Jump to content
DarthGrady

OPEN BAR Cruise Review!! Fascination ~ 9/26/13

Recommended Posts

We rolled out of town at around 10ish Thursday morning, ambling northward toward Jacksonville. The terminal was fairly crowded when we arrived, although they seemed to be doing a good job of moving folks through. My roommate and I checked in at the VIP lounge which was nearly empty at the time. The ladies were kind enough to check in the other four guys in our party since there were no other VIP guests waiting. We were onboard the ship in less than a half hour. Having never embarked at JaxPort before, I was surprised to find that they were loading the ship from the gangway on the pier.

 

Approaching the ship

232323232%7Ffp43857%3Enu%3D323%3B%3E8%3B7%3E682%3EWSNRCG%3D388949%3A865326nu0mrj

 

The JaxPort cruise terminal

232323232%7Ffp43878%3Enu%3D323%3B%3E8%3B7%3E682%3EWSNRCG%3D388949%3A867326nu0mrj

 

232323232%7Ffp43893%3Enu%3D323%3B%3E8%3B7%3E682%3EWSNRCG%3D388949%3A479326nu0mrj

 

232323232%7Ffp43852%3Enu%3D323%3B%3E8%3B7%3E682%3EWSNRCG%3D388949%3A47%3A326nu0mrj

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I didn't do a pictorial review for my last trip on Fascination back in 2006, but there is a text review here if anyone wants to check it out:

 

http://www.cruisecritic.com/memberreviews/memberreview.cfm?EntryID=22822

 

14 of my 19 Carnival cruises have been on Fantasy Class ships, so I can safely say that they are my favorites in the fleet. Very easy to get around, and small enough that finding friends isn't a chore. I love the promenade on this class for its great ocean views and convenient meeting spots. The open air porches at the aft end of the lido deck buffets are my favorite (casual) dining venues on any ship I've been on.

 

After we boarded the ship we dropped our luggage off in the cabins. We then stopped by the pool bar to get our open bar cards from our TA. Fortunately we are in a group that has the old bar program and not the neutered "Cheers" program which is limited to 15 drinks per day.

 

We then had lunch in the Coconut Grove buffet, and got our first drinks of the weekend.

 

The keys to the kingdom

232323232%7Ffp43887%3Enu%3D323%3B%3E8%3B7%3E682%3EWSNRCG%3D38898%3B%3C483326nu0mrj

 

The Coconut Grove buffet and it's excellent deli

232323232%7Ffp43873%3Enu%3D323%3B%3E8%3B7%3E682%3EWSNRCG%3D388949%3A482326nu0mrj

 

232323232%7Ffp4386%3B%3Enu%3D323%3B%3E8%3B7%3E682%3EWSNRCG%3D388949%3A47%3B326nu0mrj

 

232323232%7Ffp43848%3Enu%3D323%3B%3E8%3B7%3E682%3EWSNRCG%3D388949%3A484326nu0mrj

 

232323232%7Ffp43897%3Enu%3D323%3B%3E8%3B7%3E682%3EWSNRCG%3D388949%3A485326nu0mrj

 

Not a great view, but at least we had drinks.

232323232%7Ffp437%3C8%3Enu%3D323%3B%3E8%3B7%3E682%3EWSNRCG%3D388949%3A483326nu0mrj

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wow - didn't realize there was a previous drink program through Carnival..good for you! Lucky!

 

Looks like the Jacksonville port is just in the middle of nowhere, eh?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Wow - didn't realize there was a previous drink program through Carnival..good for you! Lucky!

 

Looks like the Jacksonville port is just in the middle of nowhere, eh?

 

It wasn't available to everyone, only to large or corporate groups. CCL had to approve it first, and everyone had to buy in, so it was hard to get.

 

IMO, Cheers being open to everyone would have been a great thing if they hadn't put a blanket cap on the number of drinks per day.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
It wasn't available to everyone, only to large or corporate groups. CCL had to approve it first, and everyone had to buy in, so it was hard to get.

 

IMO, Cheers being open to everyone would have been a great thing if they hadn't put a blanket cap on the number of drinks per day.

 

Interesting! Yes, the 15 drinks a day is a little frustrating, but I'm thinking my liver will thank me for not going higher than 15!! ;):o

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We spent the afternoon occupying various bars and lounges. We all went up to the top deck to watch the ship sail from JaxPort. Seeing the stack clear the bridge was impressive, similar to the Sunshine Skyway passing in Tampa Bay.

 

A bunch of Humvees near the port

232323232%7Ffp43877%3Enu%3D323%3B%3E8%3B7%3E682%3EWSNRCG%3D388949%3A8%3B%3B326nu0mrj

 

232323232%7Ffp43899%3Enu%3D323%3B%3E8%3B7%3E682%3EWSNRCG%3D388949%3A4%3B6326nu0mrj

 

232323232%7Ffp437%3B4%3Enu%3D323%3B%3E8%3B7%3E682%3EWSNRCG%3D388949%3A4%3B7326nu0mrj

 

232323232%7Ffp437%3C%3B%3Enu%3D323%3B%3E8%3B7%3E682%3EWSNRCG%3D388949%3A4%3B%3B326nu0mrj

 

 

At some point we stopped by the "Taste Bar" on the promenade. This a new food sampler counter that replaced the sushi bar that had been a long time Carnival institution. I was very disappointed that they sushi bar was taken away. Sushi on the promenade before dinner was one of my favorite things that Carnival offered.

 

The food at the taste bar was good, but it was very obvious that it is not as popular a place as the old sushi bar. I never saw more than a few people there at any given time. The lines for the sushi bar used to stretch down the promenade. This is certainly on purpose as a cost cutting measure.

 

The Taste Bar

232323232%7Ffp43899%3Enu%3D323%3B%3E8%3B7%3E682%3EWSNRCG%3D38894%3A3732326nu0mrj

 

232323232%7Ffp4388%3B%3Enu%3D323%3B%3E8%3B7%3E682%3EWSNRCG%3D38894%3A3734326nu0mrj

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
welcome back grady, will keep an eye out for this one... always a fun booze cruise :)

 

Thanks Mark, yes, it was a great time! :D

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Great to see a new review from you!

 

I agree about the sushi bar. I haven't had a Taste I liked yet and I've seen a lot of plates which indicated others didn't like it either...

 

Looking forward to the next installation.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Welcome back Grady. Thanks for bringing us along the annual booze cruise. The sushi bars being removed is a shame, noticed that on my past Carnival cruises and it was nice to get some sushi before heading off to the dining room.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Looking forward to the rest of your review, sounds like a great trip and time. DW and I also like the Fantasy class ships best. Fascination is our favorite (4 cruises.) Jacksonville is also the easiest embark port we have done.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The ever so popular 'BOOZE CRUISE'. I will be on one in 2 days!! Looking forward to your review.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

After sail away we eventually made it to dinner in the MDR. The food and service were good. Our wait staff seemed very overworked though. Constantly hurrying from place to place and never having much time to talk.

 

Ship model outside the dining room

232323232%7Ffp43883%3Enu%3D323%3B%3E8%3B7%3E682%3EWSNRCG%3D388949%3A49%3B326nu0mrj

 

One of the main dining rooms

232323232%7Ffp437%3C%3B%3Enu%3D323%3B%3E8%3B7%3E682%3EWSNRCG%3D388949%3A4%3A4326nu0mrj

 

232323232%7Ffp43846%3Enu%3D323%3B%3E8%3B7%3E682%3EWSNRCG%3D388949%3A4%3A5326nu0mrj

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

After dinner we wound up having drinks at the lobby bar in the atrium before stopping into the piano bar.

 

Usually the piano bar is my jam. I enjoy the sing-alongs, and having fun with the other patrons. Unfortunately the environment in Fascination's piano bar has turned fairly hostile. Bob, the piano player, doesn't seem to take kindly to boisterous merry-makers and boozy revelers. Any time we would sing along too loudly he would either give condescending looks or stop playing altogether and make snarky comments. It seemed that he considered the lounge his personal nightly recital; not the fun filled musical extension of the comedy club that I've loved on other ships. Our time in there was brief each night. Maybe next year we'll have Brad or Milby again.

 

The rest of the night was spent in the Diamonds are Forever night club. The DJ was playing a good mix of top 40 and Caribbean dance music. We were in there until it shut down around 3:30. We then hit the buffet for pizza and had a post club party on the back deck. Sleep finally came at around 6 am, just as the crew was setting up for breakfast.

 

The piano bar

232323232%7Ffp43845%3Enu%3D323%3B%3E8%3B7%3E682%3EWSNRCG%3D388949%3A8%3A%3B326nu0mrj

 

232323232%7Ffp43874%3Enu%3D323%3B%3E8%3B7%3E682%3EWSNRCG%3D388949%3A8%3A3326nu0mrj

 

232323232%7Ffp43889%3Enu%3D323%3B%3E8%3B7%3E682%3EWSNRCG%3D388949%3A499326nu0mrj

 

The atrium

232323232%7Ffp43879%3Enu%3D323%3B%3E8%3B7%3E682%3EWSNRCG%3D38894%3A374%3A326nu0mrj

 

The lobby bar

232323232%7Ffp43837%3Enu%3D323%3B%3E8%3B7%3E682%3EWSNRCG%3D38894%3A3774326nu0mrj

 

232323232%7Ffp43854%3Enu%3D323%3B%3E8%3B7%3E682%3EWSNRCG%3D38894%3A4%3A56326nu0mrj

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Unfortunately the environment in Fascination's piano bar has turned fairly hostile. Bob, the piano player, doesn't seem to take kindly to boisterous merry-makers and boozy revelers. Any time we would sing along too loudly he would either give condescending looks or stop playing altogether and make snarky comments. It seemed that he considered the lounge his personal nightly recital . . .

 

Oh, dear . . .

Perhaps not the best fit for the role assigned. :(

 

.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I wondered what you were going to think about the piano bar guy. He was not too keen on requests and barely played piano, we stopped going after the second night and left early on the second night, a shame because we love the piano bar.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
After dinner we wound up having drinks at the lobby bar in the atrium before stopping into the piano bar.

 

Usually the piano bar is my jam. I enjoy the sing-alongs, and having fun with the other patrons. Unfortunately the environment in Fascination's piano bar has turned fairly hostile. Bob, the piano player, doesn't seem to take kindly to boisterous merry-makers and boozy revelers. Any time we would sing along too loudly he would either give condescending looks or stop playing altogether and make snarky comments. It seemed that he considered the lounge his personal nightly recital; not the fun filled musical extension of the comedy club that I've loved on other ships. Our time in there was brief each night. Maybe next year we'll have Brad or Milby again.

 

Same experience we had in June. Went to Piano Bar 1st night, didn't return. Worst Piano Bar atmosphere we have ever experienced.:(

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6am huh? Sounds like your getting your money's worth.

 

Indeed. ;)

 

I wondered what you were going to think about the piano bar guy. He was not too keen on requests and barely played piano, we stopped going after the second night and left early on the second night, a shame because we love the piano bar.

 

Yeah, we really just went back to mess with the guy after the first evening. I knew he couldn't stand us being in there, which only made me want to go back. :D:D

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Same experience we had in June. Went to Piano Bar 1st night, didn't return. Worst Piano Bar atmosphere we have ever experienced.:(

 

Same guy?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Indeed. ;)

 

 

Yeah, we really just went back to mess with the guy after the first evening. I knew he couldn't stand us being in there, which only made me want to go back. :D:D

 

Naughty Naughty:D:cool:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Yep. He was so obnoxious and full of himself.

 

My thoughts exactly, I think he needs to consider a change of venue.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah, we really just went back to mess with the guy after the first evening. I knew he couldn't stand us being in there, which only made me want to go back. :D:D

 

Best part of the review!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Our second day on board started around noon. The ship didn't arrive in Freeport until then, luckily this was about the same time we were pulling into Freeport. After lunchfast in the buffet we headed ashore and got a taxi into town. It costs five bucks per person and takes about twenty minutes.

 

We sauntered about the shopping area for a while, the locals haranguing us to buy something. We made it down for the beach, still being pestered by every person we passed to buy something, anything from them. More and more I feel that it's only worthwhile to go ashore at private islands. My friends did some gambling at the casino before we finally went back to the ship.

 

This night was the formal evening, and a great many lobsters lost their lives in the process. The food was good at dinner, although the service was slower than the first night. We again imbibed gallons of alco-beverages at the various bars and clubs. It was an early night, we were in the room by 4:30.

 

Imagination in her dry dock

232323232%7Ffp43842%3Enu%3D323%3B%3E8%3B7%3E682%3EWSNRCG%3D38894%3A37%3A7326nu0mrj

 

The Pride pulled up next to us

232323232%7Ffp43844%3Enu%3D323%3B%3E8%3B7%3E682%3EWSNRCG%3D38894%3A37%3A8326nu0mrj

 

The small shopping area at the cruise piers

232323232%7Ffp4384%3A%3Enu%3D323%3B%3E8%3B7%3E682%3EWSNRCG%3D38894%3A37%3A%3B326nu0mrj

 

Apparently Carnival is just using serving trays as plates now

232323232%7Ffp437%3C4%3Enu%3D323%3B%3E8%3B7%3E682%3EWSNRCG%3D38894%3A37%3B3326nu0mrj

 

In Freeport. Anyone up for $9 beers and $15 frozen drinks?

232323232%7Ffp437%3B7%3Enu%3D323%3B%3E8%3B7%3E682%3EWSNRCG%3D38894%3A37%3B8326nu0mrj

 

232323232%7Ffp43833%3Enu%3D323%3B%3E8%3B7%3E682%3EWSNRCG%3D38894%3A37%3B%3A326nu0mrj

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Lovin your great review! We sail her in November, please keep the great stuff coming! Thanks so MUCH!

 

Sent from my VS950 4G using Tapatalk 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Our third day started a little later than the previous one. We woke around 1-ish and again went to the buffet for lunch. We were already in Nassau and the gangways had been open for a while.

 

The ship had mostly emptied out which made for a great day up on the pool deck. We spent a couple of hours in the main pool having buckets of beer and Jagermeister shots brought to us. At some point we also went back to the Serenity area to use the hot tubs. It all gets a bit hazy after that.

 

I managed to get myself back to the room to get ready for dinner. This is not a easy task with a head full of Jager and beer. Weird memories of dancing in the hallway with unknown passers by. Bringing the Bluetooth speaker box was a great idea. Drunks love music and dancing badly.

 

I had a big dinner to help sop up some of the hooch, it worked a bit. I sobered up to a good solid buzz and held it there for the rest of the night. There was another stop at the piano bar and another very late night in the dance club.

 

After the club we went up to the observation deck above the bridge and climbed up the front of the ship to the sports deck. We did this last year as well, and it seemed like a fine tradition to continue. The night was rounded out with some ultra-late night pizza.

 

Tasty meatballs from the Taste Bar

232323232%7Ffp4386%3A%3Enu%3D323%3B%3E8%3B7%3E682%3EWSNRCG%3D38894%3A4%3A4%3B326nu0mrj

 

I got a hat, a pretty nice one

232323232%7Ffp437%3B%3B%3Enu%3D323%3B%3E8%3B7%3E682%3EWSNRCG%3D38894%3A4%3A53326nu0mrj

 

232323232%7Ffp437%3B6%3Enu%3D323%3B%3E8%3B7%3E682%3EWSNRCG%3D388%3A%3B38796326nu0mrj

Edited by DarthGrady

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Same experience we had in June. Went to Piano Bar 1st night, didn't return. Worst Piano Bar atmosphere we have ever experienced.:(

Wonder if it was the same guy that was on there in July. I never caught his name. He told us his sad story about how he ALMOST made it on The Voice. Does that story sound familiar to anyone? Stayed in there about 20 minutes. He almost put me to sleep!

Edited by jenms2000

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Wonder if it was the same guy that was on there in July. I never caught his name. He told us his sad story about how he ALMOST made it on The Voice. Does that story sound familiar to anyone? Stayed in there about 20 minutes. He almost put me to sleep!

 

He didn't tell that story when we went, but could have told either before or after we went the 1st night. As we wee on the 1st week of June, probably the same man you had. All I can say is , he was awful.:(

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Forum Jump
    • Categories
      • Explore the Night. Sweepstakes - Enter now for a chance to win win a free cruise for two with Azamara Club Cruises!
      • Forum Assistance
      • New Cruisers
      • Cruise Lines “A – O”
      • Cruise Lines “P – Z”
      • River Cruising
      • ROLL CALLS
      • Digital Photography & Cruise Technology
      • Member Cruise Reviews
      • Community Contests
      • Special Interest Cruising
      • Cruise Discussion Topics
      • UK Cruising
      • Australia & New Zealand Cruisers
      • North American Homeports
      • Ports of Call
      • Cruise Conversations
×