Number of Cruises: 5
Cruise Line: Carnival
Ship: Carnival Fascination
Sailing Date: November 22nd, 2004
Itinerary: Western Caribbean
Having salied on a few cruises, I sort of know what to expect. Many first-timers expect a 5-star experience and are often disappointed. I expect a 3 star experience and I'm often pleased with the experience. On the Fascination, it is similar to other Carnival cruises, value priced and "average" in most categories. Here's what I thought about this particular cruise...first expect to pay $48.00 just to park your car at the port (they only take cash too). Next wait in a long line to register. Finally get on-board and begin the constant and daily onslaught of "sales" from pictures to drinks to jewerly to scratch-off cards to spa treatments, etc. There are typically alot of children running around unsupervised. You can expect to wait in line for almost everything. I don't like having to pay for sodas especially at almost $3.00 each. I also don't like smokers in the casino but they are allowed. The food was good, but not great. You can ask for seconds or to try a different entree if you'd like. The staff were all friendly and helpful. The stateroom was always cleaned. You don't spend much time there anyway so purchase the inexpensive one. I was pleasantly surprised at their Broadway show in the Palace lounge, it was very good. On the other hand, the comedian wasn't very funny. The art auction was informative and we ended up buying a few pieces of artwork. Just be aware that the art comes unframed and you have to add a buyers premium and shipping charges too. I checked on ebay and you can get some of the same items for less. As far as shore excursions go, we went on the 4x4 Safari for $79.00 per person. We were greeted by a couple of nice guys who spoke decent English. We got our Jeep and headed to the "jungle" which was more like "brush" located near the beach. The ride was "extremely" rough and rocky. Not recommended if you have a bad back or young children. We ended up visiting a small "ruin" and then on to our sand and wind soaked beach buffet which wasn't very appealing. On the way back, you drive through the slums of Cozumel where many houses are just concrete and stucco with no paint. You stop at the Pee Pee Station which is a combination restroom and gift shop. You sort of feel guilty peeing for "free" so we ended up buying something (you can bargain with them). The downtown shopping area is not Park Avenue, but they charge Park Avenue prices (they try to anyway). We ended up bargaining for a few pieces of silver jewelry and a few souveniers for the children. I don't recommend going downtown after 6pm (sunset) since it can be a scary place. Overall, I enjoyed the cruise (despite these complaints) and I would recommend it. Next time I plan to try another cruise line to see how it compares.