Number of Cruises: 2
Cruise Line: Carnival
Ship: Carnival Fascination
Sailing Date: December 10th, 2001
Itinerary: Western Caribbean
Son, Chris 15
Daughter, Katie 12
Daughter, Bailey 7
My friend, Missy
Missy’s daughter, Kelsey 12
We overslept so our morning didn’t start out very well. I woke the kids up and discovered my daughter covered in hives from head to toe. She apparently had a reaction to the medication for her pneumonia. We loaded the car and waited for my doctor to call me back. He told me to find a pharmacy and he would call in a new prescription. I did this then we went to get breakfast then back to pick up the prescription. The pharmacy was extremely slow and I ended up waiting a half hour before we were our way again. I had printed directions from Mapquest for our drive to Miami. This was one of 4 directions I printed from them that was wrong. I stopped to pickup a map but for some reason this one was next to impossible to follow. We ended up in the wrong place so I stopped at a convenience store for directions. Apparently the clerk thought it would be fun to mess with the tourists and gave me incorrect directions. I stopped at another hotel and got directions from the clerk there that were finally correct. By now it was 11:30. I was starting to panic about getting to the ship on time. Thanks to my lead foot we made it just on time. Parking was easy and we were in the wonderful line to get on the ship. There weren’t very many people in line so we were on our way for our nose pictures in about 15 minutes. This was my second cruise but the first for everyone else. Missy commented that the atrium looks much bigger in the pictures. Even if it was smaller we were all very pleased with the décor. As far as worn carpet, stains, smells, etc. I have no idea. I didn’t go out of my way to look for negative things and none were apparent. I had great luck when booking this trip and we got our outside cabins for $199 each and the inside for $170. We had cabins E47, E43 and E49. What a great location! These were right off the atrium area and so convenient. Our cabin steward De Sliva was right in the hall when we got to our cabins and he was very friendly and helpful the whole trip! Myself and my 2 daughters had an outside cabin and my son was directly across the hall in an interior cabin. He thought he was pretty cool getting a cabin to himself. It was great because it gave him a chance to get away from the 5 women he was taking his vacation with! It was time for our lifeboat drills then we were on our way. We took the kids to the Camp Carnival meetings then it was time for dinner. We had requested early seating and a table by the window and both of these requests were met. Our waiter Donald and his assistant Martin did a great job the whole cruise. We told our kids this trip was about trying new things so they took it heart and we got a wide variety of foods during our meals. We had no qualms about ordering multiple appetizers or entrees. We all tried the escargot (no one liked it but at least we could say we tried it). Everyone loved the pumpkin soup. I ordered the Beef Wellington and it was cooked to perfection. I manage a steakhouse so I am very critical of beef dishes! It was melt in your mouth tender and had a great flavor. My daughter had the Cornish game hen (I told her it was chicken) and she liked it. My seven year old isn’t very adventurous so she went with Chicken nuggets and fries every night. After dinner we went back to our cabins. The teenagers got all dolled up and were off to the teen club. Bailey was wiped out from the pneumonia and the benadryl she had to take for the hives. We went and explored the ship a little and found the hot tub empty. We decided to change into our suits and sat in the hot tub. The hours said it was open until 11 but at 10 they came and kicked us out. No big deal, we were tired anyway. Bailey and I went back to the cabin and went to bed. Katie came in and out a couple of times and was in for good around midnight.
Vacation Day 4, Cruise Day 2, Key West
I wake early every day so I was up around 6 and rousted everyone to the showers and we headed to the lido deck for breakfast. To me breakfast isn’t a very big deal. It is just something to get you started. It was typical buffet food. Nothing special but not bad either. Then we were off to Key West. I wasn’t very impressed with Key West. We just walked around and did some shopping. I think I might have enjoyed it more if we had taken the trolley tour but I couldn’t talk the rest of the group into it. By about noon the kids were complaining of tired feet so we went to the Hard Rock for lunch. Then we were back on to the ship. I told the kids it was time for homework and while they were doing it I fell asleep. I woke up at one point and saw that he girls were sleeping too. We didn’t wake up until around 4 so we just kind of hung around then got dressed for dinner. We went and got our pictures taken and then went to dinner. Dinner was great again. One interesting thing…Right as we were getting seated we heard a man yelling. I thought at first he was making some kind of announcement. Then realized he was upset. Apparently he had 3 children and was seated at a booth. He had requested to be changed to a table but they didn’t do this. He stormed around the restaurant screaming that he couldn’t have 3 high chairs at his booth etc. He really made an ass of himself. I went to the Maitre d’ and told him that we would be willing to change to a booth so he could have our table. He thanked me and told me that they had called security. A little while later the Maitre d’ came and thanked me for offering
to change and moved us to the booth. We had already given our order to our Donald. We had a different waiter at the booth. He was efficient enough but never really spoke to us much. He seemed a little put off that we were moving into his section. We tried many things that night. Prawns, Proscuitto and Melon appetizer, Strawberry soup, Prime Rib, Lobster. Everything was wonderful again. The prime rib was perfection. The Lobster was very tender and not rubbery at all.
Bailey had not been to Camp Carnival yet but Missy and I had decided to go out so I took her there. When we got there they told me that she had to be seen in the infirmary before she could attend due to her hives. I was furious. Not that they wanted her checked (I thought this was reasonable) but that they hadn’t let me know that she needed this done before she could attend. The infirmary was closed for the day so they told me she couldn’t go to Camp Carnival until the next day. Bailey had already gone in and they were just starting to tell stories (they were pretending to be camping and had a tent setup with chairs). I had to go in and get her and tell her she couldn’t stay because of her hives. She was very upset and crying. She was already very self conscious of her hives (she wore long sleeves even though it was 85 degrees and didn’t want to even go to Camp Carnival because she thought kids would stare at her) I was very upset and went to the Purser’s desk to complain. Again let me say that I wasn’t upset that she needed to be checked out, just that they hadn’t let me know prior to then. The girl at the Purser’s was very helpful and empathetic. She called the nurse and the nurse told me that because it was an allergic reaction she didn’t need to be seen and she called the Counselors and told them that Bailey could go there. We dropped her off then went off to find a bar. We ended up at 88 (the piano bar). The piano players name was Sonny and he was very good. There was a group of about 20 guys from Cincinnati there. They called themselves the Water Buffalos and they were a lot of fun. There was a man named seating next to me. His name was Mike Taylor and apparently he is the piano player on another Carnival Ship. I don’t remember which one though. His son works on the Fascination so he was there to spend some time with his son. He sang some songs and had a beautiful voice. Before long my beeper went off and Bailey had a fake stomach ache so I picked her up and we went to our cabin. She is usually very independent but I think recovering from being sick really made her a mommy’s girl this week. We were planning to go to bed but found ourselves awake at 11:30 so we went to the Grand Gala buffet. The other kids met us there. I was amazed at the presentation of the food but I have to agree with the other reviews I have read online regarding the flavor. There was none! Oh well, I wasn’t really hungry anyway.
Vacation Day 5, Cruise Day 3, Cozumel
I woke early and went to the lido deck by myself to watch the sunrise and have some coffee. What a beautiful peaceful time! I ran back to the cabin to get my camcorder and Bailey woke up so she came and watched with me. We had a great time together! I told the other kids they could sleep as late as they wanted that day so they just made it to breakfast. For some reason the ship didn’t dock in Playa as advertised so we were docked at Cozumel at 11:30 and were able to get off the ship then. We found someone at the end of the dock to take us on a snorkel tour for $25 each. There were 2 other couples on the boat too so it was nice and not crowded at all. I was the only one who had ever snorkeled but everyone else took to it right away. We had a great time until my daughter told me she kept getting stung. I told her it was just the salt water. I had seen tons of baby jellyfish in the water and had been stung a few times but I knew that would be the end of snorkeling for the kids if they knew this. One of the other people told her it was jellyfish and just as expected they were all instantly out of the water! They seemed to have fun on the boat while we finished snorkeling though. We went to 3 different sites. We finished around 2:30 so we went back to the ship for a quick shower. We went back into Cozumel to do a little shopping. The girls got their hair braided. We had planned to take the kids back to the ship after a while then head over to Camp Carnival but we had such a good time shopping that we just kept them with us and had dinner in Cozumel. We ate at a place called Kiss My Cactus. The food was good and reasonably priced. The best prices we found were at the Duty Free Shop at the pier. I stocked up there on Kaluhua and Vodka, blankets, wind chimes and vanilla. When we got back to the ship they scanned our bags then just said, “Be sure to check any alcohol”. There was a table set up for you to do this but we just skipped it and went to our room, alcohol in hand. We were wiped out from the long day so we just called it a night.
Vacation Day 6, Cruise Day 4 at Sea
I took advantage of the fact that I didn’t have to get up early and slept in. We were off to the lido deck for breakfast again. Once again nothing special but good nonetheless. The girls wanted to go swimming so we went to the pool on the back of the lido deck. There was no one else in it so they had it to themselves. I just hung out and got a little sun until they were done. My son had told me, “Mom the food is really good but I want some normal food” so we ate lunch on the lido deck…burgers and fries. They were ok. The kids all had some homework to do so we went back to do that and mom took a nap. Then we just kind of wandered the ship. It amazes me how quickly time can go by when you are really not doing anything at all. We decided to get a jump on our packing and spent time sorting and repacking. Then it was time to get ready for dinner. The man who had made a scene the second night had gotten off the ship because he was embarrassed so we got to go back to our original table. Our waiter was waiting for us and as always seemed really happy to see us. The food was excellent as usual and the kids really enjoyed the show put on by the waiters. After the show we decided it was time for adult fun after a lot of togetherness on this trip Bailey went to Camp Carnival and had a great time. Missy and I went to 88 again and had a good time singing with Sonny. We went to the comedian at midnight. It was supposed to be x-rated but I found it to be really tame. Other than throwing the F word out occasionally I thought the content was pretty clean. He was pretty funny but didn’t keep us rolling.
Vacation Day 7
We woke early to make it to the dining room for breakfast at least once on our cruise. Our waiter was there but our assistant works the lido deck so there was a different assistant. He was apparently very new but seemed to be trying very hard. Breakfast was very good although there was nothing very different on the menu. Now reality had hit and it was time to be out of our rooms. We had arranged to be in the first group off the ship so we waited in the Puttin on The Ritz lounge. Our group was the first called and we were allowed off at 9:30. Customs was a breeze and we were in our car by 9:45. One tip that was very helpful for us was to put a strip of fluorescent colored duct tape across the top of the luggage. Everyone had dark blue, black or green luggage so this really made our luggage stick out. We had 10 bags between all of us but we saw them right away.
All in all there wasn’t really much more we could have asked for. I did notice that some of the crew didn’t make eye contact or say hi unless I said it first but big deal. When I did interact with them everyone was very friendly. I would highly recommend Carnival to anyone and have already booked my next cruise!