Sorry this is a little late. We were on the Fascination May 5-9. Will make this short and if anyone wants specific info just ask
So after much airline hassle (don't get me started :evil: ) We flew into Miami on May 4th. We stayed at La Quinta East (they have airport pick up and free transfer to the pier in the morning - be sure you request it upon checking). After having a very difficult time getting the hotel to pick us up (hotel is less than 10 minutes from airport even with traffic and it took almost an hour) we got checked into the hotel. No complaints, it was clean and had a pool and free transportation. (On a side note if anyone stays there - do not order anything from the menus you will find in your room. just walk across the parking lot to Benigans)
Our transport to the pier was scheduled for 11:15a. KSA handled the transport with big buses. There were 3 different ships on our bus and it was handled very effectively. They do offer pick up at the pier upon return and will take you to the hotel or the airport ($12pp). We will remember that for next time (cheaper than Carnival).
Arrive around 11:30 at the NEW pier. It is gorgeous. We just went out of Miami last May and this is brand new. It was very smooth and with arriving with less than a couple bus loads from the airport, it went very quickly. Once you get there, you are given new (old style) luggage tags to put on your cases for delivery to your room.
We were on board and having lunch by 12:15p (my DD was completely in awe of everything). The doors to the rooms opened about 1:35p (right on time) and we went to check out our room. This was the first time we had a bunk. The do take up more room than I had expected but fold up during the day. We were in room U159 (window). Our room steward greeted us as we were checking out the room. Horatio asked how to pronounce our names and never forgot (pretty impressive considering it was a 4 day and how many rooms do they have?) We got ready for the drill - much quicker- we only had to wear the jacket for about 1 minute jsut to be sure we could put them on. These were a new style that were much more comfortable than the old ones. After the drill (20 minutes) back to the room for a quick nap (DD was getting cranky). Our luggage was there. (Unbelievable)
Went to dinner and our table was a big round one, sat 10. for the whole cruise it was us 3 and another family of 3. We got along great! Their son was 9 and our DD is 3, but they chatted like best friends. I have noticed that the side dishes were the same with each main course. My guess is cost saving. However, it wasn't a big deal. Each nite had a selection of 4-5 starters, 4-6 main dishes, the spa selection and Carnival Classics (steak, chicken, shrimp cocktail, ceaser salad, veggie of the day, french fries). Over all not a problem with the menu. I was sad that the lobster night was all that everyone has been saying. A small lobster with shrimp - however, the shrimp was excellent! DD LOVED the PB and J (can't get her to eat it at home anymore because I don't make it like Jorge did - go figure).
Tuesday morning we got into Key West at 7a. As we didnt' plan a tour, we had a leisurely breakfast and then off the ship. Walked to the lighthouse, had a drink at the Green Parrot, coffee at Bad Ass Coffee Co., did the Pirate Soul museum(little much for DD although she liked the gift shop), and some light shopping. Then back to the ship with plenty of time for lunch, a quick swim, rest and getting ready for formal night.
By the way we ate breakfast and lunch in the lido and dinner in the dinning room every day.
DD wore a Cinderella dress for her formal night. The Voyage video guy got her on camera and so dad had to have the video! DD who hates to have her picture taken at any time smiled ever so pretty did a twirl and waved. Everytime a guy asked her to take a picture she made me stop. It was crazy. We walked around the deck after dinner then to bed.
Wednesday was Cozumel. We got there around noon. Slept in, had breakfast and went swimming. Had lunch and went to Chankanaab Park. $10 taxi each way and $38 for us to get in. DD is now in love with dolphins. The park is nice, lots of swimming and snorkeling and you can see the dolphins. The pool was nice also. Back to the ship for dinner and some pier shopping. I have to say the International pier is nice if you were never to the pier beside it (Punta Lagosta? that was destroyed and is being rebuilt) I wasn't impressed with the shopping at all. Seems most things are moving down town. Got some good pictures of the Holiday leaving port and back on board.
Tried Camp Carnival while dad and i took in the show - DD only went this one time. The counselors were great! The kids, not so much. She was there for just over an hour and got hit in the face with a toy hammer and spit on by 2 girls. I just didn't feel the need to send her back to that. She did want to go but I would side track her by going to the pool. - More on CC later.
Thursday - at sea. The usual games and such. Not much to report. Went to the show again. Then packed up and set the luggage out.
Debarkation - You are given a number on you luggage tags. When it is called you can get off. Once in the pier building the luggage is now on airport carasels - wow is this easy!!! Then through customs and on to the bus to the airport.
The ship looked good for the age - some wear and tear but nothing major. Can't wait for the completion of the Evolution of Fun upgrades. The bedding has changed over and is better than my Egyptian cotton at home! The mini golf is nice and there is still a "topless deck" - most people up there were just looking for a way to get away from all the kids. I did notice a huge amount of children. As this is our 1st (and last) short cruise I assume it is because it is more affordable for a family. That being said, it seems the kids were very obnoxious (Camp Carnival) and the parents didn't do a whole lot about it - if they were even around. Many times we went to the kiddie pool and there were parents with babies in diapers in the pool (against the rules) or kids with no parents - and these kids were less than 8. It was ridiculous. Getting on and off the ship is very smooth with the new building. The staff was excellent, friendly and helpful.
We are already starting to plan our next one (go figure - the only cure for post cruise blues is to book again ) Now when a commercial comes on our DD is asking if we are going on that next. I am thinking we have created a monster!!! Over all it was a GREAT time and obviously can't wait to go again.
If anyone has anything specific about one of the ports, the ship, or procedures just ask! Will post some photos soon.
Sensation (without KathieLee) July 2001
Paradise (smokefree) March 2002
Valor (inaugural season) May 2005
Truimph May 2007
Fascination (1st time w/DD) May 2008
Pride (with DD & DS) November 2009
Excellent review. Thank you so much and I'm so glad you had a great time.
Life is too short to let the ship of your dreams sail without you.
Carnival Destiny Feb. 2006
Carnival Fascination Feb. 2007
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Carnival Valor MsBJ and Dina Feb. 2009
Carnival Glory MsBJ and Dina Feb. 2010
Carnival Dream MsBJ and Dina Feb. 2011