Having cruised with Carnival previously on Destiny we decided to go with Carnival again for a winter break.
Let me just say that cruising in the winter is VERY risky weather wise. The first day and a half it rained and was very cool out. This also meant that the water was rough during our travels.
Miami (Embarkation)- I sailed with a friend and we saved a lot of time by doing the online check in through the carnival website. Once we passed security we just had to pick up our keys and we were on our way. We were in the ship by 1:30 pm and we were able to go straight to our rooms. We chose to go with an interior room only because on my previous cruise I spent little to no time in the room and felt that a window or balcony wasn't necessary. The room were clean and spacious.
Key West- Very pretty! We did have a sunny day but it was very chilly out, about 55 degrees. Even the residents there were surprised by how cool it was this day. We took the shuttle to the downtown area and visited the Ripley's Believe it or Not. We also did some shopping at the local shops and sat at a bar for drinks before heading back to the ship. The ship was only docked in Key West for about 5 hrs. Our ride to Cozumel was rough! Almost half of the ship had was sea sick!!! (My friend that I was cruising with included) I so happened to be fine because i took Dramamine ahead of time. I decided to go with the buffet this night and the ship was the emptiest that i have seen throughout the entire trip. There was no line for the dining room and no one sitting in any of the common areas and this was about 7:30 pm.
Cozumel- The weather SUCKED!! It was raining/ drizzling and was very windy. We decided to go with a van tour which ran us about $25. The tour guide took us to all the "hotspots" of Cozumel. He also gave us time to get out at a restaurant for lunch/ drinks as well as the beach once it stopped raining. After the tour we decided to head back to the ship due to the weather.
Fun Day At Sea- FINALLY some sun! It hit about 85 degrees that morning and everyone was outside taking in the sun. We sat on the Serenity Deck for a couple hours for quiet relaxation. I must say that the Serenity Deck was a great move on Carnivals part. Its quiet and only 21 & over. It also had 2 Jacuzzi's. We later headed to the Lido deck for all the fun and games. Caught some shows and more sun before getting ready for dinner. I think this was the most fun day on the ship. The comedian even thought so!
Food/Drinks- Overall the food was good. I am a picky eater and i enjoyed the food. In comparison to Destiny I saw less lines on Imagination. I am a cooker and was a bit annoyed with the omelet station because my eggs were always burnt. I enjoyed the Lido Deck food better than the Dining room food. Although I did enjoy the dessert in the dining room. Bare in mind that although they provide room service there maybe a long wait during times where outside is cold, bad weather, and around dinner time. Yes! The drinks are expensive but are very strong. I had to send back a drink because there was more liquor than mixer.
Miami (Debarkation)- We decided to go with the relaxed debarkation. On debarkation morning we had breakfast on the lido deck and was informed that customs would doing a vigorous scan on everybody. This did make the process a lot longer but the line was getting a bit ridiculous so they just stopped doing the scan.
Transportation- When I cruised on Destiny i went with Carnivals transportation which like all the other reviewers said was expensive and we had to wait for a full bus to leave the airport/ port. This time around i did some research and went with SAS transportation (ridesas.com). They have a website that I booked the pick-up/ drop off. They were very reliable and prompt. As soon as i got off the plane in FLL they were calling and they called me when I was going through customs for debarkation. It was $15 each way which was the cheapest i found from FLL airport. Their drivers were very courteous and provided a mini tour on the way lol.
Ship/ Staff- The staff were all nice. On our last night on the ship we got a bad waiter in the dining room and we didn't even make it to dessert before we left and that was after sitting there for about and hour and a half. The ship was remodeled in 2010 and was a lot newer than Destiny. The lounges and common areas were more modern than Destiny. For the most part the staff did a good job at keeping the ship clean and tables cleared on the Lido Deck.
Entertainment- I must say that the entertainment is far better than i remember in the Destiny. I really enjoyed the shows in the Dynasty Lounge. The shows looked a lot more professional and the singers are a lot better.
Overall, I would cruise with Carnival again but on their newer ships and definitely not in the winter! It was a good idea for a hot trip in the winter but just not on a boat!