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This was our second cruise with Carnival. Our first was a 7 day Western Caribbean with just me and my husband. For this time around, we wanted a shorter cruise, not too far from home to take our 4 kids. I assumed that since both cruises were with the same cruise line they would be the same in quality and experience- they were not. There were many of differences (sadly, most of them were negative). Things that were the same- - Our cabin was clean and beds were cozy. I love Carnival's Comfort Bed Collection. I have a hard time sleeping away from home and I think all beds are too hard and uncomfortable. These aren't. I slept like a baby. - Food in the dining room did not disappoint- just as great as our Caribbean cruise. The buffet was pretty much the same- mediocre buffet food. My kids loved the ice cream though. - The dining room and housekeeping staff were friendly and did an outstanding job, as usual. Things that were different- - Surprisingly, most of the other staff were very rude and not friendly at all. It was almost painful to get a smile out of them. - The buffet dining area tables were a mess. The staff in charge of cleaning off the tables would clear the tables but didn't wipe them off, leaving them a greasy mess. - I noticed the food staff skimped on the good stuff with this cruise. They had a worker at the sweets table cutting slices of cake and desserts paper thin. And the mozzarella cheese on the pizzas were pretty much non-existent. Normally, I absolutely love their pizzas! Good thing that the guys' burger place was the same deliciousness! - It seemed very unorganized. We didn't leave the Long Beach port until almost two hours after scheduled departure. We had to wait for an hour for our safety briefing in a smokey casino/bar with our kids- not good. - The ship is very small compared to other Carnival ships. There were pros and cons to this: I liked that my kids could make their way around the ship fairly easy and not get lost. However, I didn't like that often times we had to walk through the bar/casino area to get where we wanted to go. Also, because the ship is smaller, I felt like they were more limited on their choices for activity locations. Because of this, the more popular adult activities get priority of locations. For example, they had a Harry Potter trivia activity where mostly families and children were attending, in a bar right next to the casino. That wasn't a good location for a family activity, yet, the other lounges were being used for Bingo and other activities. Also, we had way more seasickness on this cruise. I think the smaller boat and the rougher waters made everything way more noticeable. - I wan't impressed with this cruise director or the "fun squad" at all. The activities were ok- nothing to rave about. They had the usual Bingo and late night entertainment. However, I felt like the activities for families and kids were lacking. The last day on the ship you would have thought because it was a sea day they would have filled it with super fun activities, however there were only a few activities that were actually fun that they weren't trying to sell you something. My sister commented that they call the ship imagination because you have to use your imagination for activities. - The clubs for kids were ok. My 7 and 10 year old went to Camp Ocean. They really liked the free time and made some cute crafts. However, when they went back they hated it because there were so many kids in there that it felt way too crazy and unorganized for them. So that seemed like a hit or miss thing. My 13 year old went to Circle C. He really liked meeting new friends and playing video games, however, for me, it was way too unorganized. I would go to get him for dinner or a family activity and they would be closed with just a sign up saying the club was closed. I had no idea where he was or what he was doing. There were three times I had to go to guest services to try to track him down. I think part of this was my fault. I didn't understand how the CircleC club worked. Because of the age, they are able to just come and go as they please, and sometimes the whole group would all leave to go play mini golf or whatever and just put a sign up and lock the door. For parents who don't mind their kids wandering the ship and doing whatever, it would be fine, but I didn't like that. Overall, I think this would be a great cruise for singles or couples who are just looking for a quick "getaway", or to party. I wouldn't recommend it for families. In fact, because of my experience here, I will be sailing with Carnival's competition on my next cruise. It's too bad because our Carnival cruise last year was so amazing.

Apparently, not all Carnival Cruises are created equal

Carnival Imagination Cruise Review by SieKye02

2 people found this helpful
Trip Details
This was our second cruise with Carnival. Our first was a 7 day Western Caribbean with just me and my husband. For this time around, we wanted a shorter cruise, not too far from home to take our 4 kids.

I assumed that since both cruises were with the same cruise line they would be the same in quality and experience- they were not. There were many of differences (sadly, most of them were negative).

Things that were the same-

- Our cabin was clean and beds were cozy. I love Carnival's Comfort Bed Collection. I have a hard time sleeping away from home and I think all beds are too hard and uncomfortable. These aren't. I slept like a baby.

- Food in the dining room did not disappoint- just as great as our Caribbean cruise. The buffet was pretty much the same- mediocre buffet food. My kids loved the ice cream though.

- The dining room and housekeeping staff were friendly and did an outstanding job, as usual.

Things that were different-

- Surprisingly, most of the other staff were very rude and not friendly at all. It was almost painful to get a smile out of them.

- The buffet dining area tables were a mess. The staff in charge of cleaning off the tables would clear the tables but didn't wipe them off, leaving them a greasy mess.

- I noticed the food staff skimped on the good stuff with this cruise. They had a worker at the sweets table cutting slices of cake and desserts paper thin. And the mozzarella cheese on the pizzas were pretty much non-existent. Normally, I absolutely love their pizzas! Good thing that the guys' burger place was the same deliciousness!

- It seemed very unorganized. We didn't leave the Long Beach port until almost two hours after scheduled departure. We had to wait for an hour for our safety briefing in a smokey casino/bar with our kids- not good.

- The ship is very small compared to other Carnival ships. There were pros and cons to this: I liked that my kids could make their way around the ship fairly easy and not get lost. However, I didn't like that often times we had to walk through the bar/casino area to get where we wanted to go.

Also, because the ship is smaller, I felt like they were more limited on their choices for activity locations. Because of this, the more popular adult activities get priority of locations. For example, they had a Harry Potter trivia activity where mostly families and children were attending, in a bar right next to the casino. That wasn't a good location for a family activity, yet, the other lounges were being used for Bingo and other activities.

Also, we had way more seasickness on this cruise. I think the smaller boat and the rougher waters made everything way more noticeable.

- I wan't impressed with this cruise director or the "fun squad" at all. The activities were ok- nothing to rave about. They had the usual Bingo and late night entertainment. However, I felt like the activities for families and kids were lacking. The last day on the ship you would have thought because it was a sea day they would have filled it with super fun activities, however there were only a few activities that were actually fun that they weren't trying to sell you something. My sister commented that they call the ship imagination because you have to use your imagination for activities.

- The clubs for kids were ok. My 7 and 10 year old went to Camp Ocean. They really liked the free time and made some cute crafts. However, when they went back they hated it because there were so many kids in there that it felt way too crazy and unorganized for them. So that seemed like a hit or miss thing.

My 13 year old went to Circle C. He really liked meeting new friends and playing video games, however, for me, it was way too unorganized. I would go to get him for dinner or a family activity and they would be closed with just a sign up saying the club was closed. I had no idea where he was or what he was doing. There were three times I had to go to guest services to try to track him down. I think part of this was my fault. I didn't understand how the CircleC club worked. Because of the age, they are able to just come and go as they please, and sometimes the whole group would all leave to go play mini golf or whatever and just put a sign up and lock the door. For parents who don't mind their kids wandering the ship and doing whatever, it would be fine, but I didn't like that.

Overall, I think this would be a great cruise for singles or couples who are just looking for a quick "getaway", or to party. I wouldn't recommend it for families. In fact, because of my experience here, I will be sailing with Carnival's competition on my next cruise. It's too bad because our Carnival cruise last year was so amazing.
SieKye02’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
Entertainment
Cabin
Fitness & Recreation
Shore Excursions
Ages 7 to 9
Ages 10 to 12
Ages 13 to 15
Service
Onboard Experience
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