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Recent Feedback on Carnival Fascination

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Hi there! The Cabana Boy and I are considering sailing on the Fascination in July for our 15th anniversary. We've sailed newer and older ships, and we're not size-ist, but we were looking for some forum-folk feedback on the ship and itinerary. I'm a little bummed at the loss of Dive-In movies if we go on this ship, but the price and the itinerary make up for that. 

 

What are your thoughts! Hit me with the good, the bad, and the freaky. 

 

Thanks in advance! 

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When I had a choice between the Fascination and other lines out of SJU, I went with Celebrity Summit for less than Carnival's fare.  Note I was solo, and sailing in December and then January.

 

Even if the Summit is a few bucks more, it is a much nicer ship than Fascination, esp. for an anniversary or other special occasion.

 

Some will say the ship doesn't matter on southern itineraries, but I spent 8 hrs awake on the ship even after port day tours.  The Summit's indoor day time adult large covered thalasso pool is reason enough to book it.

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Barbados island residents, many of whom

take full advantage of our ability to board at Bridgetown,

thus avoiding the wondrous joys of airports and air travel

 

are still wondering What We Did Wrong to deserve a 1994 boat

after having witnessed a pleasant evolution -over the years-

of ever-better/bigger ships from Destiny, to Victory, to VALOR,

to Liberty - and now this?? -until April, 2021??

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If you don't care about all the bells and whistles of the bigger and newer ships, you can enjoy the Fascination. We have sailed this ship twice on this itinerary and will sail her again next winter. If you like the idea of no lines, stress less embarkation and debarkation and being able to find chairs on Lido and Serenity, you will enjoy the Fascination.  We have sailed on the Celebrity Summit out of Puerto Rico before and when I checked prices for next February, the Summit is approximately $1000 more.  Celebrity provides a nice cruise, but not worth that much more money, IMHO.  5 ports with only one sea day does not allow for a lot of ship time.  You will find a clean ship, good food and a great crew on the Fascination.  You will probably find more children on the Fascination, a somewhat younger demographic altogether.

 

Whichever cruise you choose you can not beat this itinerary. 

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An absolutely fantastic vacation at a price that's tough to beat. Port days are my favorite, and there's no shortage of them on here. It may not have all of the bells and whistles, but you still have your main foods, serenity, lido deck, punchliner, theater, casino, piano bar, alchemy, atrium, etc there is definitely stuff to do. I feel you on the dive in movies though. I did miss them.

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1 hour ago, evandbob said:

When I had a choice between the Fascination and other lines out of SJU, I went with Celebrity Summit for less than Carnival's fare.  Note I was solo, and sailing in December and then January.

For grins, I just checked my $450 window view booking on Fascination vs a window view on Celebrity Summit $1234.  Sure, your ship is MUCH nicer, but your fare comparison is extremely uncommon.

 

And food for thought on our resident Fantasy-class haters: would the generally lower rates available on these ships itenerary still be low if replaced by the newer ones?

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31 minutes ago, soonernstlouis said:

And food for thought on our resident Fantasy-class haters:

would the generally lower rates available on these ships itinerary

still be low if replaced by the newer ones?

.

For those who board at Barbados (not just islanders)

we all pay a premium to board at Barbados. Not sure why, but we do!

 

San Juan boarders get the deals - we don't

so from my perspective, where I live and where I board ship

if I'm going to shell out the local equivalent of around U.S.$ 2,000
I'd much prefer a modern ship, yes please.

 

I hope you can appreciate my perspective

especially after having cruised out of Bridgetown Barbados

- on Destiny, Victory, Valor and Liberty.
 

D934A.jpg

Victory-58.jpg

VALOR-530.jpg

Liberty-464.jpg

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15 minutes ago, Aplmac said:

San Juan boarders get the deals - we don't

so from my perspective, where I live and where I board ship

if I'm going to shell out the local equivalent of around U.S.$ 2,000
I'd much prefer a modern ship, yes please.

Not that you’d sail on the Fascination again,

but is there a penalty for you to embark at SJU and debarked at Barbados?  You would just miss the sea day back to San Juan.  I know Carnival (and other carriers) price discriminate against non-US tourists-even sailing out of the same US ports.

Edited by soonernstlouis

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4 minutes ago, soonernstlouis said:

Not that you’d sail on the Fascination again, ===> Never have.

but is there a penalty for you to embark at SJU and debarked at Barbados? 

.

The penalty comes

in the form of horrendous air fare we'd have to pay

the puddle-jumper air line (mini-bus in da sky) - been there, done that twice now

so there is no escape for us "living the fabulous life in Paradise". LOL!

 

Getting to P.Rico to catch the cruise

will cost more than the half-cruise to Barbados.

.

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1 hour ago, Aplmac said:

 

Getting to P.Rico to catch the cruise

will cost more than the half-cruise to Barbados

$275-$300 USD one way from BGi to SJU on Saturday or Sunday isn’t terrible.  

 

And I don’t disagree that $2000 USD is too much for any 7 day cruise not on a luxury liner or at least a suite.  I guess you’d have to have the mindset of a US traveler (cost and Barbados, etc being the destination) to see the value many of us do.

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Personally, I don’t think I would do this itinerary on the Fascination. We enjoyed it on the Victory but at this point, I’d sooner look at Royal Caribbean’s options. I believe it was recently the Freedom of the Seas running the San Juan itineraries (someone will correct me if I’m wrong).

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I was just on the Fascination for the March 24th sailing.  We were in cabin U155 - ocean view, 6th floor towards the aft of the ship.  

 

The good:   Ship always seemed clean.  Little to no lines.  Itinerary is very port intensive, we were rarely on the ship.  Food was yummy, dining room service was fast and friendly.

 

The bad:  I felt like it was hard to navigate the ship sometimes.  Very broken up, we struggled getting to the dining room.   YTD started at 5:45 PM people would be lined up all the way around the atrium to get in.  Line did move fast.  There was a funky smell of stale cigarette smoke I noticed when walking on the forward part of deck 6.  I noticed more motion on this cruise; than I have on others.

 

We are big fans of the Dive In movies, but honestly didn't even miss them during this cruise.  We were so tired after all the port days we usually just went to bed after supper.  For the price and itinerary, we had an amazing trip.  I would do it again in a heartbeat!

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2 hours ago, CruzinKristin said:

 I noticed more motion on this cruise; than I have on others.

.

That's another factor that I'm not keen on.

70,000 tons GT is a cork bobbling around on the ocean.

 

I prefer my boats to be ships of at least 100,000 tons GT

for that very motion factor.

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1
16 hours ago, soonernstlouis said:

$275-$300 USD one way from BGi to SJU on Saturday or Sunday isn’t terrible.  

 

And I don’t disagree that $2000 USD is too much for any 7 day cruise not on a luxury liner or at least a suite.  I guess you’d have to have the mindset of a US traveler (cost and Barbados, etc being the destination) to see the value many of us do.

I'm also from Barbados and have done this cruise 5 times. That $275-$300 USD is about $600 BBD and that does not include VAT or taxes. So that one-way flight ends up being anywhere between $800-$900 BBD. Which is half the price of my upcoming cruise this year, with 3 in an inside cabin.  

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2 hours ago, Alikan said:

I'm also from Barbados and have done this cruise 5 times. That $275-$300 USD is about $600 BBD and that does not include VAT or taxes. So that one-way flight ends up being anywhere between $800-$900 BBD. Which is half the price of my upcoming cruise this year, with 3 in an inside cabin.  

I was trying to be helpful but since I am not from Barbados I can’t put myself in either of your positions on cost and value & made that point clear.....

 

Different side of coin...if your going to review something, at least provide full disclosure if you have not actually sailed on the ship.  An unwarranted bad review isn’t going to cause the ship to sail empty or make Carnival move ship locations.

 

 

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This is just MY opinion of the Fascination.  I have cruised many cruise lines, but mainly Carnival with large, medium, and smaller ships.  My friend and I had never cruised on the Fascination before, but because of the itinerary (probably my last (3rd) time to visit St. Lucia where I fell in love with it), and only "1" sea day, this was a trip I wanted to do. Our expense was flying from MO. to San Juan, which is not cheap.😞 I found the ship very easy to navigate, and know what was on each deck. (I did quite a bit of research, so I would be familiar with what was on certain decks.) There were NOI long lines to wait anywhere we went, which was a plus.  As I am not nit picky, the food was fine as well in the Lido area, as well as the MDR.

 

I just wrote a review called Checking out some ports after 20 years.

 

If you have any questions and I can answer, feel free to ask.

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Just back from her in February, Great ship, great crew, we really enjoyed the food.

 

Because those ports were new to us, we did an excursion in each port. This was great but tiring. With only one sea day, we were always on the go. Once we returned home, we joked about needing a vacation after the vacation.

 

The ship really felt empty all of the time to us, since we have been on several of the larger ships. Only real line was breakfast...

 

Casino seemed relatively empty as well. 

 

They were upgrading main theatre seating and ship was overall CNO.

 

Recommend this ship if you are not picky about all of the bells and whistles. 

 

 

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On 4/21/2019 at 10:05 AM, soonernstlouis said:

if you have not actually sailed on the ship.  An unwarranted bad review isn’t going to cause the ship to sail empty or make Carnival move ship locations.

Huh? I can not recall writing a review but I have sailed Fascination and will again in December. Had a great time last year on her and expect to have a great time in a few months.

 

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Just did this route in February. We book the cheapest inside cabin, so I’m no help if you want something nicer.  With all the port days, I really didn’t care about the ship, and this is why. Normally, if I wanted to lay out after a port day, we had to either hurry back or walk around looking for chairs. Not on this cruise, we could get back later, eat something, and then I could take my kindle and go find a chair. This really made up for the lack of sea days for me. 

 

Also, we definitely looked at each other a few times, and wondered where all the people were. The ship is smaller but certain areas seemed proportionally larger so people were doing things and that made the ship feel less busy. 

 

We we don’t care about the movies, but we did feel there were fewer activities offered on this ship. I don’t know if that was because of the itinerary or the ship, but we definitely made our own fun a lot of the time. 

 

Casino was smokey but seemed less so than other ships I’ve been on. 

 

I noticed far less motion on this ship than the sunshine

 

Serinity is really small so I never tried to go there but could always find a quiet spot. 

 

I thought id hate this cruise and ended up loving it. But there are other routes out of San Juan on other lines- personally I’m intrigued by Royal’s ABC + St Maarten cruise. Check out all your options, Hopefully you find something you like and you have a great time. 

Edited by purplephenom

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8 minutes ago, Alikan said:

Huh? I can not recall writing a review but I have sailed Fascination and will again in December. Had a great time last year on her and expect to have a great time in a few months.

 

1st paragraph was a response to you.  2nd paragraph was directed at someone

else; not hard to figure out who if you read each post in the thread.

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3 minutes ago, soonernstlouis said:

1st paragraph was a response to you.  2nd paragraph was directed at someone

else; not hard to figure out who if you read each post in the thread.

Actually, it is hard to figure out seeing as you quoted my comment. Forgive me for not reading each and every comment to figure out your intent. Maybe quote and reply to who your comments are for individually so no misunderstandings occur. 

 

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I said 

6 minutes ago, Alikan said:

Actually, it is hard to figure out seeing as you quoted my comment. Forgive me for not reading each and every comment to figure out your intent. Maybe quote and reply to who your comments are for individually so no misunderstandings occur. 

 

I also said “either of your positions”, eg meaning you and another poster.  Sorry if I somehow offended you.

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We did this cruise last February for our 20th anniversary.  We loved it!  The ship wasn't as big or nice as The Dream which is the only other cruise we have been on, but we still found plenty to keep us entertained.  We did an excursion at every port so we weren't on the ship that much anyway.  We had no problem ever finding somewhere to sit on the ship away from others, it actually didn't seem like many were on the cruise because it always seemed so empty.  We did miss the dive in movies, that was one of our favorite things on the Dream but we were tired and went to bed early most nights anyway.  We would definitely book this cruise again without a second thought!

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I sailed the Fascination on March 2019, and for comparison purposes, I sailed the Sunrise one year earlier. 

 

I found the ships to be about the same size.  However, the Fascination seemed much less crowded.  For example, it was easier and quicker to get a table at Your Time dining. Getting into shows or the comedy club was never a problem. 

 

I liked the vibe on the ship. It's what you would expect on Carnival.  Fun, friendly staff.  Plenty of activities, despite no Dive-in Movies 😞 .  The cruise director on the Fascination was sufficient but unremarkable and unmemorable.  

 

Dining is not as great on the Fascination as the Sunrise or other ships.  I don't believe it has any specialty restaurants like the Steakhouse, pasta restaurant, or Asian restaurant although it does have the Chef's Table.  Room service seems very quick compared to the Sunrise.  

 

For us, the cruise was such a great price that we honestly weren't expecting much.  We kept our expectations low and they were far exceeded.  Overall, we had a wonderful time.

 

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