... you could only smoke in the casino, or dance bar, or an enclosed part of the swimming deck - which grossed people out so much they would avoid things around these places. Smoking indoors in 2016 is disgusting. Why not provide smoking stations on outside decks where the smoke would LEAVE the boat instead of poisoning the poor non-smokers? 10)Dance clubs mostly played Spanish popular music. Which was great for the 50 per cent Spanish guests, but not for the 50 per cent English or other speaking guests. Why not a good mix of dance music? Maybe one in 15 songs would be a popular English song. 11) Crazy Art Staff girl - hard pressure sales at the Art Auction. I showed interest in one painting and she sat beside me telling me I had to put my board up to bid for a painting I couldn't afford. I had to finally tell her to go away. I can only say "No, I'm not going to buy anything, I just want to watch the bidding." so many times before I lose my temper. She kept trying to tell me I could bid on a painting and then decide if I wanted it later, even though the bid sheet said plainly "Sales are Final". That shouldn't be allowed. Disgusting. Good stuff: 1)The itinerary was pretty packed - things to do most of the day and night. 2)The number of ports, and time spent at ports was generous. Only one sea day. On land from 8am to 4:30pm generally. 3)Some staff members were fabulous and almost made up for the constant bad or dismissive treatment from other staff. 4)Formal sit-down dinner food was top notch. Great selections, with a range of food choices to suit everyone's needs. Again, our waiter Iki was so friendly and fun, we invited him to come visit us! He would even have our favourite beverages waiting for us as soon as he saw us coming. 5)Comedy club was pretty fun. A couple of the comedians were quite good. 6)Any show hosted by Phillipe was highly, highly amusing. Highlights - game show night, and the couples game. I dunno. Overall, I oddly had a great cruise, but I think most of that was because of the friends I sailed with, and the fact that the islands and excursions were delightful. I think I would give Carnival another shot. One more shot, but on a different boat. And hopefully the next time they won't switch me to a crappy boat, with a terrible non-comparable room and think $50 bucks credit makes up for the disappointment. I have friends who used to work on cruise ships - and when I told them I was switched to the Fascination they told me to cancel and rebook on another shit. Perhaps I should have listened - but the itinerary was great...

Bait and Switch with Cranky Staff on a dirty old boat

Carnival Fascination Cruise Review by hisbabydoll

5 people found this helpful
Trip Details
We originally booked a cruise on the Carnival Victory. A few months after booking we were sent notice that our cruise had been switched to the Fascination - an older and much smaller ship. For the Victory we had carefully planned where our cabins would be - away from noisy mechanicals, etc. When we were switched to the Fascination, we were told we were given comparable rooms. Lies.

When we arrived at our cabin, we found we had been given a cabin with bunk beds in it. We had booked twins configured as a King - which we had, but we had a shelf for bunk beds directly above our heads. Every time we rolled over, we'd bonk our heads. The room was much smaller because the second bunk cut into the space at the end of the bed. When we contacted the desk we were told they had no rooms for us to switch to, but might have one the next day. Which they did... but the process to get to the point where they offered us a switch took constant calls and visits to the customer care line.

When we were moved we were moved to E146, which was the right style of room but directly underneath the scullery. It sounded like people were bowling over our bedroom all night. Talking, clanking, rolling, noisy! Terrible. Comparable room? I don't think so!!!

Before I continue to complain - the cruise director Phillipe was FABULOUS - probably the best I've seen, and so was our dedicated dinner staff Iki - our favourite staff on the cruise. Honestly, they saved the trip. The entertainment staff was fun. Now for my laundry list of complaints...

1) Faster to the Fun was a rip off. The "dedicated line" rang and rang on several occasions and would never be answered. It really didn't give you anything except late disembarkation. waste of money. On several occasions when FTTF should have been an advantage we were told to get to the back of the line.

2) There was a definite language barrier with some of the staff. In five days the dinner drink server could not understand I wanted cold milk with my coffee. My coffee was cold by the time I got it. Pretty sure our room staff didn't read English.

3) I earned free drinks in the casino by the second last night... however, if you were paying for drinks they'd arrive in 5 minutes, free drinks took about an hour. Once 75 minutes. I think they are slow on purpose to make you spend more.

4) I've never been in a situation where I'm paying for service, and the people providing it were so passive aggressive, humourless and often confrontational. Several guests complained about the overall terrible treatment from and attitude of the boat staff. I was brought the wrong drinks on more than one occasion, only to be told I was wrong, and had to take the wrong drink anyway. Crazy. Requests were often met with impatience, like I had bothered them by asking for anything. One male server at the Palace Theatre was so mean to me, I was close to tears of frustration and disbelief - which is hard to do. Notes for the room staff didn't mean you would actual GET a wine glass or extra towel. It was like pulling teeth. Wake up calls were often early or late, and breakfast came at the wrong time constantly - basically when it was convenient for the staff and not us. If we didn't open the door immediately, when they were waking us up 20 minutes early, we were met with frowns and impatience. It was freaking terrible how we were treated in general. Another guest commented they had never seen such passive aggressive staff - and I was relieved that I wasn't the only one. We were talked down to, reprimanded like children for asking for things we should have been able to ask for, etc. etc. It was terrible.

5) Common areas were often filthy. Waste baskets over-flowing. Counters sticky and dirty. Staff would step in front of people to put out "closed for cleaning" signs - because god forbid they wait for a paying customer to go to the bathroom before closing it. But when you went back in the sink would still be dirty, and the toilet would have clumps of paper in it.... Sometimes several bathrooms in the same area would be closed at once. It was often easier to just go to our rooms.

6) So many amenities were broken - yogurt machine, beer dispenser, sinks backing up.

7)Staff had no regard for sleeping guests. We were often woken up at 6am by vacuums banging against our doors, or staff talking loudly in the hallway outside our room. Everyone complained about that.

8) Massive over-crowding. We didn't get near the pool or hot tub after the first night. So many people in the pool, it was stand and bob room only. Trying to eat in the buffet meant standing in line for sometimes 20 minutes. Once more like 30. To get "meh" level food. Especially at night when the chicken nuggets were obviously recycled and hard as rocks. Same crap every night - hamburger, hot dog, cold fries, greasy chili - if you were willing to stand in line for 15 minutes or more they had decent pizza.

9)Weird smoking rules. You couldn't smoke on any outside deck away from people... you could only smoke in the casino, or dance bar, or an enclosed part of the swimming deck - which grossed people out so much they would avoid things around these places. Smoking indoors in 2016 is disgusting. Why not provide smoking stations on outside decks where the smoke would LEAVE the boat instead of poisoning the poor non-smokers?

10)Dance clubs mostly played Spanish popular music. Which was great for the 50 per cent Spanish guests, but not for the 50 per cent English or other speaking guests. Why not a good mix of dance music? Maybe one in 15 songs would be a popular English song.

11) Crazy Art Staff girl - hard pressure sales at the Art Auction. I showed interest in one painting and she sat beside me telling me I had to put my board up to bid for a painting I couldn't afford. I had to finally tell her to go away. I can only say "No, I'm not going to buy anything, I just want to watch the bidding." so many times before I lose my temper. She kept trying to tell me I could bid on a painting and then decide if I wanted it later, even though the bid sheet said plainly "Sales are Final". That shouldn't be allowed. Disgusting.

Good stuff:

1)The itinerary was pretty packed - things to do most of the day and night.

2)The number of ports, and time spent at ports was generous. Only one sea day. On land from 8am to 4:30pm generally.

3)Some staff members were fabulous and almost made up for the constant bad or dismissive treatment from other staff.

4)Formal sit-down dinner food was top notch. Great selections, with a range of food choices to suit everyone's needs. Again, our waiter Iki was so friendly and fun, we invited him to come visit us! He would even have our favourite beverages waiting for us as soon as he saw us coming.

5)Comedy club was pretty fun. A couple of the comedians were quite good.

6)Any show hosted by Phillipe was highly, highly amusing. Highlights - game show night, and the couples game.

I dunno. Overall, I oddly had a great cruise, but I think most of that was because of the friends I sailed with, and the fact that the islands and excursions were delightful. I think I would give Carnival another shot. One more shot, but on a different boat. And hopefully the next time they won't switch me to a crappy boat, with a terrible non-comparable room and think $50 bucks credit makes up for the disappointment. I have friends who used to work on cruise ships - and when I told them I was switched to the Fascination they told me to cancel and rebook on another shit. Perhaps I should have listened - but the itinerary was great...
hisbabydoll’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
Entertainment
Cabin
Fitness & Recreation
Shore Excursions
Service
Onboard Experience
Free Price Drop Alerts
Get Carnival Fascination price drops
250,000+ people have entered their email

Cabin Review

Interior
Cabin 4E E146
Much better than our original E165. That room SUCKED. Unneeded and unwanted bunk beds made the room cramped and dangerous to clumsy people like me.
In E146 our sink stopped up once. We rarely got things we asked for... BUT...The steward guy kept it super clean and made us really clever towel animals. At night the only temperature of water in the sink was SCALDING HOT. Washing up at night was painful.
Noisy as all hell. Both in the hallway at 6am with weird vacuuming, and above us as staff worked hard preparing food for the day. We were told we were not close to that when we booked - but it was a lie. We were away from noise on the Victory but were screwed by the switch to the Fascination.
Empress Deck Inside Cabins, Outside Cabins, Balcony Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • Catamaran Tour
    Best catamaran and snorkelling tour ever! Friendly and helpful crew. Fed us constantly and always made sure we had a drink (non-alcoholic until after snorkeling) - banana bread before turtle dive (we saw turtles!) - then off to a coral reef - then back for hot meal (chicken, fish, pasta, rice, salads, coffee/tea) - then off to a lovely beach for an hour of swimming. The crew swam with us and kept an eye on us at all times - to keep us away from fire coral, etc. On the ride back they poured all types of drinks freely. It was just an amazing day.
    View All 95 Catamaran Tour Reviews
  • San Juan
    Loved San Juan. Everyone we met was happy, friendly, helpful and polite. The city is very clean. Great selection of food and drink. Many sites to see. Both forts are worth seeing. Loved Lupis Mexican food and Mojitos. Stayed at the Sheraton before leaving for the cruise, and it was top notch. I would return to San Juan!!!
    View All 3,791 San Juan Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's San Juan Cruise Port Review
  • Brimstone Hill Tour
    The sites were great. We went to Brimstone and a Manor. The guide wasn't very chatty which was disappointing. He told us some history, but only the basics. The tour said we'd have guided tours of the sites, but basically he drove us there and dropped us off to do our own thing. BUT, we got to hold monkeys at the Timothy Hill lookout and that was awesome! The only thing disappointing about the tour was the lack of enthusiasm from the guide. He was okay. Our boat didn't offer a Volcano tour which was disappointing. That would have been interesting!! Our friends did basically the same tour themselves in a cab, and it was much cheaper. It's not a huge island - easy to get around. Shopping is great here and close to the boat.
    View All 56 Brimstone Hill Tour Reviews
  • Ziplining
    Extreme ziplining was less terrifying than it sounds - which made me happy and my friend sad. Very good safety equipment - two zip wires on each section and an additional safety line. Two guides accompany you the whole way - one on each end of the zip. They were fun and friendly - and would coddle you if you freaked out a bit. ;) Someone lost a go-pro and everyone stopped to help them find it. Afterwards they give you a drink and you can buy a picture of your last zipline. Very well done.
    View All 30 Ziplining Reviews
  • St. Maarten
    Our friends had fun on the motorcycle excursion - but we don't have licenses for motorcycles and instead walked around the Dutch side. Mostly just shopping and casinos (they have 15) to be seen - but the island is very lovely. Great beach very close to the cruise port in the shopping area. Cheap drinks. In the afternoon we went to the airplane (MAHO) beach to watch the planes land. Cab ride was posted at $8pp but we managed to negotiate 6pp. The driver waited for us and made sure we got back in time. The water was lovely, and snorkelling reefs are a minutes swim from the main airplane beach.
    View All 4,742 St. Maarten Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's St. Maarten Cruise Port Review
  • St. Thomas
    Absolutely stunning scenery. Definitely take the tram to the top of the hill in town to see the port below. Grab a bite at the restaurant up top - generous portions and tasty! We took a cab to see a few sites and go to the beach. Very hilly scary ride - but fun and great photo ops! The driver waited for us at the beach and made sure we made it back to our ship on time. If you want to see Blackbeard's Castle you might be out of luck - it's closed three days/week.
    View All 4,663 St. Thomas Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's St. Thomas Cruise Port Review