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jpurdy

Fascination Review- long

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Quick impressions: older ship, good value for $$, ok shows, nice staff, good food. Travelers: 7 of us, mom, dad, adult kids, one son-in-law, one friend.

 

Day before trip: Uneventful flight using Delta Song to FLL. Loved this airline! The individual tv's really make the flight move along. Inflight trivia vs. the other passengers was a hoot! Good food also. Hired Las Palmas to p/u for transfer to Miami. Got a call on cell phone the driver 'lost our name card' and didn't know how to identify us as we entered baggage. Should have known this was going downhill fast. It did. After help from the dispatcher giving us a physical description of the driver and being told the driver's cell phone died (remember the premonition above) we found him by an exit. Then the driver explained that someone 'hit something with the van' and it was dripping air condition water back where our luggage was!! So, we hoped our luggage would not get wet and tried to make the best of it...more to follow on return trip from port. It doesn't get better.

Used Priceline and got Hyatt downtown Miami for 50.00. Not too impressed. Mold on shower curtain. yuck. But for what I paid it was ok for 1 nite. Looks like a big convention hotel. Walked to Bayside for dinner. Ate at Hard Rock. Stopped at outside bar playing salsa music. Great time.

Went back to Bayside for breakfast day of cruise. Used People Mover connected to hotel. It's free and very convenient. Takes you right outside Bayside area. Never feared for our safety at all. Walked back to hotel for exercise, stopped at drug store for couple of things. Used taxi's to pier. Quick and easy.

 

Day 1: Embarkation: Very easy. On the ship in less than an hour. Lines always moving. Arrived at pier ~11:30 am.

Cabin was just fine. 3 of us in an OV on Empress Deck. No stains or frayed edges. Yes, there were white duvets! Only minimal stains in hallways. Never saw anything else amiss except on Lido Deck...the most heavily used area of ship. Very clean otherwise. Food on Lido was great. 24 hr. pizza very very good. Ice cream area always clean and looked after. Not so on our RCI Voyager cruise last year.

Staff entire cruise was delightful. Except ONE. More later. Slots were generous the 1st nite, but not after.

 

Day 2: Key West. Great day, great time. Walked to Southernmost Point and discovered TLC's Trading Spaces crew were setting up for a show! What a highlight! No cast members there yet, but we passed along a 'hello' for Paige to the truck driver. Had to have a drink at Margaritaville and back to ship.

Pleasant evening with a show and smooth seas. This would not last...

 

Day 3: Cozumel. Absolutely wonderful day at Paradise Beach. If anyone has concerns about cleanliness, friendliness, don't!!! Bathrooms spotless and the parrots were so funny in their determination to climb the bathroom doors to perch. Paradise Tom is such a gracious host and walked around to personally talk to everyone at least twice. The 5.00 fee (no fee if you just use the beach--but still a good idea to at least order a beverage!) covers the kayaks, water toys (trampoline & climbing iceberg in the water) and beach mats. Snorkeling equipment means turning over your credit card for them to hold and you get it back when you return equipment. We did see lotsa fish. The food was exxxxxxxxxxxxcellent. Best salsa I've ever had. Very friendly and efficient staff. Taxi was 26.00 for 7 of us in a van. Otherwise 12.00 per taxi one way.

Back to ship and a stop at Fat Tuesday's. Beautiful. Once we were on open water after leaving Cozumel, the rockin' started. It never stopped. We really rocked Wed. nite, but it did get alittle better the next day at sea. The fiesta party on deck got started way too late and wish this would start earlier. IMHO it should start before midnite!

 

Day 4: Day at sea. Enjoyed sitting at back of ship relaxing. Got too much sun. All the bars were open. Nothing shut down. No unruly children. Seat saving alive and well. People tossed stuff off the chairs and used them!

Bathrooms on Lido need attention. Got a bad smell the 1st day in one bathroom, but not after that. One sink had major stains and should be replaced asap. Grouting could be done too. Nothing major, but was noticeable. At the show this evening, our 2 daughters wanted to use their soda card and the waiter was very obviously p.o.'d that he had to take this order. He practically rolled his eyes and hesitated..finally he did take the cards. This was the only time we witnessed this. Remember they don't get the gratuity because it's pre-paid.

 

Debarkation: Pretty painless. Enjoyed a leisurely breakfast on Lido. Alittle confusion watching a huge group of people leaving and thought we had been cleared (but no public notice) and were told we weren't cleared yet when we got closer to the gangway. Don't know about that huge group, but we did leave shortly after. Our luggage was searched and then placed in an obscure corner of the huge room for us to find. We know this because the lock was completely missing. This was unexpected and not fun to try to find. There was other luggage in this area as well.

Had pre-arranged for Las Palmas for p/u at pier to hotel in Fort Lauderdale for a day stay prior to evening flight. Were told by this company we wouldn't be off ship till at least 11:00 a.m. Wrong. We were off by 9:45 and we assumed the company would check with the pier. Had a bad feeling...yup they weren't there. Called several times during debarkation process right up till we were on the street and kept getting a voice message. Left message each time that we were getting off early. Needed to be picked up sooner. No call back. Nothing. So, finally left a message saying forget it. Hired a van right there. Will remember next time there are plenty of transportation opportunities there. No need to pre-arrange. Will never recommend this company to anyone.

Stayed at Bahia Mar Radisson for just the day. Stayed in a marina-side room. Needed updating badly. Non-smoking floor, but clearly room was a smoking at some point because of all the cigarette burn marks on the sink. Gross. Room was just ok. However, the pool area was clean and had an outdoor bar area and workout building right by the pool. Also has a walk-over ramp across the busy street to the beach which is very nice. It was a warm but rainy day. We explored alittle and ate a pretty horrible meal down the road, but it was an outdoor restaurant and the view was so nice. Not a beach day though and the red flags were out for no swimming. The water looked pretty angry. Glad we weren't sailing this day! We were all pretty tired and we just watched a movie in the room and relaxed till it was time to grab 2 taxi's to the airport. If the weather had been nice, this would have been a great ending to the cruise. About an hour before we were to leave for the airport, the skies opened and it was the biggest t'storm I've ever seen! This was the cold front arriving and the warning of our upcoming flight.

We called the airlines, but were told the flight was on time. Not quite.

Got to the airport and found out we had a 2 hour delay. 7 very tired people finally got left FLL at 9:45 from an original 7:00 departure time.

Rough plane ride home...the big cold front caused the entire east coast to have delayed flights and unstable air. My daughter got sick. Got home at 1:00 a.m. I'm still woozy 4 days later from the movement on ship.

 

Happy to answer anyone's questions. Hope this review helps and boy are we glad to be on land!!

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Enjoyed reading about the ship. This is one our grand daughter is considering for her Dec wedding. She keeps changing her mind, but hopefully she will pick one and settle this once and for all very soon.

 

NMNita

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Yes, it's a big decision. Actually there WAS a wedding aboard! They seemed to be having a good time. I have also heard good things about the refurbished Fantasy. Has she checked that one out or the Empress of the Seas, also recently redone?

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Thanks for the great review. My DH thinks I'm the only one who notices mold in bathrooms.

 

 

sls

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LOL! I definitely notice the details. Not looking for perfection. Wouldn't have chosen an older ship if that were the case. Been on brand new ships, been on older ships. Our 1st cruise was the Big Red Boat! Now that was an old ship!! But guess what? It holds our fondest memories also. Maybe because our expectations were only to be with our 3 small children for a vacation. One guest I overheard on the ship complaining bitterly to a staff member that it 'isn't anyway to run an operation' to have a line waiting to get pizza! It was 12 NOON.

Man, it took everything in my power not to say 'then why don't you go alittle earlier or later'???????

We went a couple of times and didn't wait at all. But I do expect to find a very clean room with no mold at any Hyatt I visit. Especially from a cloth shower curtain! I actually found the bathroom on the ship spotless.

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Good Review! Thanks for taking the time. I did the Inspiration over Christmas, and had very similar impressions. Glad your trip was a good one.

 

Bill

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Its so good to see a review of this ship--we will be on it in just about 2 months. My question is ----we really don't need to set up transportation for after the cruise??? We will be staying a day after we get back and flying back home on the Saturday after the cruise. There will be plenty of taxis and such???? Thanks for your response.

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I would definitely say that you wouldn't need to set something up ahead of time, unless there is a large group of you OR if you want the nice limo ride. The FLL airport has a system set up curbside with prices right there I believe. I have cut and pasted for you directly from the airport web site:

 

Taxi/Yellow Cab:

Available on demand. Check in at the Transportation Podium located lower level, curbside of each terminal. Rate comparison charts are posted at each podium or click on Typical Rates for the information. Taxicabs accept up to 5 persons for fare stated on meters (taxi fares regulated by law in this county). Call Yellow Cab if you have any questions at 954 565-2800.

 

Share Ride/Tri County Airport Express:

Luxury sedans and vans provide "zone" fare door to door service. Non-shared ride service is also available. Check in at the Transportation Podium located lower level, curbside at the ends of each Terminal. Fares can be found on the rate comparison charts posted at each podium or click on Typical Rates for the information. Call Tri County Airport Express if you have any questions at 954 561-8888 or (800) 244-8252.

 

As you exit baggage and turn right, the cabs are all lined up there at the turnaround. Plenty of them. Or you can do the shared ride thing. You just wait till the van is full and then you're off.

 

Also, at the pier, I was pleasantly surprised when we had our fiasco with the company that didn't show up...to see that there were plenty of cabs, vans, companies willing and eager to take us anywhere we wanted to go. With 7 of us and 9 pieces of luggage I was very nervous at first. But we had 2 companies both trying to get us to hire them!

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HI, I will be cruising on this ship on May 2nd with my mom. This will be her first cruise and my 3rd. I understand the ship is a bit older so I'm prepared for that, I just want to have a good time. I love to sit in the sun so I was wondering if the pool on the deck below Lido (I think i saw this in the deck layout) is less crowded and better for laying out? I also noticed a seperate childrens pool. So there are 3 pools?

 

When I traveled on RCL last year the childrens pool was the best place for catching some rays and it was always quiet. Everyone was always at the main pool. Is it the same on Carnival?

 

Thanks!

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Formal nite was on the 2nd evening. The pool at the back of the ship was pretty crowded too. But the bar was right there and we found chairs there if we got there by noon. By 3:00 it cleared out again nicely.

The kiddie pool was virtually unused! A nice little area too! any more questions, feel free to ask!

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jpurdy,

This might sound like a strange question, but I was wonder how large the showers are on the ship in an inside Cabin. It could be a tight fit for my mom if they are as small as the ones on Majesty of the Seas, an RCL ship.

Thanks again!

Ann

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I found the showers to be just fine. Even a larger person shouldn't have much trouble moving around. I liked the shampoo and soap dispensers.

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I found the showers to be just fine. Even a larger person shouldn't have much trouble moving around. I liked the shampoo and soap dispensers.

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jpurdy,

Thanks so much! My mom got her birthcertificate in the mail today and she is thrilled about going on this cruise. Your review and all the feedback has been very useful! I'm sure we will have a fantastic time.

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