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Review of the Carnival Fascination
Cruise Date: September 2012
Booking: Travel Agency
Cabin number: E38
Cabin category: outside
Carnival Fascination, The Good and Bad
Carnival Fascination: The good and bad
I have sailed on the Carnival Fascination many times from my hometown of Jacksonville, Florida. I live only 15 minutes from JaxPort which makes it very convenient to take a cruise when a great deal comes along.
Some history first.
In March of 2012, I was a chaperone for a group of 28 high school seniors. When we booked the "triples" (3 people to a cabin) we were informed Carnival that we wanted cabins with those "pull down" units. This makes life so much easier for cabin space, but no. When we came on board, we heard the typical song and dance, we're full, we're overbooked, it's spring break, blah blah blah.
We were place in cabins with two beds and the room steward brought in a mattress for the third person to sleep on the floor. Yes. You read that right. Sleep. On. The. Floor.
Everyone sucked it up and made the best of a bad situation. I did not appreciate sleeping on a mattress on the floor, but heck, I'm a Navy veteran so it was sure better than sleeping with 60 guys in the same berthing area on my frigate back in the 8o?s (U.S.S. Samuel Eliot Morison FFG-13).
Fast forward to Sept 1, 2012. We booked two cabins (again triples). We informed Carnival when we booked that we insisted on those "pull down" wall units so we would have enough space to walk around the cabin and avoid sleeping on a mattress on the floor.
We walked into our cabins and the room stewards told us they would be bringing our mattresses shortly.
I was fit to be tied. Note to ALL cruise lines. First impressions are CRITICAL.
I immediately tweeted cclsupport (@cclsupport) and told them of the problem. They emailed the ship and asked them to investigate the problem.
When I went to guest services I heard the typical song and dance. We're full, it's labor day weekend, blah blah, frickin blah. Check back tomorrow we will let you know if anything becomes available.
Note to ALL cruise lines. If you have someone who has been STRONGLY supporting you via Twitter, YouTube and by being an avid "brand ambassador", you MAY want to inform the ship ahead of time that a person of some influence is coming on board and not drop the ball.
Anyway, we were moved into our new cabins with those pull down units on day 2 of the cruise and all seemed better, until,
My friend who I was sailing with (along with his two teenage grandkids) has over 500 days on Holland America Line and is close to Platinum on Carnival became upset when we went to dinner and we ordered some drinks. 15 minutes later one of the staff came back to us and said there was something wrong with the sail and sign card not being "activated". Sure it worked the cabin door, but I guess the credit card wasn't linked to the sail and sign card.
I immediately went to guest services. The person said my friend would have to come back in person and bring back the credit card. Keep in mind that the credit card was already approved for the first cabin he was in, but since we changed cabins, I guess there was a problem.
My friend Dwight went to guest services immediately after dinner with sail and sign AND credit card in hand. A different member of the guest service staff said, "Oh, I need your photo ID also!"
By this time Dwight was blowing a gasket because now he had to go back to his cabin yet ANOTHER time. When he returned with his sail and sign card, credit card AND photo id in hand, yet another guest service staff member didn?t even look at his photo id and promptly rectified the problem.
Another point I want to make is that this is not the only incident of Fascination staff not being on the same page.
I wanted to make sure we avoided any problems regarding ID when going to and returning from Half Moon Cay. I asked one of the guest services staff if we just needed our sail and sign card AND photo ID or just our sail and sign card. The staffer said BOTH.
Granted, I have been to Half Moon Cay at least 10 times, so I always bring both my sail and sign card AND photo ID just to be safe, but we had two teenagers with us which meant since they didn't have a photo ID we needed to bring their birth certificates (so we thought).
We went to the Palace Lounge at 9:45 a.m. and were told by the Carnival staff all we needed was our sail and sign card, but if we had photo ID also, that was ok. I would have preferred to leave those birth certificates in the safe in the cabin, but I wasn?t about to run back to the cabin to do that!
Around 10:20 a.m. they called our tender numbers and we made our way to deck 3. At 10:30 a.m. we were on the way to Half Moon Cay.
We had a great day on Half Moon Cay as the weather was PERFECT, however the lunch wasn't anything to write home about.
I really wish they had more drink stations on Half Moon Cay as they crowd up very fast. Fortunately the Fascination was the only cruise ship anchored off of Half Moon Cay that day. If there was another ship there, it would have been very crowded at the lunch pavilion.
What was also disappointing is that they ran out of snorkel rental gear on Half Moon Cay by 10:45 a.m.
Another issue I want to point out is the soda card. In the past I was under the impression you couldn?t use your soda card on Half Moon Cay. Once we got there a bar staff member said we COULD use the soda card on Half Moon Cay. That needs to be stated in the Fun Times to avoid confusion.
I do want to comment that we did have great room stewards and dining room staff. The Lido and Serenity area staff were VERY friendly and professional.
The ship was clean (yet is showing serious signs of wear and tear) and Paul the Cruise Director was very professional, friendly and accessible. For the most part the food was great and service was good.
Several passengers on the ship recognized me from knowing me on several social media sites (Cruise Critic, Cruise Addicts, Meet on Cruise, YouTube (slara1961) and on Twitter (@scottlara1961).
They asked me (as many people do) "Hey Scott, what's YOUR favorite cruise line?"
What do you think I said?
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