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Off The Fascination Yesterday...

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This will be quick because I am under time constraints....

 

The good:

Food was excellent for the most part. If you are into paying 50-60 bucks a plate at Ruth Chris steakhouse then you may not agree. I am an Applebees/Texas Roadhouse kind of guy myself!

Ship was very clean at all times and well maintained.

The pool and hot tub was not ever overly crowded it seemed. Maybe because school is in session?

The price was definitely right.

Some of my group went to one of the shows and loved it. I did not go to any of them.

OV cabin was very nice.

 

The Bad:

Dining room service was exceedingly slow all but one of the 5 times I ate in there. Sometimes it took my parents 15-20 minutes to even get their first cup of coffee and refills were almost as bad. One day they did not even get served their coffee at lunch so they just left after 20 minutes.

Three out of five times someone in my group was served the wrong food but two times it was ok because they liked what they were given.

One night I ordered the steak medium and it came out well. The server noted that when I cut into it and she said to let her take it back which she did. After about 25 minutes she brought the new one and watched me cut into it and it was very well done. She asked if that was ok even after seeing the first steak was not cooked near as done as this one and she knew immediately to take the first one back. I thought that was silly to ask that so I asked her what she thought about it whether it was medium or not. She said it was definitely well done and that she would take it back and she then informed me that she was not the cook, only the server. Why would she recognize the first steak was overcooked immediately and then serve me a steak that was even more overcooked and ask if it was ok??? I never received a medium steak that night.

One night we went to our room and found two chocolates instead of three on the bed, and our wall bed not pulled down. I knew immediately that the steward forgot there were three of us in the room, not two. The chocolate did not matter, I am just using that as a reference that the steward did not realize there were three in the room. No big deal I thought, I will call and have someone put the bed down. 20 minutes later and it was midnight, still nobody. 20 minutes later I called again and still nobody. 20 minutes later still nobody and now they will not answer the phone! I stood out in the hall and finally seen a guy walking up the hall and he reluctantly let my bed down for me. I called the steward service back to tell them to not send anyone now because the bed is down and we were going to sleep and she acted like it made her mad. That was the most irritating thing all week.

Bought two five carton deals of smokes not knowing you are only allowed one carton per person. Decided to return one of them rather than risk customs. Clerk said he would charge me twice and then do refund once. I said no you wont that would leave me owing you 118 bucks on these cigarettes I am returning. He did not speak very good English and tried to explain what he was going to do so I figured he knew what he was doing but just did not know how to articulate it.

Transaction made and he said it would be an hour before the credit showed up on my sign and sail account. I had zero on my account at this time so I would just go to guests services and cash out the 118 bucks. WRONG.... They showed I owed them 118$ and after 30 minutes of phone calls and discussions back and forth I finally had my money back!

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I'll be on there next month for the 2nd time & hope the dining room service improves by then! The last time I was on they did pretty good.

 

Do they still have shampoo & body wash in showers?

 

Who was the cruise director?

 

Hope other than the slow service and issue with returning the smokes you had a great vacation!

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I just wanted to add that my parents were on this ship a month ago and dad said the dining room service was much better last month than it was this time. I think maybe they had made an employee swap or something because dad did not see but 2 people he remembered.

Also wanted to say on the Lido Deck, anytime there was something "live" going on, DJ, Contest etc.., they had the volume so loud you could not even talk to someone 2 feet away. You would have to lean over in their ear and yell whatever it was you were trying to say!

If you are a smoker and there was something going on live on the lido and the diamonds bar had a live band, you were just screwed to find somewhere peaceful to smoke!

They could have turned that volume down halfway and it would have been loud enough. I like a good party as much as the next guy but even the drunks thought it was too loud!

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I'll be on there next month for the 2nd time & hope the dining room service improves by then! The last time I was on they did pretty good.

 

Do they still have shampoo & body wash in showers?

 

Who was the cruise director?

 

Hope other than the slow service and issue with returning the smokes you had a great vacation!

 

 

I did see those items in the shower.

Some dude named Paul was the cruise director.

For the price, we had a good vacation. There were a couple of times I had to remind myself what my cruise fare was and that seemed to help.

For anyone wanting to know, I highly recommend just parking at the port. That is a long story!

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For the price, we had a good vacation. There were a couple of times I had to remind myself what my cruise fare was and that seemed to help.

For anyone wanting to know, I highly recommend just parking at the port. That is a long story!

 

Dont know how much you paid, but we had to keep reminding ourselves the same thing. Our cruise was cheap ($239pp for an OV on Empress) and our experience was worth exactly that: $239. Had we paid more than that, we would've been disappointed, but looking back, we got our money's worth. :D

 

I also agree about parking at the port. The extra money we paid for that was well worth it

Edited by Tapi

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I'll be on there next month for the 2nd time & hope the dining room service improves by then! The last time I was on they did pretty good.

 

Do they still have shampoo & body wash in showers?

 

Who was the cruise director?

 

Hope other than the slow service and issue with returning the smokes you had a great vacation!

 

The shampoo and body wash in the showers is not good stuff. I would highly recommend bringing your own. The shampoo dries your hair out and the body wash doesn't provide any suds. DEFINITELY BRING YOUR OWN

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For the price, we had a good vacation. There were a couple of times I had to remind myself what my cruise fare was and that seemed to help.

 

 

 

Dont know how much you paid, but we had to keep reminding ourselves the same thing. Our cruise was cheap ($239pp for an OV on Empress) and our experience was worth exactly that: $239. Had we paid more than that, we would've been disappointed, but looking back, we got our money's worth. :D

 

DW and I were on Fascination in May and going again in 2 weeks. We agree with both of you about the cost. Paying $588 for 2 for 6E OV room and less in May. Any more, we would have sailed another ship and/or line. Both cruises are quick getaways, we can drive easy to (4 hours), and we probably won't get off ship.

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I will give a full detail on our cruise experience but we were on the same sailing. We had a much better experience than you did but I understand. I agree the music was a tad loud. We loved the 80's show felt like it was almost worth the price of the cruise! The food was fantastic buffet and dining room. The service was at times slower than I liked expecially at lunch but we found Arnold the head waiter in the dining room to be AMAZING! and the bar guy assigned to that area was fast with our drink after the first night. I tipped him 2 bucks and the rest of the week he was johnny on the spot. I also tipped him another 3 bucks on a different night. Our room steward was chris and he was fast at helping us but agian night one as soon as I saw him I handed him a $5 bill and told him it was just for being him :) and asked him if he would keep 2 buckets of ice in my room. The rest of the cruise he couldnt wait to get us anything we needed.

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I also agree they should educate you better on customs when selling duty free. For instance the paper said you could only return with 1 litr of alchohol yet they were selling duty free alchohol in packages of 4!!! Great pricing but gotta risk it I guess!

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Just curious in the lunch buffet did they have meat carvings and soups?

 

They were carving and the ham and prime rib were excellent. Do not even know what the other carvings may have been because I did not look.

I did not see any soup but it still may have been available.

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I will give a full detail on our cruise experience but we were on the same sailing. We had a much better experience than you did but I understand. I agree the music was a tad loud. We loved the 80's show felt like it was almost worth the price of the cruise! The food was fantastic buffet and dining room. The service was at times slower than I liked expecially at lunch but we found Arnold the head waiter in the dining room to be AMAZING! and the bar guy assigned to that area was fast with our drink after the first night. I tipped him 2 bucks and the rest of the week he was johnny on the spot. I also tipped him another 3 bucks on a different night. Our room steward was chris and he was fast at helping us but agian night one as soon as I saw him I handed him a $5 bill and told him it was just for being him :) and asked him if he would keep 2 buckets of ice in my room. The rest of the cruise he couldnt wait to get us anything we needed.

 

Which dining room were you in? We were in sensation. That one day at lunch we were going to use that free drink coupon and the bar waiter was so slow even our waiter was getting irritated. Drinks finally came though and for the price (free) they were well worth the wait!!!

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I also agree they should educate you better on customs when selling duty free. For instance the paper said you could only return with 1 litr of alchohol yet they were selling duty free alchohol in packages of 4!!! Great pricing but gotta risk it I guess!

 

Well see that is the thing, I understood that you were allowed 1 liter per person over 21 on your customs declaration but you could have as many as you wanted. You would just have to pay a duty on each bottle over the one per person. I also understood that only 1 carton of smokes were allowed period, duty or otherwise.

I declared 4 liters of Crown on my document and was even asked by customs if I had any liquor. I told him 4 liters and he told to proceed on through. I bet if I had said 12 liters he would have made me pay duty but there were 2 of us over 21 so if I understand correctly I would have only had to pay duty on 2 bottles if he had made me.

I guess they sell those smokes because most people just hide them in their luggage and risk getting searched and fined. The odds in getting picked for a search is probably 1 in a 1000 but I did not want ruin my vacation by being the one. Although I have taken many cartons off before!

For those wanting to know I paid $65 for 4 liters of Crown. That is $16.25 per liter which is $12 less than I can buy it here for and the 1 liter bottles are 33% more volume than mine are.

Edited by drolltroll
update

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We were on this ship in August and you could not get into the pool because of so many kids. Will never sail on this small of a ship again in the summer months.

We have been on this ship twice in the past year and have never been questioned by customs even when we clearly had alcohol in the boxes. In August my husband purchased a wood carved walking stick in Nassau. They searched it from top to bottom but never glanced twice at the box of alcohol or our bags.

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We were on this ship in August and you could not get into the pool because of so many kids. Will never sail on this small of a ship again in the summer months.

 

We traveled during the 1st week of December. The pools were deserted. ;)I think that the temperatures may have contributed to the empty outdoor spaces. Maybe this is why our cruise was so cheap!

 

DSCF7559.jpg

Edited by Tapi

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I also agree they should educate you better on customs when selling duty free. For instance the paper said you could only return with 1 litr of alchohol yet they were selling duty free alchohol in packages of 4!!! Great pricing but gotta risk it I guess!

 

You do realize that you can take more than one back with you, right? Just anything over the limit, you will have to pay duty on. From what I understand, the duty is very, very small. And while I'm sure Carnival would love you to buy your stuff on their ship, they will tell you that if you're in an island and buying that you can still go over your allotment as well.

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So what about the cruise parking? We plan on parking at the lot right outside of the port, is that not a good thing? It is a lot cheaper and I have read other places people have been very happy parking there.

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and had a wonderful experience! it was $40 for 5 night cruise. We sailed Sept 1. Wouldn't hesitate to use them again and use that $35 saved for more DOD! :) I would avoid VIP Parking at all costs!

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We just got back on Saturday and had a wonderful cruise. Our cabin steward was wonderful and service in the dining room was great, at a nice leisurely pace. Surin, our server, was funny and made sure everything was perfect. We didn't care much for the buffet, but enjoyed the pizza, salad, sandwiches and grill. We had a grand suite. Loved it.

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and had a wonderful experience! it was $40 for 5 night cruise. We sailed Sept 1. Wouldn't hesitate to use them again and use that $35 saved for more DOD! :) I would avoid VIP Parking at all costs!

 

Did you have to call in advance and make a reservation or just drive in to there? I read on the CCL site you had to make a reservation. And is this the parking that is legit right outisde of the port, and they have an 8' fence around the lot and a peacock patrolling? My DH really wants to park there and I guess I need to know if we need to reserve our spot. We plan on getting to the port at 10:30 am.

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Agree with avoiding VIP, that place is a disorganized mess. Never again. Everyone there that I spoke to paid a different price and all over what was paid online. Said we paid the airport price in error. I think it's a racket.

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woodburygal and other recently off the Fascination - my husband and I are on this ship real soon and I was wondering if you could tell me how the outdoor seating areas were? Was it possible to find a relaxing place to sit outside either by the pool or in the serenity area? Also, we have a grand suite - is the balcony a comfortable size? Did you enjoy it? What about shows and activities? Was it fairly easy to find a seat? Is it possible to use the elevators or are they too crowded? Anything you can tell me would be very helpful. Thanks!

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So what about the cruise parking? We plan on parking at the lot right outside of the port, is that not a good thing? It is a lot cheaper and I have read other places people have been very happy parking there.

 

It's not that there's something wrong with parking off terminal, it's just that parking at the terminal is extremely convenient in Jacksonville. The parking lot is just a few steps from the terminal and if you get one of the spots up front, it takes you just seconds to go from the car to check-in. Even if you park farther back, there are golf carts patrolling the lot and taking people to the terminal.

 

When we returned to Jacksonville after our cruise, we were in our car literally 5 minutes after stepping off the ship. We were grateful for the convenience, instead of having to stand outside waiting for shuttles to take us to some remote parking facility.

 

Basically, you pay extra for convenience, but it's not a must do.

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