I rented a "Grande Suite"! A surprise for my wallet! $$$!, and one for my daughter on Christmas!
We opened the door of this "palace" and yes, it is spacious and looked pretty clean... Although shabby furniture screamed of the 80s and had seen better days. Some of it was so old that furry stuff stuck out of the seams run down leather upholstery. Was it leather?... Your call!
My daughter noticed a layer of dust on the cocktail table legs. Suddenly aware of our environment, we took a closer look. Dust everywhere covered all of the furniture like a nice velvet blanket. The phone, the decoration above the bed, the shabby crooked lampshades, everywhere! Windows and mirrors had fingerprints that were not ours... There were splashes of liquid (yuk) on walls, doors and inside drawers and the carpet was full of stains. The bed skirts looked like they had spent a day trampled by some cattle.
We looked at each other in dismay and called housecleaning. While we were talking to a charming state room manager, my daughter ran into some lump on the inside of the bed... AN OLD EARPLUG! No kidding! I thought it was a candy! It looked promising from where I was standing...
We were guarantied a clean room, clean sheets and we thought this would be the end of it... We went our merry way to take a tour...
It gets better...
We walked out and took the elevator. Someone had obviously thrown up there and it took me two days and lots of complaining to finally have this taken care of. For two days, it became a habit to meet other passengers with their clothes all the way up to their noses to cover the smell and not puke. Around the ship, constant smells of putrefied water or garbage... Where is all this coming from?...
24th December 2013! Christmas Eve! Lunch time. We decide to stand in line for the "Mongolian Wok". BAD, BAD decision! It took us no less than 2 hours to get to the front of the line, and then... large plates had been replaced by small bawls and there was no more food on the trays! Dealing with an angry hungry mob was what was in store for the staff behind the counters... Miraculously, plates came out of nowhere and food reappeared on trays!
We tried to change lines several times during that ordeal, but all of them were just jammed with passengers as well.
We realized that this was just the way it was on Carnival Imagination for every single meal.
Breakfast is served around the pool, an old pool with greenish scary water, and it would not be too bad if... for more than 2,600 passengers, there were more than ONE toaster! Suddenly, as you are happy you made it through the line (a real victory!), holding your plate full of steamy food and fried eggs, there it is! Stopping everything! The ONLY toaster that takes for ever and can only toast 4 pieces of bread! On ONE side only!
Be prepared to eat your fried eggs... cold!
Why Carnival did not ask us to bring our own toaster? Your guess is as good as mine!
Dinner time! "Pride Dining Room Allows you to dine at your leisure anytime between 5.45pm -9.30pm" (SIC) This is what it says in their daily "All Kind of Deliciousness" schedule...
Finally! Maybe some service! A line again? They wouldn't dare... or would they?...
Hungry passengers filled the hallways in a 40 minute line to... get a... pager! No joke! It is true. Then, we were "free" to roam "leisurely" around the entrance of the dining room, clog the hallways and staircases for another hour or so until the buzzer reminded us that we had come here to eat! We then entered the dining room and although there were about 12 empty tables around us, there were no servers, so.. Guess what? More wait! Servers, although friendly, were scares and extremely busy. Obviously overworked and understaffed.
I had no clue that the main entertainment was "the food lines" on Carnival Imagination!
The only resort if you wanted to avoid these small "inconveniences" that would eat half your vacation time was to eat at what Carnival Cruise calls "All American", where lines were smaller and I understood why very quickly. The food was horrific. Some pale imitation of what our neighborhood McDonald has to offer. Dry tiny pieces of chicken nuggets, in some sauces that had no name... accompanied by French fried by name only. Ah! Let's be fair! Their coleslaw was delicious!
Entertainment! Most of it was done in the pool area! Bingo, trivia, children's activities, St Jude's hospital charity fund raising and all! So, if you wanted to enjoy the pool (filled with greenish water and in need of major repair) and pool games, and eventually nice pool music, you also had to put up with ear-piercing loudspeakers that would cover any other sounds around you, even if you had no inclination for any of these activities. Just yell!
The night shows were great! And singers and dancers amazing! Let's be honest!
Trivia was at times held in an area across the bar. Not enough tables in that long stretchy area to sit us all. You ended up standing, writing in your hands, or sitting on stools at the bar, even if you did not want to drink, or smoke! Children and all!
I went to the "Service Desk" several times to see if we could see any improvement only to be told that it was just about normal to waste about 4 hours in line every day if you want to eat! Lots of apologies that did not translate into $$$! But in a tray of chocolate covered strawberries! Wow!
I decided to relax and take advantage of the Jacuzzi that came with the room. Surprise! It did not work and I could not empty my bathtub as the system to remove the plug was also broken! I just had the time to jump out of my dirty water to let the plumber in. He took care of the sink as well that was clogged since day one... I almost forgot the electrician who showed up to fix the light that did not work in the closet and since we were not provided with a flashlight, we could not see our safe! This is of course in between the endless parades of "managers" who showed up by pairs like good soldiers to "see" the state of our predicament.
I was told: our Jacuzzi is "fixed" (sic)... ugh... not really... one spray only! Just enough for one toe! for 3 minutes and then... Nothing! I gave up!
I walked out on my balcony in search of a semblance of sanity around this ship, it was nighttime, windy and nice... I wanted to read... The light did not work...
Moral of this story?
On Imagination, do not forget to pack your Clorox wipes, bring your plumber and your electrician along, do not forget your toaster and BE PATIENT!
I have rarely seen so many people so overworked as our staff on this ship. They never stopped working but you still had entire areas with tables filled with dirty dishes and full ashtrays, dirty rails, empty sanitizers (rarely available). The staff all looked worn out. It was pitiful. Often, we had to pick up dirty dishes off the tables to make space for us to eat. Back to slavery, only a modern version of it. I talked to one of the staff on our lunch line and she said she was working 80 hours a week! 8 months in a row, no day off!