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alli

Fascination 5/17 review/travel log

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Okay, here's my 1st review. I always scour the web looking for reviews when booking a cruise. As someone mentioned earlier on these boards-Fascination seems to be Carnival's 'lost ship' when it comes to recent information. The following is just my experience and opinions (please don't shot the messenger). I hope there's some info you can use.

My husband(58) and myself(43) have cruised 7 times prior to this(celebrity, ncl,rccl and princess). We booked this trip as a quick and inexpensive getaway-and we only booked 3 weeks in advance. I was a bit leery of Carnival, having heard some horrendous stories and some of the reviews I read sort of scared me. With all this in mind, we boarded with no expectations. We ended up having a great cruise and a new appreciation for Carnival and their "fun ship".

We live in South Florida about an hour from the port. Because we intended to carry our luggage on board, we headed directly to the parking garage ($12 per day, cash, as you enter). It was just noon, but there were already quite a few paople checking in. The only requirement for carrying on the bags was that it had to fit through the x-ray machine.

We had booked a gty cat 6a (outside cabin) and didn't learn our cabin assignment till check-in. The kelly method was too time consuming for me to play with. We ended up with a small upgrade. Cabin was located on the upper deck forward. After the check-in counter, we lined up to get our room keys. This is the first cruise I've been on where I've had a separate roome key and sail and sign card. As we waited in a short line for our keys, we were handed 2 pieces of paper- one sheet informing us that we would not be allowed in the cabin till 1p.m. and the second sheet full of answers to all those first day questions. We were on board by 12:30.

We entered on the Empress deck (darting past those pesky photo people). I noticed a line at the purser's desk with people waiting to open their sign and sail account with cash. This method seemed pretty popular. From there it was 1 deck down to our cabin level and here we saw that they had closed off the fire doors in order to keeep out till 1p.m. We were VERY naughty here, we simply opened the door and snuck through(closing the door behind us).The cabins on our deck were obviously ready as there wasn't a steward or steward's cart to be seen.

The cabin was on outside with a good sized window. The beds were pushed together to form a queen (per request). We decided that the layout would prove difficult as 1 person would have to climb over the bed to get in. We rearranged the beds ourselves, split them up and found we had a lot more open floor space with our new arrangement. There was plenty of storage space and a good sized bathroom. Even the shower was large. The bathroom has a plastic basket with shampoo, dental floss, aspirin, rolaids and razors. The shower has liquid lever soap and shampoo in 2 containers on the wall.There are no fridge in this cabin, rather the sodas and bottled water are on the desk top. Our cabin also felt warm. At first we couldn't locate the thermostat....it was on the ceiling.

Having dropping the luggage in the room, we headed to the dining room to chage our dinner seating. There are four seatings on this ship-5:45,6:15, 8:00 and 8:30. We were slated for the 8:30 and decided this was a bit late for us. We switched to the 8:00. We were the only ones there to talk to the maitre'd, so this errand was quick and tidy.

Next it was up to the Lido deck for lunch at the coconut bar and grill. The line here was quite heavy, not unexpected as it was not yet 1p.m. and passenger cabins were still off limits (unless you broke the rules like we did). We eat lunch here every day and it was the only line we ever encountered. Tables on the other had were hard to come by all week. One note here, there are two lines of food(one on the port side, one on the starboard), we assumed they served the same food and later in the cruise realized they were different. Check out both sides. The salad bar and dessert table are in the middle of the room, a bit cinsusing that first day.Drinks available :iced tea, cranberry juice, apple juice and lemonade.

After lunch it was time to explore the ship. We had read some reviews noting that the ship was old and tired-showing her age of ten years. We found the opposite to be true.

The ship sailed at 4:00 and by that time the pool area was already buzzing. I guess people wanted to make the most of a short cruise. I was surprized that there was no Sail away party, but figured it was probably due to the life boat drill at 4:15. A note here....please don't blow that little whistle on you lifevest....it makes me shutter....that vest gets worn twice a week and I wonder who else has blown it.

Once the ship sailed, the Fascination seemed to come alive. The casino and the stores open. We did a pre-dinner walk through the stores and decided it's all the same stuff, just different ship logo. Throughout the week they have the inch of gold, the watch sale and of course the bottles of duty free booze.

We headed to the Beverly Hills bar for a pre-dinner martini and discovered this was located directly above our dining room (Imagination), with a stair case leading down. This bar would become our nightly pre-dinner cocktail stop. Our dinner table for 6 turned into a table for 4 as the 3rd couple never made it to dinner till the last night(apparently they spent most of the cruise , including the 8 p.m. dinner hour in the casino). We were pleasantly surprized by the quality of the food. My husband ate meat every evening and I chose the chicken or fish selections. Our service was good and our waiter brought us samples of the other entrees without being prompted or asked. After dinner we headed to the Passages of India lounge where "Music Blitz" played throughout the cruise. This lounge was the alternative to the disco and played a variety of rock+roll,rhythm and blues.There was a group of us that first night who became regulars over the next three nights. I dragged my husband off to the Palace loung for the Welcome on board show, but the theater was packed. Note: Arrive early for the shows as the best seats go early and the sight lines are not the best.

We headed for bed.

One of our cruise rituals (like the pre-dinner martini routine) is to order room service for breakfast. Though the are no cooked breakfast offerings on the card,I was happy to see smoked salmon and bagels on the menu(something I'd had to beg for on celebrity and princess). Room service was late only one morning.

Day 2 Key West 8-2

Since we live in the Florida keys, Key West is not new to us. The last time I'd been there was actually less than a year ago when I spent 4 days on jury duty putting a drug dealer away for 17 years and enjoying the nightlife on the government's dollar (they pay 250.00 a night for your hotel room if you live over 50 miles away... that tells you a little about the cost of Key West). The ship offered plenty of excursions: trolley tour, sail and snorkel, bike tour, glass bottom boat, etc, etc.

We opted to enjoy an empty ship for a couple of hours and relaxed by the pool till about 2p.m. After 2, the pool deck started to get very busy with everyone back on board. I headed off to the spa to take a sauna(no charge for the sauna or the steam room). Here I discovered 2 whirlpools and 4 lounge chairs tucked away between the spa and the gym. this area was never discovered throughout the trip and was a great pleace to escape to on the final sea day. I also never saw anyone using the sauna or steam room.

This evening was formal night. Most people dressed for this, however most of the men dressed in jacket and tie rather then a tux or a dark suit. The only tux I saw was worn by Funship Freddy. Yes, this is lobster night and it was quite good. this was also the evening that we did the chicken dance in the dining room. It's amazing what I'll do on a cruise ship.

This evening's show was Broadway and once again I dragged my husband to the Palace. We didn't enjoy the show and within a few minutes headed to Passages of India and Music blitz. This evening we had our first towel animal. After years of hearing about them, I was not disappointed.

Day 3 Cozumel 12:30-11:00

We arrived about an hour early in Cozumel. It was a hot, hazy and overcast day. Though I've been here many times, this little Mexican island is always one of my favorite ports. In the past we have rented a car and driven around the island or headed to the beach. Because the weather seemed a bit threatening, we opted to head down town to shop. The ship was docked at PortaMaya. Here they built a shopping area and if you wanted to save the $6 cab ride to town, you could probably find everything you need or want. The complex has one of my favorite stores Los Cinco Soles ( the merchandise is priced...no bargaining for prices) and a Fat Tuesday's. Cozumel is also famous for the infamous Carlos and Charlies. If it's your first trip to Cozumel you got to stop by ( not a kid friendly place).

The ship also offers numerous excursions throughout the afternoon.

Because of the long hours spent in port today, there were only two (open)seatings for dinner. This is a new idea that Carnival is giving a test run. Because of this arrangement, we ate in the other dining that evening. We ran into our regular table mates on the way and were seated with them again. The two dining rooms are very much the same, though I found Imagination to be a bit more interesting due to the lighting on the ceiling. We also had a different wait team this evening. Erik and Allan were great. They had a different style from our regular team that we preferred.

After dinner I dragged my husband to bingo (I'm not a bingo girl)and we quickly deposited $20 to Carnival's bank account. Through the cruise we also donated $40 dollars to the slot machines in the casino.

This evening was the deck party for sail away. Music Blitz had been moved up here and off we went to enjoy the band. They did all the regular dances-macarenaconga, electric slide and YMCA and the dance floor was packed. Great people watching.

Day 4 Sea Day

I guess a lot of people slept in today as the pool area didn't get too crowded until noon. As the pool was getting busy and I was getting sun-burned, we spent the afternnon attending the newlywed game( always a hoot) and did the kitchen tour.

The rest of the afternoon was spent packing, filling out comment cards and counting out additional tips for certain crew members. Carnival bills $10 per person per day to your account to cover the room steward and the waiters. While I could've adjusted these amounts at the front desk, I chose to to so in person.

Day 5 Miami +home.

Carnival offered an "early exit" from the ship for those passengers willing to carry all their own luggage. This is the first time I have seen this offered. We were told to meet in the Palace Lounge at 7:15 and that debarkation would begin at 7:30 and last for approx 45 minutes. We left the cabin at 7:45 and headed for the lounge, when we realized we were at the head of the line that had just left the lounge. We walked right off.

 

I was home doing my 1st load of laundry by 9;30a.m.

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Thanks for taking the time to share your voyage with us

 

I love this:

<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> Once the ship sailed, the Fascination seemed to come alive. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

 

That's so true! I felt the same way when we sailed the Fascination too

 

Happy Cruising

 

Chris

 

www.LifeIsCruising.com

 

Next up:

Caribbean Princess 06/26/04

Star Princess 10/24/04

Diamond Princess 12/22/04

Carnival Miracle 03/13/05

Carnival Valor 10/30/05

 

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I have copies of capers for the first three days....I musta lost day four somewhere the last night. I also have copies of shore excursions. Any questions?

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TY so much for posting so fast. I leave tomorrow. Have to post a slight change to where/how we are all going to meet since no sail-away and muster right after we sail.

 

"Elvira"

Keep on Cruisin'

countdown.cgi?trgb=000000&prgb=191970&cdt=2004;05;24;16;00;00&timezone=GMT-0500f Fascination 5/24/04

 

countdown.cgi?trgb=000000&prgb=191970&cdt=2004;09;19;16;00;00&timezone=GMT-0500f Mariner of the Seas - Royal Hounds 9/19/04

countdown.cgi?trgb=000000&prgb=191970&cdt=2005;09;17;16;00;00&timezone=GMT-0500f Caribbean Princess Hounds 3 Cruise 9/17/05

 

royalsmallwide.gif

hounds3.gif

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Thanks for the review. We cannot wait. This will be our kids first cruise our 6th. I know they will be hooked. I just know we are going to hate getting off the boat on day 5. Next year we will do 7 for sure!

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Thanks for the review. Sounds like they have made some improvements on her since my November 2001 cruise. Glad you that enjoyed Carnival.

 

Gordon

 

http://community.webshots.com/user/cruisingator

 

NCL Starward-86, Starship Atlantic-91, Caribe-92, Seabreeze-93, Fantasy-93, Norway-94, Celebration-94, Sensation-95, Imagination-96, Destiny-97, Celebration-98, Triumph-99, Victory-00, Majesty of the Seas-01, Fascination-01, Carnival Pride-02, Majesty of the Seas-02, Carnival Legend-02, Fantasy 7-03, Glory 9-03, Fantasy 11-03, Triumph 3/04.

 

9/02/2004 Fantasy

countdown.cgi?trgb=000000&srgb=00ff00&prgb=808000&cdt=2004;9;2;16;00;00&timezone=GMT-0500

 

Navigator of the Seas 12/04/04

countdown.cgi?trgb=000000&srgb=00ff00&prgb=111111&cdt=2004;12;04;17;00;00&timezone=GMT-0500

 

 

 

 

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Hi thanks for he review. I just got off the glory and this is my next cruise. we are taking my mother cruising for the first time ( she is in her late50 's) this will be a great test run for her. SO the ship is still in good condition? thanks

 

my first cruise

countdown.cgi?trgb=000000&srgb=00ff00&prgb=00bfff&cdt=2004;5;8;16;00;00&timezone=GMT-0500 holiday family cruise

countdown.cgi?trgb=000000&srgb=00ff00&prgb=da70d6&cdt=2004;11;12;17;00;00&timezone=GMT-0500

 

Days til Valor Vampires Cruise

countdown.cgi?trgb=000000&srgb=00ff00&prgb=111111&cdt=2005;10;30;16;00;00&timezone=GMT-0500

valorvampires.gif

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Thanks for taking the time to write such a great review!

 

I believe in Miracles

countdown.cgi?trgb=000000&srgb=00ff00&prgb=000080&cdt=2004;6;19;16;00;00&timezone=GMT-0500

MIRACLE JUNE 19, 2004

Calm Seas, Good Friends

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Thanks for the review. I do not have much longer to wait. I enjoyed your review and look forward to writing my own. Although that would mean my cruise is over. Nevermind. icon_wink.gif

 

countdown.cgi?trgb=000000&srgb=00ff00&prgb=ff0000&cdt=2004;06;14;16;00;00&timezone=GMT-0500

Lido deck here I come!!

 

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Thanks for the review...we're sailing Imagination in less than a month. Looking forward to Key West and Cozumel.

 

HM on Inspiration 3/9/03

Sovereign of the Seas 8/17/03 (Just Mom and I)

Imagination 6/17/04 (w/ the Inlaws!)

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Guest

Thanks for the review. We sail on the Fascination on 6/28.

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Thanks for the review of the Fascination! I wonder how different it will be from when you both went, and when we going over Thanksgiving week? Will there be more kids? Colder? I am excited to go, just from reading your review! Thanks, again and glad you got your laundry done, I can't even get caught up with mine, and I haven't gone anywhere!

 

Beth

 

Carnival - Sensation

4/00

RCCL - Sovereign of the Seas

12/02

RCCL - Majesty of the Sea

11/03

 

Leaving on the Fascination, come on Thanksgiving!!

countdown.cgi?trgb=000000&srgb=00ff00&prgb=800080&cdt=2004;11;22;17;00;00&timezone=GMT-0500

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Bhardy,

My guess would be that you'll have quite a few kids on board over the Thanksgiving holiday. Camp Carnival seemed to do a very good job at keeping the kids hidden away. There was also a kiddie pool on the very aft.

The weather in November is normally quite warm here in Florida. It all depends on whether we get any early cold fronts and how deep they go.

Keep an eye on your weather before packing and if it looks like a cold front is going to dip into Florida, pack a sweater.

I found some of public rooms on the ship to be chilly and used a shawl every night.

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Great review, and thanks for sharing.

 

While it seems you didn't hate Carnival after all (referring to your posting here and on the Celebrity board as well), would you choose Carnival in the future, say for a longer cruise? We're next up on Celebrity this fall and I'm going back and forth on that decision.

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Yes, I would cruise on Carnival again. Having said that, when we look into booking a cruise, the price is often a major factor. Celebrity and Princess ( my 2 favorite lines), have often come in with the best prices for balcony cabins. I've noticed that Carnival's prices can run a bit high.

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Hey Alli! I was on that cruise too! Wasn't it just waaaay too much fun!!!!

 

We spent every night in the Passage of India bar - usually until it closed. Who are you? My friend and I were the two who never wore shoes icon_smile.gif. Our friend Phil was with us most of the time too.

 

We got home on Saturday (20 hour drive) and I wanted to turn around and get right back on the ship. The house was a mess, the kids were a mess, and my hubby was a mess. No more dancing, room service after a night at the bar, no more parasailing in key west or shots at Carlos and Charlies icon_frown.gif

 

Where's my cabanna boy????

 

icon_smile.gif Kerry

 

Fascination 5/17/04

Holiday 9/03

Fantasy 1/03

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Alli Hey we were on the same cruise may 17 and let me tell you we had the best time of our lives, loved the older couple in the newlywed game and did u see the hollywood show thur after that matt had another game and it was great with 3 men coming out as chipendale dancers

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hey guess what may 17 cruise was true like u said in fact i am still missing the ship, I have even got one planned for next year same time only longer....... cozumel grand cayman and jamaica mon..... I AM ADDICTED TO CRUISING

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I thought the cruise director Matt Ross was excellent! We missed the dancing boys, opted to do the kitchen tour after the Newlywed game.

This tour involved a walk through of the kitchen and then a few demos which included the towel animals ( these are extremely complicated....do not attempt at home!).

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Thanks for the post. We are sailing Monday. We are taking our 8 & 9 yr olds and are wondering if the nightly shows would be age appropriate for them. We are also not big party or drinking people. Are we going to feel out of place? I was leary about sailing Carnival for this reason, but it was a last minute cruise and Disney and RCCL were both sold out.

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Sandyneck,

I don't have any children, so I'm not the best one to answer you question about the shows. I think the 'broadway'style shows would be fine. Some of the comedians do late night R rated shows, but these are for 18 and over and are clearly marked in Capers. Even the newlywed show can get a little wild sometimes.

My husband and I do drink...so I'm out of my league here as well. We don't drink during the day however, so you note in my review that during sailing, when the main pool got crowded and buzzy, we ventured to quieter spots. The RCCL cruise we went on was just as hardy a drinking crowd as this Carnival cruise. I don't think you'll feel out of place.

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hey my son and husband know how to make the swan and monkey our cabin lady showed them,my son was all over that place, dancing the night away.. wore a white cap and one night had bright orange shorts. in the congo line on the lido. the couple married 52 years was great when the man would hold his thumb up. and yes I do agree Matt was great. our dining room waiters were prateep (thailand) and Raul (phillipines

I can't wait to go next year. fat tuesdays was rocking along with carlos and charlies and senor frogs at carlos and charlies the guy put a roach in the popcorn it was too funny

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sandyneck i did notice that carnival has a kids camp that keeps the kids busy with kid things, mine was 18 and so were his friends so they kept themselves busy. there are also arcade games for kids. and make sure u go to the keno shoe place in the keys for a pair of handmade sandles they are the best and cheap and they sure last i have one pair from 2 years ago when we drove to the keys and 2 from the cruise when we arrived in the keys

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