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CTMak

Fascination Review (9/20) -- Longish

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Just got back and had a blast! Lucked out as we kinda sailed between Ivan and Jeanne. But seas were calm, weather was great, and the vacation was super!

 

I'll go through each category and try to leave out the "common stuff" (size of cabin e.g.). I'll also put in some observations/recommendations/tips (O/R/T) for what they're worth.

 

We arrived in Miami the day before on a Sunday. Stayed in South Beach at the Royal Palm Resort ($69 via Hotwire) and had dinner at Emeril's.

 

Embarkation. You guys are not going to believe this. We got to the port at 1 PM -- in fact my watch said 1:01. We were on the ship at 1:11. There was nobody. For a second we thought it was the wrong date. I asked one of the Carnival people and they said it was busy early. It must have been because the ship was sold out. Our luggage arrived right after the lifeboat drill at about 4:45. we spent the afternoon exploring the ship (though we've been on Fantasy Class ships before), having a cocktail, and watching the people go by.

 

Ship. Overall it was in fine shape. We were on the Main deck and the carpet definately needed replacing. We were told that they were replacing the carpets deck by deck. In fact, we visited the Empress deck and the carpets were fine. But other than that, the ship was spotless and well-maintained.

 

Cabin. You read about Fantasy Class cabins a million times here. It was practical and I gotta say, the bed was extremely comfy.

 

O/R/T: Like you read before, definately bring an extension cord so you have multiple outlets. Also, bring an alarm clock. A digital one I would recommend so you can see it at night.

 

Dinning. Food was very good. Not 5 star -- not Emeril's -- but you'll love it. We ate in the Dining room every night but Wednesday when we were in Cozumel and had dinner in town.

 

O/R/T: Try new stuff. Go for the escargots or the beef carpaccio. Order the herb-encrusted snapper rather that the steak. Cause if you don't like it, you can always order the steak.

 

Attire: I've been on these boards before and my view hasn't changed: Follow the guidelines which means dressing up on formal nights. I must say, almost without exception the women were dressed fantastically. The men, well, a bit more problematical. I wore a suit. In my view, a suit or even a sports jacket, nice shirt, tie and nice slacks are fine. Even if you don;t want to do that, you gotta make an effort. For example, there were several older couples mid 70's I would say. The women had floor length dresses and looked great. The guys had on suits which were probably 15-20 years old, a little rumpled, a little large. They had on nice shirts with no ties. But at least they tried. On the other hand they was a honeymoon table with 5 couples including an air force sergeant who was dressed in full dress blues and he and his wife looked great as did 3 of the other couples. The last couple -- she looked fine; he was wearing a short-sleeved plaid shirt no tie, no jacket, those lightish green Dickie work pants, and industrial shoes (I couldn;t help but notice since the table was a level above and right in front of us). It had to have been awkward for the whole table. Geesh, get a tie. The gift shop sells 100% silk ties for 10 bucks.

 

On non-formal nights slacks a a nice golf shirt is fine. Even jeans (nice jeans not work-in-the-garden-one) are ok. The last night I saw a guy come in with gym shorts, tank-top and flip-flops Another guy was in jean shorts and a golf shirt. Guys, go eat at the buffet. I don;t want to eat in an elegant dining room and see armpit hair. I guess I'm just funny that way. My view is that Carnival should turn them away.

 

Entertainment: Overall it was great. we saw both shows and they are the Vegas style, lots of costumes or rather very skimpy costumes, singing, dancing, lots of fun. We also went to see the comedian one night, and he was ok. Depends on what comedian you get.

 

We hung out every night in the piano bar. Dave, the piano bar guy, was Great!!!!! He's 23 a real pro, incredibly talented, sang all-requests, played for like 3 hours without a break. You gotta check him out.

 

Ports:

 

Key West. we did the Kayak tour and it was very good. At one point you go through Mangroves and you have to go single file because you are almost completely covered. Just not enough time. Arrive at 7 or so, leave at 2. Too much to do.

 

Cozumel> We've been there before so we just hung out at a nearby hotel which has 2 pools and a beach plus a restaurant. We got back to the ship early and hung out by the pool and relaxed. Went to dinner on the island.

 

O/R/T: Book your shore excusrions ealry. We wanted to go on the Hydro-boats but it was sold out Monday afternoon. So go to the website, click on shore excursions, do some research, and book early.

 

Debarkation. We were off the ship by 9 but had trouble finding one of our bags. Seems someone picked it up and then returned it when they realized it wasn;t theirs. The line for customs was quite long -- about 25 minutes. But even with all of that, we cleared customs by 9:45.

 

O/R/T: If you don;t want to stand in the customs line, hire a porter. They have their own special line and go right to the front.

 

Miscellaneous:

 

SPA. Formal night is Tuesday so Monday afternoon and Tuesday are very busy (hair, manicures, facials, etc,). Later int he week they do go on sale. There is a Thursday special (day at sea) with between $20 - $50 off the regular price. So if can hold off, you will get a good deal.

 

Pictures. Take as many as you can. especially on formal night when you are dressed up -- and especially if you have kids. I know how hard it is to have family pictures taken at home so take advantage. If you don;t like them you don;t buy them. It's really simple. So go for it.

 

Key West> The line for lunch at the buffet when returning from Key West was huge. The ship sails at 2 so people are coming back hungry at 1:30 and heading for lunch. Suggest the sit-down lunch in the dining room or getting a bite on Key West itself.

 

Bar Coupons. I pre-ordered $60 worth. Each one is worth $4.95. I read on here that if you use them for a drink that costs more than $4.95 they won't charge you the difference. Well they did. Got a $2.05 charge for a martini using the coupon. So my advice is that get them if you want your sign and sail account to be a bit less. But if you are counting on a "deal" forget it.

 

Well, that's it. If you have any specific questions either post to this thread or e-mail me at:ctmak@optonline.net, and i'll do my best to answer.

 

CTMak

 

PS: I would rather forget the results of my casino visits if you knw what I mean.

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This is my favorite ship!!!!!! CARNIVAL IS THE BEST!!:)

 

AFTER A DAY EVERYONES knows your name! What you like to eat & drink they always make me feel speciak

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Thanks so much for the informative review. My hubby and I are going with 5 neighbor couples on Dec. 13, the first Carnival cruise for all of us. Hadn't seen much about this ship and was a little hesitant, but your review puts my mind at ease.

We're just going for a fun time, and it sounds like we'll get it on the Fascination. Any particular must-sees you can recommend on Cozumel?

 

Joyce

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Joyce:

 

In Cozumel, depends on what direction you want to take. We were there last Christmas and simply rented a Jeep and drove from beach to beach -- which are gorgeous in Cozumel.

 

There's a large contingent that heads straight for Carlos and Charlie's and gets hammered.

 

I guess the most popular tour is the Mayan ruins. For me, I've been to Rome, saw Pompei, as well as Kusadasi, Turkey so the ruins really weren't first on my list. But the 4 categories are: Water (snorkeling, snuba, etc), Party, sightseeing (e.g. ruins), or shopping. Some tours combine a few like the Fiesta Party Boat. Go the Carnival website and click on shore excursions. Also, the first day on the ship -- actually before the lifeboat drill -- the cruise director has a session that goes through each of the tours available. I would suggest you go.

 

You will have a great time!

 

CTMak

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This wekend will be my 6th time in 2 years on this ship. Always for the weekend cruise--yes I have to work during the week to pay for all these cruises m

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The casino hosts name is robert he is the nicest I have ever met!! The FASCINATION has a very friendly staff! perhaps because of it's short voyages they know they have to work harder also alot of people make this 3 & 4 day their forst cruise experience-- I did & look what happened to me!!!

 

BEWARE YOU ARE NEXT:D

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By the way: in Cozumel, a very popular excursion is swimming with the dolphins. Just didn't want to not say that.

 

CTMak

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That was a very nice review, and I really appreciate your taking the time and writing so detailed a piece for us. We are soon taking a three-day trip on this ship to the Bahamas, or what is left of Nassau, so it is good to know that you liked the Fascination.

 

Slinkie

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Cat:

 

The only way you will NOT enjoy your cruise, is if you DON'T want to enjoy your cruise.

 

Go with the flow. Have an extra Pina Colada. Relax.

 

Have a SUPER time. You will!!!!!

 

CTMak

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I want to thank you for the great review. I am like the other people that posted- there is not many reviews or info on this ship and I have been a little hesitant about our upcoming cruise on this ship. Have been on the Conquest and another ship and wanted to have just as much fun on this one- sounds like I do not need to worrry at all. Thanks

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This is my favorite ship!!:) Thanks to the crew of this ship I can't wait to be on her again-- but I have to wait another 2 days!!!:D When I go on other ships I always miss knowing everyone! It;s amazing how they remember-- I always get egg whites- I go to different places to get them in the morning cause they are not the norm & the guy knew what i wanted like they must meet

& say hey if u see this guy he wants egg whites for breakfast!!

Excellent service also don't be shy they will bring u all the lobster tails u want!!

 

neal Yes I always have about 5:eek:

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Thanks for the great review of the Fascination - Leaving on the ship Nov. 22nd!! Looking forward to it!!

 

Glad you had a great time!

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I just found this board so I am happy that I am hearing nice things about Carnival. I booked this the end of June, me and my best friend....well due to hurricanes she just backed out last minute on me.. I need to relax so I am going regardless...

 

I have never gone on vacation by myself.... but im sure ill be okay... anyone else going 10/1?

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Cat:

 

The only way you will NOT enjoy your cruise, is if you DON'T want to enjoy your cruise.

 

Go with the flow. Have an extra Pina Colada. Relax.

 

Have a SUPER time. You will!!!!!

 

CTMak

Thanks, and rest assured I will have a good time. Pina Colada sounds good - Better than the foo-foo drink at sailaway on the Constellation. Can't wait!

 

28_1_16.gif Two days till we fly to Florida!

 

Slinkie

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Oh, just one more thing. The ship tends to be cold -- especially on the Promenade deck. My wife brought a nice, light sweater and she was very glad she did.

 

Also, the room was cold as well, but you can adjust the amount of AC via a knob on the AC vent on the ceiling. In fact, we turned it off.

 

CTMak

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Thanks Mak for the great review.

We will be sailing in Nov. Looking into the shore excursions now. My husband might enjoy that kayak tour in Key West.

 

Just wondering, a recent Fascination cruiser said that there was some nasty odor in the Cocoanut Grill buffet area upstairs. Hopefully not there any more. Did you notice anything?

 

We look forward to our cruise and hope we have as good of a time as you did.

Chris Mitchell

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I just found this board so I am happy that I am hearing nice things about Carnival. I booked this the end of June, me and my best friend....well due to hurricanes she just backed out last minute on me.. I need to relax so I am going regardless...

 

I have never gone on vacation by myself.... but im sure ill be okay... anyone else going 10/1?

 

U will not be alone I will be there also!!!

NEALTHEDEAL

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Chris:

 

No, there wasn't any odor as far as I could tell.

 

Check out the Deli station on the Lido deck: Hot Pastrami on rye, Corned Beef, Rueben sandwiches -- they were pretty good.

 

CTMak

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