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Carnival Imagination

5 1
3.7
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Price: $     Size: L     Refurbished: 1 yr ago    

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Good Value for the Price

houser reviewed 1 day ago

What people said about this ship:

"Breakfast in the main dining room, however, was quite good." in 87 reviews.

"I would definetly go with Carnival Cruises again and encourage my friends to go as well!" in 50 reviews.

"First time visits to Key West and Cuzamel Mex." in 53 reviews.



Recommended Reviews


thenameisnina
Third Mate

Traveled As:
Family w/older children

Room Type:
Inside

Experience:
1 cruise (first)

3 star
3 star
3 star
empty star
empty star

A-OK

small verified icon Verified Review | Ship: Carnival Imagination | Sail Date: Jul 31, 2014

Background

My mom really wanted to go on a cruise because her coworkers always talk about their adventures on the high sea. My travelling companions were my younger brothers (ages 19 and 20) and my parents (ages 50+). We booked our tickets/rooms 30 days prior to the travel date. We had no idea what to expect.

 

Embarkation

Some people choose to get on the ship early, but we wanted to spend some time with our relatives in Long Beach for a bit, and considering the boat doesn't leave until 5:30 (check-in by 4:30pm), we didn't get to the port until after 3pm, thinking there would be plenty of time. Our relative dropped us off at the port in the parking garage. Groups of people scattered about: some were lined up, others just standing there. Unsure of what to do, I went up to the makeshift front desk to ask for guidance. The nice man behind the table told me that this area was for luggage delivery to the staterooms and that if we wanted to carry our own stuff, we didn't have to be there. He also gave me my room info there. We then walked across the street to THE DOME.

 

Check-in at THE DOME

We went through security, which is exactly like the airport. Must show passport, go through metal detector, put stuff through x-ray belt. Only exception is that you can bring cases of bottled water on board. After security, we went to check-in. Very long line by the time we got there, which was now around 3:30 pm. We got to the front of the line and the lady checked us in, took our pictures, gave us our Sign-and-Sail cards. Even though I had already pre-registered and pre-checked-in everyone online weeks before, we still had to go through this process that took more than 20 minutes. By the time we got on the ship, it was almost 4pm. 

 

Staterooms

I ordered the cheapest rooms I could possibly get (one interior cost us $179 per person, one oceanview $200), which I didn't think was too cheap to begin with, but we did get a 2 category upgrade. My parents got the oceanview, we kids got the interior room without the view. Both our rooms were on the Upper Deck. And oh man. These rooms are tiny. When we walked into our interior room, there were two beds, with a mattress leaning against the wall. Also, if you open the closet doors and bathroom door at the same time you can potentially get stuck in the hallway. It's really small. The oceanview was about the same size, but with two beds. 

 

Housekeeping

You'll always find someone from the housekeeping department in the hallways. Everybody is so friendly and efficient. They're also very attuned to small details. For example, I take the small washcloth into the shower with me to wash my face. After which, I leave the wet facecloth hanging on the handrail in the shower. The first night, housekeeping placed everything back on the towel rack. But after I did it again the second night, they left me a clean, dry washcloth on the shower handrail. Little things like that always make me smile. They're like little elves that clean your room and leave little mints and towel animals on your bed :) 

 

Dining

We tried the dine-at-your-time at the Pride Dining Room at around 6pm the first night. Boy, was the food disappointing. The decor looked pretty nice, decent ambiance. Our waiter was hurried because he just had so many tables to take care of. But the food. The food was disgusting. Everything on the menu is included as part of your trip with the exception of some specials and beverages. For appetizers, we got alligator fritters (pretty delicious but only 4 pieces), fried calamari (yum! but only 4 pieces). For entrees, I ordered the apple pork chops and gazpacho, my dad got the lobster (1.5 lb for $20), my brother got grilled chicken breast, my other brother got the short ribs with a french onion soup, and my mom just got a bunch of broccoli with lo mein noodles. Everything LOOKED pretty good. However, our soups were overly salty, so much so that we couldn't finish them. My pork chop was so dry and tough, when I was sawing through it, it almost fell off my plate. The short ribs were literally fall-off-the-bone but to the point of mush. The chicken breast was extremely dry and bland. The lobster was ok, but rather small. Overall, we weren't terribly happy with the food. However, the dessert was amazing. We got a strawberry dessert, tiramisu, and a chocolate lava cake, all very tasty. After the first night, we didn't go back. 

 

Buffet

For the rest of the trip, we ended up at the buffet, which was rather hit-and-miss but at least the food was more flavorful than the "fancy" stuff. If you go during off hours, there are barely any lines. The first day we got some lunch at the grill. Just plain greasy American stuff. I love hot dogs and fries, what can I say. Skip the Mongolian Wok -- my brothers waited 30 mins for a bowl of dry, tasteless chow mein-like noodles. Their Pizza Bar serves some good pizza. Overall not much variety. 

 

Room Service

I must say, the food is actually really good. We ordered some stuff after Mexico and on Sea Day. They make a really good grilled cheese sandwich. Plus everything is included in your trip, might as well take advantage of it. They're very fast with delivery as well. 

 

Entertainment

Lots of dancing and karaoke going on at night. There's a casino if you want to try your luck. My brothers and I went to two comedy shows, one PG, the other not. The two comedians were so-so with humor and for 18+ only show, they pretty much resorted to sex jokes.

 

Mexico

This was my first time below the border, but I'm glad I came here on the cruise. Ensenada is pretty much a tourist town. Everything is in US dollars. Things are more expensive than I expected. I'm so glad we didn't pay for the Carnival excursions. If you buy the Bufadora (blowhole) excursion on the ship, it costs $30/person. You can buy the same trip in Mexico for half the price. Even then, it wasn't really worth it. It costs $2 to get from the port to downtown. We purchased the Bufadora/flea market package for $15 a person. Our tour guide Cinthia is super nice and helpful. It's a 40 minute shuttle ride up to this location and I must say, $15 is still kind of a rip off. La Bufadora is rather unimpressive (maybe we went during lowtide or something). All we saw was a bunch of mist. I overhead another tourist saying, this has less impact than a Waterworld ride. We spent 15 minutes at the blowhole area, then heading to the flea market, which is a basically just a small street with vendors trying to sell you junk. We barely bought anything because nothing was too special, but the things we did want to buy were not cheap. Granted these were only starting points for negotiations, but I was like, dang!! I can get these things in Chinatown for better quality and price. But overall, it wasn't a terrible experience. 

 

Overall, it was a good first-time cruise experience. I don't think I'll go again anytime soon, but I'm glad we did it. Even if the food wasn't all that great. But do note that there are lots of fees you have to consider, including gratuity. And it's so easy to spend money on the ship with the Sign-and-Sail card, so just be wary of your own spending. Also, don't forget to bring seasickness aids. 

 

 

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Traveled As:
Family w/older children

Room Type:
Inside

Experience:
7+ cruises

5 star
5 star
5 star
5 star
5 star

review

small verified icon Verified Review | Ship: Carnival Imagination | Sail Date: Sep 28, 2014

If I had to rate Carnival Imagination I would give it a 10+++. I have been on that ship before it was ok in the past but this time around it was excellent. The stuff was wonderful, the production was fabulous, the DJ wonderful, comedy excellent, good delicious, I was very impressed whatever changes they have made keep it up.

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twrjocky
Purser

Traveled As:
Couple

Room Type:
Oceanview

Experience:
2-3 cruises

4 star
4 star
4 star
4 star
empty star

Impressed with the ship and the staff

small verified icon Verified Review | Ship: Carnival Imagination | Sail Date: Sep 07, 2014

We were apprehensive prior to going on this cruise, based on the recent reputation of Carnival Cruise lines.  However we were VERY impressed.  The Imagination was recently remodeled, and it was very apparent.  Our stateroom was very nice, the bathroom was surprisingly roomy, and the entire ship was decorated beautifully.   The food and staff in the restaurant was excellent, the buffet was not quite up to my expectations.  Overall, the cruise was well worth the price, and we had a very enjoyable vacation.

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Traveled As:
Singles/Friends

Room Type:
Inside

Experience:
4-6 cruises

3 star
3 star
3 star
empty star
empty star

Catalina and Ensenada Cruise

small verified icon Verified Review | Ship: Carnival Imagination | Sail Date: Oct 26, 2014

I enjoyed this cruise.  The food was good, and I really enjoyed the Mongolian Beef buffet.  The steward learned our names which was nice at first, but got a little annoying as the days went by calling out at us at every turn.  The shows were very good, but only had two on this cruise.  I really enjoyed the comedians on board they were really funny.  Catalina was not pretty at all, nothing green all dried up.  We took the trolley round trip costs us $4 dollars each.  What I really enjoyed is snorkeling at Lovers Cove which was really nice and fun.  In Ensenada we walked in a few blocks and found a place that made tortas and  some ice-cream, it is really run down as you walk further in and the merchandise is not very good. I suggest stay with the tourists and shop there you can talk them down on price.  Someone mentioned there is a fleet market there so next time I plan to visit that. 

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Traveled As:
Couple

Room Type:
Oceanview

Experience:
1 cruise (first)

2 star
2 star
empty star
empty star
empty star

Lines,Lines,Lines

small verified icon Verified Review | Ship: Carnival Imagination | Sail Date: Sep 07, 2014

Maybe I'm just the kind of person who doesn't like to wait in lines and likes to do things at my own pace.

Took hours in lines to get on and off the ship to go to Catalina and to get on and off at beginning and

end of cruise.

Food was mediocre at best and not a lot to do on the ship.We are a 48 and 50 yr old couple.

Comic show and our room steward were great and we did meet a lot of nice people.

Avoid the bus shuttles Carnival has at the Ensenada port,they are deceiving and a total rip off.

If you just have them take you to town and back your OK, but take a cab or just hang out in town and we would have been better off.

Also wash you hands allot!..got sick last night,probably on the dirty rails and slot machines. 

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More about Carnival Imagination


Cabins

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Dining

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Popular Tips for Carnival Imagination


The Empress Deck with its large windows was great. Worth the extra cost.

Make your reservation for your assigned dinner earlier the wait times were about 20-45mins.

First day we waited in lengthy lines for the outdoor buffet, not realizing that through the doors were line-free buffet stations. After that, had no food lines at all. If you have kids, the Carnival Imagination with full water park, is definitely the way to go.

Roll Calls


Carnival Imagination
4
Members on Cruise

4 Night Catalina & Baja Mexico (Los Angeles Roundtrip)

Sail Date: Dec 07, 2014
Ship Name: Carnival Imagination
4 Ship Mate app members

View Roll Call »

Carnival Imagination
3
Members on Cruise

4 Night Catalina & Baja Mexico (Los Angeles Roundtrip)

Sail Date: Dec 14, 2014
Ship Name: Carnival Imagination
3 Ship Mate app members

View Roll Call »

Carnival Imagination
2
Members on Cruise

4 Night Catalina & Baja Mexico (Los Angeles Roundtrip)

Sail Date: Dec 30, 2014
Ship Name: Carnival Imagination
2 Ship Mate app members

View Roll Call »



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