224 Miami to Caribbean - Western Carnival Imagination Cruise Reviews

Embarkation Slow and painful. Took us about 1.5 hours. I will say there was a mix up in our cabins and they handled it quickly and with minimum pain. I really don't want to blame CCL either....I think it was more Port Authority. ... Read More
Embarkation Slow and painful. Took us about 1.5 hours. I will say there was a mix up in our cabins and they handled it quickly and with minimum pain. I really don't want to blame CCL either....I think it was more Port Authority. Cleanliness Wow is all I can say. This was our first cruise so I have nothing to compare it with, but it was way above what I thought possible. the simplest details seemed to be fixed instantly. Cabin Clean and ready. I had one on the Rivera and one on the Empress. Other than the Empress having pool towels and robes they were great. I did not like our porters that much. from these boards and friends I expected more. We actually even didn't know who they were til late in day 2. Dining We all four agreed the food was more then we could ever expected. Oh and we tried it all. The Spirit dining room and our waiter Luko were great. If we ordered a steak med it was med. Breakfast and lunch were in the Pride dining room and well were very good, but the waiters seemed to care less. Not that it was terrible, but it was not very friendly....my .02. The lido deck and Horizon bar and grill were well what I called really good hospital cafeteria food quality. The pizza bar was a let down. We had seen all the board hype about the pizza so we were expecting some Wolfgang Puck stuff and it was well ok!!!! The Sushi bar was good, but when it opened the line was long. room service was NINJA QUICK. Good and great at 3 AM. Entertainment was good. Not great!!!! The best entertainment was as previous people said Karaoke nite in the Xanadu.........OMG I never laughed so hard. Overall Well as our first cruise it was GREAT!! I AM HOOKED. Read Less
Sail Date May 2007
For the most part, out cruise on the Imagination on 4/28 was wonderful. For the price, there was no way we could have gotten such a great vacation any other way. There were a few annoyances, but every vacation has them and nothing annoyed ... Read More
For the most part, out cruise on the Imagination on 4/28 was wonderful. For the price, there was no way we could have gotten such a great vacation any other way. There were a few annoyances, but every vacation has them and nothing annoyed us so much as to prevent us from sailing with Carnival again. Lets get the minor annoyances out of the way first. The pool was way too small. There was only ever room for the drunks so it was hard to really relax in. The dance floor in the dance club was also way too small, so unless you liked getting elbowed by drunks, stay clear. The ship also had the obsession with constantly flashing lights. In the dance club it was just obnoxious. Yes flashy lights are a part of clubs - but they took it to extremes. They then carried this over to the dinning room during the staff's entertainment (which was always bad). This may not be a big deal for some - but if you get migraines avoid these two places. The biggest annoyance, however, was the policy on buying those pictures they take of you all over the ship. Before you can buy any size picture, you first have to buy the $22 8 x 10. Who needs that many 8 x 10 pictures of themselves? Why could I not just buy 2 5 x 7's of different pictures for my parents? Just did not make any sense. Instead of making some money off of me they just wasted all of that film. Makes no sense to me and no one in my party bought any. Food and drinks - This was hit and miss. Some things I tried were wonderful, most were just ok. The fresh fruit and deserts were the high marks here. Alcoholic drinks were always weak, unless you paid $12 for the double, and we always had to wait way too long for them. You also have to pay $3.50 for a bottle of water, which seemed a bit excessive to me considering how bad the tap water tasted. Room - never try to fit 3 adults into an ocean view room. We tripped all over each other, but that was our fault. The room would have been more than adequate for 2 adults and was always kept clean do matter how badly we trashed it. Staff - Everyone we encountered was always happy and willing to help. Many people complain about how no one speaks English. I, on the other hand, liked that there was such a big variety of people working the ship. It only ever became a problem if you asked someone a question that was our of their department or if you had a custom request. Overall we loved it. Was it perfect? No, of course not. Was it more that worth the price we paid? Most definitely. Will I cruise Carnival again? Yes. Read Less
Sail Date April 2007
Carnival Imagination 4/28/2007 - 5/3/2007 M7 Grand Cayman & Ocho Rios Embarkation: My girlfriend and I (both 23) flew out of LGA to MIA the morning of the cruise. We had no flight problems and had our luggage by 9:30. We took a ... Read More
Carnival Imagination 4/28/2007 - 5/3/2007 M7 Grand Cayman & Ocho Rios Embarkation: My girlfriend and I (both 23) flew out of LGA to MIA the morning of the cruise. We had no flight problems and had our luggage by 9:30. We took a taxi ($24) to the Port of Miami which took about 15-20 minutes. We arrived at the port pretty early and were standing outside of the terminal for about 30 minutes before we were aloud in the building. Checking in took about less than 5 minutes. The only mildly frustrating part was actually waiting to get on the ship. There were still people getting off the Imagination at about 10:30 am. We were sitting in the upstairs lobby of the terminal for at least an hour and a half until we were aloud on board. Took our pre-cruise picture and we were on the ship around noonish. Stateroom: We had an oceanview 2 porthole stateroom on the Main Deck (M7). This room felt a bit smaller than M8 on the Fascination but it was still a decent size. We had brought some beverages on board and left a note for our cabin steward requesting an extra ice bucket and received the big bucket that they serve the beer in on the tanning decks which was a perfect size. The bed and pillows were very comfortable as expected. The bathroom was standard, nothing special but did the job. My only complaint about the room was a metal clanking or rattling noise coming from somewhere outside of the window intermittently. I really didn't hear it except for at night and it wasn't that bad. I tried getting my steward to hear it one time but obviously it disappeared when he came in. The room was pretty steady for the most part but the night we left Ocho Rios and rounded Cuba on the way back to Miami, it was a bit rough. It wasn't just our room though, pretty much the whole ship. Our waiter said this happened a lot when leaving Jamaica and heading back to Miami. Our cabin steward, Rommel, always kept our room as tidy as possible even though we sometimes left it a mess when leaving for our port of call or to the pool. Kudos to him. He and the rest of the steward in our hallway were always very friendly and said hello when we passed by. State of Ship: The Imagination was always very clean and it seemed like an employee was always cleaning or maintaining something throughout the ship. Since I had been on the Fascination twice, the layout and deck plan of the Imagination was very familiar to me. It is simple enough even for a first timer I feel as well. It is not a small ship by any means but also not comparable to today's super liners. I feel the Fantasy class ships are just right. I feel like the seating configuration in the main lounge could be better but obviously that is not going to change at this point. There are a couple of pools on the Imagination, the main pool with the water slide, and two in the back of the ship, one of them being a kiddy pool. We mostly hung out at the back pool since it was less crowded and less noisy. The water could be a bit warmer and I would have preferred fresh water instead of saltwater in the pool but most cruise ships use saltwater. Finding a couple of deck chairs was never a problem. I am not a gambler at all but since I ran into a little luck on my last cruise, I decided to play again this time. All the dealers that I dealt with at the roulette table were all polite and nice people but a bit quiet. Not really a complaint, more of just an observation. Dining: Overall, I felt the food on board was pretty solid. There was definitely a good choice in food throughout the ship but also not overwhelming. My one gripe is that there is no on board deli on the Imagination. I did not have one bad meal on the cruise, everything was good to great. We went to the dining room every night and all the dinners I had were very good. I had three different steaks during the cruise; filet mignon, Chateaubriand, and New York Strip. All were cooked to order and very good. The boneless ribs I had were amazing, very juicy and flavorful. I was a bit disappointed on the lobster I had on Formal Night, it was good but rather small. Our dining room waiter was pretty good but less attentive and engaging as our previous waiter on the Fascination. He did a good job nonetheless. I know I could have ordered another one but didn't feel like waiting for it. In terms of breakfast, we went to the buffet twice, used room service twice, and the dining room once so we got to experience every type. We got our room service on the time specified on our door handle which was good. The buffet breakfasts all your favorites including pancakes, eggs, bacon, sausage, Canadian bacon, omelets, cereals, croissants, and fruits. The lunch buffet was very good as well with different items everyday. There was also burgers, fries, and hot dogs always available during lunch time. There was also the Grand Gala Midnight Buffet held at the dining room which featured beautifully designed food and ice sculptures and the Mexican Midnight Buffet. I was very pleased with the dining experience overall. Ports of Call: We arrived in Grand Cayman knowing we were tendering to the island. We had booked an excursion on our own and had an early meeting time on the island. We were told the night before that we had to pick up a ticket at one of the lounges to determine when we could get off the ship by tender. We arrived at the lounge at the specified time and found that it was completely empty. We found out through other people that they were meeting at a different lounge to get off the ship. I was a little ticked off at this since we were specifically told one lounge the night before but we were supposed to be somewhere else. Nonetheless, we got to the island in plenty of time. We had time to spare so we stopped at a bakery on the main road and got a bottle of water and used their computer which had free Internet access. I don't remember the name of the place but you just have to turn left when exiting the pier and walk for about 5 minutes. We booked our excursion with Captain Marvin's. It was $35 USD per person for snorkeling, swimming with the stingrays at Stingray City, transportation, and drinks on the boat. I highly recommend this company. We read reviews of them prior to the cruise and we were not disappointed. It was a lot cheaper than booking through Carnival and we a great time. While at Stingray City, we noticed that the other present groups were much larger (at least 30). Our group with Captain Marvin was only about 15 people and it seemed like a much better experience. We had 2 guides with us along with a girl recording video footage for a DVD that could be purchased after the tour. It provided a lot better interaction with the guides and the stingrays. The stingrays are very friendly by nature so do not be alarmed when they swim right up to you and brush up against your legs. Stingray City is not to be missed when going to Grand Cayman. After our excursion, we had lunch at one of the local bar/cafes. The food was pretty good (conch fritters/ fish & chips/chicken fingers) but a bit on the expensive side. The US Dollar does not go as far in Grand Cayman, $1 USD = $0.85 Cayman. Grand Cayman was a very nice experience overall, it was clean island with friendly people. Ocho Rios docks right at the pier so no tendering is necessary. As opposed to the flatness of Grand Cayman, the terrain of Ocho Rios was very hilly and filled with trees. It was a beautiful site when getting off the ship. We booked our excursion through Marva Shaw, a local tour guide that we read good reviews on prior to the cruise. Marva is one of the nicest people you will ever meet and we were glad we booked with her. Our tour in Ocho Rios was also $35 per person and much cheaper compared to Carnival excursions. My girlfriend and I were the only ones with her that day. We began the day at Dunn's River Falls and the entrance fee of $15 was already included in our fee with Marva. The Falls were absolutely beautiful and a bit intimidating at first glance. Like in Grand Cayman, we had 2 guides with us along with a girl recording video footage for a DVD that could be purchased after the tour. One of the guides held everyone's digital cameras so he could take our pictures while climbing up the Falls without getting it wet. He remembered our camera after only pointing it out once and he was holding at least 10-15 cameras at the same time. We also brought a waterproof disposable camera. The actual climb was not easy but not too difficult as well. Some of the rocks were very slippery and the water is rushing down quite hard in places so you have to be pretty careful climbing up. I did not witness it myself, but there was a woman who broke her leg while climbing up the Falls about an hour after we completed it. After the Falls, we went to Mahogany Beach which was about 15 minutes away. It was a beautiful, small beach with a bar, restaurant, and different water activities such as jet skiing and a banana boat for a fee. It was a nice, relaxing beach and we spent a couple of hours there before getting back on the Imagination. Just on a side note, motorists in both Jamaica and Grand Cayman drive on the left side of the road like in the UK, so always keep that in mind. I was reminded this but found myself looking the wrong way at times out of habit. Entertainment: I cannot compare to other cruise lines since I have only been with Carnival but I feel like they do a great job overall. We attended one of the Broadway style shows, I think it was called "Shout" and it was based on 60's music which was very entertaining. The "Carnival Legends" show which featured guests impersonating music icons such as Frank Sinatra, Aretha Franklin, and James Brown, among others was also very fun to watch. I cannot comment much on the live band on the ship since I only stopped by the lounge they were playing at for about 5 minutes but they were pretty good from what I could hear. We also attended karaoke, the trivia games, and we were included in the Match Game on stage which was absolutely hilarious, and the Scavenger Hunt, which my girlfriend and I won. There was only one comedy show since he did not make it to Miami in time for the cruise. However, he just barely made the ship about 5 minutes before we left Ocho Rios. He had a show the last night of the cruise and he was hysterical at times. Disembarkation: Disembarking the ship was a snap. We decided to use the self assist disembarkation since our flight was at 11:30am out of MIA. I have read horror stories on self debarkation but did it was a painless experience for us. We were told we could exit the ship at around 8:00am through the PA system and we were past customs by 8:45. We took a taxi from the Port of Miami ($24) and made our flight with a couple of hours to spare. Overall, this was a great cruise at a great price. The 5 nights are a good length but it made me wanting just a little more. I am definitely looking forward to my next cruise with Carnival. Read Less
Sail Date April 2007
I must admit from the beginning, this was my first Carnival cruise, although I have been on almost 20 cruises, and even worked for Carnival once in the early 1990s. This was a cruise with 7 other friends who also live in the Miami area...a ... Read More
I must admit from the beginning, this was my first Carnival cruise, although I have been on almost 20 cruises, and even worked for Carnival once in the early 1990s. This was a cruise with 7 other friends who also live in the Miami area...a lively, fun-loving group...so a Carnival cruise seemed like a natural choice. Also, the price was exceedingly modest. In today's cruising world, it seems like more cruise lines (and cruise ships) are becoming more and more like each other...I've been on three cruises the past three months, and was struck by how the onboard atmosphere of a Carnival cruise is so markedly different...in some good and some bad ways. Friends dropped us at the Port of Miami about 2 p.m., perfect timing for a stress-free embarkation. The process was without incident and we were onboard in less than 15 minutes...the only annoyance and delay being the inevitable photographers trying to take your pictures as you board. The Grand Atrium is awash in Carnival's signature glitz, 90's style. Although flooded with natural daylight through a huge skylight, at night it became alive with crowds of spectators and what seemed like miles of bluish purple neon. The most noticeable aspect of the ship's 1995 vintage was the huge Lucite-encased sculpture...it looked rather dated and should probably be removed. The Imagination in general is a floating theme park, with loud, colorful decor. At first I dismissed the decor but the more I looked, the more clever I realized it really was. Although some elements of the decor screamed 1990s! in general it was cheerful and put everyone in a holiday mood. One area where Carnival truly shines is in the generous size of their staterooms. I've been on Majesty of the Seas and Sun Princess this year, and the Carnival stateroom was by far the most generous, even bigger than the balcony cabin I had on Sun Princess. Category 5A, located at the very front of Upper Deck, has 2 portholes versus the normal picture window in most other outside cabins. The cabin features the new Carnival Comfort bed which truly lived up to its name. The bathroom was also very generous in size, with a large tiled shower. My only gripes in the bath were the tacky "trial size" basket of amenities, which were never replenished. I did, however, like the liquid soap and shampoo dispenser in the shower. Everything in the cabin was in very good shape, considering the grueling schedule of 4- and 5- day cruises the Imagination makes year-round. All of Carnival's eight Fantasy-class SuperLiners are undergoing renovations beginning this fall to bring them more inline with the current trends in cruising. Probably the major fault these 8 ships have is their lack of many balcony cabins, which seem to be an expected amenity nowadays. They are available in the Category 11 Demi-Suites and the Category 12 suites. I must say that, while pleasant and energetic, the decor was looking a little dated. The ship was exceptionally clean, with the possible exception of the pool deck, which got lots of use during our cruise. What surprised me the most about the Imagination, was the excellent service throughout the ship...almost everyone I encountered smiled and made eye contact. The deck stewards were exceptional...knowing the name of every member of our group within a day or two, even those who were not "regulars". Very impressive. Although the Imagination does not have the myriad dining options of some ships, the traditional fixed dining (we ate at 8:30) in the Pride Dining Room was a nice ritual. I was floored by the quality of the food, and the service, honestly! I've been on some high-end ships that certainly didn't have the quality of service and food I experienced on the Imagination. Our dining room steward(ess), Tatiana, ranks among the best I've ever encountered. She was assisted by Frank, they made an exceptional team. Everything was delivered with a smile to our group, food arrived quickly and hot, always exactly as requested. Wow. The Sun Princess, which I went on 4 weeks after the Imagination, couldn't hold a candle to the service and food on Carnival. One nice touch was the Pizzeria, located in the Horizon Bar and Grill. It was open exceedingly late, and had really excellent pizza. The Horizon Bar and Grill also had good food for a buffet, once again superior to Sun Princess. The decor left a bit to be desired, though. If I had one physical complaint about the Imagination, it would be the incessant music and entertainment on deck, and the generally dirty condition of the Lido Deck and pool area. I think this is more related to the clientele, than the staff however. Speaking of clientele, that is the primary difference I found with Carnival. Obviously many first-time cruisers having a great time! They were an exceptionally raucous group of passengers, made even louder by the loudness of the Imagination, I believe! There was also lots of people roaming the ship inappropriately dressed. And this isn't meant as snobbery, I mean guys wearing no shirts in all the public rooms except the dining room, swimsuits as all-day attire indoors, that kind of thing. There was also a higher energy level than many cruises I've been on, lots and LOTS more drinking (not that I didn't LOL) and LOTS of emphasis on onboard revenue..."inch of gold" sales, the dreaded art auctions, photographers everywhere, "Fun Ship" drink specials hawked all day, etc. It's a finely-tuned product...I was alternately fascinated and horrified by it. Carnival, in my opinion, delivers exactly what they promise, and most Carnival passengers know exactly what to expect, especially on their first cruise. I'll disappoint you on the ports of call, though: I didn't even bother to get off the ship, sorry! In closing, I was MOST impressed by the SERVICE, PERSONNEL, and food. I enjoyed the Imagination cruise even more than I expected, although being with a group of friends definitely enhanced this. If you're looking for a short, high-energy cruise from south Florida, the Imagination may be just for you. Read Less
Sail Date April 2007
Background: This trip was an annual "Beach Girls" trip for a group of women leaving spouses sig others at home. Ages range from mid-twenties to mid-forties. All 6 of us had cruised previously. This was my second cruise with ... Read More
Background: This trip was an annual "Beach Girls" trip for a group of women leaving spouses sig others at home. Ages range from mid-twenties to mid-forties. All 6 of us had cruised previously. This was my second cruise with Carnival and my 7th cruise. We were all in standard outside cabins with window. Rooms had adequate space & storage. Nice bedding - very comfy. Embarkation in Miami: We arrived at the pier at around 11:00 via shuttle arranged through the hotel at a cost of $9 per person. Short line to check in - no-one looked at my competed Set Sail pass and then we were herded to chairs in a waiting area for a short wait of about 30 minutes. HINT: the chairs are lined up in rows that face each other. But they took each row singly - we were sitting facing each other in the chairs and so we ended up split up. Most annoying part of embarkation was that they had some potted palms etc which they pulled out into the hallway and then they took your embarkation photo in front of these. Pretty hokey and it was like fighting your way through a jungle just to get around them. humorous moment - when two of the ladies found that their beds had been made from twins into a queen although they had not requested this. A problem promptly corrected by the room steward! Our dinner seating was at 5:45 in the Spirit dining room with Min as our waiter and Rico his assistant. Our group voted best appetizer at our first dinner as chicken satay; best entree filet mignon. Worst item was the chicken caesar - no-one ordered it rest of trip. Welcome Aboard show was OK and the comedian was pretty funny. At sea day Excellent day at sea - there was some chair saving going on but I did see fellow cruisers not hesitating to move belongings if no-one in the area to claim them. We didn't want to leave the sun for long so we all had cheeseburgers and fries for lunch - really good. My daughter and I who are addicted to coffee found La Vittorio's and had cafe mochas and chocolate dipped strawberries that looked like they were in little tuxedos. Too cute! Yes additional cost - but well worth it to me and cost was less than I would have paid at home. Just as a side note - there are window seats and small tables in this area of the ship on the Promenade deck that are ideal to sit with a book by yourself to read and people watch. Formal dinner - we noted that most cruisers in the dining room made an effort to dress for dinner. Our group ranged from slacks/beaded tops to long formal style gown. We tried prime rib, duck and lobster - all were good but not great. Later we went to the show "Shout" which was good then on to karaoke to listen to the guest try-outs which was pretty much hilarious. If I had to hear "Like A Virgin" once more I might have jumped overboard though! Grand Cayman - we did the Hell / Turtle Farm / StingRay City tour through the ship. Reasonable price and we loved it. First time back to GC since the hurricanes in 2005 - the turtle farm has had some BIG improvements. Normally the water is about chest deep on me at Sting Ray City (5'2") but this day we had some good sized waves although it was gorgeous weather. Dinner in dining room = Best vote at dinner = Wisconsin cheese soup, bourbon honey glazed chicken and apple pie a la mode - excellent. Show = jugglers - I didn't stay - too tired. Ocho Rios Jamaica - We did the Dunn's River Falls / Dolphin Cove snorkel tour through the ship. Two in our group did the dolphin encounter. We loved climbing the falls - it was a great adventure. We did pay $40 for the DVD and felt it was well worth it. I was able to make copies for the entire group. And yes the video was of our entire group of about 20-25 people climbing, singing, etc. We did go through the straw market when leaving the falls to go back to the bus - there were "greeters" trying to entice you into the stalls but not real annoying. It was raining by the time we finished and we walked around Dolphin Cove but decided not to snorkel. In my view Dolphin Cove seemed very artificial with roving pirates, gaudy treasure chests, caged iguanas and the dolphins/sharks in enclosures. Just not my cup of tea. Back at the ship we had room service cheesecake and coffee - yum. Dinner was nothing spectacular - my grouper was under-cooked and I traded it for turkey. Tried the chocolate melting cake and really couldn't see what the fuss is all about. After another relaxing day at sea we went to the last show with fellow cruisers being part of the cast. It was funny and a good time. Disembarked in one of the last groups due to a late flight back to St. Louis. Interesting note - you did have to put luggage outside the room by midnight. And you could order room service for breakfast. We were allowed to stay in rooms until we disembarked which was different than with some cruise lines I've been on. No problems disembarking - we had not pre-arranged a shuttle to the airport but caught one at the door with no problem again $9 per person. Read Less
Sail Date March 2007
We sailed on the Imagination MArch 26, 2007 to March 31, 2007. We left Miami and went to Grand Cayman and Ocho Rios, Jamaica. Absolutely, no complaints. Activities: Were ship wide and there was definitely something foe everyone. Camp ... Read More
We sailed on the Imagination MArch 26, 2007 to March 31, 2007. We left Miami and went to Grand Cayman and Ocho Rios, Jamaica. Absolutely, no complaints. Activities: Were ship wide and there was definitely something foe everyone. Camp Carnival: Wonderful. The staff was excellent with the children. My daughter(6 yrs) feel in love with them quickly. Activities were age appropriate. My son (9 Yrs) became bored with some activities, but he is HARD to please. Food: Awesome, you will not go hungry. Even the pickiest eater will be satisfied. Buffets were great, dining room was excellent as well. Awesome Pizza!! Cleanliness: they were constantly cleaning the ship. Everything was clean. Staterooms were well kept. For being an older ship it is well kept! Rooms: as said prior rooms were clean. We had an oceanview and had more room than expected. Travelling with 4 of us in one room was fine, the kids slept on the pullman beds. Staff: Amazingly friendly, helpful. There is always someone to help you with any questions. POrts of Call: Cayman-was absolutely gorgeous. WE felt very safe walking around and shopping here. Loved the towns Pirate theme. WEnt to Stingray City via Catamaran through CApt Bryans. Awesome excursion. Would definitely visit the grand cayman again. Ocho Rios JAmaica: Went to Dunn River Falls. This place was beautiful. However, we became alittle leery leaving the port. The people outside the port are very aggressive. Yelling, hanging on the port fences. Then the marketplace at the falls, very pushy. they do anything to lore you into the "shops". They try to "give" you items but them want to you to "donate" to them. It is a shame the Jamaica is so beautiful, but the some islanders are so aggressive. Don't let that prevent you form going though. JUst be cautious at all times. Try to avoid making eye contact and always use you polite "no thanks". definitely give Imagination a try. You will enjoy it!! Read Less
Sail Date March 2007
My daughter and I flew with American Airlines from the UK. We stayed in an odd hotel on Ocean Drive for 2 nights before the cruise to allow us to get over any jetlag we may have. The transfers booked by Carnival all went smoothly and ... Read More
My daughter and I flew with American Airlines from the UK. We stayed in an odd hotel on Ocean Drive for 2 nights before the cruise to allow us to get over any jetlag we may have. The transfers booked by Carnival all went smoothly and when we got to the Port there was a small queue to get on the ship. First impression of the inside of Imagination? Well it reminded me of a British holiday camp. The difference being the staff were VERY friendly and even when not on duty they were willing to help direct you to where you wanted to go. Our cabin was larger than I expected and always clean; I loved the toweling animals made each evening and looked forward to seeing what animal would be on my bed when I returned. We ate in the Spirit Dinning room and the food was quite good but I would have liked a more varied menu. The room service was excellent, especially at breakfast times. I dressed up for the formal dinner, it was a shame that not everyone else made the effort. We watched the shows each evening and the dancers were amazing. They were full of enthusiasm and looked as if they thoroughly enjoyed themselves. I would give them a 5* rating. The pool seemed to be full of kids and to be honest I didn't go in it as it didn't look very inviting. But lots of people seemed to be having great fun with the activities based on that deck. In Grand Cayman I went to a place called "Billy Bones" which had a beautiful pool and white sandy beach which was gorgeous, and in Jamacia swam with Dolphins and Climbed Dunn River Falls. I fell in love with Jamacia ...... All in all this was my first cruise, I don't think it would be my first choice of holiday but it did give me a brief insight of different countries and show me that I want to return to Jamacia. Immagination is going into dry dock in October for a complete refit. It will be intersting to see whether it keeps its "quirkiness" or becomes like any other cruise ship.... Read Less
Sail Date February 2007
First, I would suggest taking a taxi from Miami airport to the terminal, not the Carnival provided Greyhound busses. With the amount of time it took for the bus driver to load and unload the luggage, we could have been to the boat in half ... Read More
First, I would suggest taking a taxi from Miami airport to the terminal, not the Carnival provided Greyhound busses. With the amount of time it took for the bus driver to load and unload the luggage, we could have been to the boat in half the time by taxi. It's a couple of dollars more for the taxi, but well worth it. You will also beat the busses to the terminal and the check in lines will be shorter ?. Terminal check in was smooth. Actually, the longest line was the Carnival "pictures takers", because everyone wants their picture taken after a long flight, right?!? They are such a nuisance throughout the cruise. Food was average for Carnival. I was very disappointed to see fellow cruisers in the formal dinning room wearing running shoes, worn shorts, very worn t-shirts and ball caps. I really feel it is up to the staff to enforce the dress code. I should NOT have felt overdressed in a simple summer dress. Our table staff was very nice. I have to give them credit. There was a very elderly couple at our table who were hard of hearing, couldn't seem to read the menu and where obviously raciest. The wife made (very loudly) some very impolite comments about our "foreign" waiter. I was mortified, but he took it in stride and gave the woman excellent service. Customer service gets an A+ Games around the pool are fun! Drink service on the deck was good; actually all the drink waiters were great. Our room was always clean and we never saw the staff going in or out of our room. They cleaned at least twice a day. Grand Cayman. We love to snorkel, so this is the place! We did the trip to Stingray City last cruise. Capt. Marvin charters. Great fun and less expensive if you book online. I would suggest any excursion be booked online and not through the ship, but I think you all know that by now! We got off the boat and snorkeled right off the beach. Behind Burger King is some of the best snorkeling from the beach. Very safe and beautiful island. We will be spending a week here Dec. 2007. Can't wait! Ocho Rios. This was our first trip to Jamaica. The poverty and pushiness of the locals surprised us. I would not go anywhere on that island without a guide/taxi. Margaritaville was fun and safe. Beach was ok, not great. The water was cold because two small streams from the hills empty into the ocean here. I snorkeled. There was some coral and fish if you went out pass the ropes. If you buy a drink at the bar, entrance to the beach is free, although they don't tell you. You have to ask the bartender for a wristband. Otherwise, it is $3 entrance and they wanted $5 for a beach chair, we paid $2. You can haggle the price of almost anything here. We paid half price for everything we bought. Casino table staff were entertaining and easygoing. They give lessons during the day. We also saw the comedy shows and enjoyed them. Clubs are hopping at night! Whatever music you like, you can find. We have cruised with Carnival two times now. The deals were just to good to pass up. We like RC & Norwegian better, as they are more upscale, the food is better, rooms are nicer. There are always more young kids running around on Carnival, more drunk college kids. We know what to expect with Carnival compared to the other lines. Let's face it, you normally get what you pay for. This being said, we have booked another trip on Carnival for Sept. 2007. This will be the deciding cruise for Carnival. We are going on a newer ship, so we will see. Hope for the best! Read Less
Sail Date February 2007
Just got back from 1/11/07 cruise aboard the Imagination to Key West, FL and Calica, Mexico. This was my second cruise, and was previously on Royal Caribbean's Sovereign of the Seas. So any comparisons are made with that ship in mind. ... Read More
Just got back from 1/11/07 cruise aboard the Imagination to Key West, FL and Calica, Mexico. This was my second cruise, and was previously on Royal Caribbean's Sovereign of the Seas. So any comparisons are made with that ship in mind. My girlfriend and I live in the Toledo, OH area so we flew out of Detroit, MI (DTW) to Fort Lauderdale, FL (FLL) the day before our cruise. Only problem on the flight was our connection in Atlanta and had the coldest Wendy's hamburger I have ever had. No waiting at all for check-in or security at Detroit. Arrived in Fort Lauderdale around 5:30 PM and had my Aunt pick us up from FLL. She lives in the area so we did not have to get a hotel for the night and she was able to take us to Miami the next morning. Very convenient for us. Next day, we arrived at Port of Miami around 11:30 AM and easily side-stepped the porters, electing to carry our own luggage on the ship. There was probably a 5 minute wait to check-in and pass through security. Would not have been bad except for the woman who pushed everyone out of the way saying "I have VIP check-in." Within 15 minutes of being dropped off we were walking across the gangway onto the Imagination. We immediately took our luggage down to our cabin on the main deck. Our room steward Guiterrmo greeted us and told us we could drop our bags off and he would get our room ready next since we arrived before all his cabins were clean. I was impressed with the size of the stateroom considering I had only seen the small sizes offered by RC. Room looked extremely clean and new. Then, we headed up to the pool grill on Lido deck to get some lunch but ended up going inside the Horizon Bar & Grill to eat as a short rain-shower was passing overhead. The food for lunch was nothing to write home about. Just standard american hot dogs, hamburgers, etc. After eating we took ourselves on a tour of the ship to become familiarized with areas we would want to use throughout the cruise. Like others have said, a very easy ship to find your way around. We then went back up to pool area and got a couple of the "Fun Ship" special drinks and sat around people watching until we were called for our muster drill. Our muster station was the dynasty lounge which was easy to get to from our cabin. Sat there for 10-15 minutes listening and then we were released. I had heard Carnival is notorious for setting sail while muster drill is in progress but we still hadn't left upon its completion. We hurried to throw our life jackets in our cabin to make it back up to watch the ship pull out of the port. Sure enough, we heard the bow thrusters as soon as we got to the cabin. We practically ran back upstairs and were one of the first people to get on the forward portion of the Sports deck to watch us leave Miami. Once, others were up there I heard several people comment on how stupid it is to leave while everyone is not on the outside decks. I agree with them and on Sovereign every passenger was outside for departing from the dock. After we were out at sea we went to "Game Show Mania" hosted by one of our Assistant Cruise Directors that looked like a clone of Doogie Houser. His nickname was of course "Doogie." Anyway my g/f got up on stage and ended up winning one of the "24K gold plastic piece of ship on a stick" and a bottle of champagne. We were assigned 6:15 dinner seating in the Pride dining room, which I had requested, and were sat a table of 10. Two older couples along with their older children were our table mates. Dinner was very good and of course everyone loved the Warm Chocolate Melting Cake our waiter Thomas insisted we all try. Conversation wasn't too bad but the one family of 4 didn't really let the other 6 of us say too much the first night. After dinner, my girlfriend and I went to the casino just mainly to look around and maybe spend whatever spare change we had. I ended up leaving with $51.00 after putting $5.00 into a slot machine. Not too bad for an unemployed student. After the casino we headed to the "Welcome Aboard" show. Our cruise director Malcolm, was pretty funny, however he almost had no-one left to see him because the Imagination dancers were so horrible many people got up and left during their introduction dance routine to songs with the word "Fun" in them. When Malcolm was done he introduced a very funny comedian, whose name I cannot remember right now. There was a non-english speaking man in the front row and he may have said one to many jokes about the man. Several times the crowd became quiet and I noticed Malcolm go talk to the man after the show. Other than that the show pretty funny but could have done without being told to have fun 8,000 times. After the show was over, we went back out the Sun deck, had a couple drinks and then went to bed for the night as we planned to get off in Key West at 7:30 the next morning. The Carnival Comfort Bed truly was the best bed I have ever slept on and am now considering buying one for myself. We were up bright and early around 6:00 AM and got some quick breakfast at the Horizon then got showered. Went up to Sports deck and watched us come into Key West, then headed down to the gangway to wait to get off the ship. We ended up being the very first passengers off the ship and were surprised no one else was waiting, considering we had to be back on-board at 1:30 PM. Our Conch train left several minutes later with only 8 people on it and we were in downtown shortly. Although most businesses were closed our train driver gave us a coupon for free bottled water and we headed to go explore. We were able to go to Lighthouse, Southernmost Point, Hemingway's House, and all the other touristy areas early in the morning. By the time we were done walking around we went back to Duvall St. to do some shopping and drinking. Wen to to all the famous bars and got some souvenirs. We were planning on snorkeling the next day at Calica so we just kept Key West as a day to shop and what not. By 1:00 we were hungry and ready to go back to ship. We got our free bottle of water and got on the shuttle back to the ship. Our driver, "Louis" was hilarious and made fun of just about anyone we passed on the sidewalks over the PA system saying stuff like "This is a bad part of town." Some of their faces were priceless. After we were back on board, we got some lunch at the Horizon and ate outside looking at the boat traffic around the harbor. We then changed into our swimsuits and went up to "Mickey-Mouse" shaped pool and hot tubs hoping there would be less people there than at the main pool. We were right and easily had chairs and the drink of the day in our hand in no time at all. After sitting out for a couple hours we decided to go take a quick nap before dinner since we had done so much walking that day. This was formal night and after sleeping we really didn't feel like showering again to change into our "nice" clothes so we headed to the Lido deck for some dinner. I asked if there was anyway to get some Lobster Tail in the Horizon and a waiter went to grab a couple from the formal dining room's kitchen. After dinner, we stopped by the casino for just a little bit and then played a round of mini-golf. It was a little rough that night and mini golf was kind of miserable due to the rocking and the high winds. We then went to the Dynasty lounge to wait for the show "Livin' in America" to start. Well, lets just say weren't in there too long as the quality of the show drove out many people just as the Welcome Aboard intro dance had done the night before. Karaoke was not exciting either so we decided to just go sit outside and have a cocktail. Then we went to the Grand Gala Buffet and had a couple desserts. By this time, our feet were killing us from wearing flip-flops all day in Key West and so we called it a night. The next morning we awoke and went to breakfast in the Spirit dining room. Cannot say it was really worth waiting on my food when I could have gone through the Buffet up in the Horizon and been just as happy. Most of the morning we sat out by the pool and waited to get into Calica around 2:00 PM. Once we were getting close we got some lunch then went to the gangway to disembark. This time it was a total night-and-day difference from Key West. I think half the ship was waiting to get off and the line went up several flights of stairs. We took the elevator down and were able to get a lot closer to the front of the line than if we had waited up on Empress deck. As soon as we got off, the wind had obviously continued to pick-up and several people lost hats and sunglasses into the water while they were on the gangway. I was worried our privately booked snorkeling would be cancelled due to waves as Carnival's excursions had already been cancelled. Sure enough our tour company met us at the pier and told us we could still go snorkeling in the cenotes if we wanted to but the reef snorkeling was not happening that day. We declined and decided to just go to Playa Del Carmen for the day. He offered a free ride into town since that was where his dive shop was anyways. We eagerly took advantage of the offer to avoid a $10 cab fare. Most of the day at Playa Del Carmen was spent like at Key West, just shopping and etc. Since most of the shops in Playa Del Carmen are essentially the same thing, it didn't take long to see everything we wanted to see. We ended up find a different dive shop that had a sign advertising a glass-bottom boat. We ended up doing this for only $15 (US) per person after the operator quickly lowered the price to "help us out." It was neat but I would have rather been snorkeling. The trip was about 30 minutes long but it was a nice way to take up some time. After the boat, we bought a couple more souvenirs and then went to the taxi stand and got a cab back the "beautiful" rock quarry of Calica. Once back on board we went to dinner in our dining room and had some excellent chicken. The "old-fashioned" chicken noodle soup tasted like nothing but was quickly made-up for when we again ordered Warm Chocolate Melting Cake from Thomas. We spent the rest of the night walking around the ship, checking out all the different entertainment and activities. Around 10:00 is started to get extremely rough and my g/f who has worked on a ferry for 8 years got seasick for the first time in her life. After that we decided to head back to our cabin for the night. It rocked most of the night but by morning was much better. Again we had breakfast, at the Horizon and then went back to change into swimsuits and grab a deck-chair for our day at sea. Although much calmer, it was still very windy and made it hard to lay out as towels, sunglasses, etc. were constantly being blown everywhere. We each got a couple ice cream cones to cool us off (not like the wind wasn't doing that enough). After spending most of the day outside, we decided to go around the ship to take pictures of everything before it got dark out. We ended up on the topless deck to watch the sun go down. It was very romantic b/c no-one was up there because it was so windy and we were able to sit on the calm side of the funnel and not have the wind blowing us everywhere. Dinner, again was very good and I highly recommend the French Onion Soup if you are on this ship. This last night at dinner all the waiters handed out a watercolor painting of the Imagination and our waiter, Thomas said, "I give you picture of my house." Then said no, wait "This is my house, (pointing to a single window on the painting), this is my yacht (pointing to the entire ship). He told us he was soon being transferred to the Carnival Liberty so any of you cruising on there might get very lucky in the waiter department. After dinner we went to the show "Shout" trying to give the dancers one last try. Ended up sitting with some of our dinner table mates at the show. They left early but we somehow stayed for the rest of the show. The only exciting part was the pyrotechnics used in it. After the show ended we went to the casino to table watch and ran into our table mates again. Talked to them for awhile as they played Roulette. After we left the casino we went to a dessert Buffet in the Horizon and then went to our cabin to pack most of our stuff up. Headed to the R-Rated hypnotist in Dynasty lounge but left early as he was not very entertaining and seemed to purposely use the F-word just because he could. Went back up to Lido deck and had one last Pina Colada/Strawberry Daiquiri half and half. We were up around 7:00 AM and were going to do self-assist debarkation so we just took our luggage to the pool deck with us to eat breakfast. Around 8:15 "Doogie" called for self-assisters to debark and we were easily off-ship, and through customs within 15-20 minutes. Called my Aunt to pick us up as she was planning on arriving around 9:30 since that is what Carnival told her. She was at the pier around 9:00 and took us straight to FLL even though our flight wasn't until 5:12 PM. We only had 30 minute connection in Atlanta and didn't want to risk missing the last flight of the day to DTW. So we decided to try and fly standby on the earlier flights. By the time we got to FLL, Airtran's line was very long so we went to Chili's to eat some lunch. After lunch the line was down and upon checking in asked about standby for earlier Atlanta flights but Airtran offered to put us on direct flight to DTW at 3:00. This worked out fine as FLL security always seems to have long lines, by the time we were through security we only had about 90 minutes to kill until our flight left. I was very impressed with Carnival in all areas, except the live shows. I will definitely cruise them again and already have another one booked. Read Less
Sail Date January 2007
I am 25 years old and this was my first cruise. I had an amazing time! My twin brother and my other roommate cruised with me. We booked this cruise for the price as well as the ports of call (Grand Cayman and Ocho Rios, Jamaica) We arrived ... Read More
I am 25 years old and this was my first cruise. I had an amazing time! My twin brother and my other roommate cruised with me. We booked this cruise for the price as well as the ports of call (Grand Cayman and Ocho Rios, Jamaica) We arrived the day of departure on jetBlue in Fort Lauderdale. We took a limo sedan from FLL-MIA for about $90 (split through 3 was about the same price as any other form of transportation) We arrived at the port at around noon. Getting on the ship was no problem what so-ever and we were on the ship before the rooms were even ready. We went up to the Lido deck and had lunch which was decent. We sat and enjoyed the view of the Miami skyline very excited to get on our way. Around 1:30 we were able to get into our room. Make sure you buy the unlimited Soda Card if you drink a lot of soda like I do. I must have drank over 50 glasses on the cruise, so at $27 dollars it was a bargain (they are $2 normally) Soon after the muster drill started and we were quickly through that and on our way. The first evening consisted mainly of exploring the ship and resting up. In the evening we did a good deal of drinking meandering around the ship and people watching. (we snuck on a bottle of tequila and rum which helped us get buzzed quicker as well as save money ;) We had diner in the Pride Dining room at the 8:30 late seating. We were a little worried about eating diner with strangers, but as soon as we met our table mates all was good. We had an awesome time eating dinner and the food was excellent. Our waitress (alexandra) was awesome. We woke up the next day after enjoying sleeping in. The day at sea was spent relaxing and lying in the sun. That night was formal at the dining room and we opted out and instead at around and had some of the excellent pizza. Throughout the cruise this was the place we ate the most since it was so delicious. The next Day was our first port of call, Grand Cayman. My brother and I had booked a SCUBA diving trip through an outside vendor on the internet. Besides me forgetting everything on board the ship and having to get back on the tender, to get back on the boat and then get back on the island again, it went great and the diving was amazing! The only regret was not being able to spend more time on the island! It was definitely a beautiful place to visit. We got back on board that afternoon and soon after set sail for Ocho rios. Laid out in the sun some more and enjoyed relaxing on the ship. We had diner again at the Pride Dining room with our awesome table mates. Carnival actually pairs you together with people from the same type of demographic so I think that's why we had such a great table. Food again was good and dessert (chocolate molten cake) was delish! We spent the evening in the dance club as well as the karaoke bar. Next day was Ocho Rios. This time all 3 of us went on the shore excursion which we had also bought online before the cruise. We did the Dunns River falls trip first which was awesome. We were one of the first people climbing. We decided not to take a guide since we are young and could climb it by our selves. I was soooo happy we did since we were the first to get up the falls in its pristine condition. After that we walked down again and there were HUNDREDS of people trying to climb them with guides. We then moved on to River tubing which was also lots of fun. Jamaica was nice but everyone is very pushy on the island trying to sell you anything from Bob Marley tapes to Pot. We had a drink at Margaritaville and then got back on the ship. Laid out more in the sun and enjoyed the views as we left jamaica. That night we got drunk since we didn't have to get up to early and hung out with our table mates who we had become our good friends by now. I ended up getting to bed by about 5 AM and getting up for my 9:30 SPA appointment. It was my first massage ever and Was worth the $99 I spent on it. Don't get spa treatments done on the first couple of days because they actually start having specials toward the end of the cruise. I def. recommend The 3- 20 min treatment special I received The last day at sea we again spent relaxing and lying in the sun. We went to diner for the last time and said our sad goodbyes to our friends and waitress. We watched the final performance and then headed off to bed. Disembarking was not too bad even though we waited for a while for them to call our floor. Once that happened we were off the ship and on a cab within a half an hour. Now for some opinions. The ship itself was nice and clean. i never saw anything that was very old or in need of immediate replacement. Our cabin was nice and clean, a good size for 3 people. One complaint was the window was very dirty. The bathroom was nice as well. I suggest that you bring a outlet extender (which we did) since there is only one outlet in the entire room and we needed more than that for all our equipment. Dining like i said was great. Service and food were above my expectations. We never really at much at the buffet because it always seemed crowded. Entertainment was par for the course, and we usually opted to entertain ourselves more than to rely on the ship. Everyone else seemed to have a blast as well. I would def. recommend both shore excursion I did. Overall I had an absolutely wonderful time. I never thought I would have such a fun time on a cruise. People we met were awesome, and the shore excursions and destinations were wonderful. The ship was nice, the staff was great and I got some great relaxation time in as well. If you have any questions, or would like to see some pics I took (I bought an underwater camera case for my digital camera) feel free to email me at rholmgren@gmail.com Read Less
Sail Date January 2007
The Carnival Imagination 5 day cruise to Grand Cayman and Ocho Rios is fantastic! This was my 8th cruise(3rd with Carnival) and my girlfriends 1st ever. We left from Miami, and embarkation was very easy. You go to one line where you show ... Read More
The Carnival Imagination 5 day cruise to Grand Cayman and Ocho Rios is fantastic! This was my 8th cruise(3rd with Carnival) and my girlfriends 1st ever. We left from Miami, and embarkation was very easy. You go to one line where you show your paperwork, they stamp it and swipe your credit card for sail and sign card. You proceed upstairs where you get your stateroom key and sail and sign card. We dropped our bags to the porter outside(1$ a bag tip) and they get it delivered to your room. We got to port of Miami around 11....by noon we were eating lunch at the lido! This is an older ship but is in VERY nice shape...people were constantly cleaning and keeping up with things. Bags arrived around 330 to our room, and we unpacked....muster drill took about 20 minutes then it was up to the Lido deck for the sail away party! Very simple to get a drink, waiters are trained well to try to give you one after the other!! We were matched with 2 other couples our age for dinner and it worked out great. Early sitting, 5:45 spirit dining room. Joey and Bagus were great as our waiters!!! Lobster tail on formal night was excellent. Formal night was really formal, which was great seeing the majority of people really dressed up. Grand Cayman - phenomenal stop, we went to 7 mile beach (sea grape beach) and it was beautiful. Ended up renting snorkels and the snorkeling was fantastic, lots of fish to see. Ate lunch at the bar on the beach Calico Jacks and had a beer. Ocho Rios - First time in Jamaica, best day of the whole trip!! Dunns River Falls is amazing and challenging, definitely rent or bring water shoes!!! We went to Dolphin Cove next where the snorkeling was great...we were feeding the fish and there was like 1000 right in front of you. Jamaicans will try to approach you everywhere you go for tours or to sell you drugs or show you something, just say no thanks and keep walking and its no problem. I told our cab I wanted to meet lobster dave I had met so much about and he knew him, and took me to him!! It is perfectly safe and right next to margaritaville on the water, in a close sightline to the ship and 5 minute walk from the pier. Dave was happy to see us and pleased we found him from the internet. He cooked us delicious lobster for 2, about 6 of them it looked like with a nice side bowl of rice/veggies, and we ate all this with a red stripe. There were another group of cruisers there eating as well...Remember when you walk up to his place it looks a little uneasy but it is safe!!! An experience you will never forget, and it was the best lobster I EVER had. After paying him (very reasonable) we said goodbye and walked 10seconds to next door margaritaville. Great drinks in the pool, would sit there all day long if I could. Entertainment at night was very good with the casino always on, good shows with comedians,jugglers,singing,dancing. Good cruise director Lenny Halliday..there is always something to do. Disembarking was easy, we carried the luggage off ourselves and off the ship by 8:30 and cleared customs by before 9!!!! I will be cruising with carnival again in the near future!! Read Less
Sail Date January 2007
My husband and I travel 12/28/06 to 1/1/07. The plan was to relax and bring in the New Year at Sea. We chose this ship because of the short time line and destinations. The cruise was above our expectations. I have been on other cruise ... Read More
My husband and I travel 12/28/06 to 1/1/07. The plan was to relax and bring in the New Year at Sea. We chose this ship because of the short time line and destinations. The cruise was above our expectations. I have been on other cruise lines and had heard the Carnival line was at the bottom of the cruise line chain. After researching and reading many reviews we decided we would take our chances. I am very pleased we did. This ship was exceptionally clean. My first impression when arriving at our cabin was, that the cabinetry was a bit worn. However the bed was very comfortable. Cabin size for 2 was good. The bathroom was large enough for both of us to be in it at once. (Shower also). Our cabin steward came within the hour after arriving and introduced himself as  Kuwit We asked for a fan and that he keep the ice bucket filled for us at all times. We gave him $5.00 then to show good faith on both ends. He and his housekeeping team we fabulous. Our cabin was cleaned, towels changed twice a day. Sheets changed everyday and the ice bucket and water were always stocked. The service overall on this cruise was A+. Being that we are in our 50s and pretty laid back, we observed more that participated in the planned events. Our observation from the Adult deck or Sports deck looking down on the main pool area showed us a good time being had by all. Children young adults and seniors seem to mesh quite well . The promenade deck was great. Sparkling clean and very comfortable to move about from one club area to another. We are not gamblers, but we did try the slots every night and enjoyed watching the excitement of the card games going on in the casino. We had the 8:00 dinner seating and enjoyed the dinner partners we were assign with. I really like how they match the profiles to create the seat assignments. Of course we tried the 24-hour pizza and salad area, as well as the poolside burgers. The lunch buffet looked as though there was everything from fresh fruits, salads, hot entree and fabulous deserts. The midnight buffet they had one night was a display of culinary creations. It featured ducks made from squash. Sailboats from watermelons Cheese vases with flowers created from many fruits. Not to leave out the pastry creations, WOW. It was awe inspiring just to look at it. The Vegas style shows were very well done. The lounge that they were performed in were set up very comfortably. The wait staff had plenty of room to maneuver without crowding the audience. This group of performer were very professional and very talented. The costumes and sets were done very well. The excursion were handles great. We took the trolley tour of Key West and went to Tullim, Mayan Ruins in Calica . The New Years Eve celebration was fun. They had it on the Lido deck. There was a huge ice sculpture of 2007 with hundreds of bottles of champagne chilling at its base, very dramatic and cool. Band played into the morning. Everyone danced and sang. It was very memorable. Disembarking was uneventful, which is a good thing. We took their shuttle to Ft. Lauderdale Airport, very clean and comfortable. We recommend this ship. Read Less
Sail Date December 2006
This was my 3rd cruise with Carnival. This cruise was heavily discounted so it attracted mostly very pleasant working class, ethnic Florida families and a collection of very rude young couples who wanted to get drunk/smoke from all over US ... Read More
This was my 3rd cruise with Carnival. This cruise was heavily discounted so it attracted mostly very pleasant working class, ethnic Florida families and a collection of very rude young couples who wanted to get drunk/smoke from all over US and wear little clothing. We did not fall into either of these categories as we are a professional 40 something couple from the Northeast. We were shocked at how many children were cruising since it was not a holiday so it required missing several school days. We chose this cruise because of itinerary, price and date of departure. For the money you can't find a better deal, food was good, ship has a perfect easy to navigate layout, cabin was big/clean/basic, and all staff went out of way to be pleasant. Maitre d in the Pride dinning room and his team was as good if not better than we experienced on premium lines (Cunard, Holland America). Spa/fitness area was in need of a face lift, woman's changing area reminded me of a YMCA. Piano bar MIRAGE very fun, during the day this same spot served as a host to tea, a very enjoyable way to get a snack between meals and enjoy fine quality piano playing. We enjoyed some duty free shopping onboard. Surprisingly, a scheduled trivia game was never held without any explanation, 20 of us are still wondering why we wasted 30 minutes of our life waiting for it. This was management failure of the Cruise Director, Lenny. We explored Key West independently and in Calica, MX we chose the Talum coach tour from Carnival. The later was excellent if one enjoys history/culture, it is an experience of a lifetime to see these amazing structures and impressive cliff top. One should be aware there is an excellent sandy beach at the foot of the ruins, so if you enjoy swimming, bring/wear a bathing suit. There is a series of steep well made wooden steps to get to the beach therefore it is not accessible to all. The walk from the bus parking lot to the Mayan site is about 10 minutes, there is a trolley for $2 that is a round trip ticket, we chose to walk in but still was charged the $2 to return so would recommend just taking it both ways, since the walk in was on a poor surfaced road and uninteresting. Our tour guide was also our guide at the ruins, Manuel was excellent and spoke English better than most of the people we were cruising with on the Imagination. There is a sneaky shopping stop they slip in enroute to Talum, some of our fellow guests did not bring money/credit card for this and wish they had known. It is a touristy kiosk with masks, hats, ornaments, etc. all certified to be authentic. I would only recommend this cruise if you travel in a large group or are a young fun loving/rowdy couple. If you don't care about noise, don't mind being bumped into without an excuse me or if you don't mind being up late at night (late meaning 3am) than this may be the cruise for you. Even families stayed up late, children were running in halls at 2am after late night buffets/baby sitting services ended. We even had the unusual incident of domestic abuse onboard, a young couple had to be separated and the man was locked up by security. This is not a cruise for anyone who wants to have a restful escape, it is for people who want to mingle with the general masses at a cost effective price and to be served by the one of the kindest teams at sea. For the most part we knew what we were getting into from internet reports (that is why I share now) and from past cruises. The surprise was the excess amount of kids and the lack of supervision of them, we expected the young rowdies. It served our purpose as a cheap way to see campy cool Key West and awe inspiring Mayan Ruins, but next time we think we will pay a little more to get a bit more rest/relaxation, we did not get a full night's rest and were awoken every night. Need a vacation after our vacation ! Read Less
Sail Date November 2006
We arrived in Miami on Friday night and stayed at the La Quinta on LeJuene Road. No problems with the hotel, great prices, free shuttle to the airport and port transfers and free continental breakfast. Only minor issue was the noise from ... Read More
We arrived in Miami on Friday night and stayed at the La Quinta on LeJuene Road. No problems with the hotel, great prices, free shuttle to the airport and port transfers and free continental breakfast. Only minor issue was the noise from the planes, but the rate, transfers and breakfast made up for this. As a note, when you arrive at the hotel and sign up for the port transfer, make sure they write down the number of travelers using the port transfer service. Family of 31 from Arizona had a minor issue, because the front desk only put down the room numbers and not the number of travelers, so this added to their port departure time and other airport pickups, but they made it in plenty of time. Embarkation- We left the hotel around 10:15a.m. and arrived at the port around 20 minutes later. We dropped our bags with the porters, took some pictures outside and started the embarkation process which went smoothly and quickly. We had a 1:30p.m. boarding time, but we were on the ship and at lunch by 12:00p.m. The stewards were still preparing the rooms, but they let us drop off our carry-on without any problems. Shout out to Paulson my room steward for doing an excellent job. I went to the Pursers desk to check my on-board credit and everything was in order. First Impression-Getting the hang of the layout of the ship was easier than we thought. Everything was in tip top shape. There were no real signs of wear or date and any maintenance issues were being handled promptly. I wonder how many gallons of paint and pieces of marble these guys use on each cruise?! The staff was always on top of things and was constantly cleaning and polishing without getting in way or really being noticed. My stateroom E100 was just the right size. I spent some time in one of the suites, WOW. I'm going need to save some extra money for next year. The staterooms and public rooms were better than expected. Dining- We had no problems with any of the meals. Standard American style breakfast foods in the morning. We ate all our lunches at the Pool Grill or in the Horizon Grill. No complaints here either. Try the grilled salmon or tilapia, jerk chicken, burgers, pizza, fried rice, sausage and rigatoni and fried chicken. For desert at lunch, the ice cream was plentiful, but try one of the rich chocolate deserts. We had dinner in the dining room several nights and at the Horizon Grill several nights. The dining room servers were superb. Shout to the Pride DR waiters Loreto and Svetlana. The staff engaged you in conversation and were truly genuine. The best part was the DR staff signing and dancing, with the passengers joining in. What a great time. The Captains Dinner was spectacular! Seeing nearly everyone dressed up was a night to remember. And those who didn't get dressed up were not made to feel inferior. Everyone had a really great time. Too bad my pictures of this night were lost by the airline, but that's a story for later on. Activities- Onboard activities were ongoing for just about any taste. A dozen different types of bingo, Deal or No Deal, Millionaire, the Newlywed and Not So Newlywed game. Try some of the different information sessions (Tour Talk, Shop Talk, and Debarkation Talk). All were very informative and will save you some grief. The nightly productions were awesome and the comedians were really funny! Grand Cayman- Upon some friend's advice I decided not to do much here, just stroll around town, take in the sites and get something to eat. Nothing much in town, just a lot of shopping. Took some great pictures though. Stay away from Senor Frogs it's overpriced! Three drinks, a burger and two chicken strip meals $100.00 US. Something about the US Tax?! Another couple paid $38.00 US for a Salad Bowl with no drinks, be warned! Ochos Rios- Shout out to Stedman of Juta Tours/Taxi. As informed, the local tours here are half the price of the ship. The government licensed taxis were right outside the pier gates and the price is arranged before you start. Twenty dollars for each passenger for an Ochos highlights tour. Dunn's River is an additional $15.00 dollars each. Highlight locations include Fern Gully Rainforest, shopping, free beach time and Dunn's River. Whatever you want to do, however long you want to do it. These guys make it happen without the fuss of being in a large group. In Ochos Rios, haggle, haggle, haggle. No price is written in stone. Check out the 8 for $19.99 T-shirt shops. Great prices on everything from souvenirs, booze, coffee and jewelry. The prices are much cheaper than in the Caymans Self Debarkation - Quick and painless, even if you have a million bags. We were off the ship, through Customs/Immigration and on the pier by 8:30a.m. Overall my first cruise was great. I can't compliment the entire staff enough on a great job. See you guys next year. Read Less
Sail Date November 2006
we flew down to miami, no problems or delay, thank god. safe flight there and back. this was our second carnival cruise. the first one was on the ecstacy back in 1997. we had loads of fun from the second we stepped on the ship. LOADS! if ... Read More
we flew down to miami, no problems or delay, thank god. safe flight there and back. this was our second carnival cruise. the first one was on the ecstacy back in 1997. we had loads of fun from the second we stepped on the ship. LOADS! if you don't have a great time it is your own fault. the weather was at least 90 degrees everyday. we're sun lovers. lol we went to grand cayman island and ocho rios, jamaica. in grand cayman, we went snorkeling. it was breathtaking. in jamaica mon, we swan with the dolphins and climbed the falls at dunns river. what an amazing experience. jamaicans were very, very pushy! on the ship, we met some really cool people. had some sushi at the bar nightly before our early seating dinner at 5:45. yum. breakfast was somewhat disappointing. the selections were the same daily except for the egg selection of the day. it could have been presented better and had more options (sylwester, our breakfast waiter, was a doll!) we even ran into ugersursy morat. he was on our last cruise. what a nice guy. last cruise he was our waiter, this time we reminisced. lunch.....great selections! however, i ate one day at the lido deck because i didn't want to leave the pool and my sun time. everything was delish! dinner...........again, yum. our waiters were nothing short of spectacular. the night before we left, our asst. waiter, cesar, was sad to see everyone go. he truly was. we all bonded and had such a great time with him. the disco was, eh! the dj wouldn't cater to everyone. he only played rap and funk music. we were bored just sitting around. the entertainment was good and the comedians were really good. the only thing i wouldn't recommend is having a room in the very front of the ship. you really feel the waves breaking. midship to back is better. going on the triumph this year. CAN'T WAIT!!!!! carnival truly is the fun ship. Read Less
Sail Date October 2006
My husband and I just took our first cruise aboard the Imagination to celebrate our 30th anniversary. I read a lot of negative reviews about this ship but in our six days on this ship we didn't see anything negative. The crew was ... Read More
My husband and I just took our first cruise aboard the Imagination to celebrate our 30th anniversary. I read a lot of negative reviews about this ship but in our six days on this ship we didn't see anything negative. The crew was friendly and polite, someone was constantly cleaning day and night. We met our room steward before we could open our door. Ronaldo kept our room and most important - the bathroom spotless. We always had clean sheets and towels. The food was delicious and if you left the table hungry, it was your own fault. Our wait staff, Tomas & Komang was great. Breakfast and lunch on the Lido deck was also great. We didn't do any shows because we were either dog-tired or we had to get up early for our excursions. We pre-booked our excursions on line with Carnival. In Grand Cayman, we decided to try the Beginners Scuba Diving. There were only six of us on this tour. We were taken by van on a 10 minute ride to Don Foster's Dive company. There, we filled out paperwork (you know the type that says "we are not responsible", etc.) and then given a 30 minute instructional on hand signals, etc. After this we were fitted for our fins, got our gear on and jumped in the pool to learn how to breath. One couple only made it ten minutes before they quit. I'm claustrophobic and tried my best but I could only breath for a few minutes before panic set in and I had to come up. Our instructors, Splash and Ben were so patient with us. One other girl and myself finally called it quits so my husband and the other girl's sister were the only two that went diving. They let me snorkel so I was able to take pictures of my husband when they first went down (about 10 feet). If you think you might like to scuba dive, we highly recommend Don Foster's Dive in Grand Cayman. In Jamaica, we booked the Mountain Bike/Snorkel tour. There were ten booked for this tour. We were driven 2,000 feet up a mountain on a "cow path" that at one time was paved. I thought I'd get to see a lot of scenery but 99.9% of the time, my eyes were on the road because the road was full of wash outs and potholes. I still had a blast. Our guide, Conroy aka the Gingerbread Man was great. We stopped several times to rest and we even stopped at a Jamaican Tavern for drinks. After our 8 1/2 mile trip we were taken by van to a cove for some snorkeling. I can snorkel but can't scuba dive - go figure! We swam for a while then headed back to meet our van. We had an option of going back to our ship or head to the shops. My husband, myself and another couple opted to shop. At the first shop, we were approached by a guy trying to sell us pot. A quick "No thank you" and he left us alone. The sales people are aggressive and love to bargain but they don't keep hounding you if you politely tell them no thank you. All and all this was a great trip. The weather was great, our fellow passengers were friendly and polite and so was the crew of the Imagination. For our money - we would go on the Imagination again. Read Less
Sail Date October 2006
This was my first Carnival Cruise in over 15 years. As a college student, I would typically venture to the Caribbean with friends. We may be partly responsible for the "FUN SHIP" reputation. Now that I am in my early forties, I ... Read More
This was my first Carnival Cruise in over 15 years. As a college student, I would typically venture to the Caribbean with friends. We may be partly responsible for the "FUN SHIP" reputation. Now that I am in my early forties, I was eager to sail with Carnival and see the evolution of the largest cruise-line. This adventure was solo. EMBARKATION Having preregistered online, I moved smoothly through the lines and onto the ship in record time (less than 40 minutes.) ACCOMMODATIONS Traveling alone, I was surprised to see my inside cabin with 2 twin beds. I left a note for the steward asking to please put the beds together. When I returned from dinner, they were in fact together, but still made as 2 twin beds. I wasn't amused, but after a few cocktails I decided to strip the bed myself and remake it as one with the larger linens I found in the closet. Though the room was well maintained, I never met the steward (a first after 20 cruises.) DINING Overall I feel that Carnival has made vast improvements in the food department. Buffets were predictable but the dining room service was excellent. BEVERAGES It was my understanding that Carnival had led the way in improving food service and now they are focusing on the wines. What a joke! You could enjoy a nice glass of wine with dinner - but I dare you to try and get the same glass of wine in the various bars after dinner. "we're out of that one" - I heard this many times! What I found even more shocking was that you could not get an after dinner drink with coffee in any bar. Even the cigar bar did not offer a coffee-back with your BAILEY'S, B&B, SAMBUCO, etc. I really shouldn't complain so much about the coffee because it was quite awful when you could actually get a cup. A final word on the cigar-bar: The staff were actually nice and the atmosphere was very friendly. The most annoying thing was to have 4 large flat-screen televisions playing simultaneously: 1-news 2-soccer 3-feature film 4-sitcom. Each had full volume competing with lounge music and the chatter of the bar patrons. I don't mind the TVs being played, but do you know anyone that will sit and watch a feature film?? Volume isn't necessary to keep tabs on a soccer game or other sporting event. World news is important, but we can all read the prompts on the bottom of the screen. ENTERTAINMENT The piano player and comedian were both quite good. The entertainment in the large showroom was actually the worst I had ever seen on any ship. EXCURSIONS I chose to wing it alone in the Caymans, but opted for a snorkeling trip in Jamaica. It wasn't well organized and we easily wasted over an hour waiting for the guides to collect and distribute the equipment. Once in the water, I saw few fish but did find 2 Pepsi bottles and 1 Coke bottle. CONCLUSION For the price I paid, I really can't complain too much. I knew that this was a bargain and "you get what you pay for." I would not suggest this venue for a honeymoon or landmark occasion, but if you want to get away for a few days on a budget, go for it. Happy sailing! Read Less
Sail Date September 2006
Sept 7th Western Caribbean: Had a upgrade to an outside cabin, very last room in the back of the boat. Al ot of rumbling engine noise and awakened in the morning from the dock lines being let out. The cabin was not particularly clean, ... Read More
Sept 7th Western Caribbean: Had a upgrade to an outside cabin, very last room in the back of the boat. Al ot of rumbling engine noise and awakened in the morning from the dock lines being let out. The cabin was not particularly clean, found someone else's shoe under the bed, carpet not vacuumed next to window. But, the size was fine with adequate storage space. Asked the cabin steward on the first day to make sure we had ice which never happened. We had to get ice from the cooler or upstairs at the cafeteria ourselves. Embarkation and debarkation was easy, no long lines which was nice. Food was ok. The lines for the buffet were always outrageous. I skipped some meals because I did not want to wait in the line. One area of particular concern was a complete lack of sanitation stations. There was nowhere on the boat where you could use disinfectant and often the bathrooms were lacking soap. Typically, there is hand sanitizer available when re-boarding the boat and at all food lines. I saw some disgusting people licking their fingers in the buffet line and then putting the tongs back in the food. It was really gross and I was sick with a sinus infection before we left. Thank God it wasn't Norwalk virus. Carnival needs to get with the times and provide antibacterial lotion. Anyway, the service in the formal dining room was good. The food was mediocre at best, but nothing inedible. It was nice to have lobster offered on a shorter cruise. The deserts were surprisingly bad. People did not really go all out dressing up for Formal Night. My husband was the only tuxedo, not even many suits. Most of the time, people were walking around 3/4 naked, 50 pounds overweight. So, let me move on to the quality of people on the ship. I felt like I was back in college for a big spring break party. People were drunk and rowdy the entire trip. I would estimate half the ship was under 25 and looking to hook up. Tons of fat, tattooed people actually going to eat in their bathing suits. It was an incredible display of disgusting. I did not even put on my bathing suit the whole trip because the pools were packed with people and there was no way I was going in. The hot tubs were filled to capacity at all times. I have never been on a cruise quite like this. I guess for $200, anyone can afford to cruise. The shows were pretty bad. The comedian was absolutely horrible. The first night show was also very bad but improved greatly for the second production. The fitness center was very good. Plenty of machines and free weights, all with a very nice view to work out to. We were charged too many for cocktails the first day, so make sure to keep your receipts in case there is a discrepancy when you receive the final bill. In Key West, the ship docks in a Navy base so the security line was very long to get back to the ship. Sitting in the afternoon sun on the conch train shuttle for 30 minutes was not fun. The line to get off the boat in Calica was also amazing. We waited 1 hour to get off the boat! So, we lost one hour and did not get off until 2:00. Since many spots close at 5:00 in Mexico, that was alot of valuable time wasted (in addition to having to wait in the hallway with a group of 10 super drunk frat boys screaming and singing the whole time). The day at sea was pretty boring since we refused to use the pool or hang out by it. The US Open was on so that killed a few hours. If you like bingo, there always seemed to be a game of that going on. To sum it all up, you get what you pay for. The Imagination is a good enough getaway if you don't pay more than $200 pp and don't expect a refined experience. The singing and dancing shows in the dining room were ridiculous. Why the YMCA performance during a meal, for God sakes???? Next trip we will probably pay a little more and shoot for something other than the FUN SHIP! Read Less
Sail Date September 2006
This past cruise was my family's 3rd of 4 cruises over the past year. We have always cruised with Royal Caribbean, taking approx 3 cruises a year. My husband and I are in our late 30s and our children are 13 and 15. We decided last ... Read More
This past cruise was my family's 3rd of 4 cruises over the past year. We have always cruised with Royal Caribbean, taking approx 3 cruises a year. My husband and I are in our late 30s and our children are 13 and 15. We decided last minute to have a family get away before the kids went back to school. Because we wanted to cruise within a weeks time, I could not find any available cruises, with the exception of Carnival. I have always been weary of Carnival - It was said to be a "poor man's cruise" and 99% of the reviews I read were not too good. However, we went ahead with the booking - keeping an open mind. It usually costs us about $5,000 just for the cruise - not including once we board. We get the kids an inside cabin and we put ourselves across the hall in a balcony room or junior suite. Because we booked so late, we had a room with a window and the kids were across the hall with an inside room. It only cost us $1,900 for the cruise. So don't expect to be treated like royalty at those prices -- HOWEVER, Let me say this to everybody out there that is doubting sailing Carnival - our room was small but clean, it did not smell, everything in the cabin worked perfectly. Everybody was nice. The food...ummm "room for improvement" but the 24 hr pizza is good, as is room service, and the food prepared at the grill is great. You will find very long lines for breakfast and lunch. Entertainment - Great. Casino - even better. The ship was very clean. Boarding was a breeze (arrived in Miami 12:15 - by 12:40 we were eating lunch on the ship). Although getting off the ship at the end of the cruise was total confusion!!! Choose to take your luggage off the ship with you! or you will be out of your cabin at 7:30am and will wait for HOURS to get off the ship - If you have been to the Luxor Hotel in Vegas - and you liked it - you will like the ship Imagination. Our first port was Key West - did some shopping - we live in Florida so we had been there several times. Second stop Calica. Very poor. Get off the ship and take a cab to Play Del Carmen to do your shopping - Ten dollars per trip 4 to a vehicle. We did not book any excursions - we just shopped. I did spend some time at the spa - I had a pedicure for $55.00 - nothing special - save your money and have one at home for half the price. Oh, the spa girl did try and sell me $165.00 worth of items. I just bought one - a nice scrub. I will HIGHLY recommend the 50 minute massage- it was only $108.00 and SO WORTH IT!!!! In the end, if my family and I want to take a last minute vacation, I would sail Carnival again. Read Less
Sail Date August 2006
i sailed on the Imagination from 7/13 until 7/17. We decided to fly into Fort Lauderdale the day of the cruise, which could have been a disaster. Our plane arrived about a half an hour later than scheduled, however we still had plenty of ... Read More
i sailed on the Imagination from 7/13 until 7/17. We decided to fly into Fort Lauderdale the day of the cruise, which could have been a disaster. Our plane arrived about a half an hour later than scheduled, however we still had plenty of time to catch the Carnival transfer to Miami. Embarkation was very easy, slightly disorganized when you first walk into the building, there were a lot of people just standing around not knowing where to go. We were given our sail and sign cards (my boyfriend and I) and our room keys and got right onto the ship without a hassle. I don't like how this ship gives you a separate room key and card, the keys were a nuisance to carry around. Once we boarded, we went up to the Lido buffet for some lunch. It can get very crowded in the buffet and there are a lot of people that will walk right into you if you don't watch out for them. The turkey and the stuffing were IMO excellent, however be sure to tell the man carving the turkey to give you more if you're not satisfied with your piece. Room: The room was spacious but lacking in any kind of decor that I have seen on other ships. The desk unit didn't work properly, I had to pry open the drawers. The bed was very comfortable and we enjoyed the large window in the oceanview stateroom, definitely worth the extra money. The bathroom and closets were also a decent size. Food: The food in the dining room was a crapshoot. for example, on the formal night my lobster tail was excellent but my boyfriends was tough and tasteless. Another night my beef was very good but my boyfriends pork was tough. The deserts were good, although there was not much variety. I enjoyed the desserts at the buffet much more. Breakfast at the buffet is definitely something to be skipped. The eggs were runny, the bacon greasy, and the line for the omelets not worth the wait. The pizza was good for a late night snack. Room service was convenient, I'd suggest the tuna on an english muffin or BLT and of course the amazing fudge brownies. Service: Service also just barely met my expectations. I knew what to expect for a Carnival cruise, however some things surprised me. For example, our head waiter stopped giving us dessert menus on the last 2 nights of the cruise opting instead to give us whatever the "special dessert" was. I knew there were supposed to be other options because I had read the menu prior to entertaining the dining room, and the second time it happened I requested another dessert. Our assistant waiter was very friendly and accommodating, always all smiles (Thanks Pudgie!) We never actually met out room steward, and one night he never came to clean the room at all. He also only mad a towel animal one night, something that I was very disappointed about. Room service was prompt and the people at the information desk were very helpful. Facilities: The ship, for its age, was in very good condition for the most part. Some of the statues showed a little wear and tear and the handrails were not shiny, but I'd attribute that to the number of children dirtying them up and not on the staff themselves. Entertainment: I was actually surprised at how lackluster the entertainment was. We'd seen the comedian who performed the first night on another cruise and he did the same exact routine. The first show was terrible! Can you say cheesy? There were no sets and the entire performance was like a bad high school attempt at a review. Probably more the person who wrote the show's fault than the performers themselves. The grand gala buffet was lovely, but the food was very odd (olives in some kind of clear gel and way to much raw fish) or just awful tasting (a chocolate mousse cake that jiggled and was not creamy). Karaoke in the Xanadu Lounge was fun, but I was surprised at the lackluster turnout in each of the entertainment venues. My boyfriend and I could never find a bar or lounge that had a large enough number of people to make it enjoyable. The only place I ever saw a lot of people was at the Illusions disco, but the loud techno/rap music was not what we were interested in doing (Keep in mind we're not old, 20 and 26, it was just not an appealing party). Ports: Key West gets old after a few day long visits, You're not in port long enough to do anything substantial. We walked down to the southernmost point, did a little shopping and got back on the ship early. Calica: As many people have written, Calica is an industrial port with NOTHING there. Taxis and rental cars were waiting at the ship. Carnival got a HUGE two thumbs down on getting off the ship this day. We were supposed to be there from 12 to 8, the ship didn't dock until 12:30 and we weren't able to disembark until 1:15. By this time the line to get out went up 5 flights of stairs and all the way back through the hallway of each floor. It was a madhouse! There was only one part to exit the ship! It was a disaster! Also, the excursions through Carnival are a rip off. My boyfriend and I rented a car and drove to Tulum for 34.50 per person (including car and admission), the Carnival excursion is 69 per person. Disembarkation: We decided to do self assist, where you carry your bags off and are the first ones off the ship. Also a mess, like the Calica disaster. The stairwells were overcrowded and hot and you had to prop your luggage up on stairs while you were waiting. Only do this if you have an early flight as it is not worth the aggravation. Overall, I knew what to expect before going on this cruise and I think it's very important that you do so you are not disappointed. There were a lot of unsupervised children, so if you're looking to avoid those annoyances, I would suggest a different cruise line and a longer itinerary. I'd cruise carnival again, but at a different time of the year and on a longer itinerary on a newer ship. My boyfriend however, most likely would not. The day we returned home he had a stomach virus that we can only assume he contracted while on the ship. This is a good cruise if you want to get away for the weekend and eat a lot of free food in tropical locales. Read Less
Sail Date July 2006
This was my family's (Hubby, Son, age 7 and daughter age 3) second cruise, the first one being on the Carnival Fascination. I don't know if this time we knew more of what to expect, our tastes had changed, or a combination of ... Read More
This was my family's (Hubby, Son, age 7 and daughter age 3) second cruise, the first one being on the Carnival Fascination. I don't know if this time we knew more of what to expect, our tastes had changed, or a combination of them both. We weren't particularly impressed with the Fascination, but we loved the Imagination. Imagination was ported in Miami for our 4 day Western Caribbean. We flew straight into the Miami airport and took a cab ride--$16 for all 4 of us (much cheaper than the Carnival transfer, and we didn't have to wait on a group or arrive at the same time as a large group, a real plus!) We got at the pier at about 12:00 p.m., there were NO lines at this time and made for a SUPER easy embarkation. We were onboard and dining on the Lido deck by 12:30. Our room was one of the 20-something Penthouse Suites on this ship. My new philosophy is that if we can't afford a suite, we just can't go. This stateroom was the same size as a standard hotel room--and with 2 kids, room to move about the cabin is a must! The bathroom also included a bathtub--yeah, it had jacuzzi jets in it, but the tub was still so narrow that when you turned on the jets, it blew water all over the bathroom. If you want a jacuzzi, sit in the ones by the pool. The private balcony is an added bonus--you can watch the ocean pass by in your PJs if you like. Now I'm a Southerner, so I was put off a bit by some of the food offerings. But it also allowed a great and rare opportunity to try new things, most of which were excellent. Order as many things that may appeal to you in the dining room--portion sizes are small. My 3 year old daughter got her money's worth on the 24 hour pizza and ice cream. My 7 year old son is EXTREMELY picky--so the grill by the Lido deck provided him with all the hamburgers and hot dogs that he needed. The shows were quite enjoyable. Hubby usually doesn't go for productions such as these, but even he had a good time. My 3 year old's new life aspiration is to be a show girl. 7 year old was a bit disappointed with Camp Carnival--he thought he was going to be able to play video games non-stop. Come to find out for his age group, there are only certain times allotted for that. 3 year old is somewhat of a mamma's girl and wasn't too excited about being left with strangers. So we only had a few hours experience with Camp Carnival--but by reading the Capers they had lots of cool activities planned, including T-shirt painting. (All at no additional cost to you!) Go to the onboard shopping talk if you are planning on shopping in the ports. They give away free stuff and you learn the safe places to shop. Key West had lots of great shopping. In Calica--you may want to give everyone else time to debark before you get in any big hurry. There's no way out but by Cab or a pre-arranged shore excursion. The lines did move fairly fast though. Cab ride into Playa Del Carmen was about $10, then we rented 2 beach chairs and umbrella for $8 and enjoyed a day at the beach. We ate at Carlos and Charlie's--a loud and rowdy joint for the ones who don't mind partying with their kids.(??I know!) We're not drinkers, so the atmosphere was a little much. However, it was the one time we didn't have to get on to our kids at dinner. You couldn't hear them over the blaring music. Debarkation--I can't say it enough--use the self assist debarkation. You sit in the comfort of your stateroom until they make the announcement, gather your luggage and get off the boat. No sitting in lounges or waiting areas for your colored tag to be called, then waiting in long lines with everyone else and wading through a sea of luggage trying desperately to find a familiar bag. Overall, a big thumbs up to the Imagination. The ship was very clean, well maintained, and well updated. Hubby's already ready to go back, so I'm holding him to that and will be booking next summer's adventure very soon! Read Less
Sail Date July 2006
My family and I, husband and two teenagers, returned yesterday from a 5-day Caribbean cruise. We were on the Imagination and we thought that you should know that we really did not enjoy this cruise as much as our first Carnival cruise for ... Read More
My family and I, husband and two teenagers, returned yesterday from a 5-day Caribbean cruise. We were on the Imagination and we thought that you should know that we really did not enjoy this cruise as much as our first Carnival cruise for several reasons. 1. The rooms and especially the hallways smelled horribly. The bathrooms smelled like urine and the room was not much better. The hallway continually smelled of cigarette smoke and at times like burned hair or flesh. It was unbearable at times. 2. The bathroom needs to be bleached to get the mildew out of the grout and the missing and loose tiles need to be repaired. 3. The sheets were horribly stained. 4. There were hairs in the bathrooms and on the sheets that were not ours. 5. The food was okay. I would suggest a wider variety of breakfast foods and something other than Indian foods in the Horizon. 6. It was terribly overcrowded everywhere we went. Everything had a line. The swimming pool was filled to capacity almost always. 7. Unless you drink or gamble or are over 65, there's not much to do, especially for older teenagers. 8. We booked a shore excursion in Ocho Rios entitled Shaw Beach and Dunn's River Falls. The falls were great!! The beach was absolutely horrible. We wasted three hours on a rocky, dirty beach. That excursion should be explained better or deleted completely. 9. We were told we could rent snorkel equipment in both the Bahamas, to which we were rerouted, and in Ocho Rios. We could NOT! Neither place had anything but jetskis and kayaks for rent, at astronomical prices, I might add. So we didn't get to snorkel the whole week which is my main reason for going to the Caribbean to begin with. 10. The food was just okay. My son's lobster was so tough he couldn't eat it and none of us could cut the pork. The rest was good. 11. The entertainment was not entertaining. There are some very untalented people aboard your ships. 12. Also, as bad as I hate to say this, cruising has become too affordable. Most of the people on the cruise were low class, trashy people, who had no respect for others. They are the reason that ship is in such sad shape. They leave their trash, smoke everywhere, not just in the designated smoking areas, and were very loud and rude. In the future, if we cruise again, we will either choose a newer vessel or a higher priced cruise. Not that we are any better than anyone else, but we're not trashy and pick up after ourselves. I must say that the staff were always very nice and helpful. They did change the sheets when I asked them to although those were stained too. There was a tropical depression headed in our direction and the captain very wisely took us to the Bahamas rather than Grand Cayman, which was fine with us as we had not been to the Bahamas before. I have no complaints about any one person on the ship. The entire staff was great. It's just that that ship needs a complete overhaul or a match. It really smells that bad, like a combination of must and urine. The Carnival CEO needs to travel in one of our rooms for 5 days and see how he likes the smells there! Read Less
Sail Date June 2006
This was our first cruise, so like many others, we went by the reviews of previous cruisers. We arrived at the port by 11:00 unloaded our bags, parked the vehicle. Embarkation was very smooth, lines were minimal and flowed nicely. We ... Read More
This was our first cruise, so like many others, we went by the reviews of previous cruisers. We arrived at the port by 11:00 unloaded our bags, parked the vehicle. Embarkation was very smooth, lines were minimal and flowed nicely. We were on the ship in less than an hour. I recommend getting to the port by 12:00 at the latest if possible. Once onboard we went straight to the room (U223) and our bags arrived about an hour or two later (this is normal). Though it may be small to some, I thought it was layed out smartly, addressing all the necessities like a good size and VERY comfortable bed and bathroom (by ship standards) with good water pressure and temp. Afterwards, we went to the Horizon Grill for lunch. The room stewards were hardly seen but always on top of things w/ covers pulled back along with chocolates and towel animals EVERY evening. We ate dinner in the Spirit dining room nightly, the service and food was good and plentiful, as well as varied. The Horizon wasn't bad at all - it always had a variety and something for all of us. Caught some of the onboard entertainment -- some good some not so much. Only made a small donation to the casino, not much of a gambler but had a blast playing the nickel (big spender) slots. We were diverted within 3 hours of leaving port due to weather in the Gulf, so instead of Grand Cayman we went to the Bahamas. There we took the historical highlights tour for 3 hours. It was OK, seemed the majority of the tour was all about the thousands of varieties of trees and flowers on the island. Our heads were on a swivel and couldn't even begin to keep up. Next stop was Jamaica, OH YEA MANN!! NO PROBLEM MANN!! we took the jeep safari and had an absolute blast, makes you feel like you're 16 again and out booney busting in Dad's Buick. HIGHLY recommend it. The debarkation was smooth, they call you by colors to prevent chaos, seemed to work well, all our luggage was waiting for us. What more can you ask for? Like I mentioned earlier, this was our first cruise and not knowing what to expect nor nothing to compare it to first hand, I must admit this seems like a most excellent way to vacation. It met all our expectations and much more. We're already planning one next year to Hawaii or the Mexican Riviera. Keep up the good work Carnival! Read Less
Sail Date June 2006
We're 2 - 40 something's This was our 8th cruise. 2nd on this ship. We booked last minute for a little R & R. We arrived at the port around 11:30am. We dropped off our luggage, and parked the car. The lines were long, but ... Read More
We're 2 - 40 something's This was our 8th cruise. 2nd on this ship. We booked last minute for a little R & R. We arrived at the port around 11:30am. We dropped off our luggage, and parked the car. The lines were long, but moved along quickly. We were in our stateroom before noon, dropped off our carry-ons, and proceeded to the Lido deck bar for drinks and some pizza. We noticed that our dining seating was not what we wanted, found the head waiter, had our seating changed no problem. Our dinners was great! The food was wonderful. Especially since I was not cooking or doing the dishes. Our tablemates were a nice group of people, whom we enjoyed. Our wonderful waiter :) who never missed a beat, had to ask us to leave each night (we had early seating)! We just had a blast. The stories of our daily activities were enough to make all 8 of us crack up every night! Our room steward Raul, whom we never saw, was like our fairy god steward. Keeping our room neat and Very clean. He took away the soda we would not be drinking, and kept the bottled water that we brought onboard cold in the ice bucket. He kept the twin beds together somehow,so in the middle of the night DH or myself were not falling into the crack. :) Extra pillows and towels were never a problem. The new beds are a dream to sleep on! Ahhhhhhhh... I felt extremely pampered. Since we had been on this ship and did the same itinerary about two years before, we expected the shows to be the same. We were surprised to see the show we did make it to was different. The two main singers could really sing Motown. The casino was happy to take our $$. But we had fun giving it to them! :) I did come in 2nd in the slot tournament! Yippee. In Grand Cayman we took the jeep tour. Our guides we friendly and knowledgeable. After the tour we had lunch at the beach resort where we embarked on our tour. Why do hamburgers taste so good on the beach? A shuttle was awaiting us to take us back to the tender. When we got back to the tender area the was a really long line. We found some bottled water and waited across the street on a bench, in a breezeway, in the shade, till the line receded a little. We boarded the last tender, no problem. In Jamaica we got up late,had some breakfast on the Lido deck. We got off the ship, passed all the people trying to sell excursions and walked to the Island Village. We were bothered by some natives trying to sell you things,but a polite no was all it took to get them to give up. We spent all day there. With lunch at Margaritaville. The ship left LATE that evening about 1 1/2 hours. We heard at dinner that an excursion was late coming back from the other side of the island. No one ever said for sure. I thought the never sailed late? hummmm. Our sea days were spent sleeping late, a few hours at the pool, and Many hours in the casino! Self debarkation was a breeze once the ship was cleared. We arrived back to Miami late, which caused caused Carnival to start debarkation late. But we were off the ship,through customs and in our car by 8:15. We went on this cruise for some R&R. Thanks to our team of waiters and stewards and the rest of our crew our short R&R was a vacation to remember. The only thing I wish they would do was to change some of the excursions, especially in Jamaica. How many times can you go to Dunn's River Falls? Read Less
Sail Date May 2006
We booked our vacation through a local travel agency, because we wanted the personal touch. We usually fly to Florida, but decided to drive. That turned out to be a big mistake -- we watched a three-car accident in South Carolina! So, ... Read More
We booked our vacation through a local travel agency, because we wanted the personal touch. We usually fly to Florida, but decided to drive. That turned out to be a big mistake -- we watched a three-car accident in South Carolina! So, anyway, the embarkation process was surprisingly quick and easy. Our stateroom was an el cheapo, without an ocean view, so we didn't expect much -- nor did we get much. The towel animals on the bed were very cute, and the ship itself was lovely. Since this was my family's first cruise, we don't have anything to compare the ship against, but it wasn't taking on water, and it was clean, so it served its purpose. The accents of ancient Egyptian ladies with their boobs hanging out was a little tacky, as was all the decor, but I expected the gaudy Vegas-type, gilded decor, so it was fine as well. However, I was VERY disappointed in the pool. It was saltwater, so I couldn't swim in it without burning my eyes, and I LOVE TO SWIM! We dined in the Spirit dining room, and the food was very good. All the FREE food was delicious, and there was so much of it, I couldn't wear the clothes I had worked so hard getting into by the end of the cruise. I never imagined that there would be so much delicious FREE food -- everywhere -- and FREE juice drinks available night or day. We skipped the Spirit dining room one evening and stuffed our faces with free sushi. When we dined in the Spirit dining room, our waiter was very accommodating, and seemed almost insistent that we eat two or three entrees. They seemed to want us to weight at least (AT LEAST) twenty more pounds when we left the ship. People purchased drink cards, which allowed them soda. Since I don't drink soda and think any person who prefers drinking disgusting soda over FREE juice is strange, I couldn't understand the whole 'drink card' thing. The shore excursions were fun -- enjoyed Jamaica more than Grand Cayman. There's plenty of reviews of Grand Cayman and Jamaica, so I'm not going to go into detail. My four year old daughter made use of Camp Carnival, and she LOVED IT! I don't know how it compares with other cruise ships, but I do know that my daughter wanted nothing to do with Mommy and Daddy when 'Kids Camp Carnival' was open. They painted her face, threw bubble parties, and had story and movie times. She returned from Camp Carnival with a cute story about "silly Mrs. Milly". I never saw a Vegas-style show before and reached my pain tolerance quick. The Vegas-style shows lacked plot and character development. To give the FREE shows a fair try, I attended three performances and couldn't stand them longer than fifteen minutes. The Disembarkation process was a nightmare. On the cruise I attended, there were a number of people who behaved like spoiled children in need of a nap. This was especially true during disembarkation, when fellow passengers stepped over secured areas to budge in line. Overall, the experience was very nice. I may cruise again, but not on this ship, because the swimming pool is unforgivable. Read Less
Sail Date May 2006
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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