Carnival Fascination Cruise Review by BurgundySuede
- Sail Date: March 2019
- Destination: Southern Caribbean
- Cabin Type: Balcony
The number of island destinations was the main reason we chose this cruise (Charlotte Amalie, St Thomas; Bridgetown, Barbados; Castries, St. Lucia; Basseterre, St Kitts; and Phillipsburg, St. Maarten).
We were happy we selected the FTTF (Faster To The Fun) as we were able to board the ship near noon on our sailing day and disembark early. As well as obtaining the early seating for dinner and priority service at Guest Services.
Boarding at San Juan, was the worst part. People stood all around the outside of the dock area in no real discernable order. Thinking we were in a line for early boarding, we were stopped from entry when the people in front of us had a 2 pm board time. We kept trying every employee and finally gained admittance around 12:30. Later, we found out that this cruise also boards people at St. Maartens and (we think) St Thomas-which adds to the confusion in Puerto Rico. It seems that ALL passengers must be off the ship for 4 hours in San Juan for customs-including those who are not boarding at San Juan. So those people-who have valid sea passes are also waiting around trying to re-board.
There should be a better way to allow those with sea passes and noon boarding unfettered access to entry.
The ship is smaller and originally put into service in 1994, but they continue to update as recently as 2013. What our balcony cabin E249 lacked in a more modern bath area, was made up in the automated floor lighting when you got up at night, as well as the window beside the door to the balcony.
We Love Guys Burgers (and fries) and had them continually! Plus we enjoyed the Blue Iguana for great Mexican food out by the pool. Also we Love that the ice cream is available 24/7!
We enjoy dining in the main dining room and were not disappointed with the food, the service, the presentation or Lobster Night! Our main waiter, Elmer, is wonderful anddeserves recognition. As well as Ronnie and Yasa who assisted with our fine diningexperience.
And finally, our cabin steward, Marlon, was one of the best we have ever had among allour 30 years of cruising.
In St Thomas, we chose to walk around the town and stopped into "Pirates TreasureMuseum" for $16 per person and spent several hours learning about the shipwrecks,seeing items found below the sea, reading diary entries, and even speaking withCaptain Jack Sparrow's little brother. We recommend this adventure.
At Barbados, we didn't take a cruise tour either, choosing instead to take a taxi to the George Washington House and Garrison Tunnels. This is only about a mile or so from the dock. The tour guides are knowledgeable and pleasant for both the restored home as well as the newly found Garrison Tunnels. Again we recommend.
At St Lucia, we opted for the Carnival excursion of the Catamaran Cruise to the Pitons and were very pleased. The catamaran crew was wonderful, the scenery from the shoreline was amazing and we were able to stop for about a half an hour to walk along a little beach.
For St Kitts, we chose the Highlights & Brimstone Hill Fortress sold by Carnival. Here our bus driver allowed a woman at the entrance to Brimstone (a Brimstone employee?) onto our van who pressured us to rent a device to tell us about the Fortress. However, the device repeatedly tells you to find "stop # blank on your map"-but there is no map! You have no way to know when to listen to your information at what location. Do NOT purchase this scam at the Fortress.
Finally, we chose the new Rainforest Adventures St Maarten for the Sky Ride. The viewsare incredible and the Flying Dutchman looked like a wild ride! This is a definite GO.
The only glitch we had was with our return flight, which we chose. The Boeing 737 Max 8's were downed days before our cruise. We called our airline, Southwest Air, and wereinformed that since neither nonstop flight to or from San Juan|Baltimore MD were onthe Max 8, there would be no problems. The flight to our cruise had no issues. However, when we got off the cruise at the end of our vacation, we found that Southwest had cancelled our return flight while we were at sea and then failed to notify us. Later we were informed that the Carnival system must not interact well with the Southwest system and that is why Southwest did not notify us of the change in our return flight cancellation. Instead of taking our confirmed nonstop flight at 2:50pm to Baltimore, we waited at the airport with ALL our luggage until 4 hours before an 8 pm flight to Orlando Florida. Southwest did give us a lunch ($10) and dinner ($14) voucher, but did nothing to help us with a room overnight in Orlando where they stranded us. We called Southwest following our trip and found that Southwest will only hollowly apologize. The $130 we paid to have a room to sleep was an additional expense that is our problem. We used to think Southwest was a premier airlines. It was disappointing to see how they reacted when a problem arose. At the very least, we now know.
Again, Carnival has given us a wonderful vacation. You really should go on this one.
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Port & Shore Excursion Reviews
BarbadosWe took a taxi to a place of interest to us about a mile from where we docked in Bridgetown. The George Washington House & Museum and also the Garrison Tunnels located at the same place. The house is restored with period pieces and has wonderful, informative tour guides. Also the Garrison Tunnels which have been recently found on the grounds has another tour which is also quite interesting. We recommend.View All 1,518 Barbados Cruise Port Reviews
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Brimstone Hill TourGood tour. The bus driver stopped at the entrance of Brimstone Fortress and allowed a woman onto the van to pressure us to buy a device to listen to the history of Brimstone Fortress. Unfortunately, this is a scam. The device continually tells you to looks at your map for stop number 1, stop number 2...but there is no map. You have no idea where you are supposed to be looking while they are talking about "this area". This should NOT be allowed by Carnival and the bus drivers should stop allowing her on. Bad for business.View All 55 Brimstone Hill Tour Reviews
Catamaran Day SailThe Catamaran Cruise to the Pitons was a wonderful adventure. The crew was warm and entertaining, they supplied a light lunch, rum punch, and music. The scenery along the shoreline was beautiful. We recommendView All 64 Catamaran Day Sail Reviews
St. MaartenWe have been to St Maartens on several cruises but this is new and well worth your time. The views are amazing and the sky ride is very pleasant. The Flying Dutchman is quite a heart stopping drop but everyone seemed pleased to do it again. This is a very good excursionView All 12,270 St. Maarten Cruise Port Reviews
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St. ThomasWe have been to St Thomas on several trips. We opted to walk around the town and stopped into a great place the "Pirates Treasure Museum" for $16 per person and spent several hours. We learned about several shipwrecks, saw items recovered from the sea, learned about pirates, played with interactive exhibits, and spoke with several interesting, informative people-including Captain Jack Sparrow's younger brother!View All 4,626 St. Thomas Cruise Port Reviews
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