Had an inside single cabin. Cabin had to be treated twice in 5 days for raw sewage smell. Bed next to wall adjoining housekeeping closet. Noisy except from midnight until 6AM. Security did not want to let us in the parking lot unless we could show them the Fun Pass, which was in carry on luggage in trunk. Bed fairly comfortable, but shelf directly above pillow. A/C was low to high on cool air only. No heat. Lots of Spring Breakers. Sushi bar 50 yards from any tables. Lido restaurant tables about 2 inches too high for sitting on benches. Table right under your chin. Over all, about 3* out of 5.
This was my first solo cruise and my first short cruise. I have cruised nine times on mostly Carnival and Holland America. This was my second time to sail out of Miami, with the last time being in 2002.
This was the easiest embarkation ever. Once I had parked the car (something of a challenge) I walked into the terminal at 12.30 p.m., through check-in and was on board within 15 minutes.
I was able to drop my hand luggage in my cabin (R52). Having only the lower berth gave ample space (the upper was locked away). The bathroom has obviously benefited from the recent refurb. Robes in all cabins is a great addition (last time I cruised Carnival they were only available to balcony cabins). All that was lacking was a comfortable chair. Throughout the week cabin housekeeping was excellent although I would have preferred the bed to be made up earlier -- it was usually made up between 1 and 2 p.m. I didn't meet the steward until the third day.
I was impressed by the overall condition of the ship. The public areas were clean, comfortable and in greatcondition -- again a benefit from the recent refurbishment. During the week the only crowding was at the entrance to the Palace Theatre where the Gallerie shopping had spread into the foyer area.
There were plenty of places to just hang out and I spent at least a couple of hours each day in the library. Provided you didn't want the chairs nearest to the pool, there was always space on deck to relax. The aft Sports and Promenade (accessed from Lido) pool decks were less crowded.
Food met my expectations -- good but not outstanding. I loved the outdoor eating areas, especially the "fins" on the back of the ship off the Lido restaurant. I had continental breakfast there every morning; I had lunch and dinner (8.15 p.m.) in the dining room. Maybe it is typical of shorter cruises, but the ambience of the dining was lacking and service was somewhat sterile. Food in the Lido was cold and overcooked and I avoided it after the first day, with the exception of the snack bar by the pool (great cheese and nachos), and the pizza counter (which also cooked omlettes to order in the morning). These were both excellent.
I chose this ship and itinerary because I had a fixed sail date. Ports of call were Key West and Cozumel. Having sailed newer ships, I had wondered what to expect -- no complaints here. I was a little apprehensive about sailing solo, but unnecessarily so -- there were lots of solo guests, or singles in groups. Everyone at our dinner table was traveling "unattached." Certainly the youngest crowd I've traveled with, but a great multigenerational mix. This is very much a "get what you pay for" cruise, and as long as you keep that in mind it's hard not to have a good time.
Debarkation was almost as fast as embarkation. I used the self-assist which seems to be increasingly popular, so may not always be the best option in the future, but by 7.30 a.m. I was in my car and on the I-95.
My senior Girl Scout Troop (4 girls, 4 adults) took a 3-day cruise to Nassau in February aboard the Carnival Fascination. It was a wonderful experience! The ship was very nice although it was sometimes difficult to find your way around -- the signage could have been better.
The activities were fine. Many of the activities on the Lido deck weren't really my "cup of tea" -- like the hairy chest contest -- but it was easy to go somewhere else where it was quieter at that time. And there were people we went with who enjoyed it, so I guess to each his (or her) own.
We enjoyed the shows. We went to each of the 10:30 shows and enjoyed them all.
The food was very good. I only had one bad meal the whole time I was on the trip -- the Eggs Benedict at breakfast. Everyone really enjoyed the freedom to get what they wanted when they wanted it. They had sushi every evening from 5:30 to 7:30; it was very good -- 3 varieties each day and different each day. I enjoyed them all! The dinners were allexcellent and our waitstaff was outstanding!
This was a very nice way for the girls to end their 12 years as Girl Scouts!! I recommend this as a way for groups to travel together. The cruise allowed everyone to do what they wanted to and still spend time together.
At the end of our trip we spent a couple of days in Ft. Lauderdale. That was not as enjoyable because there was a lot of "negotiating" about what to do when.
We tacked this cruise on to the back of a 10 day Disney World vacation. We find this to be the perfect way to relax before making that long drive back up to New Jersey. This was my 22nd Carnival cruise, and 26th overall. Patti has also achieved Platinum status, and the boys are just about there. We chose the Fascination, because she sailed to two ports we had never visited before, Key West and Calica, Mexico.
We arrived at the pier in Miami at 11:30, after the 3-3/4 hour drive from Orlando, dropped our luggage off with the porter, then parked in the covered parking deck on the lowest level, closest to the entrance to the terminal. Cost was $15./day. Since we are Platinum members we entered the VIP line, and were led to a nice office to complete our check in. After quick stops to pick up our cabin keys, and take the embarkation photo, we were onboard around Noon. A very painless process!! Cabins were not ready until 1:30, (they even closed the fire doors so you couldn't sneak in), so we headed up to the Coconut GroveBar & Grill for our embarkation lunch. We ate all of our breakfasts and lunches here. Nothing special, just the normal buffet fare, but I felt there was plenty of variety. Patti and I loved the deli section, especially with the variety of grilled sandwiches they served up. Our boys loved the Pizza, and all the free ice cream they could eat!!
After lunch, we explored a little bit before heading to our cabin. Having been on Fantasy class ships many times before, we knew our way around. The ship had been refurbished lately and was in great shape. My favorite enhancements were the addition of the Grand Atrium Bar, and the 9-hole miniature golf course on the forward Sun Deck. Since we booked this cruise less than a month before, we opted for an outside guarantee, and were assigned M-57 on Main Deck forward. This was a standard quad outside cabin, and served our needs perfectly. Our cabin steward did a wonderful job the whole cruise. Before long, it was time for the muster drill. Our muster station was in the Palace Lounge, and they never led us outside, so we were comfortably cool during the entire 20 minute drill. For sailaway, we grabbed a bucket of beer, and some chairs at the back of the ship. Even after so many cruises, I still get a rush of excitement when they throw the lines, and the ship begins to move!! It had been nearly 10 years since we last sailed from Miami, so we hung out until we were well out into the Atlantic Ocean!!
We requested and received Late Sitting Dinner (8:00 pm) in the Imagination Dining room, which is the dining room all the way aft. We also requested and were given a table for four. Our wait team was excellent all cruise, and just about all of our meals were served just the way we liked them. Meats were cooked perfectly, and served hot, and the Lobster on the only formal night was fantastic. I had seconds and thirds!! One thing I would like to see improved is the variety of desserts. We wound up having just ice cream most evenings. We still enjoy the nightly entertainment in the dining room, even though we've seen it many times before. Half the fun is watching how the newbies react, since there are always plenty of virgin cruisers on these short cruises.
The boys quickly made new friends, and hung out with them in Camp Carnival. They have loved Camp Carnival since they were little kids, and enjoy going. They both are now at the age where they can sign themselves in and out of the program, but we gave them strict guidelines about what they can do, and where they can go if they aren't at camp, or with us, and so far they are handling their "freedom" responsibly. Our babies are growing up!! Ryan signed up for the late night party on the third day, and had a blast. He was delivered back to the cabin at 4:00 am by a staff member, so we didn't even have to pick him up!!
Patti and I didn't attend any of the shows, but we did spend some time in the Casino Royale every evening. I play blackjack and won $750 during the cruise. Patti likes both blackjack and the slots, but wasn't having much luck this cruise. Being a Platinum member, you are entitled to a free entry into the blackjack or slots tournament. I used my entry for the blackjack tournament, but couldn't qualify for the final table. Patti used her free entry to enter the slots tournament, and I bought an entry, and I was the one that wound up qualifying for the final. Patti was steamed since she was knocked out of the running during the last qualifying round, and said since I was a blackjack player, I had no business entering the slots tournament!! Lol. Well, to tick her off even more, I picked machine #4 for the final round, and wound up winning the $500 prize and the genuine plastic gold ship on a stick!!! Being the nice guy that I am, I gave her half the prize money and sent her off to the shops!!!
Our first port of call was Key West, and was a short 7 hour stop (7am –2pm), not leaving much time to discover and explore. The Fascination docked at the Navy Pier which is kind of a hassle, since you have to use a free trolley bus to leave the base, unless you have booked a shore excursion thru Carnival. You are not allowed to walk off the base. The trolley bus takes you to, and brings you back from, Duval street. We decided that we needed a beach day, so we took a van over to Smathers beach on the south side, passing Hemingway's house, and the marker for the southern most point of the US on the way. The beach was ok, but the water was full of seaweed and not very enticing. There were water sports equipment available for rental on the beach, and restrooms and a tiki bar were available across the street at the Sheraton hotel. We had had enough after a few hours and headed downtown, but really didn't have enough time to check things out. Patti and I agreed that the next time we come here, and there will be a next time, we will forget the beach, and I will do the pub crawl and she will shop!!
Our second port of call was Calica, and the port itself was the worst I've ever been to. It is literally a gravel pit / rock quarry, with various machinery and conveyor belts all around. The parking lot where you board your transportation for the various excursions is gravel. Locals set up tents next to the entrance to ply their goods when you go back to the ship, and they are pushy!! That being said, from this port you can take just about any excursion offered on the Yucatan Peninsula, such as trips to Cancun, Playa del Carmen, Tulum, Xel-Ha, and Xcaret, to name just a few. Again, we felt like relaxing so we booked the Calica Beach Break thru Carnival. This four-hour excursion was a bus ride (20 minutes) to La Playa Beach, and included an open bar, beach chairs, and non-motorized water toys such as mats, boogie boards, and kayaks. The beach itself was nice, but really nothing special. Of course, a half hour after we arrived it began raining, so we went into the restaurant for a bite to eat (not included in price). Shortly thereafter, it cleared up and we enjoyed the rest of our time there, though the water was a bit rough, so they wouldn't let the kayaks out. This disappointed the boys a little, but they still had a great time on the boogie boards, as the waves were pretty big. I myself made sure I got my money's worth by utilizing the open bar!! After leaving the beach you have the option of going right back to the ship, or they would bus you up to Playa del Carmen if you wanted to shop. If you chose to go shopping, you were on your own to get back to the ship when you were done. We skipped the shopping, and were dropped off at the ship.
Our last full day was a sea day, and we all just relaxed, as this was our last full day of vacation before heading home to New Jersey. We enjoy cruising on Carnival, and plan to do so many more times in the future.
Though a bit sad that our Disney World / Fascination cruise was coming to an end, we took solace that in less than a month, we would be aboard the Explorer of the Seas for a 9-day cruise from New Jersey. At least for that one, we need to drive only 45 minutes, instead of 23 hours!!
This was our first cruise and we had a great experience! We chose to go on a 4 day, 3 night cruise to the Bahamas. We were initially cautious due to some reviews we read on this site as well as other sites, but we were pleasantly surprised by our experience on board the ship. We had no problems embarking or disembarking from the ship - it went smoothly and quickly.
We had an outside room with two port holes. The room was a good size and it was clean. My cruise buddy has stayed in smaller hotel rooms in NYC. The beds were surprisingly comfortable. Our cabin steward, Carlos, and his staff were excellent! I definitely would recommend not putting more than 2 people in a cabin. The cabins are just the right size for 2 people plus their luggage to fit comfortably.
Contrary to some reviews the food was good, especially dinner in the dining room. The only problem we had was with our head waiter during dinner. He was very rude, so we made our way to the purser's desk and adjusted his tip accordingly.
We had the bestmassages that we have ever had on board the ship!!!
I was annoyed by the crews incessant hounding to take your picture and offers to get (sell) you a drink.
When you initially come on board they ask you if you would like a drink, then after you have taken the drink they ask for your sign & sail card!
The bus driver (from the airport to the port) and the porter tell you they want a tip, which I knew a head of time, but it was still a shock!
The tour guides on the excursions are not shy about asking for tips either.
We took our first cruise on Carnival. After reading all the reviews we where not sure if we made the right choice or not. Once we arrived and say the ship our worries started to fade away. The ship is old and shows some wear. The cabins are very roomy as well are the bathrooms. The food was better than than expected.
Our cabin was always clean and tidy. All the staff was friendly and helpful. The down side of the cruise other than time to leave was no trays in the buffet and the ice machine was always out of ice. If you ordered a drink and wanted a certain whiskey in it they added $1.50 more to the price where no other cruiseline has ever done this.
Embarking and disembarking was very smooth and fast. We arrived at the ship around 11:50am and was on board having lunch by 12:15pm. Our luggage was delivered to our cabin by 3:30pm. Overall yes I would cruise Carnival again. 37 more days until our next cruise. This 1 on NCL Crown to Bermuda and 153 more days until our last cruise of2006.
I forgot to turn in my "comment" form and I wanted to recognize four people: Diana (Casino, great!), Cahyadi(casino, very nice), Hubert (dining room, excellent) Daniel (cabin steward,great!).
Our 3rd cruise, very enjoyable. Loved the pool slide!!!!!
This was my third time on the Fascination: '02, '05, and '07. The two previous trips were before the ship was updated. All three were four-day Western Caribbean itineraries leaving from Miami. There's no sense discussing how the old ship looked since that is old news. The upgrades are numerous. There is a new coffee/dessert bar, kind of like a Starbucks. You can get all different types of fancy coffee drinks, but you do have to pay for them. The staterooms are nice with clean new looking bathrooms. There are flat-panel TVs in all the rooms. The linens and pillows are exceptional. There is plenty of storage and drawers.
The different deck areas have been revamped. There are now several different locations to find a place to lay out. Of course, the main pool area -- the most popular area to see and be seen -- is still cramped. There are a total of four hot tubs. There is a stage in the middle of the main deck, which breaks up the flow of the deck too much. And they are constantly doing annoying games on it. Anyway, on to theimportant stuff…
Carnival has always had good food in my opinion. My first two times on the Fascination had excellent dinners in the dining rooms. Not this last time. The dinners were really pretty awful. The tenderloin was two slices of shoe leather. The sirloin was mediocre at best. The seafood was the only good dinner option. The desserts were horrible. They had a Bailey's cheesecake that was pretty much Jell-O. The buffet food, however, was the usual excellent selection that I have had in the past. There was a huge variety of food available, and it was all great. The Sushi bar was average, but a welcome addition. The sandwich shop was excellent with its grilled sandwiches. And there's always the welcome late night pizza.
As always, the service was spectacular. The passengers were the usual mix of the younger set: 20's, 30's, 40's, and some 50's. Of course there were a few at the ends of the age spectrum. I really do love traveling on the Fascination. I'm sad to see it transferred to another port some time in '08.
OK.. first I'll go over the stuff everyone seems to ask about then I'll give my days.
parking We pulled into the terminal and unloaded. We parked in the parking structure across from the ships ($60 from Mon-Fri). We boarded at 1pm. The lines weren't bad at all. We carried two bottles of wine on board per couple to drink at dinner. We also carried a pint of rum in our luggage to make pre-dinner cocktails.
The cabin We got on board and dumped our carry-on in the cabin. We were located forward on the Empress deck which is three flights up from the Lido deck. The cabin was decent size with big windows. There were plenty of hangers and space to hang clothes. They put a little basket of necessities in the bathroom. There were lamps over the bed and little end tables. The bed was VERY comfortable. I liked the fact that the room temp was controlled by a little dial above the bed. I kept it turned down to almost off most of the time and it was cozy in there. The cabin steward was very nice. Hesaw me and immediately broke out in some Spanish. Poor man.. He caught the only Latina who can't speak the language. LMAO The towel critters where great. I still haven't eaten my pillow chocolates yet. ;) The cabin was always clean and nice.
The ship The last ship I was on was HUGE (Carnival Destiny). I still thought this ship was big but as the trip went on I found it shrank a bit but in a good way. I loved that you could still get lost from the people you travel with but you know everyone isn't too far away. I ran into new people I met and laughed with and my group that I traveled with all the time. By the end of the trip, I felt like I had made many new friends. I thought it was interesting that the stage was right in the middle of the Lido Deck so there was a definite split between the pool and the dance/sunning/party area. I liked that there were many tables with chairs under shade all day. I'm not into baking in the sun. lol No matter where I went, the crew greeted me with a smile and how is your day. I like that.
The slide was open so I definitely went on that when we sailed from Key West. The "sunning deck" is gone. Its now open to the public so no chance to get rid of those pesky tan lines ladies. hahaha
The dining We ate dinner in the Imagination Dining Room. I thought it was lovely in there. The table staff was very attentive and they made dinner fun teasing us. I must admit we started it so I think they picked it up and we all had a good time. Marty and her mom were able to change dinner times and sit with us which filled up the table with our own party and that worked out great. Everything I had was so good. I know some people didn't care for their dishes so I told them well order something else and that wasn't a problem at all. For lunches, we ate in the Coconut Grove (buffet dining). I LOVED the breads they baked. The different types of dishes every day I found tasted wonderful. I especially enjoyed the baked jerk chicken. YUM! In the mornings, I would have some tea and eat some toast on the Lido deck and do a lot of people watching. Eating a very light breakfast was my way of watching the waist line. We only ate lunch on the Lido deck one day and I really enjoyed the hot dog. I didn't try the pizza, sushi or the deli so I can't give you any idea what that was like. My friend said the pizza was wonderful so you get it second hand. The desserts looked fantastic.
drinks I did purchase drinks on the ship as well as bring our own. There were three couples in my party. We brought 2 bottles of wine on board per couple. We took two bottle of wine to dinner each night and that wasn't any problem at all. We were changed NO corkage fee. *two thumbs up* We bought the buckets of beer. MGD was on "sale" 4 bottles for 13.75. I thought it was a great deal. When I bought wine, it was $8 a glass (Merlot).
Fellow passengers It was a whole mix of people on board. Young, old, big families and some singles traveling alone. We met this one guy from Tennessee (Keith) who decided to take a cruise by himself and not wait around for someone to join him. We met him the first night at the Lido deck bar. Nice guy. I encouraged him to join all the activities and go to the singles functions. Well.. he took my advice. He was in everything and all over the place. I kept running into him and he always had a huge smile and greeted me like a friend. At the end of the cruise, he was hanging out with this nice girl.
Day 1 Departing Miami The first night on the cruise after dinner, I wandered around the ship as is my habit. I'm not a gambler so I decided to see what the bars were like. I ended up at that place you saw in the one picture with the elephants out in front. There wasn't anyone in there but us. The band in there was picking up speed so Susie and I decided to have a drink. Our traveling friend Danny came in after a while and had a drink with us. Then all of a sudden a whole bunch of people started coming in. I figure.. ok this is fun. Then the social cruise directors popped in. OK.. I see a nice crowd here for the Singles mingle.. huh? The three of us looked at each other oh well.. Then they come over and say.. time to get up and meet everyone and the guy puts a name tag on me.. "But I'm not single..." he wasn't listening so I figure.. what the heck and got up to talk to people. Marty joins the party and that’s the picture you see us dancing together. So I didn't crash a singles party... they crashed my party. LMAO
Day 2 Key West My DH and I got up as we pulled into port. We docked at the navel base docks. They had the Conch train there ready to take us into town. We decided to take the Conch train tour since we had never seen most of the island. 45 minute tour for $25 a head. Not bad in my opinion. The driver/tour guide was funny and knew his stuff. It was an interesting tour. We strolled up Duval street and stopped in at the Turning Bull for a margarita and the guy was singing and dressed like Elvis. HAHAHA
We ended up in the redfishbluefish where I had a couple of wonderful Mojitos. btw.. I couldn't get a Mojito on board the ship. :( We took the Conch train back to the ship at around lunch time and settled in on the Lido deck as we sailed away. And this is where you see me with my snowman pictures. Oh there’s more. HAHAA I went down the slide a few times and had a great time. This was formal dinner night so everyone got all cleaned up. We had intentions of going to the captains party but stopped at the bar outside of the casino. Never made it to the party. HAHAHA I had the lobster. YUM! After dinner I changed clothes and took a tour around the Lido deck to see what was going on. After that, I headed down to the disco. The place was hoppin. I found myself standing next to this family party and they invited me to join them. I danced and danced to my hearts content until about 1am. Then it was bed time for me.
Day 3 Calica I woke up the next day totally at ease. The ship was still at sea since we didn't get to Calica until the afternoon. Leisure breakfast on the Lido deck and we ate a light lunch before we docked. We were the only ship at Calica. yes it is a big gravel pit.. a working port. The taxis were lined up and ready to go. We decided to go to Xcaret. We didn't book it on the cruise. There was a booth right on the dock where we got a cab for $6. The tickets were $53 a piece (american). We packed some swimsuits and headed out. It was a HOT day. I loved the park. Seeing all of the animals and plants. At about 4, we decided to go for a swim in the park. They had inner tubes you could float in. Absolutely perfect. It was right next to where you can swim with the dolphins. My feet needed a break. This park is NOT for people who don't like a lot of walking. My dogs were barking the next day. HAHA We got cleaned up and caught a cab into Playa. I didn't realize it had all been rebuilt. Its lovely down on 5th avenue. Yes that is the street name. hahaa We decided to go to Senor Frogs which is right on the water and have a few beers there. Then it was off down the beach. We found this place that looked right over the beach. So calm... We had a few beers there and just relaxed. I have to say they gave us the best fresh hot chips and salsa I've ever had. We caught a cab back to the ship after that. It was too late for dinner but that was ok. We ate dinner in the buffet that night. Yumm.. After dinner, I scooted over to the disco for bit then we checked out the deck party. Then it was bed time.
Day 4 Day at Sea back to Miami Today was our big day at sea. My feet needed the break. HAHAHA I changed into my swimsuit for the afternoon. There were no lounge chairs to be found. Oh well. That’s ok. We found a chair in the shade and that was good enough for me. Before 3, I changed into my shorts and made my way to high tea. MMmmmm lovely. I was surprised how many people showed up. Right after that was the galley tour. I could kick myself for not bringing my camera. Absolutely amazing down there. And it was steamy hot. I feel for all the people who work down there. We were given the walk through tour and some demonstrations on veggie carving. After my tour, I went back up to the Lido deck and met up with my friends. We kicked back until dinner time people watching and enjoying the band. There was one incident that I saw that made me upset but people will be people where ever they go. Since it was our last night, we lived it up. I took a last tour around the ship and enjoyed being on sea. I went down to the disco to get in a little more dancing then stopped in at the karaoke contest that my friend Danny was in. He didn't win but he did get in the top three. :)
Day 5 Back in Miami Since I didn't have a plane to catch, we lounged around as long as possible until they told us we HAD to get off the ship. HAHAHA A nice breakfast on the Lido deck and debarked. *sigh*