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Jamman54

Our Fabulous Fascination cruise (with pics!!) 8/2/14

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Ahoy Everybody!! I’m Jeff “Jamman” Maskall, and I am a Cruise Addict!! Welcome to my review of the Carnival Fascination, which was the front end of an almost back to back cruise with the Carnival Liberty. They are two completely different ships, sailing from two different ports of embarkation, to different ports of call. I will also be doing a review of our time aboard the Carnival Liberty, which I will post on a separate thread.

 

But first things first… the Carnival Fascination, sailing from Jacksonville, (Jaxport), on a 5 day cruise to Nassau and Half Moon Cay! As always, I want to bring you along for the ride, share some photos, and perhaps give you a few tips, in case you are considering a cruise aboard the Fascination, or just to stir up some past memories. Either way, sit back, relax, make yourself a DOD, and let’s get started!!

 

A few months ago, this cruise wasn’t even on our radar. As many of you may know, we lost our 19 year old son Kevin, in a car accident this past May 22nd. This loss cut very, very deep, but we are blessed to have an amazing support system here at home, and online, to help us cope with our grief. We have wonderful memories of Kevin, and some of our best memories occurred during our family vacations, both on land and at sea. Kevin loved to cruise, and was really looking forward to our cruise on the Carnival Liberty. He didn’t sail with us last year on the Splendor, because he had other opportunities, but he couldn’t wait to go on the Liberty to play blackjack in the casino with us, and legally have a drink on the islands. We know that he will be with us for the whole vacation in spirit. I want to share with you, one of the last pictures taken of Kevin…

 

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We had a family discussion and it was decided that we would continue with our Liberty cruise. My wife Patti is a teacher, and though she taught summer school, she still had all of August off. We also told our son Ryan, now 17, not to worry about working this summer. So when I approached my bosses with the request of taking some extra time off, they responded by telling me to take as much time as I need. I told them, “I think I’ll take August off”. They replied, “No problem”. Thanks guys!!!

 

Knowing that we needed some family time together, away from the state of New Jersey, and about a month-long window in which to do it, what to do first? How about booking another cruise before the Liberty one? Sold!! The only requirement was a stop at Half Moon Cay. That’s how we became booked on the Fascination. We booked some theme park time on the back end of our vacation as well.

 

Let’s move ahead now to July 31st, and our departure from New Jersey. I HATE flying!! Scratch that. I actually LOVE the flying part, but HATE everything else about it, especially the security part. Now, I understand why they need to do what they do, and it makes every one’s journey safer, but since I had my right knee replaced in 2010, the alarm goes off EVERY time and I get the full treatment!!

 

So, I have decided, that if our destination is east of the Mississippi, in the continental United States, and we have ample time, I will DRIVE!! Ryan also loves to drive, Patti not so much. She tolerates it when we are heading to our destination because of the anticipation of our vacation beginning, but HATES it when it comes to driving back home afterwards. She purchased a one way air ticket back home from Orlando, leaving Ryan and I to do the dirty work of getting the car home, but that’s a story for much later!

 

After locking up and saying goodbye to the kitties, we hit the road about 10 pm.

 

The car is packed for the trip…..

 

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Ryan is ready to go!!.....

 

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We like driving overnight, so that we are well past Washington DC before the morning rush hour. We usually drive straight through, stopping only for gas, bathroom breaks, and food, which most times can be accomplished in one stop. Our destination for today is Kingsland, Georgia which is located just a couple of miles north of the Florida border off of Exit 3 on I-95, and just about 35 minutes from Jaxport. We got a great deal online for a one bedroom suite, at Country Inn and Suites for only $85 plus tax .

 

15 hours later, we have arrived at our destination…..

 

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The Front Desk…..

 

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Computer station in the lobby…..

 

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To be continued…..

Edited by Jamman54

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Here are some more pictures of the Country Inn and Suites. Here are a couple of views of the lobby…..

 

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A couple of views of the breakfast area…..

 

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Bedroom of our one bedroom suite…..

 

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The bedroom television…..

 

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To be continued…..

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Oh man, I've been checking everyday since you returned for the start of this review. I can't wait to read it all.

 

I read your Splendor review about 6 weeks before I took my first cruise ever, which was on the Splendor in Oct 2013. I feel like I'm cruising along with you! Thanks for taking the time to put this all together.

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Here are some views of the sitting area, which was Ryan’s part of the suite. The sofa had a pull out bed, which Ryan said was comfortable…..

 

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A couple views of the bathroom…..

 

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Once we got settled in, we relaxed for a few hours until we started to get a bit hungry. We decided to walk over to the Applebee’s across the street for dinner, which was real convenient. Afterwards, we were all feeling a little tired from the drive, so we just went back to the room and crashed for the night.

 

Coming up next, enough with the pre-cruise stuff, let’s get this party started!!

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Will be following this review for sure. Timely for the wife and I. Our anniversary is tomorrow(the 23rd) and we got married on Half Moon *and* the Fascination took us there. Cheers. :)

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Oh man, I've been checking everyday since you returned for the start of this review. I can't wait to read it all.

 

I read your Splendor review about 6 weeks before I took my first cruise ever, which was on the Splendor in Oct 2013. I feel like I'm cruising along with you! Thanks for taking the time to put this all together.

 

Thanks for reading. Just got back to New Jersey this afternoon. So along with unpacking, checking the mail, writing some checks, etc, I thought I would get this started. Have a multitude of pictures to upload, and a lot of items to scan, so with two cruises to review, I'll be really busy for the next few weeks. :D No worries though, this is a labor of cruising love!!

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I'm so sorry for your loss, I'm sure your son was wonderful.

 

I can't wait to see and read more of your review, the Fascination was the ship that got us hooked on cruising.

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In between writing my own review....now I have yours to look forward to. Thank You.

 

Bless you and your family on the loss of your son. I'm sure he was right there with you on this trip.

 

I'll be checking back to see your pics of Half Moon Cay....don't ya just love it there??

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In between writing my own review....now I have yours to look forward to. Thank You.

 

Bless you and your family on the loss of your son. I'm sure he was right there with you on this trip.

 

I'll be checking back to see your pics of Half Moon Cay....don't ya just love it there??

 

Thanks Brianna!! Kevin was with us for sure, and I'll have quite the story to share later. HMC is our favorite place on earth!!

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Thank you for taking time to write this review. We were on the Fascination in April and had a great time! Looking forward to more!

 

 

 

Kim

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Thanks Brianna!! Kevin was with us for sure, and I'll have quite the story to share later. HMC is our favorite place on earth!!

 

 

I can't wait to hear it....I will definitely be checking back in. Our cruise on the Pride also stopped in Half Moon Cay....I never left the water. It was too beautiful to get out. I had my mom bring me back something for lunch

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Thank you for your review. I have thought of you and your family often the past couple of months. Looking forward to the rest of your review. Take care.

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thank you for doing this review...we took our two grandsons on a four day cruise in June...it was our third time on the Fascination!!

 

I'm sure your son was with you on this cruise...so sorry for your loss but he will always be with you...

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Can't wait to read the rest! So very sorry for your loss..I bet your son was so happy that you guys still got to experience a wonderful vacation and I am sure he was with you in spirit :)

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Thank you all for your kind words. We know Kevin was with us, and I'll be talking more about this later in the review. :) Hope to have more posted later today!

Edited by Jamman54

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Thanks for reading. Just got back to New Jersey this afternoon. So along with unpacking, checking the mail, writing some checks, etc, I thought I would get this started. Have a multitude of pictures to upload, and a lot of items to scan, so with two cruises to review, I'll be really busy for the next few weeks. :D No worries though, this is a labor of cruising love!!

 

 

Hey Jeff! Another great start to a Jamman review. Can't wait to follow your journey both in words and pics. What a great way to celebrate the life of your son! Can't wait to read the rest! Something tells me a sequel (Liberty) might be in the words, or at least a part two. Keep it coming! Wish I had snapped a pic of you guys at Fishlips as we cruised by to add to your review!

 

 

Sent from my iPad using Forums mobile app

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Welcome back to the Garden State! :) Have looked forward to hearing all about your journey and I bet you saw a very bright star shining down on you from the heavens every night.

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Thank you for this review. We will be on this ship in January 2015 for a B2B cruise. Our first time to Half Moon Cay. We are so excited!!

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Hey Jeff! Another great start to a Jamman review. Can't wait to follow your journey both in words and pics. What a great way to celebrate the life of your son! Can't wait to read the rest! Something tells me a sequel (Liberty) might be in the words, or at least a part two. Keep it coming! Wish I had snapped a pic of you guys at Fishlips as we cruised by to add to your review!

Sent from my iPad using Forums mobile app

 

Hey Jimbo!! Yep, I'll also be doing a Liberty review. We took over 3,000 pictures between the two cruises. Of course we dumped a bunch,(that's the beauty of digital!), but still plenty to resize, crop, and upload. Stay tuned!

 

Welcome back to the Garden State! :) Have looked forward to hearing all about your journey and I bet you saw a very bright star shining down on you from the heavens every night.

 

Hey Karry!! Glad to have you along for the ride. That bright star was there every night!!

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Love your reviews and love the Fascination. Looking forward to the rest!

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Hi, y'all!

Great to meet you on the Liberty! We, too, love the little Fascination. We go whenever we get a good chance. Enjoying your review and following along.

The price for Monday was irresistible! Anybody you want us to say "hi" to next week?

So sorry to hear of your tragic loss. We understand, having been there, as well. Grief for so much loss and it seems so unfair.

Love, Jerry and Cindy

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Hi, y'all!

Great to meet you on the Liberty! We, too, love the little Fascination. We go whenever we get a good chance. Enjoying your review and following along.

The price for Monday was irresistible! Anybody you want us to say "hi" to next week?

So sorry to hear of your tragic loss. We understand, having been there, as well. Grief for so much loss and it seems so unfair.

Love, Jerry and Cindy

 

Hey there!! Did you get tired of the housework already! :) It was great meeting you guys on the Liberty last week. Hope our paths cross again some time in the not to distant future.

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The Fascination will always hold a special place in my heart. This was the first ship my wife and I were ever on. Back in 1997, it was one of the larger cruise ships. It is funny reading the "little Fascination".

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We love your reviews Jamman. The first was just before our cruise on the Splendor last September and it helped a lot. So very sorry for the loss of your son Kevin.

 

 

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We awoke this morning refreshed and ready to go. It’s embarkation day! We headed downstairs to the free breakfast that they offered, and let me tell you that it was absolutely fantastic. They had anything you could want, including make your own waffles, and ready-made omelets of several varieties. Also included were sausage, bacon, and ham slices. What a great spread, and it’s all included in your room charge. I highly recommend the Country Inn and Suites!

 

We left the hotel around 9:30 am for the 35 minute or so drive down to Jaxport. We are getting close…..

 

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Our first views of the Fascination docked at Jaxport…..

 

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We are here…..

 

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To be continued.....

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Unfortunately, we were turned away by the people at the port because the Fascination had been late arriving into port this morning, and were asked to please come back at 11:30. Crap…that’s over an hour from now! We decided to drive around and see the local sights, so we got on I-295 and drove over the bridge that we would be sailing under later in the day….

 

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After driving around for a while, we came back to the port only to find that they were still not letting people in. However, now people were just parking on the side of the road until they opened up, and it was quickly becoming a huge mess. When they finally opened for new passengers, picture several hundred cars trying to get into the two incoming lanes at the same time. There was a huge line of cars for the checkpoint, a huge line of cars for baggage drop off, and a huge line of cars waiting to pay for parking. Patti took these two shots of the Fascination as we inched towards the baggage drop off……

 

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Then took this nice shot as we waited in line to pay for parking…..

 

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To be continued…..

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Once the car was parked, we headed to the VIP line for screening and check in. It became noticeable almost immediately that the regular line was moving much faster than the VIP line. It turns out that the port people were training a newbie on the VIP scanning machine, so the line was almost at a standstill. It was while we were only halfway thru this line that I heard that boarding had started. There certainly was no advantage to being Diamond, Platinum, or FTTF this day!!

 

Once through the scanner, it didn’t get much better, as the VIP check in team was hopelessly behind. Bottom line is that we didn’t board until after 12:30, but we still managed to smile…..

 

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Since we booked this cruise so late, all the cabanas on Half Moon Cay, (HMC), had long been sold out. I was hoping that I could be one of the first aboard, head straight to the Shore Excursion desk, put my name on the waiting list first, and maybe get lucky and get one, as I had done a few times in the past. I have never been to HMC and not had a cabana.

 

Once we finally got onboard, I went straight to the Shore Excursion desk, but since we had gotten on so late, there were already five names on the waiting list. I didn’t even bother to leave my name. No cabana for us this time. Sniff…

 

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Shore Excursion info…..

 

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We went to our cabin to drop off our carryon bags, before heading up to the Lido for lunch. By this time, ALL the cabins were ready for passengers. Ryan and I went to the Rotisserie for our chicken fix, and Patti opted for the Italian. Patti bought her first DOD for this cruise……

 

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Patti and Jeff……

 

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What do you expect since the buffet area on the Lido Deck is named the Coconut Grove?

 

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To be continued…..

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Our blue van in the parking lot…..

 

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Carnival Fascination!!

 

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It HAS to be hot in there!!

 

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The Lido Pool area – Deck 10 Mid.

 

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My first beer of the cruise…..

 

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The Bottomless Bubbles table…….

 

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To be continued……

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Patti decided to head back to the cabin to begin unpacking, while I made it over to the Lido Pool bar, port side, for an informal meet and greet at 2pm with fellow CC members. The roll call was a very, very small one, so I was not surprised when nobody else showed up. I hung around at the bar until 3:30, when the muster drill was about to begin. At the same time the skies darkened, and a thunderstorm rolled over us.

 

At 3:45, the alarm sounded, and we reported to our muster station, which was in the Putting on the Ritz lounge, on deck 9 aft. Usually, on a Fantasy Class ship, halfway through the drill, the passengers are led from their muster stations on deck 9, up to the deck 10 boat loading stations. But because of the thunderstorms outside, the whole drill was done inside, in the lounge.

 

Soon the drill was over, and the ship prepared to sail. It stopped raining and the skies cleared up! Patti and Ryan decided to watch the sail away from our balcony, and I would roam the open decks and take pictures.

 

A view of the entrance to the port…..

 

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Nearby Nuke Plant.....

 

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They are throwing the lines…..

 

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The Fascination pulls away from the pier…..

 

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The ship is spinning around to head out to sea…..

 

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The city of Jacksonville is in the distance…..

 

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To be continued…..

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Great reading so far! Cruising the Fascination in Nov for the first time so this review will be very helpful. Condolences in the loss of your child and what a beautiful way to honor his life.

 

 

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great review so far, I know you heard it many times before, but I want to send my condolences to your family , I can't wait to read and live this cruise through your review

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I am so happy to see your review! I enjoyed your others so much, so I've been looking forward to this. I'm so glad your family got to go on both cruises. I know all of you need this so much after your loss. This might sound weird, but I believe Kevin is still with you and always will be. I too had a tragic, sudden loss of one of my brothers three years ago. We were 14 months apart and went through school together. We had our typical sibling rivalry growing up, be we were close. A little over 10 years ago, on a family vacation, there was an incident on a golf course over a golf ball, a "range ball", between my brother and my dad. It's too long to get into, but it was funny. About five weeks after we lost my brother, I was at a local pool with a friend and her son and nephew. On the way out through the parking lot to my car, I happened to look down and see a golf ball and picked it up. It was a "range" ball. Funny thing is there are no golf courses in that area, just the pool in a residential area. I just got this strange feeling that somehow my brother "put" it there to let me know he was still with me. I kept that golf ball and it's still on my nightstand to this day. Again, my condolences to you and your family. Thank you for doing a review and I am looking forward to the rest of this one and the one you'll be doing of Carnival Liberty. I hope you enjoyed Liberty as much as we did.

 

Holly

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I am so happy to see your review! I enjoyed your others so much, so I've been looking forward to this. I'm so glad your family got to go on both cruises. I know all of you need this so much after your loss. This might sound weird, but I believe Kevin is still with you and always will be. I too had a tragic, sudden loss of one of my brothers three years ago. We were 14 months apart and went through school together. We had our typical sibling rivalry growing up, be we were close. A little over 10 years ago, on a family vacation, there was an incident on a golf course over a golf ball, a "range ball", between my brother and my dad. It's too long to get into, but it was funny. About five weeks after we lost my brother, I was at a local pool with a friend and her son and nephew. On the way out through the parking lot to my car, I happened to look down and see a golf ball and picked it up. It was a "range" ball. Funny thing is there are no golf courses in that area, just the pool in a residential area. I just got this strange feeling that somehow my brother "put" it there to let me know he was still with me. I kept that golf ball and it's still on my nightstand to this day. Again, my condolences to you and your family. Thank you for doing a review and I am looking forward to the rest of this one and the one you'll be doing of Carnival Liberty. I hope you enjoyed Liberty as much as we did.

 

Holly

 

Not weird at all. We believe that there is existence after the physical world, and that our dear departed ones will leave us "signs" that they are OK, and are still with us. We were given a major "sign" from Kevin during this cruise which I will tell you about and show you later in this review. Sorry for your loss, and yes, you were given such a "sign". I will be posting some new segments later on tonight.

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