We booked an Ocean View cabin, E16 on the Carnival Imagination for Jan 28-Feb 1st 2013. This was my 9th cruise and 8th cruise on Carnival. I have never been disappointed in Carnival and this trip was amazing.
We flew from CRW (WV) to FLL one day prior and had pre arranged a shuttle with Go Airport Shuttle to take us to South Beach and the Avalon Hotel on Ocean Drive. Nice location and we were upgraded to a partial Ocean view room, nice considering all we had to pay was tax as we used Hotels.com rewards points to pay for the room. Taxi the next morning from hotel to port was 18.50 and took about 15 minutes.
We booked the Faster to the Fun and yes it is so worth the 49.95 per cabin. We dropped the bags with the porter who placed an extra tag with FTTF on them, then proceeded down the sidewalk towards check in. All I had to do was show the boarding pass with the FTTF logo on it, a lady compared it to her list and scanned it and escorted us to the front of the security line, so no waiting and snaking your way up to have your passport scanned. We then when through the metal detector and carry-on bags and soda xrayed and then directed upstairs and to the front of the line again to get our S and S cards and Priority Boarding card. Front door to S and S card was 10 minutes. We maybe had a 15 minute wait before boarding began and were able to walk right on. (Tip here,sit closer to Boarding area B to avoid the initial rush up the escalators and gangway to the ship.)
Room was ready and as soon as we walked down the hall someone stepped out of a room and said you must be E16 welcome your room is ready and your bags will be right up. We went up to Lido to get lunch and as soon as we came back down, our bags were waiting for us. Again so worth paying the extra.
The dreaded Muster Drill was at 3:30 pm and for us it was held in the Dynasty Show Lounge. What was different with this one compared to the Glory and Victory was all of the announcements were made in the lounge in English and Spanish and then we had to walk up two decks to the life boats. After all the stations were dismissed it was time for sail away.
Food: Good as always, always able to find something to eat and plenty of food was always available. Only downside was Cozumel Morning the dining room was not open for Breakfast, so the lines on Lido to eat were long, long and really long. This needs to be improved.
Shows: Welcome Aboard, the same as the past but still fun to watch. Living in America and Shout were the main production shows, and I have to say it is one of the best I have seen on a ship.
There were plenty of activities to keep you busy and entertained, even on the sea day with strong winds and rain the the upper decks closed due to the winds.
I really forgot how much I enjoyed the Fantasy class ships, it had been since 1996 when I was last on the Fantasy to Nassau and Freeport. I am looking forward to the next trip in May on the Paradise.