Jump to content
Cruise Critic Community
Stinger-pr

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

Recommended Posts

Day 2 Continued:

 

Sometimes the fish swarm you like this:

DSCN0859_zpsdxszjowg.jpg

 

Some Doctor fish (?) also arrived

 

DSCN0872_zpse9m8jwap.jpg

 

I think there were some type of Jacks around there somewhere. Maybe Yellow Jaks?

DSCN0867_zpsa1djrmze.jpg

 

DSCN0874_zpsmaypoxuw.jpg

 

DSCN0883_zpso067pux9.jpg

 

The water here is so clear and it was sunny out so it made you feel as if you're swimming in and aquarium.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Day 2 Continued:

 

We decided to swim to the far right side of the beach and over to where the rocks are. There you can see even more different fish and marine plant and coral life.

The brown fish in the picture I can’t really ID but there’s a Yellow Tail Parrot fish (obvious) and a Blue Tang as well as a Schoolmaster on the bottom picture (lower left, stripes). Also on the bottom picture, notice the swell on the top of the picture. This was basically a tame one since they tended to vary from small to larger swells. That’s what made if so difficult to move over and around the rocks.

 

DSCN0897_zpsrnz5klx8.jpg

 

DSCN0896_zps60bktgtl.jpg

 

A trumpetfish and a type of Damsel (brown) maybe? I can’t ID the other to the right.

DSCN0901_zpsdnp4diip.jpg

 

Trumpetfish and Blue Tang

DSCN0902_zpsml2mhioe.jpg

The area where the rocks are was a very interesting area. Unfortunately we didn’t spend much time over and around it due to the swells and current. It was difficult to control yourself over the rocks and we were sometimes around very large urchins and sharp rocks so after a few more pics we decided to head to shore.

 

DSCN0921_zps3ugcb1r3.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Day 2 Continued:

 

We had brought a large blanket so we didn’t rent any chairs and we used the trees at the beach for shade so I can’t really say anything about prices for rentals. There were also much more people on the beach and in the water than when we arrived but like I said, it never really got crowded. Certainly this is one great benefit of this cruise; at this time of the year, you’re more than likely be the only ship in port.

20161017_110107_zpso99bii6u.jpg

20161017_111553_zpskj7zkgcv.jpg

We did have a beer (7oz.) and a Piña Colada and spent a whopping $13.

20161017_113141_zpslgpom5hq.jpg

 

 

FREE TIP (and a word of caution): My server stated she had no change for a $20 but could bring us something else if we wanted. DON’T FALL FOR THIS!! It’s almost mid-day for crying out loud, how could you possibly not have change for a $20 bill?? All they want is to coerce you into another sell. Either take some small bills with you or demand your change. I overheard another server say the same thing to another couple nearby so… We spent about two hours at Coki (about 75 minutes in the water). After people watching, finishing our drinks and drying up enough we packed and left for our second destination: Sapphire Beach.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I just got back from my second trip on her this past Sunday, the first trip being last May. Found some differences that I may go into at another time, the experience not as great as the first one, just not sure if it was just the crowd last week or not.

As far as the Sheraton, second time there, so easy to just walk to the ship, and convenient with a Walgreen's on the bottom level. There was stuff I just waited to buy once I got there.

It's too bad, really. From what I have gathered from previous comments from cruisers that have sailed on the Fascination is that since moving to Puerto Rico, the service has gone a bit downhill. I don't see how the crowd would affect this (unless the crew let the crowd get under their skins). But I can see how service CAN affect the crowd.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Thank you. Just home from work and getting my fix ---- Stinger-pr ---- more please !!

 

 

Sent from my iPad using Forums

 

More coming....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Day 2 Continued:

 

Sapphire Beach

 

While planning my second stop a while back I had a few options that I wanted to try out this time. For example, after reading Mitsugirly’s review I really wanted to go to Lindquist beach but wanted to do some more snorkeling and have some facilities nearby. Lindquist is not really known for its snorkeling so we crossed that out. We also considered Secret Harbor but it would be a stretch later when I would make my scenic run to the other side of the island. So in the end we decided to go somewhere close to Coki and accesible for my planned return route. that meant we ended up going to Sapphire beach and in the end of our stop there, we would not be disappointed with our decision, although at first we (well, mostly I) weren’t so sure it would be like that.

 

This is the entrance into the Sapphire Beach complex

20161017_120716_zpsiyqyw0xt.jpg

 

As you might’ve read in other reviews, when you arrive at the compound you’d guess it’s abandoned because it looks darn run down and boarded up. DW actually asked me if I was sure that I was at the right place. Some of the buildings that near the gravel, grass and mud parking lot are “under construction” and have been that way for years now with no apparent progress.

 

20161017_140601_zpsgo3f2bec.jpg

 

Above is the roundabout adjacent to the parking lot. This is where the taxis will be waiting to take passengers back to the ship.

The beach access is through those two buildings…

DSCN0926_zpswzwm4wg1.jpg

 

…Of which this one has been like this the last three times I’ve been here since 2014 (more than likely longer than that)

 

DSCN0927_zpsbv9smgnd.jpg

 

We arrived at the beach at 12:15pm and decided to drop our stuff, just in front of the dive shop so rented one chair for $9US. We basically used it to put our stuff on it since the tide was high and we didn’t want to risk it getting wet. The dive shop attendant quickly set the chair up on the sand and in we went.

 

DSCN0930_zpszqquolmx.jpg

 

DSCN0931_zps0cqm6pti.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Day 2 Continued:

 

The dive shop has different things and services to rent or buy. From suntan lotion and snorkel rental to jet-ski, paddleboards and kayak rentals. The second picture is from last year but as a reference, prices (and the sign itself) have not changed since then. That’s why I decided to include it.

 

DSCN0929_zpsf05nia3p.jpg

 

DSCN0272_zpsw5pveyzv.jpg

 

Contrary to my last visit, the shore wasn’t rocky at all (we still used our water shoes anyway). There were stronger waves than on my last visit so I was afraid this would be a bust for snorkeling. I was even more convinced it would be when I finally got my head in the water. We couldn’t see S*%t!! The water was so darn murky that after just 5 minutes we were considering getting out and leaving.

DSCN0935_zps5mzz05xf.jpg

 

 

As bad as that picture looks, I had to work over it some on Lightroom (brightness, contrast) to even be able to see what you see. Trust me, in person it was much worse.

This year I decided to give it a chance and swim further out and to the right behind the area where the rocks are on the right side of the beach. This must’ve been 20-30 feet deep waters but visibility was much, much better. There was a lot of white sand but also some nice sea coral a plant life. It almost made it look like snow. Not much for fish or other sea creatures but still a bit interesting.

DSCN0936_zpsfscgzmtz.jpg

DSCN0938_zps54o0o8e6.jpg

DSCN0957_zpsh3xoebw1.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Day 2 Continued:

 

More snorkeling pictures from Sapphire Beach

 

Two nice Blue Tangs

 

DSCN0948_zpshnzex9o3.jpg

 

DSCN0949_zpslpafh22e.jpg

 

Close up so you can see the details:

 

DSCN0949-2_zpsercvkyn7.jpg

 

These two shots are of the same plant. Notice how it bends in the current between swells. That’s the type of current we were dealing with.

DSCN0972_zpsmp5oyr4f.jpg

 

DSCN0971_zpsozzsos89.jpg

 

Purple Fan coral (it was on its side, btw)

 

DSCN0959_zps428axkpt.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Day 2 Continued:

 

More snorkeling pictures from Sapphire Beach

 

 

The pictures that came out clearly were the ones that I free dived in order to get close to what I was trying to photograph. Those that were from farther away (mostly looking down in deep waters) came out with that green/aqua tint. I had to reduce the aqua color saturation in order to get them to this point. But if I reduced it more, or tried to dial down green as well, the pictures lost too much color and seemed very dull so on the checklist for next trip is A) FINS!!! and B) a better underwater camera (Hey babe look…Christmas is coming!!! Babe…..???)

DSCN0974_zpsj53lbft5.jpg

 

DSCN0967_zpsl5fa1tgt.jpg

 

DSCN0963_zpsudeyhmea.jpg

 

DSCN0966_zpsubhohrw0.jpg

 

Some nice Feather-duster worms (yeah those feathery things are actually worms!!)

 

DSCN0983_zpsrpbcqmaa.jpg

 

I even managed to catch a lone Four-eyed Butterfly fish (just barely).

 

DSCN0969_zpscw6f0zuy.jpg

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Day 2 Continued:

 

I gotta say I had to work my butt off for the pictures on this part because I had to free dive (with no fins, mind you) for almost all of them to get a clear photo. We went over to the rocks and saw some interesting stuff but the closer you got to the rocks the more you had to fight the current and it became difficult to swim, deal with the current and swells/waves and try to get a picture. After about an hour on the water we headed back to the shore. By the time we got out of the water we were spent!! I’m surely bringing my fins next time.

 

DSCN0934_zps2k35fled.jpg

 

We walked along the shore for a while, reaching the far right end of the compound. There was some construction going on in one of the buildings and some guests on another building but I never counted more that 10 people around. Now I don’t know how these apartments look on the inside but outside the place looked horrible. I would really think hard about renting here because the only attraction is definitely the beach. We took some pictures and headed back to get our stuff.

 

20161017_133231_zpsrccv9ikf.jpg

 

This is the stretch of land you see to your right from where you access the beach.

 

20161017_134251_zpsdba3itmj.jpg

 

20161017_134304_zpsoczbd4sr.jpg

 

This is what you find beyond the stretch of land, behind the apartment complex

 

20161017_133829_zps7x0ntzec.jpg

 

Opposite view:

 

20161017_133818_zps2nchrg0p.jpg

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Day 2 Continued:

 

So, back at the chair we rented we decided to have a drink and get ready to leave. There’s a beach bar right besides the dive shop. It's called, simply, Sapphire beach bar. I got two beers from the dive shop instead of from the bar and, while we didn’t eat there, here are some pictures of the bar menus for those interested. I found the prices very reasonable. Just behind the bar are the public bathrooms. Other than sand and water everywhere, they were clean. There's also a fresh water shower right in front of the dive shop.

 

20161017_135234_zpsn55ahqed.jpg

 

20161017_135247_zpsx9oulb0y.jpg

 

20161017_135625_zpswcpnnef5.jpg

 

So at 2:00pm we gathered our stuff and headed back to the car but we were ready for a nap. We were beat!!...jajaja. But we still had energy for some sightseeing so I drove back into the central-eastern mountain part of the island on my way to Mountain Top and stopped at the look-out point where you can see all of Charlotte Amalie and the ship in the distance. Took the obligatory pics and kept going.

IMG_3689_zpsk15dxcr8.jpg

IMG_3690_zpsw6juysrl.jpg

IMG_3691_zpspzwwfslk.jpg

Wow, I hadn't really noticed before but this SX50hs has some serious barrel distortion at full wide angle!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Day 2 Continued:

 

After a very quick 3 minute ride, we stopped again at Drake’s seat for some breathtaking views of Meagan’s bay and the northern peninsula including Hans Lollik Island in the foreground, Little and Great Tobago and part of Jost Van Dyke in the back and to the right.

 

IMG_3693_zpsjlzvpq9j.jpg

 

Here you see more of Jost Van Dyke on the left, Tortola on the right.

IMG_3692_zpsylb4m4zh.jpg

 

And Meagan’s bay

IMG_3694_zpsl2ja30ax.jpg

 

IMG_3695_zps8qrfyap8.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Day 2 Continued:

 

By this point and After a few minutes of pictures, selfies and trying to contain our laughter due to a skinny 60-something European dude prancing around the lookout point on a bikini that looked to be about to fall off if the guy so much as sneezed. I tell you, in his own world, he thinks he's 25 and still has the body of a 25 year old. Good for him!! Ugghh.... Any way, we decided to head back to town and skip Mountain Top due to time constraints. Once I made it into town I found a spot to park at the Fort Christian public parking lot (if I’m not mistaken, the only public parking near the shops and only $1US per hour!!) and walked about 10 minutes past Vendor’s Plaza and to the town shops. We didn’t browse around since we already planned to do our shopping elsewhere so headed for my obligatory visit to Gladys Café to buy hot sauce.

 

Glady's Cafe is a quaint little restaurant located in one of the alleyways just after the Royal Dane Mall Shopping center (as if your walking away from the ship) in Downtown Charlotte Amalie. I have yet to dine here but they make and awesome hot sauce (they actually make several varieties). I always go for the red hot sauce and buy a couple of bottles. Every time I find out someone I know is going to St. Thomas I send them on a mission to bring me a few bottles back. Did I say I love hot sauce?

 

20161017_152407_zpsrmwakqdi.jpg

 

20161017_152431_zpsiwpea6nx.jpg

 

20161017_152637_zpspmwsvbe2.jpg

 

20161017_152640_zpstcmrma1w.jpg

 

There we go!!!

 

20161017_152700_zpsydxobvzr.jpg

 

After getting my hot sauce fix we headed back to the car along the waterfront. BTW there’s another of those open “safari-type” taxis that roam the streets of St. Thomas and of course, the ship in the background

 

20161017_153353_zpsuz7tzb7v.jpg

 

Back at the car, we gathered our things, emptied our cooler and prepared to return the car. I stopped at a gas station, put about $8US of regular gas (this Ford Focus was a thirsty little guy) and headed into Heavensight Mall and straight to AVIS’s office. I did a video walk around the car to document the condition it was being returned and went into the office at 4:10pm. I was cutting it a bit close this time! The woman at the AVIS counter was great taking care of us and the paperwork and had us going back to the ship in no time at all. We were on board by 4:20pm. It was close to the 4:30pm (I think that's the closest I've been to final boarding time) on board time but we were very leisurely about how we did everything. Our stop at Kmart early was a last minute, unplanned thing and that cost us some time. If we'd skipped that stop we would’ve been back with more than enough time. Still, with the exception of having to ditch our stop at Mountain Top (which I'm sure we'll come back to later) we got to do everything we planned for with no problems.

 

 

One thing I’d like to point out like always: St. Thomas has always been the ONLY port where I’ve had to show my ship card AND my ID in order to pass the terminal checkpoint before boarding. Also, and quite different than my previous cruises, Carnival had a crew member after the security checkpoint exchanging wet towels for fresh ones. This was an awesome detail since previously you hauled your wet towels to your room and wait for the steward to exchange them during turn-down.

FREE TIP: Don’t stand around waiting for the elevators to come and quickly fill up. Go up one flight of stairs and use the mid or aft (depending on you cabin location) elevators for a quicker and not so cramped ride. Doing this every day had us in our room in no time after re boarding the ship.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Day 2 Continued:

 

One final outside view from St Thomas

 

20161017_161657_zps9b9ob1dv.jpg

 

Our plan was to drop everything off at the room and go find us some food. But when we arrived we found this:

 

20161017_162719_zps1lq1jsop.jpg

 

20161017_162717_zpskgvdx0ap.jpg

 

20161017_162738_zpsvfplrxq8.jpg

 

20161017_162922_zpsuj3u7uhf.jpg

 

 

I had bought the Love celebration package online as a surprise for DW. Although she was surprised beyond words (and I was very happy she was), I wasn’t totally amused. First, while ordering, when given the option as to when I wanted it delivered I specified “on the second night” I assumed it meant it would be put up during the evening while we were off to dinner. But it was put up during the day. Oh well…. I also specified I wanted a VANILLA cake and we were delivered a chocolate cake instead (good grief!!). As you can see in the Fun Shop confirmation receipt the specifications were RIGHT THERE!!!

 

20161018_172220_zpsgwxslmp4.jpg

 

But hey, at least they wrote the message right! I've read and seen pictures of bloopers they've made with these so I can't complain too much. These guys couldn't get a simple grilled cheese right! (Re: Mitsugirly's room service catastrophe...lol)

The frosting on the cake was very rubbery and while the cake itself had good flavor, it got to a point it got very rich for us. We ate from it a couple of times during the cruise but in the end, just under half of it went to waste. Shame…

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Day 2 Continued:

 

After the surprise from the room we went to grab some lunch and headed for the Grill. The lines here were usually very long and slow. This is the line where we experienced most of the line cutting during the cruise. I’m ashamed to say it was mostly from people from Puerto Rico but it also wasn’t JUST the passengers from PR cutting blatantly in line.

 

20161017_164428_zpsqrh9idig.jpg

 

The line for the other side of the grill wasn't much better either.

 

20161017_164433_zpsba4ella5.jpg

 

This line cutting got so bad one day that Carnival crew had to get involved and posted someone to watch the line. Even if you were grabbing a plate go get just the last item on the line, you had to stand in line like the rest. Good for you Carnival!! Only if it was just done two days…

 

We watched the ship sail away from St Thomas from one of the outdoor seating areas located in the aft part of the ship past the Pizza Pirate or the bar on Lido. This would become our hang out place every time we ate at the Lido deck for lunch or late night snacks. There were always tables available and it was away from the crowds and noise. We loved it!! After lunch we took a nap in order to have energy for the evening.

 

20161017_172145_zpshftl5bo7.jpg

 

20161017_172155_zpskyurifzs.jpg

 

20161017_173059_zpsjyhe3hpq.jpg

 

We were also treated to our first beautiful sunset of the cruise.

 

20161017_175440_zps1z7tjygd.jpg

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm loving your review, even if we have 10+ months before we're there ourselves. Can't wait to see what's coming next.

 

Let me know if you need some hot sauce....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Day 2 Continued:

 

Once we started to make our way to dinner later on, we made our first of (too) many trips to the picture walls on deck 9 and found or gangway pic. and got to the dinning room almost at 9pm. We were seated right away at a table for two. Since we had eaten too late for lunch, we weren’t that hungry and we decided to skip the apps tonight. The waiter looked at us with a lost look and replied: “I don’t understand. You don’t want appetizers tonight?” Uhh…nope!! So he took our order for mains and left. We waited just about 30 minutes for our entrees to arrive, all the while getting stuffed on the bread basket they put on the table.

 

The menus for tonight:

 

20161017_064012_zpsbjagvv8t.jpg

 

20161017_064020_zpswauh0jr9.jpg

 

20161017_064017_zpshjh3t0uq.jpg

 

This is the wine package list:

 

20161017_064001_zpsgrpbjhvb.jpg

 

 

FREE TIP: If you don’t like the type of bread they serve you when you arrive, ask them to change it for something you'd like better. But take into account this is not a bakery, please. Ask what they can provide and choose from there. Unfortunately we waited until the 4th night to do this but they hay no problem bringing us what we wanted. We ended up asking for white bread the rest of the nights.

 

 

We were seated tonight at one of the side by side two-top tables. For those of you wondering how close they are from the other:

 

 

20161017_213219_zpst0e41pce.jpg

 

 

 

 

We both had the flat iron steak, one well done, one medium-well, one extra side of fries. Both steaks were hot, had good flavor and were well cooked. No toppings for the baked potatoes were offered and I had to ask for extra butter...twice.

 

20161017_215820_zpsqyikrstg.jpg

 

We quickly finished and ordered desserts. I had the melting cake (spot on tonight) and DW had the Passion fruit flan (very bland, just a wee hint of passion fruit flavor…just custard). Even skipping the appetizers, dinner service took well over an hour tonight.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Day 2 Conclusion:

 

We finished up and headed to the theater to catch the Welcome Aboard show. It was pretty decent. Most of the dancers also sing and most sing very, very well. It was an entertaining 45 minutes. I won't post many pictures of the show because I'd be spoiling them for you but maybe a hint.

 

20161017_231208_zps8drhl9w6.jpg

 

After the show we wandered around Hollywood Boulevard and caught some of the last set of the After School Special band in front of the Hollywood Bar near the casino. We then headed for bed with no alarm set since we were beat and with tomorrow being our only sea day, we expected to get up late!

 

20161018_004147_zpsbicw1qfq.jpg

 

That's it for an amazing day in St. Thomas. Off to bed now since I got work tomorrow morning. Besides, DW already looked at my empty side of the bed, then looked at me, the bed, back at me and gave me the stink eye so..... See you all later!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I'm loving your review, even if we have 10+ months before we're there ourselves. Can't wait to see what's coming next.

 

Let me know if you need some hot sauce....

Thanks! Hope you enjoy the rest.

 

Hey, 10 months is right about the time I should be running out of hot sauce so, who knows....lol

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you so much fro writing this review! This is definitely my favorite itinerary that Carnival offers, so I am optimistic to continue reading. I did it on Liberty and completely loved the ship, it's a shame that she isn't sailing from OSJ anymore. But I am excited to see more of the Fascination and how well it's holding up in OSJ!

 

Love your writing style btw! :D

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Forum Jump
    • Categories
      • Forum Assistance
      • New Cruisers
      • Cruise Lines “A – O”
      • Cruise Lines “P – Z”
      • River Cruising
      • ROLL CALLS
      • Digital Photography & Cruise Technology
      • Member Cruise Reviews
      • Special Interest Cruising
      • Cruise Discussion Topics
      • UK Cruising
      • Australia & New Zealand Cruisers
      • North American Homeports
      • Ports of Call
      • Cruise Conversations
×
×
  • Create New...