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Carnival Fascination Camp Carnival/Family Review

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Hello Cruise Critic Friends,

This is my first cruise review. Since so many amazing people have done full reviews of the Fascination, I decided to focus my review on the Camp Carnival/Family experience. This was the first cruise that my boys have experienced. They are 4 and 8 years old. We left on the Fascination on August 1, 2015.

We are crazy (and had to pinch pennies), so we drove the 10 hours from our house in Maryland to Jacksonville with my in-laws, husband and two boys. Thankfully, my husband is an amazing driver and he managed to drive the whole way, while I read my book and the boys played on technology. We stayed in Darien, GA, which is about an hour from the port.

In the morning, we arrived at the port at 10 am and did not wait in any line to enter the parking area. We were not quite sure where to go after we parked, but porters came up and lugged all of our luggage for us. That made it really easy, well worth the $1 tip per bag!!

We had Faster to the Fun, so we were able to get in a short line and get checked in quickly. Unfortunately, we were still an hour too early to get on the boat, so we had to wait. The wait was a little difficult because you are not allowed to take out any hand held items. We managed to make the time go by quickly by talking and playing rock, paper, scissors.

After getting on the ship, the boys were excited to check out their room. We booked an Oceanview room on the Empress Deck. Here are a few shots of the room.




Edited by sararebekahquinn
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After visiting our room, we put our bathing suits on so we could would be ready to visit Waterworks. Of course, we had to stop at the buffet first. There are so many options for families on the Lido Deck. There is a grill with hot dogs, hamburgers, chicken tenders and fries. There is 24 hour pizza, with many kid-friendly choices. The deli has a list of items, but you can special order (can I have the grilled ham and cheese not grilled and with absolutely nothing on it besides ham and cheese?). It is perfect for the typical picky eater. Besides this, there are different items offered every day in the buffet line. Plus, there is always fresh fruit and a salad bar. I was happy that my boys could still have healthy food, even while eating "junk". The dessert bar is different every day, plus 24 hour ice cream!


Now on to Waterworks-the boys loved it! There were 3 main slides. For two of them, the children need to be at least 42 inches tall. There is also a small one for the little ones to use. My oldest was excited to try all of the slides out. My youngest could only go on the little one (which he went on over and over and over and...). Thankfully, I could get a chair close by, so I could sit with my feet up, relaxing, while the boys enjoyed the slides.




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After we dried off, we decided to check out the mini golf. We figured that it would not be that busy, since most people were just getting on board and eating lunch. The boys loved playing and it was a cute mini golf. Then, we went to check out all of the different rooms on the ship and get our bearings. The boys loved looking out the windows from each and every place we visited.

The muster drill was very easy. I was a little nervous about it, since this was the first time we were doing it with children. The majority of the waiting and listening was done in one of the lounges. Then, the last 10 minutes, you went outside and lined up close to each other. It was much better than how we had done this in the past and we were very relieved that we did not have to keep the boys quiet in an uncomfortable line for long!

Next, it was time to watch the ship leave Jacksonville. The boys loved this part, but my oldest kept asking if he needed to put a seat belt on. I love the point of view of a child!

I'll have to come back later and finish the review. Thank you for reading so far!!




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Orientation was at 5 pm in the Palace Theater (where all of the big shows are held). The orientation was a power point presentation that was helpful for us, since we had never cruised with children. Children do not need to attend this orientation, but we did bring ours with us. My husband sat and listened with the children, while I waited in line to make sure the children were checked in to Camp Carnival. We did sign them up for the program online (same place where you do your check in, print luggage tags, etc.). So, all they did was check to see that the information was correct and have me sign something for each of the children. It was very easy to do and I was happy I signed them up online at home.


While we were at orientation, we received the Camp Carnival schedule for the entire week. I loved knowing all of the activities ahead of time, so that we could really plan what was best for everyone. On the schedule, the menu for Camp Carnival is listed, which is helpful. I was disappointed that two nights had food that the boys did not like, but I was sort of expecting it, since my boys are a little picky!


Camp Carnival starts at 8:15 pm on the first night and my oldest was really looking forward to it. My youngest was not so sure about it.


One of the things that I wanted to know ahead of time was the schedule. So...I made sure to bring a copy home to scan in for all of you to see. I only have schedules for the two younger groups, since those are the groups my boys were in.


I'm taking another break, no one is waiting on us anymore, so I guess it is up to me to make the family lunch! Thanks for following along.

Camp Carnival 2-5 page 1.pdf

Camp Carnival 2-5 page 2.pdf

Camp Carnival 2-5 page 3.pdf

Camp Carnival 2-5 page 4.pdf

Camp Carnival 6-8 page 1.pdf

Camp Carnival 6-8 page 2.pdf

Camp Carnival 6-8 page 3.pdf

Camp Carnival 6-8 page 4.pdf

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Three of the nights, the family ate dinner together in the Main Dining Room. The other two nights, the boys ate with Camp Carnival and the hubs & I ate with my in-laws.


Dining in the MDR with children...

Now, honestly, I am the person that never, ever allows my children to have technology at the dinner table. With that said, our fancy dining at Red Robin or Olive Garden is a lot different than eating in the MDR. Every time they ate in the MDR, our waiters gave them an activity booklet with puzzles, mazes and coloring. The first night, I was determined that they were not taking the 3DS to dinner. They were decent in the beginning, but sitting through 4 courses (we all ordered 2 apps every night) is just too long for my children. It was a battle until we left and I did not even finish my Warm Chocolate Melting Cake (ahhhh!!!). So, I broke my rule and allowed them to have the 3DS for dinner. It was much more peaceful the other nights!!

The waiters brought all of the boys food out with the apps. Every night, I ordered the fruit platter for them, which had watermelon, cantaloupe, honey do, strawberries, pineapple and grapes. Then they could pick from the kids menu for dinner. They tried the cheeseburger, chicken finger, peanut butter sandwich and pizza. My son would not touch the pizza. It did not look like the yummy pizza on the Lido Deck. Otherwise, they liked the food and they had a good portion. On the first night, the boys asked for chocolate milk. Every night after that, the waiter brought it to the boys as soon as he saw them. A nice touch!

The boys were always too stuffed for dessert, so we ran them over to Camp Carnival while we were waiting for our desserts to arrive. The waiters would give us cookies with a cover over them so that the boys could enjoy dessert later on.


Dining with Camp Carnival...

We arrived at the Lido Deck at 6 pm for dinner. Part of the dining area was partitioned off. Even though the boys were in different groups, they were allowed to eat together for dinner (my youngest loved this!). They handed out plates to the children with the food on it already, so the children did not get up at all. They had a choice between regular or chocolate milk for dinner.

Kids Menu.pdf



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Camp Carnival is located on Deck 11 forward. The parents are not allowed into the area with the children (except for at some designated times). I liked this, as I do not want any random people having access to my children. Every staff member from Camp Carnival that we worked with was absolutely amazing. As an elementary educator, I feel like I have high expectations and they were all exceeded!! The staff were always smiling, friendly and accommodating. My 4 year old did not think he would like Camp Carnival, and did not want to go the first time. I literally dragged him into the area, and the counselor supported me and welcomed him in. Of course he wound up loving it, but he was just a little scared at first.


Another thing that put my mind at ease was the telephone. They gave me a cell phone that only worked on the ship. They could call me, if needed, or I could call them and check on my little. This put my mind at ease. Plus, we figured out that you could call the cell from any phone on the ship, so we could use it to keep in touch with the rest of the family.


There are windows with sheer curtains in both of the younger Camp Carnival rooms, so you can peek in and stalk your child if you are nervous like I was.


My favorite activity that the 2-5 group did was the face painting. I'll put some pictures so you can see the talent of the Camp Carnival staff. My little one had never agreed to have his face painted, so we were happily surprised every time we picked him up.


My favorite activity that the 6-8 group did was party. The kids got to go to a real night club and dance and drink soda. I thought that was cute and my son really enjoyed it.




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Thank you for this review. We are taking our 5 year old on the Fascination in October. We have sailed with him before on NCL when he just turned 3 and he was having NONE of the kids club. I think it is because he needs to sit with us and see what is going on before he decides to get in there and do it. They had it set up where you had to sign in the child then the worker walked them down this long hall into the room where the activities were held. There was NO WAY that Cole was doing that.


I like to think he would go if he saw all the cool stuff going on. He is older now and is used to organized daycare so I'm optimistic.


Couple of questions....we are also doing OV on the Empress. Could you choose which bed pulled down? We will only need one of the pull downs but it did not look like a lot of room when it was the one at the head of the bed. My hubby is VERY tall. Do they put it up during the day?

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I bet Cole will love it. There is an entry way, so technically, you can stay there and watch for a bit until he gets comfortable. Our room had 2 pull downs, which we could put up during the day. We considered moving our pillows to the other end of the bed, so that we didn't hit our heads, but then decided not to do it. We were fine, but we are both short. If it is a 3 person room, I am assuming there is only 1 pull down. It looked like 3 person rooms did not have the pull down over the bed. Good luck and have fun!

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This is so exciting! We are taking our 5 year old on his first cruise in Oct on the Fascination. Mine is looking forward to Camp Carnival from the pictures that he has seen.


Did you happen to get a copy of the Fun Times too?




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I have the tear outs for Day 1 and Day 2, then I just added the insides of the Fun Times from Day 3 and Day 5. Since we missed Half Moon Cay :(:(:(, I have the updated schedule for that Day 4, as well. Hope this helps.


Looks like the attachments take up a lot of space, so I will have to do them separately.

Day 1 and 2 list of events.pdf

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Thank you so much for posting all this information. My DH and I got a great smile when we read about your son asking for a seat belt.:) And it is wonderful that you kept and updated the fun times , ! Can you print the other page that lists the movies? I know they wont be the same movies when we cruise, but it will give me an idea of what is hot


Why were you unable to go to HMC? The fact that you might not make it there is why we never book an excursion for Nassau until the morning of.:) Thank you, and cant wait til you return tomorrow!

Edited by marshhawk
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Our first port day was Nassau. Since we were planning on a beach day in Half Moon Cay, we decided to not do the beach here. We took a taxi over to Paradise Island ($4 per person) and bought tickets for the aquarium. It was well worth the money ($46 for adults, $36 for kids) to us. Since we were not with a Carnival excursion and we went right over to Atlantis, we had the place almost to ourselves. We wandered around enjoying the sea life for a few hours and then toured the property. One part of the aquarium that I liked was that their were not any labels on the tanks. It made it look really cool, and less "aquariumy". I still wanted to know what everything was, and I was happy to find a 2 foot by 2 foot laminated paper with pictures of the most common fish and their names. They had a stack of them at both ends of the aquarium, so we could take them with us and know what every thing was.

After we were finished exploring, we took the ferry back to Nassau. This was also $4 a person. On a lot of the reviews, people mentioned having to wait until the ship was full to leave. We did not have that problem. All of us loved looking at the sights from the water and it was cute to hear the tour guides explanations. I liked going to/from the island different ways and the children did as well.

We went back to the ship for lunch. Two reasons we did this: less expensive and my food allergies. Then, my 8 year old could not wait to get back to Camp Carnival, so we let him go while we went shopping.

The Straw Market was where we decided to go shopping. My 4 year old was happy to get some inexpensive toys and I was happy to not pay that much. This was my in-laws first time at a market like this and they were a bit overwhelmed. They did not like the people coming over and beckoning them into the shops. To each his own. After my little one got some toys, we walked back to the ship without the rest of the family.

As soon as I got back on board, I went to pick up my oldest, who did not want to leave Camp Carnival.


Fast forward to 3 am before we got to Half Moon Cay. My husband was woken up by lightening and thunder and the ship rocking. The rest of the night had bad weather also. When we woke up, we were very worried about getting to HMC. Unfortunately, the weather was just too unsafe to have people on the tenders. We were SO disappointed. To be honest, I went back to the room by myself to cry. But, when my family came back, I put my big girl face on and worked hard to cheer everyone up. My youngest and I went to the Lido Deck and had ice cream for breakfast, in hopes of making ourselves feel better. Camp Carnival was open and the boys spent a lot of the day playing there, since it was not really weather for slides or pools. Thankfully, my husband won the coveted gold plated plastic ship on a stick for his amazing trivia skills, and that definitely cheered him up. We did have a good day, but it was definitely a disappointment to not go to HMC.


Pictures: aquarium with the boys figuring out the fishes, youngest and me eating ice cream for breakfast, husband and his trophy!




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We participated in all 3 of the Seuss at Sea events. On the first sea day, we were in the parade. It was so cute. The Camp Carnival staff handed out cow bells and pom poms to the children and banners to the adults. The Cat in the Hat came to lead the parade and we walked from the Putting on the Ritz Lounge to the Palace Theater. The parade leader said, "Dr. Seuss" and we yelled, "On the loose." It was so cute!



When we arrived at the Palace Theater, they brought the children up on the stage and chose volunteers to participate in the reading of the Cat in the Hat. As an elementary school teacher, I was loving this and the children enjoyed it too!



On the last sea day, we participated in the Dr. Seuss breakfast. It was $5 per person and started at 9 am. They had decorated the MDR in such a Seussical way and it looked awesome. We were very excited to look through the menu, which looked just like a Dr. Seuss book. The boys also received Dr. Seuss activity booklets to do while they waited.

I had an omelet, hash browns, bacon and trufula tree pancakes. Everything I had was good. My boys had the waffles, which had pink and blue icing stuff on them. They did not like the icing (my husband tried it and said it was gross, not just that the kids were being picky). Everyone, except for me, was missing part of the order, including my poor husband who was served his food 15 min. after the rest of us. I was surprised at the bad service, since we had such a positive experience in the MDR for dinners. The Cat in the Hat, Thing 1 & Thing 2 and Sam-I-Am visited us for pictures while we were eating. So, even though the service was not so good, I would still do it again because it was cute for the children and I just love anything Dr. Seuss!




The Cat in the Hat Ice Sculpture was so cool!



Breakfast for the littlest take 1:



Breakfast for the littlest take 2:



(and now I figured out how to put the pictures in with the text, wish I would have figured this out a few days ago!!)

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Thank you for this review. We are taking our 5 year old on the Fascination in October. We have sailed with him before on NCL when he just turned 3 and he was having NONE of the kids club. I think it is because he needs to sit with us and see what is going on before he decides to get in there and do it. They had it set up where you had to sign in the child then the worker walked them down this long hall into the room where the activities were held. There was NO WAY that Cole was doing that.


I like to think he would go if he saw all the cool stuff going on. He is older now and is used to organized daycare so I'm optimistic.


Couple of questions....we are also doing OV on the Empress. Could you choose which bed pulled down? We will only need one of the pull downs but it did not look like a lot of room when it was the one at the head of the bed. My hubby is VERY tall. Do they put it up during the day?


Chances are that Carnival has assigned you to a cabin for three, not a quad. this was my cabin on Fascination, M200. I did not use the bunk, but you can see where it is placed:











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If you didn't have kids, but often think of yourself as a child at heart-would you go to the Dr. Seuss Breakfast? I have not mentioned this to the DH yet, but I am interested in going.


When my kids were young, I could recite Cat in the Hat from beginning to end. It was one of their favorite bed time stories. I am definitely doing Seuss breakfast! And if they have Thing 1 and 2 t-shirts I'm buying them, for us! I tried being a grownup. Worst ten minutes of my life!

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Couple of questions....we are also doing OV on the Empress. Could you choose which bed pulled down? We will only need one of the pull downs but it did not look like a lot of room when it was the one at the head of the bed. My hubby is VERY tall. Do they put it up during the day?




For more room in these cabins, keep the lowers apart. One under the window and one under one of the bunks. The uppers have always been put up in our triples and quads.


One time we were three in a quad. The room steward kept on changing my upper bed. One night it was the left, another night it was the right. Lol


When I'm in an upper I use a 6 pocket holder as my nightstand. Once I'm up there im not getting down.

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Thank you so much for this. We are going on our first cruise with an 8 month old and a 4 year old boy. To hear your boys loved it so much is very relieving!

What would you say is the adult to kid ratio during camp carnival? Did you use any of the late night (after 10) programs?

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