Number of Cruises: 1
Cruise Line: Carnival
Ship: Carnival Fascination
Sailing Date: April 8th, 2005
Itinerary: Nassau Bahamas
My wife and I recently took a cruise with our three children. This is the first time that we have ever taken a cruise. My two teenage children were a little hesitant at first but we easily convinced that they would have a great time. Well needless to say, I was WRONG!
For a family of first time cruisers, this was absolutely the worst experience of our lives. It was very relaxing just to get away to a place that we have never been to, but we were never so glad to be home again.
Embarkation: We completed the fun pass expecting to board quickly and easily. That was a joke. We still had to stand in lines and wait to board just like everyone else.
Cabin: The cabin met our expectations. We had an inside stateroom and the steward was terrific. He provided the best service on the ship!
Food: Where should I begin? We were under the impression that there would be an endless variety of food. Out of 4 buffets, not including the pizza and deli lines, only two buffets were open at one time. This made the lines long for food that was less than worth it. A very small selection of a meal, with small portions of meat. You could stand in the endless line to get seconds if you desired but by the time you did, you lost your table. Oh and the hamburgers, if I never eat another hamburger in my lifetime, I will not be saddened. One buffet of hamburgers and hot dogs and one buffet of some other undercooked or overcooked @#$%! Even the pizza was horrible. We did make the mistake of missing our dinner seating for the formal and ended up eating hamburgers AGAIN on the second night. After two and a half days of eating hamburgers and pizza, I went to the sensation dining room to inquire for myself if there were any available seatings for dinner and we did get a seating. The food on this day was good and our waiter, Pablo, was great. However at this point we were so disgruntled there was no use in having fun.
Activities: Well, my wife and I do not drink alcohol very much but did endulge in one drink by the pool. My 8 year old had a blast on the water slide. We tried to find camp carnival but it was secluded at the end of the ship in a small room that made her feel imprisoned. My 15 and 17 year old were bored out of their minds. The teen club was empty and there were no other activities on board other than the pool. My 17 year old made the comment that she would have much rather stayed at home and sat by the pool, at least there wouldn't be a bunch of drunks falling all over people.
The shows in the palace lounge were top notch I think. The Las Vegas style show was fantastic for someone that has never seen one. We really had a good time there. The comedian and juggler were also great! The casino was fun. We did spend quite a bit of money in the casino without winning anything, but it was fun regardless. There was a reggae band on board was good and we enjoyed listening to them on the Lido deck.
The fun day at sea? Give me a break! This was the last day of the cruise and everything was closed by 7:00pm. They were considerate enough to open the two tea cup sized hot tubs.
Staff: This is not going to be very nice. The room steward, I think his name was Ricardo or something like that. Anyway, he was great. He greeted us in the hallways and always made our cabin comfortable. Pablo in the sensation dining room was also great. The rest of the staff that we encountered sucked! That is the nicest way to put it. They were rude and very pushy. They were not helpful at all and when you did ask a question, they acted as if they had the worst job. I love the "rolling of the eyes" thing to. That really made us feel welcomed aboard. Onboard photos, well we took plenty of those but when we went down to pick them up, it seems that they "got lost" somewhere. The person at the photo gallery told us to check back and we try to locate them, but in the end, we did never find them.
The Island: The people of the Bahamas were terrific. We truly enjoyed ourselves. We found them to be extremely insistent and pushy but we did realize that tourism is a major part of their economy. We made our way around easily and found plenty to do. We tipped very well and I even won $50 at the Atlantis Casino as we passed through, and I only spent a dollar. I would certainly visit the Bahamas Islands again. The residents were helpful, courteous and kind.
Debarkation: We took the express debarkation. This was a very long line for being express and very confusing to traverse the maze of getting off of this ship. However, this was pretty smooth considering all of the people getting on shore. Very well organized I think.
Overall: We went with Carnival Cruise because of recommendations of friends. I can not wait to see these "friends" again. I may just smack them. On a scale of 1 to 10, I would have to rate this a high 3. That is being generous. We do intend to cruise again but I think that we will spend the extra money and go with Royal Caribbean. In the back of mind I think that I would even try Carnival again but it would be another ship but it would not be my first choice.