Occupation:Cardiac Nuclear Medicine Technologist
Number of Cruises: 1
Cruise Line: Carnival
Ship: Carnival Fascination
Sailing Date: January 15th, 2007
Itinerary: Key West & Cozumel, Mexico
I found this cruise for $250pp double occupancy last year and figured it would be the cheapest way to get my family together for a vacation. My fiancé and I are experienced vacationers and own a timeshare in Cabo san Lucas, Mexico. I took my mom, my brother and his girlfriend and my fiancé. All in all, we created some wonderful memories from this trip.
Embarkation in Miami was very quick. We were on the ship by 11am and had lunch and lots of drinks while we waited for your room. Our steward Eugene greeted us with a big smile and checked on us several times. Having stayed in hotels in Manhattan a few times, I felt our cabin room was twice the size of those rooms. I was very impressed with the linens and the flat screen TV.
Our waiter was Leo and his assistant was Isabella--both from the Philippines. They were the highlight of our trip. So much so that we raced back from out excursion in Mexico to try to make our 6:15 dinner seating, but were very disappointed that we were too late. These people love their jobs and were very quick to share their stories with us. I imagine all that time on the sea makes you lonely. They all have families that they are working to take care of and Leo missed his family dearly. He knew all of our names, remembered how we liked our steaks, gave us a lot of tips as far as the cruise went. It was very hard to say goodbye to them. As for the food, everyone thought it was pretty darn good. The lobster was done perfectly and I had penne with calamari and shrimp that was excellent. Highly recommend the stuffed mushroom caps, fried mozzarella and melted chocolate cake. Leo even boxed some extra cakes for us to take back to the room.
My mom lived there when she was 18 so this was her first time back in 40 years!! We did the conch train (I've been to Key West twice before, so I just did this to accompany her) so she could see how much has changed. Then we had lunch at Conch Republic, which I highly recommend. I think the time in port was way too short though, only 5 hours.
We did the Playa del Carmen beach break--it was a great excursion if you just want to lie on the beach and have an open bar. The food at the restaurant was pretty good authentic Mexican. I actually got my mom to snorkel!
The only complaint I have is that I got a full body hot stone massage on the ship for $125, and it was the best massage I've ever had, however, after I got dressed the girl came back in with this whole list of lotions and oils and pills that she "prescribed" for me, valued at over $800. When I told her I wasn't interested she told me that I didn't understand her and that my body needed $80 bath salts. I had to decline 3 more times before she let me go. All the tension she had worked out had magically returned!!!
Disembarkation was great. We booked the Miami Art Deco tour which I highly recommend if you have a later flight, it's a great way to kill 4 hours. They give you a short 30 min tour of the art deco district of Miami, then turn you lose for 3 hours (you could lay on south beach or go eat at a restaurant--we checked out Miami ink) and they keep your luggage and take you to the airport when you're done.
All in all, a wonderful experience. To see the smiles on everyone's faces and to hear them complain that their faces hurt from laughing so much was the best gift I could have ever gotten them. I thank Carnival and all of its staff for doing their jobs so well. They went above and beyond.