Sorry I haven't gotten back to all of you-dad was in the hospital the week after we got back. The Fascination cruise was a lot of fun. Our daughters (17 and 20) found some companions and the 10-or-so of them howled at the moon until late each night. The ship itself looks a little dated to me, but the crew and the food were very good. There were a mix of people on board, singles and young families mostly. I would be very nervous about taking a toddler on board because the railings on the ship are easily climbable. We did enjoy the late dinner seating (fewer little children) and went from dinner to the lounges, casinos, and shows. The ship never felt crowded, but then again I don't know if it was full or not. There were lounges chairs available at the pools, and we never had to wait for anything. One of the nice things was the room service-available 24 hours. We ordered breakfast every morning and it was there in less than 15 minutes each time. Our waitress in the dining room was very attentive and the food was always nicely presented and very good. Our girls tried many new things (pumpkin soup!) and found them to be surprisingly delicious. That's the good thing about a cruise-if you don't like something-order something else!! We did smuggle plastic flask-size bottles (from the liquor store) of vodka to mix with our lemonade around the pool. I put one in my carry-on and one in my luggage (in a night purse) and no one spotted either. You just have to be a little sly when taking it to the pool-empty out a Sprite bottle in your room and put the booze in it. Hehe!!!
The stop in Key West was basically a shopping stop-too short to do anything else unless you schedule a short tour.
In Cozamel, we went to the Playa Sol Adventure Beach ($29pp with open bar and other amenities at the beach) since we just wanted to relax and have a beach day. There are many other tours (there is a sheet in your room every night with tours to choose from) such as snokeling and ruins tours (did them in Cancun, so we weren't interested-many who did complained about the long ferry and bus rides). Note: On the Cozamel day (didn't have to be back to the ship until 10:30) the dining room was only about half full. Either people didn't get back from tours, or they were in such bad shape from Senor Frog's or Carlos and Charlie's that they didn't care if they ate or not!!
All in all, the cruise was fun. The next time, if we don't have kids with us and we are looking for more luxurious accomodations, we will probably choose a newer ship. This is not meant to discourage you-we had a great time!
Hint for getting off the ship: They want you out of your room and into a public area by 8:45, which they assign to you by tag color which correspondes to your deck. We were on the main deck, which is one of the last to be called and didn't get off until 10:45. We decided that the next time we will look for the tag color of the highest deck (on your sheet the night before) and go to the area where they are supposed to go and get off when they are called. No one will know-your bags are not with you anyway!!!
Yes, thanks for asking... am leaving tomorrow AM from Miami for Cozumel. I heard from a friend of a friend who sailed the Fascination a few weeks ago that the ship was filthy, and it smelled so bad near the buffet that they couldn't even eat. I called my TA who had no info, but said the Fascination is due to go into dry dock for cleaning/refurb in Sept.
How was it, really?
Yes, I wont lie, the buffet does smell really bad, and yes, we did walk out... Also, the ship does have and odor, but only in specific areas, mostally the aft areas. The worst area was on the aft main deck area, we turned around and walked away beacuse it was so bad! Only other problem I encountered was the elevators in the Atrium could use some repairs!
But other then the odors, the cruise was awesome! Awesome crew, extreamly good food, clean ship! Yes, it might need a small dry docking, so fix things such as lights, and other small things, but the carpet looked fine to me! I have been on 9 cruises, and Fascination was one of the best! I was on the 3night Bahamas cruise July 18, 2003...