Carnival Imagination Cruise Review to Mexico

Third Mate

2-3 cruises


Helpful Votes

4 out of 5

The Experiment

Sail Date: January 07, 2015

Reviewed: 1 year ago

Traveled As: Family w/young children

Room Type: Suite

Excellent service: room stewards. Lido buffet didn't have the greatest food, but run like clockwork and LOVED how long it was open everyday as opposed to Royals buffet. Staff friendly around ship. Buffet, room staff, and cleanliness around ship better than royal. Really liked mid ship elevators, always had to wait forever on royal majesty and liberty. First two nights had good entertainment, last two REALLY lacking. Royal liberty better definitely. Ship had no wow factor, although it was always really clean, except the bathrooms, but not for lack of trying. Dining room was horrible, service so so and food terrible. Desserts were super disappointing. Staff not very attentive. The other half of our table was often late and the wait staff would then slow down our food to serve us together. WHAT??? That makes no sense! Cruise director was abrasive. Kind of weird. Debarkation at Catalina was a nightmare. Funeral at sea, um, then carnival should have planned ahead for the loss of one of their tender boats to it. TWO HOURS waiting. Poor poor planning, and bizarre to boot. Camp carnival staff was the grumpy. If you don't like kids, don't take that job.

The sole purpose we chose this cruise was price price price, and we were not disappointed. First time taking the kids, and if it was a bomb, I didn't want to have spent a fortune. As it was, my 9, 7, 5 year olds had a great time, and it gave me a good idea for how to cruise next time. Thoughts from an obsessive planner: 1. Rapid shuttle is the cheapest transfer from lax. 2. If a western us person, no problem flying in that morning. 3. Complete bull that best prices come from buying way in advance. I tend to check multiple times a day when we're getting ready to buy, always gotten the best price within one to two months of sailing. This time I bought the week before and got the grand suite for 381 per person! Totally worth the extra money to see what a suite was like. Fun for this, wouldn't ever pay more for the experience until we're rolling in it or something. Embarkation was pretty pathetic compared to royal. A lot more waiting. BUT debarkation was awesome, and I'll always do this in the future: do relaxed debark, switch assigned zone for last zone at guest services, then hang out on the ship until the very last: about 11:15 for this cruise. Absolutely NO LINES when we got off!!!! So great with kids. Just be sure to tell the shuttle company you'll be getting off the ship around 1130 am, or they'll be gone. Didn't do any shore excursions because of the kiddos. Plans for the future: 1. Done with short crises. Done a 3, 5, and now 4 just because of kids. But it's just long enough to unwind, only to immediately wind back up again. 2. I plan to pick dates and ship, buy plane tickets on southwest in advance (for changeability), and then buy cruise tickets last minute again. I'd love to start going the first or second week of December, consistently the cheapest week of the year that I can see. Insides pp this cruise were 80pp as opposed to 129 pp in January. I'm planning on this mostly for if and when we bring all five kids in the future. In that case, I would be fine cruising carnival again out of cali, for price, I'd go on the biggest ship, go for longer, go in December, and not worry about the suite, but pile the kids into an inside with the hubby and I next door in an inside (balconies are cool, but not a must). If just the hubby and I: I am aiming for, in this order, trying one of the new Norwegians (getaway, breakaway or epic for the food options), royal or regal princess, allure or oasis of the day out of east coast. Ok, enough novel, I just know I always pore over reviews when making a decision so I wanted to be thorough. In the end, got what I expected, probably better.......experiment was successful.
Ship Quality
Food and Dining
Service and Staff
Children's Programs
Onboard Activities
Destinations and Excursions
Cabin / Stateroom
Very fun to try once.


Play mini golf during the shows your not interested in to avoid wait, leave ship early for tendering to catalina, waiting till noon will probably result in a longer wait.

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