The 2,052-passenger Carnival Fascination resumes its year-round four- and five-day schedule from Jacksonville, Fla., today following a $34 million dry dock that included the addition of an expansive new water park, exclusive adults-only retreat, redesigned main pool area and 98 balconies to existing staterooms. These renovations are part of the line’s $350 million “Evolutions of Fun” refurbishment program for its eight 70,000-ton Fantasy-class vessels. The Carnival Fascination is the sixth ship in the series to receive the extensive upgrades.
Carnival Fascination operates Jacksonville’s only year-round cruise schedule, carrying approximately 170,000 passengers a year. On this program, four-day cruises departing Thursdays visit Freeport and Nassau, The Bahamas; five-day cruises departing Mondays call at Key West, Fla., and Nassau; and five-day voyages departing Saturdays visit the private Bahamian island of Half Moon Cay and Nassau.
“Our Jacksonville-based cruises are a great option for those seeking a convenient, high quality vacation at a tremendous value and these new features will enhance the Carnival Fascination’s already strong appeal with consumers,” said Gerry Cahill, Carnival’s president and CEO.
Added Rick Ferrin, JAXPORT’s CEO, “The Fascination has proved to be a tremendous draw for cruise passengers from throughout the southeastern U.S. with the ship typically sailing at 100 percent capacity. This package of new amenities will refresh the experience for repeat customers and enhance the experience for first-time cruisers. It’s a win-win situation for all of us.”
Exciting Top Deck Features
Carnival Fascination’s multi-million dollar refurbishment included a total transformation of its open decks, which now feature a massive new WaterWorks aqua park on Verandah Deck. This sprawling, all-ages facility includes an enclosed 300-foot-long Twister water slide full of exhilarating twists and turns, two 82-foot-long racing slides, and a splash zone for kids. The ship’s Lido Deck pool was also renovated with a colorful tropical theme featuring oversized umbrellas, vibrant tile work, thatched roofing and huge stylized palm trees, creating a relaxing resort-style ambiance.
New Balcony Accommodations
Ninety-eight balconies were also added to existing accommodations during the dry dock, creating spacious 230-square-foot balcony staterooms that provide the ideal vantage point for viewing the tropical scenery. Sixty-two of the new balcony staterooms are located aft with several of these featuring extended balconies, while 24 are located mid-ship and 12 near the stern. Several suites were also retrofitted with larger, extended balconies.
New Adults-Only Retreat
Another popular “Evolutions of Fun” element added during the dry dock was an adults-only retreat called Serenity, which is located on Promenade Deck aft, providing magnificent ocean vistas. Designed as an oceangoing oasis for relaxation, this area features a tropical design with teak-style decking, colorful umbrellas, and thatched roofing, along with two oversized whirlpools. Guests can relax in comfortable chaise lounges and chairs while enjoying frozen drinks and other icy concoctions.
Delicious new dining options were added to the ship’s casual poolside restaurant, Coconut Grove Bar & Grill. These include a Mongolian wok venue where guests can select their favorite meat, sauce, vegetables and other ingredients and watch as a chef creates their custom-designed stir fry dish, and a rotisserie featuring roasted chicken and traditional side dishes.
Additionally, the Sensation and Imagination main dining rooms were refurbished with new carpeting, upholstery and other cosmetic enhancements. The Sensation dining room, located forward, was also reconfigured for Your Time Dining providing guests the option of open seating between 5:45 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. nightly.