This was my first cruise of 2009 and my 3rd overall cruise (I just booked my 4th cruise in Aug, going to Progreso/Cozumel, MX). Good and smooth travel en route to port. Traveled from Louisville, KY to Miami, FL for this cruise. Took shuttle to cruise port, which took about 35 minutes. Security at the cruise port went smoothly and I was on board by 12:30pm.
Once on board, I immediately went to Purser's desk and had my tips/gratuities removed from my Sail and Sign card. I choose to tip myself according to the service I receive. That's a tip that my travel agent recommended. Then I went on to lunch on the Lido deck. I have to admit, I've had better food on past cruises. Just mediore. I had the standard hot dogs, hamburgers and fries. The potato salad was warm. I don't like not having a clean table to sit at when first arriving on board. These are just pet peeves...nothing that would cause me not to cruise anymore. In fact, the Imagination is my favorite ship!
Since I still had time to waste until I could get into my stateroom at 1:30pm, I did a tour of the Spa. It was very nice. Although I didn't purchase any of the services, I can say that I will in the future. My luggage arrived at 2pm, which was very fast! I met my room steward, Dewa, who is the best one I've had so far. He was very attentive and nice. He reminded that I needed to head to Lifeboat Drill at 4:00pm, which I did and he always spoke to me in the hallways and checked on me on the days I had my DO NOT DISTURB sign on my door. Lifeboat drill went smoothly.
After lifeboat drill, I went to a Spa Raffle and then went to dinner at 6:00pm. I was traveling alone and was seated at table 157 with 3 other singles and we all hit it off well... 2 women and 2 men. As a female traveling alone (by choice), it's comforting to see other friendly singles. Everyone was doing their own thing and no one was looking to hook up or make a quick score. I found out that i wasn't the only person who liked to travel alone. I think between the 4 of us, there was a total of about 18 cruises that had been taken! Dinner was great each night. I liked our waiters (but can't remember their names). I went to the casino after dinner (won $18) and then went to the Welcome Aboard show, which I'd seen before on other Carnival cruises and saw the comedian Tony Epsosito, who was HILARIOUS! The ship was kinda rocky the first night but it didn't bother me or make me sick. In fact, it helped me to sleep.
Second day of the cruise was nice. We arrived in Key West, FL around 7:30am. I had breakfast in my room instead of going to the Lido deck or open seating. I was off the ship by 10:30am. The weather was gorgeous. I didn't do a planned excursion. There is a free shuttle that will take you into Downtown and from there you can go to Mallory Square and Duval Street. I just did souvenier shopping and walked around Duval Street. Had lunch at Two Friends Restaurant, which I admit, I was not impressed with. Too me, it was a bit pricey. I had a fish dinner with fries, softdrink and a slice of Key Lime Pie and it cost $23. I was back on the ship by 12:30pm. Usually the second day of the cruise (on a four day cruise) is Formal night. I skipped it and ate room service from my room (which is limited in selection but very tasty). Headed back to casino and went to the Adult Comedy show with Tony Espisito. Again, Hilarious!
Third day of the cruise, we had a change of plans. The Swine Flu outbreak has just hit and the CDC had advised against unneccessary travel into Mexico. We were supposed to be heading to Cozumel, MX. Instead, we sailed all day, thus making this our "Fun day at Sea". The captain decided we would arrive in Nassau, Bahamas the next day. Didn't bother me a bit. I did my usual shopping on the ship, casino and napping. There were some folks who were furious! Some had never been to Cozumel and were really looking forward to it. A lot of people complained because they had been to the Bahamas so many times. I had been to Nassau before as well, but I'd rather go there rather than not go anywhere. It was (for me, anyway) a nice day at sea.
Fourth and final day of the cruise, we arrived in Nassau, Bahamas around 8:00am. After having breakfast in my room and showering, I was off the ship by noon. We got the very last dock spot and it was a hellish walk to the pier. It was about 85-90 degrees that day! I didn't do any planned excursions. I walked around on my own and had lunch at Hard Rock Cafe and then did the customary souvenier shopping. There were lots of good deals as always. I was back on the ship by 2:30pm.
Debarkation Day went as smoothly as it could. When you have 2500 people to get off the ship, there's bound to be some confusion. I was off the ship by 9:30am. I stayed in town an extra day. If anyone has any questions/comments about cruising (which is my favorite pasttime in the entire world), email me at firstname.lastname@example.org