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First, let me say, we had a wonderful cruise on the Carnival Fascination. We had 6 in our group. My wife and I, an accountant and travel agent respectively, have had 18 cruises, 14 of them on Carnival. (This was our fourth cruise on the Fascination.) Also with us was my brother- and sister-in-law (a retired police officer and his wife); they cruise with us most of the time, so they have as many cruises as we do. The final members of our group were two sisters (a registered nurse and administrative assistant) who were on their first cruise. My DW and I booked a suite since we were celebrating our 15th wedding anniversary. The suite was nice, but for the extra price we paid, I think next time I will just stick to a balcony or ocean-view depending on the class of ship. We are planning a 15-day Hawaii cruise on the Splendor in 2013; I think we will have to book a balcony on that one. I love leaving the door open at night and listening to the sea. We checked in at Jaxport about 10:30 Saturday; by 11:15 we were on the ship. We parked at a local park-and-ride lot for just $5 per day, and they were Johnny-on-the-spot as far as getting us to the ship and being there when we got off. In contrast, the cruise port in Jacksonville charges $15 per day to park. I noticed as we set sail the Jaxport parking lot was only about 1/3 full, even though we had a almost full ship. It appears that cruisers are cutting corners by using these park-and-ride lots around the cruise ports. Can you blame them? Our first night at sea was a great kick-off to our cruise. Our wait staff, WeeWee and PeePee, were great. Our drinks were kept full, the bread hot and fresh. Our food was delivered in a very timely manner and was pretty good. Carnival has changed their menus and some of the dishes. My wife, who loves soups, commented that they were very good but not as good as past. I had a steak one night that was on the tough side, but the next one I had a couple days later was much much better. Our first full day was a "Fun Day at Sea." The food throughout the day was very good. Lines were not too bad; I don't think anyone in my party had to wait in one more than 15 or 20 minutes. The pizza was great, and the deli sandwiches were outstanding. All day long there were plenty of activities. I've read several pieces that have put down the CD, Jen. However, I thought she was pleasant and did a good job. Her staff was well prepared for all the activities they were responsible for. I have been on cruises where the CD staff was late for every event. Our sea day also included Formal Night. I really am disappointed that a good many of the passengers do not dress up for formal night as they did when we first started cruising 10 years ago. I have a tux I wear, and my wife will dress up also, but I only counted three other tux-wearers in our dining room. 650 people in our dining, and many of them were dressed like it was any other dinner seating! And the other nights the dress for dinner has gone downhill. At one time, shorts and T-shirts were not allowed, but that's not the case anymore. The show the first night was the same old tired show that Carnival has been doing for 5 or more years. It's a great upbeat show, but I think it's time for a change. The weather and seas were a bit choppy that day. We had a passenger get very ill around dinnertime, so the CD announced that we would have to go into Miami to get the passenger off the ship. As we made the turn back to the west, the waves went from 4-6 feet to 8-10 feet. As we got closer to Miami's port, the rain was hard and winds picked up. It took about two hours to get into the Port of Miami, get the sick passenger off and get back on our way. We were scheduled to get into Key West at 7AM the next day; however, we didn't dock there until about 8:30. We did get to stay until 4:30. Though our ride to Key West was bumpy, the day is Key West was absolutely gorgeous. We docked at the Navy base and had to ride a tram to the main areas. That went very smooth, and there appeared to be a steady flow, so I don't think anyone had to wait long. This is a wonderful island, and we enjoy our time there. This time, we just made our pilgrimage to Kermit's Key Lime Shop for a frozen slice of pie dipped in milk chocolate. Baby, this is so good, "It would make a puppy pull a freight train!" Day three we found ourselves in Nassau. We have been there several times. We now take the #10 bus from downtown to Cable Beach, $1.25 each way. We visit the Sheraton, which charges a daily fee of $25 per person to use their beach, pools, and non-motorized water sports. It was windy, and light showers moved in and out as the day progressed. We splashed around in the warm waters and enjoyed the time relaxing. On our way back to the ship on the bus, part of Bay Street was blocked for road work, so our driver took us the scenic route. If you have never seen the neighborhoods of Nassau, it's something to see. The people along the path we took were very poor, but they appeared happy. Some of the roads we traveled down, I wasn't sure if they were actual roads or someone's driveway. At one point the traffic was backed up and our driver had to aggressively apply the brakes, leaving some tire marks on the road and making the passengers on the full bus gasp. However, no harm, no foul. We made it back to the port area and were walking into the terminal/mall, and I noticed that the usual tourist harassment about taxis, hair breading, etc. wasn't as in-your-face as it has been in the past. There was some, but a polite "No, thank you," seemed to do the trick. We were not slated to leave Nassau until 10PM that night, so dinner population was light. This was a good thing, though, since this was the night of the past passenger reception. I don't drink, so I wasn't there for the free alcohol, but to cheer at the ship slideshow. I did get on stage for the Carnival trivia contest. I won it two years ago on the second question; this time, I was out on the second question. I couldn't remember the first Carnival ship that had the "whale tail." We didn't go to the show that night as we had seen it several times before. We elected to sit on the Lido deck and play several rounds of cards. I did sample a calzone from the pizza bar. It wasn't a tasty as is looked, so I picked it apart and shared the pepperonis with my wife, Shirley. The next day, the ship turned north, and we had a great day at sea. Between my wife and me, we totaled three 24-Carat-Gold-Plastic Ships-on-a-Stick. My wife also won a medallion. We really enjoy playing the trivia games. I also got on stage for the disco dance lesson. I did it to get our two "blue card" cruisers up there. I did pretty well since it had been several decades since I did my last disco dancing. The show that night was based on the 1980s. Before the show they played a 30-minute video of 80s commercials and TV shows. I like it; it brings back some good memories of my younger days. The Carnival dancers were very good; the male dancers were some of the best I have seen on Carnival. The two lead singers were good as well. We have had the female singer on other ships; she tries to sing notes that are too high for her, but she did blend very well with the guy. Getting off the ship when we returned to Jax was flawless. One of the CD staff told us the night before that Carnival already knew they would not be able to sail out for the next cruise until 8PM because of the high tide and bridge clearance, and they had already canceled their port call to Freeport. Bummer for the next cruisers. Overall, we had a great cruise. Of our 14 Carnival cruises, this would be in the top half of all of them. I read a lot of the reviews, and I see many negative remarks about Carnival. They are a good cruise line. Are there some problems? Yes, but what large cooperation doesn't have them? Can they do better with customer complaints? Many times. But there are people who will let one irritation fester the rest of the cruise and will then blast everything about the cruise. My DW and I try to find the positive and just enjoy our time together getting away from it all.

Halloween Cruise, Fascination Style

Carnival Fascination Cruise Review by NCumpire

Trip Details
  • Sail Date: October 2011
  • Destination: Bahamas
  • Cabin Type: Junior Suite
First, let me say, we had a wonderful cruise on the Carnival Fascination. We had 6 in our group. My wife and I, an accountant and travel agent respectively, have had 18 cruises, 14 of them on Carnival. (This was our fourth cruise on the Fascination.) Also with us was my brother- and sister-in-law (a retired police officer and his wife); they cruise with us most of the time, so they have as many cruises as we do. The final members of our group were two sisters (a registered nurse and administrative assistant) who were on their first cruise. My DW and I booked a suite since we were celebrating our 15th wedding anniversary. The suite was nice, but for the extra price we paid, I think next time I will just stick to a balcony or ocean-view depending on the class of ship. We are planning a 15-day Hawaii cruise on the Splendor in 2013; I think we will have to book a balcony on that one. I love leaving the door open at night and listening to the sea.

We checked in at Jaxport about 10:30 Saturday; by 11:15 we were on the ship. We parked at a local park-and-ride lot for just $5 per day, and they were Johnny-on-the-spot as far as getting us to the ship and being there when we got off. In contrast, the cruise port in Jacksonville charges $15 per day to park. I noticed as we set sail the Jaxport parking lot was only about 1/3 full, even though we had a almost full ship. It appears that cruisers are cutting corners by using these park-and-ride lots around the cruise ports. Can you blame them?

Our first night at sea was a great kick-off to our cruise. Our wait staff, WeeWee and PeePee, were great. Our drinks were kept full, the bread hot and fresh. Our food was delivered in a very timely manner and was pretty good. Carnival has changed their menus and some of the dishes. My wife, who loves soups, commented that they were very good but not as good as past. I had a steak one night that was on the tough side, but the next one I had a couple days later was much much better.

Our first full day was a "Fun Day at Sea." The food throughout the day was very good. Lines were not too bad; I don't think anyone in my party had to wait in one more than 15 or 20 minutes. The pizza was great, and the deli sandwiches were outstanding. All day long there were plenty of activities. I've read several pieces that have put down the CD, Jen. However, I thought she was pleasant and did a good job. Her staff was well prepared for all the activities they were responsible for. I have been on cruises where the CD staff was late for every event.

Our sea day also included Formal Night. I really am disappointed that a good many of the passengers do not dress up for formal night as they did when we first started cruising 10 years ago. I have a tux I wear, and my wife will dress up also, but I only counted three other tux-wearers in our dining room. 650 people in our dining, and many of them were dressed like it was any other dinner seating! And the other nights the dress for dinner has gone downhill. At one time, shorts and T-shirts were not allowed, but that's not the case anymore. The show the first night was the same old tired show that Carnival has been doing for 5 or more years. It's a great upbeat show, but I think it's time for a change.

The weather and seas were a bit choppy that day. We had a passenger get very ill around dinnertime, so the CD announced that we would have to go into Miami to get the passenger off the ship. As we made the turn back to the west, the waves went from 4-6 feet to 8-10 feet. As we got closer to Miami's port, the rain was hard and winds picked up. It took about two hours to get into the Port of Miami, get the sick passenger off and get back on our way. We were scheduled to get into Key West at 7AM the next day; however, we didn't dock there until about 8:30. We did get to stay until 4:30.

Though our ride to Key West was bumpy, the day is Key West was absolutely gorgeous.
We docked at the Navy base and had to ride a tram to the main areas. That went very smooth, and there appeared to be a steady flow, so I don't think anyone had to wait long. This is a wonderful island, and we enjoy our time there. This time, we just made our pilgrimage to Kermit's Key Lime Shop for a frozen slice of pie dipped in milk chocolate. Baby, this is so good, "It would make a puppy pull a freight train!"

Day three we found ourselves in Nassau. We have been there several times. We now take the #10 bus from downtown to Cable Beach, $1.25 each way. We visit the Sheraton, which charges a daily fee of $25 per person to use their beach, pools, and non-motorized water sports. It was windy, and light showers moved in and out as the day progressed. We splashed around in the warm waters and enjoyed the time relaxing.

On our way back to the ship on the bus, part of Bay Street was blocked for road work, so our driver took us the scenic route. If you have never seen the neighborhoods of Nassau, it's something to see. The people along the path we took were very poor, but they appeared happy. Some of the roads we traveled down, I wasn't sure if they were actual roads or someone's driveway. At one point the traffic was backed up and our driver had to aggressively apply the brakes, leaving some tire marks on the road and making the passengers on the full bus gasp. However, no harm, no foul.

We made it back to the port area and were walking into the terminal/mall, and I noticed that the usual tourist harassment about taxis, hair breading, etc. wasn't as in-your-face as it has been in the past. There was some, but a polite "No, thank you," seemed to do the trick.

We were not slated to leave Nassau until 10PM that night, so dinner population was light. This was a good thing, though, since this was the night of the past passenger reception. I don't drink, so I wasn't there for the free alcohol, but to cheer at the ship slideshow. I did get on stage for the Carnival trivia contest. I won it two years ago on the second question; this time, I was out on the second question. I couldn't remember the first Carnival ship that had the "whale tail."

We didn't go to the show that night as we had seen it several times before. We elected to sit on the Lido deck and play several rounds of cards. I did sample a calzone from the pizza bar. It wasn't a tasty as is looked, so I picked it apart and shared the pepperonis with my wife, Shirley.

The next day, the ship turned north, and we had a great day at sea. Between my wife and me, we totaled three 24-Carat-Gold-Plastic Ships-on-a-Stick. My wife also won a medallion. We really enjoy playing the trivia games. I also got on stage for the disco dance lesson. I did it to get our two "blue card" cruisers up there. I did pretty well since it had been several decades since I did my last disco dancing.

The show that night was based on the 1980s. Before the show they played a 30-minute video of 80s commercials and TV shows. I like it; it brings back some good memories of my younger days. The Carnival dancers were very good; the male dancers were some of the best I have seen on Carnival. The two lead singers were good as well. We have had the female singer on other ships; she tries to sing notes that are too high for her, but she did blend very well with the guy.

Getting off the ship when we returned to Jax was flawless. One of the CD staff told us the night before that Carnival already knew they would not be able to sail out for the next cruise until 8PM because of the high tide and bridge clearance, and they had already canceled their port call to Freeport. Bummer for the next cruisers.

Overall, we had a great cruise. Of our 14 Carnival cruises, this would be in the top half of all of them. I read a lot of the reviews, and I see many negative remarks about Carnival. They are a good cruise line. Are there some problems? Yes, but what large cooperation doesn't have them? Can they do better with customer complaints? Many times. But there are people who will let one irritation fester the rest of the cruise and will then blast everything about the cruise. My DW and I try to find the positive and just enjoy our time together getting away from it all.
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Cabin Review

Junior Suite
Cabin JS V14
We had a Cat. 11 Suite (V14). A nice size, bathroom has lots of room. Balcony is very small. Two Chairs and one table, but you have to put them sideways to sit outside. Nice location on the ship.
Verandah Deck Inside Cabins, Suite Cabins

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