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Really need suggestions/opinions Please!


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I am hoping to get a lot of feedback from this wonderful group. We just got off the Magic last Sunday and we currently have another Magic trip booked 1/30/21 but really want to change it to another ship. We loved the cruise, but have decided that we liked Victory and Glory better than Magic probably due to the size of the ship. I would love feedback on the Legend and Fascination as we are undecided on which ship. I would also love feedback/opinions on any/all of the ports listed. And which trip would you choose? All are January, 2021.
  1. Legend: Tampa, Grand Cayman, Mahogany Bay, Belize, Cozumel. (Easiest - we live near Tampa)
  2. Fascination: San Juan, St. Thomas, St. Martin, St. Kitts, St. Lucia, Barbados
  3. Fascination: San Juan, St. Thomas, Tortola, Antigua, Dominca, Barbados
We have only been to Cozumel, St. Thomas and St. Martin of the ports listed. ALL opinions/suggestions are very welcome!!!
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Without a doubt, the Southern Caribbean itineraries out of San Juan would be my choice. They will give you a much more authentic experience. You’ll get to experience what the Caribbean is truly about rather than a fake, overly commercialized and Americanized version of it, like what we unfortunately now see at many places on Western Caribbean itineraries. 
 

Also, the natural beauty of the Lesser Antilles leaves any of the destinations in the Western Caribbean itinerary in the dust. You just can’t compare the rainforests of Dominica and the imposing Pitons of St. Lucia with the flat terrain of places like Cozumel, Grand Cayman, etc. Of the ports listed, my favorite are Barbados, St Lucia, Dominica and Antigua, so it’s a toss up between the two Southern itineraries posted. 

 

And San Juan is an absolutely amazing place to begin and end a cruise. There’s so much to see and do. History, beaches, rainforest, nightlife, cuisine. The ship docks in Old San Juan which is an absolutely fantastic colonial city filled with museums, shops, restaurants and imposing architecture. 
 

About the ship, I’ve been on the Fascination four times, and while I have some great memories aboard this ship, the sad reality is that these Fantasy class ships are well past their prime. They are old, small, lacking amenities, and unfortunately looking neglected with several maintenance issues. Yes, you’ll be on a port intensive itinerary, but you’ll still be spending the vast majority of your vacation aboard the ship. While I would definitely choose a Southern Caribbean itinerary over a Western Caribbean itinerary, I would not do so aboard the Fascination. 
 

Have you looked at other cruise lines that sail from San Juan? Royal Caribbean and Norwegian (among several others), are operating far nicer and more modern ships in considerably better condition than the Fascination. We are currently booked on the Freedom of the Seas out of San Juan in November (which is currently going through a massive renovation) and the fare is almost the same as on the Fascination for the same dates. 
 

No matter what ship/cruise line you select, I hope you get to experience the Southern Caribbean. It’s a wonderful vacation. 

Edited by Tapi
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I will give my 2 cents.  If you take the “ship” out of the equation, the southern Caribbean ports win hands down.  Putting the ship into the equation, I would strongly go with the Legend.  Just did the same cruise, and loved it all.  If you want, check out my “live” review of it.

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This...

 

Although the graphic seems to show the return trip
(day-at-sea) from Barbados back to P.Rico

as travelling OUTSIDE the island chain, in rough Atlantic waters

I'm about 101% sure they transit that leg INSIDE the island chain

- in quieter waters, generally.

 

South Carib itin-NEW.png

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5 minutes ago, jimbo5544 said:

Putting the ship into the equation, I would strongly go with the Legend.

 Just did the same cruise, and loved it all.

 

Couldn't agree with you more.

 

Ship-wise,

modern vessels beat the crap out of older 1990s boats.

 

This is Fascination....

 

Fascination-858.JPG

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1 minute ago, Aplmac said:

 

Couldn't agree with you more.

 

Ship-wise,

modern vessels beat the crap out of older 1990s boats.

 

This is Fascination....

 

Fascination-858.JPG

I have had more than a couple of conversations with people in Carnival management on their logic that this itinerary makes the ship a non factor. It is not like they do not have enough newer ships.  

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1 hour ago, Sue Goodreds said:
 
Legend: Tampa, Grand Cayman, Mahogany Bay, Belize, Cozumel.
(Easiest - we live near Tampa)

 

Hmmmm...

Given both a more modern ship

and you live nearby, Option 1 is very tempting! I can see that!

 

Air fares to P.Rico are the killer (isn't that always the case?)

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14 minutes ago, jimbo5544 said:

I will give my 2 cents.  If you take the “ship” out of the equation, the southern Caribbean ports win hands down.  Putting the ship into the equation, I would strongly go with the Legend.  Just did the same cruise, and loved it all.  If you want, check out my “live” review of it.


I agree with this comment 100%. If you prefer smaller ships, you will love Legend. I think Spirit class ships are currently the best designed ships in Carnival’s fleet. They don’t have all the bells and whistles of newer ships, but layout wise they are second to none in my opinion. 

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4 minutes ago, jimbo5544 said:

I have had more than a couple of conversations with people in Carnival management on their logic that this itinerary makes the ship a non factor.

 

And I know hundreds of ppl who board in Barbados
who are NOT enthused with that old tub, myself included.


And we're stuck with it for at least another year yet

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10 minutes ago, Aplmac said:

Air fares to P.Rico are the killer (isn't that always the case?)

Since the OP is coming from Florida, chances are that they’ll find very affordable airfare to San Juan. Tampa, Orlando and Ft. Lauderdale offer nonstop service on low cost and ultra low cost carriers like Spirit, Allegiant, and Jetblue. It’s not uncommon to find flights for less than $100 on certain routes, specially MCO-SJU.

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Just now, Tapi said:

Since the OP is coming from Florida, chances are that they’ll find very affordable airfare to San Juan. Tampa, Orlando and Ft. Lauderdale offer nonstop service on low cost and ultra low cost carriers like Spirit, Allegiant, and Jetblue. It’s not uncommon to find flights for less than $100 on certain routes, specially MCO-SJU.

 

I'm happy for them,

and look forward to seeing them here in Barbados!

 

BBay-124.jpg

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The Fantasy class is my last class of choice, but that doesn't mean I wouldn't have a fantastic vacation. I did an itinerary very close to the 2nd one, and it was an absolutely amazing trip at a price that people don't believe.

 

I did not know that they were offering sailings to Dominica again. That was dropped from my route as they were unfortunately hit with a bad hurricane. I've also not been to Tortola yet. That 3rd one interests me, hmmmm.

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Another thing to consider is the itinerary on the Fascination is very port intensive.  If you are looking to see new and beautiful places daily the islands offered with Southern Caribbean are preferable to Western Caribbean in my opinion.  However with so many port days this is not really a "relaxing type" cruise since there are very few days at sea to recover.  So you may come back more tired than when you left depending on what you do for excursions.  You do spend less time on board since there are so many ports so we found the ship size was less important since there was only one sea day.  Now if you are a balcony person there are very few on the Fascination so book early and be prepared to pay a premium for them, however, with so much port time you would likely be out there less on a balcony.  As an earlier poster pointed out leaving from San Juan was a bonus for us as we stayed a few days there prior to our cruise and really enjoyed it, but this may not be of interest to some.   Personally we would opt for the Fascination having done your  number two choice and wanting to do number 3 at some point in the future, but it depends on what you are looking for in your vacation.  Fortunately no bad choices there.

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36 minutes ago, LMHC said:

However with so many port days this is not really a "relaxing type" cruise since there are very few days at sea to recover.  So you may come back more tired than when you left depending on what you do for excursions.

When we’ve done port intensive itineraries, pacing ourselves and not trying to maximize our time ashore has been key to avoid coming home absolutely exhausted. Even if we have 8 hours in port, we will plan activities that are short, around 3-4 hours long, and then return early and relax in a semi-empty ship. This has seemed to work well for us. In a way, it’s been better than more days at sea when all passengers are onboard and the ship is not as relaxing. We actually get to enjoy the facilities and amenities onboard the ship more this way.

 

Even when we decided to do a port intensive Med cruise (only one sea day) we applied this approach and it worked well for us. Even with the 6 hour time change and a 3 day pre-cruise stay in Rome, we still came home rested and relaxed. 

Edited by Tapi
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5 hours ago, Sue Goodreds said:
 
which trip would you choose? 
  1. Legend: Tampa, Grand Cayman, Mahogany Bay, Belize, Cozumel. (Easiest - we live near Tampa)
  2. Fascination: San Juan, St. Thomas, St. Martin, St. Kitts, St. Lucia, Barbados
  3. Fascination: San Juan, St. Thomas, Tortola, Antigua, Dominca, Barbados
 

 

I would choose voyage #2

St Thomas, St Maarten, St Kitts, St Lucia & Barbados.

 

 

✌️

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I would LOVE Love LOVE to do any of these three cruises.  If I had to choose one, for me it would be Legend from Tampa, and my reasons are that I love the Tampa area, and have spent a lot of time there, almost feels like a second home.  Also, though I have not yet sailed on a ship in Legend's class, that size ship does appeal to me, because I don't think I like much above the Dream class ships, and have not been on those yet, so even they might be too big for my taste.  As far as itineraries go, I do prefer the ones on the Fascination, but also like the ones for Legend.  

 

I really don't have a problem with the Fantasy class ships, though it has been a very long time since I was one, so cant speak to wear and tear on them as it is today, but I do prefer the smaller ships.  If they are in as rough a shape as some say they are, Im not sure I would like to spend 7 days on one, even if it is a port intensive itinerary.  Even on that kind of itinerary, if you are off the ship every day, you are still spending about 12 hrs give or take per day on the ship, including sleeping time, so it just would make me leery of that option.  However....If Carnival put a larger ship there, like Legend size or Conquest class, I would pick that one, because I love San Juan, and would probably fly down a few days early to see more of the island outside of San Juan.  And I do prefer that itinerary of course.  

 

But given the choices as they are , definitely Legend from Tampa.

 

 

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I suggest Fascination: San Juan, St. Thomas, St. Martin, St. Kitts, St. Lucia, BarbadosWe did this itinerary a couple years ago in December and had an absolute blast. If you are into snorkeling or diving, please please please skip St. Thomas and do it in St. Lucia. St. Thomas marine wildlife is completely different nowadays, and St Lucia's is almost untouched. Have a wonderful time!!

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15 minutes ago, CarnivalCruiser875 said:

I suggest Fascination: San Juan, St. Thomas, St. Martin, St. Kitts, St. Lucia, BarbadosWe did this itinerary a couple years ago in December and had an absolute blast. If you are into snorkeling or diving, please please please skip St. Thomas and do it in St. Lucia. St. Thomas marine wildlife is completely different nowadays, and St Lucia's is almost untouched. Have a wonderful time!!


I would have to second that emotion! I agree with others that port intensive cruises can be taxing but pacing is essential. We did this cruise in June. Stayed 2 days in PR before cruise ( doing old San Juan things) and 2 days after (staying in a nice hotel right one one of their gorgeous beaches).

 

We did beach days at most of the ports except St. Maarten, where we did the snorkeling excursions where the jumbo jets fly over) and St. Lucia where we did the grand tour b/c we wanted to see the Pitons.

 

I was concerned before the cruise that we would not like the ship. It is small and old but... you’re not on the ship that much and IMHO it’s not one of those cruises where you need a grand ship and all that comes with it. I would have to put this cruise up these as one of our favs b/c of all the beautiful places we got to see.

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22 hours ago, jimbo5544 said:

I will give my 2 cents.  If you take the “ship” out of the equation, the southern Caribbean ports win hands down.  Putting the ship into the equation, I would strongly go with the Legend.  Just did the same cruise, and loved it all.  If you want, check out my “live” review of it.

Thank you for your input!  I am not well-seasoned with this site but I was able to find your "live" review and really enjoyed reading the entire post.  I am going to call Carnival today and follow your 2 cents worth. We moved to Florida 18 months ago from PA and have decided we really want to try out our home port (Tampa) next.  It will definitely be the easiest logistically as well as the most economical with not having to get flights.  Your comment on the ship equation was our deciding factor.  Thank you!!!

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37 minutes ago, Sue Goodreds said:

Thank you for your input!  I am not well-seasoned with this site but I was able to find your "live" review and really enjoyed reading the entire post.  I am going to call Carnival today and follow your 2 cents worth. We moved to Florida 18 months ago from PA and have decided we really want to try out our home port (Tampa) next.  It will definitely be the easiest logistically as well as the most economical with not having to get flights.  Your comment on the ship equation was our deciding factor.  Thank you!!!

Glad I could help.  The Legend is a really nice ship and the port of Tampa fits there so well. Let us know how it all works out for you when you return. Happy cruising. 

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