Carnival Imagination Cruise Review to Mexico

Contributor Level: Third Mate

2-3 cruises


Helpful Votes

4 out of 5

May/June "gloom" cruise

Sail Date: May 31, 2015

Reviewed: 2 years ago

Traveled As: Large Group

Room Type: Oceanview

Late spring in Southern California is known for overcast mornings leading to cooler temperatures throughout the day.  This so called "June gloom" makes it a really nice time to visit for us Northerners who could do without the tropical heat.  Once school is out, the average age drops but expect people of every age.

Embarkation was quite a bit slower than my previous time on this cruise.  We learned from the first one and carried our bags and booked the Empress deck where you walk over the gangway and do not need to use stairs or elevators to get to your stateroom.  That said, it's advisable to go with midship or aft on that 7th deck below the dining rooms rather than the galley or main lounge that also occupy the 8th.  The location right under the Pride dining room is great for anytime dining and the back of the boat is convenient to the structured dinner times.  

Both of the ports are walkable.  Renting a bike, e-bike or golf cart on Catalina is a fun way to explore the extent of what you can visit without a permit.  The back country hiking permit can be had for free so go ahead an get one (on line - google it) for the morning that lets you go up the Garden to the Sky trail that starts to the right of the Wrigley memorial which you should visit if you're active and like great views.  You could also stay in Avalon proper and shop/eat your way around on foot or ride the once-an-hour bus loop for a couple bucks.

Ensenada - walk through the market that greets you at the port, watch for incoming/outgoing busses through docks and follow them across the bridge and go over one block to the right on Castillo and then turn left up and start your shopping spree for textiles, leather goods and certain Cuban items that you probably shouldn't try to bring back aboard.

 Continue down Primera until you get to Papas & Beer before crossing the street and shopping your way back.  If the people working the phone kiosks in the local mall seem too aggressive for you, maybe you should stay on the boat.  The street vendors and established businesses are fiercely competitive for your business.  Haggle.  In any case, this is a much cleaner day than riding a bus to La Bufadora where you get the same thing plus more dust.

Sea day.  Rest, eat, repeat.  The ship actually has lots of things to do for young and previously young alike.  Just because the serenity area is for adults, don't go expecting it to be serene.  Think beach party Babylon and join the fun.

 Again, you get off the boat easier if you're on the seventh deck near the atrium.  We'd do this again somewhere down the line.

Cruise Photos

Ship Quality
Gaudy '70's Vegas feel
Food and Dining
If you have bad timing, you can end up in some long lines. Going later to the any time dining can be pretty sweet if you get to know your waiter and he invites you to just come on back to his area.
Service and Staff
The deck steward calls you by name. The towel animals are a fun surprises. Room service is quick.
The talent works hard to put on good shows.
Onboard Activities
Trivia winner and Karaoke star here.
Destinations and Excursions
Skip the excursions and just enjoy the stops. Rent stuff to add to the fun as you see fit.
Cabin / Stateroom
I go with ocean view because balconies are pricy and will likely get second hand smoke from adjacent staterooms. If that could be avoided, it would be worth it to upgrade.
Long Beach (Los Angeles), California
Shopping in the O.C.
Catalina Island, California
Hiking the Garden to the Sky trail
Ensenada, Mexico
Colors of Mexico (small store near the harbor)


The pool is for kids, the jacuzzis are for the younger adults. This is not a place for peace and quiet.

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