My wife and I cruised on the Imagination on December 9th, 2013 for the four day Key West/Cozumel trip. Having just completed a 7 day Eastern Caribbean sailing the week before on the Glory we were very disappointed with this ship. The ship's decor, to me, screams 70's downtown Vegas style. The buffet area is kind of darkish with neon-type lights above and is kind of dreary. I was told that the Imagination is the smallest ship in Carnival's fleet and it shows. It is missing the expansive spaces and high ceilings of their larger ships. I read above that the ship was refurbished in 2008? Wow! I wonder what they spent the money on. I was thinking that it was original.
The basics: The buffet food was average. The Pride dining was good. The overall service and friendliness of the crew were below par. It seems that the Imagination is were they train new employees before putting them on the nicer ships and, perhaps, where they put more senior employees for disciplinary action. I was surprised to see one of the busboys on the lido deck had a neck tattoo and others with arm tattoos exposed. To me they almost looked like gang members.
The cabin: Ocean view cabin window was so dirty that it was unpleasant to look through. Stowed Pullman bed takes up precious cabin space. No fridge. Temperature control for shower is ineffective. The temperature you get is what you get. No cover on electrical box above cabinets. The cabin is just old and tired.
Your fellow passengers: Well, let me just say that, hmmm...that...about 30% of the passengers were...I'll just say that it felt like we were in a bad neighborhood on the south side of Chicago or Detroit or East St. Louis. I was glad that we didn't get mugged at the buffet! Seriously, I did wonder sometimes if our room would be safe while we were away or if a fight would break out in the crowded areas. It never occurred to me that ghetto dwellers are cruising nowadays! I wanted to go on vacation to get away from this stuff so keep this in mind when you are thinking of what a great deal $150 for a cruise is. Oh, it was no surprise that on the second morning a flyer was placed in everybody's room telling us that people were missing luggage from the first day when they deliver them outside the cabin door.
In conclusion, I don't think we'll ever do a cheap cruise again. It is worth is to pay extra to get a better ship, better service and better neighbors...