Marshhawk and Catmando face the blustery days : Carnival Fascination Cruise Review by marshhawk

Carnival Fascination 5
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Marshhawk and Catmando face the blustery days

Sail Date: November 2011
Destination: Bahamas
Embarkation: Jacksonville
I always keep a short journal(fill in the blanks) when I take a cruise, because after I get home, I will either remember the wonderful or the horrible, but I have yet to take a horrible cruise regardless of the weather, the shipmates or the ports. To me a day at sea is always better than a day behind a desk.

That said, ths cruise did have a few draw backs, but that only happened before we left the port.

I checked my roll call right before we headed out of the house to drive down to Jacksonville FL. Someone had posted on the roll call that boarding will be late, that the ship was going to be coming in late due to high tides. The Fascination goes under the Dames Point Bridge, and can only do that at low tide. So they say. And we were sailing with a full moon the week of 11-7 to 11-12, so the ship was delayed coming in. And we were supposed to start boarding at 2. No problem, a late lunch on the lido. Or take ourselves out to lunch. Which we ended up thankfully More doing, because our hotel was instructed by Carnival to not even let the VIP people start boarding until 2. We are not VIP. And we were not even taken to the ship until 5 p.m.And once we got to the port,(a bus load from the Holiday Inn Blount Island) security instructed the driver to leave us off over in lot 4 and then have us trek or be shuttled back to the port. Our driver thought that was just about the craziest thing he had heard all day, he drove over to lot 4, drove around in a big circle, and then drove us directly to the port. We let the porters handle our luggage, and we got in line. We were in line from 5:10 until 6:45 when a very nice Carnival employee asked how our friend was doing, and was told EXACTLY how our friend was doing. (our friend who was going on her first cruise-had had foot surgery this past year, and the standing was killing her). Well thank heavens for her honesty, we were taken out of line and rushed through(my friend was in so much pain she was in tears). So bless that Carnival employee for noticing what was happening. We finally arrived up at the Lido deck at 7:10. We heard computers were down, we heard delays from machinery, we heard it was because of the late boarding-WHO KNOWS? Maybe Carnival, but that was the worst embarkation day in the four Carnival cruises I have taken. I had sailed from Jacksonville before, and it was great, so this perhaps was a one time thing.

Once on board we headed to the Lido deck, ran into our roll call buddies(who we had met the night before) had a fruit punch and then headed down to dinner. Because of all the delays, dinner that night was open seating to everyone, and we had the same waitress that we had had the year before.She even remembered us!

We did however have early dining, and while we saw Yves at breakfast and lunch in the Sensation, we were actually assigned to the Imagination dining room(in the aft of the ship).

Dinners were alright. Not great. For every "comfort meal" on the menu, two every night, we lost a more gourmet style meal. Things that were great that we tried, the Alligator Fritters(spicy), the Bacon Mac and cheese-yummy, and of course the lobster tail. I tried 3 fruit soups on this cruise, and loved every one of them.

What was not alright was our poor waiter's assistant. She kept dissappearing, she would bring bread around twice, and then-poof-she was gone. Rolando had to deliver, bus the table, take the orders, bring the bread, fill the water glasses, and our dinners took over an hour and a half each night. Good think everyone at the table got along. One family of three did not come back for the last two nights. Said they were fed up with waiting. This however was not the fault of the waiter, who we would have enjoyed more, if his assistant had not become invisible every night.

On our last cruise my husband and I tried to do everything. And there are plenty of things to do. This cruise we spent relaxing. Most evenings we sat on the back of the Coconut Grove restaurant, outside on the smoking deck, watching the moon rise over the water. Sounds boring? Not at all-Jupiter was rising, Orion is entering the night sky again, and the hot tea was great.

Our cruise took us to Half Moon Cay, and Nassau. We spent the week trying to avoid Tropical Storm Sean, and on sea and land there was quite a wind. In Half Moon Cay, the waves were great for body surfing, which I did. In Nassau we headed up to the Sheritan on Cable Beach to snorkel but the seas were still too choppy. There were a lot of sea sick people on this cruise. If you feel like you are going to hurl-stay in your cabin! There were motion sickness bags attached to the elevators, but I guess a lot of people didn't see them.

I do not get sea sick. Lucky me.

I would love to do this cruise again. Half Moon Cay was beautiful, and we loved the Sheritan. We did the Behind the Fun tour, and it is not mostly a guy thing, even though out of sixteen, there were only 6 women. There is something for everyone. I think the most interesting part was the laundry room, the food preparation area, and the bridge. For my husband, it was the engine control room, the bridge and the laundry.

Good food,great ports, good times and a great bunch in our roll call, made this a wonderful cruise-and how did the newbie sea sick friend like the cruise?Well, she stopped by my desk yesterday and asked when we were going on our next cruise. See-cruising is for everyone! Less

Published 11/19/11

Cabin review: PTR8 Porthole

Riviera #8-I like the Riviera cabins because when you get back from port, you only have to walk up the stairs and there you are. I enjoy the light from the portholes-great price for a "round" ocean view. Three closets, two for hang up, one with shelves. Dresser with 4 good size drawers. One chair(wish it had two) but there is an ottoman seat with the desk area. Bathroom was a good size, shower had great water pressure, and temperature.

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Port and Shore Excursions

I hear so many times that once you have been to Nassau more than once, you've seen it all, and that is just not true. We've been 3 times via a cruise-done Blackbeards Cay and Blue Lagoon as Carnival shore excursions on our two previous cruises, but this time, since the ship was in port from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. we had no worries that we couldn't do something on our own. We checked the ports page on Cruise Critic, read about the $25.00 a day beach pass for the Sheritan. We used public transportation(Jitney #10) and headed up to Cable Beach. The bus left us off at the hotel, we walked right in, got our passes and walked down to the beach. Beautiful! Yes, it was still too choppy to really snorkel and see anything(I saw a small school of fish), but after the salt water, we used the pools(they are salt water but not sea water,) quite chilly after the warmer ocean water. This is truly a beautiful place. Three pools, a great beach, a snorkel area, and a beach towel. We would go again in a heart beat. The only thing we did wrong was, we had lunch on the ship, and didn't get up to the beach until 2. The pools close at 5(probably not the bar pool)and the sun sets about an hour earlier in the Bahamas than in Atlanta, so we really only got two and a half good hours up there before we were totally in the shade. Well we know for next time, and there will be a next time here.
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