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Carnival Fascination Cruise Review
3.5 / 5.0
Cruise Critic Editor Rating
982 Reviews

Great staff

Carnival Fascination Cruise Review by bigbrownbear

2 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: May 2018
  • Destination: the Southern Caribbean
  • Cabin Type: Balcony

This ship has been recently renovated and they added more balconies. We stayed in cabin U198. The ship is well kept, but sadly till a bit dated. The room was the smallest that we have ever had. The balcony was pretty standard. I really wish that they had added Dive-In movies because that's a cool feature that we have enjoyed on other Carnival ships. We paid for the Faster-to-the-Fun option, but honestly on this particular cruise I'm not sure that we gained much. The great news is that Embarkation was a dream in Puerto Rico. Easy and fast. I thought that this might be because of the FTTF option but I spoke with others that didn't have that option, they also said that it was the best embarkation process that they had had. This is an island-hopping cruise so we had stops every day. Part of FTTF is that you get priority if your ship has to be tendered, but none of these islands needed that. All had nice walk-off piers, so no tendering needed. Disembarkation was also nice, though the porters can get pushy. One porter (who we thought was a taxi driver by his questions) walked 2 of our 4 bags about 12 steps to a real taxi with a driver and demanded $5 for doing it. He didn't even help the actual taxi driver load the bags. Not cool.

Island hopping was great though I didn't realize how much damage still remains from the hurricanes. That being said, I love Old San Juan and Barbados was heavenly. St.Thomas had the best port shopping. We were blessed by calm waters the whole trip. The staff is very nice and works hard to keep the ship quite tidy and clean. The trivia games near Bogart's coffee bar were a lot of fun and the host was a funny guy who seems to truly enjoy his job. It was fun.

The Serenity area was terrific. You need to walk through one of the clubs to find it so it's more tucked away than usual and also more quiet for it. You will get a terrific view of St. Kitts from your Serenity lounge - not to be missed!

Overall, we had a nice time. My only complaints are the room (not good) and the lack of Dive-In theater, otherwise, everything was great. I would not choose to travel on this ship again as there are other options with better rooms.

Guy's Burgers and Swirls ice cream = absolute hit with the family.

Best Breakfast = Blue Iguana's Huevos Rancheros = flavorful and terrific.

The desserts look great, but many have a gummy-like in texture. That being said...Orange chocolate cake, Nutella Tiramisu, and Lemon Napoleons were AWESOME.

bigbrownbear's Full Rating Summary
Onboard Experience
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
Public Rooms
Fitness & Recreation
Shore Excursions
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Cabin Review

Cabin 8B U198

Honestly, this was the smallest cabin that we have ever sailed on (about 7 cruises/ 2 cruise lines). I'm happy that they renovated the ship to add balconies. I don't think ours had one before the renovation and it was a standard balcony. In our other cabins, we have had a couch...no room for a couch here. So whatever the normal length of the Carnival couch is, that's how much shorter your cabin is. We had 4 people in our room and it said that you couldn't have a King bed, but that's what we had. You'll also have a berth bed that hangs over your heads and another one that almost overlaps your feet. If you have the two berths down and need to get to the balcony, you'll need to hunch over and crab walk to that side of the room. If your family spends most of their time out then it's no big deal, EXCEPT if you wake up in the middle of the night. Yes, you will bonk your head, if not getting out then getting in when you lay back down and forget how far out the bunk hangs. Good news, I only have 1 bruise left from the 3 times I banged my head.

Our biggest room complaint was that the bathroom smelled like urine. After housekeeping was done, it would smell fine but about 10 seconds after you flush, you'll notice a strong urine smell. We mentioned it to housekeeping, but it didn't get better. Our room/bathroom was very clean so we were baffled. I was at the airport and ran into another person who was also on Deck 6. She confirmed that they also had the same issue, but her other family members on Decks 4 and 5 did not. She ended up taking the shampoo from the shower, mixing it with water, and pouring that mixture into the toilet bowl after every flush. She said that that cured the issue, so maybe that'll help you too.

The TV is terrible (grainy lines), but you don't cruise for the TV so that's okay.

We could definitely feel and hear the engines when they were on, but if you need white noise to sleep and like being rocked sleep, then you'll love it. It was pretty quiet otherwise.

There were some under closet lights that helped illuminate the way without turning on the main lights which is great if folks come into the cabin late at night.

Housekeeping was always available and did a really good job.

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

Walking Tour of Old San Juan

Booked the "Night Tales in Old San Juan" with Debbie. We walked around the city while she told us about the history and how it impacted the construction of the city. She also got us into 2 buildings after hours. She knew all the best places for photos.

View All 182 Walking Tour of Old San Juan Reviews
Catamaran Tour

We booked the Fast Cat tour and it was enjoyable. The trip out is fast and fun. If you are prone to motion sickness, make sure to start taking those meds a couple of days before your cruise/take this excursion. The snorkeling was nice and we did see turtles and a stingray. The beach was awesome! Note that you need to walk through water to get to shore, so you'll hold your towel/book/shoes overhead. Nice and fun crew! The boat is docked a short walk from the cruise ship so no extra driving needed.

View All 177 Catamaran Tour Reviews

Not much to see here. I would have stayed on the ship if I'd known what it was like.

Shipwreck Snorkel

BEST EXCURSION EVER. We booked "PERFECT PAIR: BEACH DAY AND TURTLE SWIM" through Shoretrips.com. I was with someone that had a bad snorkeling experience two days prior so I was worried, but this experience changed everything. Trust me that the beach area looks cramped on the outside, but once you walk through the building to the back, it turns into the most perfect beach with little palm trees and beautiful water. Plenty of shade, free drinks, if you want an extra wave runner experience, then bring some cash because they have plenty there. The snorkeling part was phenomenal. Our guide hand fed a huge stingray. We actually had a turtle swimming between us - so close that I had to work to back away from it several times because I thought (incorrectly) that you weren't supposed to touch them. The guide noticed how I behaved and asked if I was scared of them - so I know that he was definitely paying attention to the tour participants. The second stop was to a ship wreck. Amazing. We were right on top of it and it was so close that our guide actually held his breath and swam down into the hull and out of a second hull opening. I've never seen a ship wreck so close and in water so clear. Fish were everywhere. Free drinks onboard for the trip back. Wonderful crew.

View All 38 Shipwreck Snorkel Reviews

This was a great excursion. The people hosting the event made it so much fun, lots

of laughs and adventure. The zip lines were totally safe, not sure you could be any safer honestly; harnessed here - locked in there. There are 9 lines and one where you swing over (still secured) and it is totally worth the price. Me, my daughter, and her friend did this excursion and despite a few fear of heights at the beginning, they were hoping it would not end by the ending of the excursion. Highest Recommendation - it's fun, maybe the highlight of the cruise.

View All 40 Ziplining Reviews

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