The imagination was a much better ship than the previous one we went on 11 years ago. Alot has changed. The food was better but the portions are little smaller.
Embarkation: Miami's port was nicer than Cape Canaveral. We got there at 11:00 and it was busy. about 45 mins in line to check in. Then the Gangway was shut down for about 15 mins due to "high winds"?? Wished it went faster. Coming home was a quick process.
Ship: We kept busy on the ship and always found stuff to do. We were not the type to lay around the pool all day. I did alot of research leading up to this cruise and had some concerns about this particular ship. But for the money we spent, it was great. The ship was very clean. The staff was great. Still cannot figure out why they have so many lounges. Most of them were always empty. The night club was always empty and so was the Piano bar. I actually talked tot he Piano man for a while and he said they are looking to revamp the Piano bar on all ships to include a more "fun" dueling piano and singalong type of style. Since the Piano bar was empty, that's pretty much the style we got. We requested songs and sang along. So that was fun.
Room: We had an interior room. No frills. The bed was comfy and water pressure good. Not sure what else to say about it. I did feel like the cabin was damp, something I did not like. Also, when you stepped onto the bathroom floor, you could hear water sloshing around. So I wonder if there was a leak in the drainage of the shower. Out steward brought us anything we wanted and was quick about it. However, I did have one issue with Room Service. I asked for a wine opener and it took 45 mins for them to come down. But I spent the time unpacking, so it wasn't a total loss. Oh, bring an alarm clock. Time deprivation hits hard core when you can't easily figure out what time it is.
Entertainment: The first show "Living In America" was poor and I was actually falling asleep. The guy singer was not great but the Girl was. The live band mixed with recorded instruments gave an odd sound to the whole show. You either got to go all the way with a live band or none at all in my opinion. So we decided to skip the following day show. The two comedians were great and had no complaints there. And of course the love and marriage show was funny. The piano guy was awesome. He knew the most obscure songs. My wife requested Rocky Raccoon by the Beatles. He knew the piano without issue, but stumbled on the lyrics. It was funny.
Shopping: For me personally, I hate the shopping on board. But I followed my wife through them. One big tip, show up for all the giveaways. There are not that many who show up and your chances are good for getting free stuff. My wife won a $100 spa credit and a free necklace. You have to put up with their sales pitch before the giveaway, but it was always short. The thing I liked least would have to be the Photos. They had stations setup everywhere. And the poses they wanted you in were so posed and faked. I just didn't see the point.
Food: The food in the dining was always good. The buffet was just ok; most of the food was cold, pre cooked somewhere and kept in large cabinets. Pizza was far better than our previous cruise. It was hot and fresh. We did not get a chance to try the Deli counter or Sushi bar. The burger station was also good. Room service was prompt and the food hot. The waiter on the first night was not all that good socially. But was prompt. Our second and third night waiters were great, funny and very professional.
Fun: We did not get to try everything, like the water slides and Live music. We only hit the serenity deck to hop in the hot tub for a little bit after our excursion. I do have to say that deck is nice and we would have spent more time there if were not drinking so much and dancing on the Lido. We saw alot of families and kids there. Most of the time they hogged the main hot tubs and pool. Didn't bother us since we could go to the serenity deck. Had no issue finding chairs either.
Excursion: We did end up booking through carnival, only because the forecast included rain the entire weekend, and we did not want to get stuck not getting our money back from a private charter. We did the sail and snorkel. We actually went to the same location as Flying Cloud. Since I'm a Floridian, I was not impressed with the snorkeling. I saw the same things I would see if I went to the beach. But the sailing was fun. I would not do it again.
So in conclusion, this cruise was great. We had fun, drink, danced, saw some good entertainment and ate well. I believe you make what you want out of a cruise. We had fun despite any negative issues that came up, because we wanted to have nothing but fun. If you want a more laid back, pampered type of atmosphere, then this budget cruise is not for you. This is about cheap, fast and party. Not bad for $245 pp.
Our next cruise will include a balcony and if I can afford it, one of the new bigger ships of Royal Caribbean. Nothing against Carnival, just want to experience the giant ship.