With minor improvements to the ship concerning entertainment and food this would be a great cruise. I would go again because I feel like there was more to see on each island.
5 out of 5
Embarkation went really smoothly. We took an Uber from Barrachina’s to the port. Upon arrival, we were able to get our bags to the porters within about 5 minutes and go through security within about 10-15 minutes. We received expedited embarkation because we booked a suite so the lines were never long. The longest part was just walking to get onto the ship.
Food and Dining
3 out of 5
Overall, my favorite meal is always breakfast. The Fascination doesn’t have some of the offerings of bigger ships so you would expect the food to be better, but unfortunately that is not the case. The lunch/dinner buffet was ok, and the lines were always super long. I’ve never experienced that consistently on other ships. I tried brunch in the Sensational Dining Room, and it was pretty much the same food from the buffet but in a more relaxed environment. My favorite food was the brisket burger that I had for brunch one day. The portions are really small in the dining rooms, but the staff always asks if you would like more. Dessert was a miss for me. Really hope they improve the dining experience in the future.
4 out of 5
The Love & Marriage Show was awesome. I would definitely recommend. I also participated in bingo and a show similar to Family Feud. Surprisingly, the onboard activities had minimal participants for the activities I participated in, but this is the only cruise that I’ve been on where you visit a new port everyday so maybe people were napping or out to port or eating. I hope the ship will be refurbished with a movie screen one day. I missed watching movies on deck at night; however, I think they were available in one of the rooms were stage performances were held.
5 out of 5
The onboard DJs and ship director were awesome. Unfortunately, I never made it to a stage show. But the deck activities and music were great.
Service and Staff
5 out of 5
Our room steward (Joseph) was awesome. He was always accommodating but never intrusive. The pizza guy deserves a raise because the lines were always super long, and he got those pizzas out with a smile even after working solo and dealing with irritated customers. The waiters in the buffet area were always nice and willing to get things for you.
4 out of 5
Overall, the ship was really clean and well maintained to be an older ship. I stayed in suite V27, and you could tell the baseboards and some of the shelving hadn’t been dusted in a whole which was a little disappointing.
Cabin / Stateroom
4 out of 5
We were offered and upgrade to an obstructed view cabin (V27) on Deck 11. Even the views were not the best from the balcony. I absolutely loved my room and deck. It’s only about 20 something rooms so it was super quiet and usually very easy to get an elevator. We had easy access to lounge chairs outside on Deck 11. The room was spacious to me, but I’ve only stayed in interior rooms. It had two twin beds and a couch. The balcony was narrow, but it was quiet because our room was at the end of the hallway. Our balcony also had a lot of privacy because were blocked by the life boats in front and nobody really walked on the deck below because of them.Our room steward was wonderful. Thanks, Joseph.
Plan your shore excursions. We winged it to save money (meaning we found tours on our own when we arrived in port), and I was disappointed about a couple of them.
This was my favorite island. We took an island tour that was very educational, and we spent time at Friar’s Bay. The beach was beautiful and not crowded at all. There were plenty of activities and a bar/restaurant.
I took a taxi to the Boatyard which cost me $5. It was $25 to enter the Boatyard which included a complimentary drink, access to beach chairs and dressing rooms and bathrooms. Your transportation back to the ship was also included in the $25. They do not allow you to participate in water activities such as jet skis because of insurance liability. Not sure where people were booking those activities. However, there was a dock with a rope for diving and a complimentary snorkel/turtle tour. The wait times were long for the tours. The pros were that the sand and beach were absolutely stunning. Barbados has the softest white sand. However, the beach was crowded and filled with smokers. Not relaxing at all.
I did not get to experience the island like I wanted to. If I ever come back, I’ll book a preplanned excursion. It rained like crazy so exploring was delayed. We booked a party bus at the port which was supposed to start a tour at 10, but the drivers delayed our time trying to fill the bus to capacity. We wasted 2 hours so they could meet their quota which really ticked me. The party bus was loud so hearing the history of the island was pointless. Midway during the tour our bus broke down on a busy highway. Even though they sent buses, I went back to the ship because I was disgusted at this point.
3 out of 5
We opted to have our luggage carried off for us because we weren’t catching a flight or anything. I would NOT recommend this if you are in a hurry. The disembarkation process was slow. People who opted to carry their own luggage were allowed to disembark first, and it took about 30-45 minutes before the next deck was called. Like I said, we opted to hang around San Juan so we were in no hurry, but we sat in the dining hall forever waiting to be called off the ship.
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