4 Carnival Imagination Cruise Reviews for Singles Cruises to Caribbean - Western from Miami

Having cruised with Carnival previously on Destiny we decided to go with Carnival again for a winter break. Let me just say that cruising in the winter is VERY risky weather wise. The first day and a half it rained and was very cool out. ... Read More
Having cruised with Carnival previously on Destiny we decided to go with Carnival again for a winter break. Let me just say that cruising in the winter is VERY risky weather wise. The first day and a half it rained and was very cool out. This also meant that the water was rough during our travels. Miami (Embarkation)- I sailed with a friend and we saved a lot of time by doing the online check in through the carnival website. Once we passed security we just had to pick up our keys and we were on our way. We were in the ship by 1:30 pm and we were able to go straight to our rooms. We chose to go with an interior room only because on my previous cruise I spent little to no time in the room and felt that a window or balcony wasn't necessary. The room were clean and spacious. Key West- Very pretty! We did have a sunny day but it was very chilly out, about 55 degrees. Even the residents there were surprised by how cool it was this day. We took the shuttle to the downtown area and visited the Ripley's Believe it or Not. We also did some shopping at the local shops and sat at a bar for drinks before heading back to the ship. The ship was only docked in Key West for about 5 hrs. Our ride to Cozumel was rough! Almost half of the ship had was sea sick!!! (My friend that I was cruising with included) I so happened to be fine because i took Dramamine ahead of time. I decided to go with the buffet this night and the ship was the emptiest that i have seen throughout the entire trip. There was no line for the dining room and no one sitting in any of the common areas and this was about 7:30 pm. Cozumel- The weather SUCKED!! It was raining/ drizzling and was very windy. We decided to go with a van tour which ran us about $25. The tour guide took us to all the "hotspots" of Cozumel. He also gave us time to get out at a restaurant for lunch/ drinks as well as the beach once it stopped raining. After the tour we decided to head back to the ship due to the weather. Fun Day At Sea- FINALLY some sun! It hit about 85 degrees that morning and everyone was outside taking in the sun. We sat on the Serenity Deck for a couple hours for quiet relaxation. I must say that the Serenity Deck was a great move on Carnivals part. Its quiet and only 21 & over. It also had 2 Jacuzzi's. We later headed to the Lido deck for all the fun and games. Caught some shows and more sun before getting ready for dinner. I think this was the most fun day on the ship. The comedian even thought so! Food/Drinks- Overall the food was good. I am a picky eater and i enjoyed the food. In comparison to Destiny I saw less lines on Imagination. I am a cooker and was a bit annoyed with the omelet station because my eggs were always burnt. I enjoyed the Lido Deck food better than the Dining room food. Although I did enjoy the dessert in the dining room. Bare in mind that although they provide room service there maybe a long wait during times where outside is cold, bad weather, and around dinner time. Yes! The drinks are expensive but are very strong. I had to send back a drink because there was more liquor than mixer. Miami (Debarkation)- We decided to go with the relaxed debarkation. On debarkation morning we had breakfast on the lido deck and was informed that customs would doing a vigorous scan on everybody. This did make the process a lot longer but the line was getting a bit ridiculous so they just stopped doing the scan. Transportation- When I cruised on Destiny i went with Carnivals transportation which like all the other reviewers said was expensive and we had to wait for a full bus to leave the airport/ port. This time around i did some research and went with SAS transportation (ridesas.com). They have a website that I booked the pick-up/ drop off. They were very reliable and prompt. As soon as i got off the plane in FLL they were calling and they called me when I was going through customs for debarkation. It was $15 each way which was the cheapest i found from FLL airport. Their drivers were very courteous and provided a mini tour on the way lol. Ship/ Staff- The staff were all nice. On our last night on the ship we got a bad waiter in the dining room and we didn't even make it to dessert before we left and that was after sitting there for about and hour and a half. The ship was remodeled in 2010 and was a lot newer than Destiny. The lounges and common areas were more modern than Destiny. For the most part the staff did a good job at keeping the ship clean and tables cleared on the Lido Deck. Entertainment- I must say that the entertainment is far better than i remember in the Destiny. I really enjoyed the shows in the Dynasty Lounge. The shows looked a lot more professional and the singers are a lot better. Overall, I would cruise with Carnival again but on their newer ships and definitely not in the winter! It was a good idea for a hot trip in the winter but just not on a boat! Read Less
Sail Date January 2014
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
Embarkation: First, I have done the VIP check-in maybe one additional time, but I must say, it is truly the way to go. VIP check-in is for anyone with a Junior Suite (JS), Ocean Suite (OS), Verandah Suite (VS) or Grand Suite (GS) ... Read More
Embarkation: First, I have done the VIP check-in maybe one additional time, but I must say, it is truly the way to go. VIP check-in is for anyone with a Junior Suite (JS), Ocean Suite (OS), Verandah Suite (VS) or Grand Suite (GS) accommodations. On this vessel they only had the Junior or Grand Suite categories, so, I opted for the Grand Suite, which allowed me VIP embarkation. If you can handle the additional money, simply the best way to go! From the cab and on the ship in a matter of 15 minutes max! The Ship: Upon entering the ship, I thought I had stepped back 15-20 years. I thought the loud clad decorating, neon lighting, unimpressive "Grand Spectrum" atrium was a disaster and I thought this was one of the ships that had been refurbished? It had, but just not in the public areas. As I start to make my way through the ship, I must say, it was truly disappointing. After having been on the Conquest and Spirit class ships, which are larger and understandably newer and would have more amenities, I thought this ship had seen it's better days and if this is the way Carnival would want to introduce people to cruising, they had better continue to offer the lowest prices and over intoxicated rowdy crowds or they'd be washed up! I made my way to the pool bar, I was expecting this huge beautiful pool area with faux palm trees and tiki huts, well, they were there, but looked nothing like the on-line pictures. The Adults only area was nothing impressive or nothing to look forward to. If you weren't out there at 8:00 AM with a towel to "RESERVE" your chair, you'd be sitting around the only pool over run with kids (weren't that many on this sailing) and crowded. They need a dedicated bar in the "Serenity" area so, you can relax around a bar and sit out back if there aren't chairs available. Another issue, was the unnecessary annoying games constantly by loud people on the microphone at the pool with hardly any music being played and since this was the only pool, you almost had to deal with it because you had no other options. Dining/Service: The food on this sailing was just OK. I thought the wait staff did a good job, but the customer service on this ship left a lot to be desired. I asked one of the staff about prior guest events and she said "sir, you are on the lowest class of ship..." when she said that, it totally summed up my experience. The Suite: HUGE! Walk-in closet, huge over sized desk with granite top, huge bar with ample stemware, large balcony, this was the highlight of my ship time! I spent more time in my suite than I have on ANY other Carnival cruise I had been on before. The beds were comfortable, jacuzzi tub, large living room all with chairs and sofa. VERY VERY NICE!! PORTS: Key West and Cozumel. I had a great time in Key West, they have done a lot of new things to the island since I was last there and I would totally look forward to going back. Cozumel, was as always, very nice and I went to Mr. Santos Beach as the other beaches were totally too touristy and over crowded. But I always look forward to going there. Debarkation: A breeze. As stated above, category 11 and 12 allow you priority debarkation as well. Off the ship and to a cab in a matter of 15 mins! Final Thoughts: While I will more than likely book Carnival again, this sailing has really left me with a bad impression and if this had of been my first Carnival cruise, I'd probably not be booking again. I want to re-iterate, this is by no means meant to deter you from your trip or leave you with a negative impression for your upcoming sailing, just telling you as a Carnival loyalist what my experience was and while every one's impressions will be different, this is what I experienced. Read Less
Sail Date April 2010
Embarkation: We arrived in Miami the night before our cruise and stayed at the Hyatt Regency ($60/night on Priceline), which is only about two miles from the pier. We left the Hyatt at 11:30 for a short 5 minute taxi ride to the pier. I ... Read More
Embarkation: We arrived in Miami the night before our cruise and stayed at the Hyatt Regency ($60/night on Priceline), which is only about two miles from the pier. We left the Hyatt at 11:30 for a short 5 minute taxi ride to the pier. I think it was about $13 including tip. We noticed a lack of porters and ended up carrying our bags over to the luggage drop-off area where a porter finally acknowledged us and added a second tag to our bags even though we had printed the Carnival luggage tags at home. We were inside and through security within 5 minutes and were checked in within 15 minutes of arriving at the pier. As expected, my $50 OBC shareholder benefit was applied to my account and with my blue sail & sign card in hand, I was ready to go. After a 15-20 minute wait in the terminal, they called our zone (Zone 15) and we proceeded up for our embarkation photo and were at the lido buffet by 12:15. Cabin: I was traveling with a group of friends but due to some last-minute changes, I ended up canceling the reservation I made back in March and re-booked approximately 10 days before the cruise. I booked category 6A guarantee and ended up with an upgrade to 6C, cabin U29. This was my first cruise, so I have nothing to compare it to, but the cabin was a lot more spacious than I expected. The recent upgrades made as part of the Evolutions of Fun campaign really make the cabins feel almost brand new. Being located near the front of the ship, I noticed just a little more movement in my cabin than I did in other parts of the ship, but not significant enough to make me wish I had booked closer to the center of the ship. I really enjoyed having a window in the room, allowing the sun to wake me up each morning. My friends were in cabins U141, U145 and U151, so Carnival clearly made an effort to assign our groups cabins close together, with the exception of my last minute booking. Dining: Our group of 7 was assigned late seating in the Pride dining room, table 181. We were seated with another group of 3 girls, also in their mid-20's, who made dinner even more entertaining every night. Our waiters were Rex and Awayan. Rex's personality and quick-witted jokes kept us laughing every night. He started with Carnival 10 years ago as a dishwasher and has worked his way up to head waiter. Here is a quick review of the food: 1st Night: Appetizer - Shrimp Cocktail (5/5) Entree - Chicken a la Greque (5/5) Dessert - Warm Chocolate Melting Cake (4/5) 2nd Night (Formal Night): Appetizer - Shrimp Cocktail (5/5) Entree - Maine Lobster Tail (4/5) with Grilled Prawns (5/5) Dessert - Grand Marnier Souffle (1/5) 3rd Night: Appetizer - Fried Mozzarella on Mixed Greens (1/5) Entree - Sweet and Sour Shrimps (5+/5) Dessert - Tiramisu (5+/5) 4th Night: Appetizer - Crab Cake (5/5) and Shrimp Cocktail (5/5) Entree - Grilled Chicken Breast and Baked Potato (4/5) and Penne Mariscos (Penne with Shrimp and Scallops in Tomato Cream Sauce) (3/5) Dessert - Baked Alaska (3/5) Best Appetizer: Crab Cake Best Entree: Sweet and Sour Shrimps Best Dessert: Tiramisu We also tried breakfast in the dining room on our last sea day. The belgian waffles with stewed bananas (think bananas with caramel sauce) were amazing, and I heard plenty of compliments about the eggs benedict as well. I would have liked to have had breakfast in the dining room more often, but after staying up until 3:00am every night, getting up at 8:00am just didn't appeal to me. Lido / Horizon Buffet: We had lunch a few times at Horizons and the Lido buffet. The chicken entree on our embarkation day was good, as were the potatoes. I also tried the Mongolian Grill, but was disappointed as it didn't really have any flavor, just a burn from the szechwan sauce. I didn't try anything from the international buffet or the poolside grill, so I can't comment on those, except that the lines seemed long every day. Some of the desserts were wonderful, while others seemed a bit dried out. Definitely try some different things as the ones that appealed the least to me ended up being some of my favorites. NY Deli / 24-Hour Pizzeria: The deli station doubles as an omelette station in the morning and serves sandwiches from 11am to 11pm daily. I tried two different sandwiches during the cruise. The grilled turkey sandwich was decent, although it could have been grilled a little longer. They were essentially just pressing the sandwich with the grill and putting it on a plate, not leaving it on long enough to toast. The turkey wrap was a little disappointing and I would probably need 3 or 4 to fill me up. The 24-Hour Pizzeria was popular but never had more than 2 or 3 people in line. They do a great job of getting pizzas out quickly and each 12" pizza is sliced into quarters and served. I quickly got hooked on the mushroom and goat cheese pizza and probably had it 5 or 6 times during the cruise, including a 3am visit after the casino had closed. During off hours, they only have pepperoni and cheese pre-made and everything else comes out as an 8 or 9 inch pizza cooked to order in about 10 minutes. They also have Caesar Salad (and grilled chicken!) and Calzones available. Entertainment: One thing that the ship does not lack is activities. During the day they had different activities all day long on the lido deck stage as well as different tournaments in the casino, destination and shopping talks in the lounges and calypso music all day long. Every evening had a production or variety show in the two-story Dynasty lounge and two nights featured adults-only comedy shows in the Xanadu lounge. There was also a jazz band on the promenade, a pop band in one of the lounges, a piano bar, karaoke in the Xanadu lounge and the Illusions Disco, which was busy until 2-3am. Our cruise director was Skip Lyons, whose quick whit kept everyone well entertained. 1st Night: Welcome Aboard Show 2nd Night: Living in America - Las Vegas style musical (4/5) and midnight adult comedy show with Oscar Collazos (4/5). 3rd Night: Balancing act and family-friendly comedy (3/5) 4th Night: Christmas Musical at 5:00pm (3/5), Shout! - Branson style 50's musical (3/5), late-night adult comedy show with Ronnie Bullard (5/5) Crowds: Even though our sailing was sold out, we rarely noticed crowds on the ship. There are so many different activities going on that everyone had something different to do. The only times we ever noticed crowds were at lunchtime at the lido buffet and during the last night of the cruise for the adults-only comedy show, which was standing room only. This could be because the first adults-only comedian did two shows, while the second only performed once. Although the lido deck was always busy around the pool in the afternoon, we never had a problem getting groups of chairs up on the Waterworks deck or on the other side of the lido deck stage. On embarkation day, we were also able to sit out on a deserted Serenity Deck. By the last at-sea day every single chair was occupied on the Serenity Deck. According the the cruise director there were 518 children onboard. I don't know where they hid all the children, because we hardly ever saw them. The only time they ever came out was when Camp Carnival brought all of the kids to the Dynasty Lounge on the last day of the cruise so that they could sing christmas carols as part of the Christmas show and to see Santa. Key West: We got off the ship at Mole Pier around 8:45am and took the Conch Train to Mallory Square. After reviewing our maps, we decided that we would walk from Mallory Square to the Southernmost Point (about 1.5-2 miles) and explore the shops along the way. Two of our friends were booked on the Fury snorkeling excursion for $39, and we agreed to meet up with them back on the ship. We stopped at two different bakeries and picked up some croissants and a piece of chocolate covered frozen key lime pie (YUM!). We had fun exploring and taking pictures. On the way back the girls decided to stop at a nail salon on Duval Street for manicures and pedicures, leaving the guys to head to Sloppy Joe's for some drinks and Sloppy Fries. After the girls were finished with their pampering, we headed back to Mallory Square around 12:45 and hopped on a Conch Train back to the pier with no wait. Cozumel: We docked at Punta Langosta pier and were off the ship by 1:30. Two of the girls in our group that were sharing an inside room forgot to set their alarms, so we agreed to meet up with them in an hour at the entrance to the pier. The rest of us spent the first hour shopping outside of Punta Langosta, where I picked up a small bottle of Mexican Vanilla for $4 and two t-shirts for $10. We then met up with the other two girls and took two taxis ($16 each) to Mr. Sancho's. Mr. Sancho's is about 15 minutes from the pier and is a beautiful beach/restaurant/bar complex that is quieter than some of the other beaches in Cozumel. The entire complex is really clean and also had a nice pool next to the restaurant. We relaxed on the beach for about 3 hours and enjoyed some drinks from the bar. The two girls that did not go snorkeling in Key West decided they wanted to try it, so they went snorkeling in a small boat with just the two of them and a guide ($30). They said that they enjoyed it and were able to see a lot of fish around the reefs. As the sun was starting to go down and the beach was closing, we decided to head to Margaritaville for some drinks and a free calimari appetizer. Watching the sunset from their dock was beautiful, but two margaritas and a beer were not worth $30. After Margaritaville, we made a quick stop at the Mega (think Mexican Wal-Mart) to pick up some Mexican candy (Milch = YUM!) for my 6 year old cousin and Coca-Cola, which is still made with real sugar in Mexico. I love Mexican soda as it does not have an aftertaste like the stuff made with corn syrup in the United States. Debarkation: We arrived as scheduled in Miami around 7:30am. They announced that the various officials would be making their way onboard for our inspection and after clearance they would begin debarkation. Our group agreed to meet for breakfast in the Horizon Grill area at 8:30. We were easily able to have breakfast and still sat around for about 45 minutes before they called for self-assist. I was the only one that chose to do zone debarkation, mainly because I was by myself with two suitcases, a backpack and a box of liquor from the duty free store. I was assigned zone 16 and made it off the ship around 10:45, only about 10 minutes after the self-assist was called for our deck. My bags were waiting for me on the carousel and it only took 2 or 3 minutes to clear customs and immigration where they didn't even question the four bottles of liquor I was carrying. I guess they are more concerned about getting everyone through quickly than collecting a few dollars duty on my extra bottles of liquor. Overall everything moved smoothly and I had no problem getting a taxi back to the Hyatt to pick up my car. Overall Impressions: Overall I loved my first cruise and was very happy with the Imagination. As I said earlier, the refurbishments really show and most areas of the ship seem almost brand new. The only things that date the ship are the purple and red colors of the atrium and the theming of the dining rooms. This was an off-season sailing in mid-December and there was a nice mix of age groups with the majority of passengers being mid-20's through late-40's. Both Key West and Cozumel had plenty of activities to keep us entertained and I would love to spend more time in both ports in the future. I would gladly sail on Carnival and the Imagination again. Read Less
Sail Date December 2008
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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