692 Carnival Imagination Cruise Reviews

Both my 91 year old Mom & I are avid cruisers (33 for her, 45 for me). She has never been on Carnival, and was worried about being a young, party ship. That's why I like it (I'm only 65!) But we thought a 3 day cruise ... Read More
Both my 91 year old Mom & I are avid cruisers (33 for her, 45 for me). She has never been on Carnival, and was worried about being a young, party ship. That's why I like it (I'm only 65!) But we thought a 3 day cruise would be all she should handle. Wrong! I had trouble keeping up with her. She was very surprised with the ship and the cabin- it was just as good in her opinion as other,more expensive lines. The Service was exceptional- everyone took great care of us. The food was exceptional for a 3 day cruise- better than longer cruises on higher lines: escargot, prime rib, beef tenderloin she could ut with a fork, salmon to die for, etc. She had a very limited diet, but always gave her excellent food. I loved the production shows (2 in 3 days!) but thought they my be too loud or not of her music type (hard rock). 'she so enjoyed the staging and dancing she was rocking along with everyone.. We did the ensenada shopping & wine excursion. We had a great guide, Leslie, who was very easy to understand. The winery I had been to before, but it was fun. We wanted Tequila, so she took us to the local supermarket and we got a steal on a high end tequila, rather than pay tourist prices in the tourist traps.. She met so many multigenerational families (parents, grandparents, grandkids) there was always nice people to talk to. I think she is already planing her next cruise on carnival ! Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
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
It's the best vacation we had so far, our family really enjoyed the whole trip. wonderful food, enough entertainment for all the age groups, real professional staff are in store for all. My kids are ready to take one more cruise ... Read More
It's the best vacation we had so far, our family really enjoyed the whole trip. wonderful food, enough entertainment for all the age groups, real professional staff are in store for all. My kids are ready to take one more cruise immediately. Our time is well spent for three days, age groups wise programs in circle-C are very good. we had a family golf for the first time on the top deck, it's a pleasant time on the sea. I would suggest every one to take the cruise at least once to get the wonderful experience. Improvement opportunity is to add more Indian/Veg food and make the photographs a bit reasonable for every one to buy more. Shoreline excursion is a bit disappointment, we could not get the expected experience at La bufadora, geyser height is very less and the flea market is boring and not at all interested with the low quality products. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
Took the Dec. 24 Cruise on the Carnival Imagination to Catalina and Baja Mexico. Had a miserable time. The Ship-- is old. Art from the 1990's that looks straight out of the Fresh Prince of Bel Aire. The ship is decorated like one ... Read More
Took the Dec. 24 Cruise on the Carnival Imagination to Catalina and Baja Mexico. Had a miserable time. The Ship-- is old. Art from the 1990's that looks straight out of the Fresh Prince of Bel Aire. The ship is decorated like one of Trump's casinos from the 90's. The deck numbering system uses both letters and number for the same deck - so expect a lot of confusion The Cabin - had mold in the shower. Master light switch is strategically located by the headboard so expect the lights to come on a couple of times a night. The Food- aspires to be golden corral quality. The formal dinner was horrible. Think TV dinner or airplane food. Guys Burger joint serves grease with burgers attached. The Blue Iguana serves flavored meat(?) that you make your own taco or burrito with. They tell you the pizza pirate is open 24 hours, but the staff is always in the back making pizzas. The buffet was also not great. Thank God for the soft serve! We did the drink package and figured out on day 2 that you have to go to a bar to have them pop open a soda and pour it in a glass for you. You can only get a can if you order from room service. The excursions-On Catalina we did the tour of the botanical gardens and the semi submersible. Loved both of them. It was also great to get real food ! In Mexico we did the off road dune buggy, which is essentially driving in wine country in ATVS, on the dirt roads. Still we had fun - but don't think there will be any Dukes of Hazard stuff here. The entertainment- all started at 8. We are from central time - so if your programming runs from 8-2 plan on us not being there. ALSO - The music was so loud that we heard it in our cabin on R deck. It will keep you up. I should also mention that we thought there would be a lot more Christmas activities. Most of them were stacked on the day at sea. We did one of the trivia contests, but had to sit in the smoking section of the bar. We found ourselves in our cabin watching Kong Skull Island and Batman Lego movie repeatedly and not because we wanted to. A great example of what we encountered happened on the morning of the Catalina excursion. We did not know where to go to disembark so we went to guest services. We got in the Faster to Fun line because we had paid for it. A person was at the regular line who for some reason needed guest services to fix his laptop. After being told we needed to get in the regular line, I noticed a guest services person leaving. I asked her what I thought was a simple question. Where to we go for the excursion. She responded "It's on your ticket." It wasn't So I got back in line and waited another 10 minutes to talk to the same person (who had returned the desk) and was told "It's on your ticket." I asked where on the ticket and the woman rolled her eyes and told me what deck to go to. So if you are considering this cruise- pass. If you are considering this cruise to make your holiday special - really pass. This was our first and most probably last cruise. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
I'm not sure where all the bad reviews come from, but Carnival ROCKS! Their staff is en pointe! They anticipated my every need. I traveled alone and every staff member I encountered made sure I felt special. The food was fabulous! The ... Read More
I'm not sure where all the bad reviews come from, but Carnival ROCKS! Their staff is en pointe! They anticipated my every need. I traveled alone and every staff member I encountered made sure I felt special. The food was fabulous! The buffet does shut down just before lunch, to turn it over, so be aware. Each buffet has a theme, such as American, French, Italian. They don't run out of food either. It was so pleasant to take a plate and find a seat outside to enjoy the ocean view for a leisurely brunch. The main dining room is mouth watering! Just the right amount of choices for your 3 course dinner. And feel free to get one of everything if you want. I didn't have dinner reservations and only had to wait about 10 mins for a table on the last night (due to my timing)The spa staff exceptional! Make sure you get the manager special from the spa tour on Embarkation day. Worth every penny. The Elemis products are top notch. The only down side is that the jogging track is right above the spa treatment rooms, and you can hear people running. But, its not intolerable. OH, and you can get a spa robe to use in your cabin, like to wear to and from the pool/jacuzzi. So be sure to ask for one. Can I possibly put any more '!!' in this review? The ship was nice and clean. The decor is a little Vegasy, and a wee bit dated. They did deck it out for Christmas, which I hadn't anticipated. And the Christmas decor was pretty. There are easy to read maps at every elevator and most stairwells, so its hard to get lost. This was my 1st cruise and I'm ever so glad I went. Lots of fun stuff to do, from shows, to bingo to trivia games. Tons of raffles to enter, chances to win prizes. The Fun shops are pretty well stocked with Carnival shirts and keychains. There are even some toys for the kids. The jewelry shop is popular. Very sparkly. Make sure to go on the 1st day and enter all the raffles. I'm not convinced the prices are all they promise, but you can say you got your watch on the ship, right? The casino is a nice size and offers slots and table games. They allow smoking in the Casino, but to be honest, the smoke is very well filtered. It was no worse than any large Vegas casino room. I didn't gamble, but know it's only available while at sea (laws, I guess) Bingo is a hoot! Its very interactive. The Yahtzee and Hasbro games for the kiddies are very entertaining. I dare you not to smile! I enjoyed the live shows too. Very generic and family friendly. Songs you know and costumes that don't make you blush. There is a PG and R rated comedy show. I only went to the PG show and it did make me laugh. Getting on and off the ship was a breeze. Carnival really tries to keep the lines to a minimum. The tender to Catalina is very quick. They run at least 2 boats back and forth so you can expect to wait no more than about 15 minutes. Coming back took about 45 mins all told. Go on the Undersea Boat tour on Catalina. I loved seeing all the fish! Also rented a Golf cart and toured the island. You can do the whole route in an hour, so don't spend extra on that. Shopping is a little lacking , but I still managed to stop in just about every single store. Mostly typical tourist kitch, like Tshirts and magnets. Prices are normal, too. I really cant find anything good to say about Ensenada, unfortunately. There is a small pavillion right on the dock, so you can jump off the ship, buy a doodad, and get right back on (like I did). The view from the dock is lacking and to be honest, only after dark was the view worthy of even a picture. Carnival does a nice Disembarking presentation, so if its your 1st cruise, you don't want to miss it. Lots of good information and it really made leaving much easier. Took about an hour to get off the ship. OH and the Carnival bus to and from the airport is a must! So stress free! No traffic, no hassle, no parking, no worries. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
booked as part of a family event. The ship was nicely appointed. The staff was amazing, food was epic. The dining room staff and food were as good as expected. By the 2nd night, they all knew our names and what we drank. They ... Read More
booked as part of a family event. The ship was nicely appointed. The staff was amazing, food was epic. The dining room staff and food were as good as expected. By the 2nd night, they all knew our names and what we drank. They were joyful. The fitness classes were great. I thing for the money, this was a good time. I was seeking an unplug couple of days and this experience fit the bill. My cabin was an ocean view on Deck 7. E111 Only thing i didn't think of was that it was an adjoining room w/ a door to the next door. No sound was muffled. i could hear them clearing their throat, chatting like they were in my room. (lord knows what they heard from my side!!) But the room selection was on me, i would not blame the ship for that. Over all, I enjoyed my time w/ this team. Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
My experience on Carnival Imagination, Vacation from hell: My wife and three children two which have autism sailed on our first family cruise together on this ship. Child care was reported excellent and our special needs children were ... Read More
My experience on Carnival Imagination, Vacation from hell: My wife and three children two which have autism sailed on our first family cruise together on this ship. Child care was reported excellent and our special needs children were supposed to be cared for... wrong. One night after I dropped my 10 year old autistic son off I found him 30 minutes later wondering the upper decks, luckily he didn't come to any harm. When I took him back they didn't even know he was missing!!!! Even though there were 5 workers present and no calls made. The next night my older artistic son was dropped off in circle c again with instructions to call me for any problems. I found him walking into a show that was being performed. I kept him for an hour to see if they noticed him missing.... this time they did and instead of calling me they had my 12 year old daughter and some other passengers children roaming the shop looking for him. Myself and my wife obviously had no rest on this "hell" vacation and they endangered my children. When asked for resolution for this horrible and stressful experience they offered $200. I guess Carnival Cruise lines values disabled autistic children at $100 each. Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
We had heard all of the horror stories about Carnival and in truth we experienced none of it. This was a first "tester" cruise for our family and we already have our next booked since it was an enjoyable experience. Arriving to ... Read More
We had heard all of the horror stories about Carnival and in truth we experienced none of it. This was a first "tester" cruise for our family and we already have our next booked since it was an enjoyable experience. Arriving to the ship was easy. The parking garage is spacious and the embarkment was quick and painless. Our bags were in the room before the time they said they would be and no mix ups. Our room was clean and we had plenty of room for luggage and to hang clothes.I am an over packer so this was a great advantage for us all. Our steward was great and he made point to learn our names and what time of day we each left the room. They helped with our elf on the shelf, which was greatly appreciated! The towel animals each day were cute and funny. Our son looked forward them to daily. The staff was great and very kind. They make sure to call you by name and to learn what it is you like. Example I prefer Malibu rum and my husband is a Stella kind of guy - they learned it and always asked if we would prefer our "drinks" per usual. To some that might not mean much, but to us it was great. Alex is cruise director is awesome! We can not say enough great things about him! Great find with that one. Our excursion in Catalina was canceled due to others not picking that one,but we wound up having a great time after renting a golf cart and exploring the island. In Ensenada we did the LaBufadora experience with Val. A great time again. The entertainment was good and family friendly. The kids club is a nice touch for parents and kids alike. The food was plentiful and appetizing. Leaving the ship was just as easy as getting on. We enjoyed ourselves and thank each crew member of the Imagination for a great time. As mentioned, we had such a great time that we have booked another cruise for later this year. Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
We had Faster to the Fun on this trip. Was totally worth paying extra for. Embarkation was super quick and we got right on the ship. Our cabin was on the Upper deck #110 inside cabin. It was a super small room so I had them keep the ... Read More
We had Faster to the Fun on this trip. Was totally worth paying extra for. Embarkation was super quick and we got right on the ship. Our cabin was on the Upper deck #110 inside cabin. It was a super small room so I had them keep the beds apart and the trundle bed for our daughter was in the middle so we had about a 2 ft space to walk in. Dining was AMAZING! The first thing we tried was Guys Burger Joint. I highly recommend The Ringer. It had a brown sugar bourbon sauce that was to die for!! I had it everyday! We sat in the Pride dining room at the early seating. We were sat with a family of four from Texas and a mother and daughter from Fullerton (we only saw them once). Our servers were awesome, Ida, Panipak and Frederico were quick with our service and always had a kids menu available for my daughter. We didn't see any of the shows but did go to a couple of trivia's with Kyle and also did the Creativity activity with him as well. He was awesome! We also participated in the Dr. Seuss parade and story time. The CD read Horton Hear a Who and I had never read that book before so it was a great time. Service was great throughout the whole ship. I will say the girls from the Art auction were really pushy. We had to tell them no multiple times. It got annoying quick. I didn't care for the CD Alex, he came off to me as trying a little too hard. No everyone's personalities click so I'm not chalking it up to effecting my cruise. Catalina was awesome. We went Parasailing, didn't book through the cruise because it was way cheaper to go through an outside company. Ensenada we stayed near the ship. I was not comfortable taking my daughter into the city. Overall it was a great experience, I have done this cruise 5 times now and it never gets old! Can't wait to do it again soon. Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
Imagination Review We just got off Imagination on Thanksgiving. It was a great little 4 day cruise. We are in our mid 50’s early 60’s. Embarkation was easy, even when I left my passport on my luggage and the luggage had to be ... Read More
Imagination Review We just got off Imagination on Thanksgiving. It was a great little 4 day cruise. We are in our mid 50’s early 60’s. Embarkation was easy, even when I left my passport on my luggage and the luggage had to be tracked down in order for me to even board the ship. We were coming from colder Denver and I put my jacket with my passport in my luggage….such an ameture move. Carnival was on it, and made me feel relieved that I would be getting on the ship, but it would be a few hours later. My heart sank, because we came on an earlier flight to enjoy being on board earlier...that didn’t seem it was going to happen. Long story short, I only had to wait an additional hour, and we were having lunch on the Lido deck. It was so easy to board with my luggage, I would probably do that vs. giving it up at the curb, again. Lunch was nice, good fish, which I wanted most of. It was Italian fare. We had the Cheers package, so we got drinks and explored the ship, top to bottom. We had any time dining, in the Pride dining room. We ordered the Mahi, and it was terribly overcooked. The apps were good, but main course was not. We do dine out in Denver and are “foodies” and were pretty disappointed with the entree. Catalina Breakfast was the same breakfast fare, loved having the fruit and the omelet station. We found the back outside of the lido deck above the Serenity lounge was peaceful and a lovely place to have breakfast. We had every buffet meal there. We brought cheap dollar store coffee mugs, and that was a plus, as the cups are small for us, with the amount of coffee we consume. Tendering was long lines to get off, but they tried to keep the lines moving, we waited about half an hour in line to tender. We just walked around Catalina, along the boardwalk all the way to the Casino. This night was elegant night, it was a long wait for the dining room, Pride. The food again was not fabulous, and lots of tables needed bussing that weren’t. I wonder what the Spirit dining room was like. I found the food to be better and fresher on the Lido deck. Always opted for the fish and it was always better on the Lido. We do vape, not smoke, and we found that above the Lido deck was the only place we could vape. This area was noisy most of the time, so it would have been nice to have a quite place, but this was not make or break for us. The server, Ali, was always around to refill our drinks. Ensenada Walked around first on the boardwalk. I had been shopping in Mexico before, so didn’t need anymore stuff. Loved seeing the seals barking, the fish market was really interesting to see, and I loved the fountain with the music by the flag. The flag wasn’t up, as they were working on the flag pole. This night we noticed that most of the items in the dining room were at the Lido deck, so we opted casual this evening. Sea Day We played many or the games on board, walked around enjoying that….it was relaxing. Won 40.00 in the casino, although I was down 60.00 altogether. We got great use out of our Cheers package. I don’t know if I would purchase it on a 7 day. In the main dining room, I had the seafood penne, the calamari, shrimp and mussels was were good, but the salmon on top was inedible. Had the chocolate melting cake, that everyone raved about and it was good. We caught the Epic Rock show and it was pretty good. My boyfriend is in the entertainment business, and he was even impressed. One of the better shows I have seen on a cruise ship. Music Most of the music was enjoyable, except for the DJ on the Lido Deck, loud for me, but people were having a good time dancing. The singers were very enjoyable, typically a guitar and soloist, but all were quite talented and chose great music to share. The PAX It was like the United Nations, loved that, all kinds of people, lots of 20 somethings, at times rowdy, but kind and having a good time. Many would come up and just ask us how we were doing, spreading their cheer. It was a nice group of people! The Crew Never was wanting or waiting for a drink, everyone was friendly and professional...addressed by name most of the time, that amazed me actually! All in all this is a great value for a get-a-way cruise. Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
Our group of four couples booked this for a good time together. Being locals out of Long Beach, it's easy for us and Friday was Veteran's day so we had day off....though so did all the children on board but it was fine. ... Read More
Our group of four couples booked this for a good time together. Being locals out of Long Beach, it's easy for us and Friday was Veteran's day so we had day off....though so did all the children on board but it was fine. Typically called the "booze cruise" most folks were well behaved, the adults serenity area was fairly open for us, weather prohibited spending much time there. On debarkation morning we heard some sloshed people stumbling in at 5am hollaring and swearing down the halls, it was apparent they were still in that condition upon leaving the ship at nine am. One of our couples had never cruised before and they were quite happy with their experience....they were actually chosen to be on stage for the "Diva" show and Kathy and Jim were quite the "stars of the show" that night....we all had fun. Though food is subjective, we all enjoyed Guys burgers for sure, the Mexican place next to it had very good breakfast burritos too. Pizza was just OK for a quick snack. We would only grab quick snacks at the buffet, choosing to eat our breakfasts/lunches in the dining room and everything was good. Dinners in the Spirit dining room were very good with good service.....everyone enjoyed their meals and desserts. For an older vessel the Imagination is in pretty good shape, our inside cabins on main deck were good, however Carnival seems to be increasing the work load on the stewards and it shows. Our steward cleaned our cabin around noon and made towel animals then, no turn down anymore. We could have insisted on twice daily service but chose not to. The cruise industry is cutting back each year and should be careful with their cutting back, I'd rather pay more for the service that cruising is supposed to be. Read Less
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
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
Sail Date November 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
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 ... 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
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
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 ... 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 October 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 ... 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
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
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
Sail Date September 2017
I had experienced my first cruise ever in the early '90s on CARNIVAL during Spring break. At that time I was in my 20s and honestly had the time of my life! Now 30 years have passed and I have cruised extensively on the other brands ... Read More
I had experienced my first cruise ever in the early '90s on CARNIVAL during Spring break. At that time I was in my 20s and honestly had the time of my life! Now 30 years have passed and I have cruised extensively on the other brands under the Carnival Corp & PLC Ownership (Princess, Holland, etc) as well as Royal Caribbean. My complaints (which aren't many because I love cruising) are completely different from brand to brand. For this specific cruise we chose a more value oriented vacation because we planned a big surprise w friends for my mothers 90th Bday. So I was already familiar w several other ships/brands etc and knew Carnival would provide value and more of a fun atmosphere for our group. HOWEVER, when I say fun ... it doesn't necessarily mean playing music at 20000 decibels all over the ship 24/7. I LOVE MUSIC probably more than any other creative outlet - but even I was astonished at the unbelievable LOUD and intrusive selections as well as the dj's inability to actually mix music together. But like I said, for the value, you must accept the things you cannot change, and don't let it become a negative obsession. BUT, my one of my favorite pastimes of just sitting back and watching the crowd go by was unrivaled on the Carnival Imagination! And a REALLY friendly diverse group of folks all very upbeat. Now, on Princess or Holland, the experience is DEFINITELY NOT a party atmosphere, but the food and accommodations are much more classy & upscale. But, on those cruise lines everyone is either married or a widow/widower w the only children in sight pushing their late teens. So, in the end it all depends on what you're looking for or hoping to gain from your experience. It was nice to see mid life singles, and actually have some fun yet meaningful interactions. I have yet to find one or two other singles in the THOUSANDS of older married couples who frequent the other ships under the Carnival umbrella of brands. In the end it's always nice to have a vast experience in all categories. Some trips you just want to read & relax and not be bothered, and others you want to " throw your hands up in the air, like you just don't care " LOL Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
We were on this cruise with a group of friends and they planned the cruise around a members birthday. My husband and I enjoyed the cruise and all of the various entertainments on board ship. There was a variety of things to do and we had ... Read More
We were on this cruise with a group of friends and they planned the cruise around a members birthday. My husband and I enjoyed the cruise and all of the various entertainments on board ship. There was a variety of things to do and we had the opportunity to enjoy the on board entertainment as well as the off ship excursion that my husband and friends enjoyed on a day off ship. But what I was most impressed with was the staff in the Spirit Dining room. The food was good but out of the staff who waiting on us for dinner Mr Vigor Ramilo, Amin Jess, Charles Cordero and Wahyu Kurniawan,, Vigor was outstanding. We went to dinner the firs night and he asked our names. We did not have dinner in the Spirit Dining room on the second night but we did return on the third night and he called us by name. I thought of the many people who he served and how impressive it was for him to be able to call us by name after only meeting us the first night. He served us with a never ending smile and seemed genuinely pleased that we were there. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
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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