Number of Cruises: 1
Cruise Line: Carnival
Ship: Carnival Fascination
Sailing Date: December 25th, 2006
Itinerary: Key West & Cozumel, Mexico
This was our first cruise and we had a
great time! We had two teenagers with us and they enjoyed it as well. We booked
our own airfare and flew into Miami. We had pre-purchased super shuttle vouchers
through Orbitz. This was a fast and inexpensive way to the port. Embarkation was
a breeze. They let us on the Ship at about 11:30, instead of the "official" 1:30
listed time. We couldn't go to our staterooms until 1:30, but we went to the
lido deck and had a wonderful lunch buffet while we waited. We also picked up
the "Carnival Capers" and maps of the ship. We purchased the beverage cards at
this time as well.
Once we got to our staterooms we meet our cabin steward who was absolutely fabulous for the whole cruise. Our room was always immaculately clean. She knew when we'd be gone and never intruded or bothered us. The folded towel creations left for us each day were so cute and amazing!
The food was plentiful and excellent. (I gained 5 pounds) The wait staff was first rate. We were seated with another family with teenagers and that made it perfect. I don't know if they did this on purpose or if it was just a lucky coincident, but it really was nice. My husband and I did the seated breakfast each morning, while our kids slept in. We enjoyed meeting new people this way.
We did not hurry off the boat at Key West, but took our time since we arrived so early. Once off the ship, we rented a electric car for about $52 for an hour and toured around on our own. Then we shopped.
In Cozumel, the tender situation was a disaster. It might have been worth it to book a shore excursion with the ship so we could have gotten off faster. The "Carnival Capers" announced that we needed to pick up a tender ticket at 9:30 AM that day. We got there to get in line at about 9:20 (only 1 family member needs to go), and there were lots of people milling about but no line. Sometime around 9:35 someone showed up with the tender ticket stickers and then there was a huge crush of people trying to crowd in and get them. We go #1 stickers, so we thought we'd get off okay. WRONG! When the ship got to Cozumel at 1:00 PM, we told to wait until 2:00 and then report to the "Putting on the Ritz" lounge, while ALL the shore excursions left first. We got there and waited some more. Then they had all the 1, 2, &3 stickers all leave at one time. There was not enough room in that 1st tender for all of us so we ended up waiting in the stair well for another 45 minutes to get the next tender. So anyway it was after 3:00 when we finally got off and the poor people with the last numbers probably didn’t' get off until after 4:00. We took a taxi to the Mayan ruins at San G---- (something) The taxi took us and wait $45 and the cost to get in was about $5. It was amazing!!! Then we shopped around for a while downtown and then had to wait in a huge line to get a tender back to the ship. Luckily we had late seating dinner! I would try to avoid taking a cruise that uses tenders next time!
Disembarking was easy. We actually could get off as early as 6:15, even though the listed time is 8:00AM. We had breakfast and took our own bags off with us about 9:00AM and there was not much of a line and customs was easy.
Overall, great value for the money!