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Stinger-pr

Stinger-pr's fascinating honeymoon, Fascination cruise review- Oct. 16-23, 2016

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Ok guys, Welcome to my review of my “honeymoon” week on the Carnival Fascination that sailed from San Juan, Puerto Rico on Oct 16-23, 2016. I have been trying to get this thing going basically since getting back (of course after dealing with my post-cruise depression…lol) but I always have to put it on hold for some reason or another. I don’t know why but this always happens when I get back. Maybe it’s because of the backlogged workload from the week I was out…ughh.

Anyway, in short, my (new) DW and I had a blast on the Fascination. I was very nervous about being in a smaller, older, no bells-and-whistles (and only some of the sometimes coveted important 2.0 upgrades like Guy’s Burgers, etc) ship but was I greatly surprised by most of the crew, the shape this ship was in and how the ship came into play with the type of vacation I was looking for.

 

 

Now, a few disclaimers: Opinions vary from person to person and what you will read here are my opinions and those of my wife in some instances. They might not be the same as yours and even if you traveled on the same sailing as us, you might have experienced things differently. But I do hope that our opinions help some and entertain others.

If you have read any of my previous reviews you’ll know that I work in the hospitality/gaming industry and therefore I might sometimes be very (maybe even too) critical of guest services, crew attitude and things like that. You might think it’s ranting or nitpicking but trust me, after 22 years in the business I know that the devil is in the details and even though you might not consciously care, details do start to stack up when not done right and mess with your experience. Yes there were a few things that were off. It wasn’t all perfect as you’ll see when I get into details. But nothing was so major that it lessened our enjoyment of the cruise.

Now, there will also be some differences from your typical (and sometimes awesome) reviews for the Southern Caribbean route out of San Juan. You might find (like in my case) reviews done of salings from the three most recent ships that have been doing the route recently like the Valor, the Liberty and in this case the Fascination. Carnival has changed ships three twice in the past 3 years so there are a few reviews for the same itinerary but on different ships out there. The ship experience will be different in those reviews but they are good reference for info on what to do on the islands since the route has not changed in some time. Another difference here is that I am local to Puerto Rico. That means that I will not be writing about the experience of going through the airport, staying at any hotel, taxis, etc. Last review I forgot to post pictures of and around Old San Juan and other places that might be interesting to folks here so I’ll do so this time around. Feel free to ask whatever you like and I’ll try to answer to the best of my knowledge. That being said, on to the review.

 

 

 

Sunday, October 16, 2016

“As I walked out into the sunlight out of the darkness of my room I had only two things on my mind; I had to let the dogs out to the yard and I’M GOING ON A FREAKING CRUISE!!!”

Boarding in Old San Juan has its peculiarities. One of them being that you have such a long time to board since the ship leaves at 10pm with final check-in time being 8pm (all aboard for those already checked in or those who boarded in Barbados is 8:30pm). There is no staggered boarding (yet) in San Juan and you can start to check in as soon as noon, some people have done so even earlier. Sorry to brag but like I said, we live in PR so it took us all of 20 minutes for our relative to drive us from our home to the pier.

Here’s some pictures making our way into San Juan

A view of Condado Lagoon just before you cross the bridge into San Juan coming from the airport.

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We entered San Juan trough the northern route. This takes a little longer but is more scenic. For those of you that have sailed from the Old San Juan Piers you more than likely use the south route along the not-so-scenic warehouses and old piers. The north route takes you by the Capitol building, and by fort San Cristobal.

What you se below is an alternate, lower level entrance into San Cristobal fort. A lot of out-of-town people don’t know about this entrance which is a much easier walk than going up the side street and then up the ramp to the main entrance to the fort. Also, that lot you see there is public parking. It costs $2 an hour but it’s the only one of the two forts that has parking of any kind in the facility.

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We made a left at the fort, past Plaza Colon, headed south to the pier. This is a view of Plaza Arturo Somohano. This is where a nice row of places to eat begin (or ends, depending if you’re coming or going). In this area you find Toro Salao, Colmado Bar Moreno, Starbucks (Wi-Fi!!), Brickhaus sports bar and grill and Frozen-Yo (a frozen yogurt place where you put all you want in the cup and are charged by the pound). Also a bit further along is Raices, Mojito’s, Lupis and others.

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Finally our first view of the Fascination!!!

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Some of you might have this view as well. These next shots were taken a different day at a different time, though (perks of living close to the port: I get to come back and redo some or take new, extra shots)

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Here are a few shots of the ship and the nice waterfront:

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This is the terminal entrance and where the drop-off point is. At any given time from when debarkation begins until late in the afternoon of embarkation, this will be a very busy place.

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We arrived at the pier at 2:20pm, parked the car at the drop-off driveway, handed the porters our two pieces of luggage and tipped them (usually the “norm” around here is $2 per piece). They asked us if we had our tags in place or if we needed them to secure them to the luggage but we were set already so they took the bags away while we took our carry-ons. (FREE TIP: Have your IDs and boarding passes on hand as soon as you exit the taxi or before you get to the checkpoint since they will ask for them before you move forward). My last two trips, especially the first one, the check in lines were very, very long. Second time was a bit better, but this time there was no lines…ANYWHERE!!!!. Not at the check point outside, not at the check-in counter, not at the x-ray machine, not anywhere!! One note, be sure to have your health questionnaire filled out BEFORE you get to the pier to save time and hassle. This is part of the cruise documents you print out when printing your boarding passes. Just after you pass the checkpoint but before you actually enter the terminal, there will be someone asking for them. If you do not have them filled out, there are a couple of tables with blanks and pens to do so. Also, for those of you that like to document your travel, there are no pictures allowed once inside the terminal. Only the “welcome aboard” pics from Carnival (the first of too-freakin’-many pictures we took) are allowed.

At the check-in counter you will be asked for your passes, ID and credit card if you haven’t already set up an expense account online with Carnival. I had set up a cash account online and while I had previously handed the service agent my cash at this point, this time I had the option (since I had prepaid my tips) to add cash once on board at Guest Services or at the kiosks. I opted to do it later at the kiosks since I had bought some cruise cash already anyway and had some on-board credit too. If you have not pre-paid your tips, you need to do so at this point by adding cash or linking your credit card to your Sail and Sign account since tips are debited from there on the second day and you won’t be able to make any purchases on the ship until you do so. Once we finished checking in they told us where to go to go through the TSA scanners and that our room was ready to use.

Beyond the TSA scanners one change was implemented since last year that will affect a select few. Now, by including this part it does not mean that I practice or condone the smuggling of alcohol into the ships. This is a controversial topic with its own various threads here on Cruise Critic so take this as a “Public Service Announcement” for those who incur in this practice. When the Liberty and the Valor were home ported in San Juan, the gangway to board the ship was a long, zig-zagging tunnel where the ship’s security would be at the end, on the deck waiting to confiscate any liquor or beverages over the allowed limit per person. They spot these items at the TSA scanner and place an orange tag on your bags to let security know they needed to check your bag to confiscate any alcohol, etc as soon as you set foot on the deck. On your way from the TSA scanners to the ship’s deck one could cut the orange tag, hide it, hide the bag inside another (if small enough), change the bottles into a different bag….whatever…inside the gangway since there were no cameras, no TSA or security looking. Now you guys are S.O.L. The security and confiscations desk is RIGHT THERE as you exit the scanner and they have you in plain view. No way or time to make any adjustments to hide whatever you’re trying to drink onboard. If you do they WILL see you.

 

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Day 1: Continued...

Not 30 minutes after parking the car and getting out, I was already taking our first pictures of the inside of the room. This was “Fascinating” (get it?? Yeah, I know… weak joke…).

Don’t mind how the bed sheets look, I threw myself head first in the bed just before realizing I needed the picture…ugghh! We did get a luggage mat this time...lol.

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Just my opinion but the wall art was simply depressing. ALL of the ladies had a face as if their dog just died.

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I found the TV kind of small but it was the same on the Liberty and the Valor still had tube TVs in 2014 so no complaints.

 

We had booked room E130, an ocean view room on the Empress (7th) deck, port side, about mid-ship, right by the mid elevators. This is, by the way, the deck you board the ship in San Juan so as soon as we were finally “dinged” in we took a right and were in front of our door in no time. Finally, after months of waiting and almost having to cancel at one point we were in our cabin!!! I found the room to be of adequate size even for an older ship. Décor was standard Carnival beige and “cherry wood”, but in very good condition. I found it to be in better condition than the Liberty cabin I had last year, honestly. I (being 6’3”) found the bathroom ok but the shower was bit claustrophobic since I think there weren’t even 4 extra inches of ceiling clearance. But it was clean, stocked and everything worked like it should so, no complaints, really. The shower had complimentary shampoo and body wash but we didn’t use them since we brought our own.

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There are two closets (one with two doors, another with one) with ample space to put all your stuff. One had 4 shelves with good space between them but one was almost all taken up by the room safe. The other two closets we used for hanging some of the clothes and putting away our shoes. If I’m not mistaken there were over 10 hangers and two bathrobes (DW became very good friends with one of them over the week…lol). This is also where you will find your life vest. Sorry for the horrible and lived-in pictures guys.

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ARRRGGHH.....Photobucket is, for some reason posting this shot sideways so bear with me guys.

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Day 1 Continued:

 

There’s also a desk with 3 drawers, a bench seat, a vanity mirror and the lone, single electrical outlet in the room (there’s one in the bathroom but it’s labeled as being only for electric razors). This is why I recommend you bring a multi-plug of some kind (NON-surge protected) if you have various things to plug in. I have a 3-into-1 block that was more than enough for our needs.

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There is an extra chair in a corner which for us, was good only as an extra place to put stuff. I guess people sit here and read??

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Everything was in great shape and clean. Once in the room I also noticed that the 12-pack of water bottles I had pre-purchased online was already in the cabin along with the confirmations for the cruise cash I had purchased and a complimentary 1L bottle of water for being Red VIFP.

The room location was excellent for everything. The mid-ship elevators and stairs were just outside our door but besides from the normal traffic, we weren’t bothered by noise except for a somewhat loose metal bar that covered the expansion on the floor on the hallway outside, where they close the hallway door after debarkation to clean the rooms prior to the next wave of guest’s arrival. This was located just after the next cabin’s door and every time a cart, equipment or luggage went over this plate we would clearly hear it inside the room. It wasn’t bothersome most days but on the sea day (when we decided to sleep in) and early the morning of Barbados (where some cruiser debark the ship) the noise woke me a few times.

We were on the same floor as the atrium lobby but never had issues with noise either. Also, the casino and the Stars Bar were just off the mid stair well and some nights the smell of cigarette smoke in the air was noticeable. It never got to be an issue in the room but in public areas near the mid ship stairs, it was very noticeable. We had rooms below us and part of the galley above. Now, I got up around 5:50am most days to go out and get pictures of the sunrise and I can say that only two days did I notice noise from the galley above. It was there, but it wasn’t as if you’re gonna get woken up by it unless you are a very light sleeper. One negative about this room location was that the elevators near the room only went up to deck 9 just in front of one of the casino entrances and Stars Bar. You had to exit the elevator area towards the casino, make two rights and up another flight on a thigh stairwell up to Lido deck 10, right by the pool. The aft elevators made it up to deck 10 just behind the dual buffet area and near the Pizza Pirates, the Deli, salad bar, ice cream machines (there were three together in the same place, but only two were working for the entire cruise) and the aft bar. On the opposite side of the deck was the lobby where you access Sensation dinning room (for those with Any Time Dinning like us) and the Place Theater was just two floors up.

Now, after we left our carry-on stuff in the room and looked around, we decided to go up to grab a bite. Just as we were exiting the room we met our steward (darn it, I forgot his name!!!). We exchanged introductions and requested that a collapsible cooler we brought for the room be filled twice a day with ice (which with the exception of one or two times it always was) since there was no fridge in the stateroom. He promptly came back with our first “round” of ice. And this was basically the longest interaction we had with him. Indeed we always saw him early in the morning or during the evening in the hallway and he always said our names when he addressed us, but being gone most of the time from the room limited our interactions. The room was always cleaned, ice filled as requested, nightly turn-down done as well as towel animals. But we never really connected like other people have. It’s not a bad thing. He did a great job!! It’s just that we didn’t see him much

Anyway, it was about 3:00pm and apparently everyone who was already onboard had an appetite. There was a looong line at the grill for burgers so we decided to look somewhere else. I went to Mongolian Wok to find it had ground to a halt. No one was cooking and the line wasn’t moving. They did post an employee at the back of the line to inform people that “due to a health inspection, they were waiting for all the pans they cook in to come back from the galley where they were being washed before being re-used”. Really…??? What the heck do you guys do with the pans after using them when NOT being inspected? I’ve never heard of this before and I’ve never seen a cooking line completely stopped due to this. The guy said it would be about a 20-30 minute wait so I decided to keep looking. My DW picked a few things from the buffet, which for today the theme was Italian food (sorry, didn’t get a picture of that menu) and I ended up in the deli which only had one other person waiting for food. I had pastrami on rye sandwich which was delicious.

The lunch buffet area:

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The Lido inside seating area.

 

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Aft 3-in-1 counter. This had a bar, The Deli, and Pizza Pirates place

 

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As far as I could tell, they don’t pre cut the meats for the sandwiches. They cut them fresh in front of you and straight into your sandwich. That was different than what I had seen before on the Valor.

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Day 1 Continued:

 

For those looking for some food porn, here's my sandwich:D:

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As I was waiting I glanced to the side to see that there was barely any line for pizzas. Incredibly, as a matter of fact, and at least for my sailing, that would be the case for the whole cruise, no matter what time I went. Longest line I saw must’ve been around 15 people and it moved fast. Past two cruises, the lines were so long most of the time that by the time you actually made it to the counter, you weren’t hungry anymore…lol.

After lunch we decided to roam the ship to get our bearings and see what was around for a few minutes. I have to say I was impressed with the shape of the ship inside and out! If you were taken blindfolded into the ship, no way would you feel this is a 20-something year old ship. Someone was always cleaning something somewhere all the time. The outside areas were also in tip-top shape and you REALLY had to look hard to find rust spots on the metal anywhere (at least on the areas were we frequented). Other than the dated and somewhat tacky (by 2016 standards) metal palm tree decoration on the Lido buffet area I’d say this was a very fine ship that was being very well, taken care of.

The Atrium lobby area which is also the place where you board the ship in San Juan. That line on the left was for guest services. It would stay long all day. On the bottom left you’ll see one of the two Sail & Sign kiosks of the ship.

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Atrium lobby Elevators. One of the two stopped working during part of the cruise.

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Here’s another perspective of the Atrium and the long line at guest services.

Right to the left of the bar, just in front of the stairs is where the musicians set up. We were always listening to Luke and his acoustic jams whenever we passed by.

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Carnival Waterworks area deck 11 aft

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Day 1 Continued:

 

Some more pictures from around the ship while we were exploring:

 

The Palace Theater

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Theater upper seating area

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Stealing a line from Mitsugirly’s reviews “this is to show that I was there”…hahaha. Yup, That's me!! (but what the hell happened to my hair??)

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The art auctions room

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Aft Punchliner comedy lounge

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For those of you who ask, yes. The double-decker bus is running in Old San Juan and in Isla Verde. Neither loop intersects, BTW. And there’s no way you can change over from one bus to the other. Sorry but I don’t really have much more info on them.

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Day 1 Continued:

 

Usually the Fascination is the only ship in port on Sundays before the Caribbean season (winter to most folks) begins, but today Royal Caribbean's Adventure of the Seas was still docked when it should’ve left last night. Turns out it was getting loaded with stuff in order to begin work on her while underway to her dry dock, which was scheduled for 6 weeks but got shortened due to damage to the dry docks in the Bahamas form hurricane Matthew.

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Also near the ship was the mega yatch Elysian

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I'll hit the pause button for tonight since it's 3:45am here in Puerto Rico and, believe it or not I'm actually at work. Next post will be about dinner service, American Table (a favorite topic of a lot of people here in CC), table cloths (oh, boy!!) and... Did we miss the Sail away party?? Good night (or morning) everyone.

Edited by Stinger-pr

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Thanks for letting me re-live our cruise through your eyes! I keep looking for myself in your pictures :o.

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I was so happy to find that you got your review started when I got on CC a little while ago!!!! As you know, I love your reviews and the great pictures you get, so I'm definitely following along and looking forward to the rest. BTW, can't believe you started this while at work. :eek: LOL!!! I also love the "Outsiders" reference. One of my favorite books/movies.

 

Thank you for taking the time to do another review. :)

Edited by pghsteelerfan

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Stealing a line from Mitsugirly’s reviews “this is to show that I was there”…hahaha. Yup, That's me!! (but what the hell happened to my hair??)

 

lol....glad I just found your review. I have something to keep ME entertained with now. :D

Edited by mitsugirly

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Thanks for letting me re-live our cruise through your eyes! I keep looking for myself in your pictures :o.

Thanks for your words. I did a little of that re-living when you posted yours. So, I hope you enjoy mine as well.

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Nice photos.

 

Thanks!!

 

LOVE The Outsider's quote! Great way to start a review!

I was wondering how many would catch that. Hope you like the rest of the review.

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I was so happy to find that you got your review started when I got on CC a little while ago!!!! As you know, I love your reviews and the great pictures you get, so I'm definitely following along and looking forward to the rest. BTW, can't believe you started this while at work. :eek: LOL!!! I also love the "Outsiders" reference. One of my favorite books/movies.

 

Thank you for taking the time to do another review. :)

 

Well, yeah... I started at work but no one else has to know...lol. Glad to know you're following along. I hope you guys enjoy it.

 

BTW I also love the Outsiders book. It was maybe the first English language novel I read from cover to cover way back when.

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lol....glad I just found your review. I have something to keep ME entertained with now. :D

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Hey! Nice of you to tag along. I hope you do enjoy it.

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Ok, I'm back for a while so I'm going to get something out of the way concerning what cameras I used for the trip. I have a Canon SX50HS which for the first time in a long time shared primary camera duties with (gasp!!) a smartphone. A few months ago I upgraded to a Galaxy S7 smartphone (which thankfully hasn't burst into flames....yet) and its camera has turned out to be top notch. One of the features I discovered during this trip is that it has the ability to take RAW pictures which is great since that way I can better color correct later without loosing too much details. For the under and near water pictures I use an old but nice Nikon AW100. It might not have a lot of the bells and whistles of newer cameras but it does it's job nicely.

 

I use Adobe Lightroom for color and sometimes exposure correction. Other than some faux-HDR filters on a few pics, nothing fancy or extreme was done to the pictures. Just trying to convey what my eyes saw at the moment. I have been going through almost 2500 pictures and some videos.Sometimes the underwater pics are the most difficult to work with because you correct for one thing and another comes out all screwed up so it's a delicate balance.

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I see the lobby bar was not staffed during those photos. Is that the norm for embarkation day? I love spending 30-45 minutes or so people watching while enjoying a couple of drinks.

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Day 1 Continued:

 

We then headed to the room to find my bag had arrived so I started to unpack while we waited for my DW’s bag. Her bag came in about 30 minutes later and once we were all unpacked and settled in, we started to get ready for dinner. We had Your Time Dining which meant we could go eat at anytime between 5:45 and 9:30pm. Two differences tonight: It was open seating so anyone from any dinning room, assigned or YTD could visit whichever dinning room they preferred…..in theory. I overheard a greeter tell a couple they needed to go to the Imagination dinning room since it was were they were assigned so I don’t know if they have started to change the “open seating” concept for the first night or what. Second, just for tonight, the latest time for dinner was 8:00pm due to the fact that at 9pm the muster drill would be taking place and everyone had to be out of the dinning rooms by then. We arrived at the Sensation dinning room around 6:30pm and requested a table for two (something we did every night and always got) and were promptly seated and had menus in hand a few minutes later. Unfortunately, this would be the only thing that happened quickly in the dinning room due to a string of lackluster and sometimes slow service at dinner that would last much of the cruise.

 

It took almost 15 minutes for anyone to even approach the table after we were handed the menu. Our waiter started going over the different parts of the menu and our food options. This was a first for me and it turns out it would not happen again on the next nights. At the time I hadn’t noticed but we were looking at the newly implemented American Table dinning experience and menus, so maybe that's why he was going into such details. When I say “newly implemented” I mean like it started on the Fascination with our sailing, much to the apparent annoyance of some of the Cruise Critic audience. Other than very long dinner services most of the week, for us, this was not an issue whatsoever. Overall the food was great every night although the portions varied greatly depending on what you ordered.

 

FREE TIP: The forward Sensation dinning room also serves breakfast and the Sea Day breakfast brunch and post the menus right outside the front door. But the Imagination dining room aft post the night's dinner menu as well either very early or after the previous night's service. So if you want a sneak peak at the menu early on, head to the elevator lobby just in front of the Imagination dinning room entrance, 8th floor (I don't recall looking for the dinner menu early in the Sensation entrance, though). Here I saw something I didn't see at the Sensation and that was a complete wine list and wine packages. I'll post a pic of the wine packages later on when I find it.

 

So anyway the menus for tonight were as follows:

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BTW: Those are NOT our water stains on the menu. We were handed the menus that way.

 

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Now, I know there has been LOTS of discussion here about this American Table experience; the food, the table cloths etc… Our impression is that…whatever!! The only complain we really had was that there should be an extra napkin to put your fork, spoon, etc. on while not using them while there were no plates at the table. I didn’t like putting them straight on the table so I used either the plates or my napkin to put them on. Water rings from the glasses really didn’t bother and neither did the fact that there were no table cloths. It did NOT, in any way, take away from our dinning experience (poor service did that on its own) nor did it hamper, ruin, take away from or destroy our cruise. Plates, glasses and silverware were all spotless and that is what really mattered to us. One thing I do have to complain about: for all but the formal nights, there was a bottle of the house wine on the tables as well as two wine glasses. For those who are seated on two-tops and don’t buy this wine or take their own into the MDR the bottle and glasses just take up too much space on the table. The bottles serve as hangers for a cute stone-on-a-rope with the table number so I guess the must stay, but for crying out loud If you ask if I’d be having wine and I say no, do I really have to ask to please remove the wine glasses from the table?

 

We had our order taken and a few minutes later our apps arrived. We both had the Masitas de Puerco Fritas (fried pork chunks) from the Port of Call section of the menu which were very, very good. They arrived hot and were nice with good flavor and tender. Sorry I seem to have not taken a picture of them. Then we sat with our plates empty for quite some time. By the time they retrieved our plates and brought in our mains, we’d been seated for just over an hour!!

 

I had a very tender, juicy, tasty and hot chicken breast with a side of hot potato and DW had the flat iron steak, baked potato and a side of fries She had fries everyday, even when not in the menu and none of the waiters said they weren’t available so if you want fries any day, all you have to do is ask.

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Day 1 Continued:

 

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Poor picture, I know. But look at that steak. Do they keep getting smaller every year? I mean the freakin’ potato is bigger than the steak!! Is the steak now a side and the potato your main part of the dish?

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The steak, although small, was thick but well cooked and tasty. No one was seen around with the toppings for the baked potatoes though. This was a recurrence all week and twice we asked for topping that never came tonight.

 

 

After a few more minutes of looking at empty plates, they were taken away and we ordered our desserts. We had one chocolate melting cake (two scoops of vanilla ice cream) each and a Nutella Tiramisu to share (BTW I am a HUGE Nutella fan!!). My melting cake was spot on, but DW’s turned unto a gooey pudding-like thing as soon as she put a spoon into it, two different textures for the same thing.

 

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"Nutella" Tiramisu. This tasted NOTHING like Nutella and was very bland. We didn't even finish half of it.

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All in all dinner service took well over an hour and a half from the time we were handed the menus to when we stood up and left as soon as we were done with dessert. I don’t know if it was the open seating part of the night or the changeover to a new menu but our perception was that it took so darn long between courses to the point that we were constantly staring at empty plates in the tables. Is having a three-course 1:45-2hr dinner service normal?? Hopefully tomorrow would be better.

After dinner we wandered around the ship, and waited for 9pm to come around for the muster drill. They started calling everyone to their stations around 9:05pm and the whole drill lasted about 35-40 minutes, mostly indoors. This time around it was so much different than previous two cruises in that last time you went outside to your assigned station (look for it on your S&S card and behind your room door) and waited until everything was done. This time, if I’m not mistaken, everyone had a meeting place inside the ship depending or your station. All explanations were done in English and Spanish and when done, everyone was led outside by groups to their respective lifeboats. Once at the boats, we were all dismissed within 5 minutes by the station crew. No formal dismissal announcement was heard through the loudspeakers. We walked up to deck 11 aft and settled into a lounger for a while to watch the ship set sail.

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Day 1 Continued:

 

Here's some shots as we were pulling out of Old San Juan and out of the bay:

 

Our former parking space

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Old San Juan docks waterfront

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The Capitol building all decked in purple lighting to commemorate breast cancer awareness during the month of October.

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"Battleship Row"...sort of. USCG boats at the San Juan base

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Day 1 Continued:

 

The Palacio de Santa Catalina or “La Fortaleza” This is the Puerto Rico Governor’s residence and it’s the oldest executive mansion in continuous use in the New World.IMG_3650_zpsz7gn8vfi.jpg

 

 

El Morro by night. I gotta get me some more nighttime photography practice. …Or maybe a better camera. Honey… Christmas is coming!!!

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BTW: The lighthouse at El Morro no longer has a rotating light like traditional lighthouses. They "upgraded" to a newer blinking light...maybe a high powered LED system? It sucks because it took away some of the site's nighttime character.

 

After taking some pictures of San Juan we went back to see the sail away party and wondered if they had another party somewhere else or if we had missed it. I tell you, I have seen quinceañeros (Latinos equivalent to a “sweet sixteen” but at 15 years old) parties in Puerto Rico with more people than this sail away!! I mean, there were people dancing and watching and having a good time but compared to the PACKED parties I witnessed on the Valor and the Liberty this one did not live up to the hype

 

2014 Valor Sail Away party:

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2015 Liberty Sail Away party:

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2016 Fascination Sail Away party:

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What you see is all you get.There weren't many people behind or to the sides of those on the lower level and on the level we were at, there weren't many around us either. It was like a 85% Latino (or Puerto Rican) attendance. Didn't the rest of the passenger come to have fun? Or were they just on the sidelines watching the Latinos make asses of themselves dancing?? jajajaja

 

 

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Day 1 Final:

 

 

Another Sail Away Party picture:

IMG_3656_zpsmdo3fhht.jpg

 

 

At one point they asked everyone to join the Fun Squad on the Lido stage and when they did, not many people were left round, just small bunches of friends or families. Almost everyone fit on the stage. When this happened, most of the people that were watching from the above decks also disappeared.

 

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To be honest, I didn’t find this sail away party as engaging as others I’ve experienced. By the way they were “teaching” everyone the dance moves they’d be using; you could’ve sworn you were at an aerobics class juts going through the motions. I don’t know about others but I was a bit disappointed. I know that this ship is much smaller in capacity than the previous Conquest-class ships but still, my take was that attendance was lackluster.

At this point we also decided to leave. We got to our room to find our first towel animal (a stingray), next day’s Fun Times and our bed had been turned down. Now for those wondering, we never saw any card asking about how often to service our room and were never questioned but our steward. We had turn down service done every night, no questions asked. So anyway, were in bed just after midnight. Tomorrow we get up bright and early for St. Thomas!

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