22 Miami to Bahamas Carnival Imagination Cruise Reviews

My husband and I picked this cruise as a trial bases to see if he would have problems getting sea sick since he is very prone to motion sickness but I am happy to know now that he had no problem but the seas were also perfect!! Overall ... Read More
My husband and I picked this cruise as a trial bases to see if he would have problems getting sea sick since he is very prone to motion sickness but I am happy to know now that he had no problem but the seas were also perfect!! Overall this was a great experience. I had sailed Carnival before but was along with 5 others new to cruising. The ship was a little dated but very clean. We stayed in an interior room mid ship and only had one issue with our shower. Every time we would shower the drain under the sink in the bathroom would flood the whole bathroom. It only took 15 min or so for it to drain back down but I was afraid to ask exactly where that water was backing up from?? The room service was great. Always did a great job with our room. I am kind of a neat freak anyways so they didn't have much to do lol. In my opinion the food anywhere besides the main dining room as mediocre at best. Though my husband loves cafeteria food and never complained. Our time in Nassau Bahamas was absolutely amazing. We bought day passes to the Sandals Resort and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. We bought Faster to The Fun passes for this cruise and they were priceless. It made embarkation and debarkation a breeze. Honestly I just didn't think there was enough to do on board or it could just be that I haven't found the right cruise line for me. Read Less
Sail Date August 2013
This was booked as a cheap last minute cruise for a girlfriend and I. We both decided to leave our kids at home to save money, and we were glad we did as it turned out. We were able to stay out late enjoying talking to other passengers, ... Read More
This was booked as a cheap last minute cruise for a girlfriend and I. We both decided to leave our kids at home to save money, and we were glad we did as it turned out. We were able to stay out late enjoying talking to other passengers, having drinks, and enjoying entertainment. Also, their was not as much entertainment for children as on other newer ships. There were two small pools, plus a splash pool. There were no water slides or anything like that for kids. I believe there was a good childcare facility onboard that some kids did really enjoy. I just gathered it was not as great as on newer ships. We booked the cheapest room we could. It should have had no window and been an inside room. Instead we got a big porthole window that cost us nothing extra! When talking to others at dinner one night, we were told they booked through other companies instead of Norweigan, and I actually booked our cruise through NCL's website. I am not sure if that made any difference, but they did not get upgraded and we did. The entertainment was fantastic. We saw all of Andrew Kennedy's shows, and he was always hilarious. The only thing is that each time (three shows) we heard some of the same jokes. I hope he extends his act more because he really was great! We really also enjoyed the band Impac. They played wonderful when playing any genre except country. I didn't quite enjoy their country music as much, but they were amazing at reggae, hits, and R&B. The guys were super friendly as well and wanted to get to know everyone. There were some Broadway type shows and a couple of game shows, but they weren't my thing, so I didn't attend. The food was good. There were definitely things I found better than others, like the broccoli soup. It was yummy, but the lobster wasn't so great in my opinion. The wait staff was almost always amazingly friendly. The service was not always perfect, but I was content with it. There were times we had to ask for coffee or drinks multiple times in the dining room, but I think they were doing their best. The ship was always clean from what I saw except for two issues. One was that our closet smelled like urine. I never reported this, as I never met our room steward, but it just simply stunk! I tried to keep that door closed as much as possible to contain the issue. The other was that someone left a pile of feces in the floor in a public bathroom. Yuck. I reported that, but things like that can happen anywhere I suppose. I assume someone cleaned it up as soon as possible; I didn't revisit to check. I always appreciated that our room was cleaned multiple times a day, even though we didn't exactly leave a mess. Like I said though, I never met our room steward, which was unusual to me. One morning, I went to take a shower and the shower was only scalding hot, so I reported that, and they took about 30 minutes to come and look at it. When they did, it seemed to work fine. I felt silly, but after talking to other passengers, they had similar issues. It would have made me feel better if they had admitted there was an issue instead of pretending it was my mistake. Also, about five minutes after they left, our bathroom water quit working entirely, the sink, toilet, and shower. It resumed by the time we returned from port. This was also an issue others had on ship. As for ports, Freeport was not great at first sight. Just lots of little shops and people selling items. I am not into buying a lot of that stuff, so I went looking for cheap things to spend the day doing. We found a taxi that was $14 per person roundtrip to Junkanoo Beach. We spent the whole day at the beach, and we had no problems getting back to the ship on time. Taxis had been waiting there to take us back. The beach was beautiful and we spent nothing more than the taxi ride and money on drinks while there. The next port was Nassau. I had been there before and really would have been fine spending the day on ship, but my friend had never been. She wanted to see the straw market, and so we did. It is just the same old stuff over and over there in my opinion. The beach was nice there and within walking distance, but we were still a little burned from the day before on the beach, so we ate at Señor Frogs and headed back to the ship. The last day was at Great Stirrup Cay. It was my favorite. The beach was beautiful with lawn chairs everywhere. Food was included from the cruise. Drinks were included in our ultimate drink package from the ship. Water was gorgeous. No waves. I could float effortlessly to the top. It was so clear. One issue was the ultimate drink package. It cost $241 after all the tips being included, taxes, etc. This was $50/day for four nights. The problem was that we had to run back and forth from guest services to the bar many, many times before it was correct on our onboard cards. They were charging us for drinks even though we had the plan on our card. There were so many charges it exceeded the money on our cards and our cards were locked down until they refunded them all. This was a huge ordeal, and every time they would say it was resolved, we would go back to the 11th floor to the bar, and it was not, and then we would have to return to 5 to guest services. ANNOYING. Anyways, finally it was resolved and problem solved. Even though $241 was a lot, we found it useful for the delicious and strong mixed drinks we were served. Read Less
Sail Date June 2013
We flew down to FLL the night before and stayed at the Homewood Suites cruise port. This was a great stay for $119.00 a night incl tax. They offered a free shuttle from FLL to the hotel as well as a free dinner and breakfast. The room ... Read More
We flew down to FLL the night before and stayed at the Homewood Suites cruise port. This was a great stay for $119.00 a night incl tax. They offered a free shuttle from FLL to the hotel as well as a free dinner and breakfast. The room was very comfortable and clean. We were going to use SAS shuttle in the am from FLL to the Port of Miami for I believe it was $18 per person. When I mentioned to the hotel desk clerk we'd be going back to FLL in the am for a shuttle she advised us they had a shuttle that goes to POM at 11am and it's $15 a person for 6 of us. Wow, much better than having to go back to the airport, find the shuttle and board. So, with a $10 deposit I reserved it for the morning. At 11am we were all in the lobby, boarded the shuttle and on our way. We arrived at the port around 11:35 and found no lines to drop off our luggage. We then proceeded to the line where they check your passport and boarding pass. It was a little funny that we made it through faster than our friends who are Platinum members. We then proceeded through security and waited maybe 15 minutes to check in and board. That was a very short wait and I was impressed. We boarded the ship and headed to the Lido deck for lunch. There were no lines there either. We checked out our cabin and walked around the ship. Saturday we were in Nassau overnight. We only walked around the shops in Nassau, been too many times to count. We saw the comedian which was very funny. Don't waste your time on the show "Living in America". It was horrible. The food was very good, really no lines at all and the ship was nice. This was just a quick weekend away with friends. We did all have a good time, but I think I would stick with a 6-7 night cruise in the future. I can not stand one thing in one of the shops (on all Carnival ships), they have this "sale" that starts at a certain time, they then unveil a black cloth that's draped over the watches and bracelets. Hoards of people gather and act like animals. They need to know that, people this could get dangerous and you can walk into the shop 3 hours later and get the same item, same price and not find such crazed people. It was worse than Black Friday at Toys R US or Best Buy! Read Less
Sail Date November 2012
This was my 10th cruise with Carnival and the third or fourth time I have done this 3 day sailing to Nassau from Miami. Living in Miami, its just to easy. I know very well what to expect on Carnival, therefore I am not dissapointed ... Read More
This was my 10th cruise with Carnival and the third or fourth time I have done this 3 day sailing to Nassau from Miami. Living in Miami, its just to easy. I know very well what to expect on Carnival, therefore I am not dissapointed with the experience. While somethings have changed, most has remained the same. I do believe Carnival offers one of the best cruising values. It is not a luxury cruise line and it does not pretend to be. The good, almost all of the crew I saw on the ship said hello and was friendly. Our room steward was very friendly, remembered my name and kept our room spotless. Same for the dining staff. Food was also good. I did not dislike anything I had anywhere on the ship. Drinks, both my brother and I concurred that the pours seemed to be generous, especially at the pool bar. Behind the fun tour. Very interesting. It turned out I was the only person that did this tour, so I got a personal tour with the corporate training manager onboard. The engine control room and the bridge both look brand new, despite the fact the ship is 16 years old. I can also say that Carnival takes food preparation and storage very seriously. The Outstanding - Chefs Table. $75 fee, but well worth the experience. Many will scoff at the idea of spending $75 on dinner when meals are included, especially on Carnival but this was far more than just a dinner. First off, wine and champaigne included. It was a gastronomical 7 course meal presented by the head Executive Chef on board. On the Imagination it was Russell Periera from India. His personality and presence, along with the food made the meal extremely enjoyable. A large table of 10 was set up someplace special (not going to give up the surprise). We were brought there after a brief galley tour and then a hands on demonstration on how chocolate melting cake is made. If you want to "upgrade" your Carnival experience, this is one way. A quick note, I reserved the Chefs table online through John Healds blog. I was contacted by the MaitreD and everything was very smoothly handled on board. The indifferent- Your Time Dining. On a short cruise its fine, but I would choose assigned seating on a longer cruise. I prefer the relationship thats built with the wait staff during the cruise. We always went during prime time and there was a line, but it moved quickly as they could greet and process people. I did not have to wait for a table once I got to the hosts stand. First night, service was slow, second night very good. No more Sushi on the Promenade Deck. Sushi is still served at different dining venues as it always has, but its been replaced with the "taste bar". Bad - No more live music on the Lido deck. Piped in music, or a live DJ. I enjoy live music. The weather, obviously Carnival cannot yet control this, but we sailed during Tropical Storm Isaac. Every day was very windy. Our call in Nassau was cut short (no problem for me, I would have been back on the ship anyway). All in all, I had fun. I was able to relax. I ate and ate. I had a nice 3 and 1/2 day mini vacation. Read Less
Sail Date August 2012
With many mixed reviews, I was a little nervous but the cruise exceeded my expectations. That being said, I will start with the negatives and then give all the positives: Negatives: We did the dining on your own time and the service ... Read More
With many mixed reviews, I was a little nervous but the cruise exceeded my expectations. That being said, I will start with the negatives and then give all the positives: Negatives: We did the dining on your own time and the service was fair at best. I think part of it may be that we went at 8 pm every night and the dining room was very full. Upon arrival, we had paid to have the room decorated for our friend's birthday and this was not done. We called about it and they never fixed it. The food for dinner was your average banquet fare and really had not flavor or originality. Nassau, Paradise Island is not the most exciting port Positives: The lunch and breakfast options were plenitiful and with action stations, the food seemed fresh, hot and tasty. Drinks were reasonably priced. The clubs/late night options on this cruise were excellent with great latin bands, karaoke contests, themed club nights, etc. there was always something fun to do. The gym and spa were both excellent with nice workout equipment and a great massage/facial. The serenity deck has wonderful lounge chairs, is adults only and has a great view off the back of the boat. The beds and pillows were the most comfortable I ever experienced on a cruise ship. Overall, a great cruise for the money and a wonderful time with friends. Read Less
Sail Date June 2012
Being the cruise junkies we are, we talked ourselves into doing a 3-night on Carnival, which has an overnight in Nassau, following a 4-night trip to Key West. We thought it would be fun to have a vacation after a vacation of sorts. We ... Read More
Being the cruise junkies we are, we talked ourselves into doing a 3-night on Carnival, which has an overnight in Nassau, following a 4-night trip to Key West. We thought it would be fun to have a vacation after a vacation of sorts. We knew that there was good possibility that this was going to be a party cruise for most and it was. Since we went into it knowing this we were prepared for it and had a great cruise experience. We're 40 with two kids 10 & 8, all seasoned cruisers and we don't cruise to party anymore, lol. Embarkation was super smooth. Arrived at port around 10:30, on by 11:30 lunch in Horizon Grill right away. Rooms were ready by around 1:30, some earlier. We took a last minute inside cabin on deck 7, Empress deck, room E33, they were ready by 1:30. Hadn't been on Carnival in a few years, the safety drill had changed quite a bit. No life vests, all show up in a designated area for safety instructions and then are walked by staff to your life boat. It was longer than any drill I've had on any ship. Part of it was due to the lack of people paying attention though,(the partying mode). Very loud, not quieting down when asked, it delayed things quite a bit, but they were having fun, lol. The food overall was as expected, they have a newer menu since our last Carnival Cruise on the Legend in Sept. of '08. I think it's a bit less fancy then it used to be, not necessarily a bad thing. They have an everyday side to the menu, then the changing side, including one item that is called, Didya ever, like Did you ever try... with items that people may not be accustomed to but would like to try, they were a shrimp dish, alligator and sushi on our trip. They also have one comfort food item every night as well, like beef brisket and mash for example. In the Horizon Grill, lots of variety, salads, the grill (burgers, chicken fingers, hot dogs), the Mongolian BBQ, near Grill (you choose your noodles, veggies, they take your bowl and add your choice of meat (beef/chicken/shrimp, one day (pork, chicken, mussels, etc.) then choose a sauce (Schezwan, most spicy, Thai BBQ, little spicy OR black bean, not spicy) They cook it all together and serve it up:-). Inside the Horizon was the Deli (Hot and Cold Sammies, long line), Pizza (24 hours) also served Caesar Salad, a themed line, first day Italian, 2nd was Caribbean, 3rd had to be American with more fried chicken, and a dessert table too. On this cruise elegant night was the 2nd evening. We docked overnight in Nassau tonight. I would say about 10% actually dressed close to formal, others in simple dress & slacks and many in day clothes, just in case you were curious. I didn't think the dress would be followed on a 3-night and was correct which was nice for a change, especially on such a short cruise. They served Maine Lobster and Prime Rib tonight. The Waterworks area is were we spent most of the time, our kids, well and my dh, loved it! One big tall twisty slide and two side by side racers. The pool area on Lido deck is very small and was always packed, and I mean packed, well on sea day anyway. Not so much on port day which is when we took a dip in the hot tub. Sea day the pool area is loud, packed and non-stop party. So if that's what you're looking for, it's here:-). We sat at the bar down there for about 45 minutes, in the corner watching the action. High energy, fun to witness. Tried Carnival's new home-brew Red Frog, liked it a lot. Kids got virgin fancy drinks, pina/strawberry and our daughter tried the banana split smoothie, no one liked it, the bartender made her something else, no problem. We loved the bartender at the bar above the Spirit Dining Room, Ronald I think. He remembered us and what we had and asked if wanted our 'usual' right when we sat down when he saw us the 2nd time. Very cool! Nice guy. ***TiPPing NOte*** We like to tip above the added 15% for good service and on the receipts there is no tip line, so we asked. You can still add it there and re-total, then sign. The 15% already added goes into a pool for all bartenders at that bar, the extra addons go directly to that bartender! Oh, we got Anytime Dining, worked out fine for folks like us arriving between 6:45 and 7:15, but at around 7:30 the line started forming and by 8 it wrapped around the atrium with a long wait. I spoke to staff member and she said this always happened on the 3-night, to arrive by 7 for no wait. Couple of things that threw me: At dinner there was a family with the father and son rocking out with an I-Pod, both plugged in, the table next to us broke out a moderately loud battery operated dancing stuffed chihuahua to entertain her toddler. Did this twice. The cabin next to ours had a full on party in it the first night around 2am, must have been several cabins conjoining in one. Very load singing, pounding on something to the beat, thought they'd come through the walls, VERY loud, luckily it only lasted about 15 minutes or so. Just enough to wake the dead. The next night it was much earlier, but they were fighting, really fighting, knocking into the hallway walls right outside our door. One or two others trying to pull it apart. Nuts! Nothing on night 3:-). The beds though, the most comfy on any cruise, wish we could have slept in them peacefully. I do love the cabin space on Carnival. We had a balcony stateroom recently on the Jewel of the Seas (RCCL) that was so much smaller than our inside on this ship. Overall it was a good time, it is what you make of it after all and it was a cruise:-). Debarkation was smooth too. Chose to eat in dining room, took our time and were off by 9:45. Read Less
Sail Date May 2012
Booked a 3-day cruise celebrating our wedding anniversary through Carnival website. Involved research (tripadvisor.com,travelocity.com,cruisecritic.com)and price comparisons proved website offered best price and which cabin would suit our ... Read More
Booked a 3-day cruise celebrating our wedding anniversary through Carnival website. Involved research (tripadvisor.com,travelocity.com,cruisecritic.com)and price comparisons proved website offered best price and which cabin would suit our wants. We did splurge ($1,050 total for both of us)for a Jr. suite with balcony and this entitled us to VIP embarkation at 11am. The VIP status meant that we were ushered straight from security into a private VIP lounge inside the terminal (away from the masses) and then being ushered as a group of 10 onto the ship first. This was very nice as it allowed us to be led straight to the dining room for lunch and then practically have the entire ship to explore by ourselves for 2 hours as other passengers were let onboard in batches. I am very discriminating (picky!)when it comes to shelling out hard-earned bucks for vacation. I was pleasantly surprised that is was better than expected. Carnival has perfected the mass cruise experience and some affectionately call it the "Walmart of Cruising" - I gotta say, sometimes Walmart just has everything you are looking for! CABIN:Our suite was on the Verandah deck(level 11 - 2 decks from top and very near aft) - pre-cruise I was concerned about noise since I knew that this would be same level as waterpark on other end of ship. I really tried to hear some noise from our balcony and just couldn't hear anything except the lap of waves against the side of the ship. Couldn't even hear neighbors. Minor complaint about room - although all suites are non-smoking it is allowed on balconies. Upon entering our cabin we both immediately detected (as non-smokers we are very sensitive to it!)cigarette smoke indicating that whoever had just vacated had clearly not honored the code. We propped the balcony door open occasionally and it was tolerable. Had requested bed to be king set-up and linens were comfortable. Bed was slightly firmer than we like, but just our preference and wasn't uncomfortable. Flat screen tv offered several movie channels plus the standard local channels and a few Carnival specific stations. There is a close-circuit channel to watch different parts of the ship. 2 closets, 7 drawers, desk/table top, small couch (could fold out to double). Bathroom is really tiny - functionable, but tiny. Surprised there wasn't a hair dryer. Shower had built in shampoo/soap dispensers. Balcony was an interesting mix of Jenga and musical chairs to truly enjoy! There were 2 chairs and a small table, but a careful manipulation of "open door-scootch out-close door-shimmy over to chair-sit down" was required for 2 people to use balcony at same time. FOOD: Horizon Grill is the buffet area of the ship and serves breakfast, lunch and dinner on a serve yourself buffet. Choices were decent - always a beef, chicken and fish option with assorted sides for lunch and dinner. Breakfast was pre-made scrambled eggs, waffles, pancakes, bacon, etc. There is a made-to-order omelet station - we had every day and its good! -Salad and dessert bar. Custom Pizza and hot/cold sandwich stations are in middle. Self-serve water, coffee, lemonade, tea and fruit juice stations with a Bar located in rear. We didn't have any issues finding something to eat that tasted good. There is a snack grill located at entrance to Horizon Grill. This line serves Mongolian Wok made to order (very tasty!) and burgers, hot dogs, carving station (turkey) and sides. This seemed to be the popular kids spot since it is also next to pool and the line could get a little long. You could take all meals buffet style in the Horizon Grill if you choose. In addition, all passengers are also assigned to a dining room if you prefer to sit and have service - It was nice because it also serves a different menu than the buffet fare - depending on which time you choose: early - 6pm, late 8:15 or Choose your own time - between 5:45 - 9 - we didn't want to get tied down to a time so we (and everyone who chose it as well) were assigned to the Pride dining room. Smaller version of the big dining room and Probably accommodates 100 passengers at a time. Minor complaint - Hostess assigns you to a table based on if you choose to be seated alone or with other passengers. 1st night we were seated literally next to the silverware, plate prep galley and it was very noisy. 2nd night they attempted to seat us at the exact same table, but I objected and we were seated at a table for 2 that was right up close and personal to the table for 4 next to it! Server was pleasant and the menu choices were adequate and varied by night: Choices of Starter: soup, snails!, salad,alligator fritters, shrimp cocktail Main: Lobster, prime rib, chicken, Beef Brisket, Pork tenderloin, fish dish and came with vegetables. There is also a constant evening menu of comfort foods: fried chicken, cheeseburger, mac-n-cheese, etc. Dessert: cheesecake, diet option, icecream and the delicious chocolate melty cake. POOL/HOT TUBS: Smallish pool with adjoining 2 hot tubs that were predominately occupied by kids. Plenty of chairs upper and lower to overlook pool. We used the Adults only Serenity section of ship. Very quiet location at front of ship. Only place that had comfy chairs with cushions and umbrellas plus 2 hot tubs. Again grown ups only - one couple tried to sneak their 3 toddlers into hot tub and probably would have been allowed to stay, but the parents made no attempt to quiet the kids as they screamed and yelled without abandon. Several couples complained to the steward and parents and kids were politely asked to leave. Waterpark was very cool with a short, medium and long slide for all age groups. Chairs up there too. GYM: Yes, we brought workout clothes. Important to note we ARE NOT exercise nuts, but since we knew we would be overindulging every day we tried to leverage a little less guilt by visiting the gym everyday for a few minutes. Gym was well-equipped and never felt crowded ;-) there were elliptical, treadmills, bikes, circuit machines, free weights and sign up classes There is a full cushioned track on the deck above the gym which offers a nice, breezy walk. The putt-putt golf is in the middle section of the track.- Minor complaint: The Spa fronts the gym so unless you learn to sneak in the back door to the gym (like we learned on Day 1)you must get thru the somewhat pushy Spa salesgirls - we expected to be "hit up" to buy stuff on the cruise, but didn't expect the pushiest would be the Spa workers! I might have been interested in a service, but was so turned off by the pushiness that I declined all services. ENTERTAINMENT: We saw the "Shout" show and it was ok. Very non-extravagant, but works for a free show. They offer different game shows with passengers that you can watch or get picked to participate in. The Marriage game is not PG rated, so don't take kids. Questions are definitely adult material and questions can get VERY risque depending on how much the participants have had to drink (funny for us tho!) The Trivia game is mild and still funny so kids can watch. Bingo is $20 per card unless you hit the 2-for-1 special early in the cruise. We didn't play, but they sold it as a $5,000 jackpot event. We did visit casino and played a little poker. Game is on an automated 10-seat table called Poker Pro. You use your Sail-N-Sign Cruise card to load money and plan poker or any other game (blackjack, slots, craps, etc.) Poker has a bit of a stiff 15% rake which applies if players exceed 3. It was fun, tho. Overall, there were plenty of events to participate in if you wanted and they ran all day and most of night. NOTE: kids clubs looked like kids were enjoying. Clubs were diversified by age group from 5 years old up to teenagers. I looked closely at these because I wanted to insure if I put my kids in there next time that supervision was adequate and activities were plentiful. Again, looked to be well-enjoyed by all age groups and well supervised. Small fee to use. There is also a game room with about 6-8 games (air hockey, driving games, claw-drop win toys thing and others. You have to buy tokens.PHOTOS: oh man, do they take some pictures! I understand that it is a huge moneymaker, but they are everywhere. A polite "no thank you" was all it took to get them to leave you alone and after a couple of times they learned to recognize us and didn't even bother asking :-) Aside from a dress-up for dinner picture, we didn't need a picture commemorating our every experience onboard. We did see lots of folks spending lots of money on lots of pictures tho! CREW: Never encountered a single hard-to-understand or negative one! As in life, a little politeness carried us a long way and we did have crew members remember us and go out of their way (we felt) to make sure we were comfortable. A shout out to our meticulous cabin steward, Nicole, who really did remember our names several hours after only hearing it once! Her nightly turn-down service occurred promptly at 6pm with ice bucket filled, towels replenished and cute animal towels and chocolates adding a nice touch. She blessed us with a cute heart-shaped towel design on our anniversary. ALCOHOL/SOFT DRINK TAB: We knew going in that these were extra and could add up easily. We made a conscious decision to only drink free stuff with meals and save a glass of wine for dinner - We found prices to be comparable to a hotel($8 ea. for KJ chardonnay)and frozen drink ($8 ea.) for a special treat with gratuity already added. Our tab for 2 people at 3 days was $48. I did see a couple whose total bar bill included a COMMA in it - so keep tabs: easy to do because there are several machines that let you check balance - we found accuracy to be within an hour of charge. DEBARKATION: We went a little rogue with this and it worked out for us. Since we had purposely packed light (each had a carry-on size suitcase since we flew to Miami) we knew that we could skip the luggage collection the night before the end and probably carry off our own stuff. There was time in the morning to pack, eat breakfast and VIP status got us escorted off ship first at 8:30 am. Waiting with the masses could have potentially kept us onboard until 10:30 and then waiting for luggage to show up on the other side of customs. We walked off the ship, straight thru customs, past the very pushy airport shuttle bus people (!) who wanted $18 a head plus the honor of sitting there waiting for them to fill the 50 passenger thing up. Instead we hopped straight into a taxi who got us directly to airport for $25 total. I tell ya', if you can swing the VIP upgrade thing it is a very nice treat! HOTEL: We did fly into Miami night before because we didn't want to risk late flights, headache, etc. Thorough research landed us at the airport LaQuinta on Le Jeune Rd. Taxi there cost $10 and took 6 minutes. Late flight arrival (11:55pm) and this was perfect because since we carried on luggage we were literally out of airport and in bed within 45 minutes of arriving in Miami. NOTE - LaQuinta offers free shuttle from airport BUT ends at 11pm. Decent accommodations at $105/night - which is all we needed for a 12-hour stay - with standard minor stuff. Surprisingly, the bed was very comfortable with pillow top mattress and nice linens! Huh?! FREE Continental breakfast included typical cereals, waffles, coffee, bagels,etc. Alot of cruisers stayed here and the best part (aside from bed ;-) was FREE shuttle to Port of Miami - took about 30 minutes to get there and dropped each of us at our ship -so no walking. Really no need to pay more for hotel closer to ship unless you really want to see downtown or beach for upwards of $200++ per night. FINAL THOUGHT: This cruise was meant for us to dip-our-toe in the water and see if it would be a good fit for our family next time. 3 days was really plenty of time to see that it would be a great time for all. As with anything, if you look for fault, you will find it. If you look for a very lovely, peaceful experience you will receive it. Happy cruising! Read Less
Sail Date March 2012
The vessel: Very 80's in terms of decor but in a charming way. Very clean and comfortable, no complains there. Sleeping Accommodations: great, comfortable very clean! Wonderful housekeeping attendants. Remembered us by name and ... Read More
The vessel: Very 80's in terms of decor but in a charming way. Very clean and comfortable, no complains there. Sleeping Accommodations: great, comfortable very clean! Wonderful housekeeping attendants. Remembered us by name and were very polite ( that's about it for the potness of the crew, well with the exception of the entertaminet crew). Dining: we were assigned to dine at the Pride Dining room, unfortunately both food and service were far from perfect. It seemed as the restaurant stuff did not enjoy their job and took out the frustrations on the diners. No smiles, just bad attitudes. We have been witted in the same section for both nights (third night we opted not to dine there any longer and chose the pizza instead) the main waiter was ok, the coctail waitress was either really poorly trained or just didn't care i have not heard to please and thank you, the entire time, more of "you want a drink?". I did not expect a 5 star dining experience but just a tad more effort would have been appreciated. There was no one there to a dress it with. Entertaiment: it was definitely fun! The entertaiment crew worked hard and did their job well, we have seen most of the shows, went clubbing, participated in contests, relaxed by the pool, jogged on the olimpic track, played pingpong, beanbag toss and cheered on Giants during the super bowl on a giant projector screen in the dynasty lounge. The best deal on the alcohol are hands down bear buckets, there are waiters constantly serving signature cocktails (different every day) with about $8.00 per drink price tags. Excursions: we chose the "sail and snorkel" trip and had an amazing time! I highly recommend it if you are feeling adventurous. We relaxed on our way there, took some beautiful sights of the coral reef, and danced sipping on rum drinks our way back to the port. Our goal was to relax and have a great time, which we did. If only the service would put in more effort it would have been perfect vacation! Read Less
Sail Date February 2012
Carnival makes it extremely easy to get onboard! A swipe of your passport and we were off to the get our card key at the next checkin. The staff was so happy and upbeat, you would have thought they were going on vacation with us! Although ... Read More
Carnival makes it extremely easy to get onboard! A swipe of your passport and we were off to the get our card key at the next checkin. The staff was so happy and upbeat, you would have thought they were going on vacation with us! Although the stateroom was larger then the last time we cruised (on another cruise line), the room was more then suitable. This room actually had room to put your suitcase on the floor. It contained a stool, chair and night table in addition to the double bed. The bathroom was "spacious" compared to our last experience and had a fashionable sink, with free samples and coupons in a bowl. The room and bathroom were very clean with decent linens and pillows. The in-room safe runs off your key card which was very convenient. Food is where Carnival jumps to the front of the line. We did back to back cruises on this trip, so the difference in food quality was obvious (at least between NCL and Carnival). The buffet is very well laid out with little duplication. The dishes changed daily and the quality of food was excellent. We ate in the dining room a few times, but were always comfortable to go back to the buffet. The staff cleaned up the tables immediately to prohibit the birds from coming in for a "snack". This was more of a problem when we were in port, but the service was always delivered with a smile. The soft serve machine was 24 hours and offered both ice cream and yogurt. The only complaint I had with the food was the choice of baked goods. The variety was good, but they were lacking something. As for the low points to this cruise: From the moment we boarded we were approached to buy something. Reminded me of being on the beach in Mexico! Everything from wine packages, photos, art, to drinks of the day.....someone wanted to sell me something! It got a little annoying after awhile, and by the third day it was not as much of an issue. The daily drink served in the coconut for a mere $15 had a sticker on the bottom saying it was "made in China". We were disappointed with the variety of shows or lack there of. Other cruise lines offer much better entertainment. The comedian at the "adult comedy" was tired and cranky. He alienated much of the audience and even he didn't appear to be having a good time. The worst experience I had was in the spa. There are no robes, no relaxing experience to be had here. The spa is not run by the cruise line, but when it came to hawking products, this massage therapist was on a mission. The session began with an interview (or consultation) that took up massage time. I told her I wanted my neck and shoulders massaged because they were very tense and "knotty". I think she hit the shoulder and neck a few times, but seemed more intent on massaging my lower back. At the end of the massage, we sat again for another "meeting" and she told me that my shoulders and neck were very tense and knotty. She recommended that I purchase two (expensive) products to solve the problem. I suspect that they are paid a good commission for selling these products. Don't waste your time in the spa. Its overpriced and the emphasis isn't on the massage, but on the sale of products. My husband spent his time in the casino. Although small, he enjoyed it and even won a few dollars! Did we have a good time? Yes! It was relaxing, the ship was clean and the food was delicious. There is a wonderful quiet "adult area" called Serenity in the back of the boat. Cushioned lounge chairs, and a nice space to get out of the sun when you have had enough. One of my favorite places to read and sunbath! Read Less
Sail Date January 2012
We went on a three day Christmas cruise filled with families and first time cruisers. This was our first cruise in nine years. We booked a porthole room which was adequate and the same size as the ocean view rooms. There is always a lot to ... Read More
We went on a three day Christmas cruise filled with families and first time cruisers. This was our first cruise in nine years. We booked a porthole room which was adequate and the same size as the ocean view rooms. There is always a lot to do and the "people watching' on the pool deck is always interesting.Shore excursion to Atlantis was OK.. too much money for what it was,, take a taxi and go yourself. The food was good, but my memory was that the food used to be a little more gourmet, but it was tasty and well presented. I felt the 6:00 seating was a little rushed for dinner. The late seating which we previously had was better paced between courses. One dining room had assigned seating which we had, and it appeared to have better organization. The other dining room was open seating and at times there were lines. Also the open seating dining room served breakfast and lunch. They appeared short staffed for the pampering I expected, with coffee cups not being refilled without asking. Some of the entrees for breakfast were like McDonald's food.. like the hash brown potatoes... but we learned what to order. At lunch we complained that our server had not approached us in over 15 minutes and the host took our order directly. buffet was good with long lines. The music was loud and we prefer quiet soft background lounge music, and we found a bar that met our needs. The shows were spectacular with the best dancing I have seen on a cruise.. Broadway caliber.The acoustics were too loud and need to be altered for the size of the room. The debarkation had some glitches in that we were not at the usual terminal.there was along wait to get our bags and we stood in line for a while, although we were traveling with VIP guests that were supposed to be the first to leave the ship. I assume they have ironed out the issues in operations. All in all, we had a great time, and I recommend the cruise, but don't expect perfection.. This is a nice, short cruise at moderate prices and good value, and you will like it with that attitude and approach. Read Less
Sail Date December 2011
I used my reward points to book a Grand Suite, U73. VIP boarding was fantastic. Entered the building at 10:50am showed our booking info. Employee saw the VIP and escorted us to the VIP lounge. In the lounge, we presented our info again and ... Read More
I used my reward points to book a Grand Suite, U73. VIP boarding was fantastic. Entered the building at 10:50am showed our booking info. Employee saw the VIP and escorted us to the VIP lounge. In the lounge, we presented our info again and within the minute, we were again escorted into the VIP lounge. 11:20 we were allowed to board the ship. The welcome lunch was empty and we enjoyed a great meal. Room was claen and great, only saw our steward 3 times in the hall. TV was terrible, apprx 26 channels, 20 of which were ship channels. Complementary movies(?) were old and repeated. I did not go to watch tv, but would prefer some decent shows to fill the idle hours. Really bad. Breakfast in the Lido was hit or miss. Better get there eaely as it closes at 10:30 and if you are not in the omelet line, they have a placard that sez buffet closed, and they mean closed. At 10:30, there was still a loooonnng line waiting to enter the main lines to get food. Possibly this was caused by the employy that stands guard over the baco, only handing out 2 small pcs and when you asked for more, you needed an FBI agent to pry it loose. Seriously, the server just did not want to give more than 2 pcs. The anytime dining was great except the service was real slow. Food taste and presentation was excellent. Shows were just ok. No chair hogs in sight. debarkation as VIP was fast and ezy, was in a cab by 8:30. Keep in mind, this was my view and your may be different Read Less
Sail Date August 2011
The Carnival Imagination was better than we expected from reading other reviews. But it was far from perfect. It is an older ship but has been remodeled. There were reviews that said there were terrible smells etc... We did not experience ... Read More
The Carnival Imagination was better than we expected from reading other reviews. But it was far from perfect. It is an older ship but has been remodeled. There were reviews that said there were terrible smells etc... We did not experience that. However, the public bathrooms were small and not as clean as they could be considering the number of people on board. For instance on the Lido deck there was 1 bathroom near the pool/bar area and there were only 2 stalls. Hard to keep clean with 2200 people on board. It was often difficult to find a table that was clean to eat at on the Lido deck as well. Not sure if that was because the ship was full and they were understaffed or what. These are minor details that we thought were annoying. We also felt the layout of the ship was a little confusing. Took us awhile to find the shopping on board as well as some of the lounges.However, we felt this was a good ship to travel with children. The Water works area was very family friendly with plenty of deck chairs for mom and dad while kids play in the water areas. We even jumped in on the action and went down the slides with the kids. Our 11 yr. old spent alot of time there. Plus the water slides are not salt water, which she really liked. The activities they provide in Camp Carnival were excellent was well. She made a few friends and really enjoyed the counselors. Our 16 yr old son, had a good time, but didn't hang out in the teen area much because there wasn't a whole lot he enjoyed. He hung out with us more than anything. He was interested in girl hunting and the girls did not go to the teen activities much. So if you are taking kids, good choice esp. for the value!The shows were good, we went to the Punch Liner Comedy club and really enjoyed the atmosphere and the shows. We found some things that weren't over the top great but I would do it all again!Enjoy! Read Less
Sail Date May 2011
Intro: This was a hastily scheduled cruise, booked about one week in advance. My wife and I were previously booked on a 7 day cruise on Carnival Legend in November, but it had to be cancelled due to my wife's employment changes. So ... Read More
Intro: This was a hastily scheduled cruise, booked about one week in advance. My wife and I were previously booked on a 7 day cruise on Carnival Legend in November, but it had to be cancelled due to my wife's employment changes. So to make it up to ourselves, we took two 3 day cruises before the start of her new job. One was on Monarch of the Seas on June 18, and the other on Carnival Imagination on July 2, 2010. It has been a running joke between us that the Imagination is our "stalker" ship. This came about since she has been in port with us at least once on many cruises we have taken. So it seemed like a good time to give her a try and be able to say that we have "been on that one too". My wife and I drove down to Fort Lauderdale the night before the cruise and stayed at the Mariott North hotel. My labor union has held conferences there in the past, so I was happy when Hotwire gave us a great rate for the night. For anyone looking for a hotel in a decent area, I recommend the Mariott North Lauderdale. It's a nice place right off I-95 with a big pool area, plus there are many restaurants near by. The drive to the pier the next day only took about 40 minutes. Embarkation: As I have before, I will continue my praise for the VIP embarkation at the Port of Miami. We got to the terminal around 10-ish and were in the VIP Lounge in no time. As soon as they began boarding we got right on and were some of the first on the ship. It is such an easy and pleasant process; I just wish Miami was closer for us. The Ship: Having done so many of my cruises on other Fantasy Class ships, it felt like coming home when I stepped onto Imagination. The ship's interiors are still in good shape after her fifteen years in service. There were several places where the carpet had become tattered and needed replacing, but she was very clean and in mostly good repair. Central on Empress Deck is the lobby of the ship, which is also the bottom floor of the expansive Grand Atrium. A lobby bar, guest relations (the Purser's desk), the shore excursions desk and the internet cafe can all be found there. One floor up on Atlantic Deck one finds both of the main dining rooms (Pride forward, and Spirit aft), a piano bar, library, shopping area, and the first floor of the main theater. I usually make it a point to visit the piano bar frequently on a cruise, but for some reason we never made it in there this time. Moving up from Atlantic is the Imagination Promenade. This is the main entertainment area and is home to the casino, two dance clubs, a cigar bar, and the main theater's balcony. A smaller theater is located aft on this deck, which is used mostly for karaoke and comedy shows. At the very back of Promenade Deck is the Serenity area. This is an adult only sunning deck with its own hot tubs. The staff generally does a good job kicking out interloping children. The exception was at night, when the area was still open but there was no attendant to be found. Once the crewman was gone, I saw several teens in the hot tubs. Above Promenade is the Lido Deck. It is home to the ship's only pool. It is easy to tell that it is the lone pool, as it gets so crowded you can scarcely see that there is water in it. I enjoy swimming, but not with a school bus load of kids. One medium sized pool is simply not enough for 2000+ people to share. The two hot tubs that flank the pool were equally packed; I counted 10 children in one on the last sea day. With that many bodies on such a hot day sitting in hot water for hours on end, it becomes less a hot tub and more a human soup cauldron. When Carnival had the Evolutions of Fun upgrades done to the Fantasy Class ships it eliminated the aft pool in favor of the Waterworks area. In theory this was a good idea. Have a big pool in the middle for adults, a water park in back for the kiddies. In practice, it seems much less logical. Kids still want to swim. So now the Waterworks is full up, as is the only pool. This leaves no pool for the adults to enjoy. It would have made much more sense to leave the aft pool in place and wrap the water park around it; thus containing the children, more or less, to one area. Also on Lido deck is the Horizon Grill buffet area. As usual the food was adequate and plentiful. One of my favorite features on the Fantasy Class ships is the exterior lanai area on the back and to the sides of the buffet. It offers panoramic views while enjoying a meal. On the newer ships, the aft Lido area is enclosed due to the sliding dome. Above the buffet on Veranda Deck is the aforementioned Carnival Waterworks. It has one large "Twister" slide and two smaller racing slides. These slides are accessed by climbing up one deck to the former (topless!) wrap-around funnel deck. At the front of that deck is the ship's spa and gym. The spa also has steam and sauna rooms, plus an aerobics room. I am a little resentful of the aerobics room, since the space it occupies used to house two hot tubs. They were a favorite locale of mine, since very few people knew about them. They were almost always empty, which allowed for uninterrupted relaxation. At the very top of the ship is the mini golf course. I did not have occasion to use it this cruise, but it looked like it was still in good shape. The Cabin: Our stateroom was M269 located on main deck aft. It was an ocean view room that looks out of the ships' stern. The view of the wake was nice, but the quiet location was better still. Apparently the cabin area hallways and stairwells are the new cool hangout for kids and teens. They could be found there into the wee hours of the morning. We were constantly bobbing and weaving through them to get back and forth from our room. Thankfully, our room was off the rear hallway so it was pleasantly deserted most times. I can't even fathom how horrid it would be in a room nearer to the elevator lobbies. That seemed to be where the greatest concentrations were. Our room was always kept clean by our excellent steward. We did experience moderate noise from the stern thrusters and rope winches, but it wasn't bad enough to be bothersome. Dining: We were assigned to a two seat table in the Spirit Dining Room for the 8:15 seating. Our servers worked very hard and the food was good overall. The fish on the first night was overcooked, and the steak was nearly raw. But the food on the second and third nights was done extremely well. In fact, the onion soup and crab cake appetizers on the last night were the best I have yet had on a Carnival ship. In regards to the serving team, they seemed very overworked. Usually one or both of them will stop by and chat for a little while each night. On this cruise it was like watching the Roadrunner serve us. Usually when I order two appetizers or entrees they bring them out one by one. But in this case the waiter simply set them down side by side, and then left the used plates there until the next course came. There have been many rumors about Carnival downsizing their wait staff, this cruise seemed to validate them. The other passengers may have also been at fault. Many came strolling into the dining room 30 minutes late expecting to be seated. What really blew my mind is that they were seated! Initially I thought they were Anytime Dining people, but our waiter told us the forward dining room was set aside for that. Dining on the lido was typically decent, but not outstanding. My only complaint about the buffet area is that the crew really needs to police the exterior areas better for dirty dishes and tables. At times it was difficult to locate a clean table on the lanai areas. Entertainment: We did not attend any of the shows, so I can't comment on their quality. I did go to the R-rated comedy show on the first night, but didn't stay long. The guy who performed on the last night was better, and we stayed for the whole show. Nassau: My wife is a part time travel agent, so she was able to get us into Sandals Royal Bahamian for the day. After a short bus trip to the resort we were poolside in a few minutes. The resort is one of their older and smaller ones, but it was very nice and super clean. Their pools were huge, and the swim-up bars are always nice. I highly recommend it if you are looking for a land vacation and don't have kids (it's a couples only retreat). Behind the Fun! On the last day we took the Behind the Fun tour of the ship. The cost was $55 per person, and started in the library at 9:15. Carnival laid out a nice selection of pastries and hot beverages in the library for us to enjoy before the tour. There were only 6 of us that showed up, so it was a small group since the maximum is 16. Our first stop was the galley. After many trips through galleys this was not new ground. What was interesting was that the crew was still working, finishing up the breakfast service for the Spirit Dining Room. On most galley tours it is not active and is staged for the guests. On this trip we got to see a little of the chaos. At the end of the galley tour we were shown how the chocolate covered strawberries are made, and each given one to try! Next was a trip downstairs to deck 2 and a brief glimpse into the engine room. We could not go see the engines due to the extreme heat and dangerous machinery. But a crewman was coming out, so our guide held the door open so we could peek in. The heat was outrageous; it had to be 115+ degrees. The poor guys coming out were drenched in sweat, so keep them in mind when enjoying a cruise. After that we headed to the laundry area and saw the massive washers, dryers, and folding machines. On deck 3, we visited the food storage areas and beverage coolers. We also spent a good deal of time in the engine control room and were given a presentation by the ship's Chief Engineer. Moving forward we visited the waste incinerator, crew galley, crew dining rooms and the crew training area. The Imagination is one of Carnival's "college ships", so there was a group of new bartenders going through class there. We then visited the infirmary. After that we moved up to Lido Deck for the highlight of the tour, a visit to the bridge! On the bridge we were shown the many control areas that the officers use. We also had a presentation from the Captain, and a Q&A session with him. A photographer was brought in, and we got to have a private photo with him. The ship's wheelhouse is a very interesting place; I was so excited to finally be in one. A little extra perk was when the ship's Quartermaster made a course change, taking the ship off auto pilot and actually steering it. Our guide told us that it was one of the few times that one of her groups has gotten to see a manual course correction. We then went down to Atlantic Deck to see the backstage areas of the main theater. We were shown the cast's dressing rooms and the stage control area. After seeing the backstage area on Freedom of the Seas, I was amazed at how much smaller it was on Imagination. It is truly amazing that the cast and sets can change so quickly with so little space to work in. We then walked down to Empress Deck and were allowed access the ship's forecastle, seeing the spare anchor, the ships bell, the crew's tiny swimming pool, and their smoking area. We also got to see the crew lounge. There was a list of crew parties that were upcoming, one of which was a "boxer shorts and underwear" party. From the looks of it, they have more fun than the passengers sometimes! That wrapped up the tour, and we ended at the piano bar around noon. We got to keep our Behind the Fun lanyards, and also got baseball caps. Later that day they delivered our pictures along with a plate of chocolate covered strawberries. For $55 the tour was a great bargain. Anyone interested in the behind the scenes of a cruise ship should definitely consider it! Debarkation: We awoke at around 8 am and had breakfast in the main dining room as usual. Normally we just wait for everyone else to get off and then leave when they do last call. But we had a long drive ahead, so I wanted to get to it. A crew member let us merge into the self-assist passenger's line since we missed the priority debarkation that they offer Platinum guests. We were off the ship fairly quickly. The customs area was divided into halves, US citizens and non-US citizens. The non-US citizen side was completely jam packed. Surprisingly the US citizen side was almost empty! We walked through in about 10 seconds. Final Thoughts: Due to the employment changes listed above, we had to break one of our cardinal rules of cruising: Never cruise during the summer season! This rule was completely validated by the hordes of kids and teens on this cruise. They were not so bad that it caused us stress, but the clientele on an "off season" cruise suits us much better. The service was great, and the ship was very nice overall. This was an enjoyable cruise, but I think that we will probably stick to ships leaving out of Tampa or Port Canaveral for short cruises in the future. Both of those ports are within a two hour drive from our house. The 4+ hour drive to Miami washes out the attractive lower fares, so a return to Imagination may not be likely if she stays in South Florida. Still, it was a fun time and I am happy we finally met our "stalker". For those interested in seeing pictures, there are many included in my message board posting of this review. Here is the link to it: http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1232183 Read Less
Sail Date July 2010
This was our 10th cruise and our third with Carnival. We are a couple in our mid 30's and enjoy cruising. This one was our family spring vacation with our kids; our son is seven (7) and our daughter is fourteen (14). We live in ... Read More
This was our 10th cruise and our third with Carnival. We are a couple in our mid 30's and enjoy cruising. This one was our family spring vacation with our kids; our son is seven (7) and our daughter is fourteen (14). We live in Florida and it only took us 3.5 hour drive to the port; however, there some type of event close to the port and the traffic was awful. We arrived to the port, parked across the street in covered garage (A++). Getting our Sail Fun Cards was a breeze. Carnival offers a "Kiosk" check in if you are a U.S citizen and have filled out your paper work ahead of time. Checking in took us less than 2 minutes. Ship: Once on board we attempted to get lunch; however, they stop severing lunch at 5:00pm so we had to skip lunch. We walked around and explored the ship. Although the ship is more than 15 years old the remodel made it look revitalized. We participated in the "Muster" drill which was a simple as they do not have you get your life vest from the room and put it on and herd you like cattle. Instead we went to a lounge and saw a crew member show how to wear the life vest in case of an emergency. Kudos to Carnival for this easy process! The ship was clean; however, the old cabaret theme lingers through out the ship. The casino was nice; however, not a lot of slot machine selections. We made do and won a little money. Stateroom: Was very clean and non-smelly. Our bags were in our room when we got there. Our room was located on the Main deck. The room had a full size bed, a pull down bunk and they brought in a fold out bed for my son. The bathroom was roomy and we had no problem with the size of the room. We had several issues with our neighbors as they would argue every night at around 3:00am; this was not pleasant. Food: The food was great at the Horizon's Grill; however, they have not children's selection which at times our son would have to choose things he liked which were not a lot. There is a pizza station along with a sandwich station which was great. Our son and daughter loved the unlimited ice cream station. The food selection was pretty good and they food looked and tasted fresh. On our sea day we had food from the outside grill (hamburgers and hotdogs) which were good for a quick bite. Port: When we arrived in the Bahamas our son was not feeling great so we were not able to go on shore. We have been to the Bahamas numerous times and it was no big deal for us but my son really wanted to go to Atlantis. My wife and daughter got off the boat and went to the straw market and bought a couple of things and then stopped by to get something to drink at Senor Frogs and they had a good time. Activities: This ship was one of the ones in which Carnival gave a makeover and put water slides for kids and called it "Water Works." Don't let the name fool you there is one (1) tube slide and two (2) smaller slides. The down fall to this is that they are open from 9-5, however, when we went to use on the sea day they did not open the slides until 10:30 am because they were cleaning the decks.... The staff bar attendants were few and it took a while to get your drinks. The youth camp is small and did not let us inside to see what they had to offer if our child was not registered. Well to say the least my son did not want to stay as he did not see what they had to do. This was a shame! Entertainment: This was not good at all, hardly any shows or things to do. There was one show a night and it was not promoted so you did not know when it was on unless you read you daily itinerary. They could do a better job. Debarkation: We arrived to Miami at 7:30am and we were off the ship by 9:00am. We carried our bags out and made it very simple. They had it well organized and it was not hard to get off the ship. U.S. Customs was a breeze and we were on our way back home by 9:15am. Summary: Overall we had a good time; although our son did not feel well. The ship was good for the money and the staff was friendly and polite. Our experience was good and we would cruise on this ship again. Read Less
Sail Date March 2010
I cruised once before on Carnival Fantasy to Nassau. This time I went with my sister and 2 neices (ages 2 and 17). We got a steal through Priceline for our hotel. I fly space available (work at an airline) and did not realize it was even ... Read More
I cruised once before on Carnival Fantasy to Nassau. This time I went with my sister and 2 neices (ages 2 and 17). We got a steal through Priceline for our hotel. I fly space available (work at an airline) and did not realize it was even Superbowl weekend (2/5-2/8) when we booked the cruise about 2 weeks before. Traveling on special occasion or holiday weekends are usually a no no for "non rev" (non-revenue employee) passengers. We decided to get to Miami the night before so I bid $47 for a 3 star which was accepted by Residence Inn. I am a frequent traveler with Marriot and had already checked the site, rooms were $179 if you were AAA or AARP. I was shocked that they accepted my bid. Their shuttle picked us up at the airport. We had a nice sized suite with a separate sitting and bed area. The hot breakfast was great and saved us a lot of money. We decided not to check out until noon. The front desk called a cab and for $24 and 10 or so minutes we were at the port. The port was very nice. Easy to just walk in, line less than 10 minutes. You will check in again as if it's the airport. We did not let the porter take our bags as you have to wait for them later to be delivered to your room and we wanted to sit by the pool. We had entered most of the information online and were able to use the kiosk until we ran into a problem and an agent assisted us with the rest of check in. We went up an escalator and waited in a short line for pictures. This is the first of many times they will take your picture. It doesn't cost anything when you take it. We got a kick out of looking at the passengers pictures later. There was a bit of walking up the platforms. I paid close attention as my parents are cruising for the first time this year and they are seniors. Embarkation was easy and pretty fast. The lobby type are where guest services is and a small bar looks a little Vegas/Atlantic City. I don't mind that aesthetic. My family gets a kick out of it. We were looking around and a Carnival associate asked if we needed help so we asked where food was and she directed us to the Lido deck. We ended up getting hamburgers, fries, lemonade, and other samples from the buffet. The food was pretty good. There were plenty of chairs inside and outside. It was a little cool to me though it was supposedly 70 or so degrees so we ate inside. Our room was ready by 1:30 or so by the time we finished lunch. Tiny cabin for 4 people with one being a toddler, but we are good sports and not complainers. Plenty of towels, cute little toiletry samples, ice on tablestand. We intended to use room service but didn't get to it as we liked getting out of the room and walking around the ship. Camp Carnival seemed to have some cool stuff for the kids. My 2 year old niece stayed with them for a few hours one day and she had a great time. The 17 year old was too cool for Club O2 but regretted it later when she tried to get into an event they were having and was told she had to be registered. We did not see Shout or the comedians which we intended to. We did go to a broadway type show which the kids liked and I thought was pretty good. It was not too long for kids, they didn't act up. I'm not a drinker, but there were always people around offering drinks that people just whipped out their Sign and Sail card and paid for them. We missed breakfast and lunch everyday in the dining room due to sleeping in and then wandering around, but the buffet breakfast and omelet stations have everything you need. The pizza station is very good as well as the sandwiches. The dining room staff was great for dinner. They made a real effort with my 2 year old neice. Lobster night was Saturday which was a pretty good meal although we almost missed it as we took a taxi to the public beach near Atlantis ($6 per person). We walked back through Atlantis and nobody stopped us. We walked around the Marina and then took a taxi back for dinner. Boarding is easy with your s&s card and ID. We are planning another trip with more family on the same ship in a few more months. It is a great bargain for 3 days. One alarming thing happened on the ship Sunday night. After the day at sea, everyone was wandering around, shopping, hanging out and a terrible fight broke out in the atrium area. There was a swarm of Carnival crew that did NOT have this in control for awhile. There were seniors and kids standing far enough away not to get hit, but able to see everything. Finally the crew was able to "apprehend" the main fighters. The man they were beating was able to run away after sucker punching someone. We saw his girlfriend walk away nursing her punched in face (this was what started the brawl, him beating up on her) with crew. The guys who were defending her and beating up her boyfriend ended up in trouble. I don't know what Carnival does as far as policing or what power they have to hold someone, but it could have been very bad. Deembarking? if that is the word was easy as we chose the self service and had buffet breakfast while we waited for them to call us. I really like Carnival and can't wait for our next cruise. I forgot that I adjusted the tips down the last night (for the 2 year old). We also left a separate envelope for the Maitre D as he is not included in tips. Why Carnival? I checked us in for our flight but we could not print as the printer was out or some reason. Had I known the printer was out and I couldn't print boarding passes, I would not have paid for internet time. Read Less
Sail Date January 2010
From time to time, my family has traveled with another family (the two moms work together). We took Carnival Imagination, which is near by and for 3 nights with an early saver program, was very inexpensive treat for family travel (under ... Read More
From time to time, my family has traveled with another family (the two moms work together). We took Carnival Imagination, which is near by and for 3 nights with an early saver program, was very inexpensive treat for family travel (under $1,000 per family including tax and tips). To save on parking, we left one car with a local family member and the 9 of us huddled Keystone Cop like to the Port of Miami in my minivan. Parking is $20 a day, but the lot is in a garage, and it is the full day (so a three night cruise is $30). It was close to the terminal, and with rolling luggage, very easy to bring right up. Our ocean view stateroom was small, but with 3 closets, plenty of drawers and under bed space. We had more than enough room for 4 in the stateroom, with the natural light of a window making it feel more open. There were two pull out beds that my boys (ages 12 and 15) enjoyed. Showers were larger than I remembered on other ships. The other family, a group of 5, had the same layout, but they put a cot below one bunk (the other bunk is above the headboard - - reminds me of college dorms). Carnival Imagination is not an old ship, and since it was recently refurbished, I thought it looked pretty good, but would have been just a little better if it had a small basketball court (there was some empty space devoted to sunning). Given that is was Halloween week-end, it was truly a party ship, and I wish they gave info for what costumes to bring (there were some really raucous ones - it was great) or special activities for that cruise. The cruisers were varied, with a few folks informing us they won it through a contest or timeshare presentation. Lots of large groups. My kids thought they did not cater to teens as well, since they do not drink and feel to old to do the kid clubs. They found the bartender (they called him Serbia - his point of origin) entertaining, as they watched the World Series together. What is amazing is that with so many people, if you did not follow the 20 somethings partying, the ship was fairly quiet and uncrowded. Once near the party-ers, it became a mob scene. Dining was limited compared to other ships, but service was excellent (except bar service in the dining room - - given how many servers were poolside, they should move a few into the dining room). We registered the kids in the kids clubs, but they hardly went. What a pleasant surprise was that with registration, they gave a good packet of information tailored for each age group, and a registration gift for each age (two types of back packs -- we used them for our day in Nassau and will use them for a long time). With kids you learn about other services, such as security and maintenance (both long stories, but very professional, helpful and efficient). Entertainment - Aside from some very amusing passengers, the organized talent was fairly good. It ranged from a comedian telling clean jokes (later version was adults only) to a new show, and an oldie but goodie (Coming to America - which I saw on a previous cruise). The Coming to America show came with a warning that there would be showgirl outfits. They were fairly benign, but ironic since the Lido interior deck is full of Sphinx statutes with full blown naked chests and nipples. Most of the dancers had eastern European names, and some (the males) were vigorously dancing country and western (enough to make me start a fit of giggling a few times), thinking that the country musicians would be startled at their version of their songs. We had fun in Nassau, just doing the day (the ship did not leave until the next morning, but we were wiped). We started off at the Pirates Museum. There was absolutely no information about it when we got a map on land. Have the guide take you to explain the exhibits - - its amazing what they tell you. We had a real ham, dressed as a pirate, that made my reluctant teens get really into it. The price ($12 for adults and $6 for under age 18) makes it worthwhile, and we spent longer than I thought we would. In the afternoon, Pauline from the wharf's front desk helped us get a snorkeling tour for $40 pp - - it turned out we went out just as our family on a private charter (the friend decided to book a catamaran trip at about $60 pp because the cruise makes you think you will run out of space). Basil our captain was very kind, and I enjoyed talking to him when I was pruned out but the boys stayed at the reef. I have been snorkeling in a few countries, and i would say that this was the most colorful and diverse. I don't know if it is the Bahamas or that we are in La Nina and the weather has been so dry there is no turbidity to the water. Disembarkation - All I can say is to pack lightly and leave during the "self assist" portion. It went very smooth, which was a surprise with 9 people. The cruise lines do not talk about "self assist" which means you carry your luggage yourself instead of waiting for your departure time. Probably it would be a mob scene. Read Less
Sail Date October 2009
First of all, we want to thank all you die-hard review writers, you were very helpful in giving us a good impression of these cruises as well as many tips on how to make the most of the trips. We have 2 kids (3 & 5 y.o.) and live in ... Read More
First of all, we want to thank all you die-hard review writers, you were very helpful in giving us a good impression of these cruises as well as many tips on how to make the most of the trips. We have 2 kids (3 & 5 y.o.) and live in south Florida. The Imagination is our second family cruise. The first one was on the NCL Sky in March 2009, with a nearly identical itinerary. The only difference is that on Sunday, the Sky stops at a private island, while the Imagination has a "fun day" at sea instead. We took these 3-day cruises as relatively inexpensive ( Read Less
Sail Date October 2009
this was our fourth carnival cruise and fifth overall. Second time with our children. I think this a great cruise to take if you don't have a lot of time or money to spare. Also we were with a couple of first time cruisers and I ... Read More
this was our fourth carnival cruise and fifth overall. Second time with our children. I think this a great cruise to take if you don't have a lot of time or money to spare. Also we were with a couple of first time cruisers and I think its good for them too. This review may be unfair since our last cruise was on the miracle out of new york for 8 days. There was not a bad thing to say about that ship. Embarking at miami was painless as usual. The weather was perfect and the seas were as calm as could be. The cabin is typical, not meant to do anything but sleep. It had bunk beds for the kids and a queen for us, very, very comfortable. We got there real early and was able to to take advantage of the pool and and have a few drinks while still in port, almost like getting an extra day. TIP, throw suits in your travel bag since the luggage takes a while. My only complaints were that I found the staff to not be as friendly as previous cruises. Camp carnival seemed a little more disorganized than our last cruise, but not to the point of feeling unsafe leaving our kids. The kids, 5 and 8, had a great time and the babysitting is great. They didn't have a past guest reception, which i guess isn't really a big deal , but its nice for our loyalty to carnival to be recognized. The shows are ok but we are not really into the Vegas type shows. The dinners were really good but the lido deck lunches were just ok. The excursions are generally not worth the money, check the boards on this site for tips for excursions. We only do the excursions through the ship for convenience and are prepared to be disappointed. Nassau is not the best port but its close and the beaches are clean. The hustlers get annoying but being from NY they are easy to ignore. The disembarkation was also easy , the ship tries to keep it organized but plenty of people from other decks that haven't been called for self checkout delay the process. all in all it was a good cruise and nothing bad enough to not make me cruise carnival again , it just wasn't on par with previous cruises. we are already planning our next one. Read Less
Sail Date April 2009
First, let me say if you have teenage kids, cruising is a great way to get back in touch with them. I told my kids to leave their cell phones and games at home, and didn't permit Internet use while onboard; we haven't spoken or ... Read More
First, let me say if you have teenage kids, cruising is a great way to get back in touch with them. I told my kids to leave their cell phones and games at home, and didn't permit Internet use while onboard; we haven't spoken or laughed so much in probably a year! So successful on that front, which was the main goal. I chose this ship largely because of the waterpark on the top deck (though it was too cold in January to really enjoy) and because we only had 3 days, and the price was less than RCL doing the same itinerary and less kid-friendly. This cruise was a mixed bag, but overall we had a nice time. The ship is a "fun ship" so yes, it's a bit cheesy and overthetop - the decor and entertainment were accordingly silly (think downtown Las Vegas). So if you're looking for a more elegant experience, try Regent; if you have a good sense of humor, you'll appreciate the tone. The biggest problem we encountered was being misinformed repeatedly by the Information desk, causing us to miss our excursion, among other things. English speaking skills were seriously lacking by the entire crew - mind you, I am from a very diverse, cosmopolitan area and accustomed to foreigners, but this was really bad. Only a few crew members understood or could respond in English. (And with so many Americans out of work, I wondered, why can't they give some of those jobs to Americans?) The room steward and dining room wait staff were very pleasant...The pool bar is severely understaffed - crew was rude and argumentative. The food was about what you'd expect, (note, I'm a health-conscious eater and still managed to find plenty of choices - salad, fruit, grilled chicken, oatmeal, fish for dinner, etc.) The main buffet on the Lido deck was always mobbed and it seemed the crew couldn't keep up with the traffic to clean and restock items. The Pride and Spirit dining rooms are a more relaxed environment and the servers were helpful and willing to customize orders in most cases. The menus were creative - my daughter tried the "chilled strawberry soup" and loved it, said it was like a smoothie- it was a great way to get kids to try new things. No chicken tenders, for instance, but if you asked, they'd get it from elsewhere on the ship (we didn't, but others did). The tap water has a funky taste so we paid $4 each for large bottles of water (2 lasted us the entire trip). We had the late seating. (Tip: stay til the end for a fun surprise by the waiters) We often went to the shows afterward, though ended up walking out because they were just not for us. The passengers were indeed also a verrrry diverse bunch...let's just say they won't win any awards for etiquette, and there were many racy bachelorette parties on board...though we did meet a few nice people. I was surprised there was so much smoking on board in the casino and bar area. Our excursion was to Dolphin Cove in Atlantis, but because the woman at the Info desk told us we could go "any time" (our tix said 10:30am) and that we weren't required to assemble on the ship prior to disembarking- you "just go" when you want to- (I'm like, are you sure?)... We missed our scheduled time and luckily joined another group in progress which DID all travel there together on the ship's shuttle bus. Atlantis is fantastic, but be prepared to shell out a small fortune for food and drink. The alcoholic drinks on board were much more reasonable, I just refused to wait 20 mins+ every time I wanted one! See notes on stateroom in the Cabin Guru section. The jogging track and mini golf were lots of fun. One highlight was the afternoon tea, look for it at 3pm on the last day - probably the best food of the entire cruise! My kids really didn't use the kids' clubs too much, but my daughter enjoyed the teen spa party, reasonably priced at $49 for 2 hours of treatments. She thought the O2 club was kind of lame, it was just not the clientele my daughter wanted to hang out with. I would travel on Carnival again, though it wouldn't be my first choice, and I'd be sure to reserve a larger room, with a balcony. But I highly recommend it for those who are tight on time and on budget, as a great little trip with the family. I also wouldn't go in January, as the weather can go either way - we had one rough night, one windy/chilly day, and one GORGEOUS sunny day with calm seas; sailing in late spring is a better choice but prices are higher and the kids are usually in school. Read Less
Sail Date January 2009
Just got back from the Imagination. Wanted to give a review. First I want to thank all the Carnival Employees at the Miami airport who busted their buts to get us US Airways fliers who had major delays on the ship, even when the people at ... Read More
Just got back from the Imagination. Wanted to give a review. First I want to thank all the Carnival Employees at the Miami airport who busted their buts to get us US Airways fliers who had major delays on the ship, even when the people at the 800 # at the Port were of no help. (Long story, but our flight out of CLT was delayed 3 hours, then US Air took their sweet time getting our luggage to us, we got on the ship AFTER muster drill). Next time I will fly in the night before.... After we got on the ship, it was nice, the room was nice...all the updates looked great. You could still tell she was an older ship, but the dry dock was well worth it. There is only 1 outlet in the room, so take a power strip. We ate with 3 ladies sharing a room and their hairdryer plug was too big to fit where the outlet was (just above the desk) so they had to use a Carnival hairdryer that barely worked. Take the power strip to avoid any issues...we did and were glad we did. The Carnival staff, and Cruise Director Jorge were all wonderful. We didn't participate in many activities on board, so I cant tell you much about that. But it seemed like the basic cruise ship activities going on. We did go to 3 out of the 4 shows....they were ok at best. The first night was pretty much singing/dancing/comedy. The comedian was really funny. The singing and dancing reminded me of a community college show. We also went to the "fire show"....not much fire going on at all.....they did maybe two stunts with fire. Then CD Jorge got up and did comedy....he is really really funny!!! The last show we saw was the Legends show (basically the winners of Karaoke)....it was ok. A few really good singers, and a few that were just awful. All in all, I might skip the shows next time. The food....I thought it was REALLY good. We were in the Pride dining room late seating. I was expecting it not to be good after all the reviews, but it surprised me at how good it was. Our wait staff Antonio and Bernardo (table 189) were wonderful. We had great service and a good time with them. They work really hard and deserve tons of credit for making the cruise wonderful. The food at the buffet....average at best. I guess I was expecting more for a buffet. Im not a huge buffet fan, but my DH is because he likes to eat a lot, so Im glad he wasn't on this cruise....the selection was minimal and ok at best. This area could use some improvement. The pizza was decent...but every time we went to get some there was a wait for pizza, so I only really ended up trying 1 piece, it was pepperoni because it was all that was made, so I didn't have to wait. Our room Steward Leonard (E43) was great. I wish I could have packed him in my luggage and brought him home. Any time I asked anything he helped out immediately (extra blankets on the bed, garbage bags for damp clothes to carry home, etc). He went out of his way to learn our names and speak to us every day. Very very good. Ports of Call.... Grand Turk....amazing. We got of the ship and wanted to see of we could get on the Hop On/Hop Off bus cheaper...but it is the same price as on the ship....no big deal. The lighthouse was nice, two trails to walk to the beaches, really really nice area. We did the jail, it was picturesque with the Bermudan architecture. The downtown was nice, nothing spectacular to see. The people were really friendly. We went back to the ship for lunch, and then went on the beach at the cruise terminal. It was not really crowded, even with 2 ships in port. Half Moon Cay....very nice as well. Went snorkeling by boat....they took you to this area that had 3 pretty active reefs, and tons of fish. Good tour, worth the money. We ate the buffet on the island, the jerk chicken was really good. We spent the rest of the day on the beach....the farther down you go past the main bar area, the less people there are. Nassau...hopped the water taxi to Atlantis...walked around there for a while...it was 6 bucks round trip per person. There is tons to see without paying there. Part of the aquarium is free, the shopping area is free, and just a good amount to see. After we did this, we went back to Nassau and shopped....then got back on the ship for the rest of the day. Not a fan of Nassau....but Paradise Island is really really nice.... Do the self debarkation....we were off the ship by 9, at Miami airport by 950 and missed the massive crowds at the cruise terminal and airport check in. Read Less
Sail Date December 2007
This was my first cruise and it turned out quite well. We had fun and thought the cruise a great value. We flew into Miami the day before the cruise and stayed at the Holiday Inn Port of Miami. Good solid hotel. Clean and the room seemed ... Read More
This was my first cruise and it turned out quite well. We had fun and thought the cruise a great value. We flew into Miami the day before the cruise and stayed at the Holiday Inn Port of Miami. Good solid hotel. Clean and the room seemed new (although the elevators were a bit run down). We paid 135 dollars including tax and thought the price was a bit high but still within reason. Ate dinner at Bubba Gump across the street. Seafood place. Pretty good as well, although service was really slow. The embarkation process was smooth. We carried out own bags since we did not have a lot. Rather inconvenient as our room was not ready when we boarded and we were not able to drop our bags off immediately. However, I would probably do the same on our next cruise. We had lunch up at the Lido deck by the pool. Hamburgers, fries etc ... were available. The food selection at the Horizon Grill and Lido Deck was pretty good throughout the cruise, although it got tiresome after awhile. The dining room food was a notch up, especially for dinner. Never got to have lunch there but heard that the lunch there was much better than at the lido deck or horizon grill. In the dining room, they will get you extra portions if you want or replace the food you have with a selection of your choice. We had lobster the second nite. There were two midnite buffets. Made it to the first one. It was okay but we were stuffed from all the eating we had done and probably did not enjoy it as much as we could have. Spa: Had the spa massage. Pretty good as well. There were specials during port days and at the beginning of the cruise. However, I paid full price ($116 dollars for a deep tissue massage). It was a bit overpriced but fine. The only issue I really had was with the hard push to sell you products. Gym, Jogging track: The jogging track was up at the highest deck. It was really windy for most if not all of the time the cruise was at sea. Gym was okay but there were not enough machines to go around. Sauna and steam room - never had a chance to use - but heard that it was good. Room: We had a no view internal stateroom, deck or room number not guaranteed. The room was of adequate size and most importantly, spotless (I know this because I swiped all the frequently touched surfaces with anti-bacterial wipes). We did not have any special requests but thought the room steward did an adequate job. We will probably go for a room with a window next time and if cost permitted, a balcony room as we like to spend most of our time in the room and it would have been nice to get some sun without going out. Service: Service in general was excellent, except for a few minor grumpy employees. We had a problem with one of the charges made to our accounts and during the last day, went to the information desk to have it credited back to our account. The woman who took care of us was slow and grumpy although the charge was eventually waived. Post cruise: The process was fine although next time, we will try to stay one nite in the port city post-cruise and recuperate. Early morning debarkation left us really tired. Read Less
Sail Date March 2006
This was my second cruise so stepping on to the Imagination I felt rather comfortable considering most ships layouts tend to be the same. My first cruise was on the Carnival Spirit which had a completely different feeling. I would suggest ... Read More
This was my second cruise so stepping on to the Imagination I felt rather comfortable considering most ships layouts tend to be the same. My first cruise was on the Carnival Spirit which had a completely different feeling. I would suggest first time cruiser to cruise on a newer ship. The Imagination was built in 1994 which doesn't seem that long ago, but in ship terms, it's almost ancient. The Imagination advantages was the staff and ports of call. The staff is rated number 2 of all 26 ships Carnival offers. Our room steward was exceptional! She cleaned the room twice a day and made the infamous towel animals daily. We left Miami on Saturday (5/28/05) at around 4 p.m. I would suggest taking advantage of the skipper's club which made check in smooth and VERY expedient. Within minutes we were on board while most waited in line for around 45 mins to an hour. The suite was a nice site. Our first cruise we had a regular room with balcony, but the suite was more sq. ft. and on the Imagination only suites have balconies. I would suggest splurging on a suite if you take a cruise on Imagination. The suite's decor is rather outdated and the bathroom did have a jacuzzi tub which was nice after long days in the warm sun. Ports of call were wonderful! First stop was the Cayman Islands which suffered a devastating hurricane last year, so most of the islands vegetation was blown away. The island's residents were great spirited. Our shore excursion consisted of power snorkeling with Don Forster's. The employees at DF's were great. The views from snorkeling were great! We saw a baby sea turtle and two large Barracudas. The power snorkel made snorkeling effortless which was nice considering it was over 90 degrees. The next excursion was in Jamaica and consisted of river tubing down the White River. The tour guides were wonderfully spirited and made this something we will remember forever. I would strongly suggest taking this tour while in Jamaica. Overall the cruise ship scored about a 7 out of 10. The staff was wonderful and always wanted to help. The ships decor is rather old and needs to be updated. I would suggest going on a newer ship to first time cruiser, but if you must take the Imagination know that the staff will make it all balance out. Read Less
Sail Date May 2005
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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