224 Miami to Caribbean - Western Carnival Imagination Cruise Reviews

We like the Carnival Imagination. We cruised from Miami to Key West then Cozumel, Mexico. The five night voyage was comfortable, the food was decent and the entertainment was very good. The ship is one of the older vessels in the fleet, is ... Read More
We like the Carnival Imagination. We cruised from Miami to Key West then Cozumel, Mexico. The five night voyage was comfortable, the food was decent and the entertainment was very good. The ship is one of the older vessels in the fleet, is compact and does not offer balconies but the accommodations were better than we "imagined", The bed was comfortable, the steward was attentive and the overall service was very good. The port of call for Key West was far too short; Carnival should consider extending the cruise to an overnight stay; it would all passengers - especially gay ones, the opportunity to experience more of this historic and pretty port. We reserved an oceanview stateroom since balconies do not appear to be an option on this smaller, older ship. The room seemed larger in scale than most, the bed linens were clean and contemporary, the bed was amply comfortable. There was plenty of storage space. The bath was clean, linen service was great and well stocked with toiletries. Our cabin steward was efficient, attentive and discreet. The overall decor of the Imagination was well thought out and fairly modern considering its age. The Imagination was updated a few years back, and it show mostly in its public washrooms with nice tiles and fittings. The washrooms were not as clean as we would like. Bars and nightclubs were sufficient for the size of this ship. The main dining rooms were well planned, nicely decorated and well-staffed. The food was very good in the main dining room and buffets. The buffets were well-stocked and the selection was fair... one could always find foodstuffs worth consuming and we appreciated that they were kept open fairly late. The pizza is excellent and the desserts in the cafe were awesome and so cheap! Where can you find a wonderful slice of chocolate torte, eclair or cheesecake for $2.25? We requested seating with other gay couples and were rewarded with a table that included: two married gay couples, a single gay male, two ladies traveling together as friends but who have gay brothers, and a trio from New Jersey who were fabulously gay friendly. Carnival gets full marks for that! We will definitely consider another future sail on Carnival Imagination. Read Less
Sail Date January 2012
We had a group of 9 people (ranging in ages from 21 to 80) for a family cruise leaving Dec. 12th. We had been contacted by Carnival a few weeks before the cruise and given an option of upgrading our cabins to grand suites (from ocean ... Read More
We had a group of 9 people (ranging in ages from 21 to 80) for a family cruise leaving Dec. 12th. We had been contacted by Carnival a few weeks before the cruise and given an option of upgrading our cabins to grand suites (from ocean views) for a cost of about $250.00 per person. Only my husband and I chose to do this and so glad we did!! We had Cabin U90 - a Grand Suite with a balcony - and it was huge. We used it as a meeting place and had seating for 9, we bought in chairs from the balcony. We had a fridge, a walk in closet, tons of storage space, a jacuzzi tub and a very comfortable bed. There is also a couch that makes into a bed. Our room steward was Angel and he was fantastic. He bought us a wine bucket and always extra ice when he found out we had all bought a bottle of wine (had 9 bottles in our room) and made sure we always had wine glasses. The upgrade include VIP boarding - we were on the ship in 5 minutes! The rest of our group did regular boarding though, and were on within 15 or 20 minutes. It was a breeze. Luggage was placed at our room promptly and we sailed away. First day was Fun Day at Sea. We laid in the sun (my husband did the water slide - he's 67 and loved it), watched the trivia games, shopped, ate, etc. The Cruise Director was Skip and his shows were hilarious - the married couples game especially. We also loved the piano bar with Dana (i won the trivia contest in there) and spent a couple of nights in there until it closed. We went to Cozumel and Key West. We did the Mayan Ruins/Beach tour (which was actually kind of boring)in Cozumel and then the water got really rough. There were sick people everywhere and they had to modify the shows to protect the dancers. We did fine and went onto Key West and visited the Hemmingway House and rented an electric car. It was fun, but not so fun finding a place to park it (we had a six seater) everytime we wanted to stop. Next time, i will probably just do the trolley hop on/hop off thing. I have read reviews that talked about rude employees and bad food, but that was not our experience. Our servers (Yeoman!) were the best and we had great food at dinner every night. My husband ate more than I have ever seen him eat - two or three appetizers every night and usually two entrees!!!! We loved the spinach and artichoke dip appetizer they offered every night, the onion au gratin soup and the cream of broccoli soup. The buffet foods were great too - we really liked the pizzaria and deli. The shows we attended were fun and every employee we encountered was more than friendly. The ship was very, very clean and even the night with all the sick people, the crew was constantly cleaning. Disembarking was also pretty painless - i remember the days when you went into a big warehouse and found your luggage - now it comes off on a baggage turnstile like the airports and it's quite easy. The only thing that we didn't like was having to go thru immigration process in key west - it took a while to get off the boat, but staff and officials were very nice and helpful. One good thing - we all won in the casino!! we are not huge gamblers (except for my 80 year old father) but i won 140.00 on the penny slots and he won over 300.00. Several in our party won 40.00 or more on the quarter slots. Read Less
Sail Date December 2011
Hello, I recently returned from my 12/05/11 sailing on the IMAGINATION. This was my PLATINUM 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 ... Read More
Hello, I recently returned from my 12/05/11 sailing on the IMAGINATION. This was my PLATINUM 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 took this same cruise two prior sailings, once in 2009 another in 2010. I recently sailed on the DREAM in September and LOVED it. 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. ITINERARY: Miami-Key West-Cozumel-day at sea-Miami. MIA airport is a short fifteen minutes from the port. There is one formal night on day three, making this a perfect getaway trip. CARNIVAL TRANSPORT: I was planning an early arrival into MIA so did not purchase the Carnival transport as I was not sure if I wanted to do something before embarkation. I decided to just head to the port directly. I proceeded to the luggage claim and quickly found the Carnival agent to purchase my transport ticket. They make it so easy. You simply show your boarding pass and ID and they can add the transport to your sail and sign account on the ship. It was only $16 one way and 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. However, a taxi for 1-2 people is just as good. Larger groups should do the extra research and reserve a shuttle, it would save some cash. EMBARKATION: I arrived about 10:15-10:30. 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 never even knew there was such a room. I was literally walking onto the ship after about a 5 minute stop at the desk. Membership definitely has its privileges here! I do remember from my last trip to this port in 2010 they have kiosk terminals for regular check-in like an airport after you go through security. There are only a few entries and a scan of your passport to receive a ticket and go right up to the desk to receive your sail and sign card. CABIN: E4 PORTHOLE forward.... This was my first time booking a porthole stateroom and I would book another in a heartbeat. For location purposes, I was just 2nd from the front of the ship located right under the name on the outside of the ship. The stateroom itself is same size and shape as a regular ocean view cabin except you are only charged for an inside price. NO FRIDGE, but I knew that. This is your typical stateroom; 2 beds, but no pull down bunk. SAFE, 32" flat screen TV, room light switches at the bed, water and soda to purchase in the room. Two robes hanging in the closet. Conveniently located at the junction where the laundry room was located if you need it. I was not bothered by any traffic in and out at all. COMPLIMENTARY BATHROOM BASKET included his/her Razor, toothpaste, Pantene-RED color enhancer, some upset stomach packets (like TUMS), bar soap and tissues. Shower: Shampoo & Liquid Soap (I brought shampoo w/conditioner, a travel Lysol spray). The room itself appeared to be in NEW condition. Perhaps it was one during the latest dry dock? (One negative: if you need to know is that the crew deck quarters is also located at the front of this ship. So there was one night when there was a late night deck party and the music was a little loud. I say, the crew deserves a good time also so a few hours of base thumping I could handle for the service I received. ROOM STEWARD: RENALTO greeted me at my door minutes after sail-a-way. He was extremely courteous and always took the time to say hello and ask how my day was. Beyond that he never disturbed me at any point during the day and THAT, IMHO is what makes a good room steward; one that knows your name and schedule and can work around it without disturbing your vacation. I only had to call him once for laundry bags (Platinum perk) and he was knocking at my door within seconds of the call. I increased his gratuity directly to him and his assistant substantially. They really eliminated ANY worries regarding the cleanliness and status of our stateroom. They are an asset to the Carnival crew. PORTS: Key West, Florida & Cozumel Mexico KEYWEST: Since I did my usual at this port I will simply copy from my last review. This is a nice port and do not fret about the short time you are there. You can easily cover this port and get a taste of what it offers during the 6-7 hours you are there. I chose to not do an excursion, as I normally do here, but this trip I walked around the harbor walk and it was very peaceful and interesting. Duval St/ Front Street are no less than a tourist trap with plenty of shops for souvenirs and Key-Lime everything. The Aquarium is right in town center and if you walk up Duval Street a few blocks you will pass HARD ROCK, JIMMY BUFFET's Margaretville and some nicer shops to browse. If you continue up Front street to the Harbor, there is a small Moped rental stand that I was told by locals is a good price. I was offered $35 for about 4 hours. COZUMEL: If you cannot find something to do here then something is wrong. EXCURSIONS: I chose to explore the MAYAN RUINS of TALUM. I've wanted to do something historical and "discovery-like" and it was worth it. Do not be discouraged by the long 7 hour duration. It is split up into parts (Ferry ride to the mainland- Playa Del Carmen). It is about 45min charter bus ride; with a stop at a souvenir shop and bathroom stop. This is a real store not a straw market. They have nice items and clean updated bathroom facilities. FERRY RIDE: First off, if you are pronged motion sickness, request to sit inside on the lower level. They loaded us all on the upper deck which was very rocky. The locals refer it as the "BARF-BOAT" for tourists that race to sit on the outside 2nd level LOL. Inside are plush air-conditioned seats. We all sat there on the way back. They offer water, drinks, and some snacks for sale on the ferry. Polite crew MAYAN RUINS of TALUM are located south of the Ferry. Our tour guide had much information to pass time along the ride to the ruins. This is a WALKING TOUR and there is a lot of area you can explore. At first the tour guide will introduce you to some of the area, and then you will have approx. 2 hours to explore on your own. Bring a camera there are some nice photo opportunities. You are not able to climb the main temple as it has been closed to tourists to preserve it. You are able to swim on the beach just below the temple, but it is at your own risk and a very small beach area for your items. I did not notice any lockers or chairs, simply a beach. When you return back to the bus area you can grab some food for an additional cost, and shop in the small straw market area. It you get a chance try to catch the times for the dancers swinging on the "MAY-POLE" I missed them and wish I had a chance to see it. Load the bus and it's a 45 minute return ride to the ferry and back to the ship. Our return time was approx 8pm. 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 nice quiet relaxing vacation since it was just after Thanksgiving and usually not so many children as they are back to school. Everyone I met had a smile on their face and I personally did not hear anything bad or complaints. It was a full sailing, but did not feel overly crowded at any time. FOOD/DINING: Since I was solo, I had "YOUR TIME DINING" on this cruise. It is as easy option when you are alone or a small group of 3-4. Only downside I see is that you have a different waiter each night, and I prefer the same servers. 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 excellent and could not have been any better. Our servers each night were great and her assistants just as pleasant. The rest of the cruise I chose to eat at the buffets for breakfast and lunches. If I was in line more than 3 people deep at any given time it was a lot. The 24 hr pizza this cruise was not as good as past sailing so not sure if it has changed? GALLEY TOUR: As a platinum guest I was able to attend the behind the scenes Galley Tour. I took this tour when on the DREAM in September as well. It is an interesting tour to get an idea of how the food services work on the ship. It also can give you an appreciation for how the staff handles orders and deliveries. STAFF: (I split this up into several captions) WORKING STAFF: Same as my last trips on this ship in 2009 & 2010. I can honestly not find anything 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 of their ship. It is no wonder the IMAGINATION is ranked as one of the top carnival ships. It is very noticeable how the Carnival crews are always cleaning, wiping and maintaining their ships. CRUISE DIRECTOR- "SKIPPY" I liked this cruise director. Much better than the last one on this same ship. He had just enough humor and was not "Over the top" like some are. He was fun and informative, and also all around the ship unlike some that never seem to leave the main lounge. I'm glad to see that JORGE SOLANO is being assigned to this ship for 2012 when SKIPPY is not working. JORGE is a great CD and as a founder of the comedy club also funny as well. The assistant cruise director, SAMMIE JEWER was also fun and I had some great conversations with her. Sammie and Skip are a good team for this ship. ENTERTAINMENT: Carnival is discovering that the Main Atrium is valuable space for more entertaining than just the piano bar. The HIP-HOP crews "FUNFORCE" performs in the atrium after show times and always are fun to watch. Since this was a DECEMBER sailing they also made it 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. It's exciting to sit through for the first time cruiser, but after a few sailings it becomes a bit repetitious. I still think they are handled well for what they are worth, but Now that other lines are investing money into bringing Broadway known titles like Blue Man group and Chicago, I think this is an area Carnival can look into updating. 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. 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 debarkation and was off the ship by 9am. I set my luggage out the night before and had no trouble locating it at the terminal. Carnival transport back to the "MIA" airport was as pleasant as it could have been. 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. Elimination of the COMMENT CARDS? NO option to view your account or menus from your stateroom TV like other ships, but they now offer a kiosk-like machine by guest services to check on your accounts. In the end, this is my third sailing on the Imagination in 3 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 2011
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
This is our fifth Carnival cruise and eleventh, overall. I personally feel the Carnival and the "Imagination" have done a lot to improve EVERYTHING. The casino is now run by professional hosts, paying attention to the ... Read More
This is our fifth Carnival cruise and eleventh, overall. I personally feel the Carnival and the "Imagination" have done a lot to improve EVERYTHING. The casino is now run by professional hosts, paying attention to the "full time" player. As for "tight".. ????? My wife and I won over $8K... I have the 1099 to prove it.. UGH! The food and the menu has come a long way. We were impressed with the new items and new quality. Aligator Fritters were GREAT, the lobsters were much bigger than previously and the escargot is now back to butter garlic. Thanks... The only things I would comment otherwise is the "double" porthole window "ocean view" cabin. Get another cabin with a full window. Secondly, while I think everyone should try the Chef's Table at least once, that is it.... ONCE. This was our second and much to our surprise -- Nothing had changed. The EXACT program, location AND MENU. Wonderful food, service and ambiance, but... "Been there, done that..." All-in-all, I think the Carnival is on the right track, except they need to learn from past experiences and continus listening to your "customers"... Read Less
Sail Date November 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
General Impressions: Overall, this is a smaller ship with a smaller feel. The crew is super laid back and probably will not introduce themselves unless asked. Embarkation: Two words...Super easy. We got to ... Read More
General Impressions: Overall, this is a smaller ship with a smaller feel. The crew is super laid back and probably will not introduce themselves unless asked. Embarkation: Two words...Super easy. We got to the port of Miami at noon and was on the ship by 12:30. This was by far the easiest embarkation of any of the 8 cruises we've been on. It was so fast I can't say anything more. Rooms: We got an ocean view and its pretty typical of other Carnival ocean view rooms. It has adequate lighting. The closet space is typical. The only down side is there is no sitting area. There is a stool for the desk and a single chair, other than that your stuck sitting on the bed. The other "issue" is there is only one real usable outlet. Fortunately, I brought a power strip. I highly recommend bringing one if you want to run or charge multiple gadgets at once. One tip, there was no hair dryer in our room so we asked our cabin steward and he gave us one. I got the feeling that they don't put them in the rooms unless you ask. Our room steward took great care of the room. It was done up twice a day with turn down service. The bathroom was always clean and well taken care of. Casino: It was dominated by mostly slot machines but they had some of the typical table games as well. The one craps table had 2X odds with 5 dollar minimums. There was one blackjack table with a 6 dollar minimum and it paid 3 to 2. They had other blackjack tables with higher minimums like $10 and $25. They also had a video blackjack machine with 3 dollar minimums. Dining: Buffet: We had lunch and breakfast there. It was your usual mix of buffet food. The dishes had more of an American feel as opposed to some cruises we've been on that have a more international mix. In general the food was good. There was ample staff to clear tables thus there were plenty of clean tables to sit at. The buffet did feel a little crowded but overall the food and service was adequate. Formal Dining: This was the most bizarre dining experience we've had to date out of the 8 cruises (4 of which have been with Carnival) we've been on. The wait staff never introduced themselves. The person we thought was our head waiter was rarely around. The actual service we got was acceptable but it was far from the best we've had on other ships. Overall, the menu was a little weak. They had some "every day choices" that ranged from your basic flat iron steak to a southern fried chicken. They also had daily offerings. On formal night they had lobster tail and shrimp which was good. It was cooked perfectly and had great flavor. I also had the flat iron steak and it was good as well. Desert options were pretty typical. They had the Carnival infamous melting chocolate cake which is great if you love rich chocolate deserts. The appetizers were ok but my wife felt like they were under seasoned and slightly bland. I will admit they had a crab cake on the last night that was probably some of the best food we had the entire cruise. The wine by the glass list (which was included in the food menu) was weak. It was just plan short. I think this may be a growing trend in the cruise industry. On the last couple cruises we've taken the wine list appear to be getting smaller and smaller. Additionally, on the last night my wife and I wanted to order a bottle of wine so I asked for the wine list. (They had remove the wines by the bottle list from the dinner menu after the first day.) The bar attendant looked at me like I was crazy. The attendant started asking other servers for a list. After 10 or so minutes the wine list appeared!! It just felt super disorganized. Overall, the dining rooms were acceptable but if your a foodie and expect the best you may be disappointed. We did go to the Pride dining room for lunch on the last day of our cruise. The menu was simple with limited options, one vegetarian dish, 2 beef based dishes and one fish dish. There were 4 simple starters and 4 or so deserts. The food was good. My wife's desert (a carmel themed dish) was mediocre. It didn't taste bad, in fact it didn't taste like anything. You couldn't taste any carmel at all. By far, the worst part of the experience was the service. It was horrible. The staff appeared extremely disorganized. It started as we entered the dining room. The maitre'd told the host to seat us at table 139. The host using a map finally found 139 which was occupied. So we waited for the host to go back to the maitre'd to find a different table. After being seated with our menus we waited over 10 minutes (I timed it) for someone to take our order. We saw other people with menus leaving because no one was serving them. At this point we still hadn't gotten water or bread yet. I asked for water which came a couple minutes later. In the mean time another server asked if anyone had taken our order. We got our appetizer about 30 minutes into lunch service. At that point someone finally asked if we wanted bread. We finished our appetizers and my wife excused her self to go check on the laundry we had going 2 decks down. When she got back we still hadn't gotten our meals yet. After eating the main course we moved on to desert. I asked for coffee and by the time it arrived my desert was almost finished. It took over an hour to eat a simple 3 course lunch. We had to ask for the basics, like water and the staff was short, and unfriendly. Overall, I would consider the lunch a pretty poor experience. In the end, the service in the Pride dinning room (both lunch and dinner) was below our expectations. The staff was unfriendly, and the service was disorganized. We've come to expect more out of Carnival. Onboard Activities: On the first night we went to Karaoke. It was fun. If you have big Karaoke fans in your group I would go. On the second night we went to the comedy show and saw Hank McGauley. This is actually the second time we've seen him. He was on the Destiny as well. His shows don't disappoint. They are just plain funny. Be forwarded, this is a "R-rated" show. If your not into that kind of comedy don't go. One note, he did recycle some of the jokes we heard on the Destiny over a year ago but the show was different enough that it was worth seeing again. We went to to see the second comic as well. His show was ok but we liked Hank's much better. It appears Carnival finally got the message and added more comedy to their cruises. Our 4 day cruise had 7 comedy hours, with 2 different comedians!! Pool Area: The pool area is small and gets crowded quickly. Our day at sea had mix weather early on so lounge chairs didn't get place on the upper deck. As the sun came out chairs were at a premium. It was kind of weird but additional chairs did not get placed out on the upper decks after the weather improved. The one pool was super congested and tough to relax in. We got in a couple times quickly just to cool off. We did use the hot tubs once but be forwarded they smell (not of chlorine) but more of a musty smell. Your swimsuit will need to be washed after using it. The Serenity deck was nice but was small as well. It had a separate hot tub and some nice lounge chairs. My wife and I concluded that we prefer ships that have an adults only pool. Spa: We didn't use the spa services but we did go to the gym on a couple occasions. The gym is nice with a several treadmills, stationary bikes, and elliptical machines. They have several different types of weight machines and have dumbbells as well. All the equipment was in decent shape. You will want to bring gym attire (which goes without saying). I did see them kick people out that didn't have proper foot wear on. The locker rooms did have shower, towels, storage lockers, a steam and sauna room. I didn't use the locker room but it looked nice. Laundry: The cruise line has a laundry service but if you want to do your own they do have 2 small self service laundry rooms. The machines took quarters. It was $3 a load ($6 to wash and dry) and $2 for detergent. The machines can get pretty busy especially on the day at sea so get there early or late. If you have a small amount of clothes it may be a better value to use the laundry service. They have some great deals which may be about the same cost as doing a load on your own. You should weight out your options. Also note, they have irons in the laundry room. So if you need to touch up a shirt for dinner you can do it there for free. Debarkation: It was easy. They were running a little behind schedule so we made our way to the coffee shop and had a coffee and danish while we waited. The ship was docked in Miami at around 7:30 AM and we were standing in the taxi line at 9:30 am. It wasn't the quickest debarkation we've experienced but it was orderly, and our bags were waiting for us when we got to baggage claim. Conclusions: Overall, the cruise was fun and the ship was relatively nice and well kept. The overall service was adequate but not great. With all that said, I don't think I can recommend the Imagination. I wouldn't go on this ship again. I think Carnival has similar ships at similar pricing that offer a better overall product (i.e. the Destiny). If you got an incredible deal it maybe worth considering but if you have other options at similar pricing I would explore them instead. One footnote, after 8 cruises, I think my wife and I are starting to prefer the larger ships. In the end, the bigger, newer ships have more entertainment options, a great mix in food choice, better facilities and we think the service is just a little bit better. Read Less
Sail Date August 2011
Just came back from a 4 night cruise to Key West and Cozumel on the Carnival Imagination. This was my sixth cruise and my first on Carnival. It will be my last. Carnival has a long way to go to catch up with its competitors. The ... Read More
Just came back from a 4 night cruise to Key West and Cozumel on the Carnival Imagination. This was my sixth cruise and my first on Carnival. It will be my last. Carnival has a long way to go to catch up with its competitors. The following things were positive: * Ease of check-in * Availability of transportation to and from the port * Warm chocolate melting cake dessert The following things were negative: * Staff - very few acknowledged passengers when they passed by * Counted 27 staff members over a three hour period that walked by a pile of dirty plates on the Lido deck without picking them up * Entertainment was horrendous - the "family" friendly comedy show was vulgar and embarrassing at times * Food was below average * Lines were long at every meal if you didn't eat in the sit down area and even then it took eons to get your meal * One morning two servers were busy chatting when I asked for ham. The server gave me bacon and I explained I had asked for ham. He argued with me - unbelievable. * Brad the Cruise Director walked around with a cellphone glued to his ear ignoring passengers left and right. * Silverware often dirty * Tables not washed down with any regularity or effectiveness I would strongly advise that you look elsewhere for a cruise. Carnival is not passenger oriented and did little to nothing to address my concerns. Find another cruise line to use. You'll be glad you did. Read Less
Sail Date August 2011
This was our 1st cruise. We traveled without our children for our anniversary. We used the Amtrak Auto Train to travel down to Florida. Our cruise left Miami on Monday, July 11th and returned on Friday July 15th. Our cabin, U12, ... Read More
This was our 1st cruise. We traveled without our children for our anniversary. We used the Amtrak Auto Train to travel down to Florida. Our cruise left Miami on Monday, July 11th and returned on Friday July 15th. Our cabin, U12, had two portholes. It was bigger than I thought it would be. It had closet space, and a nice size bathroom with a shower. There was a strange odor in our area of the ship. It was not only in our room, but in the hallway as well. It was only on our end of the hall (about 6 rooms affected)and when I mentioned it to our room attendant she could not smell it. She sprayed some febreeze which didn't really help. We just lived with it. Our room attendant was very nice, but had a thick accent (from Europe). I had difficulty understanding her and had to ask her to repeat herself constantly. She did take care of cleaning and preparing our room each day which I was highly satisfied with. Just a note that most of the workers on the Imagination were foreign and difficult to understand. When I asked my waiter why so many were from other countries he said that they are the only ones willing to work the 70 hours a week. Interesting. My husband and I took advantage of both the sit down restaurant dining, as well as the self serve dining experience. I had seen shows on cruises and talked with others and I was expecting the food to be top-notch. I was disappointed. It was average, nothing fancy at all. The sit down restaurant's food was good except for the cheesecake which was horrible. The self service food was also average at best. The waiters in the sit down restauant were very nice and helpful and I enjoyed talking with them each day. I do think that the tables were so close together that it made it hard to have a private conversation with my husband. The self service areas were understaffed. Tables should be cleared in a timly manner and were not. There were long lines to get food and the bars were not cleaned in a timely manner also. We did not order room service, but noticed when others did and left their finsihed trays in the hallway the trays would sit all day without being picked up. This was a daily problem that can easily be corrected. In addition, there was supposedly a chocolate bar on the last day. If there was, we never saw it. We did look for it. There was one swimming pool that was way too small for 2,500 passengers and it did not have a lifeguard on duty. Because of the crowd in the small pool and the lack of lifeguard supervision, we felt it was too dangerous to use. There was a spa/gym also. We didn't utilize it but did take a tour and it was nice. There were activities, such as games and shows, but there were times that we had nothing to do because of a gap in the schedule. When that happened we stayed in the cabin and watched a movie. We did enjoy playing the games we went to and we also enjoyed the comedy show and the show on the Dynasty stage. The 2nd show was cancelled due to injuries and the crew came up with last minute activities. I think they should already have something in place when this happens. There was a lack of security on board. When guests were drunk and behaving inappropriately there was no one to take care of the problems. I was glad my own children were not there to witness some of the behaviors I saw, but I was sad for the children that were there. I saw a woman coming into the hall from her room naked exposing herself to people. And I saw people drunk, loud, and cussing in a vulgar manner. I really didn't think this was an appropriate cruise for children. One reason was because of the behaviors, but also because of the alcohol that is readily available. In addition, there is a store onboard where there is bottle and bottles of alcohol. Not setting a great example for children at all. And also when going to Cozumel we are forced to go through a long store which also has tons of alcohol for sale. This is not something I would like my children exposed to. We went on two excusions. One in the Keys and one in Cozumel. Both were great and I would do them again. The staff was vague on where we were to meet when we went and ended up in the wrong place, but thankfully still got where we needed to go. We took the behind the scenes tour and really enjoyed it. At the end of the tour we saw the captain and had our picture taken with him. Throughout the tour we spoke to many staff members who were very polite. I would do this tour again when we cruise on other ships. We were automatically charged the tips for service. I don't like that. I would rather tip on my own that way if someone did well I will reward them with more and someone who does poorly I will give them less. Instead we were charged $10 per day per guest for tipping. Getting on and off the ship was easier than I thought and that was the only time I saw good security. There were not enough working elevators for that many passengers. Laundry facilities on upper deck had 1 broken iron and two broken dryers. Lost money in the machines, but I was reimbursed without question. Not enough washers and dryers for the whole ship. The staff was great and vey friendly and helpful. Read Less
Sail Date July 2011
Cruising with me was my husband, two of my kids, ages 10 and 12, as well as my 18 year old BIL. We originally booked the Magic in Italy but had to bail on that plan when airfares doubled to what we had budgeted. Having booked the Fun Saver ... Read More
Cruising with me was my husband, two of my kids, ages 10 and 12, as well as my 18 year old BIL. We originally booked the Magic in Italy but had to bail on that plan when airfares doubled to what we had budgeted. Having booked the Fun Saver Rate, I didn't want to lose what was already paid. After looking at several options and budgeting what we had already paid on it, we were able to book a Grand Suite on the Imagination sailing June 13. I will say I was a bit put off by the sales pitch for the upgrade to the owner's suite- when I declined the offer to take it for an additional $1600, mentioning that was beyond the budget, his suggestion was for me to take out a personal loan to cover it! We've cruised RCCL and DCL several times and given various reviews I had read or heard, I was a little nervous- especially with a ship as old as the Imagination, dry docks or not. But we researched the ship alot before we booked it and I felt like we were in good shape. We flew to FLL for much less than Miami. Took SAS transportation from FLL to the Holiday Inn Port of Miami. SAS was efficient and we only shared our transfer with one other family. Took about 40 minutes from pick up to drop off. The Holiday Inn was okay- I paid $162 for a room that slept 5, two beds and a sofa bed. Our view was fantastic but the property is aging- however it was undergoing some rehab. I felt like the cafe was limited in options and too small- in the morning it was packed. Next day, we got to the Port about 10:20 am and found check in to be superb. We were met by porters and then at the doorway a Carnival rep who escorted us to a short security line- then directed us to a VIP lounge for check in. The lounge was comfortable and I loved the fact we checked in there. Honestly though, when we left the lounge to board the ship, it appeared things were moving well for most passengers. In other words, embarkation got an A plus! Our stateroom was well appointed, had tons of storage space and beds were very comfortable. Was not fond of the color scheme and the pole but those were minimal at that. The bathroom had a full tub and shower and the small walk in closet was really good with storage as well. The balcony was a bit oversized and all 5 of us could stand at the rail to enjoy the view with space in between. Our biggest issue with the room was no control of the a/c- at least as far as we could see- we could only control air flow. Several of us got very hot during the night. But overall, we were very pleased with the stateroom. I can't speak of the children's programs as our kids did not utilize them. Food was fairly good. I felt like the buffet food was fine- some things better than others, although the layout of it really stunk. Some things you ended up leaving the indoor area and going out to the Lido Deck to get- like burgers and Mongolian. We had things like Pot Roast and sides- very good. My daughter loved the panini's she got at the deli station. We dined in the Pride Dining Room on the Your Time plan- and we never waited more than 5 minutes for the table. Service the first night was slow, the other nights very good. Food overall was good- we all rated it a 7 out of 10. The desserts defintely a strength- that melting cake is everything it's cracked up to be and then some. The hostess was great- she knew us by Night 2-servers and assistant servers were pretty friendly. Never saw the maitre'd. Staff in general was very friendly and we loved our stateroom attendant- he was funny and always attentive- very clear he was going to work around our schedules and came by to check on us quite a bit. Impressive. My kids also made good friends with one of the atrium bartenders who would take care of their soda requests. They liked her so much we took a picture of them with her. Activities on board were fairly good- we enjoyed some trivia games and loved the deck parties. Great atmosphere- in those instances, yeah, it was a party ship but I felt like it was family friendly in most regards. My husband and I attended a Motown Showdown game and everyone in the Dream Bar had a blast. The entertainment staff did a nice job. Here's the one thing drastic change needs to be made in- the shows. Living in America was hokey and overdone, even if it was Vegas style. Dancers were often out of sync and the lead singers were not that great. We tried again with Shout! and that was somewhat of an improvement but still sort of corny and overdone. We hated both of them. Pool and Water Works were great fun- we never experienced big crowds at Water Works and mostly stayed there because the kids were happiest there. At peak times the pool was packed- people looked like sardines in there and then at other times it was fine. We never had problems with finding deck chairs- we went up to the upper deck if we couldn't find one by the pool. I treated myself to the Behind The Fun tour- and if you love cruising, you need to do it. We had a great tour guide, Majia from Poland and she was extremely knowledgeable. Had a great time seeing the galleys, laundry areas, storage, backstage entertainment and then a meeting and photo with the captain on the bridge. There are only 16 slots available and it filled up quick- so if it interests, I would inquire when you board. Definitely worth the $55. The layout was a bit difficult to navigate in the beginning- we didn't study the deck plans well enough before we got there and it took a day or two before we got our bearings. Some areas of the ship showed age- rust on metal fittings on balcony, windows not the cleanest but these are things that did not directly affect my enjoyment overall- just shows she's aging and needs a little more TLC. Generally, public areas were clean. Couple of times I got a brief whiff of that sewer smell in the stateroom hallways but it was very fleeting. Never had that problem in the room. Ports were Key West and Cozumel- we did the Aquarium and some shopping in KW, as there wasn't a whole lot of time there. In Cozumel, we spent the day at Chakanaab Park and greatly enjoyed it. (Did not do Dolphin thing though). Embarkation and Debarkation in both ports was quick and painless. We did leave Cozumel 40 minutes late thanks to people who either couldn't tell time or didn't care- and it was fun watching them return to the jeers of those watching from other balconies and upper decks. Overall, I would say we had a really nice time and it was a good cruise. We really had no idea what to expect and just went in knowing we were on a older ship and adjusted expectations accordingly. With all the info out there and research that can be done, I always laugh at people who get ticked off at things like aesthetics. Do the research! We would be open to cruising with Carnival again on a newer ship and if the price was competitive. We still prefer RCCL and DCL for sure but our experience this cruise has left Carnival as an option for the future. A nice time was had by all. :) Read Less
Sail Date June 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
My wife and I sailed the Imagination for the first time on 6/13/11. This is our 5th fantasy class sailing and the Imagination is in fine shape after quite a few years of service.We didn't get to the port until about 12:15pm. (Bad news ... Read More
My wife and I sailed the Imagination for the first time on 6/13/11. This is our 5th fantasy class sailing and the Imagination is in fine shape after quite a few years of service.We didn't get to the port until about 12:15pm. (Bad news and we'll learn from it). Embarkation was fine, but as most people do, we headed up to the Lido for lunch only to find a mob like I have never seen. We usually are first to board, no lines, no waiting to eat. The lines were tremendous at 12:45pm when we hit the Lido. After a long and arduous process we finished lunch around 1:45pm to find the rooms available with no lines whatsoever at the Lido buffet station. Word to the wise....eat before noon or after 1:30pm. In the middle of that time frame...it sucks.Room was fine and our cabin steward did a fine job, though he was invisible. Literally...never saw him. Went to tip him out after the cruise and couldn't find him either. I leave daily tips so whoever was cleaning got something. Just weird that he never really was around.Pool area was good and oddly, chairs were available! Never any chair issues aft by the Water Works. Poolside Lido is always crowded and you'll never get around that.Shows are starting to get a bit boring to me, perhaps because it was my 7th Carnival cruise, but this cast of dancers appeared to be newer or less experienced. That left me with the comedy show which wasn't much better. One comedian was downright bad and the other was OK. Darnell was his first name and he was amusing. Problem was, they kept the same two comedians on the whole trip. never saw that before and I hope I don't ever again. Carnival always changes out acts at ports of call. Not this time.The casino is a place that we tend to frequent and we both had decent luck there. While we didn't "win" money, we had money left from our gambling budget at the end of the cruise. I have to say this is the most underutilized casino I have seen on a Carnival ship. Many empty spaces where slot machines could be. The casino crew did a good job.The Pride dining room was good, but I can't go better than that. First of all, the menu on Carnival ships have gone from fancy to more restaurant like. I have always felt like I was in a fancy restaurant in Carnival dining rooms and menu presentation is a part of the experience. The new menus have more of a chain restaurant look to them. The food itself was fine as always and the service was good, but nothing more than that. Best part of our cruise definately was the last day. We won the Cruise raffle and get to do it all over again! Read Less
Sail Date June 2011
I was taking my daugter on a graduation cruise and thought that this 4 night trip on the Imagination would be perfect. I was wrong. At best I would describe our cruise as ok, but Carnival has really changed from the Fun Ships to the Not ... Read More
I was taking my daugter on a graduation cruise and thought that this 4 night trip on the Imagination would be perfect. I was wrong. At best I would describe our cruise as ok, but Carnival has really changed from the Fun Ships to the Not Much To Do Ships.Embarkment from Miami went pretty smooth, although I am not a fan of the self check in. It was crowded and not very organized as the machines are almost right on top of each other and 2500 people are trying to use them in a matter of a few hours.Cabin. We stayed in an interior upper/lower room and were very surprised at the size. It was spacious, had 2 big closets, and all the new bedding. My only complaint was only one outlet in the room, so bring along an outlet strip if you need to charge anything and plan to use a hairdryer (which also was NOT included in the room). We did not have a rerigerator, but our cabin steward kept our ice bucket full. We did not see our steward the entie time we were there, but the room was always clean.Key West was a very, very nice, quaint port that I would love to spend more time in. We did the customary things on foot and it was all within a good walking distance. We went to the Mel Fishers Museum which was also a little disappointing from an artifact standpoint. There was not much on exhibit, but a lot of information on his life and his discovery. There was a huge downpour while we were there which a local told us had not happened in 5 months. I know they needed it, but really? Could it not have waiting until we were back on board? Cozumel. We did not do an excursion here and opted to just stay at the port where there are lots of shops and a few bars. Lots of very drunk teenagers at Fat Tuesdays from the other Carnival ship, Elation, which was already in port when we got there at 1pm. Nothing special about this stop. Ok. Now for the ship. The ship itself is very, very nice. There are upgrades from all the tackiness, but the Atrium is still 8 floors of red and blue neon. Not too bad, but still dated. The lounges were nice, without all the wild carpet that makes you dizzy to look down. We saw one show which was a little cheezy and needed to be rehearsed a lot more before they get it right. The comics were hysterical, which has always been a plus for Carnival. The food in the dining room was excellent and the service was impeccable. Food came out fast, hot and delicious. The food on the Lido deck was standard. There were LONG lines ALL day at all 4 areas for food. I saw the same people in these lines all day long and I would swear that they had made a pact to eat as much food as it would take to pay for their cruise. The outside drink machines were out of order for the entire cruise, so it made the inside machines extremely crowded. pros...lots and lots of deck chairs all over the ship. Air conditioning on the ship worked great. Food was awesome, lots of opportunities for formal pictures even on the non formal night, and reasonably priced drinks. Oddly, the domestic US beers were more expensive than the imported ones.cons....long lines at the Lido buffets. They are still playing the same old poolside games after all these years (hairiest chest, bean bag toss, etc) with LLLLOOONNNGGG periods of nothing to do in between. Carnival has gotten really lame with the daily entertainment. There were a lot of kids in the 18+ shows and neither the parents or the staff asked them to leave. The pool is VERY< VERY small now that they have added the water slide area in the back of the ship. They removed the other pool to do it, and there were not that many kids taking advantage of it. I think this was a really poor decision on Carnival's part because it really takes away from the cooling off areas. The same for the Serenity area. It is a nice area with upgraded chairs for the 21 and over set, but it was loud and crowded on the sea day and again, no staff member to ask people to quiet down. All in all, my daughter and I had a nice time. Will I cruise on the Imagination again? Probably not. Will I give Carnival another chance, yes but on a bigger ship. Maybe I am just too old and less tolerant than I was on my first 4 cruises with them, but I want what I want now, and the Imagination did not leave me wanting to come back. Read Less
Sail Date May 2011
The Carnival Imagination is wonderful. The service was outstanding, the food in the Spirit lounge was fantastic, the comedians were hysterical and the overall cruise experience was superb. My wife and I will definately go again. I found ... Read More
The Carnival Imagination is wonderful. The service was outstanding, the food in the Spirit lounge was fantastic, the comedians were hysterical and the overall cruise experience was superb. My wife and I will definately go again. I found Key West to be delightful, and the port is very close to all of the important sights that a tourist would like to see. Cozumel has a small, friendly port with lots to buy for the folks back home. Both ports offer wonderful shore excursions. I have been on 7 cruises and 3 different cruise lines... this is, by far, the best. The food, the drinks, the fun and the cruise as a whole were splendid. We went in early May so the ocean was like a lake through the entire trip. There is 1 small problem with this cruise ship: We were treated so well and had so much fun that we hated like heck for the cruise to end.One last note: Adrian our waiter, and Rusty our cabin boy need to be commended on a job well done. They really went out of their way to ensure that our trip was asabin special as it could be. Thank you, Gentlemen. And thank you, too, Carnival. Our suite, U-84 was, in a word: Perfect! The balcony was wonderful, the cabin was large and comfortable. We slept like babies in the large bed, the sheets and blankets were always clean and fresh. The walk-in closet was great and the bathroom was well stocked, the shower-bath-jacuzzi combo was a treat. The cabins were quiet, no outside noise could be heard. Room service was available, but we never used it. The small fridge was well stocked. Read Less
Sail Date May 2011
This was my fourth cruise with Carnival cruise lines. I sailed on the Destiny almost 10 years ago, and have been on the Inspiration twice in the past 5 years. I was pleased with the Imagination. Its configuration was identical to the ... Read More
This was my fourth cruise with Carnival cruise lines. I sailed on the Destiny almost 10 years ago, and have been on the Inspiration twice in the past 5 years. I was pleased with the Imagination. Its configuration was identical to the Inspiration, so I had no problems getting around. However, the deck buffet was better than on the other ships. My family enjoyed the Mongolian BBQ side where you selected ingredients and the chefs cooked them for you. The dinners were very good, and breakfast in the dining room was better than on the deck, which is always the case. The chicken ceasar salad at the pizzeria was great, I ate about 4 of them during the trip.I was very tired and wanted to just relax on this trip, so I didn't hang out much in the clubs this time. One cousin went to the salsa club every night, and I accompanied her once there and to the regular disco. We saw the two comedians on the last night and they were pretty good. Others in our group went to the Vegas style show and enjoyed it. We never got a chance to enjoy the Serenity Deck, it was full all the time. I was disappointed, this is one of my favorite spots. The fitness room was clean and the machines were in good working order.The staff were friendly and hard-working, as usual. There was someone cleaning something all the time and the ship was in great shape. The one criticism was our toilet looked a little old and worn but the bathroom was very clean.Overall, I really enjoyed the Imagination. Read Less
Sail Date April 2011
My daughter and I took this cruise while she was on Spring Break. We wanted some place warm to go. We arrived in Miami and took the cruise shuttle to the port. It took about an hour -time for waiting for the shuttle to get to the port. ... Read More
My daughter and I took this cruise while she was on Spring Break. We wanted some place warm to go. We arrived in Miami and took the cruise shuttle to the port. It took about an hour -time for waiting for the shuttle to get to the port. Once at the port, embarkation was a fairly smooth process. We got on the ship and went directly to our cabin. It was decent size for the two of us. Inside cabin, no window. I didn't enjoy that. I'll be sure to get a window next cruises. Bathroom had shampoo and body gel, one disposable razor, samples of toothpaste, floss picks, breathe right strips and Ponds facial wipes. The cabin housekeeper came and introduced herself the first night. She left towel animals each night and chocolates with bed turn down. She was very friendly and asked if we needed anything to let her know. The dining room staff was great. Very attentive and efficient. I would say 97% of the food was good. There were plenty of choices. On Lido Deck was the other dining areas. The food was typical, hamburgers. hot dogs, chicken fingers, desserts, nothing that jumped at me and said "eat me". Breakfast was typical breakfast items. There was an omelet station that was good. At lunch it became the deli area. Supposedly, pizza station was open 24 hours. I did not see that it was. We tried to get pizza at 11 am and waited 10 mins. and no one came to serve us, so we tried the deli. Sandwiches were fine. The times places were open weren't very convenient. It would have been good to have more choices at extended hours. Two things that were bad: The "hurry Up" and wait for many things. Getting on and off at ports. We waited an hour in a crowded warm hallway to get off at Cozumel. Not much direction from the crew on where to go or when. The Dynasty Lounge was old and smelly. The clothe circular seating stunk. The views for the shows were obstructed in many spots. The shows were very good. "Shout" was better than "Living in America". The comedian show was funny, but way too short. Alcohol was definitely pushed. The pool area was small with one pool and not very long hours. Basically it was over-filled with drunk college students. Same for the water slides. There weren't enough deck chairs for those that wanted them. Activities were lacking for a complete day at sea. Key West was beautiful and warm. Tried para-sailing (not through cruise excursions) and got a good deal. Cozumel was warm. Tried snorkeling from a glass bottom boat tour (not through the ship excursion). It was wonderful. The water is so blue. Cozumel itself was a tourist trap, didn't impress me. Tried a cruise excursion in Miami to the Everglades. Again, "hurry up and wait". The tour guide was good, the driver worried me (using cell phone while driving and talking to the guide and not watching the road). The Everglades were ok. I can say I've been there, don't have to go again. The Gator show was all of about 5 minutes of a woman telling us the difference between crocs and gators. Wasn't worth the money. I felt that everyone was looking for a tip (which I gave). Probably will not go on another Carnival ship, but will definitely cruise again. Read Less
Sail Date March 2011
First our family,two boys one 16 and one 21.My husband and I are in our late 40's.Second this is our 2nd cruise with Carnival,the first was 24 years ago.Our 3 others were with Royal Caribbean on the Empress,Explorer,and ... Read More
First our family,two boys one 16 and one 21.My husband and I are in our late 40's.Second this is our 2nd cruise with Carnival,the first was 24 years ago.Our 3 others were with Royal Caribbean on the Empress,Explorer,and Independence.We basically chose Carnival because of cost.Plain and simple a 1,876 dollars savings over a Royal vacation.I read all the reviews and was preparing for "you get what you pay for"and we were shocked.Was Royal worth the increased prices.NO NO NO.We would book Carnival again in a royal minute!This was our first time leaving from Miami.We drove from frigid east coast weather and from Georgia to Miami It was beach weather everyday.February could be a disappointment weather wise.But we were so lucky.Enjoyed South Beach for a few days before leaving.My only horror story had to do with using Global airport parking.$35.46 with taxes,cheap, got us to the port quickly but in returning left 11 of us waiting for one hour and 24 minutes after calling them 8 times and they lied to us over and over again.In this case we got what we paid for!So beware of this company.Not worth it!The employees of Carnival all around were excellent.From check-in they were all so friendly and helpful.Dining room staff so awesome.We loved the interaction with the waitstaff and basically the show they put on was great!I was prepared to wait in lines at the food dining spots but found the lines to be the same on both lines,really!The only difference I felt were in the decor of the ships and a bit more of activities on Royal.The number of food choices goes to Carnival.The food overall was a bit better on Royal but for the price difference I think NOT!We loved the live music on this ship.We did not realize how much we missed this aspect of a cruise.The Empress was the last time we had live pool music.As for pool games and such we do tend to miss these events we prefer less crowded parts of the ship,but that is us.Our boys enjoyed them on both ships.My review I know is basically comparing the 2 cruise lines but I would have liked to have seen a review like mine on my research.These boards are so helpful! I spend days on this site researching our cruises! I just want to help anyone deciding between the two that carnival is not what some people claim it to be.Low class,bad service,food you would not eat!Maybe all of the bad reviews on this cruise ship lowered my expectations for Carnival?Did this make everything better than it was? Did we just luck out passenger wise?Is Carnival just as good as Royal?Or does this make Carnival better?Please anyone who has any questions on this cruise I would be happy to reply to your questions!We work very hard to have a vacation every year and every year we enjoy our vacation no matter the weather surroundings etc.I feel family time is so rare.But for our hard earned money I would chose Carnival again and again!If they were both the same price I would chose the better itinerary and newer ship in my decision.A few points I would like to add is our cabins were U2 & U4.I was worried as this was the front 2 cabins but the quiet by our cabins was awesome.No foot traffic.A little rocky at times I did use the patch on our last night as winds were whipping on our way back in to Miami.Many foreigners on our cruise and not too many teens.A well behaved crowd.This crowd was a big improvement over a March teen fest on Royal.We know how teens and adults with no manners behave.This minus no security presence a nightmare for some.A little less enjoyable for us.We know the security on this Carnival cruise scored an A,where Royal gets a D? And a d is being very generous.So were there more spoiled teens on Royal running wild or was Carnival security just better?SO overall:What we liked better;security;passengers;hours of restaurants;ice cream;room service;cabin steward,Jolanta was our BEST EVER!;Able to bring own wine and champagne on board;more TV stations for news and sports.More food choices;Library more spacious and more board game selections;waitstaff overall;live bands;PRICE!Disliked;coffee,really bad;not being able to walk around the ship on decks;no shuffleboard or basketball;deck chairs;bathrooms;show seating but a plus in making everyone share tables for additional room. The food we liked Royal more but it would not affect our decision on future sailings,not that much of a difference.We liked that the lunch sit down had more hours of operation than Royal and room service also.We liked enjoying breakfast in the dining room before disembarking the ship.The sandwich quality and selection were better at the deli.We liked Royal's pizza better.Overall I would like to say each cruise line has positives and negatives.But a vacation is really what you make it.Life is short,ENJOY IT,no matter what line you choose.Maybe we will try NCL next but I am already pricing Carnival for 2012.Thank you for reading and thanks to all on cruise critic for giving us your honest opinions! Read Less
Sail Date February 2011
This is my third cruise with Carnival. My first two were both on the Sensation and this is my first, but definitely not last, time on the Imagination. I went with my 17 y/o nephew as a graduation gift for him. His mother and sister ... Read More
This is my third cruise with Carnival. My first two were both on the Sensation and this is my first, but definitely not last, time on the Imagination. I went with my 17 y/o nephew as a graduation gift for him. His mother and sister could not make it due to work and school. So to begin with, this was my first time in Miami. We flew in the night before and stayed at the La Quinta Inn and suites in Fort Lauderdale. I stayed there because they offered a free shuttle to the Port of Miami. The hotel was nice and offered a continental breakfast the next morning, nothing really fancy just basically hard boiled eggs, bagels, toast, juice, coffee, tea and a waffle maker. Nothing to write home about but enough to take the edge off your hunger until you boarded the ship. There was nothing really close near the hotel that was in walking distance, except the Bennigan's restaurant next door(don't eat there!). If you wanted to do any sight seeing or get some last minute things for your cruise, you are going to need a car or take a taxi to get to there as nothing was near the hotel. I should mention that I used SAS transportation to get from the Fort Lauderdale airport to the hotel and also used them to get picked up from the port after the cruise. They were great! When I got into FLL I went to call them to let them know we arrived and needed to be picked up when I realized that I had not locked there number into my cell phone. I went into full panic mode when someone called( I forget the young man's name) saying he was from SAS and was calling to see if we had made it in yet. He was very professional and told us what we needed to do once we came back from the cruise. My driver from the cruise port, Mike, was also very professional and both drivers were courteous and arrived right on time. I never waited more then ten minutes before they arrived. Great service. So we finally get to the Port of Miami and did the self check in kiosk which I really liked using and made our way onto the ship. I think we got to the port around 10:30 and was on board by 11:30 so that was not bad at all. I have to say that I really liked the Imagination much more than I liked the Sensation. The ship was beautiful. It was well maintained and just immaculate. They really kept it clean and not once did I ever see any lingering dirty dishes on the tables in the Horizon Grill or on the lido deck. I also liked how the dining staff would come around with a cart with different juices, coffee, tea and desserts and what not to see if you wanted a refresher of anything. The staff was great and not once did I encounter any rude staff members. Everyone was friendly and polite at all times. I found more rude guests on the ship more than anyone else. So onto the destinations. Key West was our first destination. My nephew wanted to do the Conch Train Tour and so we ended doing that. I really enjoyed the tour and the aquarium that was included with the tour. However, I was not overly impressed with Key West itself. If I were to go again, I would probably stay onboard the ship. Maybe because we didn't have a lot of time to do much and that may have colored my view some, but I really was not impressed. My nephew however loved it. The night leaving Key West was elegant night. I think another reviewer talked about how that night we experienced rough seas when leaving Key West and that could not be any truer. My poor nephew was really looking forward to elegant night, but was so sea sick he finally just had to leave before even finishing his starter. I was able to finish my meal, but skipped dessert to head back to the room to see about him. I don't usually get sea sick but that night even I stayed in for the rest of the night. I heard a lot of people were ill. I don't think the waters smoothed out until the next morning. Our next stop was Cozumel. Cozumel was absolutely beautiful! The weather was great and we couldn't have asked for a better day. Our first stop was Nachi Cocum. I had read a lot about Nachi from different reviews and although I had a good time and it was a great price for all the amenities that came with it, I've seen better beaches. This is just my personal view, and I really didn't see what was so spectacular about it, but they did give you your money's worth of food and drinks. Like I said the weather was great and I really enjoyed being in the water, my nephew did not bother to get in but ran around taking pictures of everything, but we both enjoyed our short time there. The cab ride is $15 there and $15 back. We went back to Puerta Maya and my nephew wanted to do a tour of the island. We ended getting a cab for $ 70(flat rate) that would give us a two hour tour around the island. Our driver was James and he was great. He was full of interesting facts and stories relating to the island and its inhabitors and would even stop along a few places for my nephew could take pictures. It was definitely worth it. By the time we headed back to the ship it had started pouring down rain and I was so glad that we were able to do everything before we got drenched waiting to get back on the ship :) The day at sea is always my favorite. I just love laying on the deck looking out at the sea with a good book in hand. I really liked the band that played on the lido deck. I played a little at the casino but didn't win anything. I just overall had a great day at sea. So, I really had a great great time on the Imagination and think this is probably going to be one of my favorite ships. The food was really good, the staff wonderful, the entertainment was good and I enjoyed my destinations. I really am thinking about another cruise on her again soon. I think I would just skip Key West but I would definitely do more in Cozumel the next time. Happy Cruising! Read Less
Sail Date February 2011
Wife and I have cruised twice before with Carnival. Valor in 8-09 and Destiny in 3-10. Decided to take our 3 daughters age 10, 8, and 6 with us this time and try a Fantasy class ship with Waterworks. We were pleasantly surprised at how ... Read More
Wife and I have cruised twice before with Carnival. Valor in 8-09 and Destiny in 3-10. Decided to take our 3 daughters age 10, 8, and 6 with us this time and try a Fantasy class ship with Waterworks. We were pleasantly surprised at how nice this ship was and how it kept the kids entertained. Destiny last year looked old and a little run down but Imagination was in tip top shape. We could hardly tell it was older and smaller than the other ships we had been on. Embarkation was a breeze as always. We flew into Ft Lauderdale day of and had QLS transportation waiting with a van to the terminal for $14/person. We arrived at the terminal about 1:30pm and went straight on. We kept our luggage with us so dropped it at the room and had time to eat a nice meal in the lido buffet before muster station drill. This took place in the Dynasty Lounge for us which was much nicer than standing out on deck like on Valor and Destiny. We then got to know the ship, hit the dining room and caught the "Welcome Aboard Show". Small dance show and intro from the cruise director. We had an interior cabin on the main deck with a king bed, one bunk over it, a nice sized portable bed in the corner with another bunk over that. It was a little tight when beds were all down but we could fold bunks up into wall during the day and fold up portable bed neatly into one corner. Lots of storage space and luggage fit under the bed as well. Overall the room was very clean, and the bathroom seemed bigger than on Valor or Destiny. Very nice! Tuesday morning was Key West bright and early. 75 degrees and mostly sunny. Took the trolly from the Navy Pier into Mallory Square and walked one block to the Fury terminal for the glass bottom boat excursion. Saw lots of coral and some fish. Nice naration of the reefs history but not alot of sights to be seen. Only one small turtle and small fish. Walked around shops near Conch Train station with kids for another hour then back on board for lunch. Line to get back on ship was a little long but all the trolley's seem to arrive together and people bunch up. Liked docking right at Pier B downtown last time with Destiny much better. Left port around 1:30pm and let the kids try the pool and waterpark. Pool was kinda cold, hot tubs were nice and water park with pretty nice also. Main slide is fast! Elagent dining was nice and they even had a magician walking around entertaining the tables. The kids loved it and even I was left wondering how he did that. "Living in America" show was OK. Not the best I've seen on Carnival but very good dancers and singers, just not that interesting of a show. Make sure you get there early as balcony seats have alot of obstructions and railing is right at the level you need to look to see the performers on stage. Main floor is very nice. Wednesday was 1pm arrival in Cozumel so we got to explore the ship more in the morning and play some bingo. Never won! Walked right off in Cozumel, 85 degrees and mostly sunny. Took the girls for their first snorkeling experience with "Everybody loves rays!". Very nice little facility. Got nice orientation in knee deep water to the rays then got to hold them and feed them. Then moved to 10ft deep fenced area to snorkel with them and many more species of fish. Very nice introduction for small children. Then got to play on the beach and they even had refreshments and hermit crab racing for the kids. Short drive back to the pier and we did a little more shopping and back on the boat for dinner. No show that night due to late departure from port around 10pm so just relaxed and waited for the deck party. What a blast! Conga line, games and dancing til the kids crashed. Thursday was day at sea and did more bingo and sent the girls to the spa for an "Ice cream party" and pedicure $39/person for an hour. They loved it! Then sent them to Camp Carnival for fairwell party. They didn't want to leave, so after mom and I got dinner and caught the show "Shout" (much better than Livin in America), we caught both R rated comedy shows in the Punchliner comedy club. Picked them up from Camp around 11:30 and headed to bed. Friday morning had to pack and be out by 8:30am. We ordered room service so we didn't have to fight the lines at the buffet and only spent about 15 minutes waiting in the lobby to get off using self assist (keep your luggage with you). Walked right through customs and caught a shuttle to the Hertz rental car place nearby. Rented a car and drove to Orlando for a late flight. Wanted to show the kids where Micky lives but didn't have time to stop. Overall this was an awesome cruise for the money. Service was great. Everyone was friendly. Room always clean. Ship very nice, I would rate Valor the nicest we've been on, then Imagination and Destiny Ok but last in rank. Food in the buffet was good but didn't seem to have as much variety as the others. Dining room food was very good and nice selection. Shows were OK with a great crew of performers just not as entertaining shows as on other ships. Camp Carnival kept the kids happy even though they didn't go there every day. Ports and weather were amazing! Will definitely stick with Carnival and keep trying new ships. Read Less
Sail Date January 2011
We booked this cruise because of the ports, especially Cozumel for the sunset. When we booked, the itinerary was Miami, Key West (8a-1p), Cozumel (1pm-10pm), Day at Sea, Miami. Two days before, yes two days before the cruise, I got ... Read More
We booked this cruise because of the ports, especially Cozumel for the sunset. When we booked, the itinerary was Miami, Key West (8a-1p), Cozumel (1pm-10pm), Day at Sea, Miami. Two days before, yes two days before the cruise, I got an email from Carnival stating that they were changing our itinerary. Well, I booked my own excursions becuase I could not afford them through the cruise line. What did that mean, I had to call & cancel the Cozumel Jeep trip we had booked & paid for & change my parasail trip (completely change days). Our itinerary got changed to Miami, Day at Sea, Cozumel (7am-1pm), that is 6am local time, then Key West noon-8pm, Miami. Who wants to get off a cruise ship at 6am local time when the beaches & such dont open until 9:30am??? So in Cozumel there was NO TIME to do anything but shop in the local area. That is not my idea of fun. Everyone that tried to go do any shore excursions only got about a hour anywhere. So that port was a bust. Then Key West, fog rolled in & the Cost Guard closed the Channel to get into Key West. I know weather is not the cruise ships fault, but we had alot of Non-English speaking guests on board. Since we went to Cozumel first & then were re-entering the states (Key West) immigration had to be done on the ship. EVERY person on the ship had to be cleared before a single person coudl get off the ship. People did not understand they were supposed to be at the DISCO at a certain time to start border patrol immigration. So instead of pulling into port at 12 noon, we got in at 3pm. I already had to change my excursion once to change from Tue to Thurs, now I had to change my time since we were 3 hours late. Then we of course had to be back on the ship by 8pm, which really means last train back was at 7:15pm. So 4 hours in port - woo hoo - again FUN TIMES. We just felt rushed on the whole trip, never time to rally relax. Weather was great though, sunny & in the 80's almost the whole trip. That in January was fantastic. But the cruise expereince was horrible. Kids camp was nice, but we had to keep checking her in & out every two hours. I dont wear a watch and had to buy one to keep from getting charged a late fee for not picking her up on time. I wont swear off cruises altogether, because everyone on the ship said this was an unusually bad cruise. Even veteran cruisers were very dissapointed. Carnival just did not handle the changes well & had I had more time to make changes, would have changed trips to another week, or different cruise. I don't regret booking my own excursions because where Carnival wanted $89 pp for para-sail, I found http://www.keywest-parasail.com/ - They were $35 pp & were so AWESOME. I would recommend them to anyone. For $40 you can get a CD with pictures & a video of your whole "flight". Then the Jeep Trip was $180 through Carnival, I got it for $70 pp, however we did not get to do it due to the time changes, etc. So the ship was nice, crew was nice, loved the towel animals every night. Our steward was fantastic & they are good with kids. She had fun at kid camp. The elegant evening was fun, oh ya & we only got to have dinner twice in the dining room because the Cozumel night we were too tired from all the walking & Key West we were in port. We chose anytime dining, but got forced to 6pm assigned table dining. Did not like that, would have preferred anytime, again had to watch the clock. The water-slides were fun, but would have preferred they had a pool that my 7 year could have touched the bottom. It was water-slides or a 5' deep pool. Nothing shallow for the smalled kids to swim in. That is a little disappointing. They also closed the pools & hot tubs at like 10:30 at night. Was not expecting them to ever be closed, so that was a little dissapointing. They actually kicked people out of the hot tubs. Not nice. Entertainment wise, there was alot to do, parties & activities alot. No one really used the dance club though. The Miami Port Terminal was AWESOME & getting on the ship was easy, debarkation though, was not. We were first time cruisers & did not understand what to do. We learned about the TV channel too late & it was a bit frustrating. I wont cruise Carnival again. I am convinced to try Royal Caribbean with everything we have heard & read. Read Less
Sail Date January 2011
I wasn't sure of what to expect on my first cruise. I was more excited about the ports of call than I was about the cruise itself. I don't know many people who DON'T like cruising, so I figured I'd enjoy myself even if ... Read More
I wasn't sure of what to expect on my first cruise. I was more excited about the ports of call than I was about the cruise itself. I don't know many people who DON'T like cruising, so I figured I'd enjoy myself even if I was just relaxing while on the ship. It rained our first day, so we were unfortunately stuck indoors for most of our departure. Carnival had some great activities to keep us occupied however. We enjoyed the trivia and informative cruise talks. Our itinerary got switched up so we had a day at sea the second day. Lots of activities as well. Went to the shopping talk - interesting stuff but clearly commission-based. Got a free margarita out of it though. Also went to the gemstone talk, learned a lot about diamonds which was very helpful! Dinner was fun, it was fun to see my mother's surprise when she was deciding between two entrees and the waiter brought out both for her! Everyone ordered double from then on. The rest of the evenings on the ship were OKAY. My siblings and I are younger so we didn't really want to go to the shows or bingo or gambling classes, which seemed to be the only things they offered after the first day. We usually ended up watching TV in our staterooms with room service - we were exhausted so it worked out, but it would have been nice to have had some twenty-something activities. The ship was smaller than I expected, but I think it was sort of nice. The pools were very small, almost the size of a backyard pool - NOT accommodating for 2,000 people! The deck area also seemed very cramped, but we soon discovered the top-most sun deck - empty because it was windy, but plenty of chairs and excellent sun to be found, quiet and we could see all of the activities below. The food was not the best, but I've been to college and I know how hard it is to give loads of people food that is not mass-produced (especially 24hrs a day). Dessert was by far the best - loved the mousses! - and the sit-down dinners were fine as well (small portions - order two if you are the hungry type!). Lunch was the same every day, hard to find healthy options that were not swimming in oil, cheese or fried-ness (I wonder how Vegans and Gluten allergies do on these cruises??). Every night ended with a trip to the bathroom, but I suppose you get what you pay for right? The crew was very friendly and I enjoyed talking to people from all around the world. Everyone was very helpful! Everyone had a smile, which I know can be hard to do when dealing with a lot of people. Can't complain about the service at all! All in all we had a very good experience and we definitely will be going on more cruises in the future! We learned some lessons that will hopefully make our next cruise even better :) Read Less
Sail Date January 2011
Well, here goes........ My husband and I just got back from our first cruise. It left Miami on Dec. 13th, 2010. The East Coast was being hit with very cold temps and we felt it in Miami before we left. Once we hit the seas it was ... Read More
Well, here goes........ My husband and I just got back from our first cruise. It left Miami on Dec. 13th, 2010. The East Coast was being hit with very cold temps and we felt it in Miami before we left. Once we hit the seas it was rough to say the least. I never get motion sickness and I love thrill rides, etc. But, after going to my room for a sec to check on my luggage arrival I started getting the dreaded sea sickness. Once I felt the crazy rocking of the ship and saw the high waves and rough water along with being knocked around the cabin a bit, I felt like I got punched in the stomach. So took some meds, and went to upper decks to chill out for a couple hours. The meds kicked in and I was much better. Being my first cruise I didn't know what to expect. We were excited! Not to drag out my review with all the details this is the short of it. The ship was nice, the food was okay nothing very impressive. We enjoyed many meals in a variety of locations and can't say any one spot was my favorite. The way you are taken care of at dinner is nice, but the food was just okay. My hubby liked his Lobster on "Formal Night" very much. The eating areas were crowded and by the time we found a table my food was cold on many occasions but if you know what you are doing you will find a spot. I didn't do the soda card thing, but did notice they just opened canned sodas and put them in your special cup. So, no fountains to fill up cups. I did like being able to eat at any time and the variety in the bistro was good. On Cozumel day we ate before we left the ship and they had Mediterranean and that was actually my favorite food of the whole trip. Falafel, Hummus, etc......yum! The mixed drinks were good too! I vowed not to buy them but it's hard to resist sometimes so just go for it if you are hangin out by the pool. We danced in the Disco to the 80's and 90's night and had a blast, the PG comedy show was good. The Showtime entertainment was kinda corny. I was hoping for something better. The weather was cold so that did mess up our Key West day but we still had fun. Cozumel was enjoyable. Overall we enjoyed ourselves, we learned alot about cruising and what we would do in the future and what we would look for in our next cruise. Happy Cruising!!! Read Less
Sail Date December 2010
This was the 5th cruise for us. Husband & I both in our 50's. We flew into Fort Lauderdale on Southwest Airlines. (love those gotta get away rates) I had arranged transport to Miami with SAS Transports. It cost less than others ... Read More
This was the 5th cruise for us. Husband & I both in our 50's. We flew into Fort Lauderdale on Southwest Airlines. (love those gotta get away rates) I had arranged transport to Miami with SAS Transports. It cost less than others and was very prompt and friendly. We stayed at the Holiday Inn Port of Miami. Their location is perfect, right across from a bayfront marketplace. Lots of restaurants and shops. Live entertainment and just a nice place to kill time. When we checked in, we were upgraded to a bayfront suite. It was very nice and gave a great view of the port. Others have commented negatively about this hotel, but we found it to be clean, and the staff very friendly. We took a taxi to the port and boarded the ship around noon. The cabin wasn't ready, but we found a table on the Lido deck and had lunch. It was not long before we could get into the cabin and unpack. Our steward promptly introduced himself and he took good care of us all week. We had the safety briefing and then the sail away 'party'. I was disappointed that the actual activities did not last very long. Just a few line-dances and then everyone kinda disappeared. We had the late dining, with a table for 10. We only had 3 other couples, but we enjoyed their company all week. The waiter & assistant were not as good as others have been. They seemed distracted and just weren't on top of their game. The food was very good and plentiful, as always. We had breakfast & 1 lunch at the buffets and found them to be good also. Went to a couple of the shows and found them ok, the singers could have been better. The two comedians were fantastic!! We attended every show! There was one other deck party after leaving Cozumel. It was again very short. I would have enjoyed more entertainment on deck. The first port was Key West. We were only there until 1:00 pm, so we just did some shopping, went to the Southernmost point for a picture, Blue Heaven for Key Lime Pie and Sloppy Joe's for a drink. The second port was Cozumel. We docked at Puerta Maya, which is a long way from town. A taxi ride away to anywhere actually. There is a small 'tourist-trap' shopping area there, but not much else. We didn't want to spend the money to go anywhere so we walked around & had drinks at Fat Tuesdays, then back to the ship, where we enjoyed the quiet. I was very upset that we did not get to dock downtown, as we had done before. The sea-day presented cold rain and rough seas. I hung out on the promenade deck and read a book. The Imagination is an older ship and is smaller than the newer behemoths, but we like that. The ship was clean and the staff mostly very good. I did get tired of saying 'no thank you' to the drink hawkers and the picture ops. Overall, I would cruise with Carnival again and would cruise Imagination again. It is a great price for a very nice vacation! Read Less
Sail Date December 2010
Before starting this review I would like to say that I am experienced cruiser who mostly cruises with NCL, Princess, Carnival, and Royal Caribbean but I have cruised with other cruise lines too. I say this as not to labeled a malcontent ... Read More
Before starting this review I would like to say that I am experienced cruiser who mostly cruises with NCL, Princess, Carnival, and Royal Caribbean but I have cruised with other cruise lines too. I say this as not to labeled a malcontent because I really did not enjoy a lot about the Imagination. I have been on Imagination before and have taken two (2) other Carnival cruises within the last year (Destiny and Miracle)that were much better. Just a short time into the cruise it became evident that Imagination has slipped very badly. We got a very cheap price on this cruise so what can I say but cheap is cheap. Embarkation was a royal pain and done on a machine where you actually scan your passport and credit card yourself. We found this process tedious and unfriendly. Once on board we headed for the Lido deck. The Lido deck food with the exception of the "New York" Deli and the Mexican Buffet is not very good. Pizza is like cardboard and you can literally smell and feel the grease at the hamburger and hot dog grill. Amazingly, people were gorging themselves on this stuff which was really downright nasty most of the time. The desserts were decent however. The staff on the Lido deck are obviously not making a career out of working on this ship, taking their time clearing tables and letting dishes pile up at the outside tables. Food was not available when it was supposed to be on several occasions, and their soft ice cream machines were frequently out of order and not maintained. The adult area in the back of the ship was nice and would be even nicer if they actually kept the kids out of there. I saw passengers in the jacuzzi tubs with wine glasses (obviously shouldn't be done for fear of breakage) but there was never any staff to enforce these rules. The attitude of the staff is basically one of thoughtlessness. For example, they schedule their "Friends of Dorothy" (GLBT) meetings in the sports bar where there were a lot of guys just hanging out without their wives to watch the game. Now this was a bit comical but stupid on Imagination's part. On-ship activities were non-existent unless you consider the piano player in the atrium or a lecture where they try to sell you something an activity. In four (4) days I never saw the cruise director nor could I tell you her name but I do know she was a woman because I saw her on TV in my cabin in lieu of the movies other cruise ships have. Their past passenger party was a handshake from the Captain; not a drink or cheese and cracker in sight. The spa (steam and sauna) were nice when they were working, but the only access to the gym is through the dressing (locker) area and showers which does not afford any privacy for the users as there is a constant flow of passengers through this area; again, not a lot of thought or planning here either. Getting off the ship was also a hassle. We were doing self-assist luggage which normally means we are off the ship around 7:30am. On Imagination we were still waiting to be cleared at 9:00am. And if you buy any alcohol you are told it will be delivered to your cabin the last night of the cruise; what they don't tell you is that if you are not there to sign for it you will be standing in line at the disco the morning of debarkation to collect it which is most inconvenient. I hate to be one of these cruise passengers that say never again but there was not a whole lot to like on this ship. Next time around I will stick with NCL or Princess and pay a little more for a more memorable cruise experience. Read Less
Sail Date December 2010
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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