Posted July 30th, 2004, 01:46 PM
Last edited by jetsfan; July 30th, 2004 at 01:54 PM
Here goes.. As many of you know by now Key West has been dropped on many sailings. I did know this ahead of time. I did consider a different ship for a few days and looked into it, (the Imagination was leaving same time, just for 5 days instead), but because of our plans to go to Orlando and visit family it would have been too much of a hassle.
So here goes: After eating at the Cocunut Grill, we headed to our cabins about 1:15. Our room was ready.Our steward was very visible that week. We had towel animals 3 nights, much to my daughters delight. On the last sea day he reminded me about laundry. It was folded and returned by 8:00pm. $15.00 for a bag, but boy did I shove a ton of stuff in there, and with 5 days left of vacation, having some of our favorite clothes clean was great. We were in cabins U163 and U165, right by the stairs and elevator, not loud or noisy and very convenient. The cabin was in good condition, with what looked like new comforters. A few stains on rugs, but there are stains on my familyroom rug, so who cares! I did notice on Riviera deck aft one day while walking, a strong smell of sewage, but did not notice it any other place in the ship, nor on my floor.
Carnival had a fund raiser for a charity during embarktation. Anyway you could order beverages at a 1.00 a can and have them delivered to your room. We did this and had 12 cans of pepsi and 12 cans of hawaiian punch waiting for us when we got there. It saved money while we mixed a few of our own drinks, and it supported a charity. Overall, I thought the condition of the ship was great. Everywhere you looked someone was cleaning, vacuming(sp) and just tyding up. I will say there was one place on the ship which was utterly disgusting, the Lido pool bathroom. No matter what time time of day you were there, it smelled horrible. Even first thing in the morning. I am not sure if it was because of the number of kids, or an actual plumbing problem, but it was just foul. I would purposely walk to another place, just couldn't stand going in there. The promenade was glitzy and full of neon, I love this and enjoyed the theme of the ship, so did the kids.
We walked around the ship, to help kids get adjusted. Unfortunately it was a rainy day, so leaving the port was a bit yucky. We were interviewed by the video guys, and saw ourselves on tv all week, the kids LOVED it! Muster drill went okay, kids were little freaked with life jackets, and all the people shuffling about, but no problem after that. We had told them about it.
We met our servers Ekallak and Oksana, they were wonderful. By the second night they knew all our kids names, which is incredible, since half the time I can't get them right when I call them. I thought the food was incredible. This might have been the best food we ever had, outside of Pride and Legends supper clubs. The filet, mushroom soup, and Chateuabriand(sp) were outstanding. My younger kids ordered off kids menu, however the 8 year old did have a few starters as a meal. We bought soda cards for two older kids a great deal at 16.00/ app. The younger 2 had soda only with dinner. Pizza was great. I did try the calzone and ceasar salad, very good. The kids loved singing and dancing by the waitstaff.
Monday night we let them go to camp carnival where they went to Welcome Party at Disco, and older kids went to the teen thing. I will say counselors are wonderful with kids. My 3 younger kids had a better time during the day. Playing in the pool with us, and watching deck games and activities. My oldest son was bored during the day. He did meet guys his own age, and was travelling with his 3 male cousins as well. They played ping-pong, and tried the golf and basketball, however the pool had so many little kids (which is to be expected) they were not into that. The slide was open a lot, my younger ones loved that. I would love to see more physical activities on ships. Climbing walls and other things. However, my older son had much more fun at night. He did go to the disco and video arcade.This age group of 13-16 seems to be forgotten. Camp Carnival was easy to access. We picked them up 2 nights at about 1:00, after midnight shows, and they were pooped.
As for the shows we did not go to any of them, so I cannot comment. We had early dinner seating 5:45, which we were so not used to. DH and I usually like 8:45. With kids of course this would not be great for us or other diners. After dinner was when we hung with the kids and let then see a few karoke(sp) shows. We did go with the idea of using the baysitting services. I am not sure I would bring the kids again until my younger ones were a bit older. This is my opinion only and do not want to debate the pros and cons of bringing kids. We travel quite a bit with our kids and alone. We have rented condos in Myrtle Beach and cabins in Vermont. I just am thinking cruising is not for our family now, and a 4 day cruise was more than enough. Even though Key West would have only been a short time, it would have broken up the cruise. Having 2 whole sea days was very confining. However our day in Cozumel was the best.
We arrived in Cozumel Wednesday morning (with 5 extra hours, which was great). We had decided ahead of time to do Paradise Beach. We got there about 10:00 by taxi van. It cost 24 dollars for 6, which we got right outside the new little mall. The beach was a blast! We were shown to 2 umbrellas right by changing rooms and off our waiter was off to grab the first of many Sols. I cannot say enough about this place. The beach was beautiful, a bit rocky in places, but water shoes fixed that. The kids jumped on trampoline, and climbed the iceberg( 2 older kids anyway). The iceberg is fun, but beware! Our daughter who is 12 and can climb better than anyone I know got out of the way before someone rolled on her. My DH and son walked up the beach a bit and rented a jet ski for an hour for 110.00, and so worth it to them. This is all they wanted to do. He loved it, and even the younger kids got to take a ride. My 2 daughters got their hair braided, half a head for 25.00 and 20.00 dollars. We spent the whole day there, and it was Hot! There is a big shaded place where you can eat. We met Paradise Tom who came over and then sent over shots of tequilla for us, Thanks Tom!
Ship excursions are pricey, and you get very little. We spent 8 hours there and spent a total of 300.00 for everything. We ate the best nachos and munchies and had many cervezas. The cousins ran around the beach and hung out, it was great.At night we went to do a little of shopping. I picked up my swinging chairs that I have been dying to get, and the kids haggled for jewelery. We had one margarita at Fat Tuesdays, and it was back for the deck party. We danced with the kids and all of us loved this night! We all dragged ourselves to bed at 1:00.
We pulled away from Cozumel having made some great memories. On Thursday we caught the Hairy Chest competition, ice carving, shopped for photos and some ship souveneirs(sp). The set up for the galleria shopping is different on this ship, it is a series of twisting turns down by the Palace lounge. A bit confusing, but with the typical Carnival Logo shirts and shot glasses. But you gotta have it! Dinner that night was great.I did tip then a bit more because of their fine service and attention to our party of 14. In- laws watched kids while we took a stroll on deck and had a drink on the Promenade walkway by casino.
The midnight show we saw was good. We went to the piano bar one night, but did not care for the painist. The band in Passage of India lounge was very good, their name was Music Blitz. We missed the passenger talent show which we love. But did catch the Newleywed game and of course played some bingo. Kids liked that.
Friday morning was very easy. We were up by 7:00, and had breakfast in the Imagination diningroom. We wanted one last good sit down meal, as we would be driving up to Orlando for the second part of our trip. We were walking off the ship at 9:20. As many of you may have heard a guy from Virginia is believed to have gone overboard on our cruise. They paged this man many times that morning, and had us use our sign in sail as we went off the ship. Everything appeared normal to us, but behind the scenes things must have been crazy. I did not hear about this until I was reading the Miami Sentinel in our hotel room 2 days later. I had goose bumps. I pray for his family and friends.
We picked up our van and were on I-95 headed north in a blink of an eye. We did have a wonderful time. My in-laws spent time with their grandchildren in a place that is beautiful and unusual. The DH and I did have a few moments alone. Our kids after seeing pictures of cruise ships for years, now know what they are really like, and yes they really can float! We will go on another cruise, in a few years or so. As I said, if I knew Key West was going to be dropped I would never have chosen this cruise. The day we were in Cozumel was fantastic.I love Carnival and believe they really do have a lot to offer. Every member of the crew we met was wonderful. I would not trade this trip for anything.
For those of you who will be sailing the Fascination shortly, get psyched for a great time! I hope I have covered the things you are interested in. This is the first review I have ever written, so bear with me, if I jumped around bit. I will be happy to answer any questions you may have. Take care, and bon voyage!