Subscribe today
Get Cruise Critic in your inbox

Carnival Imagination Review

Home > Cruise Ship Reviews > Carnival > Carnival Imagination Review
74% of cruisers loved it
  • Great value for money, first-time cruise choice
  • Sails short Caribbean cruises from Miami year-round
  • Adults' Serenity deck has best lounge chairs around

Show the Lowest Price
Departure Month
Please select at least one vendor.
Avoya Travel
Travelocity.com
American Discount Cruises
CruiseDirector.com
Expedia
Cruise.com
Priceline.com
Carnival.com
CheapCruises.com

Carnival Imagination Overview

(3.0) 3.0 out of 5+ star rating
Carnival Imagination was one of the original "Fun Ships" and now, after a costly 2008 refurbishment -- to the tune of over $40 million as part of the lines' $350 million Evolutions of Fun Fantasy-class initiative -- Carnival has added some thoroughly modern touches in a setting that has proven to be popular with passengers through the years.

I miss the gigantic sculpture that was once the centerpiece of the Atrium. It's been replaced by the Atrium Bar, but it is still the Promenade on Deck 9 that is the heart of the ship (though now less visually stimulating). Lining the Promenade are a disco, lounges, casino, coffee and sushi bars. Guests don't have to look far to recognize the va-va-voom of the original "Fun Ship" concept -- consider the gilt-painted mythical winged deities decorating every part of the ship depicting some form of happy creature (exactly what it is, no one can identify.) Today, instead of the neon and glitz of the ship's earlier persona, lots of happy red and blue LED lights are everywhere.

The 2008 refurbishment introduced the Carnival WaterWorks, with jets, slides -- one 300 feet long -- and sprinklers galore created for kids of all ages. Also new is the delightful Serenity Area for adults, a touch of quiet overlooking the sea with some of the best lounge chairs around. (The introductions of these "Evolutions of Fun" upgrades are scheduled for all Fantasy-class ships. Upgrades have so far been completed on Carnival Fantasy, Carnival Inspiration and Carnival Sensation.) The program ushers in a new era for Carnival, and carries a whopping $250 million price tag -- an onboard extreme makeover and makes its competitive with newer vessels offering these amenities. Also just introduced are plush new soft goods and redone bathrooms. Families will notice that the ship now has 50 connecting staterooms and an updated Camp Carnival where kids of all ages (from 2 to 17) appear to be having fun whether in the water park, on scavenger hunts or at teen discos.

Carnival Imagination remains a good ship for a great getaway, and with the makeover almost appears new (despite a decidedly dated design -- note paucity of balconies). Because of its itinerary of short cruises, the ship attracts many first-timers as well as veteran cruisers who enjoy the casual attitude and the comfort of the familiar.
Carnival Imagination Fellow Passengers
Carnival passengers skew all over the place. Expect to see honeymooners and young, young families, groups of singles, seniors, parties of three of more generations, and many first-timers. On my January cruise many passengers represented the Western U.S.
Carnival Imagination Dress Code
Tuxedos are a rare find on formal nights with most men opting for dark suits. Casual nights seem "dressier" than on past Carnival cruises with nice, collared shirts for men and sweaters/silk tops with slacks for women. On a five-day cruise expect one formal night.
Carnival Imagination Gratuity
Carnival recommends $11.50 per person, per day. The guidelines allocate $5.80 to dining room services, $3.70 to cabin services and $2 per day for alternative services, which include kitchen, entertainment, guest services and other hotel staff members. The amount is automatically added to your shipboard account, but can be adjusted in either direction at the guest services desk. A 15 percent gratuity is automatically added to bar bills. Tipping for room service at delivery is expected (and appreciated) by the service staff.
Print the entire ship review


Carnival Imagination Member Reviews 407 Reviews
   I ate frog legs !!
March 2014

I live in South America, and decided to take a couple of weeks vacations in California, so my wife and I, took a short cruise to fill the time. There is no much options from Los Angeles, and Carnival run these 3 and 4 days cruises to Ensenada, so ...continue


   Spring Break on the Imagination
March 2014

Recently enjoyed a relaxing 4-day cruise on the Carnival Imagination over spring break/St. Patrick’s Day. We had two cabins, a balcony junior suite for my wife and me, and an interior room for my two teenage sons and two of their friends. ...continue


   New and Improved Carnival Imagination
March 2014

When the Carnival Elation left Long Beach last year to go to New Orleans, Carnival introduced the Carnival Imagination to the West Coast.

The Fantasy class ship leaves the port of Los Angeles on Sundays with as many as 2056 passengers and ...continue


1 - 3 of 407 Reviews


Overview   Cabins   Dining   Activities   Family   Itineraries   Deck Plans   More Reviews  
 

Show the Lowest Price
Departure Month
Please select at least one vendor.
Avoya Travel
Travelocity.com
American Discount Cruises
CruiseDirector.com
Expedia
Cruise.com
Priceline.com
Carnival.com
CheapCruises.com
Sponsored Listings:
Carnival Imagination Ratings
Member Rating
Dining
3.0
4.0
Public Rooms
3.0
4.2
Cabins
3.0
4.3
Entertainment
3.0
3.7
Spa & Fitness
4.0
4.0
Family & Children
4.0
3.4
Shore Excursions
3.0
4.6
Enrichment
3.0
NA
Service
3.0
4.4
Value-for-Money
4.0
4.3
Rates
3.0
4.5

Sailing From

Cruises To
Mexican Riviera

Explore This Ship
About UsAdvertisingEditorial DisclaimerPress
PrivacySite MapStoreSubscribe
X

Thank You For Signing Up!

Please Note: To ensure delivery of your free e-letters, please add news@cruisecritic.com to your address book.

We're committed to protecting your privacy and will not rent or sell your e-mail address. By proceeding, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.