We spent two days pre-cruise on Miami Beach at the Deauville Resort. We purchased this room on priceline ($48 a night + taxes) and I was a little concerned about it due to the feedback on this 3* hotel. The hotel was a wonderful old resort that in its day must have been magnificent! It is in need of repair right now but I am not going to go into a list of the items wrong with this hotel…I WILL tell you that we enjoyed the pool area and the beach area VERY MUCH. We also enjoyed the ambiance of this grand old resort! It appeared that this facility was going to be turned into timeshares or condominiums in the near future. We felt we got a deal for what we paid for the rooms. We are from the mid-west and really enjoyed being right on the ocean! (Taxi from MIA to hotel was $34)
We got to the pier around noon and were on board around 1:15pm. Everything went quickly and was well organized. (Taxi from hotel to pier around $30). The Fascination was in great shape for an older vessel. My husband and I were quite impressed with Fascination and her crew! We have no complaints. We enjoyed the dinning room meals very much and found the food in other areas on the ship to be ok. Room service was prompt and fine. We had cabin E230 (oceanview). The cabin was the same size as the room on our Celebrity cruise. We liked the bathroom much better on the Fascination. The shower seemed much larger. We had a balcony room on the Celebrity Mercury cruise and really enjoyed the balcony. The Fascination did not offer the balcony rooms, although on a 4-day cruise it didn’t seem as important. There is no way to compare the two cruises we have taken. One was a 7 day Alaskan cruise with Celebrity leaving out of Vancouver and this one was a 4 day western Caribbean cruise leaving out of Miami with Carnival. Our Alaskan cruise was more of a luxury cruise where our 4-day Caribbean cruise was more of a luxury party cruise. We enjoyed both cruises very much. But, they were both very different types of cruise environments.
In Key West we just walked around the town, visited their taverns and picked up a few gifts for family and friends. The shopping prices seemed better to us in Key West than in Cozumel. This is a lovely town to just walk around.
In Cozumel, we took a taxi to Paradise Beach (taxi $12 for 1-4 people each way). Paradise Beach does now cost $5.00 per person to use if you want to use their floats, snorkel equipment, kayaks and such. It is still free if you only want to lounge and swim. We enjoyed Paradise Beach very much. The guys went snorkeling and took underwater pictures. The gals lounged and splashed in the water. We had a couple of frozen drinks ($6.25 each) that were very good and nachos that were extremely good ($8.00). This is a great place to just relax and enjoy the Mexican beach. Although we had no children with us, this would be a great place for the kids as well! The beach was not overcrowded and there were plenty of chairs available for all. We found the shopping around the pier overpriced. If you want to shop, you should go into town.
We went to a couple of the shows and saw the ship comedian a couple of times. All were entertaining.
We decided to take the everglades tour post cruise. We enjoyed this very much. We were bused to the Everglades where we rode in an airboat across the everglades. We saw alligators and crocks and even ate some Alligator nuggets after the show. After the tour we were bused back to MIA with our luggage and dropped at the appropriate terminal. I would recommend this post cruise option if you have time to kill before your MIA flight. We had no problem at all getting off the boat when our post cruise group was called.
If you have any questions, I would be glad to try and answer them for you.