224 Miami to Caribbean - Western Carnival Imagination Cruise Reviews

What is reasonable to expect for $50 a day? This is the question I keep asking myself. I believe Carnival gave me a fantastic cruise for the money I spent. However, I suspect that because I prefer higher grade food I will have to ... Read More
What is reasonable to expect for $50 a day? This is the question I keep asking myself. I believe Carnival gave me a fantastic cruise for the money I spent. However, I suspect that because I prefer higher grade food I will have to spend more money on cruises.... Most likely with a different cruise line. Packed everything into one small carry-on bag and a smallish backpack (where I put meds, my small purse, travel docs, and toiletries). Flew in two days prior to cruise from SNA (Orange County, CA) to MIA. My friend flew in from PDX (Portland, OR). Tip: Checking in at the airline's site and printing boarding passes at home makes for an easier time at the airport. My friend (who I met in kindergarten and have been friends with ever since) and I are both busy moms and came on this cruise to relax, get away from the stress in our lives, and reconnect. We arrived in MIA around midnight and found a cab easily. Bad cab ride from Miami airport. After we started driving the cabbie began sobbing loudly and saying he did not want to live anymore. Please understand that I am still in recovery about a dear friend who chose to end her life several months ago...I was "getting away" from all that for a while via this cruise. I referred him to the suicide hotline and told him how much my friend's suicide hurt everyone who loved her (Many who commit suicide incorrectly think they are doing their friends/family a favor.). He said his wife was leaving him...I tried encouraging him after exiting the cab at the hotel. This episode kept me awake most of the night (stirred up all the memories I was trying to put aside on this trip). Hope he made that call or sought out help in another way. Good news: I told my friend that I was going to wake up the next morning to a good vacation AND I DID. Intercontinental Hotel. $84 per night. Lovely room on 23rd floor. Wonderful and spacious bathroom area. Great partial bay view. Taxis were always ready and waiting to take us somewhere. Within walking distance to Bay Side Marketplace. Did not like the honor bar in room nor their policy of charging $20 per day if the items are cleared out to make room for customer's personal items (The in-room directory called this a "restocking fee"). Their $34 daily parking fee caused us not to rent a vehicle our first day in town. Laughed about how their French-labeled shampoo, conditioner, and lotion was actually manufactured in China. I would stay there again because the location was excellent. http://www.icmiamihotel.com http://www.baysidemarketplace.com Cab ride from hotel to port was uneventful....Thank God. J Embarkation was pretty efficient. Porter met us at the cab and was friendly and helpful. Tipped him $3 for two carry-on sized bags. I carried on an open 12 pack of Diet Coke (one was missing). It was placed open side up in a cloth tote bag (extra tote bag brought from home inside suitcase). They did give it a second look, but not much of one. Just peek at it a bit, saying they needed to be sure I did not have other types of cans in there. Used the kiosks to check in. Once we boarded the ship we headed up to the Lido for lunch since our room was not going to be ready until 1:30 PM. What chaos! Long lines for each station. It would be nice if they opened up extra buffet stations in alternative places for that very first lunch...Maybe another one on the pool deck. I assured my newbie friend that it would not always be like this. Our luggage arrived in our room shortly after we did. This was my first inside cabin, M133. I did miss having a window, but quickly got over it. There were so many other places to go on the ship. We relied on the ship's TV "bow cam" to let us know if we had arrived in port in the morning. Our cabin was spacious, with ample closet space. The beds were comfy. Because of the storage space in the bathroom on my prior cruise (Carnival Elation), I opted not to pack my door hanging mesh shoe holder. I missed it this cruise since Imagination's bathrooms have very little storage, so we stored most toiletry items in my cloth tote bag and hung it on the bathroom door (the same bag I used to carry the 12-pack on board with). Lesson learned: I will bring the door hanging mesh shoe holder on my Carnival Spirit cruise next month. We could hear some running down hallway noises at night, but it was not really bad. Disappointed with food overall. Dining room food under seasoned. No wow factor. Desserts also under whelmed. WCMC was overcooked and "flour-y" tasting. The best dessert of the cruise was the dulce de leche cheesecake served in the Lido at the very first lunch. From prior experience, my fave Carnival meal is the short ribs. Although fork tender, this time it did not have a lot of flavor. And the lasagna....They should not even call it lasagna. No layers at all. No ricotta at all. A bunch of seasoned meat and spinach in a bowl topped with a square of pasta and some cheese on top. Major disappointment. The French onion soup did not have a strong beef broth, which I found disappointing. My friend, however, really enjoyed it. The asparagus vichyssoise was not flavorful. I found myself having to add a lot of salt/pepper to items. I sent not a few plates back mostly uneaten, even saying I did not care for the dish, yet my waiter did not offer an alternative. The Lido chicken dishes were good. The hand-carved turkey and mac and cheese at the rotisserie station were also good. The broccoli cheese soup in the dining room was very good. (I should have ordered another bowl of that instead of that yucky lasagna...but I digress.) The prime rib on formal night was also good. My friend enjoyed her salmon, lobster, crab cakes, mahi-mahi, and shrimp dishes. One night I could not find anything interesting on the menu in the MDR, so I asked for a simple green salad and a chicken breast. My plan was to cut up the chicken and put it into the salad, which I explained to the waiter. The salad was brought as an appetizer (without chicken). The waiter asked if I needed a different dressing. I reminded him of my intent to make a chicken salad as my dinner entree. He then remembered and took the salad away for a bit. Then he brought it back with dinner, along with their standard grilled chicken dinner (complete with potatoes and cooked veggies). Because they are set up for set plates only, anything that differentiates from their standard service is hard for them. I understand that and appreciate their willingness to try to accommodate me. My dinner salad was tasty, BTW. We only had breakfast in the MDR once. While I liked being able to get a side of hollandaise sauce to eat with my omelet, the serving portions were quite small...and I could get the same stuff in the Lido in larger portions. For example: I asked for a side of hash browns with my omelet. I was given two half-dollar sized fried patties. My friend was given a very small scoop of corned beef hash. There are some items you can only get in the dining room, such as eggs benedict and eggs cooked to order. My ham and cheese omelet in the MDR had very little ham in it. At the Lido, I can pick real cheese from the cold food area and bring it to the omelet station and ask them to use it instead of the weird cheese they usually make omelets with. That worked well for me. My friend admits to being a coffee snob. She found the coffee in the Lido undrinkable. The dining room coffee better (but not great). She paid for a coffee at the Lido coffee bar and was also disappointed. Very loud Promenade at night. Pool area loud also. I prefer a quieter atmosphere, which also makes me wonder if Carnival is a good fit for me. Aft deck behind the Lido was the best quiet place. Spent many evenings there. The last two evenings a gentleman with an acoustic guitar (a passenger, I believe) played folk-style songs. This created a lovely atmosphere on my favorite area of the ship. Maitre'd did a good job arranging our table mates. We were all women on fun "girlfriend" cruises with our BFFs. Self-assisted debarkation was super easy. Learned something new: I asked the bartender at the Pool Bar if I could have an empty plastic beer bucket to use in my room. She was happy to provide one and even asked if I wanted it full of ice (Yay!). Our room steward, Derrick, kept it full for us in addition to our regular ice bucket. No hairdryer in room. Our room attendant was not available (first afternoon of cruise), so we called Guest Services. They had a full size hairdryer delivered to our room that afternoon. Our cabin steward did not service the room the evening of the first night, so no Fun Times for the next day, no chocolate, and no towel animal for us. Fortunately there are Fun Times available at the hostess desk at the Lido and also at Guest Services Counter. With the exception of not providing us with the Fun Times for the second day of the cruise, we thought our cabin steward did a great job and certainly earned his tip. Personable and non-intrusive. Having use of a laundry room is very convenient. My friend ironed her formal dress. I did a load of laundry. Having brought only one carry-on bag, this was necessary. I packed the Purex 3-n-1 laundry sheets, which are easy to travel with and work well. $3 wash, $3 dry. We got the necessary quarters from Guest Services. Took the Conch Train Tour in Key West. Also walked to Five Brothers for the best Cuban sandwich ever. Souveniors for kids from Key West: Shark tooth necklaces ($7 each), Kino Sandals (~$13 each). My friend bought a small bowl made from palm leaves from street vendor for $10. http://www.conchtourtrain.com http://5brothersgrocery.tripod.com http://www.kinosandalfactory.com Vendor in Cozumel offered shark tooth necklaces for $22 each. I laughed. He insisted they were from blue sharks and proceeded to hold a tooth above a cigarette lighter to try to prove it was not cheap plastic (I could already tell they were real shark's teeth). He lowered his price to $12. I told them they are cheaper in Key West. He dropped the price to $10, and I just walked away laughing. In general we found the pricing in the shops in the port area very high. Pancho's Backyard was as adventurous as we got in Cozumel. Nice place to dine outside for those not leaving the port area. The tamales were okay, but I have eaten much better in Los Angeles (especially my aunt's). My friend was not impressed with the guacamole (She has memories of excellent guacamole in Cabo San Lucas). But the atmosphere was just what we wanted (serene), which is why we were there. Someone played marimbas/xylophone while we dined on their "beach" . http://www.panchosbackyard.com Alamo Car Rental - booked online. Free shuttle from port to MIA rental location post cruise. They did ask us to show our reservation data to prove we were customers. Free upgrade from compact car to Dodge Charger (va-rooooom!). La Quinta Airport North. $53. Does offer free shuttle to and from MIA (no shuttle to port). Free breakfast. Free parking. Has an unheated pool. Laundry room. Simple room at a good price. We stayed there the night after we debarked because we were flying out the next morning. http://www.lq.com Everglade Airboat Tour in Miami - Highly recommend. We drove there ourselves and really enjoyed it. I rec you bring silicone ear plugs as the boat is LOUD. They handed out cotton balls, which really are not effective if you are sensitive to loud noise. $20 pp with coupon. http://www.coopertownairboats.com On the way back to the hotel from the Everglades we stumbled upon an Uruguayan restaurant on SW 8th Street called Don Davis. No one there could speak English, yet they tried really hard to communicate with us. Definitely not a tourist trap. Good food and service...even if some things got lost in translation between us (two Empanadas given when we just wanted to share one). We just smiled and went with the flow and had a good dining experience. Here is a partial menu: http://southflorida.menupages.com/restaurants/don-davis/menu The ground beef empanada was flavorful and deep fried, which made it crispy. And only $1.99 each. Great appetizer. I had the Chicken Breast in Garlic Parsley Sauce which was yummy and plentiful. Served with large planks of roasted potato (They offer mashed potatoes also). My friend had the Shrimp with Fettuccine and Cream Sauce, which she enjoyed. We shared an order of caramel crepes topped with crispy bronzed sugar for dessert. $46 for two. If the food is not better on my Carnival Spirit cruise next month, I will probably look into cruising with HAL again. When the kids are sailing with us, Carnival might still get our business just because of the kid friendly activities onboard. I do want to stay within the Carnival family of cruise lines because of how well they handled the situation involving Carnival Splendor. That really impressed me. Read Less
Sail Date November 2010
Had a great time again on Carnival! Superb treatment along with great guest services! Room Steward was wonderful (Imade) along with his team. He serviced our room several times a day! Dining staff was great - food was exceptional! Very ... Read More
Had a great time again on Carnival! Superb treatment along with great guest services! Room Steward was wonderful (Imade) along with his team. He serviced our room several times a day! Dining staff was great - food was exceptional! Very pleased with cleanliness all over ship along with decor and access to all activities aboard the cruise! I celebrated my birthday aboard the ship along with my family! It was great! My family had items like flowers and goodies delivered to my room! We had a room with a balcony and that was awesome! Could see us coming into the ports and watched the sunrise in Key West! Loved the adult serenity deck as well! The shows aboard the ship were fun and kept us entertained! Enjoyed the staff and the crew as they made you feel welcome and helped you with luggage and so on! Had a bit of time in the spa and that was relaxing! A bit expensive though. Drinks were a bit pricy but that is to be expected! Sushi bar was yummy! Learned to play roulette and that was fun! Good experience overall! Easy embarkation and debarkation which suprised me. Glad you can take your own luggage off now. GOOD TIMES! Read Less
Sail Date November 2010
Hello, I have been doing cruise reviews on Cruise Critic for a few years. This was my 8th Carnival Cruise and I have also cruised NCL one time. Although I enjoy Carnival, I do critique what I see and my overall experience in hopes the ... Read More
Hello, I have been doing cruise reviews on Cruise Critic for a few years. This was my 8th Carnival Cruise and I have also cruised NCL one time. 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 and I hope that my experience is helpful to you. I took this same cruise in Sept 09 and have a review posted if you want to compare. After such a great experience last year I really wanted to take this cruise again. I did enjoy the shorter 4 day, but with some reservations this time around. This time I was traveling with 7 other people so I was expecting a different cruise experience. We chose this trip as a quick get-a-way and the price was too good to pass up. The IMAGINATION is really a nice ship and very easy to navigate. This could be because it is a smaller ship I think there may have been some additions to the signage on the ship, or perhaps I just noticed them more this time around, not sure. ITINERARY: Miami-Key West-Cozumel-day at sea-Miami. MIA airport is a short fifteen minutes from the port. One formal night on day two and a great quick getaway cruise. PORTS: I am going to jump ahead a bit here before I get to the onboard experience. KEYWEST: 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. My group chose to not do an excursion, walking around the shops and explore the immediate Mallory Square area. 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. COZUMEL: If you cannot find something to do here then something is wrong. My group split up and did two separate excursions. 1- JEEP/SNORKEL excursion. Nothing but good feedback and seems to have been upgraded a little from what it was a few years back. Short drive to PUNTA SUR and told some of the best snorkeling my friends have seen in a few years. I was warned that they did have a long swim out to the reef. Sea Turtles, Coral, and plenty of fish. They got to visit a small Mayan ruin and a lighthouse. When asked to rate from 1-10 I was told 8+ (with a deduction from the long tiring swim) 2- AMAZING SECRET RIVER and CAVERN EXPLORE: I did some upfront research about this one and it seemed intriguing to me. Summary, WOW! A+++++++ May just be one of the BEST excursions I have ever done! I wanted to do something adventurous and different and this excursion did not disappoint AT ALL! We had only 9 people in our entire group which was nice and intimate. This RIO SECRETO was recently discovered a few years back by a local that was chasing an iguana in the jungle behind his home and it ran into this underground cave system. It is still being surveyed and had only been opened to the public for about 2 years. It surpassed all of my expectations I had even with some pre-research. Definitely worth the money and do not be discouraged by the long 7 hour duration. It is split up into parts (Ferry ride to the mainland- Playa Del Carmen) Short van ride to the cave system, 1 ½ cavern exploration, short meal break, 1 hr shopping time and van/ ferry tri back. FERRY RIDE: First off, what a clean comfortable set up. I sat inside as I read that the locals refer to this as the "BARF-BOAT" for tourists that race to sit on the outside 2nd level LOL. I sat inside on the plush air conditioned seats. A little wavy, but not too bad. They offer water, drinks, and some snacks for sale on the ferry. Polite crew VAN RIDE to the CAVES. Well once we turned off the paved roads and onto the dirt road you know the adventure was about to begin. It is about a 5 mile trip down a very bumpy raw unpaved road. My suggestion is to just enjoy as much as you can the best is yet to come. OH and most important..... USE THE BATHROOM on the ferry before getting into the van because the bumpy ride may not be for those with week bladders LOL. CAVERNS/ STAFF and FOOD: We were all greeted by our guide AIDA and each provided with lockers and locks to keep our personals. AIDA was very informative and a great guide keeping everyone together and not missing out on anything from the first person in line to the last the entire time. This is a PHYSICAL TOUR so you do need to be able to bend, crouch, walk, swim/wade, and should have no problems with darkness, water and they say claustrophobia. There is really no tight spaces so do not be too discouraged about this. Water is fresh-water, crystal clear and about 70 degrees. They offer a walking stick. I say take it and even suggested to the guide once in the caves that they just pass them out to everyone instead of offering. You are not allowed to take any cameras or anything into the system. You get a knee length wet suit, swimming vest, water shoes and hard hat with a small light. DEFINITELY check and make sure your light works and is not dying before you start the hike. The sights are amazing inside the cavern and the photographer that tags along takes great photos. They are offered to purchase at the end. I took the entire CD of approx 30 personal photos and an additional 50 added cave photos for $59. WORTH every penny! Rating 10 A+++ CARNIVAL TRANSPORT: I chose this prior to the cruise. It was only $16 one way and worth the price if you do not want to the aggravation or a taxi to the pier. You can purchase a transport ticket at the airport and they will simply bill your sail and sign account. 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 10:00 and waiting for the rest of my group. We all entered the terminal about 11and went extremely quick. Carnival has added a new check in process that I did not see last year that made everything streamline. They have kiosk terminals like an airport and with only a few entries and a scan of your passport you receive a ticket and go right up to the desk to receive your sail and sign card. I was VERY impressed with this. I hope they implement them in the NY and other terminals. ROOM STEWARD: HERALD greeted us at our door minutes of our arrival. He was extremely courteous and always took the time to come over and chat each morning if only to just say good morning, Beyond our morning greet, he never disturbed us 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 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. CABIN: OV R192 mid ship.... The setup and positioning of the beds this cruise really made the room seem larger. One bed was under the pull down and the other bed along the far wall under the window. Shift your beds like this it just seemed to create a lot of space. NO FRIDGE, but I knew that. This is your typical stateroom; 2 beds, pull down bunk and located in a perfect part of the ship. 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 made moving around the ship simple. COMPLIMENTARY BATHROOM BASKET included his/her Razor, toothpaste, Pantene-RED color enhancer, some upset stomach packets (like TUMS), bar soap and I think make-up removing wipes? Shower: Shampoo & Liquid Soap (I brought shampoo w/conditioner, a travel Lysol spray) FELLOW PASSENGERS: This is a topic I usually try to cover on my cruises because although Carnival technically has no control on who books a cruise, I feel it reflects the "type" of passenger that chooses certain itineraries as well as what the age-range may be helping others to choose vacations. The crew went out of their way to make certain that everyone was as happy as they could be. Everyone I met had a smile on their face and I personally did not hear anything bad or complaints. I know this was a smaller ship, but I did find it odd that the ship just did not feel crowded at any time. I was traveling with a group of 8 and we never had trouble finding seats at buffets or even on deck to sit together. Lucky? Perhaps, but it was unusual how "open" everything was, especially with a FULL sailing. Maybe this was simply a good time of year to sale since the "child attendance" was lower. I do have one complaint to my fellow passengers..... PLEASE do not put your children in the hot tubs with their diapers on! That to me is just unsanitary and I don't think a child that young should even be in a hot tub. Thank you. FOOD/DINING: My group chose "LATE DINING" on this cruise. It is as easy option when you have a group so there is no rushing back onto the ship on port days, and we all know when/where to meet if separated. 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 server NADINI was great and her assistants just as pleasant. The rest of the cruise we 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. This was when we really took notice of how un-crowded the ship was. Again, maybe it was just great timing for us. It was always kept clean and stocked. STAFF: (I split this up into several captions) WORKING STAFF: Same as my last trip on this ship in 2009 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 working Carnival ships. CRUISE DIRECTOR- TORY SECOY: I really didn't take to this cruise director. She did the usual cruise director routine, but if I had to sum up Tory in one word it would be LOUD. That's all I will say. ENTERTAINMENT: I'll start with the good. The HIP-HOP crew Bboy Tony Fresh and his partner performing in the Atrium was a lot of fun. I was entertained last year and no difference this time. Another great performance option Carnival has added for different entertainment options. Dynasty Lounge shows. Last year on this same ship I saw probably one of the best casts I've seen on all my cruises. This time.... Not so much. Maybe it was a new cast, or I am just getting bored with the seeing the same version of "SHOUT" and the welcome aboard shows. 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. SUMMARY LIKES: ITINERARY, FOOD, SERVICE, CLEANLINESS of the ship, KIOSKS at Embarkation, HIP HOP dancers in atrium, ADULT SERENITY deck. Could use an update like other ships with hammocks and perhaps an adult pool? And never forget the "WCMC": warm chocolate melting cake. mmmm DISLIKES: Dynasty Lounge-UPSTAIRS level BIG THUMBS DOWN! Not impressed with this particular cruise director, this show cast seemed a little inexperienced, Elimination of the COMMENT CARDS? As a cruise critic member I do take the time to fill these out with purpose, NO option to view your account or menus from your stateroom TV like other ships. I would definitely do this cruise again. Read Less
Sail Date November 2010
This is the shortest cruise and the smallest ship my husband and I have ever been on so we didn't know what to expect, but it was incredibly inexpensive so we thought we would give it a try. Also, it's the first time we've ... Read More
This is the shortest cruise and the smallest ship my husband and I have ever been on so we didn't know what to expect, but it was incredibly inexpensive so we thought we would give it a try. Also, it's the first time we've traveled during hurricane season so we kept an open mind: Night Before the Cruise: We stayed at the Wyndham Miami Airport and got the Cruise Package which included breakfast and a ride to the Port. This was the second time we stayed there and will stay there again. One thing we learned is they include a 15% service charge (tip) at the bar. Good thing I checked the bill, as the last time we were there, the waitstaff must have been VERY happy. Embarkation Day: A beautiful day in Miami, the day went as expected. Unfortunately, we didn't get to meet our steward until a few days later. Usually they have come around to introduce themselves the first, but I'm sure he was just taking a break from the hectic turnover. We got the sense though that this is where new cruise ship staff get trained. Folks, even if you have carry-on luggage, check what you can. They won't let you in the room until around 1:30, so if you get there early you will have to lug it around. We chose early dining. We tried the Sushi Bar prior to dinner which was great. The food at dinner was great, but the staff seemed inexperienced. We were only offered bread once and never offered coffee at dessert. Key West Day: We arrived at 7am and it was raining. We were docked at the Navel Pier so there was a trolley ready to take guests to the Mallory Square (downtown area). We had breakfast in the formal dining room and were seated at our own table which was nice. When we got on the trolley at about 8:30 am and it was just a light drizzle. We took a cab to Hemingway's House. By the way, there are no cab stands there and we were lucky to catch one. The lady at the Shell Warehouse was nice to give us the numbers to call. The grounds at the House are gorgeous. There are paths that meander everywhere, and of course, there's a six-toed cat at every turn. The house tour was nice and informative and Harry Truman the cat followed us everywhere, but frankly, I would have been fine just sitting on the front porch watching the cats and walking around the grounds. Around 11am we called a cab to bring us back downtown as there were none to be seen on the street. Again we should have called ahead of time because it took about 20 minutes. We went to the Rum Barrel for lunch. The coconut shrimp was great and the key lime pie was awesome. The asparagus appetizer was truly spicy. I'm not sure what the fuss about conch fritters is all about. My husband tried their rum sampler. We had to catch the last trolley that left at 1:15pm so we couldn't hang out there too long. Thank goodness the trolley depot was only a short distance away as that rum sampler was very good. It was pouring by the time we got back to the ship and once on board we found out that we were being diverted to Nassau due to Hurricane Paula and the next day would be a Sea Day. We missed elegant night that night as we had early dining, and tried the Lido Deck instead for dinner. The food was OK but it had been sitting there awhile as everyone was eating in the formal dining room. No more Lido Deck for dinner for us. Sea Day: Tried the Casino, had a bunch of fantastic chocolate desserts for lunch, saw an ice carving demo, laid in the sun, DH tried the water slide many times, and I got a hot stone massage which was totally worth the price. Barely got back to the cabin in time to shower and change before dinner. It was amazing how smoothly the staff changed gears as we were supposed to be in Cozumel that evening. Nassau: We had gone to Nassau before so we decided to check out Paradise Island across the bay where Atlantis is located along with a garden called the Cloisters. We took a ferry to the island which was only $3pp plus a tip for the tour guide who blatantly came around with his cap collecting when the ride was over. Once on the island, we walked through the Atlantis resort until we found a guard that gave us directions to the Cloisters. We could have walked but took a cab. The Cloisters is located across from the Only One Club down the main drag from Atlantis. Peaceful, very enjoyable. The Versailles Garden was across the street. Gorgeous. Both gardens are impeccably maintained. We walked back to Atlantis and stopped on the way for lunch and the continued back through the resort to the ferry to Nassau. If you are into designer shopping, that's the place to be. Just as we're getting settled in, the cruise is coming to an end - Disembarkation Eve. Just when the waitstaff at dinner has learned how to serve you best and I finally learned to ask for coffee with dessert. Disembarkation Day: We pulled into Miami at sunrise. Beautiful. We wanted to eat our last breakfast in the formal dining room. It seemed that all the ways up to the dining room were blocked off. We finally found our way to the dining room and were seated at a 12 person table. You could tell that the staff was diverted elsewhere. We had to wait for the table to fill up and wait for at least five minutes for someone to serve us coffee and take our order. Service was horribly slow. One couple left. We barely started our breakfast and only had half a cup of coffee before they called us for disembarkation. In the past we were told to stay in our rooms until almost 10am so I was surprised when they said they wanted everyone out of there rooms by 8:30am. So be forewarned, they will shew you off this one early. Next time we will be prepared. Folks, make sure to get your passports. We got stuck behind someone that only had a birth certificate. It took forever for them to get through. Also, if you prepaid for transport to the airport, make sure to save your paperwork. I thought the ship would give you tickets but instead they just said our name would be on the list. Unfortunately, getting the guy to check the list is a different story. Conclusion: We loved this cruise even though it was short. I learned many things and next time I go on this cruise it will go even better. In the future though, we may opt for longer cruise and definitely late dining. Yeah, some of the crew maybe a little inexperienced, but they have to learn some place. Read Less
Sail Date October 2010
We are new cruisers on Carnival. Most of our cruising has been on RCI . last year we spent seven days on the Carnival Glory and enjoyed it. This year due to time constraints we could only manage the four day. We spent the night pre ... Read More
We are new cruisers on Carnival. Most of our cruising has been on RCI . last year we spent seven days on the Carnival Glory and enjoyed it. This year due to time constraints we could only manage the four day. We spent the night pre cruise at the Hyatt Ft Lauderdale, very clean hotel, their shuttle service to and from the hotel was a factor in our choice. We booked SAS to transport us to the Miami port they were on time and very pleasant. We arrived at the ship around 12 noon and were aboard by 12 30. I was happy that we no longer need to drag life-jackets to the lifeboat drill and it went very smoothly. We all sat in one of the public areas and the drill lasted no more than 15 min. Our cabin was light and while not huge was quite adequate, however the room was very smoky and being non smokers I was not happy about that. We phoned the front desk and they arranged for someone to bring in a air cleaner and that sorted out the smell. We kept the air conditioner cooler and found if we raised the temp the smell returned. We attended the first nights show and found it quite good and all in all the entertainment was fine. We had a table for four but found that the space between the table was only four or five inches so in essence it was a table for ten. No problem for us but it might be for those who expect some privacy. No complaints re food in the MDR except to say that service was slow and the house water was undrinkable. Our wait staff were pleasant but very rushed . We had two ports to visit on this cruise. Key West and Cozumel. We did not book ships tours and availed ourselves of the Conch train shuttle from the dock into Key West. In Cozumel we were able to walk off the ship to a port shopping area. The taxi ride into the main town San Miguel was $7 but we had been there before and just wandered around the shopping port. Our daughter and grandson took the ships tour { jeep through the jungle area} $99 per person , water provided and they reported they enjoyed it. We enjoyed the comedy shows especially a very nice gentleman named Eddie Capone. He really was very funny . Disembarkation was smooth and unhurried we carried off our luggage and met our shuttle driver at the designated area. I will say that I found the four day cruise different than the seven day. { More of a frantic party atmosphere} The pool areas and music was very loud and the cruise Director Tony Secoy way too loud and not too entertaining. Many of the game shows were repeats of the same old especially the " Game Of Love" with the same questions. However it was worth what we paid and we enjoyed the leisure. Read Less
Sail Date October 2010
This was my fourth cruise, all on Carnival, and my mom's first time on Carnival but her second cruise. EMBARKATION & DAY 1 We made it to the terminal around 11:30. Once inside the building, we went immediately through ... Read More
This was my fourth cruise, all on Carnival, and my mom's first time on Carnival but her second cruise. EMBARKATION & DAY 1 We made it to the terminal around 11:30. Once inside the building, we went immediately through security. There was only about 20 people in line in front of us. Each us had a 6 pack of water and we had 2 bottles of wine. They asked to see it, but I barely took one out of the bag and they said I was ok to go on through. I did see the new self check in kiosks, but we didn't use them. We stood in the check in line for about 35 minutes. There was only 4 check in desks available at the time. We got our sail & sign cards and then had to go to another line so she could give her put down her cash deposit. Exact change was requested, which is odd for a cash only lane. The lido buffet was open for lunch. Our bags made it to the room around 3:30 and the muster drill was at 3:45. The drill was fast and you don't have to bring your life jacket any more. There was a sail away party immediately following the drill on the lido deck.We were seated in the Spirit Dining Room at 8:15 for late seating. Tonight's dinner entertainment was our dinner servers dancing to "Low." DAY 2 & KEY WEST We arrived into Key West right on time around 7:30 am. We were parked next to a Royal Caribbean ship and didn't have access to the port where you exit the ship and are immediately in the tourist area. There was a free trolley operating to take people into the city, which took about 10 minutes. It was a very pleasant day, not too hot at all. We took the City View trolley tour for $19. You can hop on and off at different points of interest at your leisure and they run every 30 minutes. We didn't get off at any of the stops, but rather just enjoyed the ride and our tour guide. The tour lasted 1 hour. Afterwards, we walked around and picked up a few souvenirs. There are a lot of stores where everything is $5, and they have some nice merchandise in them. We were back on the ship around noon and had lunch. Sail away from Key West was promptly at 2 pm. There was a lido deck sail away party followed by the hairy chest contest. Tonight was elegant night at dinner. The captain and his officers were introduced. DAY 3 & COZUMEL We were due into Cozumel at 1 pm, but it was about 12 noon when we arrived. The Celebrity Solstice and Carnival Legend were already in port. The lines for the Mongolian Grill and lido buffet were looooong, so I ate from the rotisserie grill, where there was no line. My mom and some new friends decided to find a tour and I went to Paradise Beach. I shared a cab with 4 other people. It was only a 10 minute ride and $20 for the 5 of us. Paradise Beach is a nice little place to spend the day. It's free to get in and the chairs and umbrellas are only $2 to rent. There were also kayaks lots of water toys in the ocean for $12 with unlimited use, jet skis $60 for 30 minutes, and parasailing was onsite for $55. Beach side massages are available at negotiable prices. Mine was $35 for 45 minutes. Paradise Beach also has a gift shop, restaurant, and a bar. I was back on the ship around 5:30 and my mom made it back around 8. Dinner tonight was kind of slow. A lot of people were still out in Cozumel, and many others had just stumbled back in from a day of bar hopping. We were due out of port at 10 pm. Tonight we had a late night sail away party from Cozumel. It started at 11:30 but didn't really get hopping until closer to midnight. The competition of the red and blue teams continued out here in a fun way. If you're unfamiliar with this, it all comes down to your cabin number. If you have an even cabin number you're on one team, and odd cabin numbers are on the other. There are various activities throughout the cruise to earn points for your team, and the winning team gets bragging rights. That being said, all of the competitions tonight were dance. It started with red and blue team conga lines. From there, the two teams were on either side of the pool. Then came the dance battles: the wobble, cupid shuffle, Macarena, cha cha slide, and one other dance I don't know the name of. This was A LOT of fun! The party went on a while longer with people on the lido deck stage dancing to a band. DAY 4- AT SEA I headed up to the lido deck around 11:15. I never had a problem finding a lounge chair. Breakfast was being served until noon. I can see serving breakfast late until 11 or maybe even 11:30 on the sea days, but noon is a bit excessive. After eating, I enjoyed the lido entertainment and checked out the Water Works area and went down the waterslides a few times. My mom and I went to look through the photo galleries together. I bought one 8 x 10 and three 5 x 7 pictures and a 5 x 7 wooden frame with "Carnival Imagination" on it for $60. The gift shops had the same ole same ole- magnets, pens, t-shirts, clothes, etc. Dinner was great as usual. Our final entertainment for the cruise was our dining room staff singing "Leaving On A Fun Ship." After dinner, there was an adult comedian. I can't remember his name, but he was hilarious. I ended up watching both shows. ROOM We were in an interior 4C room. We had 2 twin beds that were very comfortable. There was plenty of closet space for all of our clothes and luggage. The bathroom had a slight sewage smell throughout the cruise. It wasn't unbearable or even uncomfortable, but it was very odd. I made note of this in my comment card. Our cabin steward was great about keeping the room clean and providing us with whatever we needed. He left cute towel animals every night and was a very pleasant person. The room was on the empress deck (7th floor) towards the aft and right by the elevator and stairs. The stairs led directly up 1 floor to the Spirit Dining Room, where we dined each night. Those back elevators led right to the entertainment on the 9th floor (Xanadu Lounge, casino, disco, etc.) and the lido buffet on the 10th floor. FOOD I was very pleased with the food as always. There are so many options. You have the lido buffet and main dining rooms for breakfast and lunch. The lido buffet featured a different theme each day- Jamaican food, Italian food, etc. The lido also has the Mongolian Grill, which has made to order stir fry; the rotisserie station, with chicken, pork roast, mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese, etc; the burger, fries, chicken tenders and hot dog station; the deli; 24 hour pizza cafe; salad bar and dessert bar. There's even a sushi bar. Dinner in the main dining room each night was WONDERFUL. Be sure to try the warm chocolate melting cake! You will not go hungry on a Carnival ship. ENTERTAINMENT I never made it to the Broadway style shows this cruise. Honestly, if you've seen one, you've seen them all. I enjoyed karaoke and the late night comedians in the Xanadu Lounge. All of my late night evenings were spent at the Illusions Disco. The dj did a fantastic job of playing good music to keep the crowd going. I danced in there every night until they closed at 2:30 am. The calypso duo was just ok. The Latin music band played good music and there always was a good crowd dancing to their music. The fun patrol was comprised of two guys who were pretty good break dancers. They really kept the crowd entertained. Cruise director Tory is by far my favorite CD to date. I never got to meet her personally, but when I did see her, she was very energetic and really encouraged a fun, party atmosphere so guests of all ages would have a good time. Tory definitely loves her job and it shows. DEBARKATION This was by far the EASIEST debarkation I have ever experienced! The time we left our room up to the time we were outside of the port was literally 10 minutes. Our room was on the empress deck, which is used for embarkation and debarkation, so we didn't have to wait for an elevator. We chose to self assist and carried off our bags. There was a long line at the exit, but it moved very quickly. They punched our sail & sign cards one last time and we were off. We found a line with no one in it at customs. My mom showed the agent her birth certificate, I showed him my passport, handed over out customs declaration forms, and we were out the door around 9:15. I really love cruising with Carnival. You get so much for your money and their prices can't be beat. I'm looking forward to my next Carnival cruise in 4 months and plan on being a Carnival customer for a long time. Read Less
Sail Date September 2010
Let me start by explaining my position prior to booking this sailing. I personally am a RCL fan and I never planned to sail with Carnival. After much prodding from a relative i caved and gave it a chance. I had read the reviews here and ... Read More
Let me start by explaining my position prior to booking this sailing. I personally am a RCL fan and I never planned to sail with Carnival. After much prodding from a relative i caved and gave it a chance. I had read the reviews here and well, I wasn't Very optimistic about this. We arrived at port fairly early and we walked right on the ship with minimal time in line. Once on board the clerks quickly rearranged our cabins so the teens wouldn't be with the adults (a usually hour long process with RCL). First stop was the Lido Buffet. The food inside was mediocre and unappealing to me so I ate at the Mongolian grille. The food was a make your own stir fry where they cooked it for you and i was impressed, it was delicious and a great first impression on the cuisine. Soon enough we were in our rooms. I had a oceanview cabin which was a bit cramped for the two of us sharing it. I was honored to be a new member to the carnival brown water club when for a brief few moments is poured from our faucet and was not to be seen for the rest of the week. In general the room just felt dirty. There were stains on the sheets and spots on the carpet. The bathroom was unbearably small and no counter made it difficult to work with. There never seemed to be enough room for hanging clothes to dry. Also on the note of cabins, 3 of our 4 rooms would at around 3 am be FILLED with smoke as if a carton was lit in the air duct. It woke them up and two got sore throats for the last day. My room was fragrant until the last morning when it reeked of raw sewage in the morning. Key West was fun, but we departed at 2 so at most there were 5-4 hours to do things. Cozumel was next and it was decent, the Mayan Ruins + Beach excursion combo was possible the worst part of this week. It was 90 Degrees, nuclear mosquito, and if you want to see similar ruins I suggest you look at a pile of white rocks, alright you get the picture. Market was okay, hard to barter but the items were overall silver jewelry and purses. Onboard the ship i wont complain too much about the public areas. They were in decent quality, sadly they were decorated like a cheap casino. The staff was so relaxed and I met some really cool people with great stories (bartenders have the best, but it might be their way of getting tips) Now I saved the best part for last, FOOD!!! If you didn't care about the food on your cruise then you shouldn't cruise anymore. The buffet was mostly generic food. Nothing special. The single best tip I have is if you want breakfast you HAVE TO get it in the dinning room if you want anything decent, it had better coffee and the service was 30 minutes maximum. The dinning room food was alright, good, but not great, I say between Applebee's and Olive Garden. Overall its a good cruise for the price, just remember you get what you pay for... Read Less
Sail Date September 2010
I took my mother on this cruise for her birthday!!! Carnival has really got their stuff together. From the moment we entered the Port of Miami, we knew we would not have to worry about a thing. They guide you to everything you need to do. ... Read More
I took my mother on this cruise for her birthday!!! Carnival has really got their stuff together. From the moment we entered the Port of Miami, we knew we would not have to worry about a thing. They guide you to everything you need to do. When we got to our stateroom, my mom opened the door and saw the birthday decorations I had ordered. That night at dinner, the wait staff surprised her with the Happy Birthday tune and a HUGE chocolate ganache cake, complete with candles! I did not understand prior to my first cruise how essential the staff is in the cruising experience. Us and our room hostess were all crying on the last day b/c we were so sad to part ways. She made our trip so enjoyable and easy. The whole staff is so happy to accomodate you in whatever way you need. They are always smiling and happy to take pictures with you. I have never had that experience in a land based hotel or restaurant!!! We were well pleased with our room accomodations and the food selection. We really enjoyed the Imagination Ship. We do not have any other ships to compare it to since this was our first cruise. But, we would sail on the Imagination again. Read Less
Sail Date August 2010
My family was looking forward to our 4 night Carnival cruise. Just the perfect getaway... or so we thought. Embarkation was fairly trouble free (although they are pushing the self service kiosk, which doesn't work well for people with ... Read More
My family was looking forward to our 4 night Carnival cruise. Just the perfect getaway... or so we thought. Embarkation was fairly trouble free (although they are pushing the self service kiosk, which doesn't work well for people with birth certificates). Lido deck was packed, and the food lines were horrible. Ended up with a turkey sandwich (turkey was hot and so was the mayo). Rooms were ready by 1:30... our cabin steward was first rate and kept everything nice and clean! Other than the outside Lido deck offerings (Asian and Burgers)... the food was a total disappointment. Steak was like shoe leather... lobster small... and if you asked for something not on the menu, you were told NO! Chocolate Melting cake was good.... but who wants it every night. Baked Alaska was terrible. Wait staff was lacking! Had to continually ask for more water! Waited and waited for food at every meal. Booked a shore excursion after we set sail for Cozumel on Wednesday... was sold a total bill of goods. Got into port 1 hour late... Tour operator told us that Carnival was allowing a full refund since there was a 50% chance of showers in the area. We are from Florida... we get 50% chance of showers all of the time, so we didn't think anything of this (in hindsight, we should have known something was up). They didn't say "chance of thundershowers" or that there was a Tropical Depression in the area (got that info from the cab driver!). None of the stuff that we were told was included was there (Playa Mia Beach Deluxe), no water slide or anything for kids under 18 to do. Sand was shelly and rocky... food was horrible... and so were the drinks at the open bar. The 50% chance of showers turned into a huge thunder and lightening storm. Total waste of $300. Friends son cut his foot in the pool. Tour operator too worried about the waiver getting signed to care! Carnival refunded 10% of tour (WOW $27). When we arrived back in Miami (one hour early) it was raining. No big deal, it is Florida after all. What they didn't tell anyone, was that Tropical Storm Bonnie was coming ashore right as they were putting people off the boat! Shame on Carnival for being so money hungry! Planning a cruise for next summer, but it will not be a Carnival cruise! We will not cruise on Carnival again... EVER! Read Less
Sail Date July 2010
We had a great time aboard the Imagination, this was my 3rd cruise and my FI 1st. There's nothing like the first time, and I got to relive it through him, we flew into Maimi the day before the cruise and stayed close to the port. We ... Read More
We had a great time aboard the Imagination, this was my 3rd cruise and my FI 1st. There's nothing like the first time, and I got to relive it through him, we flew into Maimi the day before the cruise and stayed close to the port. We enjoyed Bayside Market Place, went towards Flagger st for a little shopping for supplies for the cruise. We had a great day and night, I could hardly sleep, looking out the window all night to see the ships come in. We got up early that morning and had breakfast and then set out for the port. Embarkation went very smooth and we were on the ship and eating lunch before noon. The ship look great, the atrim was a little small but looked so wonderful, I kept looking at my FI, trying to get a feel for what he was feeling the first time boarding a cruise ship, he said nothing but his face said WOW!!! LOL!!!. This was the first time I had been on a ship that had the new serinty area, I really really enjoyed that, so quiet and comfortable. The food was your normal fare on the lido deck, and the MDR food was okay for me, I had better on the Destiny, actually the Destiny had the best food of all three of my cruises or any All Inclusive I've done. Now the desserts were to die for, it you ever see the chocolate almond cake, by all means do not pass it up!!!. Our first port was Key West, we enjoyed it, just walk around and shopped a bit, it was a little hot so we headded back to the ship after a couple of hours. Our second port was Cozumel, we got into this port right after tropical storm Alex had blown through so it was a little windy and the ship was ROCKING!!! I mean really ROCKING!! (a first for me). But we made it to Cozumel so I can't complain and we can't control the weather. We did Nachi Cocom and it was great, the food the drinks. My only disappointment was the water was not the clear blue that I remembered, I guess the storm had a lot to do with that, the water was really milky looking. But we still had a great time, after Nachi we did a little shopping before getting back on the ship. I love the the sign on the ship as we entered that said welcome home :), the rest of the cruise was a blast, we did bingo, slots, couples game, shows etc etc. We just had a ball aboard this ship!!! We were not happy when it came time to get off the ship and head home, but it always comes, huh??? Well after being home a fews days, I over heard my FI talking to a friend on the phone about the good time he had and that if he could get time off work next week he would be CRUISING!!! Guess we have another Cruiseaholic!!! Read Less
Sail Date June 2010
We picked this crusie based on it being a fun ship and we know that Carnival does offer more fun. Our youngest had graduated HS and took his best friend. We were very impressed with the entire trip. The food was good, entertainers were ... Read More
We picked this crusie based on it being a fun ship and we know that Carnival does offer more fun. Our youngest had graduated HS and took his best friend. We were very impressed with the entire trip. The food was good, entertainers were very good, comedians, wait staff, room staff. Just don't have much for complaints. Only issue we had was self check in. They now have computers like airports but ours was confusing because we had 6 in our party and three cabins. As we tried to figure it all out we still had difficulty. We did get assistance by the embarkation staff. For older people, this would be very confusing for them. The boys still had to go get checked in by a person since they were 18. Was on ship within 30 minutes. Disembarking was just as easy but we waited for the last call since we had later flights. You should never be bored on the ship if you get involved. My son is very outgoing and won the ping pong tournament, their team won sychronized swimming, line dance competitions, and more. We played bingo, casino, bean bag toss, shows, and more..Cozumel was our favorite port and Senor Frogs was the highlight of the trip. He,he!! What goes on in Cozumel stays in Cozumel. Key West was very nice!! Lots of shopping and just a very clean place to visit. My husband alawys enjoys the food..We ate in dining room 3 nights. Overall, all food was good! My husband commented he liked this ship better than any Carnival we have been on. Very Clean! Our staff was nice. We have been on other cruises that they joked around a little more but still nice. I have read good and bad reviews for this ship..All good for us!! Would go again!! One lady complained too much of a party ship but it's summer and it was right after graduation and school is out. Go during school and you will not have so much of a young crowd..even my parents enjoyed themselves and they are in their 70's so it wasn't that bad for partying..We think you will like this ship!! Read Less
Sail Date May 2010
Personal Background Information Family of three Travel To Port of Embarkation We flew into Fort Lauderdale and took a taxi to SOuth Beach. We stayed in a fantastic hotel - THe National and the next day we set off for the Port of Miami. It ... Read More
Personal Background Information Family of three Travel To Port of Embarkation We flew into Fort Lauderdale and took a taxi to SOuth Beach. We stayed in a fantastic hotel - THe National and the next day we set off for the Port of Miami. It was expensive taking taxis , but it was convenieent Hotel Info - The National in South Beach Miami Embarkation - fantastic - we got to the terminal around 11 and were onboard having luch just after noon Stateroom - we had an inside cabin - 4D. We usually go for the inside and put our money into activities instead. The room was great. Our cabin steward kept it clean at all times. Ship Info - the ship is great. Very clean, it's a little older but well kept. Dining - fantastic. We had 2 great waiters who took excellent care of us. Activities - our favourite activiy was the waterpark. It's fantastic and surpringly, most times it wasn't that busy. Staff & Service - outstanding. Entertainment - the shows were pretty good. I find that with the exception of Disney, cruise entertainment isn't the greatest. THe siging and dancing were okay. Shore Excursions - Key West - I love Key West. It is one of my favourite ports. It has such a cool vibe I'd go there on very cruise if I could. Our favouite excursion in Key West is parasailing. I would recommend to go directly to FUry tours which is right at the harbour in the downtown area. It is the same company the cruiselines use. THeir equipemnt is topnotch and so are their staff. If you go directly to through them it is only 40.00 pp as opposed to the 80.00pp if you book through the cruiseline and you will be sitting alonside the other pasengers on your cruise. Cozumel - it was pouring rain when we went so I shouldn't really judge this port, but... there is nothing around the terminal where the ship docks. You must take a taxi to go into town. ONce there the shopping is pretty good. We also found an adorable little restaurant and had a great dinner there. Disembarkation - the worst I've ever had. It took an hour and a half t get off the ship and then another hour to get through the terminal. It really left a bad feeling about the cruise. In fact we were shocked when after waiting so long in line to get off the ship that other guest started disembarking from ther decks and were saying how pleased they were they had only waited 5 minutes - and they were getting off ahead of us!! Summary - great cruise and one of the most inexpensive I've seen. Read Less
Sail Date May 2010
We flew in the day before and stayed at the Hilton Downtown Miami. It's very close to the cruise port so it worked well for us. We spent the afternoon walking around Bayside Market which was about a 20 minute walk from the hotel. On a ... Read More
We flew in the day before and stayed at the Hilton Downtown Miami. It's very close to the cruise port so it worked well for us. We spent the afternoon walking around Bayside Market which was about a 20 minute walk from the hotel. On a side note we used SAS transport and I have to say they are fantastic. They actually called us just as we landed in Miami to say they were outside waiting for us! They were great on the way back to the airport as well. Embarkation was a breeze. We were lucky enough to do VIP check-in which is the way to go. We did not wait at all to get on the ship! It was awesome to just bypass the lines we normally have to wait in. Once on the ship we explored and I took the oppurtunity to take some pictures with fewer people on the ship. Our room was available around 1pm. Our luggage was delivered super quick too, about 10 minutes after we got in the room. We did have a problem with our key cards at first, we couldn't get in the room. A quick trip to guest services fixed the problem. Like I said before the ship is small but in excellent shape especially since it's been in service since 1995. It's very "Vegas" looking, but we like that so it didn't bother us. We had a balcony room on the Verandah deck. Room was very nice, balcony is a bit small but functional. Our room steward was wonderful. He was so quick and efficient. We saw him in the hallway all the time, and he was always smiling and saying hello. As for the rest of the ship's staff they were all fantastic as well. From the dining room staff to the bartenders (our favorite was the lady bartender at the Dream bar near the casino, she was the best, unfortunetly, I can't remember her name.) Everywhere we went we were always greeted by smiling faces. As for the food, both my husband and I loved it! The MDR was the best of course, but the offerings at the buffets, as well as the pizza and deli were great. I also loved the Mongolian buffet, custom made noodles, yum! We had 2 ports of call, Key West and Cozumel. It was the first time we had been to either. I loved Key West. Very laid back place, we just walked around all afternoon. Cozumel was ok. We didn't go into town and just shopped a bit in the little center they have just as you get off the ship. The people were nice for the most part, but some were very pushy trying to sell their merchandise which was very off putting. I know they only get certain chances but it still left a bad taste in my mouth. The rest of the day we spent back on the ship in the pool and the waterslide. It was awesome because there was no one there, we had it all practically to ourselves. We didn't do any excursions in either port, but we did do the "Behind the Fun" tour on the last sea day on the ship. I would highly recommend doing this tour. We got to see the engine control room, the galley, laundry facility, crew dining areas, loading dock, crew lounge and pool area, and the bridge. We even got our photo taken with the captain! It's limited to only 16 people so book early! The entertainment was very good. We went to all the shows. Our favorite were the 2 comedians they had. They both did a regular show and a "R-Rated" show. The "R-Rated shows were hilarious. There were lots of activities readily available. We enjoyed the game shows and even a little bingo. But the casino is more our style when it comes to gambling. Karaoke was our other favorite activity. It was great fun seeing people have such a good time singing from country to rock. Disembarkation was also a breeze since we had the vip check out as well. We were off the ship around 8:30. So it was off to the airport. We stored our luggage and walked around Ft. Lauderdale beach as our flight didn't leave for 6 hours. Overall our first cruise with Carnival was fantastic and we would love the sail with them again. Maybe for our next one we'll go on a bigger ship, but the Imaginaiton is a wonderful little ship. Read Less
Sail Date May 2010
Embarkation: First, I have done the VIP check-in maybe one additional time, but I must say, it is truly the way to go. VIP check-in is for anyone with a Junior Suite (JS), Ocean Suite (OS), Verandah Suite (VS) or Grand Suite (GS) ... Read More
Embarkation: First, I have done the VIP check-in maybe one additional time, but I must say, it is truly the way to go. VIP check-in is for anyone with a Junior Suite (JS), Ocean Suite (OS), Verandah Suite (VS) or Grand Suite (GS) accommodations. On this vessel they only had the Junior or Grand Suite categories, so, I opted for the Grand Suite, which allowed me VIP embarkation. If you can handle the additional money, simply the best way to go! From the cab and on the ship in a matter of 15 minutes max! The Ship: Upon entering the ship, I thought I had stepped back 15-20 years. I thought the loud clad decorating, neon lighting, unimpressive "Grand Spectrum" atrium was a disaster and I thought this was one of the ships that had been refurbished? It had, but just not in the public areas. As I start to make my way through the ship, I must say, it was truly disappointing. After having been on the Conquest and Spirit class ships, which are larger and understandably newer and would have more amenities, I thought this ship had seen it's better days and if this is the way Carnival would want to introduce people to cruising, they had better continue to offer the lowest prices and over intoxicated rowdy crowds or they'd be washed up! I made my way to the pool bar, I was expecting this huge beautiful pool area with faux palm trees and tiki huts, well, they were there, but looked nothing like the on-line pictures. The Adults only area was nothing impressive or nothing to look forward to. If you weren't out there at 8:00 AM with a towel to "RESERVE" your chair, you'd be sitting around the only pool over run with kids (weren't that many on this sailing) and crowded. They need a dedicated bar in the "Serenity" area so, you can relax around a bar and sit out back if there aren't chairs available. Another issue, was the unnecessary annoying games constantly by loud people on the microphone at the pool with hardly any music being played and since this was the only pool, you almost had to deal with it because you had no other options. Dining/Service: The food on this sailing was just OK. I thought the wait staff did a good job, but the customer service on this ship left a lot to be desired. I asked one of the staff about prior guest events and she said "sir, you are on the lowest class of ship..." when she said that, it totally summed up my experience. The Suite: HUGE! Walk-in closet, huge over sized desk with granite top, huge bar with ample stemware, large balcony, this was the highlight of my ship time! I spent more time in my suite than I have on ANY other Carnival cruise I had been on before. The beds were comfortable, jacuzzi tub, large living room all with chairs and sofa. VERY VERY NICE!! PORTS: Key West and Cozumel. I had a great time in Key West, they have done a lot of new things to the island since I was last there and I would totally look forward to going back. Cozumel, was as always, very nice and I went to Mr. Santos Beach as the other beaches were totally too touristy and over crowded. But I always look forward to going there. Debarkation: A breeze. As stated above, category 11 and 12 allow you priority debarkation as well. Off the ship and to a cab in a matter of 15 mins! Final Thoughts: While I will more than likely book Carnival again, this sailing has really left me with a bad impression and if this had of been my first Carnival cruise, I'd probably not be booking again. I want to re-iterate, this is by no means meant to deter you from your trip or leave you with a negative impression for your upcoming sailing, just telling you as a Carnival loyalist what my experience was and while every one's impressions will be different, this is what I experienced. Read Less
Sail Date April 2010
DH and I decided to take a final vacation before we have baby number 4 (due in August). We have cruised before as a couple, but have never taken our other children. We previously sailed the Grand Princess and the Carnival Legend. This time ... Read More
DH and I decided to take a final vacation before we have baby number 4 (due in August). We have cruised before as a couple, but have never taken our other children. We previously sailed the Grand Princess and the Carnival Legend. This time we decided to take our two sons (ages 4 and 6). We chose the Carnival Imagination based on price ($950 for family of 4), length (4 nights) and it's reputation of being good for children. THE SHIP: We found the decor to be tacky and outdated. It was not elegant in any way. Although the ship was clean there were many signs of wear and tear everywhere. The layout was fairly easy to navigate, although this ship was smaller than our previous two. The main pool was always way too busy so we never went there. The kids loved the splash pad and waterslides so we spent most of our time there. The lines weren't too bad for the slides and they were perfect size for all ages. The mini golf course was small but was a nice option. I liked that we didn't have to walk through the casino to get to everything like we had to on other ships. I was able to avoid that smokey area nearly my whole cruise which was nice. THE CABIN: This was our first time not having a balcony. We chose an oceanview based on price and the lack of availability of balconies on the Imagination. We missed having a balcony and would prefer one next time. We would like the balcony for the fresh air, the extra space and to have a place to sit and enjoy a drink, read a book, play a board game, etc. while the kids are in bed. In an oceanview cabin we were right there with our kids the whole time and basically just went to bed when they did. The cabin itself, although somewhat small, was fine. It was clean and had lots of storage space. The beds were very comfortable and I was impressed with the pullman beds for the kids (although the safety railing should've been a few inches longer). Our cabin steward did a good job, although he wasn't as good at sneaking in and cleaning our room while we're out as I'm used to. It took him a few nights to realize that we dine early and put our kids to bed relatively early. THE FOOD: We enjoyed the buffet and the dining room very much. The buffet however was often times very busy with long lines. This happened whenever everyone was on board for the peak times. The wait really wasn't that bad, just longer than I'm used to on a cruise ship. Our dining room waiter, Ben was very friendly and made great recommendations re: the menu. I didn't listen to him the first night and was sorry. I stuck to his suggestions the other nights and was happy. One thing though that I thought was a let down was the chocolate melting cake. Last time on the Legend I loved it. This time it was always undercooked with almost no "cake-like" portion, just all runny uncooked cake mix texture. The best dining room options IMO were - lobster, shrimp, prime rib, back ribs, pumpkin soup, Greek salad, fried mozzarella, ice cake, broccoli soup. The stir-fry bar for lunch on the pool deck was awesome! The pizza was just so-so but was convenient anytime of day or night. THE SERVICE: For the most part the service was fabulous. Getting on and off the ship was smooth and well organized. The staff were friendly and greeted us daily with a smile. One head waiter on the Lido deck was a little creepy to me and when he spoke to my kids (trying to joke with them) he was so serious looking it scared them. Another thing that bugged me was guest services calling us at 9:50pm one night to inform us that they still hadn't found my husband's sunglasses that we had reported missing, then they knocked on our door at 11:55pm that night to give us a letter stating the same thing. We were woken up both times and that was annoying. THE PEOPLE: I found this to be an interesting mix of people. I saw some really interesting tattoos - many looking self done! I was turned off of the people seeming to go overboard (not literally thank goodness), at the buffet. People piled their plates high with hot dogs, burgers, chicken, fries, etc. It seemed excessive to me but to each their own. Most other guests were friendly, although I did over hear the odd rude person barking orders at the staff. My 4 year old also told me that he witnessed a huge argument between two adults but most relations otherwise were positive in nature. I was frustrated with a group of individuals at the end of our hall though. They tended to congregate in the hall outside their cabins for long periods of time and at late hours. They kept us awake a lot and I kept thinking, "why don't they go sit in a lounge somewhere?" CAMP CARNIVAL: Our kids enjoyed camp and the scheduled activities were great. The staff seemed pretty good with the kids although some of them could've seemed happier and more enthusiastic about their jobs. Most of them didn't seem like the warm fuzzy type. In summary, this cruise was fun. We ate well, slept well and played well. Some things could've been better, but this cruise offers good value for the low price. If you're expecting top notch everything, you should look into other cruises and expect to pay more. If you're looking for a great family experience at a reasonable price, this is a great option. Read Less
Sail Date April 2010
I cruised on the Carnival Imagination in early March on a 4 day itinerary to Key West, Cozumel and a day at sea. Boarding the ship was easy, do your "Fun Pass" stuff before arriving and it goes very quickly. We were on the ship ... Read More
I cruised on the Carnival Imagination in early March on a 4 day itinerary to Key West, Cozumel and a day at sea. Boarding the ship was easy, do your "Fun Pass" stuff before arriving and it goes very quickly. We were on the ship by noon and eating lunch on the Lido deck. Food was delicious and plentiful. Our group of 5 young adults then started to explore the ship before our room was ready. Ship was spotless and clean. We finally went to our room at 1:30 p.m. to discover that we had a large king size bed taking up most of the room, 2 fold out "bunks" and a roll out that came out from under the king size bed. Could have been more space consciously organized, but was a good size. We dropped our stuff off, then went to the muster drill where we learned absolutely no useful information. Many people wandered in late which held up the process, what could have been informative was really just a waste of everyone's time. Went back to the room and took a short nap since we'd flown in early that morning and wanted to be rested up for dinner. Dinner was fantastic! I had the lasagna as a starter and highly recommend it. Melting cake was delicious although it could have been cooked a little more. No complaints there, we had a wonderful time in the dining room. The maitre'd was a bit flamboyant and cheesy, but we enjoyed the servers' "dance" at the end of the evening and they must have been doing a fantastic job acting like they were having a good time dancing because they appeared to be genuinely enjoying themselves. Beds were insanely comfortable and we slept soundly. The next morning we got to Key West early. We debarked and took a trolley into town. I'd been to Key West before and knew it was one huge tourist trap, so no surprises there. We wandered around for a bit and bought some souvenirs and fudge, then boarded a trolley at the same spot where we'd been dropped off only to realize about 2 hours later that we'd boarded some tour of Key West! We were driven around the entire island with a narrated tour for free! Ooops! Good thing we had a lot of extra time! When we got back, we walked around the corner to where the cruise shuttles were actually parked and marveled that MANY people probably do this! Why pick up someone a block away from where you dropped them off??? Anyways, made it back to the ship for a late lunch in the dining room. Then, a few of us decided to hit up the deck for some sunshine. There was a definite shortage of lounge chairs and we walked around in circles for awhile to find them before deciding to just sit on the ground. I plopped down next to a lounge chair with a pair of sandals on it to "save" it and after lying next to the empty chair on the ground for 20 minutes, I simply removed the sandals and took the chair for myself, much to the chagrin of the girl who wouldn't stop telling me that her "friend" would be back and would want the chair back, never saw him. You are not allowed to save lounge chairs, so if you see this happening, simply do what I did. Stayed out for about an hour, then went back inside, took a nap, and got ready for dinner. Another wonderful time in the dining room for formal night, this time the servers sang to us, they didn't appear as happy. Went out in the dance club afterwards and had a good time. Caught a glimpse of one of the shows, but from what I saw it looked ridiculously bad and we left within a few minutes, bad lip synching and dancing. The next morning we woke up to some rough seas, the whole ship was rocking quite a bit. I immediately went up on deck as I get very motion sick (I was also on bomine the entire time we were on our cruise). I ate some breakfast and stayed on deck, it seemed to help being in the fresh air. We arrived in Cozumel right on time and had planned on visiting the Mayan ruins at Tulum (reviewed elsewhere). Cozumel was very warm and had many other cruise ships in port. The ship left the dock right on time at 10pm by which time we had arrived back and gotten seated late in the dining room. The last day was a "fun day" at sea. We were up early and claimed some lounge chairs at the back deck of the ship by the water slides, it was perfect! Spent the morning reading, lounging and snacking. The pool area itself is definitely not for relaxation, it is loud with constant "contests" and such, not enjoyable to us. We then decided to hit up the water slides and had a blast on them! The "racing" slides were the best, we went down those three times. The taller one was a bit scary as it appears to go out over the edge of the boat. This one could have been fun, except it really hurt all of our backs in the tubes. The joints needed to be smoothed down, how this could have been overlooked I don't know. We also hit up the main pool, which is salt water, and the hot tubs before retiring to our rooms for a shower and a nap before dinner. Spent the evening at the Xanadu Lounge doing Karaoke, a great time! Closing thoughts: LOVED the trip and the Imagination, it was the perfect size. Small enough to get everywhere yet large enough to feel like there was a lot to do, I can't imagine being on a larger boat and having to walk all over to get places, this size was perfect. We had the early seating at 6:00 pm, thought it was a good time. It seemed a lot of people skipped the dining room, I can't imagine eating the buffet food of fries and stuff instead of the yummy food down in the dining area, but to each their own. We all loved the food and ate in the dining room every chance we got, even breakfast some days. There was an "outhouse" odor towards the back of the ship in the cabin area by the second day, I'm sure it was from the sewage that was accumulating on the ship, it wasn't terrible and only seemed to affect the hallways, not the cabins. I'm sure there were complaints, but it wasn't really that bad and the smell was understandable, where else can you put all that sewage? To those who complain about this ship, you'd have to try really hard to have a bad time or be a gourmet chef to find fault with the food. Even the buffet food was good, albeit greasy fare. The pizza was just so-so, nothing special, but always fresh and hot. The ice cream/frozen yogurt machines were delicious, as were most of the desserts. Yum! Not a whole lot of children on the ship that we saw, mostly younger adults with a few older ones thrown in. Many overweight people, young and old, eating to their heart's content (or a heart attack), but again, this is America. Even though the ship was full, it didn't really feel that crowded. This itinerary was great. Debarking was a bit of a dull point, we should have taken a nap in our room instead of waiting in line. All in all, an excellent trip! Read Less
Sail Date March 2010
We have sailed several other cruise lines and always thought Carnival was at the bottom of the totem pole. We never thought we would try Carnival, but are very glad we did. We cruised out of Miami to Key West, and Cozumel. Embarkation: ... Read More
We have sailed several other cruise lines and always thought Carnival was at the bottom of the totem pole. We never thought we would try Carnival, but are very glad we did. We cruised out of Miami to Key West, and Cozumel. Embarkation: This went very smoothly and we loved the speed with the self service kiosks. We had no waiting. outside at all, as we have on other ships Food: The buffet is set up niceley, as the salads, breads, and desserts are at a seperate area. This really helps to keep long lines down! The made to order sandwiches were very good, as was the buffet. We enjoyed the meals in the dining room and the fact that there was a nice variety to choose from. We were on a Princess cruise in Nov. and they offered mainly just fish entries, which we did not care for. The waiters were very friendly and wee loved their dancing at the end of the meal. Ship: The ship was clean and seemed spacious enough for a full load of guests! We did have trouble finding chairs for the sail day, but simply laid out our nice big beach towels and were just fine. We felt very little movement, and the bed was more comfortable than our new mattress at home.The cabin had plenty of storage space and we stored our suitcases under the bed. Our room steward Ross, addressed us by name and was always cheerful. He did a great job and left us cute towel animals every night. We were in a forward inside cabin on the main deck and could hear the couple next door to us quite often,but they seemed to have had way to much to drink. We might not have heard them so much, if they hadn't have been drunk most of the time. Entertainment: The dancers/singers were great! The female singer was fantastic and makes you wonder why she isn't on Broadway! I owned dance studio for over 20 years, and thought the dancers worked very hard, had an abundance of beautiful costumes and full of energy! They were the best they could possibly be! Bravo! As I said, we took a Princess cruise in Nov. and were disappointed with the whole crew, food and the entertainment was terrible. We never thought we would try Carnival, but had a great experience and have absolutely nothing to complain about! Read Less
Sail Date March 2010
My husband & are are early 50's, and just returned from our 4th Carnival cruise. This 4 day adventure took us to Key West and Cozumel. Carnival did not let us down with the food, stateroom & service, but there were few on ... Read More
My husband & are are early 50's, and just returned from our 4th Carnival cruise. This 4 day adventure took us to Key West and Cozumel. Carnival did not let us down with the food, stateroom & service, but there were few on board who even noticed. We arrived in Miami the night before the cruise and stayed at the Fortune House Hotel in downtown Miami. I booked it through Hotwire and was apprehensive after reading reviews. Our room was a very nice 2 bedroom condo, with 2 bathrooms & a full kitchen. We were very pleased with the room & the staff. A great deal for what I paid for it! We did our usual visit to Bayside Marketplace and ate at Bubba Gumps (yummy steamed shrimp) and listened to the free band playing on the waterfront. It is a beautiful place, all lit up at night! I highly recommend it. We were too far away to walk there, so a taxi was in order. We arrived at the Port of Miami around noon, dropped our luggage curbside and parked in the garage right across from the dock. $20.00 per night to be paid upon leaving. The lines in the terminal moved fairly quickly and we were able to board smoothly. This process was slowed somewhat by all the first time cruisers. Most of whom were college kids anxious to begin 4 solid days of parties. The ship is older and shows a bit of wear it you look closely, but overall it was clean & comfortable. Everywhere we went, someone was cleaning something. The crew was always friendly & everyone we encountered said hello. Our cabin was an ocean-view at the back of the ship. It was very nice. Ample storage for our clothes in the 3 closets. There was very limited space in the bathroom for toiletries & no hairdryer. The small vanity next to the closets, had very little available space on top & only 1 plug in. We brought a power strip to charge cameras, cellphones, etc. After the lifeboat drill, we were on deck with a boat drink, sailing away from our cares. Or so we thought. The food was plentiful and very good. We were seated at 6:00pm in the Spirit dining room. Our waiters were quited friendly & entertaining. After asking our names, they always addressed us by name, even when we saw them in the buffet dining areas. Our table seated 10 & we were lucky to have fun dinner companions. We did not visit any of the lounges or the casino. On walking through they looked nice, very crowded, but nice. The shows were entertaining. The dancers fabulous, the singers ok. It was difficult to find a good seat, due to the layout of the room. Overall we enjoyed ourselves. As I mentioned, we were onboard during college spring break. We were part of a very small group of guests not there to get as drunk as humanly possible. We could never get a seat poolside, on the serenity deck or by the water slide. There were kids lying on towels on decks & even on the miniature golf course. I don't consider myself to be a prude, but I was appalled by the drunken disregard for fellow passengers and crew alike. These kids were mostly rude, under-dressed and falling down drunk. The halls were full of dirty dishes in the morning and even buckets of puke. The cabin stewards couldn't take them away fast enough. We overheard on young man bragging about taking room service orders off of doorhandles & switching do not disturb signs around. HA HA. We went into town in Key West. We were docked at the annex pier so we were taken downtown by free trolley, conch trains and vans. After walking Duval and shopping, we stopped into Sloppy Joe's for a drink & lunch. We enjoyed that, as usual. We then made our way back to the trolley stop for the ride back to the ship. The line to board was VERY LONG, and again, full of rude, drunken kids. It would have moved faster, but many thought they could just join the line wherever they wanted. Cozumel was much the same. We docked at Punta Langosta, which is right across the street from everything. We walked along the main street, did some shopping, and dodged drunken kids. The shops are very nice, everyone was extremely friendly and not at all pushy with their wares. Since we have been to Cozumel a couple of times before, we headed back to the ship to enjoy the empty decks. We were actually able to get lounge chairs & sit in the sun for awhile. We sailed from Cozumel at 10pm. After many hours at Senor Frogs & Carlos and Charlies, our spring breakers were well lubricated for another long, loud night of revelry. The day at sea was spent mostly in our cabin. The only place we could actually find an empty spot to sit! Luckily the bed was very comfortable. After dinner that night, we packed our bags and left them out for disembarkation the following morning. We arose at 7:30 and gathered our stuff to head up for breakfast and wait for our zone number to be called. This process went smoothly and before we knew it, we were in our car and heading out of the garage. Overall, Carnival was great as usual. However, I will never make the mistake of cruising with a ship full of college kids again. I never realized how rude our kids had become. If I thought my two adult sons had been this rude to their elders, I would be appalled. Read Less
Sail Date March 2010
My husband, and his family, cruised on Carnival 1/4/10. The weather was terrible, but not much Carnival could do about that. We were in a Penthouse suite so embarkation was quick, and we were on board in about 10 minutes. Our first ... Read More
My husband, and his family, cruised on Carnival 1/4/10. The weather was terrible, but not much Carnival could do about that. We were in a Penthouse suite so embarkation was quick, and we were on board in about 10 minutes. Our first impression of the ship was it looks worn, and tired and that was the impression throughout. The staff were excellent, nicer than any cruise we have been on before, almost everyone greeted us as we walked along or entered public rooms. Our waitstaff, and room steward, were excellent. Our suite was large, but no amenities, but as this is Carnival we weren't expecting any. We had one of the few balcony cabins, but didn't use the balcony much as it was very cold the entire cruise. Food options are limited, dining room, room service or buffet, but the food quality was very good. We had a good time with our family, but the other guests on Carnival were the rudest, most obnoxious group of cruisers I have ever run into. We have cruised 8 times before, and I was really surprised by this. Could have been the weather really dampening down spirits. We would cruise again, if our family was with us!! The best thing about this cruise was the incredible value! Read Less
Sail Date January 2010
Imagination Review 1/18-1/22 Here is our review of our 4 night cruise that went to Key West and Cozumel. This was our second time sailing on the Imagination. Overall, it was a great trip! Embarkation: We flew in the day before to Miami ... Read More
Imagination Review 1/18-1/22 Here is our review of our 4 night cruise that went to Key West and Cozumel. This was our second time sailing on the Imagination. Overall, it was a great trip! Embarkation: We flew in the day before to Miami and stayed at the Marriott Courtyard Airport South. We rented a car from Thrifty because they offer a complimentary shuttle from the car drop off location to the port. On embarkation day, we arrived at the port at around 10:30 and we were on the ship by 11:45. It was a very smooth embarkation process. The ship was in great condition. Though a smaller ship than those we'd been on before, it was very comfortable and we didn't feel it was ever too crowded, even on the sea day. After 1:30 we were able to go to our room which was an interior on deck 6 Upper. We've had balconies before, but on this ship, balconies are in suites and we figured a window wouldn't make much of a difference. The room was fine. The only issue is that it's normally set up with two twin beds that meet in an L shape to both face the TV, so when the beds were put together as one, the TV was behind us. Otherwise, the room was fine for 4 days. The muster drill is improved as you no longer need to bring the life vests and you meet in an area for seating while staff members demonstrate how to wear the life vest and you listen to announcements. After that part, you are asked to line up in your group and then go to the upper decks where the life boats are and they tell you about those. It was a better muster drill, but still lengthy. It took a long time, longer than any other we'd been through. It started in the lounge for a safety overview and it took forever for it to even start. Sail away was around 5 and there's a nice view of Miami as you head out. Key West: We arrived in at the Outer Mole Navy port early morning and were off the ship before 9AM. We had to take a trolley from the port into town and we spent the day walking around. We had been to Key West on previous cruises and toured the island, rented bikes, went to Hemmingway's house, so this time we walked to the southernmost point and then back down Duval for some shopping. We went to Kermit's for the chocolate covered key lime pie on a stick and discovered that we like the Blonde Giraffe's version better. We went to Sloppy Joes for conch fritters and then got back on the trolley to return to the ship. Cozumel: We docked in Cozumel in the afternoon at TMM International pier which is several miles by taxi to the down town area. There is a built up tourist area right in the port with stores and bars, but we ended up taking a taxi for $7 downtown and went to Casa Denis for lunch and Cinco Soles for shopping. On way back, we stopped at Puerta Maya, the new port, for some shopping and walked back to our port and went back to the ship. We've been to Cozumel several times so I've done the island tour before and my husband normally goes scuba diving. We do like the port, but this time we just took it easy and enjoyed it as it's one of our favorite ports. Shows: We only went to the welcome aboard show and saw the comedians who were very funny, both the family and the adult shows. We actually had seen one of the comedians before on the Imagination in Dec. 2008, so I guess he's still contracted. Still funny though. The cruise director, Brad, did a good job and I saw him a lot around the ship and he was always very friendly. Dining: We had the late seating in the Spirit dining room and our waiters, O'Dane and Apollo, were the best we ever had on Carnival which is saying a lot since we've always had great waiters. We enjoyed dinner every night in the dining room and thought the food was very good. We mainly ate breakfast in the dining room each morning and had a few lunches on the Lido. The Lido was the usual, some good, some not so good. One thing different on this cruise...the ketchup bottles are no longer on the tables. They are kept either at the end of the buffet line or at the beverage stations which creates a lot of congestion and people walking around aimlessly looking for ketchup. Not sure why they don't have them on the tables as usual. We didn't go to the Mexican late night buffet (Cozumel night) but they did have it as well as the chocolate buffet on the sea day. We did have the sushi each night which we enjoyed. Activities: We played bingo a few times and won once--$200 so that was good, but just compensated for some unfortunate casino losses! We also signed up for the "Behind the Fun" tour. It was $55 per person and I did it with my husband who had done it on his on the Valor in September. I thought the tour was pretty informative, he said he liked the one on the Valor more, but liked this one as well. You definitely get an in depth tour of the galley, much more so then on the regular galley tour. The chef takes time to walk you though the whole process he manages and answer whatever questions. You tour the crew areas and where all of the behind the scenes things that make our cruise so comfortable are done. You tour the engine control room and the bridge where the captain and his officers are. The bridge is very quiet, serene and has the perfect view you would imagine. The most noteworthy thing—the captain has a dog. She's a white Maltese named Princess, very friendly and sits on her own stool on the bridge like she's steering the ship. Very cute. Never expected the captain to have a dog! You also take a picture with the captain and that's delivered to your room after the tour is done along with a tray of chocolate covered strawberries and cakes. Disembarkation: We did the self-assist option and were off the ship by 9. There was a significant line to get off the ship, but nothing that we haven't experienced before. Customs was a smooth process as well as getting a taxi to the airport. We really enjoyed our cruise and would go on the Imagination again. Please let us know if you have any questions about the ship or ports! Read Less
Sail Date January 2010
Im going to keep this this review a little shorter than some of my other ones. Me and my girlfriend went on this cruise after spending 2 nights in south beach. I have been on the Carnival Fantasy and Imagination before the upgrades in the ... Read More
Im going to keep this this review a little shorter than some of my other ones. Me and my girlfriend went on this cruise after spending 2 nights in south beach. I have been on the Carnival Fantasy and Imagination before the upgrades in the past so i knew what to expect. It is a smaller ship than Carnivals other classes but we wanted a change from the bigger ships so decided to give the Imagination a try. We arrived at the terminal around 1pm and gettting on was a breeze it was probably the fastest ever. Our room still wasnt ready so we went up to lido for lunch which was good and also not too crowded as it usually is on the 1st day. The ship was full or so they told us when we asked to upgrade upon checkin. Then we went for a walk around the ship and grabbed our first drink at the casino(Dream)bar. The ship was in decent shape you could tell it was older with there being some wear and tear around but no complaints. The shows were all good both comedians were funny we went to the R-rated ones also which were good. Tory Secoy was our cruise director we never had a female cruise director before and she was great. She was alot of fun and always had the crowd laughing and getting involved. Now my only complaint is with the my time dining. Now the food was fine no complaints there but the service was very impersonal i felt like the waiters wernt very friendly they never tried to talk to us or anything i felt like they gave me a little bit of an attitude for ordering more than one appetizer. But who knows maybe it was a fluke next time ill just go with the late seating to have the same waiter/waitress every night. We used the anytime dining on Freedom of the seas and it was great they usually seated us with the same waiters everynight so thats why we did it on the Imagination. Overall for the money 290 total with taxes for oceanview 4nights it was well worth the money. I will definitely cruise with Carnival again but i think the next one will be back on Royal Caribbean out of Bayonne so we dont have to fly. If your looking for an affordable weekend getaway i would recommend this cruise. One other quick note in cozumel we did the twister excursion to their private island and it was fantastic look into it more if you want a nice beach excursion. Read Less
Sail Date January 2010
For our third cruise, my wife, 15 year old son and I went on a quick four day cruise on the Imagination. This was our second cruise with Carnival (the first being a disastrous Spring Bahamas cruise). We were reticent to take the cruise ... Read More
For our third cruise, my wife, 15 year old son and I went on a quick four day cruise on the Imagination. This was our second cruise with Carnival (the first being a disastrous Spring Bahamas cruise). We were reticent to take the cruise because of our poor first experience with Carnival. Unsupervised teens made it unbearable. However, I am glad to report that this cruise was markedly better. First of all embarkation was quite orderly. We arrived via a shuttle from Dollar Rent a Car (we had spent the previous two days with family and visiting the Everglades (the Everglades is well worth a visit). We arrived at noon and were on the ship within thirty minutes. The only glitch is no one was available to take our luggage, so we had to take it on board ourselves. Since our cabin would not be available until 1:30, it was a minor inconvenience. We spent the time at the pool, eating lunch from the Horizon grill. The pool did not have any water in it during the first afternoon. The hot tubs were available. Our inside cabin was, well, an inside cabin. We had a double bed with a roll away for our son. Though cramped, it was totally suitable for the short four day cruise. The tv had CNN, networks stations out of Denver (not sure why Denver), some ship stations, and three movie stations. The movies included the most recent Harry Potter, Up, and GI Joe. I should note that the daily newsletter was not quite accurate regarding the specific movies. ON the ship,ESPN Desportes was also available. The cabin steward, Carl, was quite professional and efficient. We had two of our dinners in the main dining room (early seating). We were placed with a lovely, extended family from Denver. Our waiter, was efficient, though seemed to be distracted. However, his assistant was fantastic, always referred to us by name, and was the star of the "musical" number on the last evening. The maitre d's were basically invisible. The food was much better than I recalled from our previous Carnival cruise, though not as good as our Princess Alaska cruise (Star). There was some delay in obtaining our main course, but overall, service was adequate. One thing I did not recall (and I know did not happen on the Princess cruise) was all sodas were charged during dinner, not exorbitant, but seemed pretty petty. Since we did not participate in the formal evening, we did take advantage of the Lido deck buffet one evening. It was fine. Food seemed fresh, with a variety of choices. Our son particularly enjoyed the pizza station (he really enjoyed the calzone). Most of our breakfasts were from the Horizon buffet, but my wife and I had one breakfast in the main dining room. Quite frankly, I could not tell the difference between the main dining room breakfast and the buffet, other than the obvious service difference. As for the ports, in Key West we took the conch train. If you have limited time (the ship is only there until 2:00, with a 1:30 required return), this is the way to go. We really wished we had more time in Key West. We did get to sample the chocolate covered frozen key lime pied from Kermit's...Terrific! In Cozumel, we did not arrive until around 12;30. We only spent a few hours in town. It seemed like an Epcot Center version of Mexico. I wished I had time to go out snorkeling. Quite frankly, we wished we had more time in Key West and less in Cozumel. Parenthetically, we found it quite condescending the "required" picture with the costumed Mexicans as we left the ship in Cozumel. We did take the southbeach Miami Beach-Fort Lauderdale transfer tour at the conclusion of the cruise. We thoroughly enjoyed it, especially the commentary on the Art Deco and the two hours of free time in Miami Beach. We spent a little time in the casino and found the slot machines to be the tightest we ever experienced in any casino, ship or no ship. While we managed to win a $50 jackpot, we did not see anyone else win anything. The showroom entertainment was superior to what we have seen on other cruises. Shout was especially enjoyable with very professional lead singers (the backups are pre recorded) and capable dancers. THe "balancing" act was rather tedious on the second night. The comedian was okay. The lounge acts seemed to be less inspiring, especially the piano bar. The karaoke is obviously just a product of who participates, though the emcee was quite game. The atrium pianist was very good. We noticed the bingo was quite popular, with the assistant cruise director giving a great effort with what must be a tedious job. The cruise director, Brad, was very effervescent and what you would expect a cruise director to be. He seemed to be everywhere. One complaint, though minor, is the internet manager was quite cold. We knew the internet rates would be ridiculous (about 55-75 cents per minute), but were displeased that when the tv said there was a "special", the manager would dismiss it. My son enjoyed the waterworks slides, though he really wished there was a basket to shoot baskets as there was on the Princess Star. There is little miniature golf course that not many seemed to utilize. We used the exercise room quite often. Except for the sea day, there was plenty of space and machines available. There are no headsets for the personal monitors, so if you want sound you need to bring your own (I used my I-pod set). For sports fans, only the big tv and some of the sets get ESPN (desportes only, though it covers many of the same programs found on ESPN). Overall, a totally adequate cruise for four days. Read Less
Sail Date December 2009
He surprised me but also allowed us to chose together. We found a great deal for an Oct sailing. From beginning to end this cruise was amazing. We were a little nervous because we had heard so many negatives about Carnival. We had an ... Read More
He surprised me but also allowed us to chose together. We found a great deal for an Oct sailing. From beginning to end this cruise was amazing. We were a little nervous because we had heard so many negatives about Carnival. We had an ocean view room on the Main deck. The room was surprisingly spacious and well appointed. The shower was excellent and the bed was comfortable. My only complaints about the state room was that they did not supply hair dryers and the drawer space was limited. Our room steward was GREAT! Called us by our first names from the very first day. We chose the late seating in the Pride Dining room. Our server Mario and his assistant were just excellent. They never stopped pleasing us. The food was excellent. The buffet was so so. The pizza was not great. We only did one shore excursion which was the Key West Pub Crawl. Our leader was "Captain Ron". He was the funniest and friendliest person we ever met. We didn't go to the typical pubs ie:Sloppy Joes. He took us to some cool places and the group had a lot of fun. The drinks were pretty watered down since they were free. Cozumel-Well we got as far as the dock area which was a shopping mall from hell. We turned right around and got back on the ship. We had the ship pretty much to ourselves. If we go there again we will probably do an excursion. All in all the experience was excellent. We would sail with Carnival again. We are going on an NCL cruise in about a week and are now a little nervous that it won't be as great an experience. Read Less
Sail Date October 2009
This is my favorite ship in the Carnival fleet. I have been sailing on the Carnival Imagination since the early 2000's and the ship never ceases to amaze me. I booked this cruise shortly after I returned from another cruise on the ... Read More
This is my favorite ship in the Carnival fleet. I have been sailing on the Carnival Imagination since the early 2000's and the ship never ceases to amaze me. I booked this cruise shortly after I returned from another cruise on the Destiny. I usually like cruising in mid to late October or November to avoid large family reunions and lots of kids. This is my solo time and really enjoy the quiet. I flew into Miami on the day of departure on a Monday from Atlanta and took the Carnival transfers. I was at the pier by 12:30. The check in process is one of the fastest in the cruising industry. I was onboard and in the buffet by a little after 1PM. For this cruise I carried on everything I needed. I did not have a problem with having my luggage with me while at the buffet. They opened the ship up about 3PM so you could get to your cabins. I chose the lowest catagory cabin 4A inside. I could not get the one I had last year, but this cabin was great. Empress deck aft. The best location for access to the Promenade and Lido Buffet area only a few decks up. This cruise left on a Monday. I had never taken a cruise that left on a Monday and I really enjoyed that. Just knowing that everyone else was headed to work was a plus. The ship left a little behind schedule at about 4:30PM. The muster drill lasted a bit longer than normal. It was smooth sailing all the way to Key West. The only bad thing about visits to Key West on a cruise is the short time that you have there. It would be nice if Carnival would extend the stay or get there the night before. You arrive by 7-8AM but the stores don't open until 10AM. I did enjoy just walking in the early morning around Key West before it got too crowded or hot. Mid October and it was over 80 before 10AM. I would suggest renting one of the beach cruiser bikes and just get out and explore. Being a very flat place, its easy to peddle around and just have fun. Our second stop was Cozumel Mexico. I never got off the ship for this trip. I spent the time reading and truly relaxing on deck. The ship was a virtual ghost town. The funny part was about an hour after we pulled in and let people off, the skies opened up and it rained cats and dogs for about an hour. The sun came out and it was a beautiful day. Believe it or not, my cell phone worked and I was able to call home. I wasn't worried about roaming charges because its a prepaid phone that I loaded before I left with $50. Didn't cost as much as I thought it would. I chose anytime dining for this cruise because I normally don't eat in the MDR when on a solo cruise, but this option allows me to do so on my schedule. It was fast and easy. Just show up at the dining room assigned and they seat you either alone or with others. I met some great folks also there relaxing like me. I didn't go to any shows or play bingo. I spent alot of my time in the casino. The games are fun but the dealers make it really fun. I had my best luck on the slots, which are normally a big no-no for me. Who knew. Our slow journey back was very smooth and the water was very calm. The only thing that was a bit over the top was our cruise director. Karl with a K. The at sea day was a non-stop barrage of announcements about this and that. He did his job well so Carnival should be happy. Disembarkation is the easiest thing on this ship. I had an 12:30 flight and I was off the ship by 8:30. I did self assist and was one of the middle group of people that left the ship. The transfers back to the airport were quick and easy. I was actually able to get on an earlier flight. This cruise was a time of rest and recovery for me and it provided all of that and more. This was my 5th cruise on this ship and I am ready to book again for the same time next year. This ship is just the right size and has just the right amenities for those looking to get away and decompress. Read Less
Sail Date October 2009
Background: This was our "first annual" girls cruise. No guys with us at all ... my mother, sister, mother in law, 2 teens, my 8yodd, and a friend all found a great bargain on early saver rates for this cruise and booked! We ... Read More
Background: This was our "first annual" girls cruise. No guys with us at all ... my mother, sister, mother in law, 2 teens, my 8yodd, and a friend all found a great bargain on early saver rates for this cruise and booked! We ranged in age from 8 to 73 and all of us had a fantastic time. EMBARKATION: My mother fell off a train back in July and broke both of her ankles, so we had a wheelchair with us on this trip. We've never really had to deal with infirmities before ... our whole family is relatively healthy ... and Carnival was very accommodating. They upgraded her to a handicapped room (we called about 5 weeks out from cruising when we realized she would still be needing the chair) and assisted us with embarking in the first group of people. Port of Miami also offers FREE parking for handicapped people, so that saved us a cool $80 (which we promptly spent onboard!). We arrived early because we'd been advised that we might need to fill out additional paperwork, and didn't have to wait very long at all. We were onboard and enjoying a snack by 11am. This was probably the fastest and most well-organized embarkation experience we've ever had, and it wasn't all due to the chair. They let us know that we should go on up, but as we were rounding the corner from the elevator, we heard them calling groups 2-3 to board as well. There was barely any line at all, and plenty of seating. We were on Destiny in May and it was far more crowded, boarded later, and didn't seem nearly as well run. CABINS: We had 4 cabins, 2 people in each. Mine was a porthole room; a great bargain if there ever was one! We had the light you get in an outside cabin for the price of an inside cabin, and the windows were cleaner than our picture windows have been in the past. We were in room U17. My mother-in-law and my friend were in room U16 on the other side of the ship (we were starboard, they were directly opposite on the port side). My daughter and one of her friends were down the hall in room U196 (interior room), and my mom and sister were upstairs in E57 (the handicapped room). As usual, the rooms were very well laid out, roomy, and comfortable. We all had robes in the cabins (even the interior), but no hairdryers. I had known there wouldn't be any and actually had one packed, but my 12yo got a last minute call that kept her from going on the cruise, and I guess when we unpacked her things from our bags, the hairdryer decided to stay home with her. Oh well, we were on vacation, not a job interview, so we made the best of it. Our cabin steward, Aurelio, was very nice. He did a great job keeping the cabin clean and my 8yo loved the towel animals. She couldn't say his name, so he told her to call him "Oreo" (her favorite cookie ... she loved that). The one downside to the cabin is that it very heavily smelled of smoke. The steward told us that the former occupants were not smokers, but that there were smokers in nearby cabins. He did his best to remove the smell, going so far as to change the curtains and bedskirts and wash down the walls, but nothing helped. The second night, the smell was so bad that I had to move my 8yo down the hall into the bed her older sister would have slept in if she had been able to come. It improved a little from time to time, but was not ever gone. Guest services told me that it was coming through the vents and there was nothing they could do ... if I didn't have asthma, it would have been merely annoying, but it was starting to impact my breathing. Thankfully I was able to pick up some Febreeze and spray Lysol in Key West and by hosing the cabin down with those things before bed, I was able to get through the week without any major attacks. DINING: Our wait staff was excellent and they went above and beyond to keep us happy. I Gusta (the head waiter) worked my 8yo really hard ... she tends to be a little shy, but by the end of the cruise she was hugging him, making napkin animals with him, and dancing(!) with the waiters. She actually ended up trading e-mail addresses with him before we left. The seating arrangements were a little weird the first night. They placed a newlywed couple on their honeymoon with all of us girls. We didn't mind, but I think the poor guy was just overwhelmed by so many women. The next night they had moved to a different table with couples, which seemed to be a better fit, but we chatted with them all through the cruise as we met up with them in various locations around the ship. The food was excellent in the dining room, but I did notice some changes and cutbacks. Of course we hit the sushi bar, ate our fill of warm chocolate melting cake, and the pizzeria. The Mongolian Grill by the pool was really good, too. Breakfast on the Lido deck wasn't my favorite,(I'm not a big one for buffets) but it was good in the dining room. The tables and eating areas on the Lido deck were kept really clean, contrary to other things I'd read on reviews of this ship. Almost as soon as you stood up they were right there cleaning up after you so the next person could have a clean place to sit. They were so efficient that they picked up my daughter's juice after she dropped it off and went to get her food (and we were sitting right there). SEA DAY: Very relaxing, beautiful weather, what more can I say? It was a typical sea day. I went to the afternoon tea and enjoyed that ... first time I've done that, but I'd recommend it. Nice atmosphere, beautiful music, yummy desserts ... I loved it. I also spent some time on the serenity deck, hit the water park with the girls, and thought about playing bingo ... then I decided I'd rather be outdoors watching the wake of the ship than in the Dynasty Lounge hoping they'd pick my number. ENTERTAINMENT: The entertainment staff was excellent. The shows were wonderful, the deck parties were amazing, and we had a great time. The first night Frank DelPizzo was the comedian ... I laughed so hard I thought I was going to split my sides. This guy is REALLY funny! I missed his late show due to having to move my daughter out of the smoky cabin, but would have gone if I could have. The show on Tuesday (Elegant Night) was Livin' In America and was very well done, too. I have to say that the female singer (Alesia) was ten times the entertainer the male singer (Kevin) was, but they were both good. The third night was a balancing act by "Lubo" ... kind of interesting, but not my thing, followed by Ronnie Bullard. He was also very funny, but not nearly as funny as Frank DelPizzo. The last night was another production show, "Shout!" and was also quite good. Karl with a K was our cruise director. We were so happy to see him when we got onboard ... he'd been our cruise director for our cruise in 2007 and we loved him. He is quite funny, actually can sing(!), and throws one helluva great deck party. This was my 9th cruise overall and I have to say that while I don't normally book a cruise for a cruise director, if I had 2 to choose from and was looking for a determining factor, I'd pick the one he was on if I could. The guy was all over the ship, remembered our names, and really was very entertaining. Aside from the tried and true "standard cruise director" jokes and patter, he really did bring his own personality to the cruise and it was evident that the crew members liked him, too. DEBARKATION: Again, the worst part of any cruise ... but not because they weren't organized. I just hate getting off. But, we had fairly early numbers, so got up and moving early, had our stuff cleared out of the cabin and headed up for breakfast. We enjoyed a leisurly breakfast in the dining room and then were heading to the promenade deck to look at OPP (other people's photos ... there is funny stuff there, I'm telling you!) when they announced that self debarkation was over and it was time to start calling numbers. Before we knew it, we were off the ship, had found a porter to collect our bags and skipped the line for customs (thanks, CC ... first time I've done that) and were in the car heading for Orlando before 9:30am. OVERALL THOUGHTS: This was a fantastic way to spend 4 days. I usually prefer the longer cruises, but this one was quite good. The older girls enjoyed Circle C, they all enjoyed the water park, and there was something for all of us to do all the time. We were a little anxious about this one because we had 3 first time cruisers, 2 in their 70's, 1 in a wheelchair, and the three kids, so didn't know how it was all going to work out, but Carnival didn't disappoint. We're looking at booking Victory next year and doing a longer cruise on the Southern route ... but I don't think any of us would balk at going back out on Imagination, either. Read Less
Sail Date October 2009
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

Find a Carnival Imagination Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click