4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2017
We went on this exact cruise 3 years ago, same ship and destinations. There were some changes from 3 years ago namely 1) Dining room food and 2) Employees. *** We did have a great time and did not let these things deter us but as we ... Read More
We went on this exact cruise 3 years ago, same ship and destinations. There were some changes from 3 years ago namely 1) Dining room food and 2) Employees. *** We did have a great time and did not let these things deter us but as we have done it twice now, we will be looking at different lines that are a bit more upscale, especially after talking with other cruisers and seeing that our findings were in line with theirs. 1) The dining room food this time was mediocre at best. Most of the meat/poultry/fish were overcooked and dry. We look forward to sitting down and being served lovely meals while on vacation vs the buffets offered upstairs that are all full of kids' hands everywhere and kids running all over, cafeteria style. If you didn't bring your family . . . you get it. The wait staff this time around was friendly enough but this time they did not take the time to learn names and what your preferences were like on our first cruise. After all you are at the same table all 4 nights with same guests and waitstaff. Every time we needed a refill on a drink, you had to flag someone down. They never came and checked on us once the food was put on the table. They came to take your order and someone else dropped your food off. *** This time there were items on the menu that were outside of your paid fare. That seemed a bit odd. Just looks like they are constantly trying to do add-on sales. Also gratuities at the end of the cruise on your bill are already tacked on so you do not really get to do the gratuity you feel is deserved - which maybe is why employees do not seem too thrilled to do their best? What's the incentive? Breakfast in the dining room(s) was fine and enjoyable and our waitress was great. 2) Aside from Mr. P, our room attendant, everyone else seemed like they really didn't like their job. Our first cruise everyone was very welcoming and attentive and glad to assist you if you needed something. This time many appeared to be unhappy with their tasks and didn't give you face time to smile or say "good morning," etc. Just didn't get the feeling it was a good environment to work in. 3) As a side, we did not do any of the excursions that you book on the ship as we did the first time. We got off at ports and easily picked up excursions right from the dock that were less expensive, safe, and informative. 4) We would have liked to purchase some of the pics that were taken once we were back home, but that is not an option. Once you have docked, they erase all pics so they may start their next cruise. Seems a bit odd if you want to make some extra money on the guests. So if you like the pics, you will need to purchase soon after they are taken and placed out for display. 5) Maintenance of the ship could have been better. All the grout in the jacuzzis were dirty and a little gross. Our bathroom drain had a funky smell coming from it. Rust spots that were patched but not painted over. Just generally looked old and tired. Needs a rehaul! All in all the cruise was still nice and relaxing and everything we hoped it would be. Got home and had a great dinner out in our hometown that was much better than any night on the ship sadly. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2017
Once we entered the ship you are blasted with music right away and then herded to the buffet area. The way to buffet is set up people are tripping over each other to get the all you can eat everything. There was a very stale smell through ... Read More
Once we entered the ship you are blasted with music right away and then herded to the buffet area. The way to buffet is set up people are tripping over each other to get the all you can eat everything. There was a very stale smell through the area and my clothes smelled of grease after we left. The décor is TACKY and I mean to the point it was so bad it actually became one of the highlights of the cruise in that we could not stop laughing at all the gold breasts and winged statues. I tried to count all the boobs but lost track. This is an old ship and is really used more by locals as a party barge. They stayed an extra day out to sea just so people could gamble. The casino was on the middle of the ship and clouds of smoke was everywhere around it. Carnival has a lot of "contests" that look like you are going to get something for free but it is just a way to get more money. I "won" a spa treatment but needed to pay additional costs that added up to quite a bit. I did not eat at the buffet but instead ate in the dining room. Breakfast was good and all the wait staff friendly. Dinner was either not so great or just okay. I never had a meal that I would rave over. With that being said in the dining room if you do not like what you get you can order something else so the flexibility is nice. I liked being able to eat on my own time. I did not like "shots" being yelled out across the room as they tried to hawk what they called a shot and I call the smallest mixed drink you could imagine. Drinking seemed to be the big draw to people. We kept spotting two very intoxicated women we named Wobble and Stagger, they were very nice but I really thought they were overserved. As someone who doesn't drink much I chose to abstain, this may have been a mistake. I think the cruise would be best for those who see things through a rose' tinged glass. Our room was sketchy and there was so much black mold that we actually had them replace our shower curtain. I suspect our room was used by staff when not booked. We did book the cheapest cabin as this was a last minute trip. I got what I paid for. The entertainment was good, not Disney good but about what I expected. The rock show was done well and the comedy acts were great. We met a lot of nice people on the cruise so that was great. The entertainment director or activity director and his crew were AMAZING! SHOUT OUT to Laz and Alex and the crew, they work so very hard going from one event to another. I watched as they ran from dancing for charity to doing a children's parade to running trivia non-stop. They had karaoke in the main floor bar and that was the highlight on ship for us, everyone singing along and even dancing. We did off shore activities but will write a separate review for that. Overall I feel that this is a party ship and if you are looking for a more relaxed vibe you may want to look into another cruise. However I did end up having a blast because sometimes you just gotta ride the waves. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
Like so many of you, I find it much easier to write a cruise review while scanning chronologically through the photos of the trip. Some would say it jogs the memory, but I find that it adds clarity and feeling to my work. Imagine the ... Read More
Like so many of you, I find it much easier to write a cruise review while scanning chronologically through the photos of the trip. Some would say it jogs the memory, but I find that it adds clarity and feeling to my work. Imagine the feelings going through my mind right now, as the first picture to jump out at me was a vision of my hands – and mouth – wrapped around my very first juicy Guy’s Burger dripping with strings of fresh onion during our first meal aboard Carnival’s delightful Imagination. It is an apt name, as only in my wildest dreams could I have imagined the amenities of this smaller ship in the Carnival fleet. This trip was a bit of a last-minute grab, as my wife determined it would be fun to cruise with our daughter and her family over Halloween. They had already booked the trip to celebrate their mid-October anniversary, and since we were married on Halloween night, it seemed the perfect time to enjoy a bit of celebrating ourselves on our 48th anniversary. I was a little apprehensive at first, since this 4-day adventure would be the shortest we had taken since our first cruise years prior. However, all that disappeared as soon as we saw her resting there at the aft end of the Queen Mary in Long Beach Harbor. Embarkation was just a dream. We stopped off at the VIFP lounge, got our Sail ‘n Sign cards, and were immediately whisked aboard the ship. It was quite possibly the smoothest embarkation we had ever encountered. Once onboard, we headed straight to our stateroom to drop off our carry-on luggage, and then straight out to lunch. We had been traveling since 3:00 am, and frankly, we were hungry for some actual food. We had heard about Guy’s Burger Joint, an association between Carnival Cruise Lines and Guy Fieri, for some time, and were anxious to see if this stop could measure up to all the hype from past guests. Since Guy’s is not on the ships we usually cruise in Carnival’s fleet, this would be our first encounter. After experiencing these juicy, dripping treats with toppings of our choice, accompanied by hand-cut fries slathered in Cajun spice, I truly hope it will not be our last. After lunch, it was time to explore this “new to us” ship. It had been several years since we sailed on her sister ship, Carnival Elation, so it was time to immerse ourselves in the unfamiliar once again. Carnival Imagination is an absolute stunner. Though at just over 70,000 tons, she is small by current standards, but Imagination is outfitted with the finest woods, tile and gilt golden colors. It is a mish-mash of different styles, from archaic to modern and contemporary, and somehow, it works. It is a living testimonial to the amazing vision of Joe Farcus, Carnival Cruise Lines’ designer. One thing missing, which we had come to appreciate in our many cruises on the Spirit Class vessels, is the way Deck 3 wraps around almost the entire ship, giving free access at any time to fresh air and unencumbered walks. Also, Imagination has 2 dining rooms, split by the galley which serves both. As such, one must use either the Promenade deck or Lido to traverse the ship, both of which are quite crowded. After a bit of exploration, it was time for dinner. We typically choose Your Time Dining, which allows us the freedom to choose the most convenient, non-intrusive time that will not impede our other enjoyment aboard. Once we spent a couple of hours enjoying the excellent, friendly service of Carnival’s wait staff, and the very delicious repast placed before us, it was time to head to Karaoke, one of my favorite experiences aboard ship. I had some serious concerns as we entered the lounge where karaoke was to be held and found that the World Series was playing on all screens, replete with the requisite screaming fans. Yet, as the karaoke host began setting up, the game ended as if the host had previously requested it, and we began once again making new friends and new memories. I found the host to be quite energetic, and encouraging to those new to the “art” of karaoke. A good, raucous time was had by all. We only had time for the one night of karaoke on this very short cruise – not because of the lack of karaoke, but rather because of all the other shows, comedians, etc. that Carnival had to offer. One of those excellent shows was Hasbro the Gameshow. This was an expanded, enlarged stage version of a number of familiar games like Connect 4 and Operation. Young and old, everyone who played had a great time. Because of the short duration of the cruise, the demographic ran far younger than our normal 7-day cruises. To our benefit, we apparently were the longest-married couple onboard, so we were selected to participate in the Love and Marriage show. Not only did we enjoy, but we apparently did a good job representing the “over the hill, but not dead” generation, as our answers to some pointed questions seemed to resonate with others in our age group. From that point on, we were celebrities on board, as it seemed the entire populace aboard ship knew us by name. Our daughter, on the other hand, learned some interesting facts about her parents that we were previously reluctant to discuss, as a result of honest answers to questions like, “Where was your first date, and when?” and a double whammy, “What is your husband’s most disgusting habit?” paired with “You haven’t seen ugly until you’ve seen my wife’s ______.” Also, the difficult “Which movie title best describes your husband’s virility?” along with “If your wife sent you out to buy her a bra, what size would you return with?” And of course there had to be the usual question about the “…most unusual place you ever made whoopie?” As the days progressed toward Halloween, we prepared to celebrate our 48th anniversary surrounded by our new friends, as well as our accompanying family. Everything was building toward the final costume contest, for which our daughter had been preparing for months. She is quite talented – and creative, and it was amazing to see Tracy, her husband, Daniel and their daughter Alexis dressed in the most amazing Ursula, Sebastian and Ariel costumes from Little Mermaid. Tracy did an amazing job putting in the hours necessary to sew her family into these amazing likenesses. Had it not been for the guy with a spot-on representation of Ace Ventura, Pet Detective (complete with pink tutu), they would for sure have walked away with 1st prize. Even so, everyone had a marvelous time. In all, I truly had a much better time than I had expected. A lot of that was due to the wonderful cast of characters in Carnival’s staff, like Alex the cruise director, and his right hand man, Laz. There were so many people that went out of their way to ensure we had the time of our lives. Kimberly from Mexico constantly kept us on our toes with daily trivia. We met the extremely charming George Newman, hotel director from Georgia when he stopped by our dining table, and spoke at length with him at the Captain’s Diamond Reception. We expect to be cruising with him in his temporary role of passenger when we sail through the Panama Canal in January. No review would be complete without mentioning the wonderful service provided by Maya and her team in the Main Dining Room every night. She was a very sweet lady who catered to our every need, and her smile every evening became something we relished constantly. She cared so much, and ensured that all our meals were properly prepared (steak + bandaid = send it back to the field). And while I have been a vocal critic of the Carnival American Table menu, I did actually find a couple of new items that I liked. Perhaps I am softening. I hope that everyone will take the opportunity to enjoy this beautiful ship and her crew. It may be a short trip, but for the price, you will not beat the service and amenities. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
First ever two night cruise out of Long Beach for carnival is a flop. The room steward didn't change towels at night and dinner waiter took 20 minutes to open my wine. This was our 14th cruise and the food quality and service both lackec. ... Read More
First ever two night cruise out of Long Beach for carnival is a flop. The room steward didn't change towels at night and dinner waiter took 20 minutes to open my wine. This was our 14th cruise and the food quality and service both lackec. Perhaps the pre paid gratuities don't give the employees any incentive to take great care of the guest. Disappointed with Carnival,overall the place was not very clean. Hand sanitizer stations were empty at the buffet entrance... in such close quarters, illness can spread quickly. There is no excuse for not having all hand sanitizer stations filled at all times. The room was alright, good sized for an inside cabin. There was two closets, but no mini fridge. The toilet seemed to lack enough water to properly flush with just one flush. We did not get the beverage package and unless you drink excessively, you don't need it. Next time I'm going with RCCL. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2017
This was my 3rd cruise on the Imagination and this itinerary. I took this cruise with my oldest grandson, it was a belated high school graduation gift. The ship is one of arnival's older ships but it was in good condition. I had no ... Read More
This was my 3rd cruise on the Imagination and this itinerary. I took this cruise with my oldest grandson, it was a belated high school graduation gift. The ship is one of arnival's older ships but it was in good condition. I had no complaints with regards to the ship's condition. Overall the cruise was "average", for Carnival. You must remember that Carnival is a "budget" cruise line. It reminds me of flying Economy versus Business Class (or First Class). My last cruise, If you remember that then you'll have a very good time on a Carnival cruise. I am Platinum with Carnival and cruise with them at least once each year (3 times in 2017). 0ne week before this cruise I was on a 2 week Mediterranean cruise on Celebrity (like Business Class). Embarkation: Very quick and easy - I am Platinum with Carnival so we receive "special" treatment. Stateroom: Service was GREAT. Our cabin steward, Watson, was a 10 out of 10. Since my wife wasn't with me I only asked for morning service rather than morning/evening. Dining Room: I had "anytime" dining in the Pride Dining Room. Anytime dining is nice but if you pick a busy time you will wait some time for your table. Food was good enough in the dining room. Breakfast in the Pride Dining Room was HORRIBLE. Service was uncharacteristically not up to Carnival standards. I had to ask for service on two separate occasions. Buffet; I give this a 3 out of 10. Selection of food was not good and the quality wasn't good either. I rarely eat the buffet on any cruise ship. Entertainment: It has been a very long time since Carnival has put on a show that I liked (been cruising with them since 2000), this cruise was no different. I do enjoy the Punchliner Comedy Club. Russ Nagel, the World's Funniest Biker was one of the comedians. I have seen Russ before and really enjoy his comedy. Casino: Here's where I spend most of my time on-board. I enjoy gambling, especially Texas Holdem. I won the tournament and now have a seat in the $175,000 Carnival Poker Pro Texas Holdem Tournament in August 2018. I have played in this tournament several times before with very good results. My 18-year old grandson was able to gamble for the first time and even won the Blackjack Tournament. He received a Ship-on-a-Stick, $500, plus a seat in the $100,000 Carnival Blackjack Tournament. Not bad for a first time player. Ports-of-Call: Catalina Island - I have been to CI a dozen times so there wasn't anything there that I hadn't seen or done. Ensenada; We went to the blowhole (again). While there I paid to let my grandson pet the young tiger, lion, leopard, and panther. Worth every penny of the $60 I paid. Debarkation: We took our luggage off the ship ourselves. We were off the ship and driving out of the parking lot within 15-minutes (we left the ship at 7am). Overall not a bad cruise. I will do this one again. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
Where else can you get a 4 day vacation with food, lodging and entertainment included? The ship itself was small, (only 2300) passengers, but every nook and cranny is packed with something to look at, be entertained by or to eat. ... Read More
Where else can you get a 4 day vacation with food, lodging and entertainment included? The ship itself was small, (only 2300) passengers, but every nook and cranny is packed with something to look at, be entertained by or to eat. We choose to use our $$ on excursions and never spend much time in our cabin anyway so an inexpensive interior cabins is quite serviceable for us. Honestly, I would not call our dining experience perfect, but we love our servers were excellent and the food quite good. The best part was that I didn't have to make it so I am not complaining. I can't say that Catalina Island and Ensenada, Mexico are not the most exciting ports of call but we always have a good time. The entertainment was excellent!! The musicians that are positioned all over the ship are very good, but the performances in the main show room were amazing! The vocals were great and the dancing and special effects were so good! We are so glad we went on this cruise! Read Less
Sail Date: October 2017
I have been on 15+ cruises with multiple cruise lines. I have gone on my fair share of short "booze cruises". I am fully aware these cruises are budget trips. We chose to travel on Carnival because it's one of the last cruise ... Read More
I have been on 15+ cruises with multiple cruise lines. I have gone on my fair share of short "booze cruises". I am fully aware these cruises are budget trips. We chose to travel on Carnival because it's one of the last cruise lines that still leave out of Long Beach. I have traveled with Carnival previously and been fairly pleased. Not this time! Standards have gone downhill significantly from my last trip with Carnival. Let me start with the pros. The ship was reasonably clean and well kept. Our stateroom was well appointed for the price. Our Stateroom Steward John Paul was very attentive and extremely friendly. On ship entertainment was upbeat and fun. The hostess and staff in the Pride Dining room were very cordial and attentive. The absolute best part of our cruise experience was our waitress Ethel Jane Santiago Marcos. Regardless of how many hours she had worked or the sacrifices made she always had a warm smile on her face. She went out of her way to interact with us. To describe her in one word, lovely. Now for the cons. The dining standards have changed significantly from even five years ago. There were people dining in the main dining room wearing baseball caps, swimsuits, and flip flops. Then there was the food. The first evening our food was terrible. We left the dining room to go to the buffet in hopes of finding something more edible or at the very least variety. I was beyond irritated to find that they were serving the exact terrible meal at the buffet as they were in main dining. Added to that they were closing the buffet every evening at 9. Back in the day the buffet stayed open later than main dining. Breakfast in the main dining room was very good but the buffet was average which I expected. I just can't get over how bad the food situation was. It put a big damper on the fun we were having. The debarkation was another unorganized mess! There were hundreds and hundreds of people lining the hallways with their suitcases waiting to get off the ship. It was an absolute safety hazard. Had there been a fire or any other significant safety issue it would have been a complete disaster. I will never cruise with Carnival again. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2017
This was our honeymoon cruise and while we were happy to be together and enjoyed the ports, I as a little embarrassed that this was my husband's maiden voyage. I keep telling him, don't judge all cruises by this one. Being my 3rd cruise, ... Read More
This was our honeymoon cruise and while we were happy to be together and enjoyed the ports, I as a little embarrassed that this was my husband's maiden voyage. I keep telling him, don't judge all cruises by this one. Being my 3rd cruise, I knew there were better ones. Honestly, you get what you pay for with this 4 day Baja cruise: Bargain basement. Staff - Our room attendant was a gem and really nice. The guest services staff were pompous and rude, even though we paid extra for the "Faster to the Fun". Most bar staff seemed annoyed to serve you when they finally acknowledge you were standing there waiting. The safety briefing was very poorly run compared to other ships. A staff member told people to sit in a the booths "over there", and when people sat there, she yelled at them to get out of those seats, that's for disabled. No signs, not indication, just her pointing and yelling. It was horrible. Most passengers were angry by the time the briefing was done. Food - Main dining was atrocious. Besides being directed all over the ship to find the actual entrance, there was yelling, arguing and almost fights trying to get in and seated (I'm not kidding - we called this the "ghetto cruise" for a reason). We finally did get seated, food was worse than in the buffet, overcooked and dry. We never went back to the main dining area again. Stuck with the buffet (sub-par) and Guys Burger joint (which was excellent burgers and fast service!). Entertainment - Didn't go. Got so annoyed with the incessant cruise director announcements we got turned off on any shows. Did go to the art auction that was offering free champagne, which I had been to on my other cruises and was excited to show my husband. Sorely disappointed again. Severely overcrowded, nowhere to sit, lighting on the floor where people walked through to view the art, people kept tripping over them and instead of apologizing and moving the lighting, staff got angry at the guests for tripping over the lights at their feet in an overcrowded area. Really? Champagne only came around to a few people, patrons started to get annoyed and angry, again, bad experience. We left early. The good!! Catalina was GORGEOUS! Never been there before and loved every minute in port. Highly recommend renting a golf cart and driving around. SO much fun. People on the island were great. Tour of the casino was wonderful. We want to go back to spend time on the island without a cruise. Ensenada? It was okay. We wandered around the shopping district. Everything is within walking distance of the dock. All in all, I wouldn't recommend this cruise unless you're just going on it to get drunk all night. Seems like it was a low-class party boat. Which I understand for the price. Again, we were happy to be away together, loved Catalina. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
I and my family took this cruise and thought that it would be wonderful. 1. We booked it and though the prices advertised quoted $209 per person it ended up being $900 for two people, with each of us having 2 people per cabin. We ... Read More
I and my family took this cruise and thought that it would be wonderful. 1. We booked it and though the prices advertised quoted $209 per person it ended up being $900 for two people, with each of us having 2 people per cabin. We then scheduled the cruise and were raring to go. We had an okay experience the first night, but no one liked the food in the pride dining room, but we later learned about the buffet. 2. They say that gratuities are suggestive but on the second day on board, $51.80 per person was charged to our cards. This was after they stated that we needed to put down a $100.00 deposit each, and by the second day when you think that you have only spent half of the hundred or less, you find that the Carnival cruise lines have taken over half the money which means that they will be digging into your credit card balance during the cruise. 3. You are not allowed to use your regular credit card on board the ship as they say it is a cashless cruise. It is actually forcing you with each drink purchase to give a tip to the bartenders and any other cafe or restaurant that you use on the ship. 4. The third night I go back to the cabin to change for the evening and pack my clothes up getting ready for the return to Long Beach Port in the morning only to find that my birthday gift from my daughter which was the Victoria Secrets Dream collection is missing. I then go down and report it and the lady at guest services had the unmitigated gall to ask me am I sure that I had it. I was extremely upset!!! The guy who usually handled our room did not touch anything, but it was when the female went into our room that things came up missing. I noticed that my Dark Kiss body wash had the top removed and I was wondering why it was off, but then I found out why. The fact that they do not tell you that they are going to take gratuities without your permission, even when the service is bad is very ugly. Carnival is all about getting money from you and not about making sure that you truly enjoy yourself. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
I am a diamond star cruiser with RCCL but chose this cruise line and cruise because we were taking four kids under the age of 22. I was skeptical because of a horrible past experience with Carnival 16 years ago but I must admit, the ... Read More
I am a diamond star cruiser with RCCL but chose this cruise line and cruise because we were taking four kids under the age of 22. I was skeptical because of a horrible past experience with Carnival 16 years ago but I must admit, the cruise exceeded my very low expectations. The ship itself is in decent shape for a Baja cruise. Its hallways are clean, bathrooms are nice and the layout is fairly easy to adapt to. The dining rooms are not very formal and the bus stations tend to be too visible while you are eating. But overall, not too bad. I did like the fact that you could eat at Guys Burger Joint for no additional charge as well as the taco and burrito bar-- RCCL usually charges extra for those things. The food was good for two days, the last day was a Fail. I ordered off of the Steakhouse menu so paid an additional 20 bucks per day. The steaks were outstanding. Lobster was small and a tad overdone. On the last day I ordered tenderloin beef and i was just OK. Hubby's chicken was actually hard on the inside it was so overcooked. Three others ordered the pasta w/ seafood and it was just gross. Way too fishy and the sauce was just tomato sauce and cream. Someone else ordered the jerked pork and it was pretty good. The ship was full of party people. Women were making out in the hot tubs while their boyfriends cheered them on. So yes, booze is the primary source of entertainment here. Lots of drunks. Would not recommend taking children under the age of 10. Staff was very courteous and very nice! This cruise changed my impression of Carnival so they might be doing something right. Read Less
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 4.0
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.8
Family 4.5 3.8
Shore Excursion 3.0 3.7
Enrichment 3.0 3.2
Service 4.0 4.2
Value For Money 5.0 4.0
Rates 3.0 4.3

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