This is going to be a long one so sit back and get a tall drink from the waiter. I have been looking since 2003 about a cruise and was originally going to go on the Conquest but that fell thru. I was looking for a ship that specifically went to Ocho Rios as I used to live there many moons ago. I wanted to go back and scope it out.
I found the Imagination and it seemed perfect. I paid for the cruise thru a local agent and booked 1a guarantee. I was going by myself and that is all I needed. I spent many a work hour on here asking questions and getting lots of advice. I flew out of Tulsa on the day of the cruise, a Saturday. I let Carnival book the tickets. Probably not again. Didn't like feeling rushed.
Got to Miami around 2pm. Finally got my bags and this is probably my biggest gripe is that it was hard to find the Carnival reps at the airport. They don't make themselves as known as the other line. Got on the bus and yes, the driver did solicit a tip. I tipped him, I know sucker.
Got to the terminal and it took longer to walk around the building than it did to check in. There was no one there. I was on the ship in less than 10 minutes. There can be some good things said for late check in. I got my S&S card and found my room. People directed me there. Got the camera and went straight to taking pictures. Then went to the bow to await sailing. Not like the Love Boat, that's for sure. No streamers and people waiving goodbye. Got turned around and headed out to sea. By then it was time to go eat.
I got the early seating. I didn't see on the card that it listed which dining room. In all my planning I never noticed that there were 2 dining rooms. It never sank thru my pea brain. Went to the wrong one naturally. Almost forgot the lifeboat drill went thru without a hitch. As usual there were the idiots blowing on the whistles. The staff pointed out that flaw quickly. Back to the story. Found the correct dining room and had some of the best table mates. Denise, Nancy and Franklin. We hung out together the rest of the cruise. We were all singles and we hit it off. Denise and Nancy were best buds and they taught us how to play Canasta. We weren't big into the clubs and it gave us something to do.
The first nite I think I got a little seasick. I was in bed at 10:15 and slept until 0630 the next morning when I dutifully got up and went to the jogging track. Walked up there for 20 min and then got on the exercise bike. Ate breakfast in the dining room. By the way, the food is incredible. (sorry, I tend to ramble and type whatever comes in mys head). Got a little sun, went back to bed, got up, ate and then relaxed until dinner and then went to the show with my table mates. It was great. I tend to look for flaws and saw only minor ones. They did a fabulous job on the show. One of our table mates turned out to be one of the dancers in the show and her boyfriend was on the ship and she was able to eat dinner with us which was great. She answered a lot of questions.
Tuesday we showed up in Grand Cayman. The Inspiration was already there but we were the last for the day. Just the 2 ships. It can be a beautiful island but was devastated by the hurricane last hear. I toured the island, bought a bunch of tourist junk for the family. If I go back that is when I will do the excursions. The ship's personnel made it abundantly clear when you had to be back on the ship. Bought lots of pictures on the ship. Probably wont' again. The photo gallery is too small for that many people. There has got to be a better way to do that.
Got to Ocho and did my private excursion. I had meant to get up as we were arriving at the pier and I did to it but I forgot one little detail. When the camera goes from the cold stateroom to the hot, steamy caribbean environment, the camera lens will fog up. Missed the ones as we were arriving. Oh well, live and learn. Again. played cards and watched the show. The singer they flew in. Never did catch her name, She was great. She flew into Cayman, not ocho and she performed Monday and there was a musical number Tuesday.
Wednesday, I got up, went to the gym, hit the steam room and sauna. They need a place for you to get a locker key up in the gym area, you have to go to the information desk to get one. Not really convenient. Spent a lot of time on the verandah deck by the aft pool soaking up the sun. Took a golf lesson by the way on Sunday. Got some good hints. Went to the debarkation lecture. Got some good info. Went to the art auction. They cancelled it because no one had anything reserved. The only thing I was even interested in I couldn't' have thought about buying much less actually purchasing it.
Got up Thursday and was off the ship by 0900. Sat longer on the bus than it took to get off the ship. They really have it streamlined. Got an early flight home and here I am to write about it. Greatest experience I have ever had, Looking for a 7 day Eastern Caribbean trip now for next year. Email me if you have any questions. Thanks everyone.