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Carnival Fascination Review

Carnival Fascination

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3.5 / 5.0
Cruise Critic Editor Rating
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Dori Saltzman
Cruise Critic Senior Editor

Carnival Fascination Overview

A sailing on Carnival Fascination is the quintessential "choose this cruise for the itinerary, not the ship" experience, and Carnival is fully aware of this, which is why it purposely operates Fascination on port-intensive itineraries. With so many days spent in port and an excellent selection of excursions to choose from, it's less noticeable that there's just not a lot to do on the ship.

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About Carnival Fascination


Pro

Smaller ship that does not require lots of walking to get from place to place

Con

Limited dining variety and onboard activities

Bottom Line

Comfortable, well-maintained ship perfect as a base for port-intensive cruises


Don't get us wrong. As on all Carnival ships, there are comedy and big-stage production shows, live music and dancing, bingo and a line-up of daily activities. There are just far fewer of them on Fascination, and there are almost no alternative dining venues. The line scheduled few activities while the ship was in port, and even at night or on sea days, activities that prioritized selling you something (art auctions and seminars, spa and wellness classes, retail seminars, etc.) outnumbered "fun" stuff.

We also can't remember the last time we were on a cruise ship of more than 2,000 passengers that didn't have the option to dine somewhere other than the main dining room or buffet. (And we're not counting Guy's Burger Joint or BlueIguana Cantina because, while you might grab your food outside the buffet, chances are you're eating it inside.) That being said, the variety and quality of food in the main dining rooms is just fine, even quite good at times, and we loved the dining room crew.

The slim daily schedule doesn't daunt many on Carnival Fascination. Cruisers are a gregarious group and can easily make their own fun, chatting with new friends while trying out the variety of drinks onboard or comparing excursion notes with the person sitting in the lounge chair next to them. We heard the most complaints from cruisers in their 20s who wanted more to do at night than Latin dancing outside the casino or busting a move in the nightclub. Speaking of younger cruisers, during the summer, Carnival Fascination is overflowing with kids.

Overall, Carnival Fascination is a laid-back cruise ship that serves its role well as a home base for exploring ashore. You'll get a comfortable room, good food, excellent service from friendly crew who like to joke around and amiable company in the form of your fellow cruise passengers. But it's the port-intensive itineraries that will have you coming back onboard for more.

Fellow Passengers

Cruises who choose Carnival Fascination come primarily from the United States, with a large portion from Puerto Rico, thanks to the ship's homeport of San Juan. You'll hear as much Spanish spoken on the ship as you will English, and most announcements are made in both languages. Other countries fairly well represented include Canada and the U.K.

Ages run the gamut from small sleeping kids to grandmas livin' it up. Large family groups are commonplace on Fascination, and we do mean large. There were several groups of 30-plus people on our sailing and one group of more than 50 family members.


Carnival Fascination Dress Code

Carnival ships are known for being casual, and Fascination is no exception. During the day, shorts and tees can be seen everywhere; bathing suits are pretty common as well. At night, most people stick with casual, though bathing suits are not permitted in the dining room.

Depending on your sailing, you will have one or two "Cruise Elegant" nights when people are encouraged to dress up. Most women put on skirts and blouses or nice dresses, and men don trousers, button-up shirts and, in many cases, sports jackets or even full suits. (We loved the families that coordinated their outfits, many doing all-white ensembles that really stood out.) Carnival Fascination sailings of five or fewer nights have one Cruise Elegant evening; sailings of six nights or longer have two.


Carnival Fascination Gratuity

Carnival Cruise Line automatically adds a $13.99 per person, per day gratuity to onboard accounts. (Suite passengers pay $15.99 per person, per day.) The tips are split among room stewards, waiters and assistant waiters. The gratuity policy applies to passengers 2 years and older. Additionally, all bar bills and spa treatment purchases come with an automatic 15 percent gratuity.


Carnival Fascination Awards

Cruisers’ Choice Awards

2017 Best for Shore Excursions
2016 Best for Service
2014 Best for Value
2013 Best for Value

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Deck:
Riviera Deck
Main Deck
Upper Deck
Empress Deck
Atlantic Deck
Promenade Deck
Lido Deck
Verandah Deck
Sports Deck
Sun Deck

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Carnival Fascination Member Reviews

Carnival Fascination
mlshum
Sail Date: Jan 2019
Maarten) and since the cruise originated in San Juan, it really became a six port cruise. The Carnival Fascination is an older, smaller, Fantasy class ship but is in very good condition and has the 2.0 upgrades...Read More
Carnival Fascination
beshears
Sail Date: Mar 2019
I booked the Carnival Fascination for my friend and I, so I could go back to St. Lucia for the 3rd time (may be the last time), and to show her what it was all about. I have been on many ships, of different...Read More
Carnival Fascination
BurgundySuede
Sail Date: Mar 2019
We had a wonderful cruise vacation on Carnival Fascination sailing from San Juan, Puerto Rico. The number of island destinations was the main reason we chose this cruise (Charlotte Amalie, St Thomas;...Read More
Carnival Fascination
Sweetp9994
Sail Date: Feb 2019
section of the ship again due to the noise and the smell. Overall we loved our cruise on the Carnival Fascination. We look forward to our next trip…and booking a different room. Hoping the staff continues...Read More

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