15 Carnival Imagination Cruises for the Disabled Cruise Reviews

This wasn’t our first cruise experience, but will for sure become the last on Carnival Imagination. The stinkiest ship ever. The nauseating blend of urine, bleach, old furniture, filthy carpets was so horrendous that I had to hold my ... Read More
This wasn’t our first cruise experience, but will for sure become the last on Carnival Imagination. The stinkiest ship ever. The nauseating blend of urine, bleach, old furniture, filthy carpets was so horrendous that I had to hold my breath when we first stepped on board. I should have left right then. We stayed on deck 7, right by the guest services. The room and bathroom were so stinky that I poured half a bottle of my perfume just to tolerate it. The filth and dirt are everywhere. The dirty baseboards, the stains on the carpets, dust and dirt in the buffet area was so bad that I would rather skip a meal that experience it. We were traveling with a toddler and it was a challenge for me to let him run freely - he would pick up trash, dirt, dust. In addition, in 4 days they didn’t change our bed a single time. We were provided with pillowcases with stains and I noticed them again on the last day packing. I felt so sorry for the crew and staff members who work on this ship. They are doing their best to provide great customer service. Benjamin and Jacki are always fun and cheerful. Kuddos to them! The choice of food in the buffet was very limited and mostly unhealthy. The dining menu was rather simple; there was not a single meal that I would say was exceptional. It was ok, mediocre, average. In fact, on the last day of cruising I got a severe food poisoning from a burrito that I had for lunch from the buffet. I spent all night vomiting and was so happy that this “vacation” was over. Never again I would go on Imagination. This ship should go for a full renovation because it is unacceptable for a company to treat their clients with such accommodation. Read Less
Sail Date August 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
Sail Date February 2019
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
Sail Date March 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
Sail Date February 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
Sail Date January 2018
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
Sail Date November 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
Sail Date January 2017
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
Sail Date October 2016
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 July 2015
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 October 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
Sail Date February 2012
To begin with, this was my first Carnival Cruise. I traveled with my husband's family, there were 8 of us. I will review certain aspects of the ship and service as I recall below: Port of Miami: Getting on the boat was a breeze, ... Read More
To begin with, this was my first Carnival Cruise. I traveled with my husband's family, there were 8 of us. I will review certain aspects of the ship and service as I recall below: Port of Miami: Getting on the boat was a breeze, fast and easy! Getting off the boat was even faster. I thought we accidentally missed customs it was so easy, they simply collected our declaration forms and let us on our way. VERY different from my experience here in November where customs was over an hour wait. Decor: The boat is an older ship, from the 90s and decorated in a very flashy way. The Grand Atrium is black and gold and neon colors & is a bit dated looking during the daytime hours, however at night it lights up beautifully! Much of the ship has an egyptian-like theme. Again, some of the rooms were pretty, others looked dated. Most of the ceilings were very low giving the ship a somewhat small feeling. Daytime Dining: I generally go to buffets for breakfast on ships, however due to being with a family group of 8, two of which were in their 80s, we chose to use the dining room for breakfast. I was thoroughly impressed with the options and the felxibility in ordering what you please. On my next cruise with hubby, we will be sure to use the dining rooms more often for breakfast. The Horizon Grill had many many options! There was pizza every day, a sandwhich bar (with panini press), pasta bar, salad bar, create-your-own stir fry, and a hamburger/hot dog joint by the pool. Whil some of the food was delicious, it WAS typical buffet food. I enjoyed the macaroni & cheese and cheeseburger the most. There were very long lines on embarkation day and the seas day in the buffet. Evening Dining: We had great service in the dining room on all three nights. The first night was tough because we were sailing with two elderly people who are very difficult to please when it comes to eating. They would constantly change their minds and/or complain. The wait staff did an excellent job of staying calm and making sure every order came out jut as requested. I cannot for the life of me remember one of their names, but the other was Ketut. They were great dancers too!! I found the food to be so-so in choices and quality. They weren't bad but they also weren't anything to brag about. The first night I had the Pumpkin, Squash and Cheddar Cheese Pot Pie, it was good, but was not filling. The other members of my group ordered very good spare ribs. There were only two uniques deserts each night along with the warm chocolate melting cake (which I now LOVE), ice cream, sherbert, fruit plate, and cheese selections. I did order the cheese plate on night one and it was warm, sorry I cannot eat warm cheese. The selections were good, had I been able to eat them. By the second night our waitstaff knew exactly what we wanted to drink with dinner and how we liked our desert drinks. Stateroom: The room was a decent size. I had heard they are larger than RCL rooms, however I didn't notice much of a difference. The bed was larger than normal and very comfortable. There were plenty of lights in the room for a varying degree of brightness. The closet space was ample, although it lacked drawer space. Being that this was a short cruise these two things didn't matter as much because we lived out of the suitcase, had it been longer I would have preferred more drawers. There was a flat screen on the wall/ corner with a good variety of channels. There was no loveseat/couch as I am used to on RCL but it wasn't a big deal. Bathroom: This was large for a cruise ship. My husband and I judge sizes of showers by the two person rule: if we can both stand in there, then it is "big" for cruise standards. This certainly was. My husband commented that he likes the textured blue bumpy floor, he felt it was a more secure feeling when the floor was wet. The extra little amenities were nice, toothpaste, shave cream etc. Our toilet was stained yellow on the seat, perhaps a new seat is in line. Steward: I did not meet him, I did not see him, and the only reason I knew he existed was because my bed WAS made twice a day and we did get some cute towel animals. However, we didn't get a Carnival Caper on the first day and NEVER got a comment card (to be explained later.) Shows: My husband and I did not attend the shows because we chose to watch Karaoke on the second night and there was a playoff football game on the third night. His grandparents and parents went each nigth and said they were good. The show on the third night was all about the history of rock and roll. Karaoke: We enjoyed the Karaoke on nights two and three, it was great entertainment butt didn't get popular until later in the night. Pool Area: We had no trouble finding seats for 8 together on the deck, but it was crowded. Perhaps we happened upon a group of seats at the right time. The deck was very busy on the sea day but also very fun and entertaining. The music was very loud (I am in my 20s and enjoy concerts on occaision, but this was a bit too loud) but they did play music geared toward a younger crowd. On other lines I hadn't experienced this. Pictures: We enjoy doing the ship pictures and there were SO MANY to choose from. I want to estimate around 15 different backdrops each night. There was even an old west dress up theme on two nights. Lounges: There were a lot of lounge onboard, however many times they were empty or reserved for the preteen/teen dancing. I guess this was good, so they wouldn't run amok at night. :) Spa: I was very happy with the Spa. On the embarkation day we took a tour of the spa facilities and entered into a raffle. First of all I won a free algae wrap, scalp massage, and foot massage. I never win anything!! I had to use it while in port, which was certainly no problem for me. They were nice enough to schedule me for first thing in the morning before we would be allowed off the ship. It was amazing, wonderful, fantastic. I would recommend this to anyone! The facilities were very clean, not too small, and had a variety of options: sauna, steam room, showers, relaxation room, etc. Comment Card: THIS disappointed me a great deal. I watched the debarkation video and they talked up the comment cards, they also mentioned the ability to win a free cruise from the raffle. I did not get one in my stateroom on the last night so I requested one from Guest Servies, who immediately directed me back to my stateroom attendent. After being bounced back and forth 3 times I gave up and assumed they did not care about my opinion. I will now be writing them an email with my opinion and further disappointment with basically being denied a comment card. Overall: The ship did have a musty odor in some parts, but other parts were okay. The program for younger kids did a great job of keeping them busy and under control. The age group from about 12-16 was running a bit rampant on the ship at times, more so a reflection on the parents than the cruise line. Many of the guests on board were rowdy and at times rude. My husband's grandmother was in a wheelchair and there were numerous occaisions when we were waiting for an elevator that people would push past us and get on the elevator fully knowledgeable that we had someone in a wheelchair waiting to board. Of course the guests certainly are not the fault of the cruise line, I would hope not every sailing is like this. Read Less
Sail Date January 2010
Background: This was our "first annual" girls cruise. No guys with us at all ... my mother, sister, mother in law, 2 teens, my 8yodd, and a friend all found a great bargain on early saver rates for this cruise and booked! We ... Read More
Background: This was our "first annual" girls cruise. No guys with us at all ... my mother, sister, mother in law, 2 teens, my 8yodd, and a friend all found a great bargain on early saver rates for this cruise and booked! We ranged in age from 8 to 73 and all of us had a fantastic time. EMBARKATION: My mother fell off a train back in July and broke both of her ankles, so we had a wheelchair with us on this trip. We've never really had to deal with infirmities before ... our whole family is relatively healthy ... and Carnival was very accommodating. They upgraded her to a handicapped room (we called about 5 weeks out from cruising when we realized she would still be needing the chair) and assisted us with embarking in the first group of people. Port of Miami also offers FREE parking for handicapped people, so that saved us a cool $80 (which we promptly spent onboard!). We arrived early because we'd been advised that we might need to fill out additional paperwork, and didn't have to wait very long at all. We were onboard and enjoying a snack by 11am. This was probably the fastest and most well-organized embarkation experience we've ever had, and it wasn't all due to the chair. They let us know that we should go on up, but as we were rounding the corner from the elevator, we heard them calling groups 2-3 to board as well. There was barely any line at all, and plenty of seating. We were on Destiny in May and it was far more crowded, boarded later, and didn't seem nearly as well run. CABINS: We had 4 cabins, 2 people in each. Mine was a porthole room; a great bargain if there ever was one! We had the light you get in an outside cabin for the price of an inside cabin, and the windows were cleaner than our picture windows have been in the past. We were in room U17. My mother-in-law and my friend were in room U16 on the other side of the ship (we were starboard, they were directly opposite on the port side). My daughter and one of her friends were down the hall in room U196 (interior room), and my mom and sister were upstairs in E57 (the handicapped room). As usual, the rooms were very well laid out, roomy, and comfortable. We all had robes in the cabins (even the interior), but no hairdryers. I had known there wouldn't be any and actually had one packed, but my 12yo got a last minute call that kept her from going on the cruise, and I guess when we unpacked her things from our bags, the hairdryer decided to stay home with her. Oh well, we were on vacation, not a job interview, so we made the best of it. Our cabin steward, Aurelio, was very nice. He did a great job keeping the cabin clean and my 8yo loved the towel animals. She couldn't say his name, so he told her to call him "Oreo" (her favorite cookie ... she loved that). The one downside to the cabin is that it very heavily smelled of smoke. The steward told us that the former occupants were not smokers, but that there were smokers in nearby cabins. He did his best to remove the smell, going so far as to change the curtains and bedskirts and wash down the walls, but nothing helped. The second night, the smell was so bad that I had to move my 8yo down the hall into the bed her older sister would have slept in if she had been able to come. It improved a little from time to time, but was not ever gone. Guest services told me that it was coming through the vents and there was nothing they could do ... if I didn't have asthma, it would have been merely annoying, but it was starting to impact my breathing. Thankfully I was able to pick up some Febreeze and spray Lysol in Key West and by hosing the cabin down with those things before bed, I was able to get through the week without any major attacks. DINING: Our wait staff was excellent and they went above and beyond to keep us happy. I Gusta (the head waiter) worked my 8yo really hard ... she tends to be a little shy, but by the end of the cruise she was hugging him, making napkin animals with him, and dancing(!) with the waiters. She actually ended up trading e-mail addresses with him before we left. The seating arrangements were a little weird the first night. They placed a newlywed couple on their honeymoon with all of us girls. We didn't mind, but I think the poor guy was just overwhelmed by so many women. The next night they had moved to a different table with couples, which seemed to be a better fit, but we chatted with them all through the cruise as we met up with them in various locations around the ship. The food was excellent in the dining room, but I did notice some changes and cutbacks. Of course we hit the sushi bar, ate our fill of warm chocolate melting cake, and the pizzeria. The Mongolian Grill by the pool was really good, too. Breakfast on the Lido deck wasn't my favorite,(I'm not a big one for buffets) but it was good in the dining room. The tables and eating areas on the Lido deck were kept really clean, contrary to other things I'd read on reviews of this ship. Almost as soon as you stood up they were right there cleaning up after you so the next person could have a clean place to sit. They were so efficient that they picked up my daughter's juice after she dropped it off and went to get her food (and we were sitting right there). SEA DAY: Very relaxing, beautiful weather, what more can I say? It was a typical sea day. I went to the afternoon tea and enjoyed that ... first time I've done that, but I'd recommend it. Nice atmosphere, beautiful music, yummy desserts ... I loved it. I also spent some time on the serenity deck, hit the water park with the girls, and thought about playing bingo ... then I decided I'd rather be outdoors watching the wake of the ship than in the Dynasty Lounge hoping they'd pick my number. ENTERTAINMENT: The entertainment staff was excellent. The shows were wonderful, the deck parties were amazing, and we had a great time. The first night Frank DelPizzo was the comedian ... I laughed so hard I thought I was going to split my sides. This guy is REALLY funny! I missed his late show due to having to move my daughter out of the smoky cabin, but would have gone if I could have. The show on Tuesday (Elegant Night) was Livin' In America and was very well done, too. I have to say that the female singer (Alesia) was ten times the entertainer the male singer (Kevin) was, but they were both good. The third night was a balancing act by "Lubo" ... kind of interesting, but not my thing, followed by Ronnie Bullard. He was also very funny, but not nearly as funny as Frank DelPizzo. The last night was another production show, "Shout!" and was also quite good. Karl with a K was our cruise director. We were so happy to see him when we got onboard ... he'd been our cruise director for our cruise in 2007 and we loved him. He is quite funny, actually can sing(!), and throws one helluva great deck party. This was my 9th cruise overall and I have to say that while I don't normally book a cruise for a cruise director, if I had 2 to choose from and was looking for a determining factor, I'd pick the one he was on if I could. The guy was all over the ship, remembered our names, and really was very entertaining. Aside from the tried and true "standard cruise director" jokes and patter, he really did bring his own personality to the cruise and it was evident that the crew members liked him, too. DEBARKATION: Again, the worst part of any cruise ... but not because they weren't organized. I just hate getting off. But, we had fairly early numbers, so got up and moving early, had our stuff cleared out of the cabin and headed up for breakfast. We enjoyed a leisurly breakfast in the dining room and then were heading to the promenade deck to look at OPP (other people's photos ... there is funny stuff there, I'm telling you!) when they announced that self debarkation was over and it was time to start calling numbers. Before we knew it, we were off the ship, had found a porter to collect our bags and skipped the line for customs (thanks, CC ... first time I've done that) and were in the car heading for Orlando before 9:30am. OVERALL THOUGHTS: This was a fantastic way to spend 4 days. I usually prefer the longer cruises, but this one was quite good. The older girls enjoyed Circle C, they all enjoyed the water park, and there was something for all of us to do all the time. We were a little anxious about this one because we had 3 first time cruisers, 2 in their 70's, 1 in a wheelchair, and the three kids, so didn't know how it was all going to work out, but Carnival didn't disappoint. We're looking at booking Victory next year and doing a longer cruise on the Southern route ... but I don't think any of us would balk at going back out on Imagination, either. Read Less
Sail Date October 2009
My wife and I decided to book a cruise for our birthdays which are on consecutive days. We have sailed Carnival twice before but the past 3 cruises we took were on RCL and NCL.We got a good deal and an upgrade to an obstructed view and ... Read More
My wife and I decided to book a cruise for our birthdays which are on consecutive days. We have sailed Carnival twice before but the past 3 cruises we took were on RCL and NCL.We got a good deal and an upgrade to an obstructed view and anytime dining which we prefer.The cabin was nicer than we had expected and the room steward Panya,was great, always acknowledging any of our requests quickly and courteously and always greeting us by name and with a smile.That's about as good as this review is going to get because the rest of our experience was less than acceptable. Try the buffet? Not so much. There is not enough hand sanitizing stations available and always long lines for hamburgers and hot dogs at The Horizon bar and grill. I can eat that at home. The pizza was average for a cruise line and the sandwich station was down sized in portion sizes from my last trip on the Glory. Almost anytime we went to the Seaview Bistro, it was in transition or closed. Not a big deal because when we did eat there it wasn't very good anyway. On our first night we went to dinner in the Pride dining room. The entire staff seemed uninterested in our dining experience. It took over two ours two hours from start to finish to be served an unmemorable meal.After dinner we went to guest services to complain and ask if we could be moved to the Spirit dining room but was told quite rudely that she couldn't do any thing about that and that we would have to track down the maitre de to see if he could change it. At breakfast the next morning I was told I couldn't wear a sleeveless t shirt in the dining room. This was understandable so I complied. We asked if we could sit by a window and were told we would have to share a table even though the dining room was empty.At dinner the next night,the staff allowed diners in t shirts, ripped jeans,booty shorts and tube tops.This was formal night. We saw a little change in the staff from the night before,possibly because it was formal night,but still not up to the service we have received on other cruises. The service did improve a little more on the next night. Could it be that before dinner we received our preliminary bill explaining the gratuity charges? Enough about the dining pleasures. Let me tell you about the entertainment.The cruise director, Karl with a K, was annoying and as unfunny as I have ever seen.You really shouldn't laugh that hard at your own jokes.I'm not a person that goes on cruises for the shows, but I will watch one if it is well done and entertaining. I have been to high school productions that were better than these. We had a good time in the Xanadu lounge with the karaoke. The passengers on this cruise were very entertaining.The comedian who does his show for about 25 minutes was more vulgar than funny. Frat boy stuff. The piano bar felt like a dive bar and the rest of the clubs on the ship were kind of passe.Nothing to get excited about. Don't fall for the prizes they offer in the spa during sail away.After the sales pitch they give away the raffled off prizes which are discounts for spa services that they offer.You can get the same discounts when the ship is in port. The spa itself is kind of small.The rest of the public areas are nice but if you read,bring a book. The library has one cabinet with about 50 books and another with a set of encyclopedias.I really enjoyed the Serenity deck. No kids, two hot tubs and quiet.I wanted to try the water slide but the only day I found it open the line was extremely long. When we got home we wrote a letter to Carnival explaining our situation only to receive a stock reply,with a mild apology and saying they would inform the proper authorities. Needless to say its back to NCL for our next cruises in December 2009 and February and September 2010. Avoid the Imagination at all costs.It's not worth the savings. Read Less
Sail Date September 2009
Hello, I have been doing cruise reviews on Cruise Critic for a few years and this cruise ranked in my TOP 3! I was not expecting much from a shorter 4 day cruise but this Ship, Itinerary and staff really exceeded my expectations in all ... Read More
Hello, I have been doing cruise reviews on Cruise Critic for a few years and this cruise ranked in my TOP 3! I was not expecting much from a shorter 4 day cruise but this Ship, Itinerary and staff really exceeded my expectations in all categories. I was traveling with my 88 year old grandfather and had no difficulty with any aspect of this cruise. He uses a cane and had such a good time on this ship. I will have notes that some handicap members may be interested in. I was not expecting too much from a 4-day cruise & smaller ship, but the IMAGINATION really made me reconsider what my expectations were. I enjoyed this ship better than some of the larger ships and longer itineraries. Miami-Key West-Cozumel-day at sea-Miami Miami airport only 15 minutes from the port. get the Carnival transport prior to the cruise. It was only $27 per person round trip. 1 formal night on day2 / Great quick get-a-way cruise CARNIVAL TRANSPORT to & from Miami airport & the port was a smooth, quick process. Definitely worth the money to avoid aggravation before and after your cruise. EMBARKATION went extremely quick. A Carnival rep. was waiting at the door when we arrived with a wheelchair for my grandfather. Although, we were taken directly to the family check-in, there was barely any line and everything went smooth. ROOM STEWART was at our door before we had a chance to close it to introduce himself. He greeted us by name each time we saw him, and our room could not have been any cleaner every time we came back to it. He was extremely courteous and took the time to talk to us about our trip and excursions with sincerity. I increased his gratuity directly to him by $10 per day which almost brought tears to his eyes. CABIN Ocean view 6C M65 mid ship .... NO FRIDGE, but I knew that. This cabin has 2 beds, 2 pull down bunks and is located in a perfect part of the ship. Also in room: SAFE, 32" flat screen TV, room light switches at the bed, ice bucket, water and soda to purchase in the room. Free room service + gratuity. 2 Robes were hanging in the closet. Conveniently located two doors from elevators made moving around the ship simple for my grandfather with his cane. COMPLIMENTARY BATHROOM BASKET included Razor, toothpaste, Pantene-RED color enhancer shampoo/conditioner pack, some upset stomach packets (like TUMS) shower-Shampoo & Liquid Soap (I brought Cottonelle wipes, a travel Lysol spray) FOOD/DINING We chose the new "YOURTIME DINING" on this cruise, which was a pleasant surprise that I did not know Carnival was offering. We only ate in the dining room on elegant night to celebrate my Grampa' 88Th birthday. The Carnival staff surprised him with a birthday cake & singing happy birthday. The food & service in the Dining Room was excellent and could not have been any better. The rest of the cruise we chose to eat at the Lido Deck buffet & HORIZON/bar&grill at the back of the ship. It was kept clean and the food was as good as any other cruise I was on when I chose to eat in the main dining room. this was the 1st time I have eaten most of my meals at the buffet & may not be the last. SHORT RIBS on day 3 were EXCELLENT!! Full DELI fro fresh variety of sandwiches, full salad bar, dessert bar, grill, 24 pizza, ice cream & frozen yogurt. (hint: take the choc melting cake scoop it into the cone before you get ice cream YUMM!!!!!!!!!!) STAFF I can honestly not find anything bad to say about the crew on this ship. Information, Excursion, dining, housekeeping, cruise director, officers, shops, entertainment, bar service, casino all were great! I don't know how they keep up the positive attitudes day after day, week after week, month after month! B-R-A-V-O to all of you! The ship was extremely clean and they take care of their ship like it was their very own top to bottom. ENTERTAINMENT WOW! WOW! WOW!! I WAS THE MOST IMPRESSED with this caption than ANY other. It was so nice to see Carnival adding some new and different options. The HIP-HOP crew FUN-FORCE performing in the Atrium was A++! Do not miss them. I was simply blown away by the shows in the Dynasty Lounge the entire cruise. I can not say enough about the shows. Especially the SHOUT production on night 2. The dancers in the Dynasty lounge were by far THE BEST GROUP OF SHIPS DANCERS I have seen to date!!!! the 5 male dancers are worthy of any Broadway or Vegas production! Backed up by some of the best female dancers I have seen as well. I had the pleasure to meet with the person that teaches them & he should be extremely proud of this cast! I understand a new cast was taking over after this trip and what big shoes they have to fill. Best of luck to them. Only negative comment: Dynasty lounge 2ND level is not as steep as other ships Ive been on so some seats are limited visibility. For this ship i think lower level is better seating unless you arrive early and get a booth UP front on 2ND level. You can walk to seating in booths and/or seats without needing to do steps, however if using a wheelchair you may want to opt with lower level. the view may be better for you. CRUISE DIRECTOR: Karl with a "K" was the fun & enlightening glue that kept this cruise moving and pleasant. His witty persona is just what these ships need. His assistants in the Carnival FUN crew were everywhere on the ship making certain that your cruise was the best it could be! It is no Surprise to hear that the IMAGINATION is ranked #2 in the fleet. They can not be far from the top spot in my humble opinion. I did not use the SPA or CAMP CARNIVAL so have no comments to make here. FELLOW PASSENGERS Although Carnival technically has no control on who books a cruise, they went out of their way to make certain that everyone was as happy as they could be. The jubilance seemed to spread throughout my fellow passengers. Everyone had a smile on their faces wherever you looked. SPECIAL NEEDS/ MOBILITY NOTES My 88yr old grandfather uses a cane and often need support for standing. walking etc. He had no difficulty around the ship at all. I would have liked to see a support bar in the shower fro him to use if needed, but i did not have a handicapped room so I am not disappointed. I personally carries his food trays, but I did notice crew members carrying trays for those in wheelchairs and if additional assistance was needed. Excursion deck called the SUB OCEAN VIEW tour operator to check if my grandfather was able to get into the sub easily. Very helpful to decide on the excursion! Took advantage of the CANVAS PORTRAIT special offered at the photo desk. $55 for a 16x20 and it was ready in the last night for pick up. In the past this was mailed to you after the cruise. I will be covering some special needs info in my shore excursion section. Specifically for members that have trouble walking or use a cane. In summary, I really liked seeing CARNIVAL offering different entertainment such as Hip Hop dancers in atrium, additions of variety of dancer styles in shows. Addition of sanitizers throughout the ship good to see. YOUR TIME DINING is going to be a nice offer to compete with NCL's Freestyle dining. NEW- Adult Serenity deck is a nice addition with lush comfortable deck chairs, but can get crowded-(NO pool here) on front of ship. NEW- Children's water park was very nice on back of ship Read Less
Sail Date September 2009
Carnival Imagination Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 3.5 4.1
Dining 4.0 3.7
Entertainment 4.0 3.6
Public Rooms 4.0 3.9
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.8
Family 4.5 3.8
Shore Excursion 3.0 3.7
Enrichment 3.0 3.3
Service 4.0 4.2
Value For Money 5.0 4.0
Rates 3.0 4.3

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