slara1961

slara1961

Second Mate
Jacksonville
Joined 08/2010

17

Cruises

8

Reviews

41

Helpful Votes

Married 25 years to Marty. Daughter Brittany (25), son Tim (23).

Past Cruises

Carnival Sunshine

January 2016 - 7 Night Eastern Caribbean (Port Canaveral Roundtrip) Cruise on Carnival Sunshine

Carnival Sunshine

September 2015 - 5 Night Bahamas (Port Canaveral Roundtrip) Cruise on Carnival Sunshine

Carnival Fascination

September 2015 - 4 Night Bahamas (Jacksonville Roundtrip) Cruise on Carnival Fascination

Carnival Fascination

August 2015 - 5 Night Bahamas (Jacksonville Roundtrip) Cruise on Carnival Fascination

Maasdam

January 2015 - 10 Night Eastern Caribbean (Ft. Lauderdale Roundtrip) Cruise on Maasdam

Westerdam

November 2014 - 7 Night Eastern Caribbean (Ft. Lauderdale Roundtrip) Cruise on Westerdam

Carnival Fascination

September 2014 - 4 Night Bahamas (Jacksonville Roundtrip) Cruise on Carnival Fascination

Westerdam

March 2014 - 7 Night Eastern Caribbean (Ft. Lauderdale Roundtrip) Cruise on Westerdam

Carnival Dream

November 2013 - 7 Night Eastern Caribbean (Port Canaveral roundtrip) Cruise on Carnival Dream

Carnival Fascination

September 2013 - 5 Night Bahamas (Jacksonville roundtrip) Cruise on Carnival Fascination

Carnival Fascination. #Winning in so MANY ways!

Wow! I just returned from a great 5 day cruise on the Carnival Fascination, so here’s my thoughts: 1) Anticipation. I booked this cruise in July using my military (veterans) rate which made this cruise VERY affordable. Thanks to Micky Arison and everyone at Carnival for this great discount. I had a group of 5 adult guys and their sons so it made for a total of 12 men. (My son Tim is 26 and lives in Tampa, but he couldn’t make it). For months we talked about the cruise, I gave them tips and organized everything from parking to drop off, from dining assignment to, well, it was all me. 2) Boarding at JaxPort. Our group lives about 15 minutes away from the cruise terminal at JaxPort which makes it affordable and easy. (Special thanks to Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown, our city council and JaxChamber for continuing to support our cruise port!) My friend Dwight is a Platinum VIFP so he was able to get Priority check in with those in his cabin (his two teenage grandsons).What a great way to board the ship! The rest of the group boarded as usual, but it was fast! The people at the cruise terminal in Jacksonville had smiles on their faces and were VERY helpful! 3) The Carnival Fascination. I’ve sailed on the Fascination MANY times in the past and it’s always great to “come home”. Our cabins were aft on the Riviera Deck and close to each other which made it nice. The ship received a multimillion-dollar renovation in January of 2010 and it still looks great. 4) Dining. You wouldn’t think the words Carnival and escargot would be spoken in the same sentence, but my group was impressed that escargot was on the menu. My friend Dwight asked me to ask the staff if we could have escargot EVERY night. The staff was happy to fulfill our request! One night we even had chateaubriand! 5) Entertainment. Carnival recently rolled out the “Playlist Productions”. Keep in mind the Fascination doesn’t have most of the 2.0 updates, but they do have the DJ and Playlist Productions. Click on this link from Cruise Radio to learn more: http://cruiseradio.net/carnival-rolls-out-playlist-productions-as-part-of-fun-ship-2-0-initiative-4-new-shows/ 6. CoCo Cay/Little Stirrup Cay. Carnival recently added the Cay to its itinerary. I have visited the Cay years ago while on the Monarch of the Seas and really enjoyed it. The tender ride was very short, the beach is incredible, their are a TON of beach lounge chairs and the lunch was good. 7. Nassau Nassau is Nassau. Been here many times. I do strongly recommend visiting the Sheraton Nassau Beach Resort & Casino located on Cable Beach. It’s a short $7 p.p. cab ride to the resort. You can purchase a day pass so that you can enjoy the incredible pools, bars and atmosphere! Check out all the details here: http://www.starwoodhotels.com/sheraton/property/overview/index.html?propertyID=3067 8. Disembarkation You have two choices. Traditional or Self Assist. Traditional is where you put your luggage out your cabin door the night before you arrive in port. You have colored/numbered tags which designate when you get off the ship. Those that have to catch flights home get off the ship first, while those that drive will be getting off the ship later. My choice was the Self Assist option because some members of my group wanted to get home (only a 15 minute car ride) immediately! If you able to CARRY your bags without needing assistance, you can basically walk off the ship when the announcement is made (shortly after the ship clears customs). It amazes me how many people want to get off the ship as soon as possible. Why not enjoy your vacation as long as possible? It also amazed me how many people struggled with heavy awkward baggage just so they could leave the ship early. I can understand if they have to catch a flight, but it was hard watching so many people fumbling and bumbling with their heavy luggage. 9. Shout Out I want to thank the Captain and crew of the Carnival Fascination for making our vacation enjoyable and memorable. Many members of my group commented to me how impressed they were with the food, service and cleanliness of the ship. We plan on making this an annual event and I know that my wife Marty and I will be back on the Carnival Fascination very soon also. Special shouts to Micky Arison, @cclsupport and everyone at Carnival corporate who day in and day out make cruising fun, affordable and safe. Shouts to Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown, our city council and JaxPort. I liked this cruise because of the great price, close to home, and the ship is clean. I primarily sail on Holland America Line, but they aren't in Florida in September! As my wife and I live in Florida, we like to support our local economy! If you are a family and you want to have fun, the Carnival Fascination is a great choice! Follow me on Twitter @scottlara1961

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Eurodam

March 2013 - 7 Night Eastern Caribbean (Ft. Lauderdale roundtrip) Cruise on Eurodam

Eurodam

March 2013 - 7 Night Eastern Caribbean (Ft. Lauderdale roundtrip) Cruise on Eurodam

Eurodam

November 2012 - 7 Night Eastern Caribbean (Ft. Lauderdale roundtrip) Cruise on Eurodam

Carnival Fascination

September 2012 - 5 Night Bahamas (Jacksonville roundtrip) Cruise on Carnival Fascination

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p style=margin-bottom: 0in font face=Times New Roman, seriffont size=4 style=font-size: 16ptCarnival Fascination: The good and bad/font/font p style=margin-bottom: 0in p style=margin-bottom: 0in font face=Times New Roman, seriffont size=4 style=font-size: 16ptI 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./font/font p style=margin-bottom: 0in font face=Times New Roman, seriffont size=4 style=font-size: 16ptSome history first. In March of 2012, I was a chaperone for a group of 28 high school seniors. When we booked the ldquo;triplesrdquo; (3 people to a cabin) we were informed Carnival that we wanted cabins with those ldquo;pull downrdquo; units. This makes life so much easier for cabin space, but no. When we came on board, we heard the typical song and dance, ldquo;wersquo;re full, wersquo;re overbooked, itrsquo;s spring break, blah blah blah.rdquo;/font/font p style=margin-bottom: 0in font face=Times New Roman, seriffont size=4 style=font-size: 16ptWe 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./font/font p style=margin-bottom: 0in font face=Times New Roman, seriffont size=4 style=font-size: 16ptEveryone sucked it up and made the best of a bad situation. I did not appreciate sleeping on a mattress /font/fontfont face=Times New Roman, seriffont size=4 style=font-size: 16ptbon the floor/b/font/fontfont face=Times New Roman, seriffont size=4 style=font-size: 16pt, but heck, Irsquo;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 8orsquo;s (U.S.S. Samuel Eliot Morison FFG-13)./font/font p style=margin-bottom: 0in font face=Times New Roman, seriffont size=4 style=font-size: 16ptFast forward to Sept 1, 2012. We booked two cabins (again triples). We informed Carnival when we booked that we insisted on those ldquo;pull downrdquo; wall units so we would have enough space to walk around the cabin and avoid sleeping on a mattress /font/fontfont face=Times New Roman, seriffont size=4 style=font-size: 16ptbon the floor/b/font/fontfont face=Times New Roman, seriffont size=4 style=font-size: 16pt./font/font p style=margin-bottom: 0in font face=Times New Roman, seriffont size=4 style=font-size: 16ptNope./font/font p style=margin-bottom: 0in font face=Times New Roman, seriffont size=4 style=font-size: 16ptWe walked into our cabins and the room stewards told us they would be bringing our mattresses shortly./font/font p style=margin-bottom: 0in font face=Times New Roman, seriffont size=4 style=font-size: 16ptI was fit to be tied. Note to ALL cruise lines. First impressions are CRITICAL. /font/font p style=margin-bottom: 0in font face=Times New Roman, seriffont size=4 style=font-size: 16ptI immediately tweeted cclsupport (@cclsupport) and told them of the problem. They emailed the ship and asked them to investigate the problem./font/font p style=margin-bottom: 0in font face=Times New Roman, seriffont size=4 style=font-size: 16ptWhen I went to guest services I heard the typical song and dance. Wersquo;re full, itrsquo;s labor day weekend, blah blah, frickin blah. Check back tomorrow we will let you know if anything becomes available./font/font p style=margin-bottom: 0in font face=Times New Roman, seriffont size=4 style=font-size: 16ptNote to ALL cruise lines. If you have someone who has been STRONGLY supporting you via Twitter, YouTube and by being an avid ldquo;brand ambassadorrdquo;, 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./font/font p style=margin-bottom: 0in font face=Times New Roman, seriffont size=4 style=font-size: 16ptAnyway, we were moved into our new cabins with those pull down units on day 2 of the cruise and all seemed betterhellip;until,/font/font p style=margin-bottom: 0in font face=Times New Roman, seriffont size=4 style=font-size: 16ptMy 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 ldquo;activatedrdquo;. Sure it worked the cabin door, but I guess the credit card wasnrsquo;t linked to the sail and sign card./font/font p style=margin-bottom: 0in font face=Times New Roman, seriffont size=4 style=font-size: 16ptI 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./font/font p style=margin-bottom: 0in font face=Times New Roman, seriffont size=4 style=font-size: 16ptMy 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, ldquo;Oh, I need your photo ID also!rdquo; /font/font p style=margin-bottom: 0in p style=margin-bottom: 0in font face=Times New Roman, seriffont size=4 style=font-size: 16ptBy 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 didnrsquo;t even look at his photo id and promptly rectified the problem./font/font p style=margin-bottom: 0in font face=Times New Roman, seriffont size=4 style=font-size: 16ptAnother point I want to make is that this is not the only incident of Fascination staff not being on the same page. /font/font p style=margin-bottom: 0in font face=Times New Roman, seriffont size=4 style=font-size: 16ptI 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. /font/font p style=margin-bottom: 0in font face=Times New Roman, seriffont size=4 style=font-size: 16ptGranted, 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 didnrsquo;t have a photo ID we needed to bring their birth certificates (so we thought)./font/font p style=margin-bottom: 0in font face=Times New Roman, seriffont size=4 style=font-size: 16ptWe 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 wasnrsquo;t about to run back to the cabin to do that!/font/font p style=margin-bottom: 0in font face=Times New Roman, seriffont size=4 style=font-size: 16ptAround 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./font/font p style=margin-bottom: 0in font face=Times New Roman, seriffont size=4 style=font-size: 16ptWe had a great day on Half Moon Cay as the weather was PERFECT, however the lunch wasnrsquo;t anything to write home about./font/font p style=margin-bottom: 0in p style=margin-bottom: 0in font face=Times New Roman, seriffont size=4 style=font-size: 16ptI 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./font/font p style=margin-bottom: 0in font face=Times New Roman, seriffont size=4 style=font-size: 16ptWhat was also disappointing is that they ran out of snorkel rental gear on Half Moon Cay by 10:45 a.m. /font/font p style=margin-bottom: 0in font face=Times New Roman, seriffont size=4 style=font-size: 16ptAnother issue I want to point out is the soda card. In the past I was under the impression you couldnrsquo;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./font/font p style=margin-bottom: 0in font face=Times New Roman, seriffont size=4 style=font-size: 16ptI 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./font/font p style=margin-bottom: 0in font face=Times New Roman, seriffont size=4 style=font-size: 16ptThe 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. /font/font p style=margin-bottom: 0in font face=Times New Roman, seriffont size=4 style=font-size: 16ptSeveral 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). /font/font p style=margin-bottom: 0in font face=Times New Roman, seriffont size=4 style=font-size: 16ptThey asked me (as many people do) ldquo;Hey Scott, what is my favorite cruise line?rdquo;/font/font p style=margin-bottom: 0in font face=Times New Roman, seriffont size=4 style=font-size: 16ptWhat do you think I said?/font/font p style=margin-bottom: 0in font face=Times New Roman, seriffont size=4 style=font-size: 16ptScott Lara /font/font p style=margin-bottom: 0in

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Maasdam

March 2012 - 25-day Southern Caribbean Cruise on ms Maasdam

Cruise Tips

Carnival Dream

Carnival Dream

When you board, go to the aft pool and grab a sandwich from the deli!

Carnival Fascination

Carnival Fascination

Board early! If you have a ton of luggage, don't try self assist!

Carnival Fascination

Carnival Fascination

Carnival Fascination

Carnival Fascination

Triple check your cabin BEFORE you go on the boat. Ensure if you asked for a triple, that you are getting a "pullman" bunk. Carnival will throw a mattress on the floor if you don't have a pullman! Follow me on Twitter @scottlara1961

Maasdam

Maasdam

You can go straight to your cabin upon boarding!

Eurodam

Eurodam

Be sure to carry a 2 liter bottle of soda off the ship when you go to Half Moon Cay!

Eurodam

Eurodam

Have fun!

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