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Love The Fascination – September 20-24, 2012 - 4 Day Cruise with pictures!

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I am trying to work through my cruise withdrawal by sharing our trip with you guys. This was our third time on Fascination and I feel like we totally are veterans of cruising now. We have figured out what we want to do, what is worth spending time or money on, and how to make the most out of the days. I will warn you guys ahead of time that there are not a ton of pics of the interior of the ship in this review. Since we have been on the ship before I didn’t take as many as I usually do. Also there is a lot of food porn in this review. I dream about the food when on land so I enjoy it with all of my senses when on the ship. The food on Fascination is always really good and there is rarely a dish that is not the perfect temperature. So forgive me if you do not enjoy the food porn, hopefully the other pictures will entertain you.

 

Some background on us, we are in our late 30s with no kids. I work in a high stress mental health job and DH is in a job he has had for the past 12 years. DH is in the process of trying to figure out what he wants to be when he grows up. Some of you may remember from last year’s review that I did that DH was trying to become a teacher and we had hoped he would be in a school system by now. Life happened so DH is not pursing teaching, at least for now. So he is super stressed out trying to figure out what his next career will be. This trip was a quick getaway so that he could really relax and get some perspective on what he wants to do next.

 

You may ask, why do Fascination for a third time? We live in the Atlanta area so going out of Jacksonville is cheap, fast, and easy for us. Plus we can’t do a 7 day because of DH’s job. And honestly, the staff on this ship are amazing. Even my father does a cruise or two a year on this ship because he loves the staff, the food, and the fact that the ship is not super crowded even though it almost always sails at full capacity. And my dad is super picky!

 

Packing and getting ready to go:

 

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We decided to drive half way down on Wednesday night and stay at a hotel overnight. On our first cruise we got up and drove to port at 6am and by the time we got on the ship, we were too exhausted to enjoy the first day. So we decided to always drive down the night before just so we don’t have to get up too early the day of embarking. This works for us. We learned a valuable lesson last year as last year we stayed at a Best Western in Hazlehurst, GA and it was disgusting! Do your research, make sure that there is more than one hotel to choose from where you stop, don’t rule out a place because it costs $10 more, and be flexible. This year we stayed in Tifton, GA at a Comfort Inn. This place was sooooo nice compared to last year’s hotel. Yes, it cost about $18 more than last year’s hotel but it was clean, comfy and there was breakfast included. Score! We got a great night’s rest and set the alarm nice and early for the next day so we could get to the ship as fast as possible!

 

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I agree with everything you say about the Fascination--we've been on her 7 times since the ship came to JAX!!! Great start to your review, can't wait to read more. Thanks!

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I also agree about the Fascination ... We went on The Dream in May and I missed the window seats that the Fascination has! We will be on her for the second year in a row the first week of December....this is our third cruise on the Fascination and our 6th cruise out of Jacksonville... Can't wait to read the rest of your review!

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Day 1:

 

Next morning we were up early and ready to get to Jacksonville! We had eggs and waffles for breakfast at the hotel, grabbed some diet coke for me to sip one and off we went. The skies were beautiful until we hit the Florida state line. Then the skies got very, very grey. As we got within 15 minutes of port, the skies let loose! We could barely see to get to the port.

 

 

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We always park right there at the port, even though it costs a bit more. It is easier on disembark day to just walk to your vehicle and leave rather than wait on vans to take you to an off site parking lot. The rain was coming down so heavy that DH decided to drive right up to the porters, help me get the bags out and then go to the main lot. The porters were great helping us get everything out and then waiting while I pulled one thing out of my suitcase that I wanted to carry on. DH’s plan kept me and the luggage nice and dry. We didn’t have an umbrella and it was raining so badly I was worried how DH would make it back once he parked. As I waited, I got concerned. It had been 10 minutes, the rain was not stopping and I couldn’t see DH anywhere. No worries though, here he comes on a golf cart! One of the port employees saw DH did not have an umbrella and offered to bring him back up to the building. It kept DH nice and dry and was super nice and unexpected.

 

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Day 1:

 

Next morning we were up early and ready to get to Jacksonville! We had eggs and waffles for breakfast at the hotel, grabbed some diet coke for me to sip one and off we went. The skies were beautiful until we hit the Florida state line. Then the skies got very, very grey. As we got within 15 minutes of port, the skies let loose! We could barely see to get to the port.

 

 

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We always park right there at the port, even though it costs a bit more. It is easier on disembark day to just walk to your vehicle and leave rather than wait on vans to take you to an off site parking lot. The rain was coming down so heavy that DH decided to drive right up to the porters, help me get the bags out and then go to the main lot. The porters were great helping us get everything out and then waiting while I pulled one thing out of my suitcase that I wanted to carry on. DH’s plan kept me and the luggage nice and dry. We didn’t have an umbrella and it was raining so badly I was worried how DH would make it back once he parked. As I waited, I got concerned. It had been 10 minutes, the rain was not stopping and I couldn’t see DH anywhere. No worries though, here he comes on a golf cart! One of the port employees saw DH did not have an umbrella and offered to bring him back up to the building. It kept DH nice and dry and was super nice and unexpected.

 

 

Oh Lordy - that looks like our last trip home from JAX - we were running through the outer bands from Isaac. We were lucky, the weather was threatening during our disembark, but it didn't let go until after we were in the car. Feel kinda sorry for the folks that got off after we did... it was pouring by the time we got to the corner of August and Hecksher.

 

Those porters at the terminal are good for getting people into the building and keeping them dry in the process. One of the reasons we use port parking when we go. I guess it doesn't hurt that we park in Handicapped parking, and that we go often enough that they recognize us.

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Embarking on Fascination in just over a week - a repeat cruise from last Oct. Can't wait for the rest of your review! Last year we took the kids - this year it's just us. I can't remember much about the entertainment on board from last year - I guess our kids kept us entertained! We are booked interior - had balcony last year but pot-smoking loud obnoxious neighbors ruined the balcony for us. Have late seating for dinner and look toward to your food pics!

 

Sent from my Kindle Fire using Tapatalk 2

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At this point it was about 11:30am and the terminal was not crowded. I tend to be a bit of a rebel and tried to take some pics of me and DH while in the terminal even though that is against the rules. All of a sudden I hear “ma’am, ma’am, you can’t take pictures in here! We need you to delete those pictures!” I tried to play dumb but I knew I was busted, LOL! Security made me delete the pictures. I got away with taking pictures of my friends while in the terminal in Miami so I wanted to see if I could get away with it here. No worries, we are on vacation! We got through the lines quickly and were on the ship by 12:10pm.

 

We headed up to the Lido deck to hit the grill as we knew our room was probably not ready yet. I typically only eat a burger on embarkation day (unless I am on a ship with Guy’s Burgers and then I eat a ton of them) so I was excited to get my first meal on the ship. The lines moved fast and we were eating and drinking within minutes! And of course I had to get my soda card as I am a Diet Coke junkie. The weather continued to be yucky and rainy as we sat out on the lido to enjoy our food. They had live music on the Lido so we got to hear tunes while we ate.

 

 

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I agree about the Jacksonville port and the Fascnation. We are from Columbus, Ga. and it only takes about 4 hrs form our front door to the port. Love the port parking.. LOVE LOVE LOVE the Fascination. We are leaving on our 4rth cruise on her on Oct. 4. And we will become PLATINUM:D(yea!)

 

Never had a bad cruise, but really enjoyed sailing on her.

 

BAF

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Glad that folks are enjoying the review so far, thanks for your feedback!

 

Our CD was Carl who was nice. I am assuming that he was not “Karl with a K” as he never identified himself that way. He didn’t over do the announcements and was pleasant to run into on deck. Once lunch was done, we headed down to our room to see if it was ready. We headed to E206 and the room was ready. We got to meet our steward, Anton. He was friendly as well as great at his job. He took good care of us!

 

As you can see, we make sure we don’t spend a ton on drinks on the ship by taking advantage of Bon Voyage for vodka and a fruit and wine basket and the allowance of 1 bottle of wine per adult. In retrospect we ended up with too much booze and ended up not finishing half the vodka and some of the wine.

 

 

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We got DH a DOD and then he decided to hang out in the room and enjoy the balcony and I went up to the spa to do a tour as I had never visited the spa on any of my past cruises.

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The spa on this ship is a bit older and dated compared to the newer ships but was still really nice. I did not win the raffle for free spa dollars. I decided to book a “manager’s special” for the next day which included a message, a facial, and a collagen eye treatment. It was a bit pricey, $149.95 but I thought, what the heck? I am on vacation. The down side was that you had to do the special either on day 1 or by noon on day 2. Since we were porting in Freeport at noon and had plans, I didn’t think I would be able to take advantage of the special unless I got up earlier than I like to. I just called the spa and they worked with me, allowing me to book at 4pm on day 2 and still get the special price. I am glad they worked with me as I know I would not have paid the $300 that the individual treatments added up would have cost.

 

 

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Sounds like you enjoyed yourselves, looking forward to more! We liked the size of the Fascination too. We had terrible weather, but a good cruise so that says alot about the ship and crew.

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We are doing a b2b next Monday and we will be in E206 for both legs. Most of the time we get a suite--offered JR suite on upsell call but turned that down-- not a fan of JS. Were you happy with the area of the room? What about noise as I believe it is a workking deck above not passenger rooms.

Thanks for your review. The last time I sailed on the Fascination there were no balconies.

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I am enjoying your review also. Thanks for taking the time to do it. We leave on the Fascination on Oct. 13. Have heard good thing about this ship.

Peggy

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Enjoying your review so far. Even though we're only 3 hours from Jacksonville, we've never had the chance to sail on the Fascination. We hope to one day!

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We are doing a b2b next Monday and we will be in E206 for both legs. Most of the time we get a suite--offered JR suite on upsell call but turned that down-- not a fan of JS. Were you happy with the area of the room? What about noise as I believe it is a workking deck above not passenger rooms.

Thanks for your review. The last time I sailed on the Fascination there were no balconies.

 

I never heard a bit of noise from above and we never heard noise from the hallway. We were just far enough from the elevators that we didn't hear that foot traffic either but close enough to the elevators that we didn't feel like we were hiking a mile to get there. We really liked that we could just keep going past the first set of elevators and then walk through the art gallery and end up at the Atrium bar and guest services. That made it easy to get a refill on diet coke or sprite zero :D;)

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The muster drill came and went and took about 20 minutes. We headed back to the room for sail away as it was still raining and being up on the open deck was out of the question. As you can see it was gloomy for the start of the trip but once we got about an hour out of port the skies cleared up.

 

 

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Finally we are out to sea!!!!

 

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Great review so far! Can't wait to hear more. We are going on the Fascination on October 13. Can't wait!!

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