49 Carnival Imagination Cruise Reviews for Family Cruises to Caribbean - Western from Miami

Carnival Imagination is a tired ship that shows its age. There is nothing particularly outstanding about this ship, and much of the decor is quite garish. The main atrium is neon from top to bottom and the dining room is also appointed ... Read More
Carnival Imagination is a tired ship that shows its age. There is nothing particularly outstanding about this ship, and much of the decor is quite garish. The main atrium is neon from top to bottom and the dining room is also appointed with strings of neon lighting. We felt the economy nature of this cruise in the service--very slow in the dining rooms, no extra assistance by other crew members. While on other cruise lines the staff go beyond the call of duty to make passsengers happy, on this ship there's little effort beyond the basics. We were surprised that the very impressive entertainers did the exact same show on the first and last nights of the cruise! The second show was also very similar in style and content as well. The water park is old and not particularly impressive, especially when matched against Disney or other more modern ships. We had an ocean view cabin for 5 (two adults and three kids). The beds and bedding were comfortable. With all clothes unpacked and stored on shelves/in closets and luggage stored, there was some room to maneuver. Bathrooms are basic, but the shower curtain was rather disgusting--especially at the bottom. The plug in the bathroom was above the sink facing down, and did not hold the connection making charing of devices difficult. Cabin windows were very dirty and in need of being washed. It was actually difficult to see through the windows because of built up grime. Various details of the ship are really in need of updating...we noticed burnt out light fixtures, shabby paint jobs, and the windows of our cabin were so dirty and in need of being washed that it was hard to see out of them. It's hard to beat the value of a Carnival Cruise, but know that a lot of corners are cut in the process. Definitely buy the Fast Pass to Fun--totally worth the expedited boarding and disembarkation. Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
This was my 14th Carnival Cruise (17 overall). I take this cruise as a birthday gift to myself each year. I’ve grown to enjoy the IMAGINATION and her crew very much during the four previous trips and will miss sailing on this ship once ... Read More
This was my 14th Carnival Cruise (17 overall). I take this cruise as a birthday gift to myself each year. I’ve grown to enjoy the IMAGINATION and her crew very much during the four previous trips and will miss sailing on this ship once it is moved to the west coast in 2014. This time I was traveling with a good friend and left for a relaxing get-a-way from the Northeast cold weather. The price was too good to pass up and I managed to grab a porthole room (E-9) as an added bonus. EMBARKATION: I arrived at MIA international and easily grabbed a Taxi (Flat fee $24) to the port of Miami. It’s a short 20 ride. We arrived at the port about 11:00 am. Since I am Platinum the VIFP check in was quick and we boarded very shortly after arriving at the Port. My room was ready as soon as I boarded to drop my knapsack before heading out into the ship. The IMAGINATION is really a nice ship and very easy to navigate. I very much liked the new 2.0 upgrades. It was a nice change mostly noticeable to the Dynasty Lounge performances. I like how all of the performers have a bigger commitment to singing over past shows where there may have been one male and one female lead. The new “Playlist Productions” are shorter and repeat on different days allowing you to choose to take part in other activities on certain days if wanted. ROOM STEWARD: JOHN (Barbados) was our room steward and his assistant Santosa. They were extremely courteous and always took the time to say hello. They never disturbed us at any point during the day and I’ve said in in all my reviews, IMHO is what makes a good room steward; one that knows your name and schedule and can work around it without disturbing your vacation. We increased their gratuity directly to them in personal thank you cards at the end of the cruise. They really eliminated ANY worries regarding the cleanliness and status of our stateroom. They are an asset to the Carnival crew. CABIN: E9 PORTHOLE forward.... The setup with one bed on the bathroom wall and the other bed along the far wall under the window opened the space up nicely. Shift your beds like this it just seemed to create a lot of space. NO FRIDGE, but I knew that. This is your typical stateroom; perfectly located on deck 7, just up the hall from the Main Atrium and service desks. There was all NEW lighting in the rooms. It is also conveniently located just around the corner from the self-service laundry which came in handy after our muddy ATV excursion in Cozumel. One drawback is it is located just above the Dynasty Lounge so does get a loud thumping from the production shows at night. If you are a night owl, this probably won’t affect you, but if you turn in early you may not wish to book these rooms up front. ITINERARY/ PORTS: Miami-Key West-Cozumel-day at sea-Miami. One formal night on day two and a great quick getaway cruise. KEYWEST: Carnival is only in this port for a short time, but you can easily get a taste of the Key West atmosphere while there. One thing to keep in mind is that many of the local shops do not open until 9am so the early 7am arrival will be a bit quiet when first docked. Our ship had a medical emergency which caused us to arrive 1.5hrs late. They did extend our departure time by 30 minutes. Arriving at the Navy station you need to take a short Conch train to the Mallory Square area. My friend and I walked 2-3 blocks to the end of Front Street and rented biked for $10/day. We rode down to Southernmost Point for a photo and then up to HIGGS BEACH where you can pick up the bike trail. We made our way back through town and to my favorite stop KEYLIME PIE FACTORY 412 GREENE ST to grab a couple of my favorite Coconut Lime drinks and a pit-stop. The location to return the rental bikes is conveniently right next to it. KAI-KAI SANDALS and KINO SANDALS is just across the street as well as a cigar shop to grab a Key-Lime flavored cigar for a friend back home. We were back on board for a late lunch, waving goodbye to Key West and sitting by the pool by 2:00. COZUMEL, MX: I have been to this port several times and have done detailed past reviews which have included excursions for: JEEP/SNORKEL, AMAZING SECRET RIVER and CAVERN EXPLORE, DUNE BUGGY & BEACH, ADVENTURE SUBMARINE, SNUBA, COZUMEL (San Gervasio) MAYAN RUINS and the famous MAYAN RUINS of TALUM. You can check them out in any of my past reviews. This time we decided last minute for a little adventure and chose the ATV JUNGLE ADVENTURE and BEACH CLUB excursion. WHAT A BLAST! It did start raining while we were in Cozumel, however it just made the ATV excursion that much more fun. They take you via charter bus to the ATV location and after a safety briefing and a short instructional video you are on your own ATV and off into the jungle. This is an extremely BOUNCY and ROUGH ride. You WILL get dirty so a change of clothes might be a good idea. Small lockers are provided for $2 and you must have close toed shoes. After a 15-20 minute hands on training run, you begin a 70 minute ride through the jungle dirt and muddy paths. This is a very exhilarating and fun excursion all by itself. Well worth the Ship cost of $79. After returning your ATV, they do offer a photo to buy and you are back onboard the charter bus heading to a private Beach Club where you can purchase food as well as take part in additional excursions (at a reasonable price) like Parasailing & Wave Runners. These prices are actually less than the ship excursions charge. If you do not wish to stay the 1.5 hours at the Beach club you may opt to take a taxi back into town at your own cost, otherwise you take the charter bus back after the beach club stop. They do have (outside-open) showers, food menus and nice lounge chairs to use. After returning to the ship we did a quick shower and change into clean dry clothes and went back out into the port for some quick duty free shopping. COZUMEL for me never disappoints! It’s a nice Caribbean stop with much to do. FOOD/DINING: I chose “LATE DINING" on this cruise. It is an easy option so there is no rushing back onto the ship on port days. Since this was more or a laid-back casual trip we did not pack any formal night attire and simply grabbed something to eat at the buffet that night. It was less to pack and more flexibility to try other dining options. Once again I have nothing bad to say about the food on the ship. It was always hot, minimal waiting and delicious. The food & service in the Dining Room was as good a standard as any restaurant and could not have been any better. Our table mates were fun and we had great conversations. It is one of the nice things I like about cruising, meeting new people. CRUISE DIRECTOR- SKIP: He is funny and informative without being annoying like some others could be. ENTERTAINMENT: I do miss seeing the HIP-HOP crew FUNFORCE performing in the Atrium that was on my past Imagination cruises. They were a lot of fun. I did enjoy the new production shows and the new “George Lopez” PUNCHLINER’s CLUB seems to becoming a good asset to the cruise line on board. I did not use the SPA or CAMP CARNIVAL so have no comments to make here. SUMMARY: ITINERARY, FOOD, SERVICE, and CLEANLINESS of the ship, ADULT SERENITY deck and the Punchliner’s Comedy Club. Even though I have taken this exact ship and itinerary multiple times I always have fun and meet new people. I try and do different types of excursions and activities while on board. Its a vacation and while some people choose to rely on the "cruise host" to make the best of it, I do not, I choose to make the best of it for myself. Yes, it rained in Cozumel, we had a delay arriving in Key West, there was thumping music under my stateroom one night I decided to turn in early and I didn't win in the casino this trip, but I'm not one to allow those minor things to ruin a vacation. There were too many positives and relaxing memories I chose to take with me. I found a deck chair when I wanted one, I didn't have any worries to drive, clean my room or cook for the whole trip. I ate plenty, I had a few drinks, I laughed, I met a few new friends and took away more wonderful cruise memories. I know other lines offer different things, but with this trip I received exactly what I was expecting and looking for. This is why I gave this trip a 5+ stars rating. I would definitely do this cruise again, but looks like it will need to be on a different ship since the IMAGINATION is being re-positioned to the west coast. Feel free to check out my other reviews and/or contact me with any questions. wiskt Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
My family of 4, hubby & 2 daughters, sailed the Imagination for Thanksgiving this year. As much as we tried to love this little cruise we just couldn't quite get there. Some of it really wasn't Carnival's fault. So with ... Read More
My family of 4, hubby & 2 daughters, sailed the Imagination for Thanksgiving this year. As much as we tried to love this little cruise we just couldn't quite get there. Some of it really wasn't Carnival's fault. So with that being said we probably will try to cruise with them again. We had a nice cabin. It is an older ship but our steward was great. Everything was clean. The food I found to be pretty awful. There were some things that were okay. My omelettes in the morning were good and they prepare a great flat iron steak in the dining room we were in. We had really rough seas and high winds. So WaterWorks was frequently closed as was the Mini-Golf. A great deal of stuff was cancelled in Mexico as well. Again not Carnival's fault but it made our trip less enjoyable. My ongoing theme of this review is, you take your chances. You take your chances sailing in November. My daughter, 7, loved Camp Carnival. And with good reason they did a wonderful job. I loved all the activities they had planned for the kids and so did she. On another note, was the crowd we were with. I do not consider myself hard to get along with I really enjoy people and having a good time. However, the rudeness and level of tact was hard to work with. There were some shining stars who were nice to meet but overall it was as rough as the seas. A great deal of cussing, pushing, and zero politeness or respect for others. It made me sad more than anything. So again as my title says, You Take Your Chances. You may have a better crowd and better weather, which could make your experience better than ours. I heard the crowds are rougher on all lines for the shorter and smaller ships. Next time we may go bigger and stay longer to see if that makes a difference. Happy Sails! Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
Just returned from our second attempt at enjoying a vacation with Carnival Cruise Lines aboard the Imagination sailing the western Caribbean. This cruise (like our first aboard the Fascination) was subpar at its best. The good: 1. ... Read More
Just returned from our second attempt at enjoying a vacation with Carnival Cruise Lines aboard the Imagination sailing the western Caribbean. This cruise (like our first aboard the Fascination) was subpar at its best. The good: 1. EMBARKATION. at the port of Miami was very smooth and we were able to board the ship much earlier than expected. 2. ROOM. was ready on time and was clean. 3. COZUMEL. excursion "Twister" to Isla Pasion was a lot of fun. 4. COMEDIAN. Jorge Solano. Jorge is actually a former cruise director himself and his comedy act, both the family friendly and adult show, we're great. The bad: 1. THE FOOD. All the food was bad. The dining room food was bland, over cooked, clearly frozen and service was slow. The horizon grill on the lido deck was usually better but still less appetizing than a cica 1990s trip to the Golden Corral. The lines were super long and the staff seemed irritated and at times, angry. 2. THE CRUISE DIRECTOR. Skip....we never actually saw skip in any kind of organic setting. Skip and his super fake disposition made an appearance at the "welcome aboard show" and then again before the adult comedy show. At this juncture he made a disgusting joke about blow jobs and his rejection of the gay lifestyle when it was "his turn." Pretty pathetic. Other than that skip just kept running in a loop on our television, where there should have been a movie playing instead. His debarkation video was especially condescending and fake. I will be having nightmares about skip's voice. 3. THE POOL. Two words .... Human bouillabaisse. I have never seen such a small pool so very crowded. It was gross and we couldn't even bring ourselves to put a toe in the water. My children witnessed two people having sexual relations in the hot tub by the pool around 10pm which seemed to be substantiated by the fact that only that particular hot tub was closed the following morning. Why no one puts a stop to this type of behavior is beyond me. 2. ENVIRONMENTAL CONDITIONS. Our room was clean, However it was SOOOO humid and uncomfortable that it was not the cool, restful haven away from the crowds that a cabin should be. The ugly: 1. THE SHOWS. "Living in America" and a Fifties themed show that started out with "born to be wild." The female lead was pretty good, albeit generic, but the male lead was aweful! He had no business covering Marvin Gay. Singing louder does not equal singing better. The dancers were victims of cheesy, dated choreography. One of the female dancers was clearly a transsexual and stuck out like a sore thumb. It was just plain awkward as he was overcompensating with exaggerated style that didn't blend with the other female dancers. The pyrotechnics were silly and added nothing but an unwelcomed scare to older passengers. I have seen better shows in high schools. Having said that however, the band was good despite the sophomoric singing and dancing. We will not be cruising again with carnival. Unfortunately the bad far out weighs the good and as a result, the type of passengers the the cruise line attracts are not who we would otherwise choose to spend our free time with.   Read Less
Sail Date July 2013
Our experience from start to finish was wonderful. Embarkation took less than 30 minutes; baggage was at our cabin door as we entered our hallway; staff-110% accommodating, Spirit dining room staff were totally accommodating and watched ... Read More
Our experience from start to finish was wonderful. Embarkation took less than 30 minutes; baggage was at our cabin door as we entered our hallway; staff-110% accommodating, Spirit dining room staff were totally accommodating and watched over my husband's Diabetic diet like a family member; food-can't complain (water machine on Lido deck needed to be maintained better, however staff always had pitchers of fresh water standing by); upgrades to ship are great-loved the salt water pool,hot tubs on Serenity deck were sooo relaxing; loved the water slides-nothing like not having to wait in line for them; we were missing the basketball courts; shows were very enjoyable-comedians were a riot. We participated in several games and more times than none, came back with either a ship trophy or medal. Loved Key West and the free shuttle into town; Cozumel was awesome-would love to visit both ports again to enjoy them longer, especially Key West-wished we could have been there for more hours than the half day visit. Disembarkation took a minimal amount of time. Looking forward to another Carnival Fun Ship cruise. Negatives: maintaining the outside of the ship was a bit disturbing, but I know it must be done. Also, sure wish the great photographs were offered at a more reasonable price-just didn't feel the deals were enticing enough. Heck-the left over photos were being tossed anyway. Read Less
Sail Date May 2013
We live in Central Florida so we are able to drive to any of the Florida ports in 5 hours or less. This made it easy to decide to look for a reasonably priced short break from work viaa one of the multiple cruises available in the ports ... Read More
We live in Central Florida so we are able to drive to any of the Florida ports in 5 hours or less. This made it easy to decide to look for a reasonably priced short break from work viaa one of the multiple cruises available in the ports near us. We saw the price drop to a good rate for the cruise to Key West and Cozumel in the weeks following some of Carnival's problem cruises so we booked the cruise and quickly started planning shore trips. Many of our friends asked if we were sure about booking Carnival, but we just joked with them about taking big paddles with us. Both my daughters, their husbands, and my 16 month old grandson were going, and the itinerary seemed to suit us quite well--long enough to relax a bit and short enough for my grandson to tolerate without too much difficulty. On embarkation day, we drove to Miami. I'm not a big fan of the port at Miami, but it was better this time than when we were there a year ago. We chose to park at the port and pay the $20 per day fee. Last year we tried off site parking and waited over an hour for the shuttle when we got back. This time we decided it just wasn't worth the small savings because we would be dealing with a toddler during all that wait time. Embarkation went fairly smooth. We arrived at the port at about 11:30 and were on the Lido deck by 12:15. A couple of the security agents were rather difficult and not understanding about the extra time it takes to get a toddler and his cargo all the security checks. One was pretty pushy about making us separate and take the baby on upstairs as he was calling for his mom, who was still gathering his materials from the x ray machine. Surely a little understanding could be shown, but that's just the way some agents are. This was my first time on Carnival and I found the ship more difficult to navigate than the others lines I've been on. We found the Lido Deck and the mob at the buffet. The outdoors grill with hamburgers and hot dogs had a line that wrapped down the side of the ship. My SIL waited over 20 minutes for a burger. I decided the stations at the buffet would work for me as did everyone else in our party. I'm not terribly demanding about food, and I thought it tasted good. My DD reported that the sandwich from the Deli station was excellent. Our cabins were ready about 1:30 and they had unobstructed ocean views. They were larger than the cabin I had on both Royal Caribbean and Norwegian and everything was spotless. I unpacked my bags and stored them under the bed. I found the storage space more than adequate with one drawer and two shelves empty. The staff on the Imagination was very friendly. Our room steward called us by name in the hall and was responsive to any of my requests. I didn't realize Carnival didn't have hair dryers in cabins and asked if he could bring one. It appeared in less than 5 minutes. Everything was kept clean and fresh throughout the entire cruise and we had ice every day. I had to request it one day, but I preferred that to having the ice melt while I was out on an excursion. I had a new towel animal each evening and had no needs that were not met. The waiters in the Pride Dining Room were excellent--always polite, friendly, and responsive to our requests. Staff members we met in the halls smiled and said hello. We picked anytime dining, and we found navigating to the entrance of the Pride Dining Room frustrating. For some reason, we kept getting on the wrong elevator and having to backtrack to get to the right spot. I consider myself a bit directionally challenged, but my SIL is great with navigating, and he also found it a challenge. A minor issue really but still a bit frustrating. We ate breakfast in the buffet one morning and the food was fine; however, I prefer the dining room. It's just calmer and more peaceful to sit and enjoy coffee while someone else does the serving. On excursion days we did lunch in the buffet and found the food quite good. The mashed potatoes were especially good on the American station day. On sea days we did the dining room--again calmer and more relaxing. I never had any food that I did not enjoy. Some meals were better than others, but overall no one in our group had any complaints with the food. One night rainbow trout was my choice, and it was truly delicious. One note about dessert. So many people I know have raved about the chocolate melting cake, which I did not find that good. It wasn't bad but just did not live up to its reputation in my opinion. In Key West no one in our party booked excursions. One of my daughters and her husband walked off the ship and rented bikes. They had studied a map of Key West and knew where they wanted to go while we were there. The bikes were a perfect mode of transportation for them and they raved about the tour the took of the Hemingway House. The rest of us walked off and bought Conch train tickets from the kiosk. I was so glad we had not booked them through the cruise line. We saved a little money but the cruise ship excursion train was packed! Our train was not nearly has packed, and it is the exact same tour as the other except you have to walk to the station to get on the train. I believe the ship tour train came to the pier for pickup. The tour was quite enjoyable with lots of history and tidbits of information about the various architectural styles in town. In Cozumel, we again split for shore excursions. My daughter and her husband booked a tour of the ruins on the mainland. The rest of us stopped at the store at the pier and bought water. They told us on the ship that you are not supposed to take food or beverages off the ship. Water was a bargain at $1 per 32 ounce bottle. Then we got taxis at the pier and went to Chankanaab National Park for the afternoon. We negotiated a one way fare of $12 for the trip to the park which covered all five of us. Admission at the park was $21 per person. The park is beautiful with a small shallow beach area that was perfect for my grandson. There was also a swimming pool and a great area for snorkeling and swimming on down the side of the island. We took turns watching the baby and swimming in the beautiful clear waters. We also saw the sea lion show. There are multiple optional activities at the park, but we didn't really have time for any of them. Our taxi ride back to the ship was $11. This was an inexpensive shore excursion for us--Water, taxis, and park admission totaled less than $120 for all five of us. It could be much more expensive if you chose to do the various optional activities. One area that I found a bit lacking on the cruise was entertainment. The shows on the Imagination were OK but not up to the caliber of what we saw on either Royal Caribbean or Norwegian. Maybe some of Carnival's newer, bigger ships offer more, but these were OK but certainly not great. Back to Miami and the port. I don't know why but it's just harder to disembark here than at other ports. It's not a cruise line issue because it was even harder last time when we booked through Royal Caribbean. I prefer to sail from other ports, but that didn't keep this from being a good cruise. I would some this cruise by saying great staff, good food, and enjoyable. Some negatives with the port and entertainment but overall a nice time for all of us. Read Less
Sail Date April 2013
Sometimes I chuckle when I read a Fantasy class ship review from someone who has cruised on the Conquest, or another larger class ship. More often than not they are disappointed about the lack of a specialty restaurant, or an ice rink, ... Read More
Sometimes I chuckle when I read a Fantasy class ship review from someone who has cruised on the Conquest, or another larger class ship. More often than not they are disappointed about the lack of a specialty restaurant, or an ice rink, etc. Fantasy class ships have a draw to them, they are the workhorses of the Carnival fleet and you will find some of the most dedicated people working aboard. For that reason and many others we flew to Miami to sail aboard the Imagination. Some logistics, my wife and I are platinum with Carnival, having been aboard the Mardi Gras, Celebration, Legend, Ecstasy, Elation, Conquest, Triumph and Magic. We are both mid 50's and not big party people. So why did we go on a spring break cruise from Miami? Price! This was a cruise built around a teacher's spring break and the need to attend a wedding at the end of the week, so Carnival and the chance to see anything other than Progreso again lured us to Florida. We elected to let Carnival plan our air travel, and I'd never do that again. We were on United from Houston To Ft Lauderdale and American for the return flight. Different terminals for parking and a tram ride once we returned were the end result. Mix in American Airlines in Dallas is the biggest collection of jerks in air travel and they tried to ruin the last day of a vacation. They failed. Embarkation was a breeze; we arrived at the terminal and were headed aboard in about ten minutes. The ship was as expected, clean, nicely retrofitted from the updates and staffed with a friendly crew. Our cabin attendant was in and out quickly and made sure we had ice and extra towels. I had ordered flowers for my wife and bottled water, and those, along with our cruise pins were in the cabin. Lunch was standard fare, and the weather was gorgeous in Miami. We really like the fantail decks that are aft of the casual dining so we opted to sit outside. Here's where we saw the first signs of Carnival cutting back on staff. These tables were all dirty, not from people just finishing their meal, as they stayed that way for a while. I cleaned one off for my wife and I and for the duration of our lunch no one else came to sit or clean. The menus were the same from our most recent Triumph cruise, and with 800 (my estimate) spring break school age kids we expected to see main dining empty. A pleasant surprise when we met two other couples close to our age. We loved their company, and even did our excursions with them. Wait service was prompt, and the food was predictable. We knew what to expect, and for those that haven't cruised in a while it might have been a surprise in the limited food selections versus from the past, but we found something we liked every night. In Key West we did the bike ride, and I cannot recommend this enough. It's a leisurely paced tour around the island with stops at several of the landmarks. The host was well educated, giving a history of the island, the Flagler family and some of the idiosyncrasies of life in the Conch Republic. This is a short day in port, so get a tour quickly or find yourself wandering Duval Street. This was our first time to dock on the military base, having been to Mallory Square when we were aboard the Rhapsody of the Seas. No big deal, just a required tram ride to leave the pier. No worries on arrival, but a madhouse for return to ship. For the life of me I cannot see why anyone would stand in the sun with their family and wait in line. I did the same thing as when in Grand Cayman and found a shady spot across the street and waited for the line to be less than fifty people. We found ourselves riding with a group of Florida State kids that had thoroughly enjoyed the island. We waited for a couple of stragglers, but I didn't hear anyone being paged and we sailed for Cozumel around 2:00pm. The seas were the roughest for most of the next twenty-four hours, especially as we approached shallow waters. Wind speeds on this evening and the sea day were in excess of 25mph. In fact, on the day at sea Carnival used the ever so attractive Crime Scene Tape to block off the stairs to the upper decks, but more on that later. Cruise Elegant Night was quite a study in who was aboard. For those of us with fixed dining times the crowd was about the same for most evenings, or about full. For the My Time Dining venues the lines were long, long, long. There is good reason we have never tried it, and if that's your favor, then great. I just would rather walk in the dining room and be seated with a Coke at my plate. The Bottomless Bubbles option has taken on a new life, or it did for this cruise. We were asked for our cards more than once and our photos were verified. This happened in three different bar areas. We never waited long at bars for a soda, but as the cards reflected platinum status that might have been a factor. I didn't use any of the other benefits, just an observation. Cozumel. My wife and I have enjoyed almost twenty trips here aboard a ship or direct flight from Houston, and this time was not a disappointment. We booked the Jeep and Tequila Traditions Tour (I think that was the name) and in retrospect, alcohol, Jeeps and crazy drivers in Mexico... what could go wrong? The "other side" of the island is just beautiful, and I had wished we went to the beach first and skipped the tasting stops. We shared a Jeep with a couple from Raleigh, NC who were really nice. He is a disabled veteran, and shared how he was shot in Desert Storm. Powerful testimony, and I was glad to be his designated driver. With a late departure time from port we enjoyed the shops in the immediate area, and kept tradition with a new watch while my wife found some earrings that needed a new home. I had done my research and captured screen shots from two online companies and Amazon, and Diamonds International matched the Amazon price. The wind picked up as we left Cozumel, and the reported 6-8 foot seas were evident. We made it aboard with a slice of pizza in mind after a run, but the wind up on deck, coupled with the rocking made that a little tough. Hello pizza instead of exercise. The sea day bordered on gale force winds, so Carnival brought out the nifty yellow tape and closed the top deck. Chair hogs never had a chance, as all the loungers were full before 11am. In the shade it was most comfortable with a sweatshirt and shorts, but I anticipated this, having cruised on many prior spring break vacations. Entertainment onboard went from predictable to good. The Welcome Aboard Show I know from memory, so "looking good" and "uptight, outta sight" was a sing-a-long. The final night's show was Shout. I wanted to sit with our new friends in one of the circular loungers the Fantasy Class ships are famous for, so I staked it out for the last ten minutes of the early performance. Some say a bad cruise director can ruin a trip, but I disagree. The good news is Marcello from the Conquest has been promoted to cruise director and he's absolutely one of the funniest people at sea. All of us loved his spontaneity and ability to work a room. Wished I could say the same for the comedians aboard... I'm not a prude, but enough F-bombs were dropped in the first five minutes to meet a Sirius Raw Dog Channel quota for the balance of 2013. I find that bad language is a lousy entertainers idea of covering for bad talent, and this guy must have been on sale. Trying to tell jokes in a Polish dialect didn't help his material get better from his native tongue. Other items of note: the casino was smoky from about noon and never got better. I tried roulette and cards and took the carcinogen express out the door. The little coffee bar off the side of the casino was excellent. My wife and I rewarded our zero weight gain cruise with a great slice of carrot cake the last night, and it was super. Perfect vacation? No. But a nice trip, nice ship, nice people and a real need to increase the manpower for cleaning and it are a bargain. If you are looking for the Emperor, Allure, Gargantuan of the Sea or whatever go see the anchor folks. If you have a comfort level with Carnival (we do with both, living close to Galveston) and want to sail without breaking the bank then look into a Fantasy class ship and compare prices. With the Triumph out of the picture and me getting over my "it's Carnivals fault" attitude it we booked this inside of a month before the trip. A rock wall was not worth $1000 for me. Pics Link: http://www.flickr.com/photos/leeusry...57633027276278 Read Less
Sail Date March 2013
We took our first cruise last week, from February 4-8 on the Carnival Imagination. It was myself, my fiancee and her 2 children (an 11 yr old girl, and 13 yr old boy). The ship stopped in Cozumel on Wednesday, Key West on Thursday and ... Read More
We took our first cruise last week, from February 4-8 on the Carnival Imagination. It was myself, my fiancee and her 2 children (an 11 yr old girl, and 13 yr old boy). The ship stopped in Cozumel on Wednesday, Key West on Thursday and back in Miami on Friday. We were both nervous about sea-sickness, but that was a complete non-issue. We splurged a little and got one of their grand suites (we wanted as much space in the room as possible and I insisted on having a balcony....which was a huge bonus in my eyes). The cains were kept incredibly clean by the staff, which must have been a helluva chore with as messy as her kids are! LOL. An impressive thing for all of us was that as soon as the first day, the housekeeping staff was calling us by name as we walked from our room to the different decks and back...they really know how to make you feel important. If traveling with kids, I would HIGHLY recommend a suite like this, as the size is most definitely a positive. The seas were so calm on the entire cruise, we slept each night with our balcony deck open to hear the ocean waves. It was incredible. With all the things to do on the ship, we didn't hit half the stuff we wanted to. The kids were a handful, and refused to give any of the kid-specific options a try, as well as hunting us down no matter where we went so we didn't get to do a whole lot on our own and of our own complete choosing. This was a family vacation though, so that is not a horrible thing at all...just wish we could have had a little more time to catch one of the many shows, or to spend a little more time together in the casino or the serenity adult retreat. It was definitely nice having the kids along to give me an "excuse" to give the water slides a try.....what a blast those were! I don't know if the 11 year old had anything other than iced cream the entire trip! LOL. We dined in teh Spirit Main Dining Room both of the first two nights and even got both of the kids to try escargot off the "didja" offering which was funny. The boy loves lobster, so on Elegant night we scarfed his down and was embarrassed to ask for more. I asked for him and they brought out another tail in no time flat and seemed more than happy to do so. The girl was up in the air between two deserts, so I told her to order both. Again, without a hitch, they brought both right out for her. While it took a while of waiting between servings, these were good dining experiences that we would have taken advantage of more if it were just adults, but kids were wanting to spend more time in the pool so we ate in the Horizon buffet the last two nights (which has plenty of good options as well). In the end, if you can't find anything you like to eat....you aren't looking! In Cozumel we booked a shore excursion through Carnival to swim with the dolphins. There were a few options, I think it was only about $30 more per person to actually get to swim and fully interact with the dolphins. THIS WAS WELL WORTH IT!! You are in the same area as those who chose to only get some of the interaction, and they don't get to swim out into the deeper part of the holding ponds and ride the dolphins, etc. Trust me folks, spend the extra money and do the actual swimming with dolphins part. We then hit the shops and I got to teach the girl how to haggle over price....hope that sticks with her! It was a wonderful day. The next day was Key West. I'm guessing it would have been much funner without children along. We had booked an excursion here to go on a catamaran and snorkeling tour, but the catamaran had issues that day and it was cancelled, so we were kind of left to our own devices. There are plenty of other options available, but nothing the kids could agree on, so we just kinda wandered around town all day. I think we were all still kind of worn out from the day before as well. Unless you are prepared to pay a ton for transportation, this can catch you off guard, be prpared to do a LOT of walking. We ended up going back to the ship fairly early and spent the later part of the afternoon and early evening swimming in the lido deck pool and munching away. It was still a good day, but with the cancellation of the excursion and no real backup plan, might have been better to just stay on the ship all day...but that is just a personal preference. All in all, it was an incredible experience. If you are taking kids on their first cruise, I'd say it is worth the time to really spend a lot of time talking with them about spending time in the kids-specific Camp Carnival and Circle C as well as the O2 places specifically, there were so many kids that looked to be having a blast. We just didn't spend enough time ahead of the cruise trying to get them willing to shed their shyness. Read Less
Sail Date February 2013
Our family of six sailed on the Carnival Imagination on February 18, 2013. We are 2 adults, 3 teenagers and one 10 year old. We had previously sailed on RCL Oasis of the Seas so you could definitely say we were going from one extreme to ... Read More
Our family of six sailed on the Carnival Imagination on February 18, 2013. We are 2 adults, 3 teenagers and one 10 year old. We had previously sailed on RCL Oasis of the Seas so you could definitely say we were going from one extreme to another, but in many ways, we enjoyed ourselves just as much. That being said, it would be totally unfair to compare these two ships, as they are in their own leagues. But when I think about a vacation and what we except for the cost that we paid, I was very pleased with Imagination. Embarkation went very smoothly. We arrived around 10:30am and we were on board by 11:30am. We were very pleased with our two cabins on the Riviera deck .... clean and plenty of room to store things in the closets. The Sail Away party was very fun and the crew really try to get everyone involved and having a great time. We ate dinner in the Spirit dining room all four nights and had an amazing waitstaff and didn't have long waits for food as others have mentioned, nor was it rushed. I found all the food was very good - some of it excellent. By the third night, we were worried that creme brulee wouldn't be a choice, as it is our daughter's favorite dessert. When we asked our waiter, he said that they don't normally serve it on the 4-day trips, but that they would place a special order. Sure enough, the next night our table had 6 delicious creme brulees! Our cabin steward was also top notch. Both he and our waiter knew all our names by the first day and often talked with us. The whole crew was fantastic. We planned our own shore excursions so I won't go into detail regarding Key West or Cozumel. I definitely wished we could have been at Key West longer, but it was a fun morning. The sea day was relaxing. My husband and I did the "Behind the Fun" tour and I highly recommend this! We got to see so many areas of the ship that are off-limits and I really appreciated what these folks do to keep the cruise comfortable, safe and enjoyable for the guests. I also recommend having breakfast in the dining room on the last morning. It was relaxed and a great place to wait until our disembarkation number was called .... so many people were sitting in uncomfortable places, all jammed together, by the casino, etc. Yuck! As a recap, I thought the food, cabins and crew were wonderful. Entertainment is lacking .... let's just say we watched a lot of karaoke!! The comedians were OK, as were the dancers, but that was the part of the cruise that couldn't even come close to holding comparison to Oasis. But, again, I felt we certainly got what we paid for in quality overall - actually, more! I will look forward to trying other Carnival ships in the future and my snobby opinion of Carnival being just a low-budget cruise line has changed. Read Less
Sail Date February 2013
the room smelled like a cigar factory every day. Mostly we could ignore it but when you first entered the room you really noticed it. My husband figured out that the ventilation was not working it only gave cold air in but did not pull ... Read More
the room smelled like a cigar factory every day. Mostly we could ignore it but when you first entered the room you really noticed it. My husband figured out that the ventilation was not working it only gave cold air in but did not pull the stale air out, hence the stale smell. Since neither of us smoke or ever have, we were a little surprised. We did not have this on our first cruise at all but we were not in the back of the boat on that trip either and we were on the Empress deck as well. . We did not mention this to the cabin boy as we felt there was not much that could have been done about it. Other than that the cruise was great and we had a very relaxing four days. Gilbert was our cabin boy and he was super. Introduced himself on the first day and we were surprised he always knew our names after that. My spouse felt that the Horizon Buffet was better than the main dining room - (Pride) but I thought they were equally good. The breakfast in the Buffet was always great! I would recommend it to anybody. Entertainment was good, we did not go to a lot of it, but the Karaoke was fun, and we were tickled by the Battle of the Sexes show. We noticed that there were many more opportunities for pictures, even on the first night, which I do not think they did a year ago. Last time it was on Elegant night only,and the price has doubled from around $11 to $20 for the 8 x 10's. We also were surprised that there was a line to get in to the dining room, and figured out that they had split the dining rooms based on type of dining you had requested - since almost all had requested anytime dining, as had we, most of the diners went to the one dining area - causing a line. The ports were fabulous, we had been to Key West a long time ago, but it was still a great place to visit. Cozumel was good, should have researched it better as to what to do there, but all in all a super trip! Still the best "bang" for the buck IMHO. Read Less
Sail Date January 2013
I recently went on the Holiday Cruise on Carnival Imagination...I like to say Carnival Un-imagination or un-inspriation. I bought this thing called "Faster to Fun", it should be called "faster to frustration". This ... Read More
I recently went on the Holiday Cruise on Carnival Imagination...I like to say Carnival Un-imagination or un-inspriation. I bought this thing called "Faster to Fun", it should be called "faster to frustration". This "faster to fun", should allow you the following features - 1. priority in embarkation (checking in and boarding), 2. Priority for Your time dining and 3. Priority in disembarkation. Well we only got 1 of the 3, the priority in disembarkation probably because the crew wanted us out of the ship as fast as possible. Embarkation and Checkin - First of all the person at the port did not know what faster to fun meant and told us to get on the 'normal" line, when i pointed out we had this "cool" feature she finally told us to get on the priority line, where we were the only ones in line. Once in priority, we were suppose to get the first available check-in attendant, but now the guy say only one person processes faster to fun people, but apparently this attendant also processes other people as well. So we had to wait for 15 mins before we got to see this attendant, in the mean time people who got in the regular time got checked in before we did. So clearly it was not faster to fun. When I voiced my objection to the guy he says I have no patience...I paid for this so obviously I have no patience. Check-in took 30 min even though we were the first in line at the priority lane, I guess Carnival has its own meaning of PRIORITY. Dining - According to the faster to fun, you should not have to wait in line to either get a table or get a buzzer for a table. But when we went to tell the restaurant manager in the Pride dining room, he told us that was not true and we had to get in line. After waiting for 45 mins in line another member of the restaurant team comes around checking the ship and sail card and lo and behold she says...Why the heck are you guys in line? and immediately gets us a table. Ok so I thought first day this could happen. But no the second day same thing, I had to get into a verbal confrontation with the staff again on the priority issue. I was not asking for a table then, but with the faster to fun I should have been given priority to be seated or at least given the pager. Again after much argument we finally get a pager. My conclusion on the Carnival Imagination - the management of Carnival need to train their staff better, if you are selling these "faster to fun" things make sure the staff know what it entails because as a consumer I know what I should be getting. Aside from this I did not see the enthusiasm from the crew that I was accustomed to in Royal Caribbean. Aside from my room steward, rest of the crew was very lack luster and I was very very disappointed by the whole cruise experience. If you are thinking of this ship ...Imagine something else Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
I recently returned from my 12/10/12 sailing on the IMAGINATION. This was my 4th time on this sailing, 12th Carnival Cruise, and I have also cruised NCL and RCL. Although I enjoy Carnival, I do critique what I see and my overall experience ... Read More
I recently returned from my 12/10/12 sailing on the IMAGINATION. This was my 4th time on this sailing, 12th Carnival Cruise, and I have also cruised NCL and RCL. Although I enjoy Carnival, I do critique what I see and my overall experience in hopes the cruise line and future passengers may benefit. I tend to cover multiple captions in depth and I hope that my experience is helpful to you. I recently sailed on the LEGEND in September and LOVED the upgrades from the first time I got to sail the Legend in 2006. My 9/12 Legend review was chosen as "Review of the Week" and can be found in the links below my signature on all my posts. The IMAGINATION is still among one of my favorite Carnival ships. I simply enjoy the itinerary, ports and layout of the ship all together. This is why I decided to sail solo for my birthday on this specific ship. The IMAGINATION is really a nice ship and very easy to navigate, even for the first time cruiser. Much of my review regarding the ship is the same as past Imagination reviews, but I try to do different excursions and things to change up my experiences. ITINERARY: Miami-Key West-Cozumel-day at sea-Miami. There is one formal night on day three, making this a perfect getaway trip. CARNIVAL TRANSPORT: MIA airport is a short fifteen minutes from the port. This trip I managed to grab a "hacker fare" with flights (two one-way flights) for a cheaper price. I took the first flight out and arrived in MIA early. Instead of purchasing the Carnival transport this trip I grabbed a TAXI to make my way to the port. For only one person with one bag it can save you a couple bucks. Usually I take the transport, but as I mentioned I like to change up different things and experience the trip different. You can get the transport right at airport in the luggage dept. Its only $16 1- way & worth the price if you do not want to the aggravation or a taxi to the pier. Charter bus and a short drive and you are at the pier. My Taxi ride was quick and only cost me $12 with tip. EMBARKATION: I arrived about 10:30-10:45. Since this was my PLATINUM sailing I was directed to the VIP lounge for check-in. I've been to this port a few times and it is very easy to navigate. Check-in was speedy and I was boarding very shortly once VIP and FTTF passengers were called. CABIN: E61 Ocean view mid shop. For location purposes, I was just off the Atrium and right near the elevators. It is located just under the FUN SHOPS to no noise from above at night when they are closed. The only drawback is there seemed to be a little more than usual traffic being right off the Atrium and near the MAIN glass elevators. I would take this stateroom again for convenience, but would opt to be a little farther away from the MAIN ATRIUM if I could. The stateroom itself is same size and shape as a regular ocean view cabin No Fridge, but I knew that. Typical stateroom, 2 beds that convert to a KING, SAFE, 32" flat screen TV, water and soda to purchase in the room. Two robes hanging in the closet. Conveniently located on the same deck as the laundry room if needed. My suggestion is to do any ironing LATE the first night and get it over with while it is empty. I was in and out in 10 minutes ironing a couple shirts and touching up pants. COMPLIMENTARY BATHROOM BASKET which the items always switch so no need to list what I got. Shower: Shampoo & Liquid Soap (I brought shampoo w/conditioner, a travel Lysol spray & my preferred bar soap). The room itself appeared to be in great condition. Clean and kept. ROOM STEWARD: MICHAEL & his assistant were tending rooms later that night so I introduced myself. Both were extremely courteous and always took the time to say hello and ask how my day was. I was never disturbed at any point during the day and THAT, IMHO is what makes a good room steward; one that knows your name, schedule and can work around your vacation down time. They are an asset to the Carnival crew. PORTS: Key West, Florida & Cozumel Mexico KEYWEST: I wanted to rent a scooter or take the Conch train excursion, but after realizing I forgot my sandals I took the opportunity to shop. The short time you are there limits any extended plans, but it is enough to cover this port and get a taste of what it offers during the 6-7 hours you are there. The Aquarium is right in town center and if you walk up Duval Street a few blocks you will pass SLOPPY JOE's, HARD ROCK, JIMMY BUFFET's Margaretaville & some nicer shops. I remembered a friend on my last cruise refer me to KINO SANDALS 107 Fitzpatrick Street; about a 2 block walking distance from the drop off point. They are reasonable but have few men's styles to choose from. Not finding what I wanted I ventured up Duval St to window shop. This is a good port to grab some last minute items at CVS or pick up one of their famous KEY LIME items. COZUMEL: If you cannot find something to do here then something is wrong. Take an unexpected excursion or simply grab a taxi downtown and shop. During my time in port I was told that Donald Trump is planning on building a resort in Cozumel in the upcoming years, so enjoy it while you can for the culture and history Cozumel offers. EXCURSIONS: I've taken the TALUM tour in 2011 as well as coverage for the AMAZING SECRET RIVER 2010 & Sept 2012. Please check them out!! The excursion I chose this trip was the MAYAN RUINS, TEQUILLA tasting and BEACH excursion. (4.5 hrs) This was a very fun excursion and worth the price. We travelled by charter bus to "PEE-PEE" station gift shops. Ive been here in past years on other excursions and they apparently have expanded adding a short walk through park like setting and describe how Tequila is made. Ending the path is a TEQUILLA TASTING area with the option to purchase bottles of spirits. They are pre-wrapped for luggage transport and the staff was very friendly. Back on board the charter bus to the next stop: SAN GERVASIO MAYAN RUINS located on Cozumel island. You are in the center of a jungle setting and may want to pack a small bug spray to keep the flies and gnats away. These ruins are not as grand as the mainland locations of TALUM or CHICHEN ITZA, but still a nice visit. Although small, these "Ruins of Fertility" have their own historical contributions to offer. We were told that SAN GERVASIO purchased the land but did not realize he had also purchased the Mayan Ruins that were concealed in the thick jungle. After his death he donated the site to COZUMEL as a historic park which is now run by the National Institute of Anthropology & History. They will charge a small fee to bring in professional video recording equipment but small iPhone or still photo cameras are free. Finishing up we boarded the charter bus and headed to the beautiful beach at PLAYA PUNTA SUR. I was at this beach a few years ago and they have built up the facility nicely. I believe it was 2007 when I was here last. Now there is a nice bar, outdoor eating facility, relaxing wading pool, Hammocks and a MASSAGE HUT located right on the beach. If I had enough time after eating I would have indulged in the massage on the beach, but unfortunately took advantage of the sunset for photos. You will want to pull out the bug spray as the mosquitoes start to stir at sunset. We arrived back at the Port around 7:15-7:30. Enough time to do some quick port shopping. I managed to jump back on the ship, take a quick shower and change then head to my scheduled sit-down dinner at 8:15. I could have went back ashore to walk around and shop for souvies since we left at 10pm, but I've been to this port so many times I opted to stay on board. SAIL AWAY night we enjoyed a fun MEXICAN SAIL AWAY party on the Lido deck. FUN DAY AT SEA: On this day I chose to take the BEHIND THE FUN TOUR of the ship. Ive always wanted to take this tour, but never have. The cost of the tour was reasonable and worth the money. Cameras are not allowed on the tour at all. ALAN SUEN the HR rep. was a great informative guide for the tour. SCHEDULED: 2.5hrs tour of the ship included GALLEY, Laundry services, Engine control room, Loading/Unloading area, recycling areas, food storage, visit to behind the Stage productions, a visit to the HR DEPT learning about the training & working environment of the ship crew, Crew Entertainment room & Crew Galley, and a conclusion on the BRIDGE where we got to meet the Captain and some of his offer staff. A gift hat, lanyard and complimentary photo on the bridge are all included in the tour. You learn a lot of interesting things about the running of the ship & everything Carnival does to make your vacation a memorable one. This is a tour I wish I would have taken on other ships and will consider on future cruises as each ship is different. FOOD/DINING: I cruised solo this trip but still opted for sit down 8:15 LATE dining. I prefer the same servers each night and enjoy meeting new people and dinner conversation. Once again I have nothing bad to say about the food on the ship. Our waiter JESUS and his assistants in the dining room were excellent. They could not have been any better. While on the BTF tour we got to glimpse at the "Employee Recognition Board" where your comments on staff members are posted for them to view. YES, they are hearing you and get to see your praises and criticisms. Coincidentally, I happened to spot one regarding our waiter from a past passenger. Having him as our waiter I agree with everything that the past guest stated. STAFF: (I split this up into several captions) WORKING STAFF: Same as my last trips on this ship in 2009 & 2010. I have nothing bad to say about the crew on this ship. Information, Excursion, dining, housekeeping, officers, shops, bar service, casino were all great! I don't know how they keep up the positive attitudes day after day, week after week, month after month! B-R-A-V-O to all of you! The ship was always clean and they take care it. One of the reasons why the IMAGINATION is one of my favorite ships. CRUISE DIRECTOR- SKIP LYONS I liked this cruise director and have been aboard in 2011 when he was sailing. He has just enough humor and was not "Over the top" like some are. He was fun and informative. ENTERTAINMENT: (Some of this is a cut & paste from a past Imagination review) Carnival is discovering that the Main Atrium is valuable space for more entertaining than just the piano bar. The HIP-HOP crew "FUNFORCE" performs in the atrium after show times and always are fun to watch. Since this was a DECEMBER sailing there was SNOW 3 times a day with Christmas carols in the background. It was a nice unexpected touch out in the middle of the Caribbean. The Dynasty Lounge shows perhaps are becoming a little old for me. I still think they are handled well, and look forward to new upcoming productions that I hear are in the works with the new 2.0 upgrades. The CARNIVAL DANCERS in the shows on this trip were better performers than I've seen on other trips. The FEMALE lead singer "ARETHA" has a very good Voice and IMO was the highlight of the show. Same negative comment from last year: Dynasty lounge 2ND level is not as steep as other ships I've been on so some seats are limited visibility. For this ship I think lower level is better seating unless you arrive early and get a booth UP front on 2ND level. If Carnival really wants to make a major improvement to this ship I would tear out the entire 2nd floor of the Dynasty lounge and reformat the seating into stadium seating. The booths just do not work if you actually want to watch the performances. FELLOW SHIP PASSENGERS: This is a topic I usually try to cover in my reviews because although Carnival technically has no control on who books a cruise, it reflects the "type" of passenger that chooses certain itineraries as well as what the age-range to help others choose vacations times. I thought it was a another nice quiet relaxing vacation since it was just after Thanksgiving and before Christmas. Not as many kids on board as in the summer as you would expect. After several cruises over the past years I have noticed the less "ROWDY" crowds cruise during the week as apposed to the weekender get-a-way cruises. This was a full sailing, but did not feel overly crowded at any time. I did not use the SPA or CAMP CARNIVAL so have no comments to make here. DEBARKATION: As a platinum member I took advantage of the VIP SELF-ASSIST debarkation and was off the ship by 9am. I took the Carnival transport to the FLL airport for the 2nd half of my "HACKER FARE." FLL is an easy 40 minute estimated ride but I would still book flights no earlier than 12-12:30 in case of traffic or delays. SUMMARY LIKES: PRICE, ITINERARY, FOOD, SERVICE, CLEANLINESS of the ship, HIP HOP, mini-golf on deck 10 forward? And never forget the "WCMC": warm chocolate melting cake. mmmm DISLIKES: Dynasty Lounge-UPSTAIRS seating. Still No option to view your account in your room, but they now offer a kiosk-like machine by guest services to check on your accounts. In the end, this was my FOURTH sailing on the Imagination in 4 years, and I would definitely do this cruise again and recommend it to others. It is a nice FIRST TIME cruise itinerary and a good taste of the Carnival experience. If you have any questions feel free to contact me via cruise critic under handle: wiskt Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
We love cruising. We've cruised on Carnival and Royal Carribean. So far, we like Carnival the most. I didn't like that we did not have enough time in each port. We sailed from Miami on Monday and got to Key West on Tuesday ... Read More
We love cruising. We've cruised on Carnival and Royal Carribean. So far, we like Carnival the most. I didn't like that we did not have enough time in each port. We sailed from Miami on Monday and got to Key West on Tuesday morning. We were there from 7:30am until 1:30pm. That was not enough time to get to do much. We took one of the City tours (jump on jump off), went to the Butterfly Conservatory, Southermost Point, did a little (very little) shopping, and headed back for the ship around 12:30 since we had to be back on the ship by 1pm. You had to be shuttled back and forth from the ship to Key west. The line for the shuttle was so long, about 2 1/2 blocks long, which I felt could have been done a little more efficiently. We arrived in Cozumel at 1:30 on Wednesday and was to leave at 10pm (had to be back on ship by 9:30pm). That seems like quite a bit of time but really wasn't when you consider the length of time it takes to do an excursion and then have enough time to do some shopping. If you want to shop away from the pier, you have to take a taxi which we decided to do after we went on a submarine excursion. Supposed to be a 2 hour excursion but most of that time was spent taking us to and from the submarine on a boat. We were probably in sub about an hour. The sub was nice, clean, and modern. We explored the reef which was pretty but couldn't see much as the water was not clear and there were not a lot of fish to look at. Kind of disappointing and not what I expected as we expected to see more fish.Thursday was a day at sea. Now here's my comments on the ship. The seats in the dining room (Spirit dining room) were dirty/stained. The menu seemed somewhat less fancy and with fewer selections than previous cruises. The wait staff (at our table at least) were not as friendly or helpful. The cabin was ok. We wanted to get a drink at the bar with a souvenir glass and was told we had to go to the pool bar to get one. We went there and was told we had to order off a certain menu in order to get the souvenir glass. They should make it so that you can order any drink and just pay a little extra for the glass. I think that's how it used to be years ago but not sure. Getting on and off the ship was a breeze, no problems there. Getting to the Port of Miami can be a little tricky but parking at the terminal was easy. Getting out, not so easy as there is construction. Read Less
Sail Date November 2012
Here's a little background. This was my 5th Carnival cruise, and my ds-18's very first cruise. We were on a 4-day cruise from Miami to visit the ports of Key West and Cozumel. I booked this cruise as a pack and go special. ... Read More
Here's a little background. This was my 5th Carnival cruise, and my ds-18's very first cruise. We were on a 4-day cruise from Miami to visit the ports of Key West and Cozumel. I booked this cruise as a pack and go special. I think I booked it about 3-4 weeks out. I got a super bargain on an inside cabin that CCL was to choose for me. It turned out to be a great location for us. Our cruise departed on Monday, October 29. Pre Cruise We flew in the day before our cruise to MIA. By this time, Hurricane Sandy had already visited Miami and was getting close to wreaking havoc on the Northern Coastline. My prayers go out to all who are dealing with the destruction of Sandy. The weather was cool, I was glad I had brought my jacket. Our flight from DFW to MIA was uneventful. We stayed at the Holiday Inn near the airport using points. We did have to call twice for our shuttle at the airport to pick us up. But a nice apology was given and we moved on. The hotel was clean, and there was an IHOP next door that offered a discount by showing your room key. There also was a McDonalds along the way within walking distance and I noticed a Subway too. I had worked the night before so I was exhausted. After a quick lunch at IHOP, it was off to bed for me! We woke up very early the next morning and ds went downstairs to grab some breakfast. He brought me back a bagel. I am not sure of all the offerings for breakfast as I didn't go to the lobby, but there were several tables, coffee, juice etc I know for sure. It was free, so no complaints here. DS was satisfied. We purchased about 10 cans of cokes from the coke machine at the hotel for a buck each and loaded them in our carryon bag for the cruise. We signed up in advance with the hotel for a shuttle to the pier. It was $10 pp. At about 9:45 am the pier shuttle arrived, loaded us and a few others on to the van and off to our new home for the next few days. On a side note, there were two couples traveling with us in the van who were originally booked and boarded the Glory. They were onboard for about 4 hours they said, soaking in the hot tub and drinking, when they had to disembark the ship because the cruise was being cancelled. They said the Coast Guard closed the harbor and the ship could not sail. Smartly thinking, one of the dh's got on the phone, booked flights, contacted Carnival and got another cruise in its place at a great last minute price they said. I was happy their vacation was salvaged and not completely ruined by Sandy. Embarkation We arrived at the POM at about 10:15 am, and by 11:00, I was eating lunch on the Lido. At promptly 2:30, we went downstairs to check out our cabin and it was ready. It was a great location. I had booked a pack & go rate so CCL picked my cabin for me. About a week out, I noticed that my cabin had been assigned so I knew exactly where it was. We had an interior cabin on the Empress deck, # E188. The ship itself seemed to be in great shape. My cabin was clean and tidy but a few things were certainly worn out. Even though I had requested twin beds, we arrived to have King. I mentioned it to our steward and he kindly fixed it later that night-after showing me his documents stating "couple" meaning we were a couple and wanted a King. I on the other hand had documents showing 2 twin beds. We had a flat screen tv mounted on the wall, but our bedside table was coming apart-literally with pieces sticking out. I took photos of it, but I am not posting any photos online here at this time. Also, the light cover over the nightlight was busted, and partially missing. This cabin was also freezing the entire cruise. We did turn the switch to blow on low but it was still cold. If we were in the cabin, we were under the blankets on the bed lol. Also, our phone did not work properly as we tried to set up a wakeup call. Was it a bad cabin? No. Just a few things we noticed. Our room steward was nice and kept a tidy cabin. Something I did notice on this cruise that I have never noticed before is that every night we got a new towel animal, our old one disappeared. In the past, all of our animals stayed, and we could line them all up together and photograph them. Not this time. We were satisfied with our steward, and left tips in place no adjustments either way. Muster drill was late and sail away was late. I was glad they didn't sail away until after the muster was complete. We were scheduled to depart at 4pm but we did not leave until maybe around 4:30 or so. I'm not exact on the time however; I do know we were late. Our luggage arrived within an hour or so. All bags including rum runners made it safely onboard to our cabin. Rum Runners-5- CCL- 0 ? DINING My only complaint I think this cruise would have to be regarding dining. In my previous cruises, we have dined at assigned dinging times. We have had early and late seating in the past. Depending on if our youngest is with us determines our dining time choice. This time I requested late dining as I was traveling with my 18 year old son but we were waitlisted and we were assigned Your Time Dining instead. YTD was awful. Our first night, we expect it to be slow as everyone is adjusting to it. I know to expect this. Two dancing waiter shows later, we are still in the dining room. We were seated at a large round table with other guests in whom I enjoyed as I'm a social person. This time was no exception. Our tablemates were all friendly. However our wait staff was not. There was no greeting, no smile, barely an acknowledgement of our existence. Water glasses were filled around the table. I placed my hand over my glass before the robotic waiter could fill it with water and I requested iced tea instead. There was zero personality to our wait staff. This is my biggest complaint about the tipping structure that most cruise lines have. This waiter who didn't even speak to me received full tips from me and my son for the evening for doing little more than writing my order on a piece of paper along with the other people's order. He did little to deserve his tip. I don't care to debate it so don't bother. On another note...is it just me or did the food portions get smaller? Did the choices get smaller? I ordered the flat iron steak one night and I swear it was the smallest steak I have ever seen. Speaking of that steak, I had to send it back as blood was still running out of it-it certainly was not the way I ordered it. I had to flag down someone to send my waiter to me so I could as he did not come back to check on our meal after it was delivered. Once my steak was returned (actually a new steak) it was now cooked well done (not the way I ordered it either) and tough as shoe leather but I managed to eat some of it. Our overall experience in the dining room...a bust. I miss the assigned dining time and will be going back to that hopefully for all future cruises. I have never had a waiter walk away from me while I was in mid sentence trying to tell him what I wanted to order. Apparently he could read my mind. I must say even though we requested a different seating area and wait staff after the first night, it was only a slight improvement in service. At least I did manage to receive refills on my tea. Unfortunately I left all tips in place, no adjustments either way. Which by giving them full tips, it tells the wait staff that their service rendered was acceptable-and in my opinion it was not but I didn't want to mess with the hassle. Which I'm guessing is why it's the way it is. If you tell someone that they did a good job, they will believe it. Tipping for poor service is just that. I should have reduced tips but I didn't. The people at our large table agreed it was poor service as well. We ate in the dining room 3 nights. We ordered room service three times. Two of the three times they had our order completely wrong. Our breakfast on debarkation day was delivered just as we ordered it and on time. I do not know why it is so difficult to order a ham sandwich with no mayo. Entertainment We had fun. We did not do a lot of shows. Ds watched the marriage show, which I have seen in the past so I did not attend. He like it and thought it was funny. We both attended the late night adults only comedy show. We laughed and then it began getting raunchy and I was not comfortable sitting there with my son, so we both agreed to leave partially through the show. No complaints about it, but my son is 18, but still in high school so I chose not to hear the rest of it. Perhaps if my dh was there instead it would have been better for me. Willie our cruise director was great I thought. Thank God he was not on the PA system every 10 minutes! I have been cruising when I swear the CD just wants to hear his self talk. Thankfully Willie was only on the PA with important info. We participated in the Halloween costume contest, earning a spot on the stage. I was dressed as Flo from Progressive Insurance and my ds was Jake from State Farm Insurance. We had a lot of fun parading around and checking out everyone's costumes. We didn't win which was fine as there were a lot of fantastic costumes. We had fun and that was the goal. I tried my luck at the tower building game...a.k.a. Giant Jenga. It turns out I'm no good at it. I think I knocked it down every time but once lol. I received a pity medal for participation lol. I also tried my luck at Rock n Roll Trivia in which I scored myself a 24kt gold plastic ship on a stick. It turns out I know a lot about Rock n Roll...and the trivia isn't all about Rock n Roll (which I'm not sure why it's not called music trivia instead) I also tried my luck at another trivia game, where cheaters won. All I'm saying is it's pretty pathetic if you have to cheat to win. We visited the piano bar and the pianist was Marty. I have been to other piano bars where it's fun and hopping. This place was a snooze fest. Even a new friend I made onboard said that it was lame. So I'm not sure if we were too early (11pm) or what...but we ended up leaving there and went to the dance club. Great dj! He would judge the vibe of the crowd, and change the tunes as needed. We enjoyed our time here. Casino-well well. What can I say? I lost all my gambling funds. I was playing Hold em (I'm a pretty good player) lost two big hands to a guy who on his first hand hit runner runner for a straight flush. His second hand he again hit runner runner and hit a 4 of a kind to my full house. I'll lose to those hands any day of the week. I know I got my money in first with the best hand. That's the best you can do. He got lucky. That's poker my friends. I did not go back to the hold em table. Instead, I went to play black jack the next night. My second favorite casino game. Of course my bad luck would follow right. Dealer has a 5 showing, I'm dealt 8 8. Of course I split. Guess what, I get a 3. Double down right? Of course. Guess what on the second 8...a third 8. I split. I get a three and double down. All in all I had three or four 8's split, and doubled on every hand but one. And of course the dealer ends up pulling a 21 lol...lost it all but $5. And then I pulled out a $1 to play one more hand of black jack and lost that hand too. For those of you curious, yes, the electronic hold em table is there. Off and on there would be $2 black jack on the electronic bj table. Table mins on bj were $6. The highly addictive Vault game is there too. By the end of the cruise, about 5 prizes had been won. All in all the staff was fun and entertaining and involved as they should be. Ports Our first port was Key West. This was my first visit to Key West. Honestly in my opinion, 7:30 am is too early for this port. Sure the typical port stuff was open. But having to be back on board by 1:00 just does not give you enough time to really enjoy the port. DS and I had pre arranged online our parasailing with Fury water sports. If you order online you receive a discount. It was a great experience and wayyyyy cheaper than booking through the cruise line. If you want to parasail, this is the place to do it. Our crew was great. Due to the winds caused by Sandy, I was concerned that it may be cancelled but it was not. We were there on Tuesday and they said we were the first ones going out after Sandy. I was a bit nervous as it was really windy but that added to the thrill of it. Usually it is a slow relaxing ride. This time was a bit more exciting. We would not hesitate to book this again. There wasn't much for us to do here. An 18 yr. old cannot bar hop here. After our parasailing, we walked through a few of the shops and did a little shopping and just headed back to the ship. Our second port was Cozumel. This was also Halloween. We slept in, very late today after being up all night before. Once we finally got off the ship it was about 4 pm. It was fun to see everyone in port (the workers) dressed in their costumes. We did a little shopping, ate some lunch at Panchos backyard, ds had a XX and I did too. We did some more shopping and then we headed to Fat Tuesdays where ds decided he likes the mango margaritas lol. He also learned how stupid drunk people become-and loved watching "old drunk people dance on a pole". I also taught him about pier runners. But everyone was eager to get onboard for Halloween fun so no late night excitement for pier runners this time. I told him to search on you tube for reference lol. We were back on the ship by 7 pm. We skipped dinner in the MDR and got ready for Halloween. We ran to the buffet and got a little something to eat and then headed to the Promenade to see the parade of people in their costumes. There were some really great costumes. As I stated earlier, I was Flo and ds was Jake from State Farm. We had a lot of fun with these costumes and enjoyed participating. Some people were really creative in coming up with last minute costume ideas. I enjoyed this so much; I think I would like to book another Halloween cruise. The Ship I really liked this ship. I usually prefer the larger ships but for some reason I really "clicked" with this ship. I never had a problem finding a lounger in the Serenity area. The only negative I have to say about this area was there were never 2 hot tubs hot at the same time. Actually, there was never 1 hot tub hot...there would be one not heated at all, and then one barely heated, not even bath water warm. And it alternated as to which one would be "heated". I did love the serenity area, and spent quite a bit of my time here. There were not many children on the ship so no complaints about noise from the water area above. The only complaint regarding children I have is the horde of kids in the 3 cabins across from mine. There were several young children ages 6-11 I'm guessing and a toddler in a stroller. The stroller was parked outside all week long. No big deal for me, it helped me easily locate my cabin door. But they were loud. Every morning they (the adults) would meet outside the hallway about 6am and talk and laugh and cut up. I have no idea what they were saying as they were foreigners. It was not French and it was not Spanish. But I could hear every single word they spoke. It drove me crazy. I would just put the pillow over my head. I considered these people very rude as they allowed their children to run up and down the hallway early in the morning and squeal and laugh. Normally I don't mind kids so much, but have some common respect for other travelers at 6am. The buffet lines never seemed long for me. I think the longest line I waited in was for the Mexican Fiesta line. And yes, there were trays in the buffet lines and straws too by the drink station. I never spent time at the pool or the lido deck except to visit the grill once for a hamburger. The photo ops were everywhere. Some were really good. I ended up purchasing 6 8x10 photos. Debarkation this was the easiest I have ever experienced. However, this is also the first time I did self assist, and requested early off for an early flight. Let me just say this, DO NOT schedule a flight out of MIA before 11am. The ship was cleared at nearly 8:30 am we seriously were the first people in line going through customs, with our luggage in tow. We made it outside in record time. We were in line waiting for a cab. Two had left in front of us and there were none in sight. Seriously it was freaky. I don't know where they all were. A man from a "shuttle service" approached us. There was another man in line in front of us waiting on a cab who apparently had an early flight as well and he was freaking out a bit over the no cab situation. Anyways, there was a total of 4 of us struck up a deal with the van driver, providing he would leave right away-not wait for any other passengers and he offered it for $8 pp then he said $10 pp. We all agreed to it and he took us to his van. He tried to wait for more people but of course we put up a fight and he left and drove like a maniac to get us to the airport in a hurry. Seriously I felt like I was in Montego Bay as a passenger lol. Thanks to his crazy driving, we made it to the airport super fast. He received a nice tip from me and we headed in to the airport. We went and stood in line to check out luggage. Then we headed to the slowest security line ever. It's even worse than DFW and that's saying something! I asked the TSA agent standing at the entrance if she had any idea how long the line might be running and she told me 30 minutes. I thought to myself, no way! After 30 minutes, we had progressed through about 3 of the lines, she thankfully came and got us out of line and moved us up to a special line to go through. Finally we made it through and arrived at our gate just as they were boarding. Had this TSA agent not helped us out, we would have missed our flight. Our flight left out on time and we arrived home safe and sound. Afterthoughts Traveling during hurricane season is stressful, even when booking last minute. Rum Runners are still awesome! I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed the Imagination. I tend to like the larger ships. I can hang with an 18 year old! Don't book early flights after your cruise. Warm chocolate melting cake is still the greatest thing onboard (except when they overcook it and it's just cake) I enjoyed meeting my CC friends. I really enjoyed the Halloween cruise. I think I'll book another! My thoughts and prayers go to all of you who were affected by Sandy in any way. I pray for a speedy recovery for all. Read Less
Sail Date October 2012
Carnival Imagination on 7-16-2012 Key West, Fl and Cozumel, Mexico / 4 day Cruise This was the one you fear and have read about before. Kids running amuck all hours of the night stomping and ... Read More
Carnival Imagination on 7-16-2012 Key West, Fl and Cozumel, Mexico / 4 day Cruise This was the one you fear and have read about before. Kids running amuck all hours of the night stomping and banging on doors. Food lines were closed down early all over the ship, fun times posts and Port Times are shortened! Waterworks slides were like a pool in the projects, line cutting. (attendant just laughed) Carnival excursions are expensive and short! Book Local !! The price was $150. Per day PP, the most I have spent in 7 cruises. Parking (in the sun) $20/ day. Ants infested our van there. MIAMI. Bar keep saw our coupons and ignored us. The tips were posted on my account at the highest rate ever. We had no ice in the room (for a day) , no refrigerator and no blow dryer. Which is common on that ship, I hear. The wait staff was rude on a night we seated 15 minutes prior to the next seat time. I reduced my tips at the guest services as a result. Carnival is not consistent, not vigilant, and has gotten too expensive. Our local excursions were cheap and great! I believe that the real "Carnival" is on the bigger vessels and anything less than 5000 persons now gets a "whatever style cruise". I only wish I had paid the "whatever style" price. Artificial reefs anyone? Getting off and on the ship was easy, getting food was difficult. Mongolian bar wait was 45 min... and it was terrible. Food lines closed 30 minutes early consistently with people looking around to eat... at $150.00 per person day?.... Really? Ports of call were great, port times were shortened from posted itineraries. Same tired menu and so so food on this cruise. We had a touch of the stomach bug from the first lunch, but bounced back. Sailing was nice. Service was reduced it seemed. One wait staff per table per course, I have seen up to three before. The shows were good and the comics were funny. It is still too much of the "you guys entertain each other" shows that save the cruise line money. Karaoke, game shows etc. ad nauseum.. Read Less
Sail Date July 2012
I am a veteran cruiser, and have cruised on Princess (and loved it) recently, but have not been on Carnival in a very long time. Last month I sailed with my family and friends (50+ of us) ranging in age from 5 -- 85 on the Carnival ... Read More
I am a veteran cruiser, and have cruised on Princess (and loved it) recently, but have not been on Carnival in a very long time. Last month I sailed with my family and friends (50+ of us) ranging in age from 5 -- 85 on the Carnival Imagination. We chose this ship because; it was one of a few ships that did not sail to the Bahamas; we had children sailing with us and most importantly, we had first time cruisers with varying budgets. Embarkation & Disembarking from the ship was a breeze, but it is a very small ship and I did not expect this would be an issue. What did surprise me in light of the "Costa" backlash -- was the indolent way in which the Coast Guard Safety Drill was performed. We were assembled in a lounge and no one checked us in or had a list to ensure we were indeed in the correct muster station. The ship itself was okay -- and since I was not expecting a new ship I was not troubled by the traditional "Carnival" decor. The Serenity Pool was very small and not worth the effort it took to find it. I was surprised to find people walking about the ship in their bare feet with other bare assets exposed as well. Tiny bathing suits with no cover ups at breakfast were a bit much. Our rooms were on Empress, Upper and Main decks. All ocean-view and absolutely nothing to rave about. It did take a day or two before we found the air condition controls -- which were located on the fan in the ceiling. The room had no mini-fridge and no storage in the bathroom. We had to repeatedly ask for ice and cold water in the room even though temperatures topped 100 degrees. Missed having places to sit when people came to visit -- as we had just 1 chair in the room. Also, our room remained un-serviced until after dinner on two of our four days. The towel animals each day were nice, but skip the chocolates -- they are not worth the calories. Even though this was not an "upscale" cruise, we were hard pressed to understand why -- no fewer than 4 of our staterooms on different floors had "clothes" from the previous guests left in closets and drawers when family members arrived at their rooms. The biggest complaint our group had was the lie Carnival told us about "Trundle Beds" for the 3rd or 4th guests in the cabin. Since we had families sailing -- 1/3 of our group had a 3rd or 4th person in their room. We were told that a Pullman or a Trundle bed would be in the stateroom, but 7 months in advance they could not tell us which rooms had which type of beds. We arrived to find the "Trundle" was actually more like a pallet with a mattress -- approximately 1" off the floor! We were very upset to find out that the price paid did not even warrant a roll away! Dining - Lines in the Horizon Grill where out toward the pool even at breakfast. The worst issue by far was during the first night's dinner. Our group was spread across 8 tables and as I ordered dessert -- I heard the Waiters singing "Happy Birthday", "Happy Anniversary" etc. to members of our group at another table -- 2 days early. By the time I got the error straightened out, my table companions were beginning to leave. I asked our Waiter if I could have my Key Lime pie wrapped up so that I could enjoy it in my room and he replied "No" and removed it from the table without another word! I have NEVER had that happen before! Entertainment -- was the saving grace of this cruise. The Comedy Shows, Latin Band, Acoustic Guitar player and Karaoke were a big hit with my family & friends. Camp Carnival also got high marks from the parents in our group. But the Theater Shows were not that great and I noticed a few people sleeping. The Crew on Carnival - with the exception of our Group Coordinator, was very apathetic. They answered questions, but made you feel like you were "bothering" them. I witnessed two Guest Relations staff members raising their voices at an older guest who did not like "MY Time" Dining and blaming the guest' Travel Agent for the issue. This was in full view of 4 other passengers including myself while we waited in line for assistance. I also kept wondering why it took 2 staff members to berate this poor lady instead of the other staff member making sure the line was being serviced. Our excursions were varied: I took the Hop on Hop off Trolley in Key West but purchased our tickets before we left home. (Saved a lot of money since children under 12 were free and the fare was only $17.00 and not $29.99 if purchased via Carnival.) And we had a beach day in Cozumel since I was just there in February while sailing with Celebrity. Lastly, Photographs -- We made arrangements six months in advance for a group photo and we were very disappointed. The Photographer arrived on time, but did nothing to block the stairs while we took pictures -- he took 7 shots and he never even made sure that our group was looking in his direction when he took the pictures. (We had other people waving and making foul gestures in the background.) He was gone in exactly 15 minutes. When I went to purchase them later that day the ONE shot they printed was blurred and not in focus. We had to ask 2 Managers to print or at least show us the other 6 shots. They denied my request for a discount and I wound up purchasing 2 photos at $21.99 each and have taken them to a professional to see if he will be able to Photoshop and fix the issues. We would have done better with our own cameras but wanted to ensure everyone was in the photo. And yes, I filled out the survey, but as of yet I have not heard one word from Carnival. This was the 1st cruise EVER that I only tipped the requisite amount -- no extra $$$ for anyone! I went into this cruise experience with low expectations -- I only wanted to receive "good service" -- and somehow Carnival managed to set the bar even lower..... Read Less
Sail Date July 2012
We took the 4 day Carnival cruise to Key West and Cozumel on July 16, 2012. We chose Carnival, quite simply, because of the value. We have cruised with them twice, and with young children, we feel like this is the best bang for your ... Read More
We took the 4 day Carnival cruise to Key West and Cozumel on July 16, 2012. We chose Carnival, quite simply, because of the value. We have cruised with them twice, and with young children, we feel like this is the best bang for your buck. We have looked at other cruise lines (obviously Disney among others)and will probably take one in the future....but Carnival doesn't disappoint...if you have realistic expectations. I have read reviews from others bashing this cruise line, and they usually are experienced cruisers who have sailed with other cruise lines. Then, they compare and complain, but forget the old adage, "you get what you pay for". They want Disney or Royal Caribbean quality at Carnival prices. It's like going from Macy's to Walmart. There's nothing wrong with Walmart...but it ain't Macy's. If you understand you are taking what I call a "value cruise", you will be fine. Embarkation: We sailed from Miami this year and found it easier and much less hectic than Port Canaveral was last year. We arrived around 10:45 and had no wait in line, either at security or check in. We sat in the waiting area and were on the boat before noon. Having cruised the year before, we knew to go to the Lido deck for lunch...we were actually planning on skipping it, but with no lines, we decided to feed our kids before heading to the splash pool. The kids loved the miniwater slides and we had a few drinks as the ship sailed before heading to our room. Room: we went for an ocean view this time because there were limited balcony options...we had one last time. Didn't miss it much. The rooms are small, but I'm told they are on most lines. It was clean...and kept clean. Our room steward made a towel animal for each child each night and called us by name on our first day. Crew: Most smiled and greeted you. I've read that they are not overly friendly, but I think that has a lot to do with the language barrier. They seemed to be working all the time. the Camp Carnival staff are great. My wife and I are both teahcers and are skeptical of leaving our kids with others at times, but the staff is friendly and helpful. Our 5 year old loves camp carnival. The children are separated into appropriate age groups and I never saw less than two staff in the 2-5 year old room. Our 3 year old doesn't like to be away from us and only went for a half hour on the first day...but they knew his name and asked him daily if he would like to stay. When we would see the CC staff around the ship they would speak to our kids, calling them by name. Food: Is it four star cuisine? No. Are there more than enough options for you to find something you want to eat? God yes. Again, it's a value cruise. The food in the main dining room is good. Not spectacular or great, but good enough. You have several options each night ranging from healthy to comfort foods. None of the meals knocked me off of my chair, but I didn't find any to be awful. The Lido restaurant is almost always open and you can wait in line for the cafeteria style food (which we almost never did)or get things like deli sandwhiches (good) or pizza (ok..but available all day). We had fresh omlettes every day for breakfast. It's almost embarassing, because if you don't like what you put on your plate, you leave it and get something else. The drinks may seem pricey to some, but if you go out at all, you know that they are not that overpriced...by the way, you are on vacation..what do you expect, a $2 beer? We only saw one show...a comedy show in the family time slot at 8. A.J. Jamal, I believe was his name, was hilarious...would have loved to go back for the late show..but not an option with kids. The pool is small and crowded, but we knew that going in, and chose the ship because of the water works for the kids...never have gone near the pool on either cruise. This seems like an area that Carnival should upgrade, if possible,on a smaller ship like this one. The crowd ranges from young families to old families to young couples. I never saw groups 20 somethings or teenagers roaming drunk around the ship. I did see a drunk or two, but no more than you would expect at a ball game, concert or town festival where alcohol is served....some people just can't help themselves. Excurusions: they are what you make of them. 7:30 was a bit early to get to Key West and it was a short stay..we took a trolley tour and were able to get on and off when we wanted to. In Cozumel, did a beach day..which the kids loved and had time to shop after. Debarkation: had a full breakfast service in the Lido restaruant around 8:30, and waited to be called around 9:30... got bags, through customs, and directly onto our airport transfer (that we booked through Carnival this time..and I would recommend) Read Less
Sail Date July 2012
This was our second cruise with Carnival after we sailed on the Liberty April 2011 where the service was excellent, so we decided to sail Carnival again. It was a great vacation and we would definitely do it again. The food was a touch ... Read More
This was our second cruise with Carnival after we sailed on the Liberty April 2011 where the service was excellent, so we decided to sail Carnival again. It was a great vacation and we would definitely do it again. The food was a touch better on Imagination, service was just as excellent as on the Liberty. The shows were not nearly as good as on the Liberty but still decent. The comedian Steve was one of the funniest comedians every anywhere. I was also more impressed with Imagination due to them having the adult comedy show in the front lounge where they could accommodate everyone. On the Liberty they had it in the back lounge which is way to small and hundreds were turned away. Imagination excellent in the comedy dept. Only issues were, my parents room water temp was too high. My girlfriends air was too warm but they fixed it within the hour. And y safe twice locked me out and had to call for help. I understand Carnival cannot control how much people fiddle with things so its not their fault. They did resolve the issues to satisfaction. We had a great time, I wish it did a 4 say Eastern instead of a 3 day. If so I would be booking it right now. Read Less
Sail Date June 2012
All in all the cruise would have been fine except for the employees and the food. On the ship the employees all seemed to be miserable and customer service was non-existent. The worst of the bunch was "Guest Services". Ha Ha. ... Read More
All in all the cruise would have been fine except for the employees and the food. On the ship the employees all seemed to be miserable and customer service was non-existent. The worst of the bunch was "Guest Services". Ha Ha. What a joke. The second worst of the bunch were those people standing around chatting with each other at baggage claim. Don't bother asking for help. They will just look at you like you are from a different planet and interrupting their uber important conversations about what they had for dinner the night before or how their kids are doing in Little League. The rest of the crew when you could find them, all looked like the were totally disinterested and it showed in their actions. My 8 y/o grandson even noticed. He said the only nice person was the cabin steward and with the exception of one of the bartenders in the atrium bar he was right. As for the ship itself, the pool is small and over crowded and the food was mediocre at best. Greasy bacon and cold mushy waffles at the breakfast buffet. Room service, which we ordered frequently in self defense had a limited menu but was at least edible. On a bright note, the bathroom in the cabin was very clean. Shore excursions were over priced. The Glass Bottom Boat in Key west was boring. Whatever you do don't go on the Jungle Island excursion in Miami. Very expensive bus ride to the airport with an extremely short diversion thrown in. They dumped us off there before the place even opened. Then when we got to the airport afterwards they dropped us off at the absolute furthest point from our terminal that they could get. We had to walk so far to our terminal we almost missed our flight. And don't call Carnival about it. They won't do anything and if you ask to speak to a supervisor they conveniently won't be able to find one (on a Friday afternoon) and will have to have one return your call. Within 72 hours no less. I'm still waiting for my call. All in all I have learned a lesson. Read, read, read as many reviews as you can and fully check out the ship you are going on. It is as important as where you are going. Read Less
Sail Date May 2012
My wife and I went on this cruise because my cousin was getting married. We originally booked a grand suite and two weeks before the cruise they called and offered us an upgrade to the Penthouse Suite. Needless to say we were pretty ... Read More
My wife and I went on this cruise because my cousin was getting married. We originally booked a grand suite and two weeks before the cruise they called and offered us an upgrade to the Penthouse Suite. Needless to say we were pretty excited to have an upgrade and after researching the size of the room we knew we were in for a good time. The lady I booked with promised specific amenities and an escort to the room since it is not listed on the deck plans. When we got to the port to embark with the VIP checkin we were promised, they could not find our reservation. They sent us on the ship with guest passes and told us to speak with guest services once aboard. Guest Services was unable to do anything for us because their computers were not uploaded yet. This was not the way I wanted the vacation to start. We ported in Key West the second day and both my wife and I were flagged trying to leave the ship. They told us that we would again have to speak with guest services because our cards were not working (the ones we had just gotten from them the previous day). If the cards weren't working, why would they tell use to leave and deal with it later? This was the classic game of pass the buck we had experienced since we had gotten on the ship. The same thing happened when we attempted to return to the ship with the cards again not working. It was at this point I called Carnival directly since working with guest services was getting me nowhere. From that point on we did not have any problems with the cards, but due to the many we had up to that point, my wife did not enjoy the rest of the cruise. The food on this cruise was also the worst I have ever had and the service in the dining room was terrible. The servers were hard to find and seemed to not care about the experience of the cruisers. They are automatically tipped on the sail and sign account and you can tell they are not trying. One thing that irked my wife was the fact that her water glass was continuously empty (I didn't really get why that was so annoying, but she's a woman and I wasn't going to argue). Room service was helpful but slow. Orders would take up to an hour to reach our room and the food would be cold. Also whenever we called guest services for anything they were rude and acted put-upon that we needed something. The promised pool on the Serenity deck was a joke! Two hot tubs...combined those wouldn't even equal one pool. The only dancing club on the boat did not cater to everyone and was surrounded by security each night (we didn't go in). My wife had been talking about the shows she had seen on previous cruises and I was looking forward to seeing them. We went to one and did not go back. It was terrible! We fell asleep! The male singer couldn't sing and they kept yelping. I can go to karaoke to do that. The main entertainment for us came from counting everyone who left the show. The good points: Our room was always cleaned in a timely fashion. Our room steward was like a ninja. The bartenders in the Xanadu lounge were friendly and helpful and we enjoyed the piano bar. The room we were in was amazing but the problems that came with it made my wife wish we had stayed in our original cabin. My wife had cruised with Carnival before and stated at that point she would not go on another cruise with them but because of the wedding we decided to go for it. Big mistake. If you are looking for something with a little more class and something focused on customer service, do not cruise with Carnival. Never again! Read Less
Sail Date May 2012
We were very concerned after reading some of the reviews on Carnival Imagination on this board. While the ship may be somewhat older, the amenities on the ship are very good. We stayed in a hotel near FLL the night before and took a ... Read More
We were very concerned after reading some of the reviews on Carnival Imagination on this board. While the ship may be somewhat older, the amenities on the ship are very good. We stayed in a hotel near FLL the night before and took a ride to the port of Miami. We also flew back on an 11:45am flight from FLL, so we disembarked with the "early disembarkers" at 0830am and that worked out well. My daughter has many food allergies: she is severely allergic to eggs, wheat, milk and gluten. So a varied, nutritious and tasteful diet for her can be a challenge. We were very happy with the food overall on our cruise. Because of my daughter, we almost always ate in the dining rooms (not on the Lido deck), either in Sprit or in Pride. On all occasions, the service was superb. It takes longer to eat in dining rooms, but we enjoyed the leisurely meals. Volha Yafimik, Junior Hostess (act BV Hostess) was gracious and always very helpful. Every evening, she would ask my daughter what she would like for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and voila! the chefs made sure that the special meals were tasty, nutritious and allergen free. Volha and the dining staff provided exceptional service. We could not have asked for anything better. The other, non-allergic ones in our party, chose the meals from the ones offered, and enjoyed almost all of the entrees, and all of the desserts. We also really liked the Sushi on 2 of the 3 evenings. The comedy shows were also very enjoyable, specially the one for married couples (PG-16+). The staff was very attentive. They did all they could to make our stay comfortable. The room service was great, and so were the break dancers. We did not enjoy the dance shows as much, as the music was somewhat dated; and needs more songs from the 80s and 90s. The dance shows seemed for geared for 70+ audience, even though the demographic was quite different. I disagree with the reviewer who mentioned the "staff doesn't speak English or is hard to understand". Though most of the crew is international - from South east asia (Indonesia, Philipines, Eastern europe etc.), they understand and speak English quite well. They have a tough life on the ship, but they serve with dignity and pride. We stayed away from noisy parties on the Lido deck, preferring instead to enjoy the sun from the aft deck (next to the water slides). Read Less
Sail Date March 2012
This was our long awaited first cruise and after plenty of research we are so happy with our choice on the Carnival Imagination. Our group consisted of 10 people ages 3 years old to 65 years old. We had 3 children, ages 3, 5 and 7 years ... Read More
This was our long awaited first cruise and after plenty of research we are so happy with our choice on the Carnival Imagination. Our group consisted of 10 people ages 3 years old to 65 years old. We had 3 children, ages 3, 5 and 7 years old. We were afraid of sailing in December which I read is when Cozumel had the most rainfall. Everything was perfect. Embarkation was fair. We had a little trouble in our registration instructions on the computer because 2 of our passports were expired so we used birth certificates. Make sure that if you use birth certificates, you have another form of picture ID. We were also told that soon Carnival will implement a fee for using birth certificates as form of proof of citizenship. The ship was glamorous, clean and well kept. We were greeted cheerfully. Our room was clean and bigger than I expected. We chose an interior for 5 people as we did not intend on using it for other than sleep. I have read complaint after complaint on previous reviews, but honestly the size was not bad for the five of us. Though, I cannot see an adult sleeping on the wall beds. We saw the balcony rooms and they were absolutely gorgeous. Activities on board : There was plenty to do all the time. We only went to our room to change or sleep. Every waking minute we spent on deck under the sun in the pool, which seemed small but surprisingly was never full and had plenty of room for leisure swim,in one of the 4 outdoor jacuzzi, playing mini golf, playing on the water slides, or lounging in one of the many chairs usually with a drink, ice cream, or coffee. ( all available, all the time ) You could literally spend a whole day on deck with the water slides. They were that fun and for all ages ! Great quality time for the whole family. We even brought lunch from the deck below and ate it in front of the slides overlooking the whole ocean. Breath taking ! When not outdoors, the shows were equally wonderful. We watched " Show Time " which is a Vegas style song and dance musical appropriate for the whole family. I watched all the comedy shows. There were 2 comedians on board. One hilarious, one not. Family comedy was not amusing. Adult comedy shows brought me to tears laughing. Had the luxury of leaving the kids with family. I didn't make the married couples game show because it was midday and we were on the outdoor deck but watched it late night before sleeping. They play all the activities through out the day over and over again on their channel. It was cute but I'm glad we spent that time in the water under the sun. Karaoke was good. Carnival Kids club : Free babysitting till 10 at night. Clean, safe, air conditioned area. Loved that they offer to give you a cell phone that allows you to remain in contact with them at all times. Care takers were unbelievable kind, patient and cheerful. My 3 year old who has never previously been left in a child care setting LOVED them. He talked about them all night and wanted to go back the next day. 5 and 7 year old seemed more bored. Although there was play station, not the games the loved. And one t.v./ game console against 10 kids, also not fun. Otherwise very satisfied with them. Food : So much variety, so many choices, available all the time. All delicious! Especially loved choosing my own fresh ingredients for Mongolian grill. Great selection for kids available all the time. If all else fails, the 24 hour pizza is very good. Room service was a great way to get something into the kids' stomachs while we got some extra sleep in the morning before going to breakfast. Service : I have read complaints before from other reviewers but I have to say the men and women who service on this ship were remarkable in every aspect. They went out of their way to make the journey spectacular. Small details I noticed in these humble individuals are things like the restaurant hostess kneeling down to tie my kids shoe, caretakers at the child watch making sure you were comfortable leaving your child there before you left, officers and cooks remembering your name from day to day. Every individual has a story. These people leave their families for months on end to earn a living and make our vacations that much more pleasurable in the process. Fully appreciate every one of them. Seasickness : I packed medicine and was worried prior to boarding but to our amazement, no one in our party became sick. Sure, in the beginning you feel the boat rock, then your body adjusts. On the way to Miami on the last day the weather was rough, very windy and all decks were closed off and not to be used. * Because we didn't go to our room much and they leave each days information in your room midday, I failed to read the info about leaving the luggage outside of your room door by 11 pm at night to be picked up and transferred off the ship in the morning. We had to carry off all our luggage but it would have been nice to take advantage of that assistance. Also, I thought we would have at least till 12 noon on debarkation day but we actually had to be out of the room by 8:30 am. A great vacation never to be forgotten ! Read Less
Sail Date December 2011
We sailed aboard the Carnival Imagination October 3-7 to Key West, Florida and Cozumel, Mexico. Overall, the cruise was fantastic. There was mostly good and some bad which I will try to address clearly in this review. Embarkation: The ... Read More
We sailed aboard the Carnival Imagination October 3-7 to Key West, Florida and Cozumel, Mexico. Overall, the cruise was fantastic. There was mostly good and some bad which I will try to address clearly in this review. Embarkation: The Port of Miami is beautiful and well run. We were on the ship in 20 minutes. Nothing to complain about. Food: The food on this cruise wasn't the best or the worst. There were definitely good dishes and some that weren't too great. I have seen better, but overall it was just fine. The buffet just doesn't work that well aboard this ship. It is extremely crowded and poorly lit. It is so dark and crowded which makes it an unpleasant experience. It really ruins your appetite fighting against hundreds of people acting like they are going to die for food. The formal dining was much better. We had no complaints with it. Just try to eat in the dining room when you can instead of the buffet. I must say: The 24 hour pizza in the buffet was fantastic. We appreciated that. Room Service: Our stateroom steward was kind and hardworking. He kept our room very nice and always greeted us when we saw him. The staterooms are very spacious and cozy. The turn down service always put a smile on our face at the end of the day. Spa: The gym/spa is very well kept and peaceful. The steam room could have used a little more heat and steam, but it was alright. The gym was great as well as the sauna. The locker rooms and showers were amazingly clean and spacious. Now, onto the spa treatments. I received a massage and was shocked that I paid $100.00 for a 50 minute "massage" which included only 10 minutes of actual "massage" and 40 minutes of wiping massage oils on me in a fancy manner. What a lame excuse for a massage. I was very displeased, but did not say anything. Pool/Water slides/Hot Tubs: There is only one pool on this ship and it becomes extremely crowded to the point where you can't really even swim. The hot tubs have the same problem. The waterworks water slide looks very cool and big, but it is not well built. It is not steep enough and you move very slowly. Some people even had to push themselves out. That defeats the purpose of a water slide. It is supposed to be fast and thrilling. I was disappointed. The best place for a hot tub is the serenity adults only hot tubs. They were usually not too packed. Public Areas of the Ship: This ship is incredibly well kept. They are constantly cleaning and picking up after all the slobs! I have never seen such prompt cleaning on any cruise. The ship is well circulated and just has a sense of cleanliness in it. The only problem with the public areas is what I have stated before. Just too crowded! I don't know what more the ship staff could really do, though. Entertainment: The two main shows were absolutely wonderful. So much energy and power! We loved them both and was shocked at the performance level and quality. Very fun and entertaining. My only complaint as far as the entertainment is the comedy. This cruise only had 2 family friendly comedy shows. The other 3 were R rated and I refuse to watch and laugh to that crap. The other cruises we have been on had loads of both types of comedy for different people's taste. More comedy would have been nice. Carnival cruises always have plenty of other entertainment options from Hairy Chests Contests to Guess that song trivia to full blown out shows. We had no problem finding ways to pass the time. Youth Programs: We did not participate in any of the three, so have nothing to say. Ship Decor: The ship has well built and decorated places as well as not so good places. Some of the poorly built and/or decorated areas were the buffet (small, crammed, and lighted dark by neon green lights) and the Aft show lounge (about 20% of the seats actually have decent views of the stage). Everything else was decent except some weird figures like shirtless pharaoh lady things with wings placed all over the ship.. just weird. On board Wi-Fi/Computer Center: This was a nightmare! Just impossible. Nobody the entire cruise could pull up anything without waiting at least 5 minutes per click. We honestly spent an hour getting to our email and opening one email. Just ridiculously slow to the point where it is just a joke. Something in the system needs to be changed otherwise they should just tear out the entire computer center because it does nothing but tick off the customers and makes them loose money. We got our money refunded that we spent. Shore Excursions: We booked a shore excursion called the "Big 3" for Key West which includes snorkeling, kayaking, and seeing dolphins. The night before we got to Key West they cancelled the shore trip because of bad weather rolling in. The next day it cleared up and was beautiful outside, but they couldn't change their minds because they had already issued automatic refunds and booked people with other shore trips. We were shocked! You don't make a choice to cancel a shore trip the night before! You wait until the moment to see how the weather turns out. We were very sad and disappointed about this. Not cool. On board Shopping: The shopping on board was great. There were actually a lot of great deals that you wouldn't expect on a cruise ship. We enjoyed shopping on board... possibly a little more than we should have :). Conclusion: Despite all my negative comments, this cruise was great. I have mainly stated the bad things, but there were plenty of good things as well which overall weighed out the negative aspects of the cruise. Basically the staff do everything they can. There are just some things they can't control such as the layout of the ship and too many people crowing it. The staff do the best they can and it overall turns out being just fine. Thank you Carnival Imagination crew and staff for the great, affordable cruise. Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
THE GOOD NEWS: The value of a carnival cruise remains it's strongest selling point. The cabin was clean, the staff friendly and efficient. The food was ample and available at all times. The food in the main dining room was well ... Read More
THE GOOD NEWS: The value of a carnival cruise remains it's strongest selling point. The cabin was clean, the staff friendly and efficient. The food was ample and available at all times. The food in the main dining room was well prepared. The Carnival system for anytime dining seems to work, we had almost no wait time getting a table each night. The coffee was better than I remembered from prior cruises on Carnival. Ice cream machines were running at all times and no additional fee for the soft serve ice cream. Embarkation and disembarkation were very easy and quite fast. The entertainment was good. The shore excursions offered covered the best of the ports. We had no mechanical issues. THE BAD NEWS: The food quality seems to be reduced each time I sail with Carnival, although it was well prepared, the cuts of beef are limited and reduced. Flat Iron Steak is the only steak offered thought the cruise (New York Strip, Rib-eye and Tenderloin) are no longer on any Menu. Formal night menu offers thin Prime Rib or Lobster Tail. The deserts are more basic, but still good. Common areas are very crowded, the pools are small and there is standing room only most of the time as it is wall to wall with passengers. The basketball court has been removed. THE OVERALL: For the price, it meets expectations. Carnival does enough right that if you don't enjoy your cruise, it is likely your fault. Good well prepared food (Not Great or even very good), efficient staff, reasonably clean ship, good entertainment. Best for first time cruisers or those who want a low price cruise that covers all the basics. I will sail this cruise again, and I expect that I will enjoy it again. Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
My wife and I, while taking a RCCL cruise decided that we needed to take the kids on their first cruise. We have three girls 12, 10, and 7. We were basically looking for the cheapest cruise out there just to get them on a boat and have the ... Read More
My wife and I, while taking a RCCL cruise decided that we needed to take the kids on their first cruise. We have three girls 12, 10, and 7. We were basically looking for the cheapest cruise out there just to get them on a boat and have the cruise experience.Getting there:We flew into Miami from Atlanta the day before the cruise. We ended staying at the Airport Hilton for $79/night through "name your own price" at Priceline.com. We would highly recommend this approach.Embarkation:The cab ride from the Airport Hilton was $26 and about a 15 minute ride. Upon arrival we were met by a very rude porter who did not like the amount I was offering him. I asked him if he wanted to give me the money back, which he did and my family very easily rolled our bags ourselves to security. He tried to tell me they wouldn't allow us through with large bags, but that was a lie. Upon entering the terminal, we were told to fill out the standard paperwork and were pointed towards the kiosks. That was a crowded mess, and we detoured to the opposite line which led to the live person counter. This is a must! We breezed through embarkation , and the rest was uneventful.Cabins:We had two inside cabins on the Riviera deck 4. Our cabin (as opposed to the kid's) was adequate with two beds pushed together and a slightly larger than expected bathroom. The shower was twice as large as the one we had on RCCL, had plenty of water pressure, and the curtain didn't try to accost to me. In the cabin there was no hairdryer and only one outlet. We had to share this outlet to charge our cell phones.The lack of temperature control in the room was a bit bothersome. You basically have one vent above the bed with a dial that controls the amount of air let in. If that's not enough air or it's not cold enough, too bad. The kids' room was a completely different story. The smell from their cabin hit us like a wall as soon as we entered. T'was a very musty, dank, dirty smell. The kids didn't seem to mind, but I wouldn't have stayed in there. We left it alone because after the porter we were tired of confrontations, and wanted them next door to us. We saw our steward once officially. I didn't really get his name or his assistant's name and he didn't really make an effort to introduce himself properly. His job performance though was adequate and timely. We just missed having someone who we felt was treating us like family as we had experienced on RCCL.The Ship:I guess the best we can say about the Imagination is that it was clean. I almost began to think that they had people staged about to look like they were cleaning just to make you feel good about being on an old ship. I don't blame them. The ship looked dated but we expected as much. My main question was would it really be that hard to take down the cheesy neon in the atrium? The choices of things to do were limited at best. Do not choose the late dining. While they do perform two shows each night for the dining schedule, most of the fun things to do are during the late dining time. Our kids missed out on a lot and when we requested a change they told us to talk to the Maitre d. We never saw the Maitre d and didn't feel it was worth the effort. We would highly suggest choosing the "Choose your time" dining option. We were a little shocked by the hard selling of pictures. Every night the Promenade deck was covered in small "studios" where multiple photographers ask you over and over to take your picture. It became annoying. I guess if you want to pay $11.99 for the cheapest photo, that's your thing. It was not ours.Our youngest enjoyed the water slides for about an hour and then it was boring. As others have said, the one and only pool was extremely small and packed. This pool also was 4'9" deep. This was too deep for small children especially with that many people in it. Overall we didn't expect much from the ship itself. It's old. We knew that coming in. Give credit to Carnival for keeping her clean and in good (if outdated) repair.Food:Let's just get this out of the way. The lunch buffet was bad. Very bad. The pizza was bad. The desert was bad. The sandwich deli was decent. The fruit and salad bar had decent choices. The breakfast buffet was actually pretty good. Their French toast was very good although I did get a pint of spoiled milk on the last day that my wife and kids found hilarious. Now for the good. The pool grill was good since it's pretty hard to mess up hamburgers and hot dogs. We lived there for lunch. My wife particularly enjoyed the cheese fries.Dinner. One word. Excellent. With the exception of the seafood pasta, almost everything was good. Our dining staff was nice but there were several mix ups with drinks and such. Also there was that lack of personal touch. We enjoy becoming friends with our wait staff. This time they were just the wait staff.Camp Carnival:Our youngest generally loved it. The use of the Wii was a stroke of genius on Carnival's part. The arts and crafts they did were also creative and fun.Our ten year old went once and generally felt left out. She felt she was in between the young kids doing kid things and the teenagers doing really fun stuff. She didn't go back.Our oldest loved Circle C. She made new friends and really enjoyed the freedom of being away from mom and dad in a safe setting. It was nothing to let her stay out until one in the morning even though we had reservations about this in the beginning.Key West:Love, love, love this place. We weren't there very long but we would highly recommend the Old Town Trolley Tour. This is the tour trolley that will take you from the ship into town. When you get off the trolley Rocky will be waiting to give you a free map and info on whatever you'd like to do. If you've got kids the tour they offer was excellent. $30 for adults but kids 12 and under ride free. This was perfect for us and much better than just renting a golf cart. Our driver (April) was super informative and funny. After the tour, we ate at the Cuban restaurant (El Meson de Pepe) just off the square. It was excellent (if a little pricey) and our waiter (Alex) was extremely nice.Cozumel:Hot and touristy. If you're going to do an excursion, do it here because otherwise it's just a tourist trap with overpriced trinkets. We spent a couple of hours walking around, bought our trinkets, and got back on the ship. We didn't do an excursion because it wasn't in our budget and any good excursion would have been an extra $500 for a family of five.Entertainment:The shows were corny. Sorry. Not good if you've been on other cruises. The first show was bad, the second was ok, and the third they made good through sheer break neck speed. The R-rated comedian we saw (there were two) was funny. Not side splitting funny but more "raunchy shock" funny. This guy was really dirty but we were ok with that. The reason we didn't see the other comedian was because after 10pm Camp carnival charges $6.50/hr + 15% gratuity per child. We decided to only do this once in order to see the one comedian. Karaoke was fun and had a decent selection of songs to choose from.Debarkation:Do the self-assist if you have an early flight. While being well organized, we would have gotten off much sooner if we'd used the self-assist. Also, we found that while they call you down to leave by the number on your bags, if you decide to get in line early and get off, they just swipe your card and pass you through. In other words, it does well to organize the debarkation, but there is no enforcement to the rules.Final comments:Even though we have sailed on Carnival in the past, I don't see us sailing with them again unless it is on a larger boat at a heavy discount. It was an enjoyable experience for our kids, but we will probably pay the extra in the future to sail with RCCL. They basically spoiled us with their hospitality. Read Less
Sail Date June 2011
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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