Hello All! Prior to our trip this past December, i was hard pressed to find a lot of reviews for the Imagination. I would like to post mine here to help any people in the future. Also, the reviews that I did find seemed to lean to either "hated it cause the food sucked' or "loved it cause of the pool". I wanted a more all encompassing review LOL :) We have learned first hand that Carnival is not for relaxing, it is for partying " totally our fault for booking on this line as we enjoy friendly people and some partying, but not 24/7.
Overall we were happy with our trip a cruise is what you make of it, and glad we have given cruising and Carnival a try. If you are someone who likes to party, is overly sociable and likes crowds Carnival is for you and I will be recommending this trip along with their fleet to our friends and family who fit this criteria. As for our next cruise, we will be trying a transatlantic in the coming years and will be looking at other Lines offered by Carnival (Cunard, etc) that may cater to the "quieter" set.
The food was equivalent to Vegas Buffet level, or large employee dining room. Not impressed.
We were in PH1 - so for size, it was wonderful. A little tacky, and a little outdated, but 1000 sq ft of privacy.
Dated, dull - if you were not drunk or drinking or liked to sing/dance - you were bored.
The actual town of Nassau (other than Senor Frogs) is a tourist nightmare - either go to the resorts or stay on the ship.
So, for starters, this was our first cruise. We live across from the port in Miami and wanted to give a cruise a try - mainly to see if we liked it and also because our family and friends were now calling us asking about them LOL. So we booked a quick weekend cruise on Carnival. We originally booked the Grand Suite. We were called about 2 weeks before the trip by carnival to see if we wanted to upgrade to the owner's suite. We decided to go for it and paid the extra $1500. Because of this, i cannot give a fully accurate description of Embark/Disembark but will give it from our POV.
On Friday we got to the port about 1:15 PM. Once we got through security, we were told we had to go wait in line with everyone else (boarding pass for Owner's Suite (PH1) says To Be Announced and the VIP is removed, Small blunder in Carnival's process - also, cannot purchase any bon voyage items, or book any excursions online when booked into this room - have to call the bon voyage department directly. After showing our luggage tags (which luckily we had one on my carry on) we were allowed to go to the VIP checkin. We were waited on fairly quickly then had to sit and wait about 15 minutes for someone to come and escort us onto the ship. We were allowed to bypass the long line of people waiting to board, get our first pic taken, and then arrived at the spot where they take your picture for your sign and sail. The security guard there was very rude to our escort and started telling her that she didnt know what she was doing and we had to wait in line like everyone else. She was very polite and tried to explain that we had priority boarding, and that this was the process. After 5 minutes of listening to this, he let her go to guest services with us in tow (literally 20 feet away from him). We were left waiting (standing/no where to sit) outside guest services (could not get a drink as we still did not have our cards yet) for about 20-25 minutes while the lady got a person to take us to our rooms and get us our cards. We were escorted to our room (12th floor/sports deck), he made sure our keys worked and left us there - no tour of the room, no instructions, no nothing - another failure on customer service.
We dropped our carry on and headed out to the lido deck for a Drink of the Day and a beer. Very nice atmosphere - and free champagne for everyone. We hung out for a while, went back up to the room to see if the luggage had arrived yet (only one piece had) and then headed down again to check out the option of getting a two person table for dinner. The Matre D was very nice and booked us in Spirit for a two-seater at 8:15 as he said the wait would be horrific if we stuck with our anytime dining. Oh well, another item that other people have mentioned in other reviews proved correct.
The ROOM: the room (PH1) of course is amazing BUT (you knew this was coming) the balcony overlooks....the life raft - so for an extra $1500 you get an obstructed view. Also - the living room and bedroom look out onto the Lido deck - which is lovely at sunrise - other than that - not so much. It is also very, very noisy - all day, and all night. They did warn us about it before we booked, so i am not complaining - just letting you know that they are NOT kidding when they say there will be a lot of noise. The jogging track is also directly above you - and apparently a LOT of people on the ship decided to go running at all hours of the day and night (starts at about 5am). Picture laying under a treadmill...that's the noise. The deck chairs moving (both on Lido and Sun) are outrageously noisy as well. Like i said - we were warned by Carnival. The room is about 1000 square feet:
- Full walk in closet with plenty of hangers
- Dual sink bathroom
- Toilet is in room with tub , bad design for a room that can hold up to 10 people (1 shower, 1 toilet). Even with only the two of us, there were times, in a room this size, there should have been a separate powder room.
- Notice i said tub...its an old jetted triangle tub (its seashell pink, so prob original to the ship) with old worn out fixtures and a pitiful curtain. The shower is in this tub. The tub leaks when you run the shower. A lot - water everywhere. Not a good design, and you must climb OVER the edge of the tub to get in - not good on a moving vessel and a wet floor.
- Living room - very nice - flat panel tv (although ours was on the fritz most of the trip) - Bar - great area with small fridge
- Sitting room - nice but moderately uncomfortable furniture (all-weather type material - odd)
- Bedroom - true king bed (not two pushed together) so triple points for that. Nice TV, but tv remote when in bed is too far from TV to work properly so you have to move forward or get out of bed for it to work.
- Blackout curtains truly keep out the sunlight in all rooms
- The carpets totally need to be replaced. They are covered in every room with multiple stains, to the point I would not walk barefoot in the room.
The Pool: The pool is small for the amount of people on deck, especially on a sunny sea day. Add to that pool a ton of children and you have no pool for adults. I watched as children splashed, kicked, shoved, jumped on and banged into adults just trying to get in for a dip. The water is chilly (not heated).
The Whirlpool Tubs (on Lido): Could not get in them due to the fact they were used as kiddie pools for the entire trip.
Serenity area: Could not truly use as it was not very serene (many times we walked back there only to find raucous adults in the whirlpools and we felt like we were intruding on private drinking parties).
The Waterslides: Fun, but once again a little chilly on the water.
The Food: I would akin it to First-Class airline food in the Dining rooms. I was not expecting cooked to order, fresh food we are on a ship catering to thousands of people. It was tasty in the dining room, but nothing to write home about decent selection. The buffet in the pool area was just horrid for lunch and breakfast akin to cafeteria food. I could have waited in line to get fresher omelets or a burger but did not want to wait upwards of 20 minutes. The pizza was OK once again, more like Employee Dining Room or Cafeteria level food. The coffee throughout the ship was mediocre at best, including the specialty coffee.
The Booze: Yep most expensive part of the trip. Drinks are reasonably prices (compared to Miami and our former home of Las Vegas) so we were not shocked. We pretty much made the accurate guess of about $50 per person per day in booze/coffee/soda. The drinks of the day pretty much tasted the same from day to day but they were yummy. Great selection of beer as well. We chose the 3 bottle wine package for dinner service.
Excursions: We did not book any shore excursions but did book the behind the scenes tour on our day at sea. It was canceled as apparently we were the only people who booked it. I was highly disappointed.
The Port: The Bahamas are beautiful. Similar weather/climate as Miami. We chose to just see the city on this trip so that when we return, we will be staying at an all inclusive and wont need to go into town. The town is typical tourist town not much to do our favorites were Senor Frogs and the Pirate Museum. We were very much put off by the pushy tour hawkers, but most of all the people who approach you on the street. I was physically grabbed by more than one person trying to sell me cheezy, cheap necklaces for the children as well as people pulling me to look at fake purses. Outside the one Bacardi store, my husband was harassed by many gentlemen trying to sell him drugs. After a while we were very tired of the harassment and wound up going back on board the ship to escape it. We were not interested in going to an all inclusive for the day and we did not want to go to Atlantis. Its sad because we would have spent much more time and money in the city had it not been for the harassment. We have been to extremely poor countries, such as Fiji, where we were never bombarded like this. Even some of the Mexican resort towns, such as Cozumel, were not this bad.
The Service: This is where we have our highest praises. Our cabin steward was absolutely amazing as was her assistant (there are two for the room as it is so big). Loved our towel animals, never worried about leaving valuable items out, etc. Our room was spotless at all times and our needs were always met sometimes before we even realized we needed something. Our dinner service was impeccable thanks to Felix every night! Everything was always waiting for us when we arrived. Everywhere on the ship I was always seeing someone cleaning something as well very clean ship. At the bars, etc. the service was always friendly, efficient and performed with a smile. We even received gifts from the hotel manager every day in our room, so once again, the service on the ship exceeded our expectations.
The Sales: A little pushy on the photos (they should seriously look into a photopass type solution, like Disney has which would alleviate so much and might also encourage more people to buy looking for our photos every day was quite annoying). The jewelry sales pushes got very old after a while and we did not see anything that appealed to us.
Overall we were happy with our trip a cruise is what you make of it, and glad we have given cruising and Carnival a try. If you are someone who likes to party, is overly sociable and likes crowds Carnival is for you and I will be recommending this trip along with their fleet to our friends and family who fit this criteria. As for our next cruise, we will be trying a transatlantic in the coming years and will be looking at other Lines offered by Carnival (Cunard, etc) that may cater to the quieter set.