Carnival Imagination Cruise Review by imapris: First cruise lives up
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First cruise lives up
I sailed on the Imagination Jan. 27 - 30. This was my first vacation cruise. I was in the Navy for 8 years, so I'm no stranger to being on a ship. I just didn't have to work on this trip!
Some background about me: I'm a single professional woman who loves to dance and hit the clubs, go to Vegas - you get the idea. I was travelling with my friend and her family to celebrate her daughter's 21st birthday. There were nine of us and as her daughter is like my kid sister, and I was the single one in the group of adults, I was coupled with her. Worked out great for us!!
I'm a bit OCD about researching stuff, so I had completed all of the check-in steps online a week or so before we left Los Angeles. We took a taxi from the Hyatt to the port around 10:30, having read on CC that the ships let you on board earlier than the published check-in time. We were ready to start! I was a bit taken aback that the porters only had to take our bags about 20 feet to drop More them off. Tipping them $1 a bag for their assistance seemed unnecessary once I saw where the bags go. But oh well. I was on vacation and everyone needs to earn a living. No biggie.
Because we had completed the online check-in, we were able to go straight to the kiosks. Scanned our passports, scanned our credit cards to link to our sail and sign cards, got our printout and on to the next station to pick up the actual card. For credit cards, it's an itital $50 authorization, which isn't actually charged. The final amount is charged a day or two after the cruise ends. This whole process took less than 10 minutes.
Next we were on our way to board. Stop to take a picture, then on our way. They scanned our sail and sign card as we boarded, and we were off. First stop - lido deck!
Room service breakfast is your typical continental breakfast. The pastries were just okay, but better than pre-packaged stuff you would buy at a store.
Lido deck buffet: The food here was just okay in my book. I thought it was still too fast foody for me. I did really like the baked fish - I think it was called Boston baked fish or something like that. It was good and crispy and very yummy! The dessert stations always had some really good desserts. As long as dessert is good, I'm a happy person LOL
Mongolian BBQ: perfect if you like Mongolian BBQ.
Poolside buffet - cheeseburgers, hotdogs, chicken strips, french fries - and similar stuff. THe chicken strips were VERY good. Juicy chicken, crispy outside without being too crispy and just enough pepper!
Deli - I had a yummy pastrami sandwich one day. It's not typed on the options menu, but they have fresh ciabbatta rolls that are delicious!
Pizza - The ceasar salad is good and my friends really liked the pizza although I never had any myself. I'm not a big pizza person.
Main Dining Room:
We had your time dining in the Pride room. We somehow always went when there wasn't a line (not by plan but just how it turned out), so we never waited more than 5 minutes for our table. Sometimes there were only 3 of us and sometimes all 9 of us were together. We even showed up separately the last night as 3 and 6 and were seated separately. Then the group of 6 saw us 3 and we moved tables with no issues from the servers.
I always picked something off the menu I hadn't had before. Escargot was delish although I could've been eating small oysters for all the difference I could tell. The flavor was good though, so I'm a fan!
vegetarian sweet potato pot pie (bland - not enough cinnamon)
Chocolate molten cake - yummy! Ask for an extra scoop of ice cream!
Stuffed mushrooms - typical, and good!
Lobster/shrimp duo (order two - the lobster tails are small and you only get 4 medium shrimp)
Black forest cake - yum!
seafood penne as an appetizer
chocolate molten cake with extra ice cream.
Let's be honest. I'm a party girl. I always got the drink of the day. 7.50 - 9 after the added surcharge or whatever. I'm on vacation. No biggie.
I brought on two bottles of wine - legally. I had the roomie bring the second bottle for me since we can each bring on one.
Now that I have my first cruise under my belt, I'll definitely try to smuggle some rum or something on next time. The drinks on board were not very strong at all. I could use a little floater of liquor on top!
Smuggling: When in Nassau, I did stop at the duty free liquor store and bought a liter of rum to take back and small flask size bottle of coconut rum. When we came on board, my bag went through the xray machine and the attendant only told me to check my liquor with the gentleman on the other side of the room at a table. He did not mention how much liquor I had, so naturally, I only checked the liter and took the flask to my room. That's a good tip for anyone who wants to take liquor home but also try to get some to the room. Buy a small bottle!
Entertainment: I'm a white girl who loves the sun so I spent a lot of time top deck communing with my sun goddess. LOL I found several spots that I really liked that were out of the way where I could just take a nap in the sun and work on my tan. If that's your thing then just explore every day when you first board to find some spots you may like. I will say that I slept in the last day and didn't go topside until about noon. It took some walking around to find a spot, but I did.
I loved all the poolside dance parties. Dancing in the sun with an adult beverage in hand is a great way to pass the time (and fib to say I worked out on vacation!)
The comedians were funny. We saw both shows on both nights. They weren't the same, and in the second show they referenced funny stuff that they talked about in the first show. HILARIOUS! I only went to the adult versions of the show.
Illusions night club was fun too.
Here is the only negative that I feel is important enough to complain about. The music sets were the same for all dance activities, from the daytime pool parties to the club at night. So basically we heard the same set of songs six times. I'm sure that's not an issue for many people because maybe going to the club/dancing isn't something you frequent. But, for me, it got old quick. I can only do the wobble so many times! Granted, the mix of music was awesome. I just wish they had different mixes for different days/events. I made the recommendation in the cruise satisfaction survey that maybe they could consider doing music themes: East Coast hip hop, West Coast hip hop, 90s hip hop, Old Skool, Reggae, Reggaeton, Latin night. There are so many dance music options out there that they don't have to play the same set over and over. Also, they didn't have any current music. They played the popular stuff from the previous year or two, but they didn't even have music that was a month or two old.
And that's all for my whining about the music. It didn't bother me so much to make me not go out dancing, but by the last night, I was calling it quits by like 1 instead of staying out til 4.
Jolly from the Phillipines was our steward and he was awesome. I left him a note as soon as we got in the room asking for extra towels and chocolates. After that point he always called me by the name I signed on the note, instead of my official name which was on the room roster. I go by my middle name, so I appreciated that he made note of my go by name. We had pre-payed tips, but left him some extra cash throughout the trip to say thanks for all the special requests. He would incorporate stuff we left in the room on the towel animals. One day we came in and the elephant was wearing my sunglasses. It's a small thing, but it made us all smile, laugh and take pictures. What else is vacation for????
There was no announcement made to say when we could leave the ship, but we made our way down about 30 minutes after arrival and were off in a jiffy. There's always going to be those people who want to cut in line, but whatever. I was on vacation and wasn't going to let their rudeness bother me. Push on.
We didn't pre-book any tours, so getting off the ship we ran into a taxi driver who offered us a tour for $25. Three hours later, some souveniers and a bit of a look at how the poor, middle class and rich Bahamans live, and a walk around Atlantis, we found ourselves back at the ship. I layed by the pool, we got ready for dinner on board the ship, then we were off to bar hop Nassau. So fun! Back to the ship for clubbing into the wee hours.
I didn't find this out until after the fact, but you could get your passport stamped at one of the government buildings. Just not by the agents checking your ID to go back to the piers. FYI for any of you who want a stamp.
Just as easy. Filled out the customs form - I really only had the bottle of liquor and some small trinkets to claim. Packed our bags up the night before and had them checked. The morning of the last day we had breakfast in the dining room then went topside to hang out since we weren't scheduled to disembark until 1030. When we were called we got off the ship pretty quickly. The customs line moved quickly too. I don't know if bags are scanned behind the scenes before you pick them up, but they weren't scanned after we got them. Pay attention to your luggage tags to know what section your in because that's where your luggage will be when you get off the ship. If you leave earlier than your section, your luggage probably won't be there yet. So leave according to schedule and you're all set. It took us maybe 20 minutes to get from the ship to the taxi line. Piece of cake! Taxi to Bayside Marketplace where we shopped and hungout until time to catch our 6:30 flight from FLL. (We took the Tri-Rail!)
Speaking of which - Miami transportation. The Metro, metromover and tri-rail station that connects to FLL are awesome. If you don't want to spend the money on a rental or taxis, use the public transportation. It's massive, very easy to use, reliable and cheap.
Oh - I also explored the ship at night underway and found some great spots for some peaceful quiet nighttime ocean and star gazing. Forward of the mini golf course there's a deck. And then below the bridge there's a deck. You may have to do some exploring on your own to find how to get there, but they're public spots and I really enjoyed sitting there at night.
Overall, I highly recommend this cruise and ship. I had fun, I ate well, and the drinks were tasty. What else can a girl ask for?
Thanks for reading! Less
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Cabin review: 4AR226
R226 - three people. The room was set up with a double and we had the steward pull down one bunk. We didn't really use the closet space except to keep things out of the way. We didnt' care whether it was small or not because we were really only in there to shower and sleep. All we needed were beds to fall on in the wee hours of the morning! I will say that I will not share a room with one of the people I was with again. But that's only because he does not pick up after himself. That's annoying when you're in such a small space. So be sure you can tolerate the habits of your travel companions regardless of the room you're in! :-)
Port and Shore Excursions
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