Heather A. Snider
Number of Cruises: 2
Cruise Line: Carnival
Ship: Carnival Fascination
Sailing Date: May 21st, 2004
My fiance and I booked this last minute cruise through 11th hour vacations whom I highly recommend for low prices. We got our cruise documents 3 days prior to our departure. I HIGHLY recommend filling out the carnival fun pass online to pre-check-in. It will severely cut your time in line later to board the ship and this option is available up to the night before you sail. We drove to the Port of Miami from Orlando Friday morning. The Port was very easy to find and we only had about a 5 minute wait to be approved to enter the port itself from the authorities. We found an excellent parking spot in Carnival's garage and for the 3 days we'd be on board it cost us 36 dollars to park. We checked our luggage curbside and tipped the porter 3 dollars for looking up our room for us and making sure the proper luggage tags were on our bags.
As I said, checkin was a breeze. Make sure you have your passport/birth certificate in hand prior to getting in line as they will ask for it. Also have the credit card you plan to use for your sail and sign ready. Getting from check-in to receiving our sail and signs, room keys, and pictures taken took all of 5 minutes and we were ready to board. First however you have to make it through the photographers. Once on board we found our cabins with little trouble, (we were in cabin e-25, an interior cabin on the embress deck). The cabin was very spacious for the amount of money you paid, although the entry way was a bit tight. I LOVED the in cabin safe though. The ships decor was a bit iffy though. I've read multiple reviews on this ship prior to our cruise so I went in expecting much of what I saw. However, I didn't notice any glaring spots on the carpets, stained walls, dirty linens, etc that other people reported. Everything was very clean if a little worn, but keep in mind that this ship is 10 years old. The Vegas style shows were not worth the time to watch them and we quickly avoided them after the 1st 10 minutes of the show Hollywood. The talent show on Sunday however was well worth the time. One thing I definately did not enjoy was how hard they push drinks on you. At 7 dollars a drink usually these quickly add up. I highly recommend the 79 dollar 25 min facial/25 minute massage special the spa runs, however do NOT take the products they recomment home. They did not tell me the price of these items and once they were put on the sail and sign that they require prior to packaging the products, they will NOT take them back. Even if you haven't signed for them yet. What was supposed to be a 79 dollar vist quickly turned into a 287 dollar one. On Hollywood Blvd, I saw none of the mannequins I'd been hearing so much about so I can only assume that Carnival was getting too many complaint about them and got rid of them. We didn't go to any of the clubs so I can't review them at all but they all appeared to be nicely decorated considering the themes. I really enjoyed the galley tour though on Sunday. At the end of it, they offer napkin folding demos as well as teaching you how to make the adorable towel animals. The food in the dining room was decent. They overcooked my prime rib the first night, and there was nothing worth mentioning for formal night, but the last dinner was EXCELLENT. And our waitor, Igor from Croatia, was a blast. The veal was some of the best I've ever had. For breakfast, the Lido deck buffet is by far the quickest, but you definitely suffer for it. The food is decent, but not great and usually causes some stomach issues later. The dining room breakfasts offer very tasty yet very small portions. I recommend ordering more than one dish. The lunch in the dining room was less impressive. However, the buffet is much better for lunch! The 24 hour pizza bar isn't bad. and room service, while they do have a limited selection, is very good. The roast beef and brie sandwich is in particular my favorite. My one major complaint is the deck on Lido. It's extremely slippery when wet whether barefoot or wearing shoes. Be VERY careful.
When we docked in Nassau, we had booked the Atlantis tour. If you're from Florida as we were, do not waste your money on this tour. Their aquarium is nothing compared to Sea World. The grounds themselves are pretty but not worth 100 dollars. After we got back and grabbed some lunch on board we headed back out and took a hourse and buggy taxi. Our guide, Tony, and our horse, Trouble, took us around the main part of the island and into the residential areas so that you can see the "real" island. It was about an hour long trip for 40 dollars. Next time we go (as we did have enough fun to want to go more than once) we plan on doing the Pearl Island Snorkel Tour as everyone that went on that seemed to have more fun. And you get to "hunt" for your own pearls. All in all, for the price it was worth the money, but if you have extra to spend, I recommend taking a Princess Cruise instead.