I'm amused at the previous reviewers calling Imagination an old ship. Nonsense. The ship was completely redone three years ago with all new cabin interiors, carpets, furniture. There is nothing old feeling about Imagination. Other than the date on her commissioning statue, you will not be able to tell Imagination from Magic. You want old: take a stroll around Queen Mary when you're in Long Beach!
This was my 22nd cruise with Carnival. I saw no downgrade in service or food quality. I've cruised Princess, Celebrity and Cunard and Carnival does a great job in my view, especially for the extremely low fares Carnival charges. I laughed at the reviewer who complained of paying $500 for two people for four days: that's only $62.50 per person per day which is extremely low. Try staying in a four-star hotel and eating three meals in the restaurant for $62.50 per person per day! Motel-6 charges $62.50 now and that's really bare-bones living.
A four-day cruise to Catalina and Ensenada should not be compared to a cruise around the Caribbean! Apples and oranges! It's a poky itinerary which is perfect for relaxing and taking life easily. Don't like Ensenada? Don't go ashore; I don't. There's plenty to do aboard ship. Or, sit back and relax with a good book.
The buffet food on Imagination is no different than the buffet food on Celebrity Mercury or Diamond Princess. Buffet food is buffet food and there is little that can be done to make it haute cuisine and still serve it out of a steam table. It is wholesome and filling and tasty. Don't like buffet food? Try the Mongolian Wok for cooked to order Asian cuisine; the Rotisserie for freshly roasted chicken and a variety of other meats; the deli for made-to-order hot and cold sandwiches; the Grill for hamburgers and hot dogs.
And yes, there are 2,000 other people on board: you don't have the ship all to yourself. And they are from all walks of life. Compared to the 6,000 other people on board RCL's Allure of the Seas, Imagination feels relatively deserted.