Carnival Fascination Cruise Review by nicnic96
- Sail Date: September 2018
- Destination: Southern Caribbean
- Cabin Type: Ocean View
San Juan - As we expected, San Juan is back to normal and folks from the US shouldn't hesitate to visit. Taxis from the airport are still expensive as Uber still can't pick you up there (only dropoffs). Embarkation was pretty easy except the escalators weren't working forcing most to check their bags. Room was ready when we got on board about 2:30 pm. Dinner was almost cut short by safety briefing. Debarkation was super easy as we carried off our luggage. Rented a car from Charlies and enjoyed the Isla Verde beach before flying out in the afternoon.
St. Thomas - We love Lindqvist beach and it wasn't harmed by the hurricanes. We rented a car from Avis (not for everyone).
Barbados - Browne's beach was even more beautiful than I remembered. Swam from shore (with life vests) to snorkel a shipwreck and see turtles.
St. Lucia - Rain in the morning brought beautiful rainbows. We walked (not for everyone) to Vigie Beach and enjoyed it.
St. Kitts - First time there. We taxied to Carambola and enjoyed the beach. Another beautiful island (the itinerary is full of them).
St. Maarten - Did the Big 3 Rainforest Adventures excursion and had a blast! Beautiful views, lots of adrenaline replaced some fears! Spent some time at Great Bay Beach and that area has recovered nicely from the hurricanes. Still rebuilding in many areas. Landfill is burning again (or still burning?). It was not a problem and we didn't experience even a smell at the beach or the excursion.
Steward - He was good. He's more of an "I got this" kind of guy than "What can I do for you?". I prefer the latter, but he did a good job.
Food - I continue to see cutbacks in the size and quality of proteins. However the main dining room food is still adequate (especially since you can order extra) and tasty. The lobster tail was small but the best we've ever had. The prime rib was just okay both times. The tiramisu is AWESOME, but they only offer it the first night and we almost got there too late as they were closing for the safety briefing. I'm not sure why they call it Nutella Tiramisu as I don't taste Nutella at all, just the best tiramisu ever. I tried to get more on the buffet, but what they have on the buffet is nothing like the main dining room. We tried the buffet one night and decided to stick to the main dining room where the quality and selection is better. We were disappointed by Guy's Burgers. The fries were still great. We tried it 3 times and each time the quality was not the usual Guy's. I did eat at the Blue Iguana for lunch and breakfast and it was better than I remembered on other ships. I wish they offered Guy's BBQ on the Fascination.
Service – Main Dining Room service was slow. The worst night was the second formal night. By the time we got in line at 7:30, the line was very long and they gave us a pager. I think the wait was about 25 min. We then spent more than 90 minutes at dinner which is too long. Our waiter seemed flustered and was consistently bringing steak knives around about 5-10 minutes after delivering the entrée. My wife and I shared a knife while I watched another lady struggle with her dinner knife. The “Shooowwwwttttiiimmeeee” is really drawn out as the restaurant manager really gets into it. While it put a smile on our faces, it’s frustrating to pause dinner when you’ve been there for so long already. Personally “Showtime” could be done on the final night only and I would be fine with it. I think the waiters are tired of it as well, but maybe they were just tired. The other thing we noticed was that other than the first night the waiters didn’t introduce themselves and there are no longer cards with their names on the tables. I can only remember 1 waiter’s name “Yan” and that’s because he served us twice and did a professional job.
Entertainment – We thought Marcello our Cruise Director was pretty good. Not the best, but professional and an improvement over our last couple Carnival cruises. I think the entertainment singers and dancers were the best we’ve ever seen on a cruise ship. They were talented and seemed to enjoy what they were doing. There were 4 guys and 4 gals and actually the guys were stronger than the ladies. They did a muted performance for the Divas show because of “strong seas”. While we were avoiding Tropical Storm Kirk, there wasn’t a lot of movement and we’ve seen shows continue in stronger seas. We really enjoy the Punchliner Comedy Club and it’s one of the reasons we keep returning to Carnival. This cruise had 5 shows (2 family friendly) per night and then 2 nights back to back with no comedy and had a juggler the one night instead. We enjoyed the juggler, but I liked the old format (1 night off and 4 shows a night). We liked Happy Cole the best (good material, connected with the crowd), followed by Jamie Lissow (clever and quick wit), Lucas Bohn was okay and Jimmy Della Valle was not our favorite. To be honest the comedy club director seems like a good guy but really added nothing to the show.
Ship – There’s been a lot made about the age of this ship. I have been avoiding these smaller, old ships on Carnival. However, I found the Fascination to be comparable to the other Carnival ships in the fleet and I liked the shorter lines. We enjoyed the water slide and serenity now deck. We found the 4 ice cream cone dispensers to be completely empty on more than 1 occasion, but overall the service was good and the bar staff didn’t hound us to try the drink specials. If the casino was smoke free, we probably would have tried it. You could also smell smoke in the hallways near the balcony staterooms.
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Port & Shore Excursion Reviews
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