Become a Cruise Insider
Tips, deals and more in your inbox.
Your Ultimate Cruise Guide

Carnival Imagination Review

Carnival Imagination
Carnival Imagination - Serenity Area Carnival Imagination - Mini-Golf Carnival Imagination - Atrium Carnival Imagination - Imagination
68% of cruisers loved it
451 reviews | Write a Review
  • Great value for money, first-time cruise choice
  • Sails short Caribbean cruises from Miami year-round
  • Get wet with the water park's slides and sprinklers
Show The Lowest Price

Carnival Imagination Overview

By Marcia Levin, Cruise Critic contributor
Editor Rating
3.0
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 It's been replaced by the Atrium Bar, but it is still the Promenade on Deck 9 that is the heart of the ship (though now less visually stimulating).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 $12.00 per person, per day. The guidelines allocate $6.10 to dining room services, $3.90 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 it can be adjusted in either direction at the guest services desk. A 15 percent gratuity is automatically added to bar bills. Tipping a couple dollars for room service at delivery is expected (and appreciated) by the service staff.
Next: Carnival Imagination Cabins
Print the entire ship review

Carnival Imagination Member Reviews

01/15
This was my 6th voyage on the Imagination, my hubby's 5th. He decided he wanted to see the Superbowl on the ship and the price was amazing. Our room wasn't ready but we got 4 drink coupons to help get us in the mood. We always have an ocean view ... Read more
IndyViva
Not rated
01/15
This was a "free trip" given by one of the "time share" presentations. All in all, not bad! We did the Drink special, where you paid the $49 a day for the whole cruise for your drinks. I'm still lukewarm on that idea. We made it worth it, LOL, to ... Read more
We've cruised many times on differently quality ships and to different areas like the Pacific Coast, Alaska, Caribbean, etc.. This was a last minute cruise, as in we literally booked this cruise on Wednesday night and arrived for embarkation at ... Read more
1 - 3 of 451 Reviews
Show The Lowest Price

Carnival Imagination Ratings

Editor Rating 3.0 Member Rating
Category
Editor
Member
3.0
3.8
3.0
4.1
3.0
3.9
3.0
3.7
4.0
3.9
4.0
3.5
Shore Excursions
3.0
3.7
Enrichment
3.0
3.3
Service
3.0
4.2
Value-for-Money
4.0
4.2
Rates
3.0
4.3

Sailing From

Los Angeles

Cruises To

Mexican Riviera

Explore This Ship

Carnival Imagination Deck Plans Carnival Imagination Cabin Reviews
Ship Stats
Crew:
920
Launched:
1995
Decks:
10
Tonnage:
70,367
Passengers:
2,052
Registry:
Bahamas
CDC Score:
95
Close X
Check Prices for Carnival Imagination

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.