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we booked this cruise at the last minute, about 2 and a half weeks before sailing, and booked a Veranda junior suite with obstructed view. The balcony is much smaller than the newer balconies that were added on lower decks. The obstructed view was not a problem, the view was still great! The ship itself is an early 90s ship, and as such does not have the amenities on board that newer ships have. The ship also just came out of its several month renovation a week before our cruise - and thus there were still a lot of workers on board working to finish renovations. There were also plumbing problems - a plumber spent 45 minutes one evening replacing parts that broke behind our toilet. And the AC in V27 was not good. The first day an engineer was up in our air conditioner for at least an hour, but never got it working quite right (the cabin gets VERY humid, and has a hard time keeping it cool). One afternoon we had to prop open the balcony door to suck cool air from the hallway into the room to cool it off. And the so called "suites" on the veranda deck are small. I was expecting it to be larger (really an outside cabin size with a balcony). The only restaurants really are the buffet and the main dining rooms. The food started off repetitive for the first three days, but then I think the new head chef finally started making changes and by the end of the cruise the selections on the buffet were much better. There is no steakhouse, but for an extra fee you can select some "high quality" steakhouse items off the dinner menu. We had a voucher from the casino so we tried it one night at no charge. I was, however, not impressed. The New York strip steak was tough, and the surf and turf was exactly the same as the surf and turf that was available at no charge on the regular dinner menu the night before. There is a "sushi bar", but it is really a small stand, with only 4 types of very common rolls, nothing outstanding here. No bar to sit at, but some tables nearby. If you dine in the Sensation dining room, ask for Donche to be your waiter (yes, you can ask for a specific waiter) - he is fantastic! Other waiters were not as good. The shows in the theater were good, although sometimes hard to see if you are sitting off to either side. The comedians in the comedy club were really good! On-board activities were average. Warning to gamblers, the casino does NOT pay out, you will lose all your money. We met no one that came out ahead. At the end of the cruise, we had booked an excursion that toured San Juan and the Bacardi factory, dropping off at the airport at the end. However, this was cancelled because didnt know the Bacardi factory is closed on Sundays??? We ended up on the San Juan and Shopping Tour, and our guide was AMAZING! Overall, another typical Carnival cruise, where they want to charge you for every little thing that they can. On the plus side, the itinerary is FANTASTIC! Lots of great shore excursions on all of the stops, and only 1 day at sea. But beware the shore excursion desk, the new staff has not yet learned the concept of customer service. As far as buying liquor on this trip, I recommend you don't buy any in any of the ports. You can get it all in the San Juan airport on your way home for the exact same prices as on board or any of the islands. The San Juan airport is more like a duty free mall that happens to have airplanes!

Mediocre ship, but great Southern Caribbean itinerary

Carnival Fascination Cruise Review by smcb66

4 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: March 2018
  • Destination: Southern Caribbean
  • Cabin Type: Junior Suite (obstructed views)
we booked this cruise at the last minute, about 2 and a half weeks before sailing, and booked a Veranda junior suite with obstructed view. The balcony is much smaller than the newer balconies that were added on lower decks. The obstructed view was not a problem, the view was still great! The ship itself is an early 90s ship, and as such does not have the amenities on board that newer ships have. The ship also just came out of its several month renovation a week before our cruise - and thus there were still a lot of workers on board working to finish renovations. There were also plumbing problems - a plumber spent 45 minutes one evening replacing parts that broke behind our toilet. And the AC in V27 was not good. The first day an engineer was up in our air conditioner for at least an hour, but never got it working quite right (the cabin gets VERY humid, and has a hard time keeping it cool). One afternoon we had to prop open the balcony door to suck cool air from the hallway into the room to cool it off. And the so called "suites" on the veranda deck are small. I was expecting it to be larger (really an outside cabin size with a balcony).

The only restaurants really are the buffet and the main dining rooms. The food started off repetitive for the first three days, but then I think the new head chef finally started making changes and by the end of the cruise the selections on the buffet were much better. There is no steakhouse, but for an extra fee you can select some "high quality" steakhouse items off the dinner menu. We had a voucher from the casino so we tried it one night at no charge. I was, however, not impressed. The New York strip steak was tough, and the surf and turf was exactly the same as the surf and turf that was available at no charge on the regular dinner menu the night before. There is a "sushi bar", but it is really a small stand, with only 4 types of very common rolls, nothing outstanding here. No bar to sit at, but some tables nearby. If you dine in the Sensation dining room, ask for Donche to be your waiter (yes, you can ask for a specific waiter) - he is fantastic! Other waiters were not as good.

The shows in the theater were good, although sometimes hard to see if you are sitting off to either side. The comedians in the comedy club were really good!

On-board activities were average. Warning to gamblers, the casino does NOT pay out, you will lose all your money. We met no one that came out ahead. At the end of the cruise, we had booked an excursion that toured San Juan and the Bacardi factory, dropping off at the airport at the end. However, this was cancelled because didnt know the Bacardi factory is closed on Sundays??? We ended up on the San Juan and Shopping Tour, and our guide was AMAZING!

Overall, another typical Carnival cruise, where they want to charge you for every little thing that they can.

On the plus side, the itinerary is FANTASTIC! Lots of great shore excursions on all of the stops, and only 1 day at sea. But beware the shore excursion desk, the new staff has not yet learned the concept of customer service. As far as buying liquor on this trip, I recommend you don't buy any in any of the ports. You can get it all in the San Juan airport on your way home for the exact same prices as on board or any of the islands. The San Juan airport is more like a duty free mall that happens to have airplanes!
smcb66’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Junior Suite (obstructed views)
Cabin OB V27
The balcony is much smaller than the newer balconies that were added on lower decks. The obstructed view was not a problem, the view was still great! There were plumbing problems - a plumber spent 45 minutes one evening replacing parts that broke behind our toilet. And the AC in V27 was not good. The first day an engineer was up in our air conditioner for at least an hour, but never got it working quite right (the cabin gets VERY humid, and has a hard time keeping it cool). One afternoon we had to prop open the balcony door to suck cool air from the hallway into the room to cool it off. And the so called "suites" on the veranda deck are small. I was expecting it to be larger (really an outside cabin size with a balcony). It was actually cramped quarters for the 3 people we had in the cabin.
Verandah Deck Inside Cabins, Suite Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • Barbados
    Caught a cab to downtown, wandered for 20 minutes or so. Not very exciting. Took a cab to Mt. Gay rum factory and did the rum tasting! I recommend doing that.
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  • San Juan
    We didn't do an excursion, but came in a day early and stayed at Ciqala luxury suites that night. Fantastic rooftop bar and restaurant, and the rooms are huge! Not on the beach, but close to shopping and restaurants 2 blocks away. Newly renovated after the hurricane, I really recommend it.
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  • Catamaran Tour
    This was the second half of our "rail and sail" excursion. The 2 busses dropped everyone off, but no catamaran was present. One of the busses left leaving everyone out in the sun with no water for about 45 minutes. Only to come back telling us he gold hold of the tour company and there was some sort of mistake and the catamaran was not coming. This was the part of the excursion we were really looking forward to the most! The excursion desk was **really** rude about the whole experience, and refunded half of the excursion cost. Not satisfied with the way we were treated (having a disabled adult with us), they eventually refunded the entire cost of the excursion.
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  • Scenic Railway
    This was the first half of a "Rail and Sail" tour. The railway runs very slow down 18 miles of old narrow gauge railway (taking about 2 hours). Great scenery along the way!!! Unlimited open bar and sodas included, and the hostesses put on a great show! I recommend sitting up top in the open air part of the train cars.
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  • Rainforest Aerial Tram Tour
    This tour was AMAZING! I highly recommend doing it, and I highly recommend booking through the cruise line. It is an hour+ ride with amazing views and amazing guides.
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  • St. Maarten
    BEST Views of the entire island from atop the mountain! It takes 30+ minutes to get to the top via a huge ski lift. They also have zip lining and the "Flying Dutchman" - a controlled decent zip line that is 4500+ feet long! GREAT People working at this place, and a restaurant with, what at first seemed like high prices, but turned out to be amazingly fantastic food! Don't be afraid of the food prices, it is well worth it!!!!
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  • St. Thomas
    We have been here several times before, so we just went shopping.
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