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marshhawk

Fascination Review 11/7-11/12-Windy

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We got back a week ago, and since I am no longer bobbing and weaving, I thought now would be a good time to start my review.

We left Stone Mountain GA on the 6th at 8 a.m., and right before we left I checked our roll call, and someone had posted that the Fascination would be late boarding, because due to high tides they would not be able to get under the bridge, expected boarding time would "not change the itinerary". So we figured, no problem, and headed on down the road. Me, the DH, and a friend(who had never cruised before.

Suitcase packed and my traveling companion, Stupid Bear is ready to go.

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I was the designated back seat driver, and saw the entire trip from this view

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We arrived at the Holiday Inn, Blount Island without incident. We did have to stop at Cracker Barrel-that is mandatory for any road trip, and we arrived at the hotel at 3 p.m.. We unpacked the car, as we were using the hotels park and ride, headed up to our rooms, and chilled out until we got together with our new friends from our roll call at the Sandollar restaurant, to watch the sunset(it was cloudy) to feel the Florida warmth(it was cool) and to actually meet after being on our roll call for a little under a year.

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A typical Holiday Inn room, before a cruise....

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We were all excited about our embarkation, even though we knew that we would be a little later than usual boarding. But we were not prepared for how long that would actually take. High winds(thanks to tropical storm Sean) and high tides, courtesy of a ful moon that week, and we were doomed! The hotel said they would call us when it was time to take us over, but that it would be after 2 p.m.-and while I usually complain about lunch on the lido on teh first day, due to crowd control, we now had to go find a place for lunch, so we headed back up to the Sandollar for lunch. There was a sign on the dorr, that due to high charges for using credit cards, they give 10% off a bill if you paid with cash, which we did, and then pointed out that they did not give us the 10% off the bill. The waitress left to"check that out" and never came back, her tip shrunk, and we left the restaurant, only to see them tearing that sign off the door.

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A view from the Sandollar's outside eatting area, looking up the St. Johns River.

 

The hotel called us at 2:30, and we drug our luggage down to the lobby. But it tuned out they were only boarding VIP's at this time, and we weren't, and then we waited. And waited. And waited as bus after busload left the hotel. We finally got on the bus to be taken over at 5. It's just a few minutes drive from the hotel to the port. We got to security, showed the agent our passports, and then were instructed to go to lot 4. The driver thought this was a really bad idea to take us away from where he knew he could drive up, so he drove to lot 4, and then did a big circle, and drove us directly to "drop off'', and there she was-our Fascination.

 

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Unfortunately from this view, right outside the port door, we were again going to wait for another hour and a half before we even got to the area where you get your sail and sign card. We would have been in line longer, but our friend had had foot surgery this past year, and standing for long periods of time, was just killing her. Apparently a rather astute(and wonderful) Carnival employee noticed this, and when she asked her how she was doing, our friend told her EXACTLY how she was doing, and we were rushed through the line, got our sail and sign cards and headed to the ship. We never saw anyone having to fill out the medical questionnaire that we have always had to fill out, and we had our pictures uploaded to our sail and sign cards right at the door to the ship instead of having it done in port.

We heard that they had had computer problems all day, along with the high tides, the high winds, the cloudy weather, and the cool temperatures. But once you get on the Lido deck, all problems are gone. Right?

Dames Point Bridge in the day light-th_DSCN1474.jpg?t=1292695204

We however finally got out of port after 10, so we didn't take any pictures of the bridge on this cruise.

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I will get back to this review, but I have a meeting to go to, so "see" you all later this afternoon.:)

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Whooo hooo Marsh!!! I was just thinking about doing a review.... I am trying to figure out if I should do one or not. The only thing is... when I do them, I like to get them done right away. If I do one this time, it may take me a few days to get it done.... I don't know what to do!!

 

Hey, you need to email me the pics that you took at Sanddollar on Sunday night!!!

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I love reading all the reviews - your off at a great start - well the review is at least I am guessing all was not well on the lido -

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After our fruity drink on the lido, we were now famished, and we headed to dinner with our roll call buddies. Dinner the first night was Open seating, as no one really was on the ship on time to make their own dinner time. We had Yves(pronounced e-vez) who had been our waitress from last year, and she remembered my sweet DH, even called him by name! But she was working Any time seating in the Sensation(mid ship) and it turned out that we were actually assigned to the Imagination-aft. Thing is we had a porthole cabin in the very front of the ship, so each night we all trekked on down to our dining room, and we were at the last table at the rear of the ship. For those of you who have cruised you know that you feel the most motion-front and back.

But back to the first night. We had a very enjoyable dinner, I had the Flat Iron steak, and it was great. After dinner we headed back up to the lido, got some coffee and dessert, sat by the bar in the front of the lido area by the pool, and just chilled. And then, IT HAPPENED! The ship started to move, and we were under way for our great adventure at sea! We headed up to the back of the ship,

it's getting windy, and then up to the funnel, and it's really getting windy, and as we were being buffetted around, we went under the bridge. Our captian said later that we had three-count them- 3 feet of clearance. And then we were headed up the river. It was 10 p.m. Our ship should have left at 4, we had had no muster drill, we filled out no forms, we were tired from standing and doing nothing all day, and we headed off to our cabin. Our towel animal was -the walrusIMG_2371.jpg

Stupid Bear and the walrus.

 

One thing I do on my cruises is keep a fill in the blank journal-

The best thing of the day was FINALLY GETTING ON THE SHIP.

Edited by marshhawk

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Our first day at sea-

We woke refreshed and excited to face the day-NOT! The wind combined with the speed of the ship trying to make up 5 lost hours in port had made for a very bumpy night. As I had stated we were in the front of the ship-Riviera #8 and the ship would go up......and then slam down. So we woke, grateful to not be sea sick, and headed up to breakfast in the MDR. I had fried eggs and corned beef(very tasty). The seas were rough, and there were very few people out and about. and when we did see them, most of them were ...excuse me....barfing. The staff put motion sickness bags out by the elevator, but whether or not the ill saw them remained to be seen, as many were just barking where they stood. I know, gross.

Muster drill was at 9:30, as it must be performed within x amount of hours of embarking, but they let us meet at our information stations, but they did not take us outside. Easiest muster I ever had.

At 10 we sped down to the excursion desk to sign up for the Fun Ship Tour, as they were not taking reservations the night before(computer down).We went up to the lido deck and played a game of TV Theme trivia, we got 22 out of 25, and didn't win that coveted ship on a stick. Argghh!

Lunch was in the MDR, pretty empty dining area today LOL, and then we spent the afternoon wandering about the ship. We sat out by the slides and watched the kids(of all ages). We did notice that the heavier the slider, the faster they went. The little kids were having fun, but they went down kind of slowly.

 

At 3 we went to tea, to see if any of our roll call buddies would show up, and some did, this is such a nice quiet elegant time on the cruise, and if you have not attended a tea-do. It's a great break from the "Lido Party"

 

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You bring the party with you!

That night was elegant night, formally known as formal night. I tried the Strawberry Bisque-yummy and of course the lobster....and another lobster.

Full and content, my DH and I headed up to, I mean down to our cabin and watched TV, and were sound asleep by 10.

Towel animal was a dog-funny chocolate eyes...

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Best part of the day, finally sleeping with out being rocked to pieces.

 

The pictures are of some of my roll call buddies I hope they forgive me for posting without their permission.

Edited by marshhawk

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Half Moon Cay-Or-How to body surf in the Bahamas.

We had breakfast with another group of our roll call buddies and then tendered over to Half Moon Cay. IMG_2384.jpg

Every thing that any one has told you about how beautiful that place is, is an understatement. We arrived on the island at 10:45. Being newbies here, we didn't know that you should stop first to pick up a towel. It's on the right on the path to the beach. And it took forever for my DH to find someone to rent a clam shell from, but he did, thing is we never spent any time using it. Our friend did, but I saw that water and had to get in.

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One of our roll call buddies did warn me that while the majority of the sand is soft, that there were clumps of "sand brick" hard as a rock, and I think my feet found everyone of them. It was too choppy to snorkel even though we had brought our gear, but once in that water, I didn't want to come out.

 

However, hunger won, and we headed to the buffet. I had to overeat. I just had to have that second cheese burger, and it was great, medium rare with relish and ketchup. There was something called german potato salad, didn't look like anything I had eaten that said german potato salad, but it was good. Cole slaw was a vinager base, and not that great. DH and friend had the Jerk Chicken and they were happy with it.

Then back into the water. And the waves were even bigger than they had been in the morning. And then these clouds came in, and the wind picked up, and almost in unison every one on the beach packed up there stuff and headed back to the tenders.

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Once back on board, we changed(a big advantage of being on the Riviera deck, you are back to your cabin after a port in no time) and headed to the back of the Coconut Grove, got some coffee, and watched a rainbow form over the island. What a wonderful place.

Edited by marshhawk

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OMG!! I am laughing my butt off at dh's pics! I should have warned you! Post away.... too funny! I had no idea that he was doing it.... S with her pinky out for tea is too cute! I had to make sure stupid bear was being pointed out!

 

Keep going, you are doing great!

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hey marshhawk.........I was reading your review & spotted myself in your pic on the tender......i'm the lady on the far right with the short hair & white coverup. We had a cabana & kinda got a late start over there......it was a beautiful day!!! It really is a small world!!!

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Hockey Addict-I miss the heck out of you guys!

oldcowhand-I believe you were the one who posted on the roll call that we would be leaving late. How is your kitty doing? I'm sorry we never hooked up with you!

Both Hockey Addict and I are "cat" people.

Thanks to everyone else.

We are about to get into Nassau.

Nassau.

I keep hearing that once you have been here more than once you have seen Nassau. So having been there three time prior, and never beleived that you can see all of anything, we are back and wanting to do something new.

Many years ago, before the dinosaurs finished roaming an ex of mine and I spent a week at a Holiday Inn on Paradise Island. Actually if you were on your ship in port today, the Inn would have been behind you. But time and hurricanes have done their damage, and Paradise Island is a lot smaller than it used to be. That was back in my drinking days, and the only thing I really saw was the bottom of my glass when the Bahama Mama was done:rolleyes:.

So I really don't count that visit.;) So the first time I cruised there with my wonderful DH, we went to Blackbeards Cay. Now no longer a Carnival excursion.

Then the second time we went to Blue Lagoon. And that was nice. But both times we were there, it was windy, it was cool and it rained from the moment we left the port building until we got on the ship.

 

Since the ship was in port from 7 in the morning until 10 at night, we figured we would spend a liesurely morning having my DH beat me at miniature golf three times:o, And then we waited until the Mongolian Grill opened up for lunch on the Lido, so that we could try it. And then we got off the ship and headed to pick up Jitney # 10 to head out to the Sheritan on Cable Beach. WOW!

The bus driver was waiting for some customers I guess, we asked if he would take us up to the Sheritan, OK, pay when you get off. There is a reason for this.

You see once he started , he really didn't stop unless you were getting off to stop. He slowed down at Bus Stops, and the locals ran and jumped on. The door was open the whole time. but it was a fun ride and then we were at the hotel.

The ride is 1.25 per person, and the drivers do not give change. I had three singles and so he got a bit of a tip.

I had read about how nice this hotel was. The day pass is 25.00 and you do not need a reservation. Nor do I think they would take IMG_2402.jpgone.

This is the beach. The island off in the distance is Blackbeard's Cay.

Nice beach but still a little too choppy to do any good snorkeling. I saw a small school of fish between the first and second sand bar. After being on the beach for a while, we decided to check out the pools. There are three of them. Two natural looking pools, and one swim up to the bar pool. In other words a big square full of water. We headed to the first pool behind us, it had a water fall, as did the other. But this one had no stairs, you simply walked in, and it slowly descended like a beach without the waves. There was a lifeguard.

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Across from the pool there was a giant jacuzzi-

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And so we had to get into this too. It was not too hot, but very bubbly!

We then decided to wander a bit, and found some great picturesque placesIMG_2408.jpg....

Edited by marshhawk

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A very nice woman offered to take our picture. Yeah I am too heavy for a two piece, but I wanted sun!

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But you will notice, we are now in the shade. For island purposes, this hotel is very tall, and the shade moved in around three thirty(the sun rises and sets about an hour ealier than the east coast) and our sun was pretty much done for the day, so we took a few more pictures and then took the bus back to town.

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Here's my DH-having a water torture time in the waterfall-

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Loving the review! We are leaving on the Fascination 12-5-11 ... this will be our first cruise in December...we have always cruised between May and August. I have been a little concerned about the reviews that I have been reading about how choppy the waters are. The only time we have had any kind of trouble in past on a cruise was in May 2007 ... there were many people that were sea sick and they had the "barf" bags out everywhere. I hope that the seas calm down alot in the next 14 days!!!

Keep writing your review :)

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We left the hotel and caught the bus, I mean Jitney #12 back to town. Actually they passed us, and then backed up to get us, and another person who was leaving the property next to the Sheritan. This bus was a little newer than the #10. There was air conditioning, and music. The lady bus driver decided she had enough tourists on the bus to play a song called the Jitney Bus A dollar twenty five song, and everyone was siging the chorus and bopping along. There were jump seats, so as the bus filled up, you placed your arm rest down, folded it our and it became another seat. When someone in the back wanted off, they hit the side of the bus, yelled bus stop, and everyone had to get out of their aisle seat, get off the bus, and let the person off, Then everyone loaded bck on the bus, folded the seat down and we took off again. This trip was the highlight of the whole week for my DH. I had fun on the ride, and gave the bus driver 5 bucks when we got off. She said she had no change, and I told her the ride was worth 5 bucks. I ride the train to work in Atlanta, and it was never that much fun!

My towel animal the night before was a wonderful elephant but he dissappeared this evening.

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A rather provocative bunny replaced the elephant.

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Dinner in the MDR tonight was a loss. Three of us ordered Chateau Briand, and sent it back. I decided to just go for broke, had the Bacon Mac and Cheese. And while I *itched and complained about comfort food, this was really, REALLY good.

Oh, and it rained on us once again once we left the port building on the way back to the ship.

The best part of the day was watching all the wobbling Senior Frog returnees coming back late to the ship.:D

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You're doing a great job with your review--I'm really enjoying it! We were on the Fascination Oct. 10 and didn't leave port until 11:20 P.M. due to the high tide! Thanks for writing.

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Our last day-Day at Sea

Today we had to be up early for our Behind the Fun tour. We had breakfast up o the Lido. I tried the chicken sausage with potatoes-pretty darn good.

 

The tour was interesting, and educational. After reading Cruise Confidential over the summer I had had a hint of what was what. The kitchen(galley) is a maze, the laundry room is incredible. and I loved the bridge. Checked out the radar, and asked a bunch of questions-like where are we? There were only 6 women out of 16, don't let the engine room talk bore you or scare you away from this tour. It was fun.

After the tour we had lunch in the MDR. It really is our favorite place to eat. After lunch we went out to the aft of the ship, had coffee, watched the sea and enjoyed all the chocolate desserts from the chocolate buffet.

We were all going to get together( our friends from the roll call) and get a group picture. I can't scan and post it-maybe Larry or Hockey Addict can post one here, so that you get a feel for this group.

Each night DH and I would sit out on the back of the ship, behind the Coconut Grove, and watched the moon rise, and Jupiter was rising, and then Orion's belt would come up and we would know it was time to hit the sack. On our last cruise on the Fascination we did the shows, we played all the games, we were so involved with being involved...this cruise we disconnected from the world and reconnected with each other. It was wonderful.

On our last day at sea, Carnival remembered our veterans by putting up a large American Flag in the atrium.

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I really do like Carnival. They employees are always very nice to the customers, and they always remember to celebrate or acknowledge the fact that the majority of the customers that sail from the US are from the US.

If you saw our door, you know who we are-cruise nuts

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I will leave the review with a picture we took on the last night. What makes every cruise special-

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May your seas be calm, your ports exciting, and may a warm breeze ruffle though your hair. - Marshhawk.

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I am the DH of marshhawk. Sailing takes me away to another place. I (Catmando) say sail when ever you can. Warm breezes and sun shine will take you to new and special places.

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GAMOM4-We sailed last December on the Fascination down to Key West and Nassau, and it was pretty smooth sailing. As long as there is not a storm south of Bermuda, you should be fine.

JAXCRUISER-I really think that the late embarking should be highlighted on the cruise times wehn booking the cruise. It's like a lot of people said, you know when the Moon is full. Too bad Mayfair wont let Carnival build a port on the other side of the bridge.:mad: While the view would be a little tamer, the ship would be getting out on time.

 

Oops this is actually marshhawk. I forgot to change the sign in.

Edited by catmando

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Great job on your review. Now you're motivating me to get mine finished. I mean you left after I did, got back after I did and finished your review before I did. ;)

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Leaving Friday to drive to Jax to do this cruise - again!

 

This will be my fifth time to HMC and I'm not even a beach person. Isn't it just fantastic??

 

I was on Glory last month to Bermuda in a 1A porthole cabin on Main, as a solo. The slamming of the water woke me many times. I think I'm done with forward cabins!

 

I've already checked the tide charts and we sail and return at very nearly low tide on both days. Phew!

 

The Sheraton looks nice, but since my travel companion hasn't been to Nassau (how can anyone have cruised in the Caribbean and never stopped there?), while I've been there multiple times, we're just going to try the carriage ride. Good way for her to see some of the city (she also had foot surgery a few months ago and hasn't totally recovered) yet not have to do a bunch of walking.

 

Thanks for posting your review and pics! I'll do the same when I return.

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