This was our long awaited first cruise and after plenty of research we are so happy with our choice on the Carnival Imagination. Our group consisted of 10 people ages 3 years old to 65 years old. We had 3 children, ages 3, 5 and 7 years old. We were afraid of sailing in December which I read is when Cozumel had the most rainfall. Everything was perfect.
Embarkation was fair. We had a little trouble in our registration instructions on the computer because 2 of our passports were expired so we used birth certificates. Make sure that if you use birth certificates, you have another form of picture ID. We were also told that soon Carnival will implement a fee for using birth certificates as form of proof of citizenship. The ship was glamorous, clean and well kept. We were greeted cheerfully. Our room was clean and bigger than I expected. We chose an interior for 5 people as we did not intend on using it for other than sleep. I have read complaint after complaint on previous reviews, More
but honestly the size was not bad for the five of us. Though, I cannot see an adult sleeping on the wall beds. We saw the balcony rooms and they were absolutely gorgeous.
Activities on board :
There was plenty to do all the time. We only went to our room to change or sleep. Every waking minute we spent on deck under the sun in the pool, which seemed small but surprisingly was never full and had plenty of room for leisure swim,in one of the 4 outdoor jacuzzi, playing mini golf, playing on the water slides, or lounging in one of the many chairs usually with a drink, ice cream, or coffee. ( all available, all the time ) You could literally spend a whole day on deck with the water slides. They were that fun and for all ages ! Great quality time for the whole family. We even brought lunch from the deck below and ate it in front of the slides overlooking the whole ocean. Breath taking !
When not outdoors, the shows were equally wonderful. We watched " Show Time " which is a Vegas style song and dance musical appropriate for the whole family. I watched all the comedy shows. There were 2 comedians on board. One hilarious, one not. Family comedy was not amusing. Adult comedy shows brought me to tears laughing. Had the luxury of leaving the kids with family. I didn't make the married couples game show because it was midday and we were on the outdoor deck but watched it late night before sleeping. They play all the activities through out the day over and over again on their channel. It was cute but I'm glad we spent that time in the water under the sun. Karaoke was good.
Carnival Kids club :
Free babysitting till 10 at night. Clean, safe, air conditioned area. Loved that they offer to give you a cell phone that allows you to remain in contact with them at all times. Care takers were unbelievable kind, patient and cheerful. My 3 year old who has never previously been left in a child care setting LOVED them. He talked about them all night and wanted to go back the next day. 5 and 7 year old seemed more bored. Although there was play station, not the games the loved. And one t.v./ game console against 10 kids, also not fun. Otherwise very satisfied with them.
Food : So much variety, so many choices, available all the time. All delicious! Especially loved choosing my own fresh ingredients for Mongolian grill. Great selection for kids available all the time. If all else fails, the 24 hour pizza is very good. Room service was a great way to get something into the kids' stomachs while we got some extra sleep in the morning before going to breakfast.
Service : I have read complaints before from other reviewers but I have to say the men and women who service on this ship were remarkable in every aspect. They went out of their way to make the journey spectacular. Small details I noticed in these humble individuals are things like the restaurant hostess kneeling down to tie my kids shoe, caretakers at the child watch making sure you were comfortable leaving your child there before you left, officers and cooks remembering your name from day to day. Every individual has a story. These people leave their families for months on end to earn a living and make our vacations that much more pleasurable in the process. Fully appreciate every one of them.
Seasickness : I packed medicine and was worried prior to boarding but to our amazement, no one in our party became sick. Sure, in the beginning you feel the boat rock, then your body adjusts. On the way to Miami on the last day the weather was rough, very windy and all decks were closed off and not to be used.
* Because we didn't go to our room much and they leave each days information in your room midday, I failed to read the info about leaving the luggage outside of your room door by 11 pm at night to be picked up and transferred off the ship in the morning. We had to carry off all our luggage but it would have been nice to take advantage of that assistance. Also, I thought we would have at least till 12 noon on debarkation day but we actually had to be out of the room by 8:30 am.
A great vacation never to be forgotten ! Less
Carnival Imagination Cruises to the Western Caribbean
Cozumel : Did not take an excursion with Carnival. Did research and ventured on my own. I speak no Spanish and it was very easy to catch a cab and communicate with all vendors. Originally intended to go to Chankanaab National Park after thorough research, but taxi driver suggested that was not suitable for children as the water at the beach is deep and rocky ground, much better for snorkeling. Followed advice and went to Paradise Beach instead. Excellent choice. For very little money, family of 10 had a wonderful day on a clean, well kept beach with bathroom facilities, swimming pool, inflatable toys in the water, access to motorized sports. The resort waiters are very pushy about getting you to buy food/drink from them which we didn't. but then again, that's were they make their money. Entrance and activity fees are close to nothing.
Key West : We arrived an hour late, and were given an hour extra to explore land. Immigration and customs which had to be done before leaving the ship was time consuming but manageable. Took a courtesy train from the ship's door to the downtown area. Key west is mostly a huge outdoor shopping mall. Reminded me a lot of Amsterdam. Was chilly the day we got there so we did not get to enjoy the beach. But that's where we would have headed if the sun was out. Would have made a great picnic day !