224 Miami to Caribbean - Western Carnival Imagination Cruise Reviews

If I have to sum the experience up - you get what you paid for. We booked this cruise because of the very tempting price, however, we were very disappointed with the cruise as I will details below. Embarkation - the only thing that ... Read More
If I have to sum the experience up - you get what you paid for. We booked this cruise because of the very tempting price, however, we were very disappointed with the cruise as I will details below. Embarkation - the only thing that went without any problem. We arrived quite early from our flight (around 10:30), were escorted inside and checked in in a matter of minutes. We were on Zone 1 embarkation and were on the boat around 11:30 without any problem. If everything will go that smoothly in Miami every time it would be perfect. Public rooms - I was warned that Carnival ship are tacky, and the warning were on the spot. Imagine a Vegas hotel, complete with the neon lights, blinking signs and golden sculptures everywhere and you'll get the point. Not really my taste, but after couple of days it does not hurt your retina anymore as you get use to it. There are several "clubs" on the ship, most of them on deck 9 with one on deck 8. If you are a smoker, you'll love the boat. If you are not (like me), you'll hate every second of it - as almost all the "clubs" allow smoking in them which limits your choice of entertainment at night considerably (more on that below). The spa/gym are the much better than the rest of the ship - modern design, wet and dry saunas, and well equipped gym. Cabin - We had an inside cabin. It is larger than comparable inside cabin on other cruise lines, and very comfortable space wise. The bed were in the wrong configuration as we walked in, which took couple of hours to fix - but it was done efficiently and as promised. The cabin attendant was great and so were the cleaning crew. The cabin was one of the stronger points of Carnival - but than again who wants to spend time in the cabin? Dining - one of my biggest disappointments in Carnival. Most of the reviews rave the quality of the food and I guess I've expected better. In short, the Lido buffet food was mediocre at best. I would suggest skipping it completely (unless like me you are addicted to Anchovy pizza - which was OK). The food in the main dining rooms are hit or miss. Sometime the appetizers were delicious, sometime just OK. The main course never really managed to get better than mediocre. The deserts, ranged from horrible to very good (try the Key Lime Pie). Now for the service - we had open dining which we loved, so we did not receive the same service every night, but in general the level of English understanding of the waiting staff is lacking. There was always something missing, the orders not exactly as requested, the need to ask for things multiple times. Only one night we had a perfect, proactive, wait stuff. The other nights there was always some sort of confusion or mix-ups. Entertainment - We went only for two shows in the main lounge. Both we left after couple of minuets as it was amateurish at best. We were on larger ships and enjoyed the shows on them, in which the talent and production level were much better. We tried the late night comedian. Unfortunately, his idea of a good show is to use profanities every other word. I am far from a prude and don't mind them, however, funny they are not. We left after 5 minutes. We enjoyed the Karaoke very much - actually had some very good singers on the ship. It was also the only non-smoking public space at night, so we did not have any real choice either. We would have loved to go to the disco - but it was so smoky we could not stand it. We manged to get into the piano bar when the smoke level was more tolerable, however it was not worth the time. The performer is pretty bad, with very limited list of songs. The public Jazz performance, and pianist were pretty good though. The dictionary probably define annoying with the cruise director, "Karl with a K". The man cannot stop talking. He was really not my cup of tea. One other observation - I have never seen so many security roaming the ship at night (well, I never seen any security on any other cruise line). Nor did I ever seen security confiscating alcohol from those who were completely wasted. In short, the price was very low, but you get what you paid for. Never again for me. Read Less
Sail Date September 2009
Hello, I have been doing cruise reviews on Cruise Critic for a few years and this cruise ranked in my TOP 3! I was not expecting much from a shorter 4 day cruise but this Ship, Itinerary and staff really exceeded my expectations in all ... Read More
Hello, I have been doing cruise reviews on Cruise Critic for a few years and this cruise ranked in my TOP 3! I was not expecting much from a shorter 4 day cruise but this Ship, Itinerary and staff really exceeded my expectations in all categories. I was traveling with my 88 year old grandfather and had no difficulty with any aspect of this cruise. He uses a cane and had such a good time on this ship. I will have notes that some handicap members may be interested in. I was not expecting too much from a 4-day cruise & smaller ship, but the IMAGINATION really made me reconsider what my expectations were. I enjoyed this ship better than some of the larger ships and longer itineraries. Miami-Key West-Cozumel-day at sea-Miami Miami airport only 15 minutes from the port. get the Carnival transport prior to the cruise. It was only $27 per person round trip. 1 formal night on day2 / Great quick get-a-way cruise CARNIVAL TRANSPORT to & from Miami airport & the port was a smooth, quick process. Definitely worth the money to avoid aggravation before and after your cruise. EMBARKATION went extremely quick. A Carnival rep. was waiting at the door when we arrived with a wheelchair for my grandfather. Although, we were taken directly to the family check-in, there was barely any line and everything went smooth. ROOM STEWART was at our door before we had a chance to close it to introduce himself. He greeted us by name each time we saw him, and our room could not have been any cleaner every time we came back to it. He was extremely courteous and took the time to talk to us about our trip and excursions with sincerity. I increased his gratuity directly to him by $10 per day which almost brought tears to his eyes. CABIN Ocean view 6C M65 mid ship .... NO FRIDGE, but I knew that. This cabin has 2 beds, 2 pull down bunks and is located in a perfect part of the ship. Also in room: SAFE, 32" flat screen TV, room light switches at the bed, ice bucket, water and soda to purchase in the room. Free room service + gratuity. 2 Robes were hanging in the closet. Conveniently located two doors from elevators made moving around the ship simple for my grandfather with his cane. COMPLIMENTARY BATHROOM BASKET included Razor, toothpaste, Pantene-RED color enhancer shampoo/conditioner pack, some upset stomach packets (like TUMS) shower-Shampoo & Liquid Soap (I brought Cottonelle wipes, a travel Lysol spray) FOOD/DINING We chose the new "YOURTIME DINING" on this cruise, which was a pleasant surprise that I did not know Carnival was offering. We only ate in the dining room on elegant night to celebrate my Grampa' 88Th birthday. The Carnival staff surprised him with a birthday cake & singing happy birthday. The food & service in the Dining Room was excellent and could not have been any better. The rest of the cruise we chose to eat at the Lido Deck buffet & HORIZON/bar&grill at the back of the ship. It was kept clean and the food was as good as any other cruise I was on when I chose to eat in the main dining room. this was the 1st time I have eaten most of my meals at the buffet & may not be the last. SHORT RIBS on day 3 were EXCELLENT!! Full DELI fro fresh variety of sandwiches, full salad bar, dessert bar, grill, 24 pizza, ice cream & frozen yogurt. (hint: take the choc melting cake scoop it into the cone before you get ice cream YUMM!!!!!!!!!!) STAFF I can honestly not find anything bad to say about the crew on this ship. Information, Excursion, dining, housekeeping, cruise director, officers, shops, entertainment, bar service, casino all were 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 extremely clean and they take care of their ship like it was their very own top to bottom. ENTERTAINMENT WOW! WOW! WOW!! I WAS THE MOST IMPRESSED with this caption than ANY other. It was so nice to see Carnival adding some new and different options. The HIP-HOP crew FUN-FORCE performing in the Atrium was A++! Do not miss them. I was simply blown away by the shows in the Dynasty Lounge the entire cruise. I can not say enough about the shows. Especially the SHOUT production on night 2. The dancers in the Dynasty lounge were by far THE BEST GROUP OF SHIPS DANCERS I have seen to date!!!! the 5 male dancers are worthy of any Broadway or Vegas production! Backed up by some of the best female dancers I have seen as well. I had the pleasure to meet with the person that teaches them & he should be extremely proud of this cast! I understand a new cast was taking over after this trip and what big shoes they have to fill. Best of luck to them. Only negative comment: Dynasty lounge 2ND level is not as steep as other ships Ive 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. You can walk to seating in booths and/or seats without needing to do steps, however if using a wheelchair you may want to opt with lower level. the view may be better for you. CRUISE DIRECTOR: Karl with a "K" was the fun & enlightening glue that kept this cruise moving and pleasant. His witty persona is just what these ships need. His assistants in the Carnival FUN crew were everywhere on the ship making certain that your cruise was the best it could be! It is no Surprise to hear that the IMAGINATION is ranked #2 in the fleet. They can not be far from the top spot in my humble opinion. I did not use the SPA or CAMP CARNIVAL so have no comments to make here. FELLOW PASSENGERS Although Carnival technically has no control on who books a cruise, they went out of their way to make certain that everyone was as happy as they could be. The jubilance seemed to spread throughout my fellow passengers. Everyone had a smile on their faces wherever you looked. SPECIAL NEEDS/ MOBILITY NOTES My 88yr old grandfather uses a cane and often need support for standing. walking etc. He had no difficulty around the ship at all. I would have liked to see a support bar in the shower fro him to use if needed, but i did not have a handicapped room so I am not disappointed. I personally carries his food trays, but I did notice crew members carrying trays for those in wheelchairs and if additional assistance was needed. Excursion deck called the SUB OCEAN VIEW tour operator to check if my grandfather was able to get into the sub easily. Very helpful to decide on the excursion! Took advantage of the CANVAS PORTRAIT special offered at the photo desk. $55 for a 16x20 and it was ready in the last night for pick up. In the past this was mailed to you after the cruise. I will be covering some special needs info in my shore excursion section. Specifically for members that have trouble walking or use a cane. In summary, I really liked seeing CARNIVAL offering different entertainment such as Hip Hop dancers in atrium, additions of variety of dancer styles in shows. Addition of sanitizers throughout the ship good to see. YOUR TIME DINING is going to be a nice offer to compete with NCL's Freestyle dining. NEW- Adult Serenity deck is a nice addition with lush comfortable deck chairs, but can get crowded-(NO pool here) on front of ship. NEW- Children's water park was very nice on back of ship Read Less
Sail Date September 2009
My husband and I sailed on Carnival Imagination from Miami to Cozumel, MX on a 5day/4nt cruise. We have cruised before on RCCL and Costa Cruise lines. We were reluctant to try Carnival because we were under the impression it was low class ... Read More
My husband and I sailed on Carnival Imagination from Miami to Cozumel, MX on a 5day/4nt cruise. We have cruised before on RCCL and Costa Cruise lines. We were reluctant to try Carnival because we were under the impression it was low class and basically catered to the wild college crowd. WE COULD NOT HAVE BEEN MORE WRONG!!! This cruise was terrific in every way. Everything was top notch - the rooms, food, entertainment, and staff. ROOM: We had a standard ocean view cabin on the Riviera Deck approx mid-ship. It was lovely. Plenty of room to maneuver, adequate storage space for clothes, larger than expected bathroom. Everything about the cabin seemed updated, modern, and fresh. Our room steward was the best! He quickly assessed our needs and we never had to ask for anything twice. It was almost like magic - whenever we left the room we never saw him but when we came back (whether it was just an hour or two) our room had been "freshened" with new towels, the bed straightened, fresh ice, etc. The attention to service and detail was fantastic. FOOD: The food was excellent!! We did not have a bad meal whether we chose to eat in the dining room or on the Lido Deck at the Horizon Bar and Grill. Everything that was supposed to be hot was hot and cold was cold. At the buffet services the staff was constantly watch full and kept the food fresh, the food service areas clean, and the dining tables were cleaned immediately. In the dining room the wait staff was exceptional. We had "Your Time Dining" which meant we could go to dinner anytime between 5:45 and 9:30. We were seated at a different table every night and therefore had a different wait staff every night. They were ALL terrific. The food in the dining room was by far the best we have had at sea and surpassed many of the fine restaurants we dine at on land as well. ENTERTAINMENT: The entertainment was also very good. The variety shows put on every night were great. The comedy acts were hilarious. While we were not traveling with kids I appreciate the fact that the comedy acts were "G" rated during the main shows and then they put on an "R" rated version in a different lounge at midnight for adults only. We attended both and they were hysterical in both venues. Additionally, the cruise director and his staff put on so many daily events that everyone could find something they like - bingo, dance classes, trivia contests, art auctions, etc. This list goes on and on. STAFF: I cannot say enough good things about the staff. From the Captain to the lowest ranked person on board they were, without exception, the best. Polite, respectful, friendly, attentive, constantly vigilant about cleaning, polishing, and keeping this ship in tip top shape the entire cruise. Always greeting you with a smile and polite word, never hesitating to stop and answer a question. RECREATION: The only negative comment I have is with regard to the pool. There is only one and it is very small. Apparently when the ship was overhauled in 2008 I believe they replaced one of the pools with a water park. The water park has one of those closed tube water slides which I thought was a blast but my husband didn't like it at all. He would have much preferred a second pool. However, another benefit of that overhaul is the Serenity Deck. This is an adults only area that is quiet and has a "zen-like" quality to it. There are two hot tubs and a shower. The chaise lounges are superior and just like all other areas of the ship the staff is always on hand to deliver food and drink. I would suggest that they provide some air movement back there as it is sheltered from the wind and gets very very hot. I would highly recommend this cruise to anyone! Read Less
Sail Date September 2009
My wife and I decided to book a cruise for our birthdays which are on consecutive days. We have sailed Carnival twice before but the past 3 cruises we took were on RCL and NCL.We got a good deal and an upgrade to an obstructed view and ... Read More
My wife and I decided to book a cruise for our birthdays which are on consecutive days. We have sailed Carnival twice before but the past 3 cruises we took were on RCL and NCL.We got a good deal and an upgrade to an obstructed view and anytime dining which we prefer.The cabin was nicer than we had expected and the room steward Panya,was great, always acknowledging any of our requests quickly and courteously and always greeting us by name and with a smile.That's about as good as this review is going to get because the rest of our experience was less than acceptable. Try the buffet? Not so much. There is not enough hand sanitizing stations available and always long lines for hamburgers and hot dogs at The Horizon bar and grill. I can eat that at home. The pizza was average for a cruise line and the sandwich station was down sized in portion sizes from my last trip on the Glory. Almost anytime we went to the Seaview Bistro, it was in transition or closed. Not a big deal because when we did eat there it wasn't very good anyway. On our first night we went to dinner in the Pride dining room. The entire staff seemed uninterested in our dining experience. It took over two ours two hours from start to finish to be served an unmemorable meal.After dinner we went to guest services to complain and ask if we could be moved to the Spirit dining room but was told quite rudely that she couldn't do any thing about that and that we would have to track down the maitre de to see if he could change it. At breakfast the next morning I was told I couldn't wear a sleeveless t shirt in the dining room. This was understandable so I complied. We asked if we could sit by a window and were told we would have to share a table even though the dining room was empty.At dinner the next night,the staff allowed diners in t shirts, ripped jeans,booty shorts and tube tops.This was formal night. We saw a little change in the staff from the night before,possibly because it was formal night,but still not up to the service we have received on other cruises. The service did improve a little more on the next night. Could it be that before dinner we received our preliminary bill explaining the gratuity charges? Enough about the dining pleasures. Let me tell you about the entertainment.The cruise director, Karl with a K, was annoying and as unfunny as I have ever seen.You really shouldn't laugh that hard at your own jokes.I'm not a person that goes on cruises for the shows, but I will watch one if it is well done and entertaining. I have been to high school productions that were better than these. We had a good time in the Xanadu lounge with the karaoke. The passengers on this cruise were very entertaining.The comedian who does his show for about 25 minutes was more vulgar than funny. Frat boy stuff. The piano bar felt like a dive bar and the rest of the clubs on the ship were kind of passe.Nothing to get excited about. Don't fall for the prizes they offer in the spa during sail away.After the sales pitch they give away the raffled off prizes which are discounts for spa services that they offer.You can get the same discounts when the ship is in port. The spa itself is kind of small.The rest of the public areas are nice but if you read,bring a book. The library has one cabinet with about 50 books and another with a set of encyclopedias.I really enjoyed the Serenity deck. No kids, two hot tubs and quiet.I wanted to try the water slide but the only day I found it open the line was extremely long. When we got home we wrote a letter to Carnival explaining our situation only to receive a stock reply,with a mild apology and saying they would inform the proper authorities. Needless to say its back to NCL for our next cruises in December 2009 and February and September 2010. Avoid the Imagination at all costs.It's not worth the savings. Read Less
Sail Date September 2009
We are both experienced crusiers. We both work in education so summer is the time we travel. I work summer school and usually have about 3 weeks off. We booked this cruise for the first time through a on line agency. It was ok but we ... Read More
We are both experienced crusiers. We both work in education so summer is the time we travel. I work summer school and usually have about 3 weeks off. We booked this cruise for the first time through a on line agency. It was ok but we missed getting all the directions and cruise material from Carnival. We were staying at a condo in Vero Beach so we drove to FLL to get the Carnival bus transfer. It cost us $60.00 ecah for round trip bus transport. We did this so the car rental return would be easy. The problems began with the bus. The Carnival representatives told us " you just missed one". The next bus will be here in 15 minutes. Ha! the next one came 45 minutes later. So we waited and when we got to miami the lines were very long. Bagage was taken care of and then we waited in an overcrowded check in area. The time went by slowly, We got there at 1:30 and did not get onboard until 3pm. The ship was completely sold out. We went up to the lido deck to get some late lunch. We have been on the Imagination before. We had taken a cruise 3 years earlier before it was remodeled. The Lido deck lunch was a joke. No seats and not too many people from the crew to clean up. The food was not very good, after 20 minutes of searching we finally got a table near the pizza stand at the back of the ship. The crew seemed overwhelmed by the crowd. After 2 slices of pizza which were very good, we decided to try and see if our staterooms were ready. Believe it or not we were in our staterooms by 4:30 pm. We had booked a inside cat 4A we were upgraded to a 6a with portholes cabin number R21. THe luggage arived at about 5:15 pm. The cabin was totally redone since last time new bedding new bathroom and closets also I almost forgot the new flat screen tv. We had an early sitting for dinner. The main dining room has changed since the last time we took this ship. The wait staff were really good. Our waiter knew everyone's name by the second night. The first night's show was pretty good a broadway review. Not at all bad. The casino was pretty good that nite we won a bit on the slots. My wife and I decided that after the lido buffet we would try to eat every meal in the dining room. We did and did not have a bad meal all cruise. The first port of call was Key West. Been there many times before. So only went off the ship for a litle while. The summer heat was unbearable. The pools are small and we lost 2 hot tubs when they remodeled the ship. There is now a miniture golf course where the hot tub used to be. Back to the pools and lounge chair situation. The pools were so crowded that you could not safely get in or out. The trouble with the lounge chairs is that people would wake up early and put their stuff on a chair and go away sometimes for 2 hours. People had trouble finding deck chairs. The next port of call is Cozamel. We took a shore excursion and swam with the dolphins it was expensive but well worth it. You interact with the dolphins for about 40 minutes. Just remember that if you want pictures at the end do not use a debit card. They don't work in mexico unless you tell your bank or credit union that you will be using the card outside the U.S. The day at sea was nice very relaxing. We decided to do self check out after a long wait we were of fthe ship by 9:30am. All in all a good cruise Carnival can.t be beat when it comes to military discounts. We are planning another trip on Carnival in Feb. 10. Met many nice people on this cruise, a cross ssection of America Read Less
Sail Date August 2009
We recently sailed the Imagination - 4 day Miami, Key West Cozumel, our 3rd cruise with Carnival. I must start by saying how much I absolutely loved the layout of this ship. Lots of areas to be outside, I especially enjoyed the tables ... Read More
We recently sailed the Imagination - 4 day Miami, Key West Cozumel, our 3rd cruise with Carnival. I must start by saying how much I absolutely loved the layout of this ship. Lots of areas to be outside, I especially enjoyed the tables outside the Horizon grill to the side and the rear of the ship. As usual there were some smokers who thought because they are outside they can smoke anywhere but you get that on any cruise. This was our first 4 day cruise (other 2 were 7 day)and our first without a balcony (really missed the balcony!!). As expected with a 4 day the selection of food on this ship was less but I felt the quality was as good as on the Legend and Glory. I was very disappointed with the cleanliness of the Horizon grill - tables were always dirty (dishes usually cleared away but rarely wiped down). There were 3 of us and they sat us at a table for 3 in the dining room which we really enjoyed. We expected to be put at a large table with other guests. Room Stewarts, dining room staff and camp carnival staff were all excellent - could not ask for better. I really enjoyed Karl the Cruise director and the Captain was the first "visible" captain. Regularly walking the ship and meeting with guests. My 5 year old daughter loved the Water Park area - a nice spot to go on sea days and found it easy to get a lounge chair - not so much at the pool area. We loved Key West a great place to walk around and explore. We had been to Cozumel beforehand and decided to enjoy an empty ship. It was great, only 5 people in the pool and open loungers poolside! Overall, it was what I expected from a 4 day cruise. A nice getaway on a great laid out ship. My only complaint which carnival is not responsible for is the people. It appauls me to see how some people act while on their vacation. Read Less
Sail Date August 2009
I understand that this is an older ship that has had a recent upgrade however, there is only so much that can be done to a ship. The Imagination appeals to families with small children, there were 750, who for the most part ran (literally) ... Read More
I understand that this is an older ship that has had a recent upgrade however, there is only so much that can be done to a ship. The Imagination appeals to families with small children, there were 750, who for the most part ran (literally) all over the ship even late at night and early in the morning. Also, it's not called a "fun ship" for no reason as there seemed to be more drinking (read: really drunk people, several of them underage) on this cruise than on our previous cruises with Princess and NCL. There was only one small pool on the ship which was packed with standing room only at all times. Lounge chairs were impossible to find. The deck area was often littered, although I do blame the guests as much as I do the crew for this. They also have the traditional dining as opposed to "anytime" while our table mates were nice people it's just not who we wanted to eat dinner with every night, despite the fact that we were assured a table for 6 when the cruise was booked. The food was another disappointment. Offering anything 24 hours a day is not enough if the quality is poor. The offerings in the dining rooms were fair to good (except the chocolate melting cake which was excellent. The buffet was just ok, the Deli sandwiches were usually a better bet. Again, better food with Princess and NCL. Service on the ship was like anywhere, some good some bad with a few exceptions on either end being excellent and awful. Bottom line, if you can afford another cruise take it and not the Imagination.   Read Less
Sail Date August 2009
I'll be the first one to admit I've become a little jaded with some of my cruises lately. It happens when you're fortunate enough to have both a mother and a husband work in the travel industry. The fact that our last few ... Read More
I'll be the first one to admit I've become a little jaded with some of my cruises lately. It happens when you're fortunate enough to have both a mother and a husband work in the travel industry. The fact that our last few "shorter" cruises on Carnival weren't exactly ideal had me wondering what kind of experience we'd have on the Imagination...and boy was I pleasantly surprised. We were fortunate enough to sail in the Owner's Suite and it was, no doubt, the nicest cabin we've had on any of our cruises :) The suite is a awfully largewith two bedrooms, a ridiculously comfortable king-size bed, a large walk-in closet and an incredibly spacious jacuzzi tub/shower combo bathroom. HOWEVER, the Owner's Suites are located on the spa/sports deck and are directly below the jogging track. Every morning, we'd awaken to the sound of jogger's running above us. Also, the fact that the balcony partially overlooks the pool area means it can get a little loud. It would probably be a little disappointing for a light sleeper. Even though the Imagination is one of the older, smaller ships in the Carnival fleet, I was completely impressed with everything from our cabin (the owner's suite), to the service, to the food and even the entertainment. I found our little getaway to be everything we wanted and neededrelaxing and fun. Being on a smaller ship means fewer passengers and I actually enjoyed thatwe rarely had to wait for food in the buffet or lido area and while yes, deck chairs are always at a premium, they weren't impossible to find. Both times we headed down to the Serenity area, we were able to find two side-by-side deck chairs. Same goes for the afternoon we spent out at the Carnival Waterworks area. (Which I pleasantly discovered had the ability to turn a pair of 30-year olds into little kids again. I guess water slides can work miracles sometimes!).Another pleasant surprise for us was the entertainment. Sometimes cruise ship shows can be over-the-top and cheesy. We didn't have that experience on the Imagination. Both production shows were fun and the comedian was classic. He pushed the limit a little in the "general" show, but it was enough to draw my husband and I to his midnight show later in the cruise. Turns out we weren't the only onesthe lounge was full, standing room only and everyone seemed to have a great time. If you're ever on a sailing with Allyn Ball, I'd definitely give him a recommendation. He was hilarious.We had one mishap with our cabinsomething happened with the toilet and it wouldn't stop making a sort of sucking sound. We made one call to the purser's desk the evening it happened and the plumber came while we were at dinner. Never had a problem again.Overall, we had a really great cruise; exactly what we needed on a little getaway and if given the option to cruise this same itinerary again on the same ship, I'd take itwithout a doubt. It may not be the biggest, grandest ship in the Carnival fleet, but with its recent makeover, we found the Imagination to be charming and fun. Read Less
Sail Date June 2009
We haven't been on this class ship since our first cruise, many years ago.  We really enjoyed the Imagination.  She is in great shape, clean, and looking good for her age.  This class is so much smaller and more intimate than the ... Read More
We haven't been on this class ship since our first cruise, many years ago.  We really enjoyed the Imagination.  She is in great shape, clean, and looking good for her age.  This class is so much smaller and more intimate than the other classes we have sailed on recently.  We really enjoyed the smallness, and especially enjoyed the Serenity Deck. We arrived a day early, flying into FLL and using SAS Transportation to Miami.  We were picked up quickly and were taken to our hotel in Miami with one other couple.  $15 per person is a great deal.  We stayed in Holiday Inn Port of Miami.  We have stayed here several times before, and have always had a good experience.  We checked in and found we were "Priority Club Members of the Day", which was cool.  We were upgraded to a room on the tenth floor with a great view of the port.  We also got vouchers for free breakfast the next day. We were happily surprised to find a brand new CVS open about one block from the hotel on Biscayne Blvd, which is very handy for buying sodas, etc.  We walked across the street to Bayside Marketplace and had dinner at Bubba Gump's, one of our favorite places to eat. We took a taxi to Port of Miami at 10:30 a.m. ($12 plus tip).  Embarkation was smooth and orderly.  We were on board by noon.  I love that first lunch on the Lido deck, as it means that vacation is really starting!  We were allowed into our room at 1:30 to drop off our carry-on stuff. We loved the location of our room, E200, an inside room on Empress Deck Aft.  We could go up the back stairway two flights to the adults-only Serenity, our favorite place on the ship.  We also had a great cabin steward who was pleasant and efficient. Dinner was at 6:00 p.m. in the Spirit dining room, aft, one flight directly above us.  We were seated at a table for 10.  Most nights two or three other couples came.  It was quite interesting, as we had very little in common with any of them.  Our waiter and assistant waiter were both excellent each night.  We had great service. We stopped in Key West on Tuesday.  It was a hot and sunny and beautiful day.  As the goal of our get-away was rest and relaxation, we were in no hurry to get off.  When we did wander into Key West, we soon found it was too hot and "touristy" for our taste, so we headed back to the quiet ship.  Elegant night was the usual lobster and prime rib, which were good.  We skipped dessert to go to the Captain's Party at 7:15.  That seemed like an odd time for the party, but we enjoyed the free cocktails.  We also enjoyed watching karaoke in the evening, and then saw a very funny late night adult comedian show. Wednesday was a day at sea.  We spent the entire day on the Serenity Deck.  Dinner was good and then we enjoyed a cup of coffee on the Lido Deck Aft, which was a great place to watch the showers, thunder and lightening that took place.  We enjoyed the comedian in the Dynasty Lounge, as well. The stop on Thursday was Nassau, as we were still on diversion from Cozumel.  We took advantage of the empty ship and stayed on board.  We watched an incredible thunderstorm at 3:00 p.m. from the aft of the ship.  It was awesome. Debarkation went smoothly, but was a bit slower than some we have seen.  We had an early breakfast on the Lido and then waited in our room (on Empress Deck 7, the same deck as debarkation) until self-debarkation was called at 8:40 a.m. and then easily walked off the ship and through customs. We again used SAS transportation to take us from the port to FLL for our 1 p.m. flight.  We were picked up fairly quickly, but then had to wait in the van for another 45 minutes or so until the van was completely full (11 passengers in a van with room for 11 passengers).  It is a good thing the price is so reasonable, because it wasn't a whole lot of fun. Again, we had a wonderful get-away.  I would not hesitate to take a short cruise again anytime. Read Less
Sail Date May 2009
This trip was awesome.  We were able to get to the port from Miami International in 20 mins ($24 one way) via taxi.  Despite the additional form that we had to fill out relating to Swine Flu, embarkation was fast.  We were on board and ... Read More
This trip was awesome.  We were able to get to the port from Miami International in 20 mins ($24 one way) via taxi.  Despite the additional form that we had to fill out relating to Swine Flu, embarkation was fast.  We were on board and having lunch at Horizons by 1:30.  Our room was ready by 2:30, so it all timed out perfectly.  This time, we had an inside room but I thought it was well maintained by the staff and was not so small that I ever felt claustrophobic.  After we dropped our carry on luggage in the room and brought in our just delivered luggage, we took some pictures on deck of the Miami skyline and helped ourselves to a Pina Colada on the Lido Deck. The only part of the embarkation that was a drag was the borderline rude forced Titanic-ish "if the boat goes down, this is what you must do" schpiel they force you to sit through.  Honestly, they could have skipped that and spent that time explaining how to get around that ship and it would have been a better use of my time.  I still found myself getting turned around, even on the last morning.  In general, the Imagination was well maintained and a good time.  We had late seating for dinner and great tablemates, so I cannot complain about that.  Dinner the first night was great and we had excellent servers in Romelito and Ferdinand, the most comical and professional servers in the group.  My only complaint with Carnival was that due to Swine Flu, our port call in Cozumel was cancelled.  I understand that and appreciate the position they were put in.  Further, I appreciate their concern for spreading it.  What I disliked was how horrible it was calling in to their call center to get information as to what would happen.  We did not know one week before we were leaving if the cruise was going to happen, what port(s) we would be visiting and times to be there.  It would take anywhere from 5-35 mins to call for answers sometimes and it seemed that they only wanted to make announcements after 6pm on any given night.  This not knowing status continued on for 3 or 4 days.  Day 1 was finally getting out of them that they were canceling Cozumel.  Day 2 was getting them to tell me what we would be doing instead (Nassau).  Day 3 was telling me what hours we would be in port in Nassau.  Day 4 was being told that we could not book any excursions with Carnival because we were to leave in under 4 days.  We were told that when we arrived that day on the boat, we could book with the shore excursions desk.  So, we were told that we could duke it out with all the other disgruntled customers.  No thanks. I am just not that passive in my planning.   So, I contacted dolphin encounters and booked with them directly, saving money in the process.  The cruise line offered the same encounter for $162 and  I paid $98.  I had to pay that $8 round trip cab fair but still came in way under the $162 price tag Carnival was selling it for.  Day 2: Key West We reached port at 7:30am, so getting off the boat for Key West was extremely simple and fast.  No wait at all, not even at 8:30.  There was a trolley train waiting outside to take us to Duval Street (as the cruise ports on a Naval base).  The ride was about 10 mins long and the driver gave us landmark information to find our way back to the pick up place, which was nice.  Key West is really quite nice.  Two things that we found especially nice in Key West were the Coach Factory Store and Salsa Loca for lunch.  The Coach store had great GREAT deals.  If you want a Coach that will hold up (unlike the knockoffs you will find at the flea markets elsewhere ) at a good, good price, you need to find this store.  It is right on Duval street around the 5th street area. We walked down to the Southernmost point, as well.  It is quite windy down there but a nice photo opp, nonetheless.  Then, we made our way back up Duval after shopping and sightseeing to have lunch on Cinco De Mayo at Salsa Loca (9th and Duval).  It was incredible food and drinks at a great price.  It is not much to look at from the outside but inside and in back, it is a very nice place.  I will definitely visit again when I make my way to Key West again.  This was formal night on the cruise and it was good to see people dressed up, even though Carnival does not get too strict about dress codes (one fellow showed up in jeans and a t-shirt to dinner).  Dinner was phenomenal that night.  The servers also performed this night with the standard napkin twirling show but also sang a song, which helped make them seem more personable and less standard out of the box napkin twirl.  Day 3: Day at Sea We decided to have the sit down breakfast, as opposed to the breakfast buffet.  It was very nice and interesting to have some choices such as Eggs Benedict, offered.  The day at sea was nice, relaxing and sunny.  The majority of the day we spent on deck in the sun.  We wisely found a nice deck area near the waterslide that was a lot quieter than the noisy Lido with the bands, hairy chest contest and drunks.  The quiet deck also afforded a great view of the sea we were cutting a course for Nassau through.  At lunch in Horizons, they had a Mongolian bbq, which was made individually per order and nice.  They also made this delicious chocolate dessert sushi (minus any fish).  It was nice that lunch and dessert were so good as dinner that evening was a little off par.  The pork tenderloin was a bit tough and others at the table expressed similar issues with their various dishes.  Day 4: Nassau, Bahamas Honestly, I had been to Nassau once before on a cruise and did not venture far from the port area.  I was unimpressed by it and found it rather dirty.  This time, we planned to do a dolphin encounter at Blue Lagoon Island.  As we were not permitted to book in advance with the cruise line, we booked on our own at dolphinencounters.com.  As soon as we got off the boat, we walked through a building and got a cab lined up to take us to Paradise Island Ferry between the bridges.  It cost $4 one way for each of us and was worth it. In no time, we were at the beautiful Paradise Island area of the island and it was like night and day between there and the port.  We checked in with the dolphin encounter counter staff and were issued a wrist band (similar to the kind you get when a patient in the hospital).  We hopped their ferry to the island and the ride alone was so picturesque that it was worth its own weight in gold.  After a short ten minute ride, we reached and were shown to an area where they gave us a short informational rundown of the dolphins.  (There are places you can and cannot touch on the dolphin for your safety and theirs).  They showed us to this area with these lockers (complimentary and come with a lock) to leave your personal items and then got in the water.  It is a neat experience for any age and I highly recommend it.  It was a decent amount of time spent with the dolphin, too.  They let us feed, hug, kiss, pet (twice), and dance with Andy.  At the end, they have showers and changing areas right there.  Also, they sell the photos they take in the gift shop.  The 5 x 7 I got was $16 and the video was $57 but I passed on that.  I thought we would have more time to explore the other areas (there is an entire beach area with hydro bikes, kayaks, etc) available, including a sea lion encounter but we did not have time before the ferry was going back to the terminal.  We probably could have stayed longer but did not think to ask.  Dinner that night was back to being phenomenal and on our last night, the servers sang to us, yet again.  Day 5: Debarkation This is where things went a little wonky.  At about 6am, a message blares through the entire ship "port side, port side".  We had just gotten up, so no matter and we went on to breakfast and start our early day of traveling back home.  About halfway through breakfast, another message blaring across the ship.  There were 3 people in the water and Carnival was not sure where they were from or what they were doing there.  We were told to go back to our rooms immediately for a headcount.  They were trying to discern if these water folks were from our boat.   So, we went back to get ready and organize for our departure.  A little while later, another message.  The folks in the water were from a capsized boat and we were stopping, of course, to rescue them, as we were the closest to them.  After rescue procedures were completed, we were told that we had to wait for the Coast Guard to come get these three folks.  So, we were not going to get to port on time by any means.  We were due in at 7 for a debarkation at 8:15 and we did not arrive to port until 9:30.  We were told at 8:30 if you had an early flight (before noon), you were to report to this one room.  There were about 200 of us in the same proverbial boat.  They kept coming in to advise us on the status and finally, told us that at 10 we would be good to go to leave.  There were some folks, flat out; I know did not make their flights due to this late arrival.  We made our flight but only as we lucked out and it was already delayed on its own.  Once they started debarkation, it went very quickly.  All in all, it was a great cruise.  We had a great time in the ports and a good time on the boat.  Read Less
Sail Date May 2009
Swine-flu hosed me out of my dream of debauchery in Mexico. The Imagination went to Nassau, instead, which is not much of a place to visit. I can go to sketchy places without leaving home. But for my purpose here, I will put the lost ... Read More
Swine-flu hosed me out of my dream of debauchery in Mexico. The Imagination went to Nassau, instead, which is not much of a place to visit. I can go to sketchy places without leaving home. But for my purpose here, I will put the lost destination aside and focus on the cruise and on the ship.The Imagination does not offer elegance unless your idea of that includes golds, reds, purples and lots of neon. The common areas are garish. At the end of your sit-down 4-course dinner, the wait staff dances and sings while the lights flash.On the other hand, for the price of an inexpensive hotel room, you get to cruise to two destinations gorge yourself on a variety of foods in setting from fast food to formal. And if you don't want to sit by the pool with rum drinks, you can find a quiet spot to read on deck while the ship plows through the sea. You can see the show (prancing dancers and corny cruise director) or you can go to the casino, find a bar with music, play Bing, do Karaoke, watch TV in your stateroom, take a sauna or eat sushi....If you can't find something that you'd like to do, it is not because you don't have options. I enjoyed my four day cruise even though I would avoid about 80% of the offered 'activities'. The food was better than I expected it to be, though not gourmet fare. It was plentiful. The downside of the cruise is that there is so much to eat and none of requires any effort. My first meal on board was stir fry-prepared to order, iced tea, a cheeseburger, and two pieces of cake. Yet there were many that had more on their trays. The evening formal dinner was fine, the service was excellent. The breakfast and lunch are buffet style. I didn't like sitting in the interior dining rooms, they felt like carpeted cafeterias and were often crowded. Better to eat on deck, weather permitting.I won $60 in the Casino. Always nice to be in the black in that situation even if only slightly.The room was fine, well designed, and the beds were comfortable. Good shower and the room was cleaned each day.I booked the 4 day cruise for $312. By the time I got off the boat, the total cruise including a moderate amount of extras (wine, a few drinks, Internet connection and gratuities) came to about $550 or about $135 a day. Certainly more than reasonable for a comfortable room, good food in GREAT quantity, attentive service and the opportunity to visit a couple of Caribbean ports.Be aware that most things beyond the room and the food are extra. I spent about $50 for an Internet connection that was limited. Drinks, other than iced tea, milk, coffee, tea and lemonade are extra. Mixed drinks cost between $6 and $8.Carnival uses a card for all on board expenses and for their sponsored excursions. It is easy to spend money when all you have to do is tell someone what you want and hand them a  piece of plastic. The problem with the ship-sponsored excursions is that the conditions for an activity may not be ideal on a given day. Often there are local alternatives that can be had without the need to reserve in advance. I had wanted to do a snorkeling trip but both shore days were too windyI did go to the spa to take a sauna and that was a real pleasure which, surprisingly, didn't cost a dime.Parking at the Port of Miami is $20 a day-pre-paid.Getting on and off the ship was unexpectedly easy. Pretty much a 20 minute process each way.In summary, I had a great time and the cost (extras included) was more than reasonable. The pleasure of the cruise is that for its length, you simply get to choose to do what you want, show up for meals and (hopefully) briefly explore a couple of ports. Relax on the deck or enter the hairy-chest contest....Go to the faux "Art" auction or watch the sun set. Play Bingo or take a nap. Watch the show or roll the dice. Use the waterslide or jog on the upper deck. The Carnival passengers are not what you would call high-tone but everyone seems to find a way to have fun even when the definition of that varies, as it does, widely. Read Less
Sail Date April 2009
This was my first cruise of 2009 and my 3rd overall cruise (I just booked my 4th cruise in Aug, going to Progreso/Cozumel, MX). Good and smooth travel en route to port. Traveled from Louisville, KY to Miami, FL for this cruise. Took ... Read More
This was my first cruise of 2009 and my 3rd overall cruise (I just booked my 4th cruise in Aug, going to Progreso/Cozumel, MX). Good and smooth travel en route to port. Traveled from Louisville, KY to Miami, FL for this cruise. Took shuttle to cruise port, which took about 35 minutes. Security at the cruise port went smoothly and I was on board by 12:30pm.  Once on board, I immediately went to Purser's desk and had my tips/gratuities removed from my Sail and Sign card. I choose to tip myself according to the service I receive. That's a tip that my travel agent recommended. Then I went on to lunch on the Lido deck. I have to admit, I've had better food on past cruises.  Just mediore. I had the standard hot dogs, hamburgers and fries. The potato salad was warm. I don't like not having a clean table to sit at when first arriving on board. These are just pet peeves...nothing that would cause me not to cruise anymore. In fact, the Imagination is my favorite ship!Since I still had time to waste until I could get into my stateroom at 1:30pm, I did a tour of the Spa. It was very nice. Although I didn't purchase any of the services, I can say that I will in the future. My luggage arrived at 2pm, which was very fast! I met my room steward, Dewa, who is the best one I've had so far. He was very attentive and nice. He reminded that I needed to head to Lifeboat Drill at 4:00pm, which I did and he always spoke to me in the hallways and checked on me on the days I had my DO NOT DISTURB sign on my door. Lifeboat drill went smoothly.After lifeboat drill, I went to a Spa Raffle and then went to dinner at 6:00pm. I was traveling alone and was seated at table 157 with 3 other singles and we all hit it off well... 2 women and 2 men. As a female traveling alone (by choice), it's comforting to see other friendly singles. Everyone was doing their own thing and no one was looking to hook up or make a quick score. I found out that i wasn't the only person who liked to travel alone. I think between the 4 of us, there was a total of about 18 cruises that had been taken! Dinner was great each night. I liked our waiters (but can't remember their names). I went to the casino after dinner (won $18) and then went to the Welcome Aboard show, which I'd seen before on other Carnival cruises and saw the comedian Tony Epsosito, who was HILARIOUS!  The ship was kinda rocky the first night but it didn't bother me or make me sick. In fact, it helped me to sleep.Second day of the cruise was nice. We arrived in Key West, FL around 7:30am. I had breakfast in my room instead of going to the Lido deck or open seating. I was off the ship by 10:30am. The weather was gorgeous. I didn't do a planned excursion. There is a free shuttle that will take you into Downtown and from there you can go to Mallory Square and Duval Street. I just did souvenier shopping and walked around Duval Street. Had lunch at Two Friends Restaurant, which I admit, I was not impressed with. Too me, it was a bit pricey. I had a fish dinner with fries, softdrink and a slice of Key Lime Pie and it cost $23. I was back on the ship by 12:30pm. Usually the second day of the cruise (on a four day cruise) is Formal night. I skipped it and ate room service from my room (which is limited in selection but very tasty). Headed back to casino and went to the Adult Comedy show with Tony Espisito. Again, Hilarious!Third day of the cruise, we had a change of plans. The Swine Flu outbreak has just hit and the CDC had advised against unneccessary travel into Mexico. We were supposed to be heading to Cozumel, MX. Instead, we sailed all day, thus making this our "Fun day at Sea". The captain decided we would arrive in Nassau, Bahamas the next day. Didn't bother me a bit. I did my usual shopping on the ship, casino and napping. There were some folks who were furious! Some had never been to Cozumel and were really looking forward to it. A lot of people complained because they had been to the Bahamas so many times. I had been to Nassau before as well, but I'd rather go there rather than not go anywhere. It was (for me, anyway) a nice day at sea.Fourth and final day of the cruise, we arrived in Nassau, Bahamas around 8:00am. After having breakfast in my room and showering, I was off the ship by noon. We got the very last dock spot and it was a hellish walk to the pier. It was about 85-90 degrees that day! I didn't do any planned excursions. I walked around on my own and had lunch at Hard Rock Cafe and then did the customary souvenier shopping. There were lots of good deals as always. I was back on the ship by 2:30pm.Debarkation Day went as smoothly as it could. When you have 2500 people to get off the ship, there's bound to be some confusion. I was off the ship by 9:30am. I stayed in town an extra day. If anyone has any questions/comments about cruising (which is my favorite pasttime in the entire world), email me at shalondrajackson@yahoo.com Read Less
Sail Date April 2009
My husband and I took our toddler son on the Carnival Imagination for a four night/five day Western Caribbean cruise. We were joined by my in-laws. This was the second cruise for us, but the first with our son, and the first with Carnival. ... Read More
My husband and I took our toddler son on the Carnival Imagination for a four night/five day Western Caribbean cruise. We were joined by my in-laws. This was the second cruise for us, but the first with our son, and the first with Carnival. Overall, we found the cruise to be a fun, quick getaway, and good value for the price we paid. However, there are some key areas that need improvement for this to be a top-notch cruise. The itinerary: Our cruise left Miami on a Monday afternoon. We arrived in Key West the following morning and left in the mid-afternoon. Our next stop was in Cozumel, where we arrived in the early afternoon on Wednesday. Thursday was a fun day at sea, and we were back in Miami by Friday morning. The time span for each port stop was a bit short, and we didn't have a full day in either port. This didn't make sense to me, and it would have been nice to have a full day in Cozumel. (Perhaps this ship can't go as fast as some of the newer ones?) Ship info: The Imagination is one of the older Carnival ships, although it received the "Evolutions of Fun" upgrade. The renovation seems to have affected only selected areas. For example, the overall look of the ship is still the bright colors and flashy Vegas-inspired decor that Carnival is known for, but the public bathrooms (which are spotless) are done in a more New York boutique-hotel style, with chocolate brown, mint and yellow tiling along the walls and modern Kohler sinks. The carpeting throughout the ship looks a bit worn and tired, and I think that it needs a good steam cleaning, especially in the Horizon Lido-deck restaurant, which smells like a frat house the day after a big party. Other areas smelled like cigarette smoke, especially areas of the Promenade Deck. Even though the majority of this floor is non-smoking, this is where you'll find the casino and the cigar lounge, both of which are completely open to the rest of the space. It would have been nice if they had found a way to contain the smoke a bit (and they also did not have a smoke-free evening in the casino, something Princess has on their cruises). We found the ship layout to be a bit confusing, and we were often getting turned around and lost, even after studying the ship layout maps intently. This is partly due to the fact that each elevator bank travels to a different selection of floors. The heart of the ship's activity during the day is the Lido Deck pool, which is a non-stop party (particularly during the week we traveled, which was spring break for many universities). However, if this type of activity is not appealing to you, you can easily find quieter areas of the ship in the back. We particularly liked eating our meals on the back decks that extend out from either side of the Horizon Grill. These overlook the adults-only Serenity Deck, which is where my in-laws spent the majority of their free time. My one quibble with the Serenity Deck was that they often had pop and rock music blasting from the speakers-not exactly serene. It's fine to do that by the pool, but shouldn't the "serenity" space be also a quiet space? If you are traveling with children, the area where you'll probably spend most of your time is the WaterWorks water park on the rear top deck. This is also one of the few activities you can do with an under-two year old child-our son had a blast splashing through the fancy sprinklers and in the puddles of water. Unfortunately, on Wednesday the ship didn't run the sprinklers (due to the fact that we were in Mexican waters and their laws prevented the ship of draining the waterpark water into the ocean), so there was nothing for our son to do there. It was a big disappointment to the younger children waiting to play, and the staff should have made an announcement about this ahead of time so that we were prepared with other activities. Service: We found the service to be one of the highlights of the cruise. Almost all of the staff we encountered was incredibly friendly, in particular to our son. They truly seemed interested in him and in making sure we were having a good time. Our room steward was fabulous and kept the room sparkling clean, and room service requests for warm milk for my son were promptly met. Because almost everyone was so friendly, it was therefore a bit jarring that our waiter was rather brusque, sometimes verging on rude. This made the dining room experience less enjoyable than it should have been. Stateroom: We had an interior stateroom with a king-sized bed (which can be pulled apart to create two twins). Our stateroom was spacious enough to accommodate a small crib, provided by the staff, for our son. The bed was extremely comfortable and the linens and pillows were higher quality than at many hotel chains. The shower had terrific water pressure and there was always plenty of hot water. The decor was nothing special, but if you don't plan on spending a lot of time in your room, this isn't really an issue. Because we have a small child who naps every afternoon, we would probably have been happier with a balcony room. There are very few of these rooms on this ship, though. Activities: Because we have a young child, we didn't attend most of the evening activities, although there were plenty to choose from. During the day, we would have liked to have some more options of things to do with our toddler, who is four months too young to participate in Camp Carnival, the children's program. We had read that one could use the Camp Carnival room with one's child, but upon arrival we discovered that this was only available from 12-2 on our sea day. This time period is exactly when our son (and many children his age) takes his nap, so we couldn't make use of that service. It would be nice if Carnival had a play room for families to use with their children. It wouldn't take up much room or even need to be staffed, but it would make a big difference for families traveling with active toddlers who are just a bit too young for the organized activities. Dining: Carnival still adheres to a two-seating dining service for dinner. We had done anytime dining on our Princess cruise, so we weren't sure how we would feel about the assigned time. Overall, we found the assigned seating to be better than the anytime dining, because our table was always ready for us and we were served promptly (as opposed to anytime dining, where we often had to wait for a table to be available). It did feel like service was always rushed-entrees came out sometimes before we had finished our appetizers. Perhaps this was because they needed to get us out in time to set up for the 8:15 p.m. seating. The quality of the food was fine, and in general I enjoyed each item I ordered, but it wasn't what I would call gourmet. This was a big disappointment for us, since on our Princess cruise, we felt the food compared favorably with high-end restaurants we have patronized in New York City. Service, as I mentioned above, was not as friendly as we experienced from the other workers we met on the ship, and bar service was also downright slow. There seemed to be one cocktail waitress serving half the room, so it took her time to take the orders, collect the drinks, and deliver them. In the Horizon Grill, the food was also hit-and-miss. The pizza in the rear of the room was generally excellent, and the salad bar had a terrific, rotating antipasti selection. But if you wanted to get a snack around 3 p.m., you had few options-usually just the pizza, the ice cream, or the burgers and fries grill by the pool. This is the time I usually crave a snack, so it would have been nice to be able to have some fruit salad or a cookie. In summary, overall the Carnival cruise was a nice getaway, but there are some areas in need of improvement: Pros: Friendliness of staff, cleanliness and comfort of stateroom, waterpark and outdoor decks in rear of ship. Cons: Dining room service and food not up to our expectations; some areas in need of refurbishment; no activities for toddlers under 2. Read Less
Sail Date March 2009
Since this was my 10th Carnival cruise, we got VIP treatment. Upon arrival at the Miami port, we were given a wheelchair for my mom, which was needed and appreciated. They told us we could keep it for the week, which was a nice surprise. ... Read More
Since this was my 10th Carnival cruise, we got VIP treatment. Upon arrival at the Miami port, we were given a wheelchair for my mom, which was needed and appreciated. They told us we could keep it for the week, which was a nice surprise. We were escorted to the VIP lounge for immediate check-in and access to the ship. We had a nice buffet lunch and checked out the ship and our cabin. Luggage was delivered early, so we were unpacked and ready to have fun before the lifeboat drill. Our inside cabin was a bit crowded with two twin beds, a rollaway and a wheelchair. (It was not recommended that we old ladies get a fold-down bunk bed.) As part of VIP service, we got a plate of candies and cakes one evening with "Good Night" written in chocolate on the plate. I got a Concierge Club thermos gift and free entry into casino tournaments. The best benefit of being a VIP (10 or more Carnival cruises) is the free laundry. Almost all the clothes we brought home were clean and folded. The meals were the usual Carnival fare-great-and service was excellent. Our room steward was hardly ever seen, but the room was kept clean and stocked every day. The casino was my favorite part of the ship. Simon and his staff were kind and attentive, friendly and always called me by my name. The first night I won $2500 playing Keno. The second night I won $800 at Three Card Poker, and the last night I won $250 playing deuces wild poker. It's easy to write a good review when the casino winnings paid for all of our expenses: airfare, cruise, drinks, souvenirs, hotel and excursion. Staff was friendly in every part of the ship, and were very accommodating to everyone. I heard several people comment about how easy it was to get on and off the ship at ports. I ordered a cake ahead of time for my mom's birthday, and the staff sang and made her feel special. Since our flights home were for after 3pm, we purchased an excursion on the ship for an Everglades tour, which was a lot more fun than sitting in the Miami Airport. The ship is clean, the service was excellent, the staff was friendly, and the shows were good. Even if you don't win in the casino, this is an excellent value for the money. We had a blast, and I can't wait to cruise on Carnival again. Read Less
Sail Date March 2009
We just returned from a Spring Break cruise on the Carnival Imagination. Here are a few things I wish I would have known before our sailing.... First, the Pros: The staff on the Imagination is happy and helpful. Almost everyone we ... Read More
We just returned from a Spring Break cruise on the Carnival Imagination. Here are a few things I wish I would have known before our sailing.... First, the Pros: The staff on the Imagination is happy and helpful. Almost everyone we encountered outside of the dining room was friendly and seemed genuinely happy to be working on the ship. The slides on the boat are a big attraction if you've got younger kids. However, they do close at 5pm every night. The pools are salt water, the water slides and hot tubs are chlorinated. We enjoyed the gym, the jogging track and the mini golf course on deck 12. The outside decks are pretty empty at night and it was easy to find a quiet romantic spot for star gazing. The melting chocolate cake was also a highlight. The staff at the shore excursion desk was great and went out of their way to get our questions answered. If you book in March like we did, just know that the water in Key West is about 73 degrees. The staterooms have ample space and are kept very clean. The hallways are surprisingly quiet at night and the bed was very comfortable. Embarkation and Disembarkation are a breeze, especially if you don't need assistance with your bags. Now the cons... We did not have a good experience in the dining room. The staff seemed very disorganized and the service was extremely slow. The food was mediocre with the exception of the cake mentioned above. Our 8 year old went to several Camp Carnival activities and her reviews were mixed. Our 13 year old went to Circle C once for a hip hop class and chose not to go back for any of the other activities. The ship's crew works very hard to keep this boat clean and well maintained, but it is obviously an older vessel. Bottom line...our overall experience was good. This is a nice, short cruise for families and first time cruisers. Read Less
Sail Date March 2009
Embarkation: We arrived in Miami the night before our cruise and stayed at the Hyatt Regency ($60/night on Priceline), which is only about two miles from the pier. We left the Hyatt at 11:30 for a short 5 minute taxi ride to the pier. I ... Read More
Embarkation: We arrived in Miami the night before our cruise and stayed at the Hyatt Regency ($60/night on Priceline), which is only about two miles from the pier. We left the Hyatt at 11:30 for a short 5 minute taxi ride to the pier. I think it was about $13 including tip. We noticed a lack of porters and ended up carrying our bags over to the luggage drop-off area where a porter finally acknowledged us and added a second tag to our bags even though we had printed the Carnival luggage tags at home. We were inside and through security within 5 minutes and were checked in within 15 minutes of arriving at the pier. As expected, my $50 OBC shareholder benefit was applied to my account and with my blue sail & sign card in hand, I was ready to go. After a 15-20 minute wait in the terminal, they called our zone (Zone 15) and we proceeded up for our embarkation photo and were at the lido buffet by 12:15. Cabin: I was traveling with a group of friends but due to some last-minute changes, I ended up canceling the reservation I made back in March and re-booked approximately 10 days before the cruise. I booked category 6A guarantee and ended up with an upgrade to 6C, cabin U29. This was my first cruise, so I have nothing to compare it to, but the cabin was a lot more spacious than I expected. The recent upgrades made as part of the Evolutions of Fun campaign really make the cabins feel almost brand new. Being located near the front of the ship, I noticed just a little more movement in my cabin than I did in other parts of the ship, but not significant enough to make me wish I had booked closer to the center of the ship. I really enjoyed having a window in the room, allowing the sun to wake me up each morning. My friends were in cabins U141, U145 and U151, so Carnival clearly made an effort to assign our groups cabins close together, with the exception of my last minute booking. Dining: Our group of 7 was assigned late seating in the Pride dining room, table 181. We were seated with another group of 3 girls, also in their mid-20's, who made dinner even more entertaining every night. Our waiters were Rex and Awayan. Rex's personality and quick-witted jokes kept us laughing every night. He started with Carnival 10 years ago as a dishwasher and has worked his way up to head waiter. Here is a quick review of the food: 1st Night: Appetizer - Shrimp Cocktail (5/5) Entree - Chicken a la Greque (5/5) Dessert - Warm Chocolate Melting Cake (4/5) 2nd Night (Formal Night): Appetizer - Shrimp Cocktail (5/5) Entree - Maine Lobster Tail (4/5) with Grilled Prawns (5/5) Dessert - Grand Marnier Souffle (1/5) 3rd Night: Appetizer - Fried Mozzarella on Mixed Greens (1/5) Entree - Sweet and Sour Shrimps (5+/5) Dessert - Tiramisu (5+/5) 4th Night: Appetizer - Crab Cake (5/5) and Shrimp Cocktail (5/5) Entree - Grilled Chicken Breast and Baked Potato (4/5) and Penne Mariscos (Penne with Shrimp and Scallops in Tomato Cream Sauce) (3/5) Dessert - Baked Alaska (3/5) Best Appetizer: Crab Cake Best Entree: Sweet and Sour Shrimps Best Dessert: Tiramisu We also tried breakfast in the dining room on our last sea day. The belgian waffles with stewed bananas (think bananas with caramel sauce) were amazing, and I heard plenty of compliments about the eggs benedict as well. I would have liked to have had breakfast in the dining room more often, but after staying up until 3:00am every night, getting up at 8:00am just didn't appeal to me. Lido / Horizon Buffet: We had lunch a few times at Horizons and the Lido buffet. The chicken entree on our embarkation day was good, as were the potatoes. I also tried the Mongolian Grill, but was disappointed as it didn't really have any flavor, just a burn from the szechwan sauce. I didn't try anything from the international buffet or the poolside grill, so I can't comment on those, except that the lines seemed long every day. Some of the desserts were wonderful, while others seemed a bit dried out. Definitely try some different things as the ones that appealed the least to me ended up being some of my favorites. NY Deli / 24-Hour Pizzeria: The deli station doubles as an omelette station in the morning and serves sandwiches from 11am to 11pm daily. I tried two different sandwiches during the cruise. The grilled turkey sandwich was decent, although it could have been grilled a little longer. They were essentially just pressing the sandwich with the grill and putting it on a plate, not leaving it on long enough to toast. The turkey wrap was a little disappointing and I would probably need 3 or 4 to fill me up. The 24-Hour Pizzeria was popular but never had more than 2 or 3 people in line. They do a great job of getting pizzas out quickly and each 12" pizza is sliced into quarters and served. I quickly got hooked on the mushroom and goat cheese pizza and probably had it 5 or 6 times during the cruise, including a 3am visit after the casino had closed. During off hours, they only have pepperoni and cheese pre-made and everything else comes out as an 8 or 9 inch pizza cooked to order in about 10 minutes. They also have Caesar Salad (and grilled chicken!) and Calzones available. Entertainment: One thing that the ship does not lack is activities. During the day they had different activities all day long on the lido deck stage as well as different tournaments in the casino, destination and shopping talks in the lounges and calypso music all day long. Every evening had a production or variety show in the two-story Dynasty lounge and two nights featured adults-only comedy shows in the Xanadu lounge. There was also a jazz band on the promenade, a pop band in one of the lounges, a piano bar, karaoke in the Xanadu lounge and the Illusions Disco, which was busy until 2-3am. Our cruise director was Skip Lyons, whose quick whit kept everyone well entertained. 1st Night: Welcome Aboard Show 2nd Night: Living in America - Las Vegas style musical (4/5) and midnight adult comedy show with Oscar Collazos (4/5). 3rd Night: Balancing act and family-friendly comedy (3/5) 4th Night: Christmas Musical at 5:00pm (3/5), Shout! - Branson style 50's musical (3/5), late-night adult comedy show with Ronnie Bullard (5/5) Crowds: Even though our sailing was sold out, we rarely noticed crowds on the ship. There are so many different activities going on that everyone had something different to do. The only times we ever noticed crowds were at lunchtime at the lido buffet and during the last night of the cruise for the adults-only comedy show, which was standing room only. This could be because the first adults-only comedian did two shows, while the second only performed once. Although the lido deck was always busy around the pool in the afternoon, we never had a problem getting groups of chairs up on the Waterworks deck or on the other side of the lido deck stage. On embarkation day, we were also able to sit out on a deserted Serenity Deck. By the last at-sea day every single chair was occupied on the Serenity Deck. According the the cruise director there were 518 children onboard. I don't know where they hid all the children, because we hardly ever saw them. The only time they ever came out was when Camp Carnival brought all of the kids to the Dynasty Lounge on the last day of the cruise so that they could sing christmas carols as part of the Christmas show and to see Santa. Key West: We got off the ship at Mole Pier around 8:45am and took the Conch Train to Mallory Square. After reviewing our maps, we decided that we would walk from Mallory Square to the Southernmost Point (about 1.5-2 miles) and explore the shops along the way. Two of our friends were booked on the Fury snorkeling excursion for $39, and we agreed to meet up with them back on the ship. We stopped at two different bakeries and picked up some croissants and a piece of chocolate covered frozen key lime pie (YUM!). We had fun exploring and taking pictures. On the way back the girls decided to stop at a nail salon on Duval Street for manicures and pedicures, leaving the guys to head to Sloppy Joe's for some drinks and Sloppy Fries. After the girls were finished with their pampering, we headed back to Mallory Square around 12:45 and hopped on a Conch Train back to the pier with no wait. Cozumel: We docked at Punta Langosta pier and were off the ship by 1:30. Two of the girls in our group that were sharing an inside room forgot to set their alarms, so we agreed to meet up with them in an hour at the entrance to the pier. The rest of us spent the first hour shopping outside of Punta Langosta, where I picked up a small bottle of Mexican Vanilla for $4 and two t-shirts for $10. We then met up with the other two girls and took two taxis ($16 each) to Mr. Sancho's. Mr. Sancho's is about 15 minutes from the pier and is a beautiful beach/restaurant/bar complex that is quieter than some of the other beaches in Cozumel. The entire complex is really clean and also had a nice pool next to the restaurant. We relaxed on the beach for about 3 hours and enjoyed some drinks from the bar. The two girls that did not go snorkeling in Key West decided they wanted to try it, so they went snorkeling in a small boat with just the two of them and a guide ($30). They said that they enjoyed it and were able to see a lot of fish around the reefs. As the sun was starting to go down and the beach was closing, we decided to head to Margaritaville for some drinks and a free calimari appetizer. Watching the sunset from their dock was beautiful, but two margaritas and a beer were not worth $30. After Margaritaville, we made a quick stop at the Mega (think Mexican Wal-Mart) to pick up some Mexican candy (Milch = YUM!) for my 6 year old cousin and Coca-Cola, which is still made with real sugar in Mexico. I love Mexican soda as it does not have an aftertaste like the stuff made with corn syrup in the United States. Debarkation: We arrived as scheduled in Miami around 7:30am. They announced that the various officials would be making their way onboard for our inspection and after clearance they would begin debarkation. Our group agreed to meet for breakfast in the Horizon Grill area at 8:30. We were easily able to have breakfast and still sat around for about 45 minutes before they called for self-assist. I was the only one that chose to do zone debarkation, mainly because I was by myself with two suitcases, a backpack and a box of liquor from the duty free store. I was assigned zone 16 and made it off the ship around 10:45, only about 10 minutes after the self-assist was called for our deck. My bags were waiting for me on the carousel and it only took 2 or 3 minutes to clear customs and immigration where they didn't even question the four bottles of liquor I was carrying. I guess they are more concerned about getting everyone through quickly than collecting a few dollars duty on my extra bottles of liquor. Overall everything moved smoothly and I had no problem getting a taxi back to the Hyatt to pick up my car. Overall Impressions: Overall I loved my first cruise and was very happy with the Imagination. As I said earlier, the refurbishments really show and most areas of the ship seem almost brand new. The only things that date the ship are the purple and red colors of the atrium and the theming of the dining rooms. This was an off-season sailing in mid-December and there was a nice mix of age groups with the majority of passengers being mid-20's through late-40's. Both Key West and Cozumel had plenty of activities to keep us entertained and I would love to spend more time in both ports in the future. I would gladly sail on Carnival and the Imagination again. Read Less
Sail Date December 2008
Background Information: My husband (38) and myself (37) have cruised twice prior, both on Carnival Fantasy class ships. This was the first cruise for our three children, ages 15, 13 and 8. We chose this itinerary (Key West and Cozumel) ... Read More
Background Information: My husband (38) and myself (37) have cruised twice prior, both on Carnival Fantasy class ships. This was the first cruise for our three children, ages 15, 13 and 8. We chose this itinerary (Key West and Cozumel) because we were familiar with both ports and felt our children would enjoy them. Embarkation: This was a breeze. We drove to Miami from Iowa. We arrived at the port around 11am, and were checked in (no lines!) quickly. We were able to board the ship by noon, and were able to get into our stateroom promptly at 1:30 as promised. Ship Info: We sailed on the Carnival Imagination. This was our first cruise on a ship that was renovated and included the Waterworks children's play area as well as the Serenity "adults only" area. The ship was VERY clean and well-maintained. We enjoyed exploring all of the rooms. My 13 year old son was a little embarrassed by all of the bare-breasted statues that surrounded every floor around the Atrium. The ship did experience some extremely rough sailing between Key West and Cozumel. I spent 18 hours in bed, very sick. Several of my fellow passengers were in the same boat. However, those with iron stomachs (like my husband and children) were able to enjoy the wonderful "Elegant Night" activities and food. Stateroom: We had two staterooms, V20 and V24. They laid out one room for our children, putting two beds against the side walls and one bed against the far wall. This allowed ample room to move about in the room and also gave each of our children their own space. The other room had the two beds pushed together to make one large bed. This was nice but there wasn't a lot of floor space in that room. The showers in the rooms were heavenly. I wanted to bring the shower back with me! Plenty of warmth, easy to adjust the temperature as well as the height of the showerhead. This was fantastic for my children who are on the short side. The showerhead was also removable. As always, the bedding was the best part of the room and we slept soundly every night. Dining: The food on the ship was fantastic. My husband felt that the food was not as good as on our previous cruises, but he had no major complaints either. We chose to eat our breakfasts and dinners in the Dining Room. Constantine was our main waiter and our assistant waiter was Audi. My favorite foods included the ribs, the eggs benedict, and the honey-bourbon chicken. I missed out on Elegant night, but my children loved the prime rib (my daughter ate 2!) and my husband enjoyed the lobster. He also had 2. There was never any problem getting "seconds" on anything, and our waiter even had shrimp cocktail available for my boys each night as they had mentioned it was their favorite. The dining room entertainment was fantastic, the waiters really seemed to be enjoying themselves and they made an effort to include us in the nightly fun. Children's Clubs: We were told that there were around 200 children on the ship. We hardly saw any of them! The clubs for my children were amazing. Each of my children had a wonderful time. My youngest, at 9, was in the 9-11 age group. There were about 10 kids his age that participated in the activities. The room they used for the kids was clean and spacious, and had all the amenities, games and toys that kids that age love. My son really enjoyed the Playstation (since we don't own one at home), and the build-a-bear stuffed animal activity, and performing in the Dynasty Lounge during a special Holiday concert. He also enjoyed the miniature golf and swimming. The new Waterworks area waterslides (there are 3 waterslides) were totally fun for the whole family and we enjoyed zipping down them! My middle son is 13 and therefore was in the 12-14 age group, which was run by a lovely counselor. There were 8 kids his age that participated. They met in the Circle C room, which did not have a lot in it, but their group traveled all over the ship most of the time for their activities. They learned how to play some card games, did miniature golf, took a special ship's tour, went on scavenger hunts, had a nightly dance in the Illusions Disco (it was closed to adults during that time), and ate together as a group for several of the meals. My son got home around 1:30am most nights. My oldest was in the Club O2 group, for 15-17 year olds, and she had a blast! There were about 6 kids that participated on a regular basis in her group. Their room was really cool, I would have loved to have access to it for my own use! Like the Circle C kids, they did a lot of traveling around the ship. They had a nightly dance, they dressed up and ate together as a group, they did karaoke both in their room as well as in the Xanadu lounge, they had ice cream sundae parties...it was just a fun time. It was really neat, since she is pretty outgoing, so many people on the ship recognized her and would call her by name whenever we were out together as a family. It was a really neat experience for her. She participated in the special Holiday show as well. Activities: There were so many activities available on board we never lacked for things to do! Each day our Capers newsletter was filled with fun games, trivia, and other things. The Capers had a handy "tear off" side where everything was listed, in chronological order, which was a godsend for us. We simply highlighted what we wanted to join in to, and brought the tear off list with us. The deck trivia was a lot of fun, although we never did win that coveted Ship-on-a-Stick. The Hairy chest contest was so funny to watch, and the ice carving was great. The midnight Mexican fiesta party was wild! The adults-only Serenity deck was fantastic and very tranquil. It did get a little crowded during our day at sea, but even then it was manageable. The chairs are super comfy. The hot tubs were only so-so warm, which was a little disappointing given that it was chilly during a lot of the cruise. Service: The service was top-notch. We never had to wait for anything, and everyone helped us with a smile and a warm greeting. I can't think of a single bad experience. We dealt with employees and staff from all the areas of the ship, including the Galleria, and was truly impressed with the level of service. My children are forever spoiled! Our room steward cleaned up our rooms for us every time we left! Read Less
Sail Date December 2008
We departed from Miami. This year we drove to the port & left our car in the lot. The signs make it easy to find your way to the correct terminal. After dropping our checked luggage with the porters, we easily found a parking spot in a ... Read More
We departed from Miami. This year we drove to the port & left our car in the lot. The signs make it easy to find your way to the correct terminal. After dropping our checked luggage with the porters, we easily found a parking spot in a lot close to our terminal. They collect for the parking when you enter the lot, $20 per nite. There was no line to get thru security, probably because we got there around 2:00 for a 4:00 sailing. After security we got in line to check in & get our sign & sail card. We had filled out everything online ahead of time. This line took a bit of time. I think it was because there were so many 1st time cruisers & families with small children. Our check-in took only minutes. We gave our charge card & got our sign & sail card along with a thank you for coming back to Carnival & we boarded the ship very quickly. Our stateroom was ready & checked bags had already been delivered. We unpacked & made our way up for the dreaded life-boat drill. This is always a tedious procedure, but necessary, so we endure it. As always there were pushy people who had to get to the front. Not sure why? This time we had a cabin with a window, we usually get a balcony. The cabin was well laid out & with 3 closets, there was plenty of room for clothes. The bathroom was small & there was no counter space. I was glad I had a hanging toiletry bag. There was only 1 plug in at the vanity outside the bathroom. I was prepared with an extension cord. (A must to charge cellphones & cameras) Also, no hair dryer in the bath. Our cabin steward Raymond kept the cabin tidy. We had a cooler with us & he kept it full of ice all week. Our table in the Pride dining room was an 10 top. We were fortunate to have great dinner companions. The head waiter Jerome was soo funny. He asked our names & addressed us by name all week. His assistant Paolo was good also, but a bit more subdued than Jerome. The food was good, sometimes very good. Much better than on Freedom last year. Service was great. My DH & the men at the table all got multiple entrees, appetizers & desserts. Jerome was happy to oblige. The wait staff performed the normal goofy song & dance routines, but is was all a good time. We had breakfast & lunch at the buffet a couple of times & the food there was better than Freedom as well. Sometime limited selections forced DH to check out all the stations to find something he liked. But there is no reason to be hungry onboard. Food, food, food. My biggest complaint is the lack of choice at the beverage stations. If you don't want to buy sodas or alcohol, you are stuck with yucky tea & watery lemonade. I was glad we brought bottled water & Pepsi with us. The pool area was busy all day with the usual early AM chair hogs. We were able to find chairs on the upper deck by the water slides. The adults only Serenity deck looked nice, but it was impossible to find chairs there. I was disappointed with the older teens taking up chairs there. At nite the Lido deck was almost deserted. There was only 1 deck party & it was after a long day in Cozumel. I felt there could have been more entertainment there. After dark, it was bars & casino only. The shows were pretty good. There were 2 production-type shows with dancers & singers. Also 2 comedians that had very funny adult comedy acts. All the crew members we encountered greeted us & many made small talk. I learned more about life on a cruise ship than I had on our previous cruises. I believe this is due to the ship being smaller than newer ships. No one acted rushed or put out by the passengers. This cruise attracts lots of first time cruisers, younger people & couples with children. It was easy for us to find quiet spots for ourselves & we never felt crowded, at least not after the lifeboat drill. There are newer, bigger ships out there, but that doesn't mean they are better. We thoroughly enjoyed our time on the Imagination. Read Less
Sail Date December 2008
This was our 8th cruise and our 4 Carnival cruise. We drove in the day before and spent a wonderful day in Miami. I am from there so I enjoyed showing my husband around. We had dinner on Lincoln Road and cruised Ocean Ave. before heading ... Read More
This was our 8th cruise and our 4 Carnival cruise. We drove in the day before and spent a wonderful day in Miami. I am from there so I enjoyed showing my husband around. We had dinner on Lincoln Road and cruised Ocean Ave. before heading back to our hotel. We had breakfast at Jerrys Famous Deli in Miami Beach, $70.00 for 4. Worst service ever, but the food is good. Got to the ship about 1:00. The traffic to get in was horrible, about one hour, because the taxis cut in front of the line so it took us one hour to get thru the light. My husband dropped myself and my parents off and then went to park the car. A porter took our luggage right away. Security was very simple and so was check in. Once we got to the terminal we were on the boat within 30 minutes. We splurged and stayed on the veranda deck. It was so worth it. Our room was beautiful and ready for us so we dropped our stuff off and went to the Lido deck. The same fare was served all three days in the buffet. I would compare it to a Circus Circus buffet if you have been to Vegas. I think they try, but it doesn't compare to the Royal Caribbean buffet. It was soon time to do the safety drill, so we got our life jackets and headed for the pool area. The drill was the longest I have ever been to and not taken serious by many of the cruisers. Alot of people did not even get their jackets and alot of people did not put them on. The people running the drill did not seem to care. Once the drill was over we went to the verandah Deck lookout in the front of the ship and watched us leave the port. This is an awesome sight. We stayed until we turned south and could barely see land. Went back to the room, unpacked (there is plenty of storage in the room and the suitcase fits right under the bed), and then got ready for a late dinner. We had a table for 4. Every minute in the dining room was a great experience. The service was perfect and the food was wonderful. After dinner we went to the casino which was packed. My husband played blackjack until late and I think he won! We called my parents and all met at 7:00AM on the verandah Deck lookout to watch us pull into key West. This is such an awesome experience and something we enjoyed very much. Then we went back to the room and got dressed, had a leisurely breakfast on the Lido deck and then went into Key West. They parked us off the Navy base so we had to take a tram into town. This moved very quickly. Then we got on the Conch Train for a 1.5 hr trip around the town. This was very enjoyable. We had lunch at Sloppy Joes and then walked around Duval Street. The time went so quickly and then it was time to get back on the boat. Once back on the boat we found the serenity area. The space is very nice, but there are so many people who claim the seats with a book or shoes and then leave that we NEVER got a seat after visiting at least 6 times. There should be a no saving seat rules, but the employees don't seem to notice or care. One couple had 2 lounges saved, plus 2 chairs in the back saved, and they were in the Jacuzzi, and then got out and went to lunch, with 4 seats saved. One thing I have noticed is that since Miami has become such a latin influence city, the ships coming out of Miami are packed with Latin people. They are the loudest, rudest, most obnoxious people I have ever been around. This is something I would consider before taking another cruise out of Miami. Onward, New years Eve morning we had a quiet breakfast and then watched us pull into Cozumel. Once off the ship we took a taxi into downtown. Everything was so hyperly priced we could not believe it. Compared to the Bahamas, a bracelet that should have been $30 to $50 was $400. The begging for you to come into the stores was unbelievable. We were kinda happy to get back on the ship. My husband planned his eating all day around the Mexican Buffet at midnight on the Lido deck we had heard so much about, so imagine our surprise when there was NONE! What a letdown. New Years was okay, but not worth the $1000.00 per couple extra we paid to experience New Years Eve on a cruise. Our same cruise would be $1000.00 less if we left this monday. Our day at sea was very relaxing and pleasant. We gambled, read, napped, and strolled the decks. The verandah deck got off the ship first, so we were off the ship by 8:30. All in all this was a wonderful cruise. I would not got out of my way to go to Mexico again, but the ship was beautiful and very very clean. Read Less
Sail Date December 2008
Imagination Review 12/15-12/19 Here is our review of our 4 night cruise that went to Key West and Cozumel. This was the fourth cruise for me and my husband and third with Carnival. Overall, it was a great trip! Embarkation: We flew in ... Read More
Imagination Review 12/15-12/19 Here is our review of our 4 night cruise that went to Key West and Cozumel. This was the fourth cruise for me and my husband and third with Carnival. Overall, it was a great trip! Embarkation: We flew in the day before to Miami and stayed at the Hyatt in downtown Miami which was less than two miles from the port. It was in walking distance to Bayside Marketplace that had stores, restaurants and nightlife. From there you are right on the water and can see the ships docked at the port across the way. The hotel was nice and we got a good price on Priceline. On embarkation day, we arrived at the port at around 11 and we were on the ship a little by 12. It was the smoothest embarkation process we've ever had which surprised us because we heard a lot of negative comments about the Miami port. We've cruised out of NYC and Ft. Lauderdale and this was the best. Once on board, we were ushered to the Lido for lunch and we stuck with the grill and seating by the pool. 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 the dEcor was too over the top. The lounges were smaller, as well as the dining rooms, but it didn't feel cramped which was good. The ship was also decorated for Christmas with pine swags on each deck of the atrium and throughout the ship. After 1:30 we were able to go to our room which was an oceanview on deck 6 Upper. We've had balconies before so the oceanview wasn't the greatest, but it was fine. I think that on future cruises if I didn't get a balcony, might as well stick with an interior since the window wasn't a big factor for me. The muster drill 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. Then we all had to go on the lido deck where the life boats were for the rest. Not sure why it needed to go on that long, but it did. Sail away was around 5 and there's a nice view of Miami as you head out. Later that night...We had the late dinner seating in the Pride dining room. The ship has two dining rooms, but they are only one level. Our waiter and his assistant were great and gave us a lot of personalized attention which was nice and although we've always had great service with Carnival, they addressed us by name and made the experience more enjoyable for us. We had a table for 10, but there were only two other couples besides us who consistently came. The food was very good. The dessert selections were limited, only about 3 choices because it's a shorter cruise. They don't have crème brulee or bitter and blanc on shorter cruises our waiter told us. They did have the warm chocolate melting cake. They also have the sushi bar open prior to dinner. 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 a previous cruise and had rented bikes to go all around and see all the sites. This time we walked up and down Duval Street, went to a few stores and had conch fritters at Sloppy Joes. We also had the chocolate covered frozen key lime pie on a stick at the Blonde Giraffe. That night was "elegant night" and the majority of people were dressed up in evening wear and there were a lot of photo opportunities. There was a captain's cocktail party and there was lobster that night in the dining room as well. Cozumel: We docked in Cozumel in the afternoon and there's a really built up tourist complex right where the boat docks with lots of stores and restaurants. Even a Starbucks. We had been there before too and so this time we just walked up Avenida Rafael Melgar to Cinco Soles which is a store with really beautiful things and had lunch at Pancho's Backyard which is attached to Cinco Soles. Before going back to the ship we had two drinks at Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville which was $25, so totally not worth it! Later that night there was a Mexican buffet deck party at midnight. This deck party was a lot better than others we've been to. They had standard Mexican fare served where the grill was on both sides and the lines moved really well. No one was lingering taking pictures or serving themselves so it went faster. The desserts were in a separate area so it people moved through very easily. Day at Sea: On the sea day it was pretty crowded on the ship, but nothing horrible. We had lunch around two and the lido was packed with the staff not really making any effort to clean off tables for people to sit which was the only real lapse in service we noticed. Even with everyone on and around the ship, I still felt pretty comfortable on the ship. Shows: There were two comedians and a guy who did amazing balancing things. The comedians were pretty funny. We really didn't see the Carnival shows and only dropped in briefly on the karaoke. They did have some bingo and trivia. The cruise director was Skip Lyons (I think) and he was very entertaining. Disembarkation: There were two options: self assist (walk off with your luggage when your deck is called) or leave your luggage outside your room by 11PM on the last night and you are given luggage tags with a zone number on it. When your zone is called you can leave the ship. We normally do self assist and are off the ship before 9A, but we had a late afternoon flight and opted to do the second option thinking we'd get off the ship much later. Oddly, it took a really long time for them to call the decks for self assist and the first few zones. We were zone 8, and they actually called our zone at the same time as our floor was called and that was around 10:30 which was the latest we've ever gotten off of a ship. 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 December 2008
My wife and I booked our Imagination cruise back in April. We had cruised on this ship before its renovation, and this was to be our third time on this itinerary (Key West and Cozumel). Both have been favorites of ours to go to, and ... Read More
My wife and I booked our Imagination cruise back in April. We had cruised on this ship before its renovation, and this was to be our third time on this itinerary (Key West and Cozumel). Both have been favorites of ours to go to, and Cozumel had been destroyed by Hurricane Wilma shortly before our last time going there. We first stayed overnight at the Hilton Airport at Minneapolis on Saturday night. They had a rate that allowed us to leave our car there while we were gone, and was actually cheaper than the nearby "park and fly" facilities. We also then did not have to get up early to drive to the airport. We flew Sunday morning from Minneapolis to Fort Lauderdale. With the recommendation of several CC members, we contacted Steve from SAS Transportation about a shuttle from FLL to Holiday Inn POM. He told us to call him when we had our luggage at FLL, and he would pick us up. He was there within 5 minutes of our calling him. He picked us up and gave us good conversation for our drive to Miami. We were his only clients on this transport, so it was just us, and the drive only took 20-25 minutes. As stated before, we stayed at the Holiday Inn POM. We have stayed there before our previous Miami cruises, and have always been happy there. Reading recent reviews of the hotel, though, we weren't sure what to expect. We were very happy with the hotel, again, though. From the time we entered the doors, there was staff there to assist us with our luggage, holding doors, and pointing us where to go. We were very happy to find out that our room had been upgraded from their standard room to a larger room with a couch, two chairs, a coffee table, and a fridge and microwave. We also were now on the 8th floor overlooking Bayside Marketplace and the marina. While you can hear passing traffic from the road below, I didn't think it was any different than any hotel near a main road. They were in the process of some remodeling, so areas like the pool were not accessible, but for only one night, it was great. We went over to Bayside for dinner and munched our way through a few different places, rather than eating at only one. We were then able to sit back and enjoy the music at their outdoor stage. It was a very relaxing evening. Monday morning, we were able to look out our window and watch Imagination come into port. There were at least three other cruise ships in port that morning, and I just enjoy watching the ships turn around on the west end of the causeway. We went and ate breakfast in the hotel restaurant, and then I had to find a stamp. This is my one bit on unhappiness with the hotel. Most hotels I've stayed at before have stamps available at the front desk. I needed one stamp to mail a post card back to our son, and they did not have any stamps. They gave me directions to walk to a place about 8 blocks away that had them. Well, I got my exercise and did get the postcard mailed, but I was definitely getting warm by that point. We left the hotel about 10:30 a.m. With a short $12 taxi ride to POM, we were in line by 10:50, and we were on board shortly after 11:30. Our room was not ready yet, but our steward let us drop our bags off in the closet so we didn't have to drag them around. So, up to Lido deck we went to get our Soda cards. We went inside and had a nice easy lunch, and then went exploring the ship. We were very happy with the redone Atrium area. With the addition of the Atrium bar, along with a live music stage with it, it was a nice relaxing atmosphere. Since our room was on the Empress deck, just a short distance from this bar, this is where we spent some time at. We also were very happy with the colors used in the atrium area. One spot that needed a little work, at least for this cruise, is the atrium elevators were not working much of the trip, with the one being stuck between decks 8 and 9 for much of the trip. The first night for dinner, we were placed at a table for 10, and there were only three couples. We had so much fun with our table mates, running into them throughout the cruise. Age-wise, we were in the middle, but that made no difference. The boyfriend of one couple was on his first cruise, and the older couple at the table was on their 18th or 19th. I don't remember the whole menu that night, but I had a great bowl of broccoli-cheddar soup and the flat-iron steak. Both were very good. After dinner, my wife and I were both tired, so we actually went to bed by 10:00 p.m. Tuesday: Key West My wife ordered room service coffee and pastries to be delivered about 7:00 a.m. They were there promptly and we had a nice snack before going on shore. We docked at the navy pier and took the conch train into Mallory Square. Many of the stores and shops didn't open until 9 or 10:00. We didn't sign up to do any of the excursions, so we started walking down Duval Street. We had fun trying to decide which t-shirts to buy that we thought we would actually want to be seen in. There were so many hilarious t-shirts, but many with sayings or graphics that neither of us would be caught dead in most of them. We had a great time exploring the area. We actually ended up eating lunch at Hogs Breath Saloon. The roosters were all over the place, actually plopping down next to us while we were eating. After lunch, we went back to the ship. We sat out on the serenity deck and watched the race boats that were there for a competition do their time trials. The serenity deck was the perfect place to watch the Key West get further away, as well. Not to mention getting a little cat nap in. That night was "Elegant Night". Since we had the late seating for supper, we went to the captain's reception before dinner. After meeting the officers, we had a seat in one of the curved "small group" seating areas. A couple of ladies we had started talking to at the Atrium bar joined us and had drinks with us. The bar staff was handing out the free drinks very generously. In the time we were there, we never had an empty glass or plate from the apps. At dinner, I was disappointed that Carnival no longer had escargot on the menu. That was one of my favorites in the past. However, I had both the prime rib and the lobster tail, and both were awesome. One of our table mates did get a tail that wasn't to her liking, but our waiter had a new one to her with no delay, and she said that one was perfectly done. After dinner, we went to the evening show. "Living in America" was a very good production. We tried to take some pictures of it, but our camera just didn't do it justice. The two lead singers they had blended their voices very well. There were also two Russian dancers that performed in the show, and were great. The audience all seemed to enjoy the show. Wednesday: Cozumel: Since we weren't getting into Cozumel until 1:00 p.m., we took the opportunity to sleep in. When we did get up, we went to the Shopping Talk and then ate lunch as we came into port. We were able to sit out on the outside deck on Lido Deck and enjoy the view as we continued to get closer into the island. In the past, we docked at the downtown pier, but this time at the new Puerta Maya pier. This is Carnival's new dock they put in that just re-opened. We took our time going down to disembark, so we got off the ship a little after 1:00 (we actually got in about 12:15). Again, we did not do any of the ship's shore excursions, instead opting to go on our own and go to Carlos n Charlie's Beach Club. The taxi driver tried to encourage us to go to a "larger and busier" club, but we stayed with our plan. It was a $12 cab ride each way. We only stayed there for a couple hours, then went back to the ship to change. We decided to stay in the shopping area by the port, rather than going into the downtown area. We were very pleasantly surprised at the diverseness of the shops and restaurants there. We had some apps at Pancho's Backyard, and then a mini-meal at Tres Amigos, right at the end of the pier. This offered a great view of sunset, and then let us go back on board easily. (On a side note, the ship next to us was still there 30 minutes after she was supposed to leave. As we got back to our ship, several people came running back to the ship to people applauding and welcoming them back. It seems one of the Carnival excursions ran a bit over, and their shuttle boat just made it back then.) Supper that night was a disappointment. None of us at our table ate much, and my wife and I ended up going for pizza a little bit after dinner. We sat on the outside deck again and watched the ship sail away from Cozumel at 10:00p.m. There was supposed to be a Lido deck party that evening, but we did not attend. Thursday: Day at Sea: Again, we slept in a bit again. There was the Debarkation Information talk at 10:00 a.m., so we got up in time for that. I was hoping to try the Luggage Express, but they didn't mention any of that. When I asked about it, I was told they had discontinued it on our ship. I wasn't able to find out any more information about it. After lunch on Lido Deck, my wife and I relaxed a little bit on the Serenity deck again, but then went back to our room and took a nap, then did a little bit of packing and filling out the customs forms. We then went up to play a group of Bingo games, and I actually won one game for $175. It wasn't the free cruise, but I'll take it! Dinner that night wasn't too bad. The wait staff did their dancing show tonight and pulled one lady from our table to dance with them. Her boyfriend made sure to ask us to send photos we took back to him. My wife and the third lady at our table made a quick exit to go play $3000 jackpot Bingo. I went and put our luggage out before joining them, and then our table went to the show. The show was great! It was a good variety of music from various eras. Many people in the audience were tapping their feet and/or singing along. Debarkation: For whatever reason, there was a slight delay in them starting to get people off the ship. However, once they started, it seemed to go very quickly. Customs was quick and easy. I like the new belts for the luggage, rather than the big warehouse style room. Afterwards, our flight wasn't scheduled until after 6:00 p.m. out of Ft Lauderdale. SAS Transportation told us they had a deal with a local hotel in Ft. Lauderdale to hold our luggage and then we had access to their pool and could walk the "broadwalk" area. We did this and had a great time. We walked about 1 mile each way from the hotel, and then sat by the hotel pool. We grabbed a quick bite to eat, and then actually went to the airport around 3p.m., hoping to get an earlier flight. However, all the earlier flights were completely booked. A couple of extra notes about the cruise: This was the first cruise that we found t-shirts on board in my size. I'm a larger guy, and need a 3X t-shirt, and we can never find one on board....they're always out. I got two different styles on this cruise during their t-shirt sale. Another note about the rooms: while I love the new flat screens, all of their network channels are from Denver. In the morning if you liked to watch the morning news shows, CNN was the only one that had live shows for national news. Coming back on board from Cozumel, I left my waist pack someplace, but didn't notice it for about 2 hours. This had our camera and our cash in it. When I checked at the purser's desk, they didn't have it, but got my information if it did come in. I then went down to the security checkpoint. The security person knew immediately what I was talking about. After describing what was in it, and where it was inside it, including the last couple pictures taken on the camera, I was able to get it back. Security and the pursers' desk were great, and I was impressed with how thorough they were to make sure they were giving it back to the correct person. Read Less
Sail Date November 2008
A good cruise with very few complaints. I flew from Louisville, Ky to Atlanta, GA to Ft. Lauderdale. Arrived at the airport around 10:30am. Carnival representatives were right there at baggage claim to show passengers where to wait ... Read More
A good cruise with very few complaints. I flew from Louisville, Ky to Atlanta, GA to Ft. Lauderdale. Arrived at the airport around 10:30am. Carnival representatives were right there at baggage claim to show passengers where to wait for the tour bus transfers. I waited about 45 minutes so we'd have as close to a full bus as possible. It took about 35 minutes to transfer us from Ft. Lauderdale airport to Miami's cruise port. Porters were on hand to take our luggage and we tipped them $1 per bag. Proceeded inside terminal to check-in for cruise. It was very crowded but the line moved swiftly. By 1:35, I was on board the ship and having lunch at the Lido Buffet. There were hotdogs, hamburgers, fries and potato salad. All very good! Then I went to my room (R25). It was clean and clean-smelling. I didn't care much for my room steward, Pierre. He was very short and seemed like it was an imposition to service me. No big deal though. As long as he kept my cabin clean, that's all I cared about. Stayed in room that first evening and didn't attend Orientation Talk. This was my second cruise so I knew the drill. I watched it later on t.v. in my stateroom to see if there was any information I needed. At around 4:05 we had Lifeboat Drill and considering there were about 2500 guests, it went smoothly, however I was on Riviera deck and I was tired after climbing the stairs all the way up to the 9th deck. 4 floors! Dinner was tasty, hot and prompt each night. Didn't care for our head waiter Harold. Again, he, too, seemed rushed and every night he forgot my lemon wedges for my water. Shore Excursions: Key West: I'd advise doing a shore excursion. I did Ripley's and then walked around after that but there wasn't much to see and I found that after about an hour, I was bored and ready to go back to the ship. The shops weren't that great and now I wish I'd done more than just Ripley's. Oh well, I can always cruise to Key West again and do something different! I thought I'd want more time in Key West, but being there from 7:30-1 was perfect for me. Cozumel: It's beautiful and if you are on a budget, just get off the ship and there's shopping and restaurants right at the end of the pier. If that's not your speed and you need more action, schedule a shore excursion. The ship is in port from 1-9:30 and that should be plenty of time to enjoy yourself. There are many activities on board the ship. The key is finding what you enjoy. I'm a gambler so the casino saw a lot of me. It wasn't paying out much, but i didn't expect it to nor did I really care. I just like the action of the casino atmosphere. I only saw one show and that was on the first night. I'd say the entertainment (singers/dancers) is good, but not great but it's not horrible either. The comedian that night was a bit off kilter. He wasn't very funny and needed more material. Too many people on the Lido Deck during the main part of the day and days at sea. I don't like crowds and never made my way to the Serenity area. Next cruise, I will definitely find it. Also, haven't tried the spa services but will next time. Read Less
Sail Date November 2008
Left home on 11/17 at 3:30am for Miami on cruise day for New York to fly out at 7am. Thought about going the night before, but my philosophy is to go to bed early the night before, get up early and go and arrive on cruise day, and save a ... Read More
Left home on 11/17 at 3:30am for Miami on cruise day for New York to fly out at 7am. Thought about going the night before, but my philosophy is to go to bed early the night before, get up early and go and arrive on cruise day, and save a bunch of pennies from lodging the night before. Arrived on-time and early. Waited around for 1/2 hour for the carnival transfer bus to fill up and off I went. Arrived at port to find this Imagination awaiting my arrival, along with Destiny and a RCCL ship in port. Plunged from the bus to the ground and off I went, off and running to go sailing to Key West and Cozumel. Sped thru security lines and thru the boarding lines off to the ship.Got on ship around 1:00pm and headed to the stateroom to find it was ready, altho they said when checking in, it wouldn't be ready until 1:30pm. Dropped off the carry on bag from flying and off I went to the lido deck. Had a good lunch, not a great selection as always on CCL of food but it was good. Deli was the best of all. Been on this cruise before, just a different ship so I know what was in store for me this cruise. From embarkation to de-embarkation, it was a very windy week, around 65-70 degrees. Winds stayed around 12-25mph all week on ship which kinda stunk. Ship is in very good condition, new flat screen tvs in the staterooms. Ship was renovated with a huge water slide and a resort-like pool. Serenity deck is a nice thought, was just not big enough with enough chairs obviously. Nice comfortable chairs tho. As well as the chairs on the lido deck, not sure if CCL replaced the chairs to the new style on all ships but it was great and comfy!Welcome aboard show was great, lame cruise director (tina or tonia, cant remember the name off hand) but a great show and a brief funny comedy at the end of the show. I just knew from the introduction by the cruise director, she just didn't have the smarts or wits to be funny and an amusing cruise director that I've seen in the past cruises. This girl really needs to go back home to her native land and not quit her dayjob! Day 2: Key West - Arrived at 7am. Got out of bed at 7am and had breakfast. Had a non-carnival excursion set up for 930am so ate around 8:00am and off the ship at 9:00am. Ship docked at the military base and was taxi'd via trolley to the mallory square downtown. Off and running I went to the Water Ski tour that I've done in the past. Water was only 70-75 degrees. It was ok, had the help of the wet suit I rented. Once again, this tour was great, did it 2 years ago with these guys at Island Water Sports and again was great. Always nice to get out on the water and take the 26 mile almost 2 hour tour around the entire key west and enjoy the view and the ride. Arrived back at 11:15 am, got changed back into dry clothes and off to town I went. Walked around a little bit to see not much has changed and same ol vendors selling useless stuff. Ate lunch at Hogsbreath and not sure why I went against my gut instinct to stick with Sloppy Joe's. Sloppy Joe's is much better from past experience and remember Hog's Breath is good but I wasn't too thrilled this time around. Things seem to have changed a little, not as many tourists there. I guess the economy is changing things these days across the globe. I remember Key West as being very vibrant even in november when I cruised here in the past in november so it was awkward. Elegant night was day 2 but I passed on it. The table we were put with was not a fun table on day 1 and just knew it wouldn't be as fun as had in the past. We were placed with 2 couples, both were first time CCL cruisers. So opted to not go back the rest of the week. Passed over on captain's night too. Have done it in the past and its just pointless to me to dress up on a cruise for a 45 minute dinner. I rather stay in vacation clothes and leave all the dress up for home. Caught the R rated comedy (18 and over altho nobody from CCL IDS or checks) at midnight.. very funny! Day 3 - Cozumel - Arrived at 12:40ish our time (11:40ish cozumel time). After a brief accident when pulling into port, the ship docked next to the Legend at Puerto Maya. Waited around until 1:20ish for the first wave of people to rush off the ship and found our way off ship. After some pictures on the dock area, headed to the taxi stand and got a taxi to Mr Sancho's Beach Club 15 miles away next to Playa Mia. $14 each way from Puerto Maya. Arrived and were greeted by mr sancho's staff, offered ATV adventure and a horseriding adventure but passed over it. The day was a very windy day, altho in the mid 70s to near 80. NO ADMISSION FEE TO THIS BEACH CLUB AS IT IS A PUBLIC BEACH. a definite plus! Now this beach club would be a great place on a hot sunny summer day. It was a full house when we arrived (Disney, CCL Legend, Celebrity, and a couple other ships were also in port). Got a table on the beach, as there is plenty. Got a drink and relaxed for a few minutes. Beach is nice but some seaweed is on the beach, looks as it hasnt been maintained really well in recent memory but it was great nonetheless. Menu looks enticing but wanted to save my appetite for Carlos n Charlies. Can pay an all inclusive price or pay as you go which I did because I wasn't going to eat up to the $50 price for the AI package. Massages were available but passed over on that also. Great facilities that are sufficient, showers, toilets, outside showers. There is an area of tables to eat under this huge hut with a big bar. Some little mom and pop shops on site to get your mr sancho souvenirs. Stayed at the beach until 6-6:30ish. Went into the shower area, stripped down to my birthday suit and showered up. Figured I should as I would be out for a few more hours and nobody else was inside showering (wouldn't be a pretty site with other naked guys showering). Then headed back via taxi to Carlos n Charlies. The taxi was very informative on the way to carlos n charlies and pointed out some things and gave me some insights on the island which was cool. Tipped him a few extra $$ on the way out. The guy going down to mr sancho was boring and lame, didn't talk or anything. Ate at carlos n charlies, had the very yummy chicken tacos on the soft shells (3) and fulfilling along w/ the salad. Yummy!!!!!!! Every time I come back to cozumel I only eat here for the best food in cozumel. After dinner, grabbed a taxi and headed back to the pier. Looked around the little mom and pop shops at the same ol souvenirs as I've seen over the years that are pretty much useless. But fun to look around. Still very windy and got a couple more pictures before heading back to ship for 930pm re-boarding. On ship, headed up to the lido deck, met a couple of ladies and other people and got my dance on! It was great.Started what I waited for since I booked this cruise, drink til I drop! didn't quite go that far as I didn't want a nasty hang over the next day on fun-day at sea. But got to the drinking and dancing. 11:00pm came, an hour after leaving cozumel and the sail away began. Most of the crowd was so laid back and relaxing but some got into it. Fun Ship Entertainment staff was really into it and fun. The assistant cruise director was awesome, led the way.Danced around for a good couple of hours and that was the night. Off to the food I went then to bed. Day 3- Fun Fay @ Sea. This was cool and somewhat fun. Very windy again, watched a few games on the lido deck and off to the casino I went. Weather wasn't holding up on this cruise so I figure spend the day in the casino, eh why not! Never done before and since finally have a cruise with iffy weather, good time to take advantage of gambling away. didn't win anything, walked away from a few chances to make up some lost money and end the day being set back a few hundred. Ate lunch and dinner on the lido deck. Again, not the best selection but it filled the need. Day- 5. Got to bed at 330am and up at 730am. Off to de-embark I went. Packed up, got all handsome looking for myself, took the suitcases and to the lido deck I went and found breakfast. Decent breakfast, filled the job, but wasn't the best again. A little delay from de-embarking. Started around 8:30am and off the ship by 9:00am. Very fast de-embarkation but cool because the bus didn't leave until 10:00am. Arrived at Fort Lauderdale at 10:45am and had an hour and a half to waste until 12:30 boarding. Ate lunch, boarded the plane and home I went. In summary.. Great cruise, laid back crowd, not a big mix of kids yet not alot of grannys and grampys. A well diverse and mixed crowd by age, race, nationality... Was alot of fun! Food was ok, could be better but its CCL, and we know how that is, not known for superior food or selection. Altho, Deli and desserts were superior. Ship looks really nice after the renovation and addition of Water Works and Serenity. Never took advantage of Water Works myself since the weather didn't suit my ideal cruising-weather tastes but it looked like would fun to play on. Staff was great, couldn't ask for a better staff. Very attentive and responsive to the crowd. Weather was very windy from the embarkation day to arrival back in port in miami (12mph-25mph thru the entire cruise while on ship) Notes for this 4 night cruise: Soda Card - $29 and some change Mixed Drinks - $6-15.00 (There is a tax on alcohol while in port in Miami and Key West of around 1.00) Beer- Gone up a few cents my mom said, I never paid attention to- I drink any alcohol that is not beer, ick beer!) Bingo - every night Casino - Very addicting w/ a $500 slot tournament and a $500 blackjack tournament during the cruise 2 Shows - Welcome Aboard and Livin in America 1 R rated comedy - VERY FUNNY! Cruise Director - SHE IS LAME AND BORING Stateroom stewards - Pleasant and attentive Dining Room Waiters - Ehhh I've had much better Read Less
Sail Date November 2008
It should be noted that this cruise was "colored" by two major things: first, my husband and I were both ill. My husband injured his back quite badly a few weeks before we left and we weren't even sure we'd be able to ... Read More
It should be noted that this cruise was "colored" by two major things: first, my husband and I were both ill. My husband injured his back quite badly a few weeks before we left and we weren't even sure we'd be able to go. I started on antibiotics a week before we left for an extremely painful sinus infection. Second, we were traveling with my cousin and her husband and this was their first cruise. As I am addicted to cruising, I was very much hoping my cousin would have a wonderful time and fall in love with cruising as I have. I mention these things because they impacted what we were able to do and how we viewed things on the cruise. Also, this was my second cruise on the Imagination...my first time was in May, 2004 and that was my very first cruise as well. I was looking forward to seeing all the changes. Pre-cruise details: Cousin and husband booked an inside Guarantee and were assigned a porthole room on the Upper Deck. Hubby and I booked an inside room on the Upper Deck but the past guest rates dropped so we were able to get an inside room on the Verandah Deck with no increase in price. Cousin lives in MD and we live in FL about 2 hours north of Miami so they flew in and stayed with us and we drove to the port together. We also decided to go down to Key West for the weekend after the cruise and booked a condo room at a Hyatt timeshare for all 4 of us. The condo had a full kitchen and washer/dryer so we planned on cleaning all our cruise clothes there to avoid coming home with lots of dirty laundry. Although there were lots of Hurricane close calls here in Florida, the weather was beautiful and the tropics relatively quiet when we left Monday morning. I popped my usual Bonine on the way as I am really susceptible to motion sickness and get seasick even when it's calm. We arrived at the port at approximately 11am. The husbands dropped us off to check in the luggage and they went to park the car in the garage. Cousin and I went inside to use the restrooms (go in the door and make a left then a right...important info after a long driveJ ) and then back outside to wait. The garage was approximately 300 yards from where we were and although I'd heard there was a shuttle, the husbands walked back. We told my husband that we had seen wheelchairs by the restrooms but he refused one. Said he didn't want to be treated like "an invalid." He got into the scanning line already in pain. We then got into line to get our sail and sign cards and embarkation zone number and at that time they were boarding wedding parties and VIP. We waited for approximately 10 minutes and I dug through my bag to get my husband a pain pill. By the time we were checking in, he was sweating bullets and he asked the woman who was assisting us if we could board immediately. She could see he was in pain so she said yes and to go now as they were starting general embarkation. We missed doing the embarkation pic but made it to the Lido relatively quickly where he collapsed into a chair. I mention all this to explain why I can't report first impressions of the ship...too concerned and hurrying. My cousin boarded shortly thereafter and we headed inside to grab lunch. Cousin, hubby and I all had food from the salad bar and buffet section. The salad bar was super fresh, as usual, and I actually found food I liked on the buffet. It's unusual as I like very simple food and the buffet and dining room food are a challenge for me, LOL. They had some type of delicious fish and they were carving roast beef. Cousin's husband got, I believe, a hamburger and fries from the grill. He is, if it's possible, even more difficult than me. He won't eat salad or any vegetable other than corn on the cob, no fruit, and prefers beef over chicken but it has to be burnt...yes, burnt. He drinks large quantities of milk or chocolate milk every day and had no problem finding these on the Lido. We did get him to try some new items and I even branched out and did not, for the first time, order a steak every evening, LOL. My cousin had decided that she wanted to try out the slides in Waterworks first thing but they weren't open yet. The opened shortly before muster drill so we headed back up after the drill and she and her hubby went down a few times and loved it. Because I was on the antibiotics until Tuesday and was supposed to avoid the sun, I can't give a first hand report. Speaking of the muster drill, must have been one of the longest I've ever experienced. People just kept trickling in and looked like lots were trying to avoid it and held things up. We set sail right afterwards. At some point before the drill we headed to the Pride restaurant to fix our dinner time. We had requested early as my husband is a diabetic but were assigned 8:15. There was a line but we had it fixed within 15 minutes. After Waterworks, we explored the ship a bit before heading to dinner. Our room: of course the dimensions are the same as when I was there before but they have removed that little storage cube with the lid that used to be below the tv. I used to put water in there that I brought on board (try not to laugh...picky about my water too, LOL) but I just lined it up on the "window sill." Now there is a small, movable shelf unit with a matching unit against the wall as you come into the room from the hall. Bathroom still has very little storage area but was enough for us (shelf below the mirror held our toiletries and there was a lower shelf area that I moved the tissues to). Was not enough for my cousin but she brought one of those things that has separate clear plastic sleeves and rolls up...had a hook so she hung it in the bathroom and it worked great. We were given toothpaste and 2 disposable razors...not as much "swag" as I've seen in the past, LOL. The lifejackets were above the closets instead of in the storage cube; there were 3 closets...2 with bars to hang clothes and one with 4 shelves and the safe (I brought a grocery store card to use for opening and closing it); 4 drawers below the desk unit to the left of the closets; new flat screen tv with a cartoon channel, 3 movie channels, CNN, and the usual Carnival channels...oh, and several people mentioned that the movie playing when we boarded was Titanic!! Yikes! LOL; the new white bedding I've had on other ships...the comforter is nice and soft and comfortable but it does make me warm at night...I'm one of those weirdos who put the A/C to freezing and then bundle up at night, LOL, but the A/C in the room does not go that low. Our room steward, Robert, introduced himself and was very helpful with some special requests such as filling a cooler with ice for our water and getting a sharps container for my husband. The ship: I'll be honest here...I clean houses for a living...I don't notice artistic details...I notice dirt. The ship was clean everywhere I looked, same as last time, and I just can't tell you much about what was different about the decorative things. I think on the Promenade the seats were different and they had these cool, comfortable looking booth seats. The internet cafe was moved...I believe it's on Empress in the Atrium now. The sushi was in the same place (Promenade just past the casino) at the same time (just before first sitting dinner) but was not made to order like the last time. The guy just handed my husband a plate already prepared with an assortment and they had wasabi, ginger, etc. where you could help yourself. He enjoyed it very much but I ate one of his shrimp with rice and it wasn't cold...tastes better cold to me but I'm no sushi expert.J The pool area on the Lido was neat with the "palm trees" and other touches. In my opinion the best change is the Serenity area. We went there almost every day...comfortable lounge chairs, 2 hot tubs, calm music, very quiet and you can't hear any of the music from the Lido or noise from Waterworks. I also noticed that, at least on our cruise, the chair hogs aren't as bad. As a matter of fact, hubby and I went there one day and there was only one lounge available so I took that and he took a chair. When the gentleman next to me (he was using his laptop) was getting ready to leave, he offered his lounge to my husband. I saw many people do that and it was so nice and thoughtful. RE kids...the first day, despite the multitude of "Adults Only" signs, there was a young boy in one of the hot tubs and a Carnival employee asked him to leave. His parents said, "just say you are an adult." L Gee, wonder where they will think he learned it when he lies to them??? Anyway, they left and all was serene again. Dinner that evening: we were seated at a table for 10 but only a mother and daughter showed up each evening so it was always 6 of us. I'll do a review of the dining room food as far as I can remember. Here is where my sinus infection disturbed the cruise...I was in pain a couple of nights and was so busy sipping ice water to ease up the pain that I didn't take pics or mental notes on how things were. I will do the best I can and also send this review to my cousin before I post so she can make notes on what she and her hubby had. I remember French onion soup which was delicious as usual as well as the Beef Barley. Cousin had the chilled strawberry one and didn't care for it but I think this is an individual taste one as I've had friends rave over it. For me...I wouldn't touch it, LOL. I has the prime rib on formal night and it was beyond great...so tender and done perfectly. I ordered the fish and my husband ordered the lobster and shrimp and we shared the prime rib. We enjoyed everything...too much. Hubby said it's Maine lobster now so much, much better (he's a New Englander so go figure) and cousin raved over the shrimp. Everyone who ordered the stuffed mushrooms loved them. The teriyaki ribs were tender and delicious. Deserts: Baked Alaska was delish as usual, hubby said apple pie was good as was the cheesecake (I ordered the cheesecake as well and thought it wasn't as good as in the past but, again, not feeling well so that could have affected me), cousin and hubby had the melting cake and they both liked it, cousin had the Grand Marnier Souffle and really, really liked it. Our waiter's name was Dennis...don't know his assistant's name as he was sick the first night so we missed introductions. Dennis was phenomenal... attentive and covered the stress of being on his own well. Service was especially slow the first night and I explained to my cousin that was because of the lack of his partner...threw everything off. Overall, we enjoyed each dinner in the dining room because the food and service were terrific. Show that night: Welcome Aboard Show and then a comedian who said he would have an R rated show at midnight the next night. Both okay and entertaining but not fabulous. Key West: Ordered room service the night before of cereal, fruit, and bagels...everything was right on time. Hubby decided to stay onboard as he could not handle the walking. He spent the day relaxing on Serenity and some quiet time in the hot tub. We got off the ship by about 8am and just walked around and shopped a bit since we were going to come back for the weekend. IMPORTANT NOTE: we docked at the military port so we had to take a trolley in to town and back (10 minute ride). On the way back, there is a stop where they search your bags and check your sail and sign card AND picture ID. There was an NCL ship docked at Mallory Square and when we walked there to look around, cousin's hubby found some local fisherman and borrowed some equipment and hung out with them for 3 hours. He was in heaven. I headed back to the ship alone to have lunch with hubby. He was going to do the Mongolian Grill but the line was too long for him to be able to stand in so he grabbed us a table and I got us cheeseburgers and fries. We went up to Waterworks after that for a bit but we were both tired so we headed to our room and ended up taking a nap. I know, I know...fogies!! LOL Hubby got up and did some gambling before dinner and I took my shower early so my hair would dry. We got gussied up and headed to formal dinner. Saw lots of people having their picture taken and just having a good time with dressing up. After dinner, I headed back to our room to change...I like warmer clothes for the show rooms. The show this night was "Shout." It was good if a bit cheesy in parts. I can't remember if it was this night or not but one evening we came out of the dining room and one of the showgirls was taking pics with guests...you weren't supposed to take your own pics but I did before I realized. I now have a pic of our hubbys surrounded by feathers...drooling, LOL. Cousin and I headed to Serenity that evening but they had roped it off for a couple who had won a contest...private dinner and music on the Serenity...nice! We popped into the lounge and caught some karaoke. What can I say...they really need to pay these people as they provide 10 times the laughs and fun of some of the hired entertainers, LOL. We walked in just before a guy started singing Baby Got Back surrounded by one skinny chick and several babies with backs dancing said backs off, LOL! It was the most fun...we really laughed. We stayed through a few songs and then I headed to bed. Cozumel: Hubby and I had breakfast on the Lido...eggs, sausage, bacon, toast, potatoes...everything was good. We docked at Punta Langosta... we debated and debated about whether or not my husband could make the walk along the pier to catch a cab. He really missed us the day before so he decided to go and risk the pain. By some miracle, when we got off the ship there were the local guys who have those rickshaw/bikes so he rode in style all the way in. After tipping him, we each took a turn in the restrooms then went up the escalator, walked past the mini-mall like stores, down an escalator and got a cab to Chankannab for $10 total for all four of us. The driver even left without filling up the van. Chankannab was $28 apiece for admission, snorkel rental, a buy one get one drink coupon, and a t-shirt. If you want to be able to go in a pool as well as the ocean and you want to see the dolphins, go to Chankannab. If you just want to snorkel and have a beach day, go to Paradise Beach. I went there a few years ago with friends and I liked the lounge chairs and facilities better plus it's free and you just have to rent your snorkel stuff or pay a few bucks to use the water trampoline and iceberg. I'm glad we went to Chankannab though because it was the deepest water I've ever snorkeled in and that was pretty neat. Also saw a canon below me! We really had a good time and the weather was good as it was overcast so no blazing heat. As the park was closing, we got showered and dressed and headed back to the port. My cousin wanted to get some fajitas so we asked the driver where to go that was near the port and he pointed out Costa Brava, which was just behind the port/mall building. Before we headed there, we spotted this guy with a sort of hut against a wall with monkeys and snakes inside. He charged my cousin $5 for she and her husband to hold the animals and he took pics of them with their camera. First was a monkey and I was taking pics too and we got some great, neat shots. Then there were two huge snakes draped over her hubby...I took pics from a distance. There was a sign talking about how they were there to educate the kids about wild animals...not sure if that was true or if it was there for people like me who enjoyed seeing them but felt extreme guilt at the leashes strapped around the monkeys. There were also some local men there dressed in (I assume Mayan) costumes dancing for tips...didn't get a chance to watch them too much. We headed to the restaurant and had a really good meal including pork tacos, beef tacos, chips and salsa, shrimp fajitas, chicken quesadillas, fried shrimp, a margarita, and GLASS BOTTLED Pepsi and7-up. Everything was really, really good. It was $85 for the 4 of us which we thought was a bit high until we talked to our dinner table mates who had gone to Senior Frog and their bill was the same for just the two of them. After that, we did some shopping right around the port, took some pics of our ship lit up, and took a walk before heading back onboard. After showering, we headed to the theatre where they had a balancing performer called Lubo. He dropped quite a few things, quite a few times. The ship wasn't moving yet. We renamed him Lamo. Ok, not nice but...he was really not on his game that night. After that was a comedian who was quite funny. He also announced a midnight show for the next night that was R rated. Cousin and hubby went to that and said he was pretty funny. After the show, we split up but met back up on the Lido for the Mexican Buffet. I have to say that it was not as good as it was in the past. The tacos were filled with something tomatoish and cold...weird...instead of the usual beef. I think everyone enjoyed the rest okay but the tacos were the main thing and I saw several tables where the tacos were uneaten. It's not like we needed to cram in more food, lol, but a lot of food was wasted that night. At sea day: Hubby and I got up early enough to enjoy breakfast in the dining room. We were seated at a table with 4 other couples. To our left a couple who had the best category of suite on the ship, then a New Yorker and his Russian wife, then a soft spoken couple, then a Canadian couple. Well, right off the block the guy from NY starts slamming Carnival...don't like this, don't like that...Seabourn is better...more staff to each passenger...blah blah blah...and Seabourn is only a few bucks more than Carnival. Well, naturally, first thought is, then why are you here?? Second thought was, Seabourn only a few bucks more??????????? NO! So the suite couple said they had priced Seabourn and it was $9500. Yeah, that shut him up...for a moment. Then he starts in on what suite they are in and why aren't they in the better suites on the Verandah deck and the Verandah deck is ALL suites and why did Carnival tell them they got the best suite when they didn't and to call Carnival and complain and he GUARANTEES that they will get $200 or $300 refund. Ok, at that, I'd had it. I spoke up and asked the suite couple, did you request the best suite category? They said, yes. I said, nicely, you got it. I am on the Verandah...it is not all suites...I am in an inside cabin. Yes there are suites but the one you are in is larger and is the top category. Yes, Verandah is a higher deck but you have the largest cabin, I promise. I said, I'm hooked on cruising and read the brochures cover to cover and read up on everything online. So Obnoxious says, so you're in the travel industry? And I said, no, I do residential cleaning, LOL. So then he starts asking what other cruise lines everyone has done and how many cruises and I said this was my 7th and all with Carnival as you can't beat what you get for the price. So then he rants about how money is nothing...he's got money...he likes all inclusive resorts because it includes the booze...they already have a $700 bar tab so he prefers all inclusive BUT money is no object. Whatever! Ok, so here comes one of those moments like when you're driving and someone is speeding and acting like a nut and you think, where are the cops?? And then down the road you see them pulled over and it's like that once in a lifetime thing...it happened to Mr. Obnoxious...last day...cousin and I are at the info desk resolving an issue (more on that later) and Mr. O is there with wife AND...drum roll please...his credit card had been DECLINED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Oh, happy day...there is justice in the world!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! As for the food, I had French toast for the first time on a cruise and it was delish. Hubby had eggs benedict and so did the Canadian lady. She said that usually it has a sauce. I thought that was strange because I've had that it does have a sauce. Then hubby told me later it wasn't very good. He got the same thing the next morning and it was much better and had the sauce. It appeared to have been overcooked the first time. Everything else was very good. After breakfast, we headed to the Serenity deck. We relaxed on lounge chairs under an overhang where you can avoid the sun if you so choose. Hubby said he wanted to go gamble and I wouldn't let him because I didn't want to stay alone but then my cousin showed up so I told him he could get lost, LOL. She and I laid out and read for awhile and then we headed for the Lido to find her hubby...we wanted to enter him in the Hairy Chest contest. J We could not find him right away so we sat on a bench by the pool to watch the entertainment...I have 2 complaints about this...1. Lots of lounge chairs with just a towel or book the whole time we were there...darn chair hogs!...so my cousin finally got one off a stack and squeezed it in an empty spot only to be glared at L 2. The stage is difficult to really see unless you are one deck up...it started to rain a little and they put up some material on the side and that, of course, made it worse. My recommendation is, if you really want to see what's going on on the stage, head up to the next level. Anyway, we finally found her hubby and sent him to enter the contest along with...about 13 other guys!LOL Cousin went up to the stage so she could take pics and I waited until it was her hubby's turn and then I stood on the hot tub stair so I could see. I have to make a confession here...Cousin's hubby is a true extrovert and I really thought he had an excellent chance of winning. I've had friends win contests onboard but this would have been the FIRST ship on a stick in the family. Sadly, her hubby didn't win so my quest goes on. Maybe I need to be more of a joiner and not go to bed so early so I can up my chances, LOL. We did get a huge laugh out of the contest and the lady judges were just too good...they coordinated what they were going to do with each contestant and made it really fun for everyone. After the contest, we headed in to get some lunch. The buffet and Mongolian Grill were closed so we got in line and got cheeseburgers and fries. A GOOD TIP HERE: where the hamburger grill and the Mongolian grill meet, they had put out food that had been on the buffet...pot roast, mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese, fried chicken, etc...so if you're late to lunch and don't want a burger or sandwich, be sure to take a peek there before getting in line. So yes, we already had cheeseburgers and we each filled up another plate with the buffet food. Don't worry though...those cheeseburgers did not go to waste. J We rolled off the Lido and went straight to the gym and worked out. Yeah, right!!LOL We went shopping of course and then I headed back to my room to pack as the suitcases have to be out by 11 instead of midnight. Something new for me here was the zone tags you have to put on your suitcase. It's a good concept but, as usual, everyone ignored the zone calls and just crowded the stairs and halls first thing in the morning. L Dinner that evening was enjoyable as usual and we spent some time chatting with Dennis afterwards. The show that night was called Livin' in America and, although I'd seen it before, I thoroughly enjoyed it. Debarkation: We headed to breakfast in the dining room about 8:30 and really enjoyed it. We waited in the Library while they were calling zone numbers and just waited until the line had totally died down until we left the ship. After we retrieved our luggage (it's now on revolving belts like an airport and sectioned by zone numbers), we got a porter and he took us through customs and out to the curb. Cousin and her hubby went to walk to the garage while we waited with the luggage but there are shuttles to take you and your luggage to the garage. Some Notes: Room service. We ordered this twice. The roast beef and brie...still delish. Hubby liked the tuna on English muffin but I didn't...too much celery and I hate celery. Shrimp salad on a roll was very good. Hubby said Reuben was great. The chocolate cake...what can I say...I honestly thought someone was going to find me dead from being overstuffed and I'd have a fork in one hand and a plate with chocolate cake in the other...it was that good!!!! Pizza: I found someone who doesn't like it...my cousin! I don't think I've ever heard anyone who didn't love it but she did not care for the crust. It tasted the same to me as usual so it just must not appeal to her. As I said previously, I really wanted her first cruise to be special for my cousin. Unfortunately, she had an experience I have never encountered on a Carnival cruise. 3 separate times she was given a brusque almost rude response by an employee. The first time was when she noticed a light on the phone in her room...it was the one near an envelope icon. She called me and asked what it meant and I said I didn't know but maybe it meant there was a message for her and to call the info desk and ask. She did so and the woman who answered said, "We don't have a message service Ma'am. Just hang your phone up correctly." What does having your phone hung up have to do with the little light??? The second occasion was when she and my hubby went to the Mongolian Grill just as it was closing and one of the guys told them in a rude tone that it was closed. The third was when she went to get a sandwich just as that section was closing. She got in line as there were people waiting for sandwiches and again, she was told it was closed in a rude tone. Those incidences paled in comparison, however, to what happened on our last night. Cousin decided to get a copy of her bill as she had not received one yet. She noticed 3 separate bar charges that she had not made and they added to $80. Apparently, on each occasion the number was taken down wrong and it came up as her hubby's card and the person, surely seeing his name on the receipt, signed away. They told her at the info desk that they would have to look into it and get the receipts and to come back in the morning...the last morning when it's a madhouse. I went with her and, with a little bit of coercion, all 3 charges were taken off. Here's what bothered me about the whole thing: I could understand the need for an investigation and a need to see the receipts IF the charges had been made in a bar or on the deck or in a lounge, etc. I'm sure lots of people have tried to pull a fast one by saying, I didn't make these charges! However, all 3 of the charges were made in the dining room at dinner time...and it wasn't our table or even our dining room!!! I think if a charge is made from a stateroom that is not yours or a table to which you are not seated...why do you have to jump through hoops and wait for receipts to resolve the issue??? There was obviously a mistake and let's just correct it without the passengers having to struggle past the huge lines of people with luggage trying to debark and then struggle back though them to get to their waiting point. It just left a bad taste in my cousin's mouth and doubts about cruising again. We both said to each other maybe they need to upgrade to some sort of scanner for the cards if people are going to cheat like that. These weren't huge horrible incidents but it made me sad because I just wanted things to be as perfect as possible for her and these situations spoiled that a bit. In conclusion: Overall we had a terrific time, as usual. I just don't think you can beat the quality and value of Carnival. I wish I was onboard now instead of just reminiscing, LOL. Read Less
Sail Date October 2008
This is my ninth cruise on Carnival. Have also been on Holland America and Celebrity. I choose Carnival for the "fun" that goes on into the wee hours as I am quite a night owl. This particular, rather brief cruise, did not ... Read More
This is my ninth cruise on Carnival. Have also been on Holland America and Celebrity. I choose Carnival for the "fun" that goes on into the wee hours as I am quite a night owl. This particular, rather brief cruise, did not disappoint. Traveled with a friend and was looking for an escape from work and home stresses. The cruise did just that. Embarkation: A flight from Virginia to Ft. Lauderdale and brief transport by bus to Miami went smoothly and got us pierside by 1:00 PM. No lines; on Lido Deck within 20 minutes. Stateroom: The Imagination has just undergone a complete renovation and looks wonderful. Our outside cabin was lovely but much smaller than expected. Other than twin beds (heavenly!), the only other furniture was a straight-back chair. The built in desk and closets provided plenty of storage space though. Dining: Had asked for early dining but got late instead. No complaints after meeting our tablemates who made the evening meal delightful. Food was good but not great. Soups, salads and desserts were exceptional. We had breakfast and lunch on the Lido Deck. Great variety. Omelet station was divine. Entertainment: The shows were pleasing as were the performances by two comedians. Comedians gave X-rated shows at midnight which drew a large, mostly 20 & 30-something crowd. Activities: Something going on all the time: Bingo, ice-carving, hairy-chest contest, live music, dance lessons, etc. It would be hard not to find something to do on this ship. Service: Rarely saw the room steward but room always immaculate. Love the towel animals left every night. Wait staff in dining room were friendly and attentive. Lots of singing and dancing at the close of the meal. Excursions: We took the Ghost Tour in Key West. Highly recommend. In Cozumel, we went on the Submarine Tour which gave a fascinating glimpse of coral reef. Both excursions were booked through Carnival. Only complaint - not enough time in Key West. Disembarkation: Smooth. At airport by 10:30 AM. Summary: The ship is spic and span - much more beautiful at night when the lighting is spectacular. The cruise director (Karl) was fabulous and deserves his award as best cruise director in the fleet. Two port calls and one day at sea - perfect for a short getaway. Read Less
Sail Date October 2008
Carnival Imagination Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 3.5 4.1
Dining 4.0 3.7
Entertainment 4.0 3.6
Public Rooms 4.0 3.9
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.8
Family 4.5 3.8
Shore Excursion 3.0 3.7
Enrichment 3.0 3.3
Service 4.0 4.2
Value For Money 5.0 4.0
Rates 3.0 4.3

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