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Georgiagolfer

Just off Fascination, Made Lots of Lemonade

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DW and I just sailed Fascination, September 29-October 4. Our itinerary was to have been, Jacksonville, HMC, Nassau, Jacksonville. More on this later.

 

I have never written a review of any cruise (22 to date), so I apologize up front if I don't exactly follow any written/unwritten protocol. I will attempt to post only our thoughts and reflections of the entire trip, but will not attempt to rate the cruise. Ratings are too subjective, and vary by individual as to what is good/bad and/or important.

 

Just a little background info on us. We are both mid 60"s and retired (April 2011). We sailed our 1st cruise in May 1992 on RCI Nordic Empress, and were immediately hooked on cruising. We are Platinum on CCL, Platinum on RCI (will reach Emerald in January on our next cruise), and lowly Bronze on NCL.

 

We have cruised CCL more than any line, and are loyal to cruising, not to any 1 cruise line. In fact we like each line we have sailed. Never had a bad cruise, or any experience that would keep us from sailing again.:cool:

 

With this said and out of the way, I will start the observations with my next post. Hopefully each post will be short enough to follow, if interested.:D

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Friday 9/28, we took our kids (dogs) to the kennel and headed to Jacksonville. We had booked the cruise/park package at Best Western Jacksonville Airport. We have used them before and never had any issues.

 

We had booked 3 months prior to the cruise and made reservations for their 1st shuttle, which leaves motel at 10:30 am, and were told we were 1st to reserve.

Arrive a little after 2 pm and check in. Checked on shuttle and were told they did not have us listed.:( I told clerk what we had been told and response was, the clerk must not have written the info down when we made the reservation. We were assigned to the 2nd shuttle, which was listed as leaving the motel at 11:15 am.

 

Note: Both DW and myself adhere to the philosophy of "If life serves you lemons, make lemonade." This was our 1st opportunity to make lemonade.

 

The rest of the day was uneventful, as we go out to eat dinner, have a good meal, couple of glasses of wine, then off to bed and anticipate sailing the next day.

Edited by Georgiagolfer
spelling

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Saturday 9/29,embarkation day.:D Up early and eat breakfast, then the hard part, waiting to shuttle to port. 2nd shuttle did not leave motel until 11:35, not the 11:15 time as listed. OK, as we are Platinum, still felt we would get on fairly early.

 

Get to Terminal, and proceed to VIP check-in. Get to VIP room and it is full. After about 20 minutes, get checked in and finally on ship around 12:15.

 

At this point, let me point out that if arriving at Terminal around 11 am, you can literally be on ship, and already eaten lunch on Lido before noon. When we got to Lido, it was packed and lines everywhere.

 

Before going to Lido, we went to our deck to se if we could leave our carry-on luggage in room. Many Platinum's have posted here that they always do this. Well, corridor doors closed, so we did not try to go through them, just went on up to eat. After lunch, go check on room and it is ready. Decided to take a short nap before muster drill and sail away.

 

Did not have to make lemonade yet, but was getting the ingredients together.:D

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After nap, time for muster drill. Go to Palace Theater, and after a little while, went to life boat area, then drill over. Entire drill took maybe 30 minutes, not bad.

 

We then go back to Lido for sail away party. 1 of the break dancers from the shows was in charge of exciting and leading the crowd to party. He was really into his assignment and was good at it. Shortest sail away party we have ever attended. Party consisted of 3 taped songs for line dances, welcome aboard comments by the dancer, and wishes for a great cruise. A little disappointed with this, but hey, we are still on a cruise. Made lemonade here with all of the days events up to this point.

 

Go to dinner and are assigned a table for 2. WooHoo!!!:D Good meal, and afterwards go to Stars Bar on Promenade outside casino, for our after dinner wine and dancing. Surprise, no live music, nor was there any taped music. Time listed was to start at 9pm. Oh well, drake a little, walked around a while, in casino a short time then off to bed.

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Love you make lemonade when life knocks a little loud! I am excited to read this, 2 more months and we are there!:D

 

Life is too short to get uptight about some things. We are just thankful we are able to cruise.

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You seem to spend a lot of time hunting for lemons.....

 

I don't believe they "hunted" for lemons. They just made the best out of every situation!!

 

Kudo's to you!! Wish more people had your attitude!! Waiting anxiously on the remainder of your cruise!!

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At this point, let me do a little comparison. We sailed the same itinerary in May 2012. The sail away party lasted a good 30-45 minutes and was fantastic with a large crowd really getting into the party mood. To cut it down to 3 songs, just doesn't seem like a party.

 

In May, there was live music on Promenade at Stars Bar each evening from 5pm-7pm, and 7:30 pm-until. The times this cruise were not consistent, nor was there music often. DW and I have gone to the area on all of our CCL cruises before and after dinner to have some wine and dance. Really missed that this cruise.:(

 

We do not like the clubs, as the music is normally too loud for us, so we did not have many options. This just gave us the opportunity to try different things.:cool:

 

In May, I earned the "drinks on us card" on the 2nd day. Remember this was a 5 night cruise. Didn't notice the "drinks on us" signs in Casino" so I asked the Casino Host. I was told they do not offer the card on 5 day sailings anymore after June.:( This came along about the time of the new VIFP program. Not to be negative, but to me this is a cutback, as it is something I always had available after I earned each cruise. Oh well, back to the cruise details.

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I don't believe they "hunted" for lemons. They just made the best out of every situation!!

 

Kudo's to you!! Wish more people had your attitude!! Waiting anxiously on the remainder of your cruise!!

 

Thanks, you are correct. 20 years ago, "lemonade making" was something I did not do very well, if at all. Priorities change, people change. This is not a ratings review, just purely our comments, reflections, and opinions. It may appear that some of the future posts are complaining, but nothing could be further from the truth.

 

We had a great cruise, despite some "lemonade" making. Can't wait to book our next CCL cruise, but have 2 others booked for 2013, and not sure we can work 1 in around May/June

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Thanks for taking the time to post this!

 

I really like how you post a little bit at a time -

it breaks up nicely and makes it more "episodic".

 

Feel bad about the shuttle and free drink

mishaps, but you seem to take everything

in stride very well.

 

Hey - at least you got your table for two in

the MDR! :)

 

Looking forward to hearing about your sea

days and ports.

 

Thanks again - great job!

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Sunday, Day 2

 

Up and on deck around 6am as I usually am. Have coffee and talk to fellow cruisers until around 8 am. Get DW some coffee, toast, and lots of bacon and take to the room. (She always gets breakfast in bed each cruise) I also must add that the tips are really good for this service.:D

 

After breakfast, DW gets ready and goes to gym. She exercises daily at home, so she does the same on the cruise. I go to Casino as the slots are open by this time. After she finishes at gym and gets her shower, we meet and go to Serenity area a while before lunch. Now I could stay at Serenity all day, those loungers are so comfortable. Have a good lunch, then it is nap time, but can't today as we have plans for 1 pm. I might add that all of these morning activities, a person needs a nap to get ready for the evening activities. LOL

Edited by Georgiagolfer

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Thanks for taking the time to post this!

 

I really like how you post a little bit at a time -

it breaks up nicely and makes it more "episodic".

 

Feel bad about the shuttle and free drink

mishaps, but you seem to take everything

in stride very well.

 

Hey - at least you got your table for two in

the MDR! :)

 

Looking forward to hearing about your sea

days and ports.

 

Thanks again - great job!

 

The free drinks in the past still weren't free as you had to put so much $$$ at risk in the slots to earn them. It just gave me something to look forward to, especially since I know I will spend a fair amount of time in the casino anyway.

 

Yeah, the table for 2 was extremely nice. WooHoo!!! Don't misinterpret, we love meeting and talking/fellowshiping with people, but this was a surprise treat.

 

 

Back in awhile as it is lunch time here (for real). Back in a spell.

Edited by Georgiagolfer
spelling

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Yeah, the table for 2 was extremely nice. WooHoo!!! Don't misinterpret, we love meeting and talking/fellowshiping with people, but this was a surprise treat.

 

We enjoy meeting people as well, but a

nice table for two is a treat.

 

We also have an 8 year old in tow and

we don't do all the appetizers and such -

we can usually be in and out in an hour

(dessert included!)- If we are at a

large table we don't have as much

flexibility.

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The no Drinks-on-Us for shorter cruises was posted (and ranted about) often at the time. Surprised you weren't aware.

 

As for the doors being shut so you didn't drop off your luggage, of course they're still closed! Otherwise EVERYONE would be going straight to their cabins. I drop off my carryons when I board and I'm usually on fairly early. Just open a door and head to my cabin. Have encountered cabin stewards, explained what I was doing (just dropping off the bags, which I hide if the cabin door is still open) and have always been told to just go right ahead. Then I leave and stay out of their way. ;)

 

I like Fascination. Sailed her for the 2nd time last year but dropped my smartphone overboard while trying to take a pic going under the bridge and allowed that to bother me the entire cruise. And it poured rain at HMC (first time (it was my 5th visit) that the weater wasn't gorgeous), but at least I was there!

 

Oh, and I detested Jen, the CD. Did you have her?

 

I don't go to the deck sailaway parties so have no idea how long they last and what happens. So just another "cutback" that I won't miss! :)

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Sunday, Day 2

 

Up and on deck around 6am as I usually am. Have coffee and talk to fellow cruisers until around 8 am. Get DW some coffee, toast, and lots of bacon and take to the room. (She always gets breakfast in bed each cruise) I also must add that the tips are really good for this service.:D

 

Just caught this :o - too funny!

 

Good man!

Edited by Scott34787

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Our roll call had planned a meet and greet for 1 pm today, 1st sea day. Different locations discussed, but I must have missed the final location as we did not find anyone. Went to Stars Bar around 12:50, waited until 1:15 and no one showed up.:( Not sure what happened, but OK, we get to go and take a nap after all.:) Need the nap to get ready for the Captains Party as this is "cruise elegant" evening. WooHoo, free drinks. LOL

 

Got to leave for now and run some errands, but will post more later today.

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OK, I'm back for a short while.

 

Get up from nap, get dressed for "cruise elegant" evening and head for Promenade for Captains Party. Surprise, no party and no free drinks.:( Instead it is called happy Hour with $1 discount on drinks. In May, there was an actual party with free drinks and hors d'ourves. A little sad and disappointed with this cutback.

 

Go to dinner and have a great meal. I had the lobster tail, and DW had the St. Louis Spare ribs. Hers were so good, that I asked for and received an order also.:D I will comment about the dining venues, food, and staff at the conclusion of this reflection. Attend 1st Production Show and same as May, different dancers, but still good. After show, some casino time before going to bed and preparing for the highlight of the cruise on Monday, HMC.

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Day 3, HMC

 

Get up early and when I get to Lido, it is really raining hard. Had to move further under shelter several times, as the wind was whipping rain around. Take DW breakfast around 7 am, and it is just a small rain.

 

Around 8 am, we arrive off HMC, not raining but very windy. Around 9 am, Captain made announcement that we would not be able to tender to HMC due to weather conditions. Think Lemonade at this point. Boy are there a lot of disappointed cruisers, including DW and myself,:( although I think this was good move by Captain, as someone could possibly have been hurt on the tenders it was so windy. Ironic, but about 1 hour after we leave for Nassau, the sun popped out and was out the remainder of the day.

 

Nap after Lido lunch, dinner, casino, then off to bed. There was no Production Show this evening.

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