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Carnival Imagination

5
3.6
4 star 4 star 4 star 4 half star empty star

Price: $     Size: L     Refurbished: 1 yr ago    

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never again

robertnitting reviewed 6 days ago

What people said about this ship:

"...we had a party of 9 and they had all of us in different dining room s and it was confusion and they did not try to fix it, we..." in 82 reviews.

"we enjoyed it so much we will being doing it again, carnival cruise is the best." in 47 reviews.

"...did n't it until cozumel, so missed out on the perks of key west when it should have been discounted a little since..." in 53 reviews.


Recommended Reviews


Traveled As:
Singles/Friends

Room Type:
Inside

Experience:
1 cruise (first)

4 star
4 star
4 star
4 star
empty star

So amazing that even though I had seasickness I would do it again and again.

small verified icon Verified Review | Ship: Carnival Imagination | Sail Date: May 25, 2014

The staff are amazing and the ship was really, really nice. Easy to negotiate and find my way around. The cabin was just the right size and I loved finding the towel animals on my bed each night and the fact that there was turn down service (with mints). This was my first cruise (first time on the sea at all) and I want to do another one soon. The cusine was amazing, so much so that I tried escargo for the first time because I knew it would be cooked to perfection (and it was so I loved it!!!). The pork chops the first night were not as spectacular as all the rest of the food (I sampled almost everything on the menu between my friend and I) but a little tough. And the Carnival chocolate melting cake is TO DIE FOR!! I had it every night but one and that one I wished I would have gotten it, not that the dessert I got wasn't amazing, just they melting cake with ice cream is addictive!!!! I loved the game show and did I mention the amazing staff. They are from so many countries and so the cruise had an international flavor. They each went out of their way to make me feel so special (except the one customer service woman who I think was latino and rude) I loved that the final night in the dining room, there was a special show (I don't want to give it away) I have been telling everyone I know to be sure to go. The excersion I went on to the blow hole in Ensenada was super fun with a really great guide. The scenery on the way was so good, I recorded most of it and then went through picture taking as well. If you are wondering if this cruise is worth the cost...GO FOR IT. You will not be sorry you did. Love  One great thing is there is an 12 step meeting on board for anyone who cared to attend. The atsmophere is one of a great big party and most everyone was so happy!!! The alcohol served to others was not excessive so we didn't have people all over the place being obnoxiously drunk. 

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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/young children

Room Type:
Oceanview

Experience:
1 cruise (first)

4 star
4 star
4 star
4 star
empty star

First Timers

small verified icon Verified Review | Ship: Carnival Imagination | Sail Date: Jun 22, 2014

The only reason why i would not rate this as a 5 would be the pool. It was waaay too cold and a bit on the small side. Other than that everything was so much better than what we expected. The food, entertainment, accommodations and the staff were all awesome and we rated all of that a 5.

 

Booked a 4 night cruise to avoid weekend party groups like batchelor and batchelorette parties and it worked! We went with our 3 kids age 15,10 and 8 and they had a blast, even without the wi-fi. I would suggest brining a walkie talkie. We read that as someone elses suggestion and it helped alot since we couldnt use our phones at all. The ship had so many things to do that they didnt even want to go to camp carnival. There were so many activities around the pool area like games and activities every hour. If you didnt want to stay around the pool you had a mini golf, the other pool with the racer slides, ping-pong, or just plain eat and lounge. Speaking of eating we book the "dine on your time" schedule and it worked out great cause we could schedule our dinners around the shows available for the night, which i have to say were AWESOME!!! The kids had a blast watching the stand up comedy, live Hasbro game show and the musicals they had each night.

 

My husband was always to nervous to go on a cruise cause his vertigo is pretty bad but somehow this time he agreed. The previous year we had gone to our first all inclusive resort in Cabo so we wanted to try something different. The only time he really needed to take dramamine was on the "day at sea" cause the waves in the morning were really bad but once he took it he was good to go all day plus the waves subsided midmorning. Other than that whether we were moving or docked at a port he couldnt feel the waves.

 

Finally i would highly suggest purchasing the "Faster to Fun" pass. Its $49/cabin and it allows you to be brought to the express lane for embarking and disembarking. When we docked at Catalina and saw the line for the ferry was super long, i asked if i could use the pass and i was brought to the front of the line avoiding the 45 minute wait to board the ferry to go to Catalina which was great.

 

So to summarize these are my suggestions:

1. Purchase the "faster to fun"

2. Bring a walkie talkie

3. do "dine on your time" schedule

 

Definitely planning to go again next year but with a bigger group.

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Traveled As:
Couple

Room Type:
Oceanview

Experience:
7+ cruises

3 star
3 star
3 star
empty star
empty star

DON'T PLAN ON SLEEPIING

small verified icon Verified Review | Ship: Carnival Imagination | Sail Date: May 22, 2014

My wife and I are seniors and planned this cruise on short notice for a relaxing weekend getaway.  Few cabins were left; we chose an Oceanview, U153, aft.  Embarking was efficient.  We rolled our own bags on board.  We booked anytime dining and chose to eat early.  Waits were short.  The food is American, it's good and well prepared, but not unusual or exciting.  Service was always good.  The ship was in excellent condition with one exception; the shower pan in our cabin overflowed.  We thought at first we had done something to clog it.  When it happened the second time and we reported it to our steward he had a plumber there in 10 minutes who removed quite an accumulation of gunk.  It was perfect after that.  We chose the Ensenada excusrion to two wineries for wine tasting.  The surrounding countryside was beautiful and the wine at L.A.Cetta winery was so good we couldn't resist buying some to bring home.  If you enjoy wine, we highly recommned this tour.

 

The biggest upside was how impressed we were with the professionalism, friendliness and efficiency of the entire crew; this was our 7th cruise and the crew was exceptional.

 

The downside is that this is a party ship;   party means drinking and staying out late.  We tend to have dinner,  see a show and go to bed by 11.  The noise in the hallways and adjacent cabins made it impossible to sleep through the night.  It would no sooner quiet down than some other loud party would awake us again and this would easily go on till 3 a.m. or more.

 

 

Cruise Photos

Cabin U153 aft Wine Tasting at L.A. Cetta Winery

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Traveled As:
Family w/young children

Room Type:
Oceanview

Experience:
1 cruise (first)

5 star
5 star
5 star
5 star
5 star

Fun for the family

small verified icon Verified Review | Ship: Carnival Imagination | Sail Date: May 25, 2014

This was our very first cruise. We didn't really know what to expect. We were extremely pleased with our experience to say the least. My family loved it specially my kids. Love the food but I was blowned away by the service of the crew. They're very engaging and made sure we were having a great time. The crew made an extra effort to learn all our names and it made it that much more personal experience for us. Given a chance, we will certainly go on this cruise again.

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More about Carnival Imagination


Cabins

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Deck Plans

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Dining

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Entertainment

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Popular Tips for Carnival Imagination


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.

LOL make sure you go see adult comedy! Worth the trip alone.



Roll Calls


Carnival Imagination
11
Members on Cruise

4 Night Catalina & Baja Mexico (Los Angeles Roundtrip)

Sail Date: Aug 31, 2014
Ship Name: Carnival Imagination
11 Ship Mate app members

View Roll Call »

Carnival Imagination
7
Members on Cruise

4 Night Baja Mexico With Carnival Live (Los Angeles Roundtrip)

Sail Date: Sep 14, 2014
Ship Name: Carnival Imagination
7 Ship Mate app members

View Roll Call »

Carnival Imagination
6
Members on Cruise

3 Night Baja Mexico (Los Angeles Roundtrip)

Sail Date: Sep 04, 2014
Ship Name: Carnival Imagination
6 Ship Mate app members

View Roll Call »



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