After spending a day in Puerto Rico before our cruise left, it was finally time to board our ship and get the real vacation started! We had been so anxious for months leading up to this trip so it was exciting to finally be experiencing it!
When I booked the trip, I noticed an option to add a “Faster to the Fun” pass for $65 per cabin, which promised priority boarding, that we would get our luggage before the other guests, anytime dining instead of an assigned time each night, and a prompt and easy debarkation at the end. I decided to buy the pass and try it out and it ended up being totally worth it! There were a lot of lines to board the ship on embarkation day and we got to bypass them all with our pass. We had a VIP check in and were escorted through our own security line and allowed to board at 1pm, when we wouldn’t be leaving until 10pm, which gave us an extra 9 hours to get settled in and explore the ship while it was still in port!
Our first steps onto the ship opened up into the ship’s main atrium, and also the floor that our stateroom was located on. The whole ship looked a little bit like a Las Vegas night club to us, all lit up with gaudy decor, but it was pretty neat nonetheless!
After checking out the cabin, we dropped off our backpacks and decided to look around a bit before the crowds arrived. I think we walked just about every last inch of the ship! There were lots of different restaurants and clubs, all with different themes.
The Palace Theater/Auditorium
Passage to India Restaurant/Bar
Puttin’ On the Ritz comedy club
Coconut Grove Bar and Grill- Casual Dining
We quickly saw why Carnival is referred to as the “Fun Ship”! After looking around a bit, we headed up to the lido deck and enjoyed a refreshing, tropical welcome drink by the pool!
Not long after, we decided to lay out in the sun for a bit then go for a swim.
For meals, we had quite a few options! Most all of the food was included and there was always a restaurant open, regardless of the time of day or night. We had pizza around midnight one night! Room service was also free of charge so there were several times that we had meals delivered to our room. On the mornings that we had to be up early, we requested an early room service breakfast. It was wonderful having a hot cup of coffee and breakfast delivered at our beckoning call whenever we wanted! I will definitely miss that!
The first few nights were casual, but there were two nights during our 7 night cruise where the dress code was “Elegant” and everyone had to dress up if they wanted to be permitted into the main dining rooms. We never get to dress up at home because there aren’t really any fancy restaurants with dress codes near by, so we made the most of these nights. I had fun getting all dolled up and Dustin enjoyed getting to wear his nice suits!
They even had photo shoots set up throughout the ship on those nights with professional photographers. Each shoot had a different back drop and some even had props, such as pianos, drink glasses, fainting chairs, etc. We never got to have engagement photos taken before we got married because Dustin’s job kept sending him to work out of town so we decided to have some nice photos taken in place of those. They didn’t come cheap though, which was disappointing and they didn’t give us the digital files to the photos, just prints, so the photos below are just photos of a photo :/. We would have liked to have had all of the photos and on a USB, but had to settle for prints and choose just a few due to the steep prices. Nonetheless, it was really fun!
On the elegant evenings, they had extra special menus in the dining rooms and we were able to have some really tasty dinners (lobster tail, etc.). They had a lot of unique appetizers and we like to sample different foods so on one of the nights, we even tried frog legs! They were not really to our liking but at least now we can add them to the list of weird things we have eaten (shark, alligator, escargot, squid, etc. ). Luckily, they had some amazing desserts to get the taste out of our mouths. Crème Brule, chocolate melting cake, fig bread pudding, cheesecake, and the list goes on! It was dangerous that they were free! We had a really great server named Joaquim that we got to know over the course of the week. From the first time that he waited on us, we requested his section each night after that.
On a few of the nights after dinner, we went to the comedy club. The acts were funny but they seemed to think they needed to cram in as much profanity as humanly possible in order for it to be entertaining and we could’ve done without that!
Each night when we would return to our room, it had been cleaned by the room steward, Fery, who was a really nice man that was assigned to our floor. We ended up tipping him above the expected gratuity at the end of the cruise because he did such a great job and worked so hard all week! He left us fresh towels in the shape of a different animal each time. It was fun to come back and see what was waiting for us in our room!
After seeing some of the other cruise ships in the different ports along our trip, we realized that our ship was definitely a little older and a little smaller than some, but it was also the most fun looking ship of them all. Carnival does a good job at making sure there is always something going on to keep people entertained. We had a blast on Fascination!