To start, this is the 6th Carnival cruise for us, and we are working toward our Platinum status. This is our second time on the Imagination.
EMBARKATION: This was the smoothest I have ever seen. Maybe we just arrived at the right time about 11:45 am, but the lines were short, and everything moved quickly. We had booked a 4E inside GTY, and when we checked in found we were upgraded to a 6B Oceanview. Off to a great start. From the check-in counter we picked up our S&S and then off to board the ship. When we boarded we put our new gold sail and sign into the reader and had pictures taken. I know the gold cards are new, and it was nice when the ship staff recognized this by saying "welcome back".
When we arrived at our cabin our door was closed while all the others were opened. When we entered we were greeted with a Bon Voyage decoration package, and a beautiful basket with fruit, cheese and a bottle of wine all from Carnival. Maybe this was because we were on our 6th cruise, but it was very nice, and we were most surprised.
DINING: Say what you will, I think that Carnival does a great job feeding so many people in their dining rooms. The service is efficient, and the Waiter and Asst. Waiter go out of their way to make sure you are well fed and happy. The food overall was good to very good. Some entrees were better than others, but no matter you will never ever be hungry. The Lido restaurant, well....this is where my pet peeves come in. The food is ok, and better at lunch than at dinner. Breakfast is the same everyday, but there is plenty to choose from. Also, you have the pizza, calzones, and Caesar salad.
PUBLIC AREAS: The ship is midsize, but is laid out well, it looked identical to the last time I sailed. It was very clean, and as usual, everywhere you turned they had someone working on something. Pool deck was crowded, but never an issue to get a chair. I noticed that on this cruise there were not nearly as many PA's made which was nice.
The entertainment was good as usual. Carnival usually excels in the area of entertainment, and even on a short cruise provides top notch stuff. The best is the onboard talent show. The casino on board was small, and some of the slot machines seem out of date, there is a lot of empty space for additional machines, as well as much needed newer ones. The Casino host Malica was great, not only a nice person, but every time she saw you she recognized you and thanked you for losing money in the ships casino. Well maybe not thanked, but did offer to comp any type of drinks.
CABINS: They are smaller than those on the newer ships, and certainly showing their age, but all in all comfortable. The new bedding was one of the best things Carnival has done. I slept like a baby every night.
Carnival has really moved forward in getting away from the party till you puke into a more family maybe even dare I say classier type of atmosphere. There were not a ton of kids on the ship and it was a great overall cruise. My one complaint and I saved it for the end is that they need to have some control over the Lido Restaurant. People who stand on the buffet line barefooted and shirtless with the sweat dripping off them need to be escorted to the outside food areas. I would think that people would have a little more class themselves, but that would be wishful thinking. OK great cruise, and will be looking forward to the next one!