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marshhawk

Fascination review with pics from Catmando

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Catmando is my DH, he is the photographer for our cruises. This is our adventure, we hope you enjoy.

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Before each cruise I make a "to-do" list and I did accomplish a few of those on this cruise. We got off the Fascination the day before yesterday ad drove directly home, I suffer from post cruise equilibrium problems(feel like I am still on the ship for several days afterwards) but if I don't write this now, I will forget things.

We left Stone Mountain on 12/4 and drove straight to Jacksonville. We had booked two nights at the Holiday Inn Express Blount Island. A nice hotel, very close tot he port, but unless you just love dining at Wendy's (next door) or Quizno's(across a major intersection) there is NOTHING in walking distance. There had been a few restaurants int he area, but they were all closed. The hotel prvides a good breakfast buffet and transportation to the port, so if you fly in for the night this hotel would work well for you.

 

On Sunday, after our freinds from Michigan flew in, we decided to go to Neptune beach for the afternoon. It was very pretty, but very cold.

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If you do have a car, and want a great seafood dinner, all of us strongly advice the Sanddollar. The girls at the hotel will try to send you elsewhere, but don't listen! It was good fresh seafood! It's on the river about 9 miles form the hotel and I guess druing the day you would actually see something, all we saw were large freighters in the dark.

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Thank you for a review, we are on the Fascination in 2 DAYS!!!

 

Keep it coming! We are staying at Holiday Inn, Blount Island as well. Good information!

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Monday-Embarkation day!

We're up, we're fed, and ready to go! We loaded the jeep up, Four adults and each of us had a huge suitcase. We drove in to the port and at security provided our boarding passes and passports. Then security singles out our car for an inspection, we were directed to another area, and DH(driver) had to get out of the car, they looked in the back, they looked under the hood, they looked at the rest of us through the windows, and then they let us go. Thank heavens we didn't have to drag out all those suitcases. Then we were directed to the unloading zone. They did not do this to every car. I guess 4 middle aged, middle class, non drinking adults looked like a safe choice for an easy random search. Go figure!

We unloaded the car, and DH drove it to the parking area(75$ for a five day cruise) and we stoold outside and waited for him. IT was cold! We all had our coats on(this was going to be the "cool cruise":cool:).

When DH returned we got in line to embark, our fireinds were VIP, we are not, but it only took an hour and 10 minutes from the time we arrived til we were eating lunch on the lido. (I had a rueben, and it was much better than the one I tried on the Legend earlier this year).

After lunch we explored the ship to find all the smoking areas. The atrium area from the Empress deck all the way up to the Lido deck was decorated for Christmas. Beautiful!

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At 1:30 sharp we were allowed in our cabins. We had our first porthole cabin M14. We had been worried we wouldn't like this type of cabin because we had been "spoiled" by having balcony cabins on our first two trips. We loved it! We could hear the waves at night, we had sun light , and it would have been way too cold to sit out on a balcony anyway! Not all cabins are equal in size, and our M14 was bigger than most porthole cabins.

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Muster was at 3:30 and it took 25 minutes. Now free to do our thing, we found a sunny smoking area at the back of the Lido (port side) and we sat in the sun and enjoyed some warmth. We had company several times while sitting in this area. These guys didn't even pay for the cruise.

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For Sail Away we went up to the sports deck to check out the bridge.

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Dinner that night was in the main dining room(MDR) and I tried the St. Louis Style Ribs, that were so highly recommeded by most of you, and I was not disappointed.

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Tuesday-Day at Sea

I was up at 5 a.m. to see the the sunrise. (another first on a cruise). I grabbed my wooden flute and my DH, went up to the Lido grabbed a coffe and went out to "serenade" the sun up. DH photographed the sunrise. What a wonderful way to start the day!DSCN1495.jpg

A freighter was going by at the same time.

We breakfasted in the MDR and then met up with our friend and competed in the scavenger hunt. And we Won! A ship on a stick! The coveted item for all cruisers!

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Thomas, our new Carnival friend, me(marshhawk) DH(catmando) and Cheryl(ceebeesky) with the trophy.

And now for the close up-

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During the afternoon I walked the track for 30 minutes and then headed down to tea where I met up with my roll call buddies. I always carry "stupid bear" with me so that I am identifiable and they can pick up their name tags from me. We had 16 attendees, a nice time to meet, visit, and talk, but the layout of Club 88 is not really condusive to that.

I also carry a folder to put all of my Funtimes and other souvenier paper work in from the cruise, so I had everyone sign it, and now I have a permanent souvenier with autographs. We let "stupid bear" hold it while we photographed him.

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Dinner was "Formal Night" very yummy lobster! Just to let you know on the first night the matire'd did announce that no blue jeans, baseball hats, or inappropriate dining attire would be allowed in the MDR on formal night, and we did see 4 people being escorted out as we were entering. It was nice to see everyone all spiffed up.

After dinner we went to the show-Far From Over-the two main singers were Bree and Ben, and on this night, Bree was ON, and Ben, well ....he was juch better in a later show.

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Great review so far, I can't wait to read more! I just booked the Facination this morning for a July cruise for my family and I and was eager to find a review, and here one was! Thanks for takng the time to write it!

Terri

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Wednesday-Key West

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Still cool outside, but sunny. We did our our walking tour, headed down Whitehead street, did the Heminway House Tour

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then headed down to the Southern Most Point

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then over one block to a short pier. There was an artist there who graduated from a now defunct college that was in the building I work in. I bought a print of his art. Feed starving artists(my mantra). Then back up Duval street (loads of shops and galleries). We had lunch at Hogs Breathe Saloon(try the Hog legs) and then we headed over to the Mel Fisher Museum (you can buy a combo ticket at the Hemingway house).

We toodled around Mallory Square-

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Had a cup of coffee and then boarded the ship.

The cool weather was wonderful in Key West for a walking tour. I did hear later that some of the water based excursions had been cancelled because of the cold weather.

We dined at the Lido deck (Coconut Grove) this evening, and while I love the desserts on the Lido, this dinner, the lines and only one serving line open, arghh! Never again. I guess I'm just a MDR type of girl.

 

After dinner the four of us took our ships on sticks (my BF had now won 3 and a medal) and had our pictures taken with all the photographers. You don't get charged anything for the pictures unless you buy them, so why not. It gave us the opportunity to really choose.

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Thursday-Nassau

The day started sunny, we docked on time and headed to Blue Lagoon (prepaid shore excursion). The tide was going out while we were there, so the water started at waist deep in the swimming area, and was getting shallower by the minute. The sun went behind a cloud and never returned. And the temperature kept dropping. I blew up my beach ball and threw it in the water, forcing myself to get in. I had paid for this and I was going to get wet! We didn't stay in for long, we got out, and talked with some people that had come in on the Pride, and then we went back in the water, walked across the Lagoon, up the other beach , across a bridge and then back to our beach chairs. As far as seeing fish, we saw a few small schools of very small fish(must have been kindergarten and nursery schools) and as we were getting ready to leave some pretty good size rays swam in from the deeper dolphin area. Neat!

DH got some great photo shots of the rocky side of the island, but this was by far our favorite.

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We also left our non permanent mark on the island,

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Every one was ready to leave early as it kept getting colder, so we left the island on time and the catamaran crew gave us a tour of the Grand Houses of the Rich and Famous on our way back to the pier. (Oprah, Tiger, Eddie Murphy, and a few basketball players).

We docked and as we were walking back to the ship the skies opened up and the rain came down! We ran to the ship as quickly as we could. (we have been to Nassau twice, one in OCT a few years ago, and once in NOV, and it has rained both times.) We showered (no hair dryers in the cabin) and headed to dinner.

After dinner DH and I went in to Karaoke, and he sang! (another first) There was another sail away party that evening with a midnight buffet. We danced two dances on the Lido deck (another first) and then we went to the back of the Coconut Grove and sat outside. The rain had stopped and we watched Nassau glitter like diamonds in the dark as we sailed away. The town was celebrating the Junior Junkeroo, and music flowed up from the streets.

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Friday-Day at Sea

Another day at sea, and again-morning sunshine. We strolled around on deck, looking for a warm spot out of the wind. We ended up by the water slides in the back of the ship, and I kept smelling BBQ. I then went and walked the track(very windy) while DH went down to donate money to the casino.

Lunch was in the MDR-and guess what? They had BBQ baby back ribs, so of course after smelling that all morning I had to get them. The food on this ship was really very good.

We played putt-putt and I lost terribly, it was so windy the balls kept rolling back to the starting place. Putt-putt is all par 2, but when the ship is moving and the wind is blowing, they should adjust the par to 4, 5, maybe 6. LOL

At 4 p.m. there was a Holiday show in the Palace. It was lovely....no games....just the dancers with Bree and Ben and Ben shown. Some of the staff came out with battery operated candles, the lights were dimmed and we sang Silent Night. The Camp Carnival kids were included in the show, they sang a few songs, Jen (our cruise director) read a Snowman story, the Christmas tree was lit, and then Santa arrived, bringing toys to all the Camp Carnival kids. With all of us in the "cruise mode mind set" it put all of us in the right space in our hearts. Both BF and I teared up a bit.

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On our last night, we picked out the pictures that we wanted with our friends and then DH and I headed back to our cabin to pack up, and we did one more thing on our "to do" list- we watched a movie from start to finish.

Films this week were- Prince of Persia, A-Team, Toy Story 3, Marmaduke, The Karate Kid and two others, I knew nothing about. We watched Toy Story 3.

Our bed was wonderful, our waitress Yves was fantastic (and yes, she remembered and called us by name each night), our cabin was always clean, although they did forget about ice on the last two days. Our phone did not work, not sure if they ever did fix that....we never needed a wake up call, and for once we did not use room service...But the towel animals were fantastic!

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Our roll call was fun, and it was nice running into our new friends while we were out having fun! This was a fantastic cruise.

So, what's left to do on the "to-do" list? Well there is still the water slides and the Indian dinner.

The Fascination is one fo a few ships that offers a future sailing OBC-here's how it works- You put down $100.00. Then book your next cruise within 48 months(4 years). Pay your down payment, mail in your certificate, and they apply the 100 to the cruise, and then give you up to 200.00 OBC for that cruise. (The 200 would be for a 12 and more day cruise). You can't use it for a pre existing cruise-but Alaska 2012-Here we come!

For those of you who want to know if we ever got to see the sun in the afternoon-on our last day at sea.......DSCN1569.jpg

Edited by marshhawk

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Marshhawk:

 

Thanks for posting your review! It's always interesting to read someone else's opinion of the same exact cruise. I will be posting my own review later. It will be hard to top your pictures though!

Edited by Tapi

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Marshhawk:

 

Thanks for posting your review! It's always interesting to read someone else's opinion of the same exact cruise. I will be posting my own review later. It will be hard to top your pictures though!

 

Just wanted to say that the pic of the dog in your signature always makes me smile! :D

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I loved your pictures and it so neat to see the ship all dolled up for Christmas! I was on her Thanksgiving weekend!

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Just wanted to say that the pic of the dog in your signature always makes me smile! :D

 

Thanks! She's an awesome dog. We love her.

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Tapi-would love to read your review....waiting....as we were on the same cruise and never met. How can that be?

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Tapi-would love to read your review....waiting....as we were on the same cruise and never met. How can that be?

 

Hey! Review is now posted. We had a good time, but I'm sorry to say that we didn't enjoy it as much as we would've liked. It's all explained in my review.

 

I was planning on coming to Tea Time but I remembered AFTER the fact! duh! :rolleyes:

 

Oh well. Thanks again for your review...!

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Sorry...was at the art auction.

Did you win or buy anything at the art auction?

To all others, you can see that there was always something happening on board this ship. BF entered a lot of competitions and did very well(as she says, you can't win if you don't play) DH and I spent a lot of time just chilling out, and relaxing, at least I think relaxing is the right word, because there was always something to do. We spent very little time in our cabin.

I would do this cruise again, but have others planned before I can do this one again. I liked walking around Key west alot. And it was alot of walking.

Oh, and one thing about the Hemingway house, I had just buried my white cat of 16 + years the week before we cruised. There is a very large white cat at the Hemingway house, so I sat down next to her and started petting her. Another cat showed up on my right and I started petting her too, and then the white cat, put her paw on my lap, and .....bit me. It was just like being at home.

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Thanks for your review... I am researching a cruise for my sis and some friends for in September on Fascination......

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Did you win or buy anything at the art auction?

 

To all others, you can see that there was always something happening on board this ship. BF entered a lot of competitions and did very well(as she says, you can't win if you don't play) DH and I spent a lot of time just chilling out, and relaxing, at least I think relaxing is the right word, because there was always something to do. We spent very little time in our cabin.

 

I would do this cruise again, but have others planned before I can do this one again. I liked walking around Key west alot. And it was alot of walking.

 

Oh, and one thing about the Hemingway house, I had just buried my white cat of 16 + years the week before we cruised. There is a very large white cat at the Hemingway house, so I sat down next to her and started petting her. Another cat showed up on my right and I started petting her too, and then the white cat, put her paw on my lap, and .....bit me. It was just like being at home.

 

I end up buying three paintings. I forget who the artist is :)

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Great review! I love the pics. They put mine to shame! I am so happy to have cruised with you guys. You are the best!

 

XOXO

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Great review! I love the pics. They put mine to shame! I am so happy to have cruised with you guys. You are the best!

 

XOXO

 

We loved cruising with you two too, what fun! Remember 11-5-11! Hint, Hint!

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Enjoyed your pictures & the review. Thanks for sharing your cruise with those of us who are landlocked!

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Thanks for your review... I am researching a cruise for my sis and some friends for in September on Fascination......

 

Think Labor Day weekend - HMC and Nassau 5 day. We're doing it with our grandchildren. We did it this year, and conditions were perfect, we snuck in between all the hurricanes that were running at the time...

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Thanks so much for sharing your cruise story on the Fascination. We are giving my two step-daughters their first cruise for Christmas this year and celebrating our being together for 10 years. They are in their mid-20's and could use a break from school, work and life. We will definately share your information and pictures. I am excited to share this adventure with them. They have grown to be such beautiful young adults. We set sail on 23 May 2011. Happy Holidays !!

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Think Labor Day weekend - HMC and Nassau 5 day. We're doing it with our grandchildren. We did it this year, and conditions were perfect, we snuck in between all the hurricanes that were running at the time...

 

 

Ok, Oldrailfan, I'll bite.... what souvenir did you buy yourself on your Sept 2010 cruise? Inquiring minds want to know.......;)

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Thanks for the review!

 

We have a large "graduation" group traveling on the Fascination in June...BEST KIDS IN THE WORLD!!...from Powder Springs!

 

Anyway, you said no hairdryers in the rooms?

 

I remember the Paradise and the Fantasy having them?

 

The girls we are bringing definitely need to know the answer to that!

 

thx

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Glad you had a great time...For others in the future..That is not a good cruise to book during winter months..Best time is Sept-Oct and Mar- through early May. To avoid cold weather And summer rush with kids.

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Ok, Oldrailfan, I'll bite.... what souvenir did you buy yourself on your Sept 2010 cruise? Inquiring minds want to know.......;)

 

3-liter Jack Daniel's. More-than-a-lifetime supply - probably never open it, but it sure looks wild on my counter! :D

 

Bear Creek, where's that? (In relation to Charlotte or Raleigh or Asheville)

Edited by oldrailfan

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Bear Creek, where's that? (In relation to Charlotte or Raleigh or Asheville)

 

40 minutes south of Greensboro (down 421) and 50 minutes west of Raleigh. I'm half way between Siler City and Sanford.

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Thanks for the review!

 

We have a large "graduation" group traveling on the Fascination in June...BEST KIDS IN THE WORLD!!...from Powder Springs!

 

Anyway, you said no hairdryers in the rooms?

 

I remember the Paradise and the Fantasy having them?

 

The girls we are bringing definitely need to know the answer to that!

 

thx

 

Hair dryers would only be in the suites, and I think Verandah balcony rooms. For inside, porthole and OV, no hair dryers.

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