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Home > Member Reviews > LandlockedCruiser01's Port Reviews of Key West, Cozumel, Miami

LandlockedCruiser01's Port Reviews of Key West, Cozumel, Miami
Carnival Imagination cruise in April 2012
Member Name: LandlockedCruiser01
Cruise Date: April 2012
Embarkation: Miami
Destination: Western Caribbean
Member Review: LandlockedCruiser01's Carnival Imagination Review
Key West
Ernest Hemingway House & Tour Rating: 5.0 out of 5+
I originally scheduled a Hemingway Museum and Sloppy Joes excursion, but it was canceled. I planned to stay on the ship at first, but a fellow passenger convinced me to go into town and walk around. So I did. Imagination docks at Outer Mole, a US Navy port, so you have to take a shuttle into town. The shuttle drops you off at a downtown area. A worker at a boat rental place was nice enough to give me a map of old Key West and mark it up with places I asked him about.


Think of the town as Old West meets Caribbean. There are a lot of old buildings with quirky architecture and many eclectic shops. Many of them are tourist-oriented, but not in an in-your-face touristy kind of way. For example, there's a Walgreen's store situated in a former theater building. Store workers are very nice and helpful to tourists, and there are even tourist information booths along Duval Street, which is where I spent most of my time. Make sure to try the chocolate-covered key lime pie on a stick; I wish I could remember where I bought it. The pie was creamy and flavorful, and the chocolate was really good, nothing like the Hershey kind. It rained the day I was there, but that did not stop me or most other ship passengers. It was fun to watch many people walk around in Carnival ponchos around the streets.


This was the house where Ernest Hemingway actually lived with one of his wives. The building has Southern Colonial or New Orleans architecture style, with ground-to-roof columns and wraparound porches. Inside, there are rooms looking just as they did in the late 1800's. There's also a swimming pool commissioned by Hemingway himself, the first one in Key West. There are cats virtually everywhere: under bushes, on benches, and one was even sleeping on top of an HP printer. You're allowed to pet the cats but not pick them up.


This old bar is very mellow and laid back, and so are its workers. There are bands playing country music, but there was still a lot of people there. Various country's flags hang on the ceiling. During the worst part of the rain, I took cover in this bar, and I'm glad I did. I loved the atmosphere.

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Dolphin Swim & Encounter Rating: 5+ out of 5+
Imagination docks in Puerta Maya, about four miles south of downtown, but the port was still very interesting to look at. There was a bit of time to walk around and look merchandise in shops, then the tour operator whisked people off onto a tour bus and to Chankanaab, a park where I booked the Royal Dolphin Swim. In the evening, I spent almost all of the time in Fat Tuesday's, a spring break-type bar.


It was the highlight of the cruise! It was impossible not to be moved emotionally by it. The dolphins are very majestic and gentle. First, they train you on hand signals that dolphins understand, using a wooden cutout model of a dolphin. Then they lead you into a sectioned-off area for the actual interaction. You can do a hand/flipper shake, foot push, dorsal tow, and more. There are photographers taking pictures of you the whole time. The printed pictures are expensive, in tens of dollars, but if you get a DVD, you get 25 pictures for $80. Not a great value, but how often do most people get to swim with dolphins?


I went back on the ship to clean up and change clothes, then went back out to port. It was already evening by the time I went into Fat Tuesday's, and the crowd was picking up. Everybody was wearing balloon hats, dancing the limbo and a bunch of line dances, and drinking humongous drinks. I ended up joining in on the action with the people from the ship who were already there, and had an awesome time. We were all talking, laughing, and dancing.

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Everglades Tour Rating: 5.0 out of 5+
The Everglades Tour was post-debarkation. After the debarkation, port workers directed people to the tour buses. I had a bit of trouble finding mine, but everything was fine after that.


The bus arrived in a park-like area. The park ranger directed the group to air boats. They have flat bottoms with shallow hulls and propellers above the water line. I loved the tour. The ranger was very informative and gave a lot of interesting facts about Everglades. The boat went very fast, right across shallow water with grass on the bottom. After the boat ride, there was an alligator performance and a reptile zoo. There are crocodiles and alligators from all regions of the world. Afterwards, the shuttle drove to the Miami Airport.

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