Length: 855 ft
One of the oldest "Fantasy-class" Carnival ships (1991), fine for short inexpensive getaways but the age shows in decorBest For People Who Want
Non-stop entertainment, lively casinos, extensive deck space for sunning, large, if very pink, facilities for fitness/spa and children's activities, large cabins, good food, and very informal service. Especially recommended for families, singles in groups and first time cruisers.Should Be Avoided By People Who Prefer
Sophisticated "seen but not heard" service people; cabins with private verandas; mega-ship action; understated elegance in a low-key environment; no children; dozens of varieties of food.Onboard Experience
Identical in all but décor, Carnival Fascination is of eight Fantasy-class sister ships (Carnival Fantasy, Fascination, Ecstasy, Inspiration, Paradise, Sensation & Elation). These ships always seem to have something of interest going on, and thus are ideal for the up-and-at-'em style cruiser. Carrying 2,052 passengers, Fantasy is big enough to provide diverse entertainment, ample deck space for those whose idea of being entertained is basking in a warm sun shine glow, and separate facilities for passengers of all ages.
Having been launched in 1994, in today's whirlwind pace of change in the cruise industry, Fascination is not so full of neon, chrome and mirrors as her younger sister ships. But it's there if you know where to look. Like at the Illusions Dance Club with her brass barstools and neon-rimmed mirrors and ceiling panels.
An upgrade completed in 2007 includes a snazzy new pool area with teak decking, new umbrellas, a tile "beach" for the pool water to lap against and a new thatched roof for the hot tub. The kids will rave about "Carnival waterworks," the new water park featuring a 4-story tall and 300 foot long "Twister Water Slide." Another slide is three side-by-side tubes 82 feet long. This is all part of a waterpark with all kinds of sprays and other devices to keep the kiddies cool and fresh. There's also a new nine-hole miniature golf course.
As if that isn't enough for the kids, "Camp Carnival" received a makeover, and the ship has new interconnecting staterooms for families.
The adults haven't been left out; there is a new "adults-only" area called "Serenity" with a deck of solid teak panels for soft cushioned loungers in sun or shady areas and two hot tubs.
New enhancements indoors include a coffee cafe with specialty coffees (for a price) but free pastries. There is a new art & photo gallery and the atrium bar has been updated. New sound and lighting systems have been installed in every public room, and the ship now has flat screen televisions in several places to keep up with sports and other vital information.
All of the staterooms are updated as well with new fabrics and finishings, and flat panel televisions for a more updated look and the important added space.
Ideal as it is for the sort of person who likes to have loads of activities planned, Fascination also offers lots of out-of-the-way places to read or just contemplate the sea. During summer cruises, however, when there are hundreds of kiddies aboard, quiet contemplation might become a luxury reserved for another ship.Decor
Every Carnival ship, designed by fanciful designer Joe Farcus, has a unifying theme for the decor. The unifying idea behind Imagination's interior decor is officially Hollywood, though you'll be tempted to say it is really "Bond, James Bond." You'll find the Diamonds are Forever Dance Club, with its rotating mirror balls and the Casino Royale. There are also the Palace Lounge, Hollywood Boulevard, Bogey's Internet, the Beverly Hills Bar and the Puttin' on the Ritz Lounge.Public Rooms
The ship consist of 10 decks with most of the public rooms concentrated on Atlantic, Promenade and Lido decks (decks 5,6 and 7). The cabins are mostly concentrated on decks one through four; Riviera, Main, Upper (which is actually a lower deck 3) and Empress decks.
The ships centerpiece is their seven-deck high Grand Atrium, bathed in brass and glass. You can stroll down Hollywood Boulevard, or plop down into a soft banquette to ogle passers-by. The two-level, 1300-seat Dynasty Lounge at the front of the promenade presents live production shows, comedians, magicians, and passenger talent shows, with exemplary sight lines and good seating throughout.
The ship's most fanciful decor is in such entertainment venues as the popular 88 Piano bar featuring an enormous circular piano which doubles as a bar for those who like to sing along. You'll also find the vibrant Passage to India disco and the Puttin' on the Ritz cabaret lounge along the boulevard.
An upgrade started in 2007 involves upgrades to the pool area, staterooms and some public rooms. Most of the following are complete: a snazzy new pool area with teak decking, new umbrellas, a tile "beach" for the pool water to lap against and a new thatched roof for the hot tub. The kids will rave about "Carnival waterworks," the new water park featuring a 4-story tall and 300 foot long "Twister Water Slide." Another slide is three side-by-side tubes 82 feet long. This is all part of a waterpark with all kinds of sprays and other devices to keep the kiddies cool and fresh. There's also a new nine-hole miniature golf course. As of January 2008, this is almost complete.
As if that isn't enough for the kids, "Camp Carnival" received a makeover, and the ship has new interconnecting staterooms for families.
The adults haven't been left out; there will be a new "adults-only" area called "Serenity" with a deck of solid teak panels for soft cushioned loungers in sun or shady areas and two hot tubs.
New enhancements indoors include a coffee cafe with specialty coffees (for a price) but free pastries. A new art & photo gallery and the atrium bar will be in place. New sound and lighting systems have been installed in every public room, and the ship now has flat screen televisions in several places to keep up with sports and other vital information.
All of the staterooms are scheduled for upgrades with new fabrics and finishings, and flat panel televisions for a more updated look and the important added space.
Other public areas include the Galleria shopping mall, the Virtual World arcade, and the ship's photo gallery. Bogey's Cafe and Internet offers access for 75 cents per minute; for those who plan to spend more time on the computer, there are 100 minute packages available for $50 (50 cents per minute) and 250 minute packages for $100 (40 cents per minute).Cuisine
From the best pizza afloat (available 24 hours per day) to haute cuisine in the main dining room, Carnival really delivers on the food front.Restaurants
Total Choice Dining provides for four dinner seatings in the main dining rooms, alternative Bistro dining every evening, and an increased number of service staff. Passengers are assigned a table for dinner in one of the two main dining rooms -- The Sensation Dining Room on Atlantic Deck, mid-ship, or the Imagination Dining Room on Atlantic Deck, aft -- at one of four seatings; 5:45 p.m. or 6:15 p.m. and 8 p.m. or 8:30 p.m. There are very few tables for two in either of the two main dining rooms; expect to dine with four, six, or eight fellow voyagers. Both dining rooms are named after future Carnival ships that at the time were only a part of the founder's "imagination."
You typically have a choice of six starters, a couple of salads, and six or seven main courses (pan-fried fillet of red snapper, sweet and sour shrimp, rack of New Zealand lamb and Beef Wellington). The menu also includes Spa Carnival selections for those trying to reduce their intake of calories, sodium, cholesterol, fat, or meat.
Additionally, the poolside Lido eateries are converted into Seaview Bistros between 6:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m. each evening, offering buffet dinner with no reservations or advance notice required. The informal Coconut Grove Bar & Grill (T-shirts and shorts are OK) Restaurant on the Lido Deck offers both inside and poolside seating. All meals here are served buffet style, with open seating for all three meals.
Other alternative eating options include a 24-hour pizzeria, a complimentary sushi bar and 24 hour room service. The "Evolutions of Fun" upgrades started in 2007 will eventually add a coffee bar in the atrium and New York-style deli in the Lido restaurants, if they are not there already.Service
Don't expect formality. Indeed, expect wacky dances after dessert - and then to come back to your cabin to find that your cabin steward, cutup that he or she is, has left a towel folded to resemble a dog on your bed. The hi-jinx never stop!Tipping
Carnival automatically adds $10.00 per person per day in gratuities to your Sail & Sign card unless you're under two years old, and if you're reading this, you're probably not. This includes $3.60 for the stateroom steward; $5.50 for the Dining Room team, and $.90 for service in the alternative dining rooms. Visit the purser's desk during the cruise to raise or lower this amount.
You may also prepay gratuities for all service personnel at a rate of $10.00 per person per day. On Cruises-to-Nowhere, gratuities of $10 per person per day must be prepaid.
A 15 percent gratuity is automatically added to all beverage tabs. Tip the maitre d', room service, spa, casino and other staff as you deem fitting.Entertainment
The prime entertainment venue is the 1,300 seat Palace Lounge theater, but karaoke draws big crowds to the Diamonds are Forever Dance Club, while the Puttin' on the Ritz Lounge offers a variety of dance-music combos from pop standards to even folk and country musicians. Regardless of what sort of music you like most, you're pretty much assured of hearing it.
By day, there are bingo and Trivial Pursuit contests, not to mention such highbrow events poolside as the men's hairy chest contest.Cabins
Because they were built just before the shift toward lots of verandahs, just the 26 demi-suites (250 square feet) and 28 full suites (400 square feet) have balconies.
However, during 2008 all of the staterooms in the class of smaller Carnival ships will receive a facelift including new flatscreen televisions, for example, a subtle change but one that lends a significantly different feel to the room while also adding a little extra space - which never hurts.
The cabins on these older ships always appeared spartan compared to the newer Carnival ships due to their lack of wooden desks and cabinetry. The colors, fabrics and linens will be upgraded, but they are still light on amenities (a color TV with CNN, telephone, radio, no hair dryer, and a basket of "free-sample" toiletries). They are roomy, however, among the largest in the cruise industry: inside measure 185 sq. ft, outside 190 sq. feet. Even in the minimum category inside or outside stateroom you'll still enjoy ample space. for four and five are understandably popular with families, and go fast.
Oceanview staterooms and suites offer a mini bar, bathrobes, and fairly large bathrooms with a shower (with wand) and medicine cabinet. There are also 26 mini-suites (226sq.q. feet plus 36 square foot private veranda) and 28 suites measuring 350 sq. feet with 71 sq. foot balconies.Fitness/Spa
With no fewer than 12,000 sq. ft. devoted to fitness and spa facilities, these ships are a dream come true for those who like to keep in shape during their cruise. The "Evolutions of Fun" upgrades scheduled for 2008 will pay particular attention to the spa area by adding more elegance and amenities.
The gyms have a private trainer and 35 state-of-the-art exercise machines. There's a day-long schedule of aerobics, and stretching yoga, and Pilates classes (usually around $10 each), as well as body composition analysis and personal training sessions, $75 for 60 minutes. There's a fully jogging track and a volleyball court. Women who want to sunbathe topless will find secluded areas in which to do so.
Those who prefer to skip shore excursions and snorkel on their own can rent equipment for $26 for three days. The inescapable Steiner's of London operates the ship's spa, which offers lots of different kinds of massage - and pushes its beauty products rather more zealously than most passengers would prefer.
The 2008 scheduled upgrade includes a nine-hole miniature golf course as well as a waterpark that is better than the larger Carnival ships. The kids will love these supervised diversions giving you plenty of time to relax by the pool. The exact date for finishing these items has not been determined, but as soon as we know we will update this page.Children's Facilities
Carnival's celebrated Camp Carnival program offers a full schedule of supervised activities, from finger painting and singalongs for younger children to photography workshops, late-night movies, and pool parties for their older siblings. The ships' 2,400-square foot "Children's World" play areas are stocked with a computer lab, a climbing maze, an activity wall, and an assortment of toys, games and puzzles.
The 2008 scheduled upgrade includes a nine-hole miniature golf course as well as a waterpark that is better than the larger Carnival ships. The kids will love these supervised diversions giving you plenty of time to relax by the pool. The exact date for finishing these items has not been determined, but as soon as we know we will update this page.Attire
On the two "formal" nights per week, most men wear a dark suit instead of tux. By day, nearly everyone wears shorts, T-shirt, sneakers/sandals, bathing suit, and a hat.
With living in Jacksonville we have taken many cruises on the Fascination, 4 last year alone. Us and our friends were excited on this cruise as I said we were celebration a 67th birthday and 39th wedding anniversary.
We arrived at the terminal, the 6 of us traveled together, and ll of the luggage was taken and marked as priority (we are all platinum members) and we proceeded to priory check-in, We waited a short time and were assigned our cabins and told we could go directly to them as soon as we boarded the ship and that our luggage would be waiting. After about a 20 minute wait we boarded and was shown to our cabins. Two couples did indeed have their luggage but unfortunately we didn't. Not concerned we went to the Lido deck for lunch. We returned to the cabin approximately an hour and half later still no luggage. We went to CS and was told our luggage wasn't on the ship. We left and came back an our later and was told to look in 'lost and found' again no luggage. Told again our luggage was noton the ship. At 3PM 2 pieces showed up at the cabin. Went back to CS about the 3rd piece and was told again it wasn't on the ship but they had until 6:30 to deliver it to the room! Finally at 6PM it was delivered. Needless to say this didn't set our "special" cruise off to a good start.
After getting on the ship we went to the Lido Deck for lunch. Since there were long lines at the grill and buffet we decided to have salads and sandwiches, both were wonderful. the salad ingredients were fresh and crisp. Among the 6 of us, we tried the corn beef, ruben, pastrami, and turkey, they all were delis!
We didn't utilize the buffet, due to long lines, but was able to eat from the grill and it was ok but would have been better if the food had been hot. We did have lunch in the dining room on the last sea day and it was wonderful. It is sad that it is only open for lunch on sea days!
We utilized room service for breakfast each day and enjoyed it on the cabin balcony. We would recommend it
We had late dining and unfortunately our table was in the middle of 4 tables of 10. These cruisers must have been sailing together because they spent most of the meal going back in forth to each others tables. With this being said we were jostled quite a bit. (we did request another table but were told there were none available) Our service was spotty, it could have been because of the number of diners the wait staff was trying to serve, At times we would have 2 courses set down at one time, items ordered mixed up or forgotten all together, or long waits (up to 20 minutes) between items.
Service is spotty all over the ship. We went to the casino bar and the bartender was so interested in setting up her bar that she ignored new customers. She finally decided that they weren't going to leave and waited on them with attitude!
In the buffet on the Lido deck the gentleman cleaning the tables offered to get more drinks for a table with small children!
There are many planned activities to do on board besides enjoying the pools, hot tubs and deck chairs. There are many places to quietly read or play a game. Also the casino, we did take advantage of it and saw someone win $1600. unfortunately it wasn't any of our group!
Since we have cruised a lot on the Fascination we didn't attend any of the shows but did try to go to the comedy show but with late dining were unable to get in.
Freeport isn't one of our favorite ports but there are excursions that can be booked and a straw market you can go to right off the ship for things to take home
Nassau is one of our favorite ports. We buy purses and visit Atlantis. Great place just to wander in, just be watchful as you would in any port.
We had a balcony cabin,E237. Since this is a smaller ship the cabins tend to be smaller. There is no refrigerator, so it is difficult to keep anything cold. There is an ice bucket that is filled twice a day and you can as your cabin steward for more. Our steward was very attending but didn't speak english very well so my husband was always asking after he left 'what did he say'
As platinum members we do have priority disembarkation. This went very smoothly and the luggage was very easy to find. We were off the ship and on our way home by 9:15
I hope this helps all cruisers. Just remember you are on vacation, not at work, so have fun!
This was my very first cruise. It certainly will not be my last. I was swept off my feet with pampering.
I got off to a rocky start when I started to Jacksonville, Florida, got 5 hours away and realized that I had left my birth certificate in a red folder in my car at my friends house. We called Carnival and they helped us make arrangements to satisfy this catastrophe. I had planned to catch a plane back home but fortunately they enabled me to go.
Love the water especially hot tubs.
The shows could have been targeted to a more general audience.
The food was good and available all the time. I enjoyed our waiter very much Santiago. He made our dining experience one to always be remembered. He knew all our cruisers by name. He always went out of his way to make sure we got our food and all that we needed timely.
I enjoyed going to the Stir Up Cay Island. Nasau was OK my daughter enjoyed Senyor Frogs. Overall it was a great affordable vacation. The 8-10 hour car ride to get to Jacksonville Florida was long andtiring. Next time I think I will sail out of Charleston, SC on 6 hours away.
A crew member named "Daniel from Indonesia" Humiliated me and left me with a very bad memory. I made the horrible mistake of snapping a photo of the photos posted for sale. (Photos taken freely by the cruise's staff the night before) (I just wanted to take a picture to relay to my wife to ask if she wanted to purchase it)
As I knelt to snap the photo from my Iphone, I was met by Daniel's finger in my face with a demand to "DELETE IMMEDIATLEY" I felt embarrassed and as I tried to stand to explain my apology and that I was only trying to confirm with my wife if she wished to purchase the photo on display, Daniel's response was to reach for his Walkie-talkie" and call for "SECURITY"...People looked on like I was a criminal. I may have made a mistake by using my cell phone to snap a photo, but I certainly didn't deserve to be treated like this.
Daniel was over bearing and insisted on witnessing me delete the photo. I shakenly complied with the thought of "Security" arriving. I will never make the same mistake. Please tell Danielthat he needs to relax and not be a police officer hot dog. Otherwise, I loved the cruise.
However - Carnival is a value. The housekeeping staff is amazing. Please only report this one in cident. I felt guilty, the rest of the staff was awesome.