Sail Date: February 2019
Just returned from our first cruise with my daughter and adult grandchildren on Carnival Imagination from Long Beach CA to Ensenada Mexico. We booked the smaller suites with balconies on the Veranda deck. We had a fantastic time and it ... Read More
Just returned from our first cruise with my daughter and adult grandchildren on Carnival Imagination from Long Beach CA to Ensenada Mexico. We booked the smaller suites with balconies on the Veranda deck. We had a fantastic time and it was just what we needed in a mini vacation. We knew the Imagination was an older smaller ship which was fine for a short trial cruise. I arrived first and was so relieved the garage had benches so I could sit and wait for family and be out of the cold weather. There were many porters to take bags out of cars and they worked quickly to move bags to the ship. Checking in was easy and quick and along the path to board, there were many Carnival staff welcoming us. What I appreciated and liked best was the very diverse and friendly Carnival staff from so many countries; and any time we had a question any staff member was happy to help. When I had an issue about a charge, Lori Ann in Guest Services took care of the bill quickly and very efficiently. Also, we were assigned the Spirit Dining Room where Abigail, Kamaljet and Angela served us each night flawlessly and food was so delicious. What was lacking was some of food in the food court was very much below par so we went to the deli and Guy's Burgers which always had lines. It seemed that Alcohol was highly promoted and the main activity for many, there were so many bars and people drinking. We had to call to report our loud drunk room neighbors who were arguing at 11pm; security took care of the issue and called us back to make sure it solved the problem very quickly. I use a walker and cane which was a little difficult at times moving through crowds; my rollator walker had a strap on the seat which I could lift to make the walker narrower which helped a great deal. We all decided cruising is for us and we will definitely be making reservations at a future time. Thank you terrific Carnival employees! Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2018
It was my 69 th birthday and I was looking for something that might be fun for 10 people. My sister is in a wheelchair as is one of my friends So we all booked it. Going by Cruise Critic guidelines for the review : Departure and ... Read More
It was my 69 th birthday and I was looking for something that might be fun for 10 people. My sister is in a wheelchair as is one of my friends So we all booked it. Going by Cruise Critic guidelines for the review : Departure and Embarkation were fine. The ship was old and run down but the customer service and the staff were deplorable. Most of the food was in edible with the exception of Guys Burger joint. Burgers were good if the person serving them understood what you were ordering. Had limited hours. The Carnival web site boasts of Its steakhouse and other resturants avaliable for an up charge of $35. Guess what...no other resturants on the ship.So you are stuck in the so called dining room (NOT). Or the roomservice menu which is ridiculous. Unless you want to take a chance at one of the buffets where eveyone and their children are touching the food as were the flys and the smell of disinfectant permeated the room. They sell you the drink package and then you find out they have no Baileys, sometimes no fruit or garnish for your tropical drink. The juice is all powdered. If it is could outside you are linited to two bars. The one in the casino area is sooooo smoky you can not breath and the other was always full. My niece found an ampule of sodium nitrate left in the closet from the last guest, The TVs have a handfull of channels four of them that sell Carnival . Poor selections. Not enough room for me to continue. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2018
We had never been on a cruise before and wanted to try a short cheap cruise that we could travel to easily. Carnival Imagination fit the bill with the 4-day Baja Mexico Itinerary. Ship: Ship is smaller than I expected. However, I ... Read More
We had never been on a cruise before and wanted to try a short cheap cruise that we could travel to easily. Carnival Imagination fit the bill with the 4-day Baja Mexico Itinerary. Ship: Ship is smaller than I expected. However, I appreciated the size because it was easy to get around. Decor is dated -- think 90's Vegas. However, only a few areas of the ship were decorated to excess, like the atrium. Lots of shiny brass. Everything was clean. Cabin: We chose a room with a porthole. I don't think that it was worth the extra price over an interior room since we spent most of our time on deck. Room was clean and standard. Only bathroom amenities were generic shampoo and soap. Reputation: I was concerned with this ship's reputation as a "booze cruise" as we don't drink. However, we found plenty of things to do, and most passengers were friendly and well-behaved. Crew members told us that they had more serious drinkers during their three-day itineraries. Keep that in mind when booking. Because we went in February, most of our fellow passengers were from Southern California who also took advantage of a cheap get away. We sailed during Super Bowl 2018 -- we're not big football fans, but I can see how this cruise would be excellent for those wanting to watch. We stayed in Long Beach port later than usual, so the game could be broadcast. For the game, the Imagination displayed the Super Bowl in their Dynasty Main Show Lounge and set up a buffet of game-time snacks like Philly cheese steak sliders and chicken wings. Dining: The buffet is sub-standard. Another reviewer compared it to downtown Las Vegas, and I'd have to agree. However, if you go past the warming stations, the sandwich station is maintained by staff who make sandwiches to order. However, we enjoyed the food in the dining room. Most dishes were excellent, particularly the appetizers and desserts. The fish dishes tended to be average, but not surprising given that the fish is prepared from frozen. Guy’s Burger Joint is a celebrated eatery, but I found it average. It’s a good burger that you can dress yourself or have them build for you with such things as a raft of bacon. Lots of sauce, ways to add heat, like jalapenos. But the eatery that is outstanding is the Blue Iguana cantina. The Blue Iguana cantina serves fresh tacos and burritos (including breakfast burritos). Fantastic salsa bar, including a jicama and watermelon pico de gallo. Crew: Crew was very friendly and helpful. Service was fantastic. Entertainment: The two stage shows had a small cast. However, we were impressed by the quality of singing and stagecraft. We preferred the Epic Rock show (classic 70s and 80s anthems) to the Divas show (contemporary pop). The comedians were good – same caliber as found in LA clubs and other big city comedy clubs. Conclusion: Great starter cruise to get your feet wet for cruising. Great value for the price. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2018
Both my 91 year old Mom & I are avid cruisers (33 for her, 45 for me). She has never been on Carnival, and was worried about being a young, party ship. That's why I like it (I'm only 65!) But we thought a 3 day cruise ... Read More
Both my 91 year old Mom & I are avid cruisers (33 for her, 45 for me). She has never been on Carnival, and was worried about being a young, party ship. That's why I like it (I'm only 65!) But we thought a 3 day cruise would be all she should handle. Wrong! I had trouble keeping up with her. She was very surprised with the ship and the cabin- it was just as good in her opinion as other,more expensive lines. The Service was exceptional- everyone took great care of us. The food was exceptional for a 3 day cruise- better than longer cruises on higher lines: escargot, prime rib, beef tenderloin she could ut with a fork, salmon to die for, etc. She had a very limited diet, but always gave her excellent food. I loved the production shows (2 in 3 days!) but thought they my be too loud or not of her music type (hard rock). 'she so enjoyed the staging and dancing she was rocking along with everyone.. We did the ensenada shopping & wine excursion. We had a great guide, Leslie, who was very easy to understand. The winery I had been to before, but it was fun. We wanted Tequila, so she took us to the local supermarket and we got a steal on a high end tequila, rather than pay tourist prices in the tourist traps.. She met so many multigenerational families (parents, grandparents, grandkids) there was always nice people to talk to. I think she is already planing her next cruise on carnival ! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2017
My experience on Carnival Imagination, Vacation from hell: My wife and three children two which have autism sailed on our first family cruise together on this ship. Child care was reported excellent and our special needs children were ... Read More
My experience on Carnival Imagination, Vacation from hell: My wife and three children two which have autism sailed on our first family cruise together on this ship. Child care was reported excellent and our special needs children were supposed to be cared for... wrong. One night after I dropped my 10 year old autistic son off I found him 30 minutes later wondering the upper decks, luckily he didn't come to any harm. When I took him back they didn't even know he was missing!!!! Even though there were 5 workers present and no calls made. The next night my older artistic son was dropped off in circle c again with instructions to call me for any problems. I found him walking into a show that was being performed. I kept him for an hour to see if they noticed him missing.... this time they did and instead of calling me they had my 12 year old daughter and some other passengers children roaming the shop looking for him. Myself and my wife obviously had no rest on this "hell" vacation and they endangered my children. When asked for resolution for this horrible and stressful experience they offered $200. I guess Carnival Cruise lines values disabled autistic children at $100 each. Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2017
$189 Per Person Special Offer with Free Room Upgrade & $50 On Board Credit. Room E101 is PERFECT close to everything Prefer Anytime Dinning which is 1 Floor Above Stateroom E101 Cheers Program $240 Per Person, Start Drinking ... Read More
$189 Per Person Special Offer with Free Room Upgrade & $50 On Board Credit. Room E101 is PERFECT close to everything Prefer Anytime Dinning which is 1 Floor Above Stateroom E101 Cheers Program $240 Per Person, Start Drinking the Moment you Get On & Even While You Wait in Line To Get Off Day 1 Catalina Island -Reccomend Renting a Golf Cart in Advance from Catalina Auto & Bike Rental $83 for 4 Hours on a 4 Person Golf Cart ***The Other Golf Cart Rental Places do not have good Golf Carts... -Cart was too SLOW & could barely go uphill with 4 people. Day 2 Ensenada Baja California -Reccomend UTV Rental from the Cruise Port: $180 for the day ***Do Not get ATV if you fall the cruise ship medical does not take any type of insurance and charges $125 just for the doctor consult. Boyfriend fell in Ensenada & Used a Wheelchair for the Duration of the Cruise... Day 3 at Sea -Reccomend Bingo & all the fun activities!!! ***Alchemy Bar is the BEST all natural drinks on the boat*** Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2016
The Imagination is an old ship in cruise ship years, but for short cruises it does the job well. The dining room food was very good, just not as many choices as other longer cruises. The staff overall was friendly and most helpful. They ... Read More
The Imagination is an old ship in cruise ship years, but for short cruises it does the job well. The dining room food was very good, just not as many choices as other longer cruises. The staff overall was friendly and most helpful. They keep the ship clean and looking very good for her age. We are handicapped and make use of the accessible cabins when available, we had cabin R298, which is on the lowest deck. This means is can get noisy due to the proximity to the engine room and crew only areas, but it is very roomy in the bathroom as well as the bedroom. We were disappointed with the amount of entertainment in the main theater, only two of the four nights had production shows, and both of them were very good. We are used to seeing a big show every night. The musicians were great around the ship, the comedians had a show every night and were very good. We took this short cruise to introduce four of our friends to cruising, and the all loved the trip and eagerly await our next cruise. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2015
I was very pleased with Carnival Imagination as my first solo cruise. This was my third cruise on Imagination and I find it very relaxing. A new feature that I took advantage of was the wifi. It was offered at $5 per day or $15 for the ... Read More
I was very pleased with Carnival Imagination as my first solo cruise. This was my third cruise on Imagination and I find it very relaxing. A new feature that I took advantage of was the wifi. It was offered at $5 per day or $15 for the duration of the cruise. I opted for the latter. The basic package that I chose allowed me to send me text messages, use instagram and snapchat. If you want to search the web or check email that was an additional package. I pre-ordered water for my room beforehand and had it delivered before I got there and that was perfect as I like to stay hydrated on a cruise. See my cabin review for more details on the water order. The staff as always were very nice and friendly. I spent most of my time relaxing by the adults only serenity pool tanning and the rest of my time in the casino playing the penny slots. I learned that while using my sail and sign card that once you hit 1000 credits that all of your drinks in the casino are complimentary for the duration of the cruise. You had better believe I got all of my drinks at the casino! BONUS!!! I really enjoyed listening to live music at the Dream Bar nightly very chill vibe here. The karaoke bar is always entertaining and I played Bingo each day. I would like to point out the embarkation. Generally when I have cruised before with my husband we would book a suite which came with priority check in. I decided to go minimal with ocean view just to see what it was like. I will never do this again. I wish I would have purchased the FTTF package. Faster to the fun. I saw people that had purchased it swooping by as I waited in an hour line. I had shown up at 2pm to embark. The lines were rediculously slow. If the fast to fun package is offered I would recommend this just to avoid the lines. Overall I had a very pleasant first solo cruise experience. It was exceptionally nice to not be bombarded with people trying to force me to take memory pics. I just floated right by like a ninja. I would definately do this cruise again solo or with friends. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2012
This was my 3rd cruise - 2nd with Carnival. I cruised with my 2 adult daughters and my mom (her first cruise). We figured a shorter 4 night cruise would be a good break and the ports of Key West and Cozumel are easy to navigate. ... Read More
This was my 3rd cruise - 2nd with Carnival. I cruised with my 2 adult daughters and my mom (her first cruise). We figured a shorter 4 night cruise would be a good break and the ports of Key West and Cozumel are easy to navigate. Good: We stayed in porthole rooms. These were very spacious and overall I stayed in this type of room again. It was nice to have the small view. The food in the dining room and the buffet was overall very good. The only downside was that my oldest daughter loves pasta and had a hard time finding anything that didn't have a cream sauce on it. There are lots of places to relax. We never had a hard time finding a place to sit either inside or outside. The waterpark in the back of the boat was a nice place to cool off without the loud music. There weren't many kids on the ship so there was plenty of space. Bad: The music by the pool was extremely loud. It's hard to find a place to sit outside to enjoy a view. The oddest thing on this ship is that the outside decks all have lifeboats in front of them so you can't really see much. Carnival can't help the weather, but the sea day the weather was bad because of hurrican Sandy and so everyone was forced to be inside. There wasn't much to do and the ship was rocking pretty good so this made for a very long day. Ugly: The evening entertainment was non-existent. They said there was some problem with the lighting so there weren't any shows until the last evening when they did a portion of one show. The singers weren't very good - it was like watching bad karoake and the dancers were just ok. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2012
This was my second-ever cruise and my first was on a similar-sized ship (RCCL's Majesty of the Seas) with a similar cruise length (4 nights) and departing from the same port, Miami, so I was continually comparing the two cruise lines ... Read More
This was my second-ever cruise and my first was on a similar-sized ship (RCCL's Majesty of the Seas) with a similar cruise length (4 nights) and departing from the same port, Miami, so I was continually comparing the two cruise lines and how they handle different aspects of the cruise. Some things CCL did better, some things RCCL did better. I was travelling with my sister Cindy, who is disabled and generally needs a cane, and my mom Loralee and her husband Gaylord. This was my sister's first cruise, my mom's 20th or so, and Gaylord's 18th. MIAMI OVERNIGHT AND TRAVEL TO THE PIER: We drove down from Atlanta the Sunday before embarkation day and, based on reports right here on Cruise Critic's message boards, we stayed at the LaQuinta Miami Airport East since they would allow the car to be parked there for 5 days for free, and transport us to the pier (but NOT back) for free. The hotel itself was so-so; we couldn't get the TV (or the remote) in the room to work and for light sleepers, the sound of aircraft taking off overhead might disturb them. As promised, the mid-sized bus and trailer from KSA Transportation was there promptly at 9:45 to take us to the pier. We were then given an opportunity to purchase the return ride back to the hotel on Friday for $10 each, which we and several people opted for. We realized this was a colossal mistake on the way through Miami, when our driver, speeding on a one-way street, nearly collided with a tractor-trailer that pulled out in front of him. Everyone was thrown forward into the seat-backs, except Gaylord, who was sitting in the back bench with the aisle in front of him. He was thrown about fifteen feet down the aisle. Everyone was screaming, it was pretty bad. The driver eventually got up to check on Gaylord's condition -- amazingly, he only had a bruised/scraped elbow -- and we continued on to the pier. We have contacted the hotel management about reconsidering their contract with KSA. EMBARKATION: pretty much the same as on my previous cruise, perhaps a bit less taxing from a security standpoint. We were aboard by around noon. Then it was time to buy the "Bottomless Bubbles" sticker. This is something that Royal Caribbean handles much better than Carnival: RCCL allows you to purchase their unlimited sodas via their website before sailing, and they charge $6/day and do not add gratuity, so your sailing card already has the soda symbol embossed on it when you get it. They also give you an insulated cup that triggers a soda fountain located (on Majesty) right by the pool. Carnival also charges $6/day, but they add gratuity to it, make you wait in line to purchase it, and charge an extra $5 for the insulated cup -- which doesn't activate anything, since all sodas are served by the can and had to come from bars or restaurants. RCCL is the easy winner here. Staterooms were ready by 1:15 -- a bit early, but the ship was not sailing full -- and I went ahead and booked the "Behind the Fun" tour for myself at the Shore Excursions desk with no problems and, at that moment, no line. I got lucky. We had the Mongolian stir-fry barbecue for lunch -- it was great, one of the dining highlights of the cruise. Imagination's ship-design is quite old-fashioned and it shows in various ways. One of these is in the dining rooms, which are separated by the galley and there is no direct route between them. After finally finding our way to the Spirit Dining Room (named after one of Seabourn's ships, as is the other dining room, Pride), we had a great meal enhanced by a surprise birthday cake and serenade for ME, since it was my birthday. Really cool! Spent the later evening trying to escape the loudness of the Lido pool deck and went down to Serenity, which was great. It became my nighttime escape-place for the rest of the cruise. PORT DAY (KEY WEST): Since the ship arrived wayy early and departed Key West at 2pm, I didn't bother going ashore, electing instead to enjoy the ship's pool and outdoor deck with few people on board. We noticed that the hot tubs on Lido were much cooler than the ones on Serenity. The 'resort-style pool' is still pretty small and divided in two. Not sure why since both sides are the same depth. Dinner that night was really good again, and my sister had three lobster tails (!). She was happy after two, but Ben, our table waiter, encouraged her to get three. :) We have no complaints about the MDR staff except that, as far as I know, we never had a visit from the headwaiter, who still got 75 cents/day gratuity from us for....something. I should mention here that the winds and seas for much of the voyage were pretty high. During the run down to Cozumel the ship was rocking from side to side, sometimes heeling 3 degrees, and also bucking and plunging front-to-back. Winds were sometimes at or exceeding 30 knots. It made for an...interesting ride. PORT DAY (COZUMEL): Imagination arrives in Cozumel at around noon local time and departs late, at 9pm local time. This limits some shore activities like the beach clubs, which close at 5 or 6. With showers in the area and temperatures below 80 my sister and I opted to go to Paradise Beach, since it's cheaper than somewhere like Chankanaab. By the time we disembarked (there was a long line) and escaped the Puerta Maya shops and took a taxi ($13 flat rate) the beach was fairly empty since Carnival Legend was the only other ship in port and she was leaving in a few hours. The staff there were great, since they outnumbered us, and we thought the $2 we paid for beach loungers and the $15 we spent on food was a decent trade. The food -- jalapeno poppers and 'Mexican' fries -- was actually quite good! Snorkeling was poor, as I knew it would be. I'd brought my own snorkeling equipment so neither of us had to pay for a fun-pass (at $12). Returned to the ship just after 6pm, so we couldn't make our assigned dinner time and ate in the Lido buffet instead, which was good. (By this point our stomachs needed a break from the excellent, but rich, fare in the MDR. :)) I had prearranged with Carnival's Bon Voyage Department to have my mom's stateroom decorated with 'Happy Anniversary' on Wed. night, since Thursday was their 10th wedding anniversary. I'd been told it would be done while they were at their scheduled 6pm dinner in the MDR, but my mom didn't mention it afterward. I checked with Guest Services and they confirmed it had been scheduled for Wednesday night and would be done in a bit. It turned out that they DID decorate the room while my mom was away, but her husband was asleep in the room while they decorated it. (!) I'm glad he didn't wake up, as things would have gotten...awkward. I was also supposed to be receiving my ticket for the Behind the Fun tour that evening delivered to my stateroom, but it never showed up. I had to go to Guest Services to request one, and they cancelled the old one and rebooked it and handed it to me. Pretty odd, but it was resolved okay. Later, I found the Lido pool and hot-tubs inexplicably closed before the scheduled time (midnight), but the Serenity hot-tubs were nice and warm and they didn't come by and close them until 12:45. Bonus! :) FUN DAY AY SEA and Behind the Fun Tour: Thursday was our sea day, and I had to be in the ship's library by 8:45 for the Behind the Fun tour. There were ten of us, escorted by the ship's chief training officer, Debbie (I think), from South Africa. We went first to the galley for a presentation (and some free dessert) from the head chef, then down to the linen room, the laundry (huge washing machines), and then to "I-95," the corridor that runs all the way from bow to stern on Deck 3, where we saw the storerooms, the staff, officers' and crew messes, the training center, the garbage area (not as smelly as you might think), and then down the steep steps to Engineering Control where, to our tour guide's surprise, Chief Engineer Testa himself was present to show us the myriad displays and their meanings. It was a highlight of the tour and the entire cruise. From there we went to "Oasis" the crew lounge, backstage in the Dynasty Lounge, onto the forepeak (crew-only front of the ship), and then up to the bridge itself. By this time we were running almost 30 minutes late, but Captain Andrea Cavaliere was able to make time for us and for a group photo, which was later delivered to my stateroom by Debbie. Definitely a great tour! This was the first day of truly smooth sailing we had had, and for the first time in the cruise the pool deck and hot-tubs and the Serenity area were all really full, but my sister and I were able to find two loungers on the deck above and we had an enjoyable relaxing afternoon, although it was quite windy still. I even rode the big twisting slide twice -- the wind had to be 35 knots up there, tallest part of the ship -- and we had more of the Mongolian barbecue, which was awesome again! Dinner that night was good although for the first time I had to opt for something from the everyday menu. Others at our table had some minor complaints as well. Oh, well. Having seen firsthand how hectic the galley is, I can understand how challenging dinner preparations must be! I had prearranged to have an anniversary cake for my mom brought to our table that night, but SHE had also arranged the same thing in secret for her husband. I had cancelled my request the day before, but a lady still came to our table to verify the cancellation, which probably muted the surprise. Still, both my birthday cake and the anniversary cake were great! Back at our stateroom, another surprise awaited -- a dessert tray sent to me courtesy of the Behind the Fun tour, complete with strawberries decorated 'tuxedo' style with white and dark chocolate and some other desserts. Really nice surprise! Spent the later part of the night on the Serenity deck, relaxing in the hot-tub and watching the ship's wake curl away in the moonlight. Moments like that are why we take cruises in the first place. DISEMBARKATION: here I have to give the edge to Carnival and not RCCL. We opted to have our larger baggage taken out overnight, so we waited for our baggage number to be called. On this ship we could wait anywhere on Lido or Promenade decks, so we could get food and drinks (but not sodas or alcohol, as the bars were closed) and use the facilities. On RCCL we had been herded into one of the show lounges by zone number with less freedom of movement. Advantage: Carnival. The actual disembark and the Customs lines weren't as bad as my prior cruise, but again, the ship had not sailed completely full so that might have been a factor. Outside the pier, we waited for 45 minutes for the KSA shuttle bus to return us to the hotel (we had been promised 30 minutes max), and to everyone's horror, the driver was the same crazy guy as on the way out. We managed to avoid any crashes, though, and after dropping off some folks at the airport we were back at the hotel to pick up the car. Our fun vacation had come to an end. All in all, I had fun. I was surprised at a few things: no strolling musicians performing in the MDR, and no live 'island/party' theme band performing on the pool-deck, as there was on my previous cruise; the ship's design seemed more old-fashioned than even Majesty of the Seas despite being built 4 years later (but kudos for the Serenity area, which was great).... Of course I plan to cruise again, and wouldn't be averse to sailing CCL, but maybe not with this itinerary. Read Less
Carnival Imagination Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 3.5 0.0
Dining 4.0 0.0
Entertainment 4.0 0.0
Public Rooms 4.0 0.0
Fitness Recreation 4.0 0.0
Family 4.5 0.0
Shore Excursion 3.0 0.0
Enrichment 3.0 0.0
Service 4.0 0.0
Value For Money 5.0 0.0
Rates 3.0 0.0

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