Carnival Fascination: The Former Fantasy-Class Cruise Ship

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Carnival Fascination was floated out about three decades ago and, up until just very recently, it was one of the oldest cruise ships in Carnival’s fleet. If you’ve been a Carnival fan for your entire life, you very likely cruised on this ship at one point or another. 

Thanks to multiple dry docks and refits, the ship remained in relatively good shape for the majority of its existence, but, unfortunately, eventually, a ship like this just gets too old to sail the high seas and really deliver a stellar cruising experience to travelers. When the ship was sold off, it was time. 

But what was this ship like during its heyday? If you’re curious, keep reading, for everything you need to know about this former Fantasy-class cruise ship.

What Happened to Carnival Fascination?

Like many of its fellow Fantasy-class ships, Carnival Fascination was given the boot in 2020. Carnival sold the ship to Century Harmony Cruise Ltd in November 2020. The ship was renamed and expected to be sent to a new life in Asia. However, that never happened and the ship was sold for scrap in 2021. 

Carnival Fascination Stats

Carnival Fascination seems relatively tiny by today’s standards! The ship is just a fraction of the size of some of Carnival’s more modern ships. Here’s how Carnival Fascination measured up.  

  • Gross Tonnage: 70,367
  • Length: 855 feet
  • Passenger capacity at double occupancy: 2,056
  • Maximum passenger capacity: 2,634
  • Crew: 920
  • Passenger decks: 10

This ship is nearly identical to its sister ships, both in size and potential occupancy. The Fantasy class was quite large, and also included Carnival Inspiration, Carnival Ecstasy, Carnival Elation, Carnival Fantasy, Carnival Imagination, Carnival Paradise and Carnival Sensation.

Carnival Fascination Cruise Ship in Barbados
Photo Credit: Solarisys / Shutterstock.com

The lead ship, Carnival Fantasy, first set sail in 1990, and now the majority of the Fantasy-class ships have been sold or scrapped. If you do really want to experience this retro class of ships for yourself, you’ll want to make tracks to reserve your spot on one of the two remaining Fantasy-class ships that are still in operation, Carnival Elation and Carnival Paradise, before they’re gone for good.

Construction

Similarly to its sister ships, Carnival Fascination was built by Kvaerner-Masa in Helsinki, Finland. The ship was finished in 1994 and floated out on July 1 of that year. The ship was christened by Jeanne Farcus.

Notably, Jeanne Farcus was the wife of Joe Farcus, who was an iconic cruise ship designer. His career launched in 1975, when he began work on Carnival’s second-ever ship, the Queen Anna Maria (yes, the name is quite unusual, when you consider Carnival’s brand today — but it was later renamed Carnivale). Farcus was considered one of the many individuals who helped ultimately shape the Carnival brand.

After launching, Carnival Fascination began its life offering cruises from New York, before moving to San Juan, Puerto Rico, and then Jacksonville, Florida, where it served the Bahamas. In 2016, Carnival Fascination returned to San Juan, offering Southern Caribbean cruises. 

Ship Dry Docks

Carnival Fascination has undergone a range of dry docks that have helped keep the older ship as modern as possible. The most notable renovations occurred in 2006, 2010 and 2018. 

In 2006, all Fantasy-class ships and, really, all Carnival ships, received a face lift as part of the cruise line’s Evolutions of Fun upgrades. This pricey initiative helped launch some of the Carnival classic features that cruisers still enjoy today, such as the Carnival WaterWorks water parks.

Carnival Cruise Dry Dock in the Bahamas
Carnival Cruise Dry Dock in the Bahamas (Photo Credit: the goatman)

Carnival Fascination’s 35-day, September 2006 drydock cost multiple millions of dollars, but the results were extensive. The renovations added a new 9-hole mini golf course, a patisserie known as Café on the Way, the Club 02 teen section, a new children’s area, an art gallery, a new atrium bar, internet café, photo gallery and conference room. The spa was renovated as well, and staterooms received refurbishments that included the addition of flat-screen televisions.  

However, the changes weren’t over just yet. In 2010, Carnival Fascination received further renovations as part of the Evolutions of Fun refurbishments.

The ship was dry docked for 28 days in the Bahamas and $34 million was spent to add the WaterWorks water park, nearly 100 balcony staterooms and the Serenity adults-only retreat. The main pool was also refurbished.

Finally, in 2018, Carnival Fascination received its last round of refurbishments, and these added even more recognizable and popular venues to the ship.

The ship was outfitted with some of Carnival’s newest venues and eateries (for the time), such as Guy’s Burger Joint, BlueIguana Cantina, BlueIguana Tequila Bar, RedFrog Rum Bar, Alchemy Bar, Cherry on Top and Bonsai Sushi Express. 

Cabins

There was a range of staterooms for travelers to choose from aboard Carnival Fascination, including interior staterooms, interior upper/lower staterooms, interior porthole staterooms, oceanview staterooms, balcony staterooms and aft-view extended balcony staterooms.

Carnival Fascination Cabin
Carnival Fascination Cabin (Photo Credit: zenm)

Stateroom designs were on the basic side and it’s worth noting that — as was the case on all Fantasy-class ships — balconies were at a premium. There were only 152 cabins on the cruise ship that featured a balcony. 

As for suites, there were two types of suites aboard Carnival Fascination, the junior suites and the grand suites. Junior suites offered 220 square feet of space and a 30-square-foot balcony, while grand suites offered 330 square feet of space with up to a 115-square-foot balcony.

Carnival Fascination Cabin
Carnival Fascination Cabin (Photo Credit: zenm)

Staying in a suite came with all the normal perks and amenities, such as priority check in, express boarding, priority debarkation, complimentary bottled water and complimentary bath robes.  

Venues

As we mentioned above, during Carnival Fascination’s last dry dock, in 2018, she was outfitted with all of Carnival’s latest dining options, most of which have become beloved staples over the last few years, at least to frequent Carnival cruisers. That said, Carnival Fascination wasn’t exactly decked out with tons and tons of restaurants — certainly not like what you’d find on a newer vessel today.

Read Also: Former Carnival Sensation – Overview and Scrapping

Carnival Fascination was outfitted with two main dining rooms, the Imagination Dining Room and Sensation Dining Room. One opened for dinner only and operated with an assigned-seating, reserved-time format. The other was open for breakfast, brunch and dinner on select days throughout a cruise, with no need for a reservation or assigned seating. 

Carnival Fascination Atrium
Carnival Fascination Atrium (Photo Credit: RaksyBH)

The Lido Buffet offered all-day dining and a variety of food. Other free dining options included Pizza Pirate, serving 24/7 pizza slices; the Carnival Deli, for hot and cold sandwiches; Guy’s Burger Joint, with Guy Fieri-inspired eats; BlueIguana Cantina, for poolside Mexican fare; and then room service.

Specialty dining options and experiences included Bonsai Sushi Express, The Chef’s Table experience, Bogart’s Café and the Green Eggs and Ham Breakfast.

As for watering holes, the latest refits added new options like RedFrog Rum Bar, and BlueIguana Tequila Bar. Alchemy Bar was also relatively new. Others included Piano Bar 88; Stars Bar, near the casino; and the Passage to India lounge.

Carnival Fascination Lido Deck
Carnival Fascination Lido Deck (Photo Credit: Melissa Hillier)

There was one pool aboard the ship, on the Lido Deck, with pool areas for both children and adult swimmers. There were three hot tubs on the ship, one in the adults-only Serenity Retreat and two near the Lido Deck pool.

Aside from the pool, there was also the WaterWorks water park, with several water slides, including a four-story corkscrew slide, 82-foot racing slides, and child-friendly slides. A water play area for small children was also available.

Other outdoor venues included the Serenity Retreat sun deck, mini golf course and the jogging track.

For entertainment, there were two theaters, one for Broadway-style shows, and one for game shows and comedy sets. There was also Casino Royale and Spa Carnival, and, for the kids, Camp Carnival offered programming in a relatively updated Camp Ocean space, while preteens and teens had their own spaces, too.  

Decor

Carnival Fascination was by no means modern or sleek at the time of its sale. The ship still featured a lot of the older décor schemes that Carnival preferred in the 1990s, with lots of orange and red. As such, the staterooms had a slightly dingy feel to them, especially at the very end.

Carnival Fascination Decor
Carnival Fascination Decor (Photo Credit: Dave Herholz)

That said, the public spaces weren’t as bad as they could’ve been, leading up to 2020. While not exactly “new”-feeling, they weren’t woefully outdated either. You could still see a few glimpses of the past (such as in some of the carpeting, tile work and paint schemes), but you also didn’t walk into most spaces and think you’d somehow been transported back in time, to 1995.   

Carnival Fascination Scrapping

Carnival chose to sell off several of its older, less desirable ships following the cruise industry’s shut-down in early 2020. As such, much of the Fantasy class retired during this time period. While some were sold directly for scrap, Carnival Fascination had a different fate.

Carnival Fascination Cruise Ship (Century Harmony)
Copyright: Tony Davis

First, Carnival sold the ship to another cruise lineCentury Harmony, which intended to use the ship an ocean liner and then a hotel ship, in Asia. However, that didn’t pan out.

In October 2021, it was discovered that Century Harmony sold the ship to a trading company, and it was expected the ship would be sent off for recycling in Alang, India. However, those anticipated plans changed again.

Carnival Fascination Beached

Finally, in February 2022, it was reported that the ship, after spending multiple months anchored off Sri Lanka, at last made its final home in Pakistan, where the ship was scrapped.  

Was Carnival Fascination a Good Ship?

For its time, Carnival Fascination was a very good ship. When it launched, along with all its Fantasy-class sisters, it was considered a top-of-the-line, modern, best-of-the-best ship. Cruisers couldn’t ask for anything more!

Read Also: All Carnival Cruise Ships By Age – Newest to Oldest

However, now, cruisers are asking for quite a lot more. They’re no longer willing to settle for outdated staterooms, or just a handful of restaurants to pick from throughout their cruise. They want more excitement than what a waterpark alone can offer; they want rollercoasters, go-kart tracks and surfing simulators.

Carnival Fascination Cruise Ship
Photo Credit: SeregaSibTravel / Shutterstock

As such, Carnival Fascination just couldn’t keep up and, by 2020, it wasn’t really a good ship anymore, unless you specifically wanted that old-school, retro cruising vibe (and many did want that, which is why the ship lasted as long as it did!).

It’s no surprise, though, that Carnival Fascination met its fate at the scrapyard, and is now just one of the many Fantasy-class ships to be scrapped.

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