Carnival Fascination is a Fantasy-class cruise ship originally floated out in 1994, but the fact that the ship is old enough to drink or even rent a car doesn’t mean that she serves up a less than stellar cruising experience. Thanks to multiple dry docks and refits over her life, Carnival Fascination offers a modern cruising experience featuring the best the Carnival brand has on tap.
Carnival Fascination last underwent a dry dock in February 2018, during which the ship was outfitted with some of Carnival’s newest venues and eateries, such as Guy’s Burger Joint, BlueIguana Cantina, BlueIguana Tequila Bar, RedFrog Rum Bar, Alchemy Bar, Cherry on Top and Bonsai Sushi Express. The dry dock significantly upgraded what is Carnival’s fourth-oldest ship, bringing it into the modern age and assuring passengers an experience suitable for 2020 travel.
Carnival Fascination began her 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. She will begin cruising from Mobile, Alabama in January 2022.
Carnival Fascination did have a brief pause in service, in 2017, when the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) chartered the cruise ship for several months, to use the ship as part of the organization’s hurricane relief efforts. Carnival Fascination resumed its service in February 2018, once again sailing from San Juan into the South Caribbean.
The Fantasy-class ship weighs in at 70,367 GT, with a length of 855 feet. It offers 10 decks and a capacity for 2,634 passengers, though it’s much more common for the ship to host somewhere around 2,000 passengers, all served by a crew of 920.
Are you considering taking a Carnival Fascination cruise in the near future? Wondering what you can expect, especially given the fact that this ship was built quite a while ago? Here’s everything you should take into consideration when booking a Carnival Fascination cruise. Believe us — there are plenty of good reasons to do so.
1. Staterooms maximize space and convenience for a better stay
There are a range of staterooms for you to choose from aboard Carnival Fascination, depending upon your needs. Choose from interior staterooms, interior upper/lower staterooms, interior porthole staterooms, ocean view staterooms, balcony staterooms and aft-view extended balcony staterooms.
While the stateroom designs are on the basic side, they do their job well. Many of the staterooms are very roomy if you’re a traveling couple, but if you’re traveling as a family, you can rest assured that you’ll have space for up to four individuals in most staterooms. If you need more space, connecting staterooms area available.
Interior upper/lower staterooms are good if you’re a solo traveler and you value lots of floor space. Oceanview, interior, and interior porthole staterooms are great for couples, with their larger beds, spacious bathrooms, desk space, and extra seating.
Of course, it’s always nice to have a balcony during a cruise, and the balcony staterooms certainly afford you a little extra space, including extra floor space as well as extra seating on your balcony. The aft-view extended balcony staterooms are especially desirable, with their seating for three on the balcony and two beds inside.
Do note that if you want to book a Carnival Fascination balcony stateroom, you’ll want to book fast — there are only 152 cabins on the cruise ship that feature a balcony.
2. Suites come with extra perks
If you like to travel in VIP style, then you’ll want to book a suite during your Carnival Fascination cruise. There are two types of suites aboard Carnival Fascination, the junior suites and the grand suites. Junior suites offer 220 square feet of space and a 30-square-foot balcony, while grand suites offer 330 square feet of space with up to a 115-square-foot balcony.
Perks while staying in a suite include priority check-in, express boarding, priority debarkation, complimentary bottled water, and complimentary bathrobes. You’ll also find that the suites’ extra space results in more storage areas for you, better furniture and sometimes even a walk-in closet or soaking tub, depending on the suite you book.
Worth Reading: 11 Ways You Can Enjoy a Carnival Inspiration Cruise
3. Modern dining is the norm
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.
Additionally, the food on Carnival Fascination is actually good. While some modes of transportation (ie, flying) often offer you very lackluster dining options, this is not the case with cruising. Cruises all over the world have become renowned for their great culinary offerings, and Carnival is embracing this trend with gusto, giving travelers numerous dining options that all check the boxes for quality, taste and experience.
Just keep in mind that you might run into some lines at some of the restaurants during a Carnival Fascination cruise.
You’ll likely be glad to know that there are numerous free dining options that are included within your stateroom price, as well as extra dining options that come with a separate fee.
4. You don’t have to spend extra to eat well
So let’s talk about those free dining options that are included within your stateroom price.
Carnival Fascination is outfitted with two main dining rooms, one open for dinner only and operating with an assigned-seating, reserved-time format. The other is open for breakfast, brunch and dinner on select days throughout a cruise and there’s no need for a reservation or assigned seating. The main dining rooms offer a more traditional cruise dining experience, with sit-down service, set menus and more.
Lido Buffet offers all-day dining and a variety of food, in case you want a quick meal and you’d rather serve yourself from a variety of options. Other free dining options include 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 (yes, room service is free!).
Related: Free Carnival Cruise Dining Options
5. It’s not difficult to upgrade your dining experience, either
If you do want to splurge a little bit on your dining experience while aboard Carnival Fascination, you can do so with ease. There are add-on dining options that only cost a few dollars, or that cost around $100. It’s all up to you what you choose.
Sushi at Bonsai Sushi Express, for example, is an add-on dining experience, serving lunch and dinner sushi and sashimi. The Chef’s Table experience is held once per cruise and offers travelers a chance to get a behind-the-scenes look at feeding such a large cruise ship.
Bogart’s Cafe offers sweet treats, coffee and more. You can also order some room service menu items at a price. Families with kids might want to pay to enjoy the Green Eggs and Ham Breakfast, also held once per cruise, during which Dr. Seuss characters eat breakfast alongside families, for a kid-friendly, fun time.
6. You’re never too far from a watering hole
Carnival Fascination cruisers who prefer to party their vacation away will find that you can be practically anywhere on the ship and you’re never too far away from your next drink. There are simply watering holes at every turn, spread all across the decks, for your absolute most convenience.
Some of the newest watering holes include RedFrog Rum Bar, serving poolside Caribbean-style drinks, such as pina coladas and mojitos, and BlueIguana Tequila Bar, right next door and serving similar drinks, just with tequila bases. Alchemy Bar is also relatively new, and one of the ship’s largest bars, where you’ll enjoy a unique concoction cerated by one of the talented mixologists.
Other spaces to enjoy include Piano Bar 88, for drinks and singing along to your favorite tunes; Stars Bar, for grabbing a drink before you head into the casino or enjoy a little live music; and Passage to India, a lounge that hosts a lot of events during the cruises.
No matter what kind of drinks you love, you’ll find that those drinks are certainly a’flowin’ while you’re traveling aboard Carnival Fascination.
7. The outdoor fun is more than plentiful
If you’re on a Caribbean cruise, you’re going to want to make sure you soak up some of that Caribbean sun. You can easily do so aboard Carnival Fascination, thanks to the many recreational activities that are located outdoors, and the fun goes far beyond just the pools.
There’s one pool aboard the ship, on the Lido Deck, and it’s very spacious. There are pool areas for both children and adult swimmers, as the pool is split into both a shallow and a deep end. The pool area is pretty busy, with lots of activities, music, contests and more. There are 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’s also the WaterWorks water park, with several water slides, including the four-story corkscrew slide, the 82-foot racing slides and then the child-friendly slides. Small children will enjoy a water play area created especially for their needs.
If you want to enjoy the sunshine without getting your hair wet, you can certainly do so. There are plenty of places to lay out in the sun and read your book or listen to your favorite podcast. And, if you want to do so away from screaming children, then the Serenity sun deck is the place to be.
You can also tap into your competitive side while enjoying the great outdoors, at the mini golf course, on the jogging track or at the ping pong tables.
8. It’s not difficult to stay entertained
Carnival Fascination really does have tons of ways for you to stay entertained during a cruise. There are two different theaters. One provides Playlist Production shows, offered by Carnival’s in-house theatrical production team in the style of big Broadway hits. The other hosts the Punchliner Comedy Club, where shows range from family-friendly to adults-only, depending on the hour. The theaters also host game shows and other fun activities.
9. Unique activities are on the agenda
Carnival Fascination provides its cruisers with a whole lineup of fun events throughout each day, so you can just pick something that sounds fun and go. Trivia, Q&A sessions with members of the crew, seminars, demonstrations, bingo — you never know what you’re going to find!
10. You’ll enjoy all the comforts of home
Forgot something at home? Ran out of a much-needed toiletry? Just want to get in a little retail therapy? Just because you’re at sea, it doesn’t mean you won’t be able to find the conveniences and amenities of home. Shops aboard Carnival Fascination sell all kinds of items, from souvenirs to toiletries, luxury scents to spirits. Designer shops additionally offer jewelry. The new Cherry on Top candy store sells bulk candy. There’s even a photo gallery where you can purchase photography equipment.
If your main concern is having enough WiFi to get you through your trip, then you’ll be glad to know you can easily pay for a WiFi plan that gives you access to all websites and apps, as well as select streaming services, for just $119 for a week.
Carnival Fascination FAQ:
The Carnival Fascination ship was first floated out in 1994, making it 26 years old.
Carnival Fascination is a Fantasy-class cruise ship, which means it shares many similarities with other Fantasy-class cruise ships, including Carnival Fantasy, Carnival Ecstasy, Carnival Sensation, Carnival Imagination, Carnival Inspiration, Carnival Elation and Carnival Paradise.
There are 10 decks on Carnival Fascination.
Carnival Fascination has one main pool, but it also has a WaterWorks water park, with several water slides. There are three hot tubs.