28 Carnival Imagination Spring Break Cruise Reviews

People don't seem to review the shorter cruises out of Long Beach, so I wanted to write one for last week. This was our third Imagination cruise from Long Beach, and it was great! Pre-cruise: Got to Long Beach the day before ... Read More
People don't seem to review the shorter cruises out of Long Beach, so I wanted to write one for last week. This was our third Imagination cruise from Long Beach, and it was great! Pre-cruise: Got to Long Beach the day before the cruise, and spent the day at Cabrillo Beach (San Pedro) relaxing in the sun. Stayed at the Golden Sails in Long Beach, which was a fine hotel 20 minutes from port. On Sunday morning, we left the hotel at 10:20, with zero traffic, we were parked in the garage at 10:45. Embarkation: This is the easiest embarkation port of the many we have used. We were completely checked in and waiting to board before 11 am. FttF was called at 11:11 (good luck!!) and we were boarded very quickly. Straight to our stateroom (E90 - right off the atrium) to drop bags, and we were at Guy's Burgers before 11:30. Stateroom: Excellent choice (E 90) for access to everything. No problems with noise, smell or stateroom steward. Received twice-daily cleaning as requested. Room was in excellent shape, with comfy bedding and everything in working order. Dining: Had Anytime dining, which worked great. Ate all breakfasts in the MDR, and avoided the buffet completely. Lunch was Guys, Blue Iguana or Deli. Sea day brunch was awesome as ever---steak and eggs was great. All dinners were good, with many choices, and we ordered double appetizers or entrees more than once. Brought case of Coke Zero and two wine bottles in carryon, so we brought our own glasses to dinner each night. Worked beautifully. Day one: Bags were delivered before 12:30, so we were quickly unpacked, and headed to an empty Serenity deck. Relaxed until muster drill, then off to get dressed for dinner. Yes, we dress for dinner each night. Not over the top, but I wore a dress, and my husband wore button up shirt and slacks each night. Comedians were okay this trip, and we enjoyed family and adult shows most days. Did a little dancing in the nightclub. Funniest thing was "80's hour", which was from 10 to 10:15 pm one night! Dance floor was packed for those fifteen minutes!!! Day two - Catalina: Breakfast in the MDR, then ready to tender to Catalina. Expected a crowd, but easily caught a tender with no wait. Didn't even use FttF tendering. Rented a golf cart for about 90 minutes for a nice tour. Walked around a bit peeking into shops for a little while. After that, we lounged on the beach by the dock for a few hours before returning to the ship for a late lunch. Short but fun day. Day three - Ensenada: This was a weird day. We had breakfast in the MDR again, and got off the ship easily at approximately 10:30. Nice walk into town along the new Malecon. The streets, stores, bars, restaurants were EMPTY. It was amazing how few people we saw in Ensenada. Nothing like our past visits. We walked along the main street looking in a few stores. Had a quick (unsatisfying) lunch at a street restaurant, then hit our favorite Ensenada store that sells stained glass, and headed back to the ship. In the two years since we've been there, prices across the board in Ensenada have skyrocketed. Maybe that's why it was dead. Returned to the ship for Serenity deck and relaxation around 2:30. Day four: Day at sea started with sea day brunch, and consisted mostly of the Serenity deck! We went on this trip to relax, and relax we did! Got front row in Serenity, but it was packed by 10:30 that morning - don't dawdle! Disembarkation: So quick and easy! They started self-assist at 7 am. Started calling zones at 8:45, and did a last call for everyone to disembark by 9:05!!! Short wait for customs, and we were back in the car by 10 am. Overall: An excellent cruise for first-timers looking to try cruising, or for seasoned cruisers looking for a relaxing few days. We don't gamble on ships, and didn't drink too much. The ship was oddly empty for the most part (considering this was Holy Week/Spring Break). Never a wait at a bar, easy to get chairs on Lido and Serenity, no long lines at lunch locations. It was downright weird!!! For the price, it is an excellent value cruising experience, and keeps us satisfied between longer cruises. Next up for us a the Legend Transatlantic 2020! Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
Cheap and Cheerful Spring Break Cruise. Can’ beat the cabin size real estate ocean view category, value for money. Lots of space for storage,. Thumbs up on moveable storage stands, moved one in cabin bathroom for shelving. Nice side ... Read More
Cheap and Cheerful Spring Break Cruise. Can’ beat the cabin size real estate ocean view category, value for money. Lots of space for storage,. Thumbs up on moveable storage stands, moved one in cabin bathroom for shelving. Nice side window in cabin. Great staff on board! Food was awful, like TV dinner quality in the MDR! Stick to the Breakfast Buffet items in Cafe. Bar staff friendly and approachable. Shore excursions fun and value for money. Coffee bar and Sushi kiosk, extra cost, but good service and items available. Entertainment was good for all audience age groups. Nice cruise, for families on spring break, variety of activities. Cruise did not seem overly crowded for a holiday sized crowd, lines were minimal, if any. Did not utilize spa services while on board. Beverage package was a great value, no lines at bar. Excellent cruise, except food was terrible and hope Line will work to make it seem less “cafeteria” like. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
This is mainly a shore excursion review. My daughter (on spring break from college) and I did the Bufadora Kayak excursion. Rebecca and Carlos were our guides and they were great. (Jose-Luis was our driver and he was great as well, but ... Read More
This is mainly a shore excursion review. My daughter (on spring break from college) and I did the Bufadora Kayak excursion. Rebecca and Carlos were our guides and they were great. (Jose-Luis was our driver and he was great as well, but didn't get in the water.) Nice drive out to the point, and then suited up. I recommend the wetsuits - they will keep you warm if the water is cold. Also, take Dramamine or other seasickness prevention. We had 5-6-foot swells, and when you're out in a small (even 2-person) kayak, you feel it more than in the cruise ship. We had great views of La Bufadora, far better than what is seen up top. Carlos led the way, and my daughter and I learned pretty fast how to paddle straight, how to turn, all with the help of Carlos and Rebecca. We got some great pics. If you have a waterproof camera or a waterproof sleeve for your phone, you may want to plan to take those. After paddling back in and rinsing off and changing, we headed up to the top of the Bufadora shopping street for great tacos. Then a quiet drive back to the ship, or to town to do some shopping. The cruise itself was great. I've done this particular cruise two other times, and the staff works hard to make sure everyone has fun. The weather was a little colder than we hoped, so less time for my daughter to sun on deck, but we lounged and read books in Serenity and other places on deck. We won a Thomas Kincade print at the art auction, and recommend those events as a fun thing to do. They had an egg-drop contest, and let individuals or teams build whatever they could to protect an egg dropped from the 10th deck to the 7th in the atrium. All winners won a medal. Our team used a parachute and straw design and won our medal. That was a fun part of the sea day. Shoutouts to Putu (room steward) and to Abigail and Angela, our dining room dinner staff. Highly recommend. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
Let me just start with Guy's Burger Joint is the BEST burger I have ever eaten!! It was amazing. Rest of the food was better than I expected too. Drinks were tasty and STRONG. The Alchemy Bar was a great addition and high quality. ... Read More
Let me just start with Guy's Burger Joint is the BEST burger I have ever eaten!! It was amazing. Rest of the food was better than I expected too. Drinks were tasty and STRONG. The Alchemy Bar was a great addition and high quality. Rooms were fine. Really wish they had balcony rooms but we made do with the Oceanview stateroom. Lots of storage and good size bathroom. Few improvements for the ship. Wish the pool had been heated. It was COLD!!! Also wish the kids club was bigger. Looks like it was an afterthought. All in all it was a nice 4 day getaway. Catalina was beautiful. Could have stayed there for two days. We could do without Ensenada. Not my favorite port. Too many people trying to sell you junk and I felt like we were always trying to be taken advantage of. Not the cruise lines fault. Just my opinion. Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
We chose this cruise because we had limited time. We had two cabins, V17 & V40. Embarkation was a "snap" - mainly because we are Platinum cruisers. Carnival treats its Platinum & Diamond members pretty well. The ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we had limited time. We had two cabins, V17 & V40. Embarkation was a "snap" - mainly because we are Platinum cruisers. Carnival treats its Platinum & Diamond members pretty well. The ship is showing its age. As far as the meals are concerned I was not impressed. Carnival continues to "cut-back" on selections and quality - I was disappointed with the dinner selections - My wife and two sons did not share that opinion. The buffet was the worst I have seen in years - but we only ate there a couple of times for lunch & twice for breakfast - pancakes/waffles were cold both times. Because the Imagination is an older and smaller ship there are only 2 buffet lines and the both served the same food. There was also an omelet bar which was also the deli during lunch/dinner. I give the buffet 2 stars & the dining room (Spirit 8:15 seating) 4 stars. The food alone I would give 3 stars but the service I give 5 stars. Our head waiter, Guillermo, was one of the best, if not the best waiter we have had on any of our cruises. Entertainment was okay. They had 2 comedians the entire trip but I enjoyed their 18+ shows very much. I played a lot of poker - I even won a seat in the $175,000 Carnival Poker Pro tournament in August. so I booked our cruise on the Dream (3rd cruise on the Dream). Debarkation was also a snap - guess why? All in all it was a pleasant & relaxing cruise - the weather was horrible, but that's not Carnivals fault..... or is it???? Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
A 4-Day cruise for under $300 per passenger, good value for an Ocean view cabin. Port of calls were Catalina Island and Ensenada. I wasn't impressed with either port. The first day is a sea day taking a trip south down the coast into ... Read More
A 4-Day cruise for under $300 per passenger, good value for an Ocean view cabin. Port of calls were Catalina Island and Ensenada. I wasn't impressed with either port. The first day is a sea day taking a trip south down the coast into Mexico then back north to Catalina for the second day. Catalina had experienced a lot of rain and was greener than normal. Very pretty for March. Not much to do in Catalina. We rented a golf cart and drove around. The views were very nice overlooking Avalon, Avalon Bay and the Pacific where our cruise ship anchored. We tendered in to land from the ship. The third day at Ensenada was as I remembered. Dirty streets downtown with shops and restaurants I really didn't want to go to. It would have been better to have had planned excursions in both ports. The ship is a bit smaller with a little less to do. The cabins are mostly Inside and Ocean View. No balconies to speak of, glorified suites looked similar to customary balconies. The food was just a notch down from Carnival past cruises. Steak and prime rib were a bit tough. Less entertainment but, the shows they did have were good. The service was about as good as it gets. Guest Services had a young lady named Sarah that was wonderful. Our room steward, John Paul was very good. The bartenders were the only rude people I met and they weren't that rude. Inattentive is more like it. I cruised with my grandson who loved the cruise. He spent most of his time at Camp Ocean and the pool. He made many new friends from different states and countries. Embarkation was very good. Debarkation was okay. Had to wait awhile for checked bags. All in all this was maybe just a little better than average cruising. I did enjoy myself and for the value paid, I would take the cruise again. Read Less
Sail Date March 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
What should have been a relaxing and enjoyable vacation celebrating our anniversary was unfortunately the worst vacation that myself or my significant other have ever had the displeasure of enduring. Upon boarding the Imagination, my ... Read More
What should have been a relaxing and enjoyable vacation celebrating our anniversary was unfortunately the worst vacation that myself or my significant other have ever had the displeasure of enduring. Upon boarding the Imagination, my partner and I were displeased to find the pool was out of working order. This finding was especially unsettling considering we chose the “Faster to the Fun FTTF” option for the purpose of additional pool time enjoyment. The out of order pool therefore crowded the hot tubs with larger than capacity crowds rendering them useless and becoming blatantly filthy. The onboard dining experience aboard the Imagination did not prove to be any better. The dining selections I made on the “manage my cruise” section of the Carnival website did not reflect on my sail & sign card. Online I selected the ANYTIME dining option, my sail & sign card showed an 8:15 and later Spirit dining time. This discrepancy caused a dining hassle at dinner every night. Undoubtedly the worst experience of the entire trip came the following day. Shortly after arriving in Catalina, I noticed what appeared to be bed bug bites (see attached pictures,) This unnerving, unsettling, and infuriating experience set in motion a physical and emotional anguish that set the tone for the remainder of the cruise. The issue is still affecting us even after returning home. Upon discovering the bite marks on my arms and legs, my partner and I immediately returned to the boat. We were unsure of the best course of action to take so we turned to guest services. Guest services heard my plea and directed me to the ship’s doctor. After waiting almost an hour to see the doctor, I was given a tube of Hydrocortisone and a small packet of what the doctor was “almost certain” were Benadryl tablets. I expressed my concern to the doctor that my bite marks did not itch, as is usually the case with other insect bites, but not the case with bed bugs; hence the reason for my concern that I was likely experiencing a bed bug issue. He said the bites “might be from bed bugs, and they might not,” but there was no way for him to know. After my helpless experience with the doctor, I returned to Guest Services and inquired as to what the next steps would be. I was told that the housekeeping department had performed an investigation of my room and there were no findings of any bed bug activity and my bedding would be changed. Naturally, upon first discovering the bites I read as much as I could on the subject, paying most mind to the webmd.com, bedbug.org, and epa.gov websites. Armed with the knowledge from the websites I suggested to Guest Services that a “thorough investigation by Carnival’s Housekeeping Staff” was not a surefire way of ruling out bed bugs. I asked Guest Services if it would be possible for me to change rooms. They informed me that there were other guests awaiting a room transfer and I would be added to the list. The agent seemed irritated that we were not satisfied with a bedding change. I was, and still am disappointed in the way Guest Services handled the situation and spoke to me. I felt my concerns were trivialized and I was treated as a mere annoyance. My partner and I were never updated on whether a new room had become available and we spent the remainder of the trip sleepless and anxious. I recognize that the Imagination is a “Fun Ship” and one of the more economical options of the Carnival Corporations fleet. That said, we did not go into this vacation with expectations of any 5 star luxurious accommodations. We merely expected a clean, comfortable ship with at least adequate customer service. Unfortunately, that is not what we experienced. I would not recommend Carnival or the Imagination to my worst enemy. Spend your money elsewhere. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
My family and I have cruised on carnival before so I had some expectations about this particular cruise line. Embarkation was a breeze .. We paid extra for the faster to the fun (FTTF) and I thought it was worth the $49 per cabin. It ... Read More
My family and I have cruised on carnival before so I had some expectations about this particular cruise line. Embarkation was a breeze .. We paid extra for the faster to the fun (FTTF) and I thought it was worth the $49 per cabin. It made debarkation easy as well. When first boarding at 12:30 we were funneled through to the mail deck which was incredibly small and nothing special. We proceeded to our room which had our luggage already waiting for us (also a perk of the FTTF fee) we unpacked and settled in to taking a tour of the ship. After 5 minutes we had walked the front to the back. Wait, where's the rest of the ship I asked my husband.. This ship is tiny. There are 11 decks, but none of them offered anything spectacular. There was duty free shopping but that was IT. no place to buy a lanyard, a coffee cup, a souvenir at all. I asked some of the employees who looked at me strangely and pointed to the front of the ship. But I had already looked. They didn't even have Dramamine?? 1/2 way through the cruise they sent a notice out that they would be closing the shopping for the second half of our 4 day cruise. Well that was a bust. Everything was taped off and Windows covered so even if I wanted to purchase a $200 bottle of liquor I couldn't. The accommodations were just ok. We had an ocean view room and the very back of the ship (more on that later) My kids were in an interior cabin which was the same size. It was fine for 4 nights, any longer than that and I would have booked them an ocean view room. The food was TERRIBLE! Buffet was disgusting. The pizza was pretty good but honestly how can you mess that up. The dining room dinner was ok. Not amazing but just ok. We opted to eat breakfast in the dining room on our last day and that was better than anything else you could find on the Lido deck. Ok here's where it gets interesting. Going to Catalina and Ensenada was great. The ship was a little bumpy but not unexpected. Our sea day was Horrific. It was so bad that there were barf bags placed at every elevator. My husband spent the entire day in bed. You could not walk straight even if you tried. And the noise was terrible. I woke several times every evening/morning to the ship shaking horribly. I will never ever book a room in the back of the ship. The destinations were just ok. I had never been to Catalina and I suggest that you rent a golf cart for 2 hours to explore the island. It's small but fun. My teens had a blast. Ensenada was ok. I had been before about 20 years ago. Things have changed but it's still Mexico. Nothing pretty, nothing fancy and you can buy a lot of stuff you don't need. We did the tour to La Bufadora but we did not book through carnival. We paid $15 bucks for a 2 hour drive and 1.5 hr tour once you get there. It's worth it for that but anything more it's just too much to pay. Ive been back for 2 days now .. And I'm still rocking like I was on the ship. Lord help me. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
It's been a while since I've been on a cruise and was excited for this trip, although I didn't have very high expectations. Overall, it was a fun time, but we were very happy to disembark. Pros: The staff and crew were ... Read More
It's been a while since I've been on a cruise and was excited for this trip, although I didn't have very high expectations. Overall, it was a fun time, but we were very happy to disembark. Pros: The staff and crew were all very friendly and helpful. Our interior cabin was a decent size and cleaned twice a day. The workout center is well equipped and very nice (I was a little annoyed when I went to check it out on Day 1, and was taken on a tour of the entire spa as they went through all of their services). I really enjoyed Catalina and Ensenada. We did a bus tour and lunch in Avalon and I highly recommend the kayak trip to La Bufadora. The guides are wonderful and this was the highlight of our trip. Ensenada can be a tourist trap, so it was nice to learn more about the city. Cons: The food! I always hear how the buffets and food are so wonderful on cruises. The food on the Imagination, both buffet and dining room, was barely edible. On the first night, I ordered the Mahi Mahi and the fish smell as the plate was being delivered was horrendous. I took one bite and was afraid to continue because I thought I might get sick. Our waiter offered to switch the meal, but I opted to leave and grab a slice of pizza. Not great. How can you go wrong with pizza? The buffet food was sub par... especially the breakfast. One bite of the scrambled eggs and I was done (the french toast was decent). On another night, I ordered beef medium rare (you had 2 choices.. med rare or med well), and it was SO rare that, again, I could only take one bite. This time I did switch my meal for something else and it was okay. One morning we waited 30 minutes for breakfast that we couldn't eat because of a spa appointment. Speaking of the spa appointment, my massage was VERY nice... until I could hear the full conversation on the other side of the sliding partition. The decor... OMG! Tacky, tacky, tacky. Time for a MAJOR update. The brass everywhere, decor, and signage are just cheesy. The music on the Lido deck also needs a major update. The entertainment on the ship was okay, but again, a little cheesy. I will not book another Carnival cruise in the future. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
Me and my husband have been on a couple of other cruises before but never with Carnival. We decided that we should try out this cruise to see how it compares to other cruise lines! The ship was smaller compared to other cruise lines and ... Read More
Me and my husband have been on a couple of other cruises before but never with Carnival. We decided that we should try out this cruise to see how it compares to other cruise lines! The ship was smaller compared to other cruise lines and looked very tacky. It looked like an old casino in Vegas. The worst part was, it was sooo rocky! Like I said, we have been on a few other cruises where we couldn't even feel that we were on the ocean. This one was rocking so bad that we were so sick to the point of throwing up. The cruise line was supposed to go to Catalina Island, Ensenada, then a day at sea. When we checked in, they told us that they changed the schedule to have the day at sea first then Catalina, etc. The first day at sea was very rocky and we felt so sick we stayed in our room basically the whole day. Then, we got up the next day, excited for our excursion, and they came over the intercom saying that they couldn't dock at Catalina so we were going to have another "fun" day at sea. Sigh. Two days in a row of an extremely rocky ship was horrible. Another thing was all of the hidden fees. The other cruise lines that we have taken accept the prepaid gratuities and never asked for additional tips, etc. We bought the endless bubbles (unlimited soda) program on Carnival and every time we went to get an already paid for drink we had to sign as if we were paying. There is a line for a tip and the server always tries to guilt trip you to sign more money onto the tip. This was very frustrating. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
We booked the spring break 4 nite cruise to take our 18 yr granddaughter as a graduation present. We also tried out an interior room for the first time. Being Royal Caribbean cruisers with balconies we were curious to see the differences ... Read More
We booked the spring break 4 nite cruise to take our 18 yr granddaughter as a graduation present. We also tried out an interior room for the first time. Being Royal Caribbean cruisers with balconies we were curious to see the differences between the two cruise lines. Grandaughter is a vegetarian but we recently discovered she has a lactose intolerance and we were trying to reduce gluten. Unfortunately selections of food were sparse but the wait staff tried extra hard to help us with food selections. Chef made excellant desserts for her which kept us coming back each nite. Bingo was a bust had to buy daubers! Being 18 but still a senior, she tried to attend the 15-17 party the first nite, staff kicked her out and told her to go to the nightclub. Do I really want my gdaughter to be in a nightclub where there is alcohol? She met a few friends her age with nothing to do, so they spent time in the casino, played bingo and hung out in the hot tub. There were no activities for 18 yr old high school students except gambling watching the adult shows, bingo and the hot tub. We live in Reno and I am in exec mgmt in a casino.... high schoolers should not be gambling. I'm disappointed that the age group 18-20 have nothing age appropriate. Overall, she had a great time, food was ok, alot of younger kids running all over the place, some bad parenting, but heres the worst part... I NEVER SAW ANYONE USE THE HAND SANITIZER GOING INTO ANY OF THE FOOD VENUES. One time the sanitizer wasvin the plants out of the way. No one stood by to squirt it in your hands and i did not see alot of public area cleaning. As convenient the LA port is for us in NV, i dont see us taking another carnival cruise. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
This was a short spring break trip over St. Patrick's day. The price was right and we drove to the port. Parking is $17.00 dollars a day. We arrived about 1pm and where on board by 130pm dropping our luggage off in the room. This time ... Read More
This was a short spring break trip over St. Patrick's day. The price was right and we drove to the port. Parking is $17.00 dollars a day. We arrived about 1pm and where on board by 130pm dropping our luggage off in the room. This time we choose an inside cabin to save money. It was comfortable for the two of us. Our room steward was very nice, kept us well supplied, and was ninja like in his ability to keep our room tidy. We had early dinner and sat at a 10 person table. Our table mates where nice but the the service was terrible. I asked the Maitre'D to switch. He immediately gave us another table and server. Also a 10 person. Again we lucked out with great table mates. The service was much better like we have had i the past. This was our first cruise with American Table we have done 6 previous ones with Carnival before the change. My daughter and I both agreed we didn't care for it. Pros : water carafe on table so you never had to wait for a refill. They handled my gluten free request well. Cons: No table cloths, I watched them wipe down the tables with the same rag over and over. My silverware is just sitting on that table., Once I stirred my ice tea or used a fork I wasn't sure where I was suppose to place it for further use. Only 1 soup choice, no more spa cuisine on the menu, they did still have a vegetarian dining option, Bread was on the table in a basket in a selection. About 3 pieces of 3 different types. Our table seemed to like only sourdough, Servers did not refill bread. Getting ice tea,,lemonade during dinner was a struggle. Even bar service seemed slow. Compared to other cruises I've been on, the servers seemed to be stretched thin. Same for breakfast, never could get a coffee or orange juice refill. Entertainment. We went to and enjoyed all the production shows and comedy shows. We also participated in the deck party, Hasbro game show, and call in trivia. Catalina : Booked a private tour through Catalina Island tours called Cape Canyon Island Explorer. It ended up lasting all day. We had a great time and really felt we got our moneys worth. Ensenada : walked around for a couple of hours and went back to the ship to lay out. If you've never been to Ensenada before they do have a few tours to try or there is Hussongs or Papas if you like to get your drink on early in the day. Overall it was a fun trip. Pleasantly surprised it wasn't the booze cruise I thought it was going to be. I do miss the live music on deck vs the DJ. Also I noticed a few other cuts as well,like no ice bucket, or mini fridge in rooms. The ports aren't to exciting but that's about all you can get off the West coast in a short time. Read Less
Sail Date March 2014
Personal Background Information – We are a family of four. Parents in their early 40’s and boys age 5 and 8. We’re experienced cruisers.  We booked months ago when the school schedule came out and spring break dates were available. ... Read More
Personal Background Information – We are a family of four. Parents in their early 40’s and boys age 5 and 8. We’re experienced cruisers.  We booked months ago when the school schedule came out and spring break dates were available. Booking so early meant no real discounts or price breaks. We paid what they asked. We received $25 OBC. We originally booked U114, a Grand Suite. Travel To Port of Embarkation – We flew into LAX on March 22. We took PrimeTime Shuttle to our Long Beach hotel. First we waited about 15 minutes past our shuttle scheduled time for it to show up. We booked a shared van. We won’t do that again. Shared vans make an additional loop around the airport which adds 20 plus minutes at the airport. By the time we left the airport we’d been waiting or sitting in the van for almost 40 minutes. We shared the van with one other person and his stop was first. That meant going all the way to Torrance, CA before going to our Long Beach hotel. We’ve taken PrimeTime Shuttle before and would recommend it just get an exclusive van if you can. Hotel Info (if any) – We booked the Hotel Current on the Pacific Coast Highway. I was concerned booking a non chain hotel that I hadn’t read a lot about on Cruise Critic but the price was right. The hotel was nice. Good air conditioning, clean floors. Sheets crisp and clean. Our only trouble was the sliding door that separated the shower area from the rest of the bathroom didn’t slide. We reported it when we checked out. I also thought the beds would be two queens. Instead they were two doubles. The hotel offers a good park and cruise deal. I think it’s $149 or $179 for the room for the night, parking for the length of the cruise and shuttle to and from the port. We’d stay there again. Embarkation – We arrived at about 12:30 and went to the Captain’s Lounge area off to the side of the dome. There was a big group in front of us that seemed to have many issues with getting in the door then getting checked in. About 10 days before sailing we were contacted by the upsell person and offered an upsell to one of the two penthouse suites on the ship. It wasn’t a cheap upsell but reasonable enough that after a short deliberation we went for it. After checking in someone came to get us and escorted us on the ship. That was a nice perk. Stateroom – We were in PH2. The room is on deck 12 across from the Spa. It’s not listed on the deck plan and I’m told you can’t book it direct. We received an upsell call and paid for the privilege. The suite is big. When we walked in there is a fridge and bar area on the right then the door to the balcony. A small table and three chairs and a TV are on the left. Then further in are three sofa type things that convert to beds in the evening. Across from that is a built in desk area. Then there’s a door to the bedroom. Big king bed. Dresser area under a big flat screen TV. Big bathroom. Double sinks. Vanity. Tons of towels. Big walk in closet. Then the bathroom with toilet and huge tub. A few things…the suite is dated. I’m told it was renovated a few years ago but I don’t see it. It had an 80’s feel which is before the ship was even built. The sinks were pink. The tub is pink! Dark black marbled tile floor to ceiling. The living room is bare. The furniture was just put in the room and no other decorating was done. There are blinds on the windows. Dated! We did like the room for the space alone but there were other good things. The blinds and drapes do block out a lot of the light. The balcony is really big. You do have a life boat just outside and below the balcony but it was great when we were in port and the birds would land there. The fridge kept our soda very cold. The bed was comfy. Water pressure was good. It’s a great room if you can get it! Dining – We really liked the food! I mean we REALLY liked it. I was surprised. Every meal there was something outstanding. Braised short ribs, beef tenderloin, pasta dishes… We’re not fancy food people but we do know good food and have eaten at high end restaurants around the world and we give the food a thumbs up. Considering it’s mass produced and sent out assembly line style…we couldn’t ask for more. We enjoyed the American Table concept. Every evening we could order something for the table plus individual items. We were never turned down for anything. We ordered stuff not even on the menu and it was brought. My son wanted grapes every night and they brought them. If we were torn between two dishes, they’d bring us both of them to sample. For dessert I had the chocolate melting cake every night. I’m a chocoholic…it fed my addiction. My son and I both had it every night Mickey Mouse style…that means with two scoops of vanilla. The only night I felt torn about not ordering something different was the night they had a smores parfait. Our waiter brought both. I liked not having a tablecloth especially with kids that have a tendency to pull on them. I liked the water on the table to refill at our discretion. We went to the sea day brunch. It wasn’t anything special. The eggs benedict sat under a heat lamp for a while. The cheese grits were pre made and sat for a while. The pancakes were chewy and hard to cut. I think we would have done better to stick to the buffet that day for breakfast. Activities – We only did a few activities. I participated in the call in trivia show with George and Giggles and answered a question correctly and won a picture of the ship. I also answered a trivia question correctly and participated on stage in the Hasbro Game Night. Children's Clubs – My boys did go to the club for a little bit each day. They said it was fun and they wanted to go. We didn’t do any of the after hours stuff. The staff was mostly friendly but sometimes they seemed indifferent. Staff & Service – Most of the staff was friendly and outgoing. At peak dining room times it took a while to get water refills and on a few occasions items I ordered were forgotten about. Nothing was really over the top fantastic but most things were pretty good service wise. Disembarkation – We had number 1 tags but I don’t know how that affected things. At 8:15 we wanted to disembark so we walked off with our own luggage. There was no line. We were early for our PrimeTime shuttle but they got our van there early and we were off and at the airport by 9:30 AM for our 11:45 AM flight home. Summary – We expected a circus with it being spring break but it wasn’t a big party all the time. There were no big groups of college kids making a lot of noise. There was a high school group on board but we never ran into them. The kids did take over the hot tubs and that was frustrating. My husband said it was like a mosh pit. Yes it was a bit chilly but don’t unleash the kids to use the hot tub as a heated pool. On the only sea day the staff put a towel animal on every deck chair. That was a fun sight to see. This wasn’t our best cruise but it was nice. We relaxed a lot and got away from the daily grind for a while. That made every day better than a day at work! Read Less
Sail Date March 2014
Are you an early-twenty something wanting to drink your way though the cruise? If you answered yes, this is YOUR cruise. Don't get me wrong, there is no bad cruise. And people just want to have fun. And I am glad that they are mostly ... Read More
Are you an early-twenty something wanting to drink your way though the cruise? If you answered yes, this is YOUR cruise. Don't get me wrong, there is no bad cruise. And people just want to have fun. And I am glad that they are mostly on this cruise and not on any of the other cruises we take. A little about us: late 50s couple. We mostly cruise mostly on Norwegian. We enjoy the ship we sail on as much or more than the ports we go to. I suppose we prefer the larger ships, but have also enjoyed our times on smaller ships. We love the water slides and views from the back of the ship. That said, this was our first Carnival cruise. We took this cruise to see if we would like Carnival. And we did like it. The demographics on this cruise just weren't to our taste. We had a suite. It was nice, but different from Norwegian (more below). Note to women: They do not provide hair conditioner even in a suite! I had some very interesting hair this trip. Needless to say we didn't buy any pictures. Embarkation was a breeze. We virtually just walked on and never slowed down until we were on the ship. We went straight to our room at 2:00. Our luggage didn't arrive until about 4:30. The room was nice. It seemed more like a hotel room rather than a ship suite. Not as compartmentalized. However it needed a women's vanity area. There was no room in the bathroom for much more than your toothbrush, let alone makeup, etc. But it was an attractive bathroom if you don't require space. The balcony was smaller than most ships we have been on, but was fine. Unfortunately the weather was too chilly we never used it much. We usually spend a LOT of time on the balcony. We like to have breakfast in the room out there . About that: we asked for room service but never got it. Why, you might ask. We believe it is because of the college age kids who would steal the cards off the doors for fun. We actually walked behind one couple who were knocking the do not disturb cards off doors as they went down the hall. The storage space is good. The interesting thing is they kind of have a "his and her" side of the closet. Lots of cubbys. LOTS of surface space. We brought two computers and we both had room to work side by side. The room was quiet (with the exception of unsupervised little kids running and screaming down the halls). The ship was clean and nice. Kind of reminded us both of Vegas feel - maybe more Fremont Street Vegas. Kind of funky getting around. You could only take an elevator to 9 then have to either walk up stairs or walk forward or aft to go up higher on an elevator. Reminded my DH of the game Centipede. We loved the outdoor seating. We ate every breakfast and lunch out there in the sun. Norwegian doesn't have much outdoor seating areas so we loved having it on the Imagination, especially the fact that it is aft. The birds were kind of a problem. The college-age kids kept feeding them, pancakes, butter, whatever, so there was bird poop on the tables and birds staring you down eye to eye. The outside tables were cleaned often, but left smeary, so touching it was not an option. Drink waiters. I don't think I am exaggerating when I say we were asked if we wanted a cocktail during that first Lido Deck lunch about 20 times! And we were only out there 40 minutes. Pushing the drinks hard. Serenity area. That wonderful place for adults only so you can escape the noise and kids playing loudly. Imagine our surprise when we went out there to find it taken over by college- age kids with spring break activities. The whole area, even the jacuzzi we're monopolized. Felt like we walked in on an Animal House frat party. We ended up by the water slides instead. Not too busy at first because it was chilly, but had a little protection from the wind. However some of the college-age students came out there. It is a long walk up a water slide tower. One was pouring beer off the top trying to get it in the mouth of another down below. Not too successfully. Some spilled on a little girl who had just ended her slide. No Carnival employee intervened, even when they were shaking the tower. Bar entertainment was all good. More consistently good than any other ship we went on. The main entertainment shows were not great, not bad, and reasonably entertaining. Shows started later than other ships we went on. Probably because of younger crowd appeal. Internet slower than any other ship. We did the "anytime dining" or whatever term they call it. We had to wait even though there were seats available (anytime diners have their own dining room devoted to anytime diners). They gave us a pager only once. We slipped into the piano bar next door. That was a pleasant diversion. However they must page ten or so people at the same time because you have to wait again even after your pager goes off. Meals were real good the first day but tended to get not as good each day thereafter. Even repeat items. For example the melting cake was excellent the first day, but not the second, didn't get a dessert the third day. However, the buffet area food seemed better than average. Line always long though. Didn't move very fast. Pizza always had a line - only so so pizza. Gym had all new equipment and never had to wait for a stationery bike. DH used the gym, I preferred to walk the jogging track. Nice views and nice walking area. I liked it a lot. There were a lot of deck chairs -- nice balance of chairs in the sun and shade. I didn't witness any chair hogging so they must police it even though I didn't see happen. Overall a very nice cruise, especially for the money. This cruise can be very inexpensive. Ideal for the college-age partyers.   Read Less
Sail Date March 2014
When the Carnival Elation left Long Beach last year to go to New Orleans, Carnival introduced the Carnival Imagination to the West Coast. The Fantasy class ship leaves the port of Los Angeles on Sundays with as many as 2056 passengers and ... Read More
When the Carnival Elation left Long Beach last year to go to New Orleans, Carnival introduced the Carnival Imagination to the West Coast. The Fantasy class ship leaves the port of Los Angeles on Sundays with as many as 2056 passengers and 920 friendly crew members for a four night cruise with stops in Catalina Island and in Ensenada. When it returns on Thursdays, it docks back at Long Beach to refuel, restock, clean up and get ready to greet new passengers for a three night cruise to Ensenada and back to home port. During Spring Break my family and I sailed on a four night cruise. Checking into our room U 42 offered the ideal cabin for my daughter and I. Two twin beds in a “L” shape, writing desk, television, large window, plenty of closet space, bath with a large shower and safe in the closet. Our room steward "Rama" from Bali was a sweet woman. She kept our cabin fresh and clean throughout the cruise. After the safety drill, we dressed and went to the Your time Dining – American Table. It was just unveiled on February 16, 2014 with a new culinary menu. Located in the Pride Dining Room allows guests to dine from 5:45 p.m. at your leisure, however if you come after 6:15 p.m. be prepared to wait for up to 45 minutes for a table. Ask for Leo and Oswaldo's table. They will give you wonderful service. The American Table menu on the Carnival Imagination offers four appetizers that include seared tuna on a noodle salad with sesame dressing and vegetable spring rolls with a Vietnamese dipping sauce. There are tapas for the table meant to be shared with others that include fried calamari or flatbread with caramelized onions. Each night is a rare find dish, such as spicy alligator fritters with a tropical tomato salsa. It’s a food that your may have always wanted to try, yet never dared to order. Now it the time to be adventurous. Also on the left side of the menu is a list of featured wines From a Moscato from Pavia, Italy, to California Chardonnay by Kendall-Jackson. Main dishes featured are braised beef short ribs, sweet & sour shrimp, beef lasagna and a vegetarian chickpea biscuits with roasted squash and peppers. They serve grilled Mahi Mahi fillet, flat iron steak chicken breast and pork chop. Each can be accompanied with a chimichurri, BBQ sauce, Bearnaise, peppercorn, roasted garlic or tomato tapenade sauce. The first night the Port of Call was in Los Angeles. Nicknamed the City of Angels, Los Angeles is often billed the “Creative Capital of the World.” Food culture in Los Angeles is a beautiful fusion of mixed cultures influenced by a melting pot of creative new restaurants Mexican food is blended with Asian cuisine. Peruvian food is the rage paired with creative cocktails. The menu offered the ultimate Margarita blended with 1800 Reposado 100% blue agave tequila mixed with Cointreau with lime juice and salt. There were duck potstickers and miso marinated salmon with a sesame rice cake, bok choy and ginger soy vinaigrette. Under the Rare Finds section on the menu was spicy alligator bites, frog legs and escargot Bourguignonne. Sides were roasted corn and vegetable succotash, lo mein noodles, sauteed beans with bacon, whipped Yukon potatoes or green salad. For dessert, the Nutella Tiramisu was a sweet ending to a surprisingly new and improved culinary menu. Our first stop was in Catalina Island. The ship anchors in the Pacific Ocean near the historic island and Shore Boats tender passengers to the Green Pleasure Pier. Once on the pier we walked into town to catch a shuttle trolley for a one hour tour of the city of Avalon with various stops along the way. Sometimes we stopped for 10 minutes to investigate the surroundings, other times we stopped just to pick up or drop off passengers. The trolley takes guests to the beautiful Catalina Casino that was built in 1929 as a dance pavilion, not a gambling casino. Further out is Descanso Beach where the Catalina Zip Line Adventure begins. There is construction right now at Descanso Beach for a new Beach Club. Inside the Catalina Casino is an informative museum to learn about the history of Catalina Island. William Wrigley of the chewing gum empire bought the island. He had his Chicago Cubs come here for their Spring Training. Marilyn Monroe lived on the island with her Merchant Marine husband when she was just 16 years old. Also, the actress Natalie Wood died when she drowned near her boat near the island. Before going back on the Imagination, we played 18 holes of golf at the Island's miniature golf course. Back onboard we enjoyed another American Table dinner before a terrific pop rock show in the Dynasty Lounge: Divas. The singers and dancers dressed in high fashion costumes performed Lady Gaga, Beyonce and Brittany songs. It was worthy of a Las Vegas show. The next morning we walked off the ship and explored Ensenada, Mexico. Many guests on the Carnival Inspiration book an excursion to horseback ride in Ensenada, go wine tasting, see the blow-hole or take a city tour. We explored the town by foot. We started at the end of the cruise terminal with a visit to the Ensenada Historic Museum located inside the exquisite 1930’s Riviera de Ensenada. Once a luxurious hotel and casino, this Mission style building was initially operated by the heavyweight boxing champion, Jack Dempsey. The museum depicts rock caves with interesting mural art, a replica of a mine and various exhibits of colonization by missionaries and early European settlers. Next, walk towards one of the tallest flag poles in Mexico. It reaches 338 feet at the top and the National flag measures 164x92 feet. It weighs about 265 pounds. The nearby National Civic Plaza has three bigger than life sculpted gold heads of Miguel Hidalgo, Benito Juarez and Venustiano Carranza. Each man has significance in Mexico’s history. I picked up a map at the Visitors Information Center on Bulevar Lazaro Cardenas (Costero) and Avenue Gastelum. We walked up the street to the Regional History Museum of Ensenada. It’s the oldest public building in Baja California. Built in 1886 with adobe, it served as military quarters where soldiers lodged, a hospital, the local jail and a school. This building now belongs to the National Institute of Anthropology and History. When this complex was a jail, prisioners could pay for a cell upstairs rather than stay in several “holding” tanks. They were allowed to decorate their cells, adding personal touches, such as tile and hand paintings on the walls. Walk into some of the cells and you can detect a wall painting of a bay with trees and mountains. In another cell we saw a portrait of a beautiful woman with a church, moon and clouds in the background. Currently part of the old prison offers an exhibit of lighthouse photographs. There is also a giant lighthouse beacon. Upstairs, the second floor used to be the offices of the District Judge and a guard tower. It also was housing for pisoners who could afford to pay for a room. There was an earthen oven for baking bread. Near the port is the Old Customs House. It was built in England, shipped and assembled in Ensenada in 1887. In 1922, the building was owned by the Marine Customs Office. In 1992 the building was given to the National Institute of Anthropology and History. It now exhibits items recovered from the lost Galleon the San Felipe that was wrecked in Baja California in 1576. It’s an interactive spot for families, with an excavation box with items that are similar to what was recovered when the wreck was found. There are beautiful blue and white porcelain displayed in glass cases. Many were rice and soup bowls. On one wall is an interactive game with magnetic “Galleon” game markers called The Manila Galleon Game. The object is to roll a dice in a wood box and move the galleon the number of spaces rolled. Read aloud the events that took place where you land to learn about the galleon voyages. Each space is equal to about one week at sea. The game takes about 10 minutes. Land at one spot and learn the scurvy killed 208 people on one ship with only 192 surviving or in 1696 the sea surged with such high waves that 12 men together could barely steer the ship. Back onboard we played miniature golf up on the top deck, before getting ready for another interesting American Table dinner. Afterwards, we went to the lively Hasbro The Game Show, where guests go onstage and win prizes. It was great fun. Many people despair that on Sea Day there won’t be enough to do and they will grow bored. On the Carnival Imagination, exercise classes start at 7 a.m. We woke up and played 27 holes of miniature golf before breakfast. The course was practically empty and it was invigorating to get fresh air first thing in the morning. We went down to the Pride Dining room for on open seating Sea Brunch offered from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. It’s a different menu than what is offered most mornings. Afterwards we learned how our cabin steward folded our towels into elephants, swans and dogs in the Dynasty Lounge. The staff encouraged guests to come on stage to learn how to make adorable animals from white fluffy towels. Immediatley afterwards was a puppet show by four folded towels that was quite entertaining. There was a second episode of Hasbro The Game Show, a chocolate extravaganza up on the Lido deck with various chocolate desserts, a chocolate fondue with fresh fruit and donuts to dip into. We joined three other teams in the digital scavenger hunt. For 20 minutes, we raced around the ship to take a picture of a wall of candy, smiling bar waiter or waitress and the golf putting green. There were a total of 25 items to take a photo of to show the activity director. The winner received a trophy of the ship. On the last night of the cruise, the library is turned into an elegant dining room for a Chef’s Table Dinner and Wine pairing for $75 a person. Unless you find the table up on the Lido deck on the first day of your cruise, you will never know about it. It’s an exquisite dining experience for foods and culinary afficianados who want to go beyond the regular dining experience on a cruise ship. After dinner we went to Punchliner Comedy Club presented by George Lopez to watch a family friendly show and then went to the Dynasty Lounge to see Epic Rock a fantastic 1970s and 1980s rock show that debuted on our cruise. It was sensational. The next morning the ship docked in Long Beach and guests leisurely disembarked. It's less stressful now to leave your cabin in the morning. You can still enjoy a nice breakfast in the Pride dining room, play one more round of golf and walk off the ship around 10:30 to 11 a.m.   Read Less
Sail Date March 2014
Recently enjoyed a relaxing 4-day cruise on the Carnival Imagination over spring break/St. Patrick’s Day. We had two cabins, a balcony junior suite for my wife and me, and an interior room for my two teenage sons and two of their ... Read More
Recently enjoyed a relaxing 4-day cruise on the Carnival Imagination over spring break/St. Patrick’s Day. We had two cabins, a balcony junior suite for my wife and me, and an interior room for my two teenage sons and two of their friends. Our family has been on several cruises. This was the first cruise for their friends. After reading a few of the recent reviews on here, I was wondering if it was going to be a disaster, but it was not anywhere close to as bad as some people portray. If you want to find something to complain about, you can. If you want to relax and enjoy and not worry about the small stuff, you can do that to. Hotel Info – We stayed on the Queen Mary the night before the cruise. This was a really fun way to start a cruise, particularly if you have never been on a cruise before and want to see how sea travel used to be done. I reserved a queen room for us, and a two queen room for the boys. My wife and I walked to our assigned room and found one twin. The front desk could not explain why I did not get my reserved room other than to say they had no vacancies and could not give us that kind of room. They moved us to a two twin cabin and knocked down the price, but I was not thrilled (I know, don’t sweat the small stuff). That night was the Queen Mary’s St Patrick’s Day party, so the ship was crowded and noisy in some areas, but you couldn’t hear it in the rooms. As part of the stay, you get the opportunity to walk around the ship and do the self-guided tour for free. It was very interesting and we spent the next morning waiting to board the Imagination running around the Queen Mary. We were able to leave our van in the parking lot right in front of the Queen Mary, not the multi-level parking garage nearby where all other cruise passengers park. They charged the parking fee ($17/day) to our room and when the noon check out time came, we just left what we wanted in the van and walked the block or two to the large dome used for Carnival check-in. (Note: Carnival use to check people staying the night before on the Queen Mary in on that ship, but they no longer do that. The check-in area still exists - we found it while exploring the ship.) Embarkation – We got the e-mail from Carnival that warned us not to show up before 1:30 and don’t expect to be able to get to your bags or room anytime soon. Of course we head over there at noon and there are already plenty of people there to check-in. We approached from the Queen Mary side and walked up to an outdoor check-in area where we got our Sign and Sail cards. Others were bypassing the outdoor check-in and going inside the dome. Perhaps if we had approached from the parking garage, we might have been told there was a difference between the two areas because for the first time ever we carried all of our bags through screening and right on the ship. We had them marked with the room tags and expected them to be taken from us at some point, but they never were. Luckily it was not that big a deal for us since we came prepared with rolling bags, etc. Once we got on the ship we walked right to our rooms and dropped off our bags – also a first time ever. On all other cruise we have been on, the hallway doors to the rooms were closed until later in the afternoon. This time everything was open including our room on the Upper deck and the boys’ room on the Riviera deck. I don’t know why or if it is like that for every cruise, but it was nice. Of course some people were still dragging their bags through the cafeteria because they thought the rooms were unavailable. Stateroom- We had U9 which is a junior suite with balcony. It had a king bed with a couch that looked like it could be made into at least a twin size bed. It also had a small refrigerator, which was handy. The balcony is nice, but it can be a little chilly when the ship was moving. The rooms are non-smoking and our neighbors smoked on the balcony which is allowed, so you do have to put up with some cigarette smoke swirling your way. The boys’ room (R299) had two twins on the floor and two bunks that were folded down by the steward at night. I chose that room because it was conveniently located right next to the forward stairs and elevator. I thought later about the elevator noise, but they said they couldn’t hear it, so all was good. (Note: be sure to bring power strips, a lesson we learned from previous cruises. Our cabin had two 110 volt plugs and one international one. The boy’s cabin had one 110 plug and one international one. Teenage boys have to be able to charge their iPhones (not for cell phone use, but for their music) and you can imagine the mayhem if they only had one plug.) The Ship – Some people on this forum mention the dated neon and brass look of the ship. Yes there is a lot of neon and brass. It was built that way and I don’t see any reason to change it – it is a CRUISE SHIP. Others say it is run down and dirty with an indifferent crew. As I walked around I saw smiling and friendly crew cleaning constantly. I watched one morning as a multi person crew used a large floor scrubber to clean the floor of the Serenity spa area. Another time I saw a crewman scrapping off a metal surface near a life boat in preparation for repainting – an on-going and necessary chore for a ship in salt water. You could tell that they are doing their best to maintain the ship. Dining - There is always something good on the menu and many at my 10-person table had a chance to try things they have never had before like escargot, frog legs and lobster. I thought just about everything I had was very good to outstanding. Particularly good were the lamb shank, beef tenderloin, lobster with shrimp and pasta de la mare (not sure of spelling but it was pasta with lobster sauce and seafood – mussels, shrimp, calamari, etc.). I, and the teenage boys I was with, generally ordered at least two appetizers and at least two entrees, sometimes three. Don’t worry about it, the waiters are used to it and they will just bring one after the other until you were done. And then it is time for dessert. The Chocolate Melting Cake was outstanding as always, but other desserts were equally as good like the pies and cheesecake. Entertainment – We went to a few shows. The adults-only comedy show was funny (there were two or three comedians over several nights – we saw Willie Barcena). The Hasbro Game night was fun to watch, but the “Grand” prize of $150 worth of Hasbro games was pretty lame considering it is a huge commercial for Hasbro and co-sponsored by Carnival. A little on-board credit, a bottle of champagne (for adults), would be nice - something other than games from Hasbro that probably cost them all of about $5 to produce. I also watched part of the call in trivia show, but it got so annoying with people calling in before the question was even asked and then prolonged periods of audio feedback (repeated pleas to turn down your TV while on the phone), I turned it off before it was over. During the early morning of the day at sea, the staff put towel animals all over the pool lounges. It was fun to see more than a hundred different animals they can produce. Of course they also put one in your cabin each night. Catalina – My youngest son and I signed up for the zip line. If you haven’t done anything like it and are not scared of heights, it is a blast and definitely worth the money. Nick and Chris did a great job making sure we were safe, but also talking about the islands history and plants/animals as we waited our turn to zip down five different cables. We also rented a 6 passenger golf cart for a one hour tour around the island ($60/hour). It was a good way to get some elevation for great views of the harbor and ship and be able to see all over the island quickly and safely. You have to leave a cash deposit so be sure to have some cash on you. There are several different places to rent the carts. Ensenada – We did not do an on-shore excursion, but I understand from the others at our dinner table that the blow hole tour was good and there was a nearby flea market with REALLY good deals to be had. We chose to just walk into town which you can get to by walking to the end of the pier and turning left. Or taxis at the end of the pier will take you there (or anywhere) for a negotiated price. There were many, many vendors of various things along the way and we also found the local fish market which was interesting to see. Be prepared to see a lot of women with babies and children asking for money as you walk by. The vendors also have no problem coming into any restaurant or bar you are in to try to sell things – particularly name bracelets and little bobbing head animals. Hammocks and hammock chairs are also popular and go for $10 to $20 depending on the type of string it is tied with, color, etc. Disembarkation – Because we had a junior suite, we were offered early disembarkation, as long as we carried our bags ourselves. Since we carried them on, we could carry them off, but being there at 7:15 a.m. did not allow for some of our group (teenage boys who like to sleep in) to get anything to eat in the cafeteria (they do serve breakfast in the cafeteria on the final morning). I was concerned about morning traffic in LA and wanted to get through it as quickly as possible, so we left when they said we could around 7:40. We got in line with everyone else leaving at that time, went quickly through Customs and were in the van and driving by 8:15. Traffic was not bad, so if I had to do it again, I think I would have just waited, relaxed, had something to eat and left around 9:30 or 10.   Read Less
Sail Date March 2014
This was my second cruise with Carnival cruise lines, and it was intended as a short weekend getaway. I was celebrating my birthday as well, so it was myself, my boyfriend and 2 friends who were onboard. The ship was small- there are only ... Read More
This was my second cruise with Carnival cruise lines, and it was intended as a short weekend getaway. I was celebrating my birthday as well, so it was myself, my boyfriend and 2 friends who were onboard. The ship was small- there are only 10 decks as it's usually just a weekend trip cruise ship of 3-4 night itineraries. It's also one of the older ships in the fleet. This wasn't a concern for me when booking, and there weren't any serious issues with the boat or anything, but it's obvious that it is an older ship. It's very cramped- I felt like they over-booked in terms of passengers. Most of the time we were at the pool, there were so many people it was impossible to even swim. It was mainly treading water. The pools are smaller and they don't have as much deck space, so unless you get to a chair area early in the morning, you will either be under the awnings (ok if you don't want sun) or on the above decks having to walk up and down stairs to get into the pool. I also felt like this was the quintessential "party ship" in terms of passengers and focus. There was always someone with a megaphone in hand hosting a party or contest on the main pool area, so it became difficult to relax and unwind unless you were back in the adults only area. That was one area of the ship that I was sufficiently pleased with- the chairs were plush and it was quiet. They had options under cover and also several deck chairs where you could catch some rays. There was always someone there to serve you drinks or anything else you requested. The only improvement I could have made to the area was I would have liked to see a pool back there for adults only. The food was good, but not great, and the dinner service did leave much to be desired. We chose anytime dining because we did not want to be locked into a certain time, and I felt like our waiter wasn't too happy with us most of the time. We ended up sending a few dishes back because they came out cold or we just didn't like them and he seemed like he had a problem with this. I have definitely had better dining service at several establishments before. The pool service was good- there were always people walking around ready to bring drinks or other amenities. Our room was small and cramped, but we did have an interior cabin so that's to be expected I guess. I had never before traveled in an interior cabin, but upon booking I was informed that there were no balcony rooms available, so the option was either a suite or a regular room, and I wasn't interested in paying the rate for a suite. However, once the beds are pushed together to form a queen in the interior rooms, there is very little walking room. We were also located on a lower level room which was toward the front of the ship and seemed to be directly over the engine room because I could definitely feel vibrations coming up from the floors. I was happy to be on a vacation, but I think that the ship could use some improvement. I have been on Carnival before and found the Conquest more to my liking. Read Less
Sail Date August 2013
Sometimes I chuckle when I read a Fantasy class ship review from someone who has cruised on the Conquest, or another larger class ship. More often than not they are disappointed about the lack of a specialty restaurant, or an ice rink, ... Read More
Sometimes I chuckle when I read a Fantasy class ship review from someone who has cruised on the Conquest, or another larger class ship. More often than not they are disappointed about the lack of a specialty restaurant, or an ice rink, etc. Fantasy class ships have a draw to them, they are the workhorses of the Carnival fleet and you will find some of the most dedicated people working aboard. For that reason and many others we flew to Miami to sail aboard the Imagination. Some logistics, my wife and I are platinum with Carnival, having been aboard the Mardi Gras, Celebration, Legend, Ecstasy, Elation, Conquest, Triumph and Magic. We are both mid 50's and not big party people. So why did we go on a spring break cruise from Miami? Price! This was a cruise built around a teacher's spring break and the need to attend a wedding at the end of the week, so Carnival and the chance to see anything other than Progreso again lured us to Florida. We elected to let Carnival plan our air travel, and I'd never do that again. We were on United from Houston To Ft Lauderdale and American for the return flight. Different terminals for parking and a tram ride once we returned were the end result. Mix in American Airlines in Dallas is the biggest collection of jerks in air travel and they tried to ruin the last day of a vacation. They failed. Embarkation was a breeze; we arrived at the terminal and were headed aboard in about ten minutes. The ship was as expected, clean, nicely retrofitted from the updates and staffed with a friendly crew. Our cabin attendant was in and out quickly and made sure we had ice and extra towels. I had ordered flowers for my wife and bottled water, and those, along with our cruise pins were in the cabin. Lunch was standard fare, and the weather was gorgeous in Miami. We really like the fantail decks that are aft of the casual dining so we opted to sit outside. Here's where we saw the first signs of Carnival cutting back on staff. These tables were all dirty, not from people just finishing their meal, as they stayed that way for a while. I cleaned one off for my wife and I and for the duration of our lunch no one else came to sit or clean. The menus were the same from our most recent Triumph cruise, and with 800 (my estimate) spring break school age kids we expected to see main dining empty. A pleasant surprise when we met two other couples close to our age. We loved their company, and even did our excursions with them. Wait service was prompt, and the food was predictable. We knew what to expect, and for those that haven't cruised in a while it might have been a surprise in the limited food selections versus from the past, but we found something we liked every night. In Key West we did the bike ride, and I cannot recommend this enough. It's a leisurely paced tour around the island with stops at several of the landmarks. The host was well educated, giving a history of the island, the Flagler family and some of the idiosyncrasies of life in the Conch Republic. This is a short day in port, so get a tour quickly or find yourself wandering Duval Street. This was our first time to dock on the military base, having been to Mallory Square when we were aboard the Rhapsody of the Seas. No big deal, just a required tram ride to leave the pier. No worries on arrival, but a madhouse for return to ship. For the life of me I cannot see why anyone would stand in the sun with their family and wait in line. I did the same thing as when in Grand Cayman and found a shady spot across the street and waited for the line to be less than fifty people. We found ourselves riding with a group of Florida State kids that had thoroughly enjoyed the island. We waited for a couple of stragglers, but I didn't hear anyone being paged and we sailed for Cozumel around 2:00pm. The seas were the roughest for most of the next twenty-four hours, especially as we approached shallow waters. Wind speeds on this evening and the sea day were in excess of 25mph. In fact, on the day at sea Carnival used the ever so attractive Crime Scene Tape to block off the stairs to the upper decks, but more on that later. Cruise Elegant Night was quite a study in who was aboard. For those of us with fixed dining times the crowd was about the same for most evenings, or about full. For the My Time Dining venues the lines were long, long, long. There is good reason we have never tried it, and if that's your favor, then great. I just would rather walk in the dining room and be seated with a Coke at my plate. The Bottomless Bubbles option has taken on a new life, or it did for this cruise. We were asked for our cards more than once and our photos were verified. This happened in three different bar areas. We never waited long at bars for a soda, but as the cards reflected platinum status that might have been a factor. I didn't use any of the other benefits, just an observation. Cozumel. My wife and I have enjoyed almost twenty trips here aboard a ship or direct flight from Houston, and this time was not a disappointment. We booked the Jeep and Tequila Traditions Tour (I think that was the name) and in retrospect, alcohol, Jeeps and crazy drivers in Mexico... what could go wrong? The "other side" of the island is just beautiful, and I had wished we went to the beach first and skipped the tasting stops. We shared a Jeep with a couple from Raleigh, NC who were really nice. He is a disabled veteran, and shared how he was shot in Desert Storm. Powerful testimony, and I was glad to be his designated driver. With a late departure time from port we enjoyed the shops in the immediate area, and kept tradition with a new watch while my wife found some earrings that needed a new home. I had done my research and captured screen shots from two online companies and Amazon, and Diamonds International matched the Amazon price. The wind picked up as we left Cozumel, and the reported 6-8 foot seas were evident. We made it aboard with a slice of pizza in mind after a run, but the wind up on deck, coupled with the rocking made that a little tough. Hello pizza instead of exercise. The sea day bordered on gale force winds, so Carnival brought out the nifty yellow tape and closed the top deck. Chair hogs never had a chance, as all the loungers were full before 11am. In the shade it was most comfortable with a sweatshirt and shorts, but I anticipated this, having cruised on many prior spring break vacations. Entertainment onboard went from predictable to good. The Welcome Aboard Show I know from memory, so "looking good" and "uptight, outta sight" was a sing-a-long. The final night's show was Shout. I wanted to sit with our new friends in one of the circular loungers the Fantasy Class ships are famous for, so I staked it out for the last ten minutes of the early performance. Some say a bad cruise director can ruin a trip, but I disagree. The good news is Marcello from the Conquest has been promoted to cruise director and he's absolutely one of the funniest people at sea. All of us loved his spontaneity and ability to work a room. Wished I could say the same for the comedians aboard... I'm not a prude, but enough F-bombs were dropped in the first five minutes to meet a Sirius Raw Dog Channel quota for the balance of 2013. I find that bad language is a lousy entertainers idea of covering for bad talent, and this guy must have been on sale. Trying to tell jokes in a Polish dialect didn't help his material get better from his native tongue. Other items of note: the casino was smoky from about noon and never got better. I tried roulette and cards and took the carcinogen express out the door. The little coffee bar off the side of the casino was excellent. My wife and I rewarded our zero weight gain cruise with a great slice of carrot cake the last night, and it was super. Perfect vacation? No. But a nice trip, nice ship, nice people and a real need to increase the manpower for cleaning and it are a bargain. If you are looking for the Emperor, Allure, Gargantuan of the Sea or whatever go see the anchor folks. If you have a comfort level with Carnival (we do with both, living close to Galveston) and want to sail without breaking the bank then look into a Fantasy class ship and compare prices. With the Triumph out of the picture and me getting over my "it's Carnivals fault" attitude it we booked this inside of a month before the trip. A rock wall was not worth $1000 for me. Pics Link: http://www.flickr.com/photos/leeusry...57633027276278 Read Less
Sail Date March 2013
We are first time cruisers...a single mom with two teenage boys (15 and 18). The reason we booked this cruise was value. For an inside room it was less than $900.00. We had a fairly smooth departure from Miami. Be sure to take a taxi ... Read More
We are first time cruisers...a single mom with two teenage boys (15 and 18). The reason we booked this cruise was value. For an inside room it was less than $900.00. We had a fairly smooth departure from Miami. Be sure to take a taxi ($24.00) instead of the cruise line transportation ($18 per person). They let us off out front and it was fairly smooth transition to the ship (just like going to the airport). We did not check our bags and your room will not be available until 1:30 so unless you want to cart them around you might be better off checking them. Lunch was served. The lines were long and seats were scarce. Our room was a closet without windows. We didn't care because we only slept there. Actually we kinda liked the fact that it was so dark. Take a watch though because as soon as you leave port you are on "ship time" (your cell phone will show the time as 4 hours ahead). Also take a hair dryer if you use one. Although they said it was in the room on the brochure, this was not true and I had to call three times and wait 2 hours to get one. Meals were fine. I am an early riser and there was plenty of food either upstairs or in the dining room. Gourmet coffee (you pay, regular coffee and juice was available. Line began to get long around 9ish. My boys slept late almost every day. We ate lunch at the buffet. They had a burger line which we didn't go to but we enjoyed the Mongolian Wok and the boys liked the pizza. We learned to arrive at the dining room for dinner early or there would be a wait. You get almost the same food at the buffet served upstairs. Service in the dining room was fine. We do not drink soda. I drank wine (10.00 for the good stuff) and gratuity is right there on your stub. I think the drinks are around the same price if you went to a restaurant to eat. My teenagers had a blast. There were tons of people their age on the ship and there are special "camps" for under 17 year olds. The Adult Comedy Show was good (the G-rated was lame). The shows were okay too. My kids enjoyed the karaoke. The pool was a joke...very, very small and the slide was there but it didn't even slide into a pool. Hot tubs? Well I wasn't real sure how sanitary they were so I stayed away. I went to the Serenity area (over 21) and the chairs were better there than anywhere on the ship. Lines get long for towels at times. Chairs during the peak hours are scarce. The DJ's were fun but the music seemed to be on a constant repeat. I now know all the words for about 6 songs. Carnival will try to take your photo for everything. Every embarkation, disembarkation, dinner etc. there was a camera in your face. We just told them no or walked around the camera. No one was pushy.The stops were Key West, where we walked around for around an hour and got back on board. It was early in the morning so a lot of the stores were just opening up. If you were a party person who wanted to hit the bars, most of them weren't even open. The next stop was Cozumel. I had signed us up for a kayak and snorkeling trip to Chankanaab Park. First they walk you through a store (this is the only way off the pier) and you meet up with your tour guide. Not a lot of fish to be seen but my boys enjoyed it and they liked to kayak. I'm not sure it was worth what I paid but the park was beautiful. However I will get on my grandstand to say that they have dolphins here to swim and interact with people and these dolphin are kept in very small compounds. Getting off the ship was fine. Again, we did not have checked bags so we sailed through customs. I believe you get what you pay for and I did get what I paid for. My boys can eat, eat, eat and that's what they did. This cruise was a lot less than the cost of a hotel room and meals for us. The boys had tons of fun with people their age. We all got sun and rest (for Mom). Read Less
Sail Date April 2012
We were very concerned after reading some of the reviews on Carnival Imagination on this board. While the ship may be somewhat older, the amenities on the ship are very good. We stayed in a hotel near FLL the night before and took a ... Read More
We were very concerned after reading some of the reviews on Carnival Imagination on this board. While the ship may be somewhat older, the amenities on the ship are very good. We stayed in a hotel near FLL the night before and took a ride to the port of Miami. We also flew back on an 11:45am flight from FLL, so we disembarked with the "early disembarkers" at 0830am and that worked out well. My daughter has many food allergies: she is severely allergic to eggs, wheat, milk and gluten. So a varied, nutritious and tasteful diet for her can be a challenge. We were very happy with the food overall on our cruise. Because of my daughter, we almost always ate in the dining rooms (not on the Lido deck), either in Sprit or in Pride. On all occasions, the service was superb. It takes longer to eat in dining rooms, but we enjoyed the leisurely meals. Volha Yafimik, Junior Hostess (act BV Hostess) was gracious and always very helpful. Every evening, she would ask my daughter what she would like for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and voila! the chefs made sure that the special meals were tasty, nutritious and allergen free. Volha and the dining staff provided exceptional service. We could not have asked for anything better. The other, non-allergic ones in our party, chose the meals from the ones offered, and enjoyed almost all of the entrees, and all of the desserts. We also really liked the Sushi on 2 of the 3 evenings. The comedy shows were also very enjoyable, specially the one for married couples (PG-16+). The staff was very attentive. They did all they could to make our stay comfortable. The room service was great, and so were the break dancers. We did not enjoy the dance shows as much, as the music was somewhat dated; and needs more songs from the 80s and 90s. The dance shows seemed for geared for 70+ audience, even though the demographic was quite different. I disagree with the reviewer who mentioned the "staff doesn't speak English or is hard to understand". Though most of the crew is international - from South east asia (Indonesia, Philipines, Eastern europe etc.), they understand and speak English quite well. They have a tough life on the ship, but they serve with dignity and pride. We stayed away from noisy parties on the Lido deck, preferring instead to enjoy the sun from the aft deck (next to the water slides). Read Less
Sail Date March 2012
It had been awhile since we cruised under 7nts. We chose this cruise in order to spend time with oldest daughter, son-in-law and grandchildren. We took an outside cabin for myself, wife, and youngest daughter (13). Others took an inside ... Read More
It had been awhile since we cruised under 7nts. We chose this cruise in order to spend time with oldest daughter, son-in-law and grandchildren. We took an outside cabin for myself, wife, and youngest daughter (13). Others took an inside cabin that accomodated the five of them...grandchildren are 7,8, and 3. Cabins were fine, pretty much what we expected maybe slightly smaller. I do not care for the Port of Miami. I think the parking is the highest at $20 per day, and the people are not as friendly as my favorit Port, which is Port Canaveral. We arrived and parked without incident. Since this was our 13th Carnival Cruise we are what they consider VIP and have priority boarding. Within 30 minutes or our arrival we were all on board at around 11:00am. Nice. Muster station drill was fine. They don't make you take life preservers with you anymore, which is nice. Our station was outside on the Lido deck by the stage. What I noticed was how maintained the ship was. It did not show its age at all. They did a wonderful job transforming the pool area and adding the Waterworks to the top area of the ship. Kids had a blast at waterworks and in the pool. Lido buffet restaurants all seemed to move very efficiently, which surprised me. I think they need to move the icecream machines out from inside and put them in the outer area though. Lots of crowd around the icecream machines inside. Maybe add another machine outside. Dinner in the Spirit dining room was nice. We had a great table for the 8 of us. Our Head Waiter Ramon was wonderful (thank you for that 2nd lobster). Lucie the Bar Waitress was very accomodating. We enjoyed the Cruise Director Skip Lyons. If I had to find one area of opportunity it would be the main shows. They were definitely lacking in talent and quality. Key West. Arrived on a beautiful sunny day. Went Parasailing with Fury, which we booked directly with Fury in advance and saved $50 per person. It was a great experience and highly recommend Fury in Key West for any watersport activity. Brad and Ryan were wonderful. Cozumel (Puerta Maya). We have been to Cozumel many times and love it. We have done a lot of different excursions in the past but this time decided just to do some shopping and then take advantage of the empty ship and let the kids play in waterworks. I was very disappointed with the shops in Puerta Maya this time. Their prices on simply souvenirs seemed high. When we tried to bargain they told us no the price was the price. This was the same with each shop we went into. So...we walked out of the plaza crossed the street and purchased the exact same items for half the price. I like the bargaining back and forth. Overall good day in Cozumel except for the shops in Puerta Maya. On this cruise we used Camp Carnival for the grandchildren and Circle C for our 13 year old daughter. They pick and choose the activities they are interested in. All had a great experience and my daughter has been texting all of her "cruise friends" she made ever since leaving the ship. So, overall this was a great trip. The ship is in wonderful condition, the onboard staff was terrific, the food was good. Everyone had a great time. We are already looking at itineraries for next year for 7 nt Carnival Cruise...4nts is just not enough. Read Less
Sail Date March 2012
Booked last minute cruise for kids for their spring break from school. This was my second cruise but first with Carnival. This was the kids first cruise. Heard from others that Carnival was a "party" cruise line but wanted to try ... Read More
Booked last minute cruise for kids for their spring break from school. This was my second cruise but first with Carnival. This was the kids first cruise. Heard from others that Carnival was a "party" cruise line but wanted to try it out and see for myself. Was NOT disappointed. Carnival Imagination was the perfect family cruise. Likes:The decor. The SPACIOUS cabins *note-we had an inside cabin with 2 twins and 2 bunks and we still had a lot of space in the room*. The friendly and attentive staff. The ship was clean. Camp carnival was GREAT for all of my kids (more on that later). The food (except desert). The activities. The weather. The length of the cruise.Dislikes:Our flight got in within a timely manner but we booked a transfer via Carnival and got to the ship later than I would have liked. We missed the embarkement pics and we had to carry all of our luggage to our rooms ourselves. We would have been better off taking a taxi but I booked the transfer to guarantee that if we had a delay, Carnival would wait for us. The desert. Stick with the ice cream. Enough saidThe security. My 17 yr old son was able to get off of the ship at one of the ports by himself (Cozumel). He barely made it back on the ship in time. I was not aware that he got off of the ship until after the fact. When I asked Guest Services about it, they told me that I needed to put a block on my kids set and sail pass to prevent them from being able to leave the ship on their own. REALLY?! My 7 year old could have gotten off of the ship on his own! Wasn't feeling too secure about that. Next time, I will know to go straight to Guest Services after I board to put restrictions on my kids passes to prevent this from happening again. Camp Carnival:Great programs for the kids for all age ranges. My kids really enjoyed the activities and enjoyed meeting other children. The staff were attentive with the little ones. Kids over 9 can sign themselves in and out of the activities but I didn't allow that for my 10 year old. For my oldest, he was part of Club O2. I think they need to do a little better with the teenagers because they didn't stay in the club much but they made friends and walked around the ship in clusters. I didn't see any "bad" activity going on. They were well behaved. I will most certainly go on another Carnival Cruise. RC was okay but I liked Carnival much better for my family. In the process of booking another one for next year! Read Less
Sail Date April 2011
My first cruise was Carnival Imagination, I can't compare this cruise to another because I have never been on any others. However, I can say this cruise ship was mainly for families with kids. It is a party theme ship that ... Read More
My first cruise was Carnival Imagination, I can't compare this cruise to another because I have never been on any others. However, I can say this cruise ship was mainly for families with kids. It is a party theme ship that wouldn't be described as "luxurious" but just 'fun looking' and great for KIDS of all ages. I went on this cruise in July of 2010. We boarded the ship in Miami and we went to Key West,Fl., and Cozumel, Mexico. While cruising on the Imagination I experienced the most fun I have EVER had out of any vacation. My family usually just goes out of the state to Washington, or Pennsylvania, something easy but fun. Cruising however was definitely the best time I have had. The cruise was great, it wasn't long enough I felt...the interior of the ship was decent. Whenever my sister and I wanted to just hang out, we went to the ship's library. There was board games, books, and stuff like that. The best part of this library was that when you shut the glass doors, you could hardly hear anything going on outside of there. Another one of our favorite places was the cafe/buffet because if you ever got hungry or thirsty you could just walk in there and get what you wanted. Read Less
Sail Date July 2010
Embarkation: First, I have done the VIP check-in maybe one additional time, but I must say, it is truly the way to go. VIP check-in is for anyone with a Junior Suite (JS), Ocean Suite (OS), Verandah Suite (VS) or Grand Suite (GS) ... Read More
Embarkation: First, I have done the VIP check-in maybe one additional time, but I must say, it is truly the way to go. VIP check-in is for anyone with a Junior Suite (JS), Ocean Suite (OS), Verandah Suite (VS) or Grand Suite (GS) accommodations. On this vessel they only had the Junior or Grand Suite categories, so, I opted for the Grand Suite, which allowed me VIP embarkation. If you can handle the additional money, simply the best way to go! From the cab and on the ship in a matter of 15 minutes max! The Ship: Upon entering the ship, I thought I had stepped back 15-20 years. I thought the loud clad decorating, neon lighting, unimpressive "Grand Spectrum" atrium was a disaster and I thought this was one of the ships that had been refurbished? It had, but just not in the public areas. As I start to make my way through the ship, I must say, it was truly disappointing. After having been on the Conquest and Spirit class ships, which are larger and understandably newer and would have more amenities, I thought this ship had seen it's better days and if this is the way Carnival would want to introduce people to cruising, they had better continue to offer the lowest prices and over intoxicated rowdy crowds or they'd be washed up! I made my way to the pool bar, I was expecting this huge beautiful pool area with faux palm trees and tiki huts, well, they were there, but looked nothing like the on-line pictures. The Adults only area was nothing impressive or nothing to look forward to. If you weren't out there at 8:00 AM with a towel to "RESERVE" your chair, you'd be sitting around the only pool over run with kids (weren't that many on this sailing) and crowded. They need a dedicated bar in the "Serenity" area so, you can relax around a bar and sit out back if there aren't chairs available. Another issue, was the unnecessary annoying games constantly by loud people on the microphone at the pool with hardly any music being played and since this was the only pool, you almost had to deal with it because you had no other options. Dining/Service: The food on this sailing was just OK. I thought the wait staff did a good job, but the customer service on this ship left a lot to be desired. I asked one of the staff about prior guest events and she said "sir, you are on the lowest class of ship..." when she said that, it totally summed up my experience. The Suite: HUGE! Walk-in closet, huge over sized desk with granite top, huge bar with ample stemware, large balcony, this was the highlight of my ship time! I spent more time in my suite than I have on ANY other Carnival cruise I had been on before. The beds were comfortable, jacuzzi tub, large living room all with chairs and sofa. VERY VERY NICE!! PORTS: Key West and Cozumel. I had a great time in Key West, they have done a lot of new things to the island since I was last there and I would totally look forward to going back. Cozumel, was as always, very nice and I went to Mr. Santos Beach as the other beaches were totally too touristy and over crowded. But I always look forward to going there. Debarkation: A breeze. As stated above, category 11 and 12 allow you priority debarkation as well. Off the ship and to a cab in a matter of 15 mins! Final Thoughts: While I will more than likely book Carnival again, this sailing has really left me with a bad impression and if this had of been my first Carnival cruise, I'd probably not be booking again. I want to re-iterate, this is by no means meant to deter you from your trip or leave you with a negative impression for your upcoming sailing, just telling you as a Carnival loyalist what my experience was and while every one's impressions will be different, this is what I experienced. Read Less
Sail Date April 2010
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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