Post refurb experience, photos, vlog and full ship video tour

Carnival Imagination Cruise Review to Mexico

Cruises: 7+ cruises
Reviews: 5
Helpful Votes: 255

Overall rating:

4 out of 5
Carnival Imagination

4 Night Catalina & Baja Mexico (Los Angeles Roundtrip)

Sail date: September 25, 2016

Ship: Carnival Imagination

Cabin type: Oceanview

Cabin number: u235

Traveled as: Family (young children)

Reviewed: 5 years ago

Review summary

This cruise was the second sailing post-Funship 2.0 overhaul. Guy's Burgers, Blue Iguana Cantina and Tequila Bar, the Red Frog Rum Bar, Alchemy Bar and MUCH more were added. We chose the 4 night (Sunday through Thursday) itinerary as we love Catalina and wanted a little more time to relax. The three-night seemed too rushed. We filmed the ship upgrades, and will link to the full ship tour, as well as our daily vlogs at the end of this review.


We purchased Faster to the Fun (FTTF) for this cruise, and were excited to get on the ship as early as possible to film some of the quickly-crowded areas, like the pool and gym.

We were onboard by 12:05pm, and headed to our room to drop off our carry on, and head to the newly added Guy’s Burger joint to meet a friend. Our usual strategy is to hit the pools first-thing, but the burger pull was strong, and we were glad we rallied early, before the big crowds hit. The line at Guy’s was short, and the service great. You could tell the staff was still finding their way, but it was impressive how quickly they were able to produce the food and keep that line in check. As a group, we tried several of the burgers, but my favorite is the straight up. The toppings bar at Guy's is impressive, offering loads of toppings, including mounds of bacon, sautéed mushrooms, grilled onions and traditional veggies like tomato and lettuce. The hot peppers are to die for, and I snuck by Guy’s to add them to my salads later in the cruise- yum! Something was off with the sauce dispenser (this lasted the whole trip), as people patiently lifted their tiny sauce side cups only to have the ketchup and chipotle may drip out ONE drip at a time. I’m sure they’ll fix this, but it was somewhat comical to see how patient people were.

We had been looking forward to our day in Catalina, and got the idea to rent a boat for the day, instead of our usual golf cart rental and strolling around town plan. Thing is, the boat rental is “first come first served”, so I was eager to get off the ship and down to the Pier before things got crowded. How crowded Catalina gets on a Monday in early fall is probably something I should have thought about (hee-hee…it was nice and quiet). We had a little trouble finding out where the priority tender line was for FTTF, but later learned that instructions were left in our room the night before. We inadvertently set aside the paper that told us exactly what to do to get our priority tender, but all in all, tendering didn’t take that long anyway. The ship uses giant leisure boats to transport people to shore, which you can see in the vlog later. The fresh air and second story seating are a welcome change from the tiny exhaust filled lifeboats, so our tender experience was much nicer than usual. The only downside is it takes a very long time to load the tenders, so don’t try to rush to shore. There are hundreds of people packed on the double decker boats and there seems to be no hurry to get the boat movin’ to shore. You’ll get a feel for the tender in the vlog. Tendering was fast and efficient, and once off, we headed straight for the Green Pier, where Joe’s Boat rental was located. The walk was less than 10 minutes, and when we arrived at Joes, there was an open counter. It was looking good to score a boat, as I could see them lined up around the docks in the harbor below the pier. We had an amazing day and for the $90 we spent, we felt like we had a life experience we'll never forget!

Having visited Ensenada a few times, and not wanting to spend a lot of money on a shore day, we opted to stay on the ship in Ensenada. We had considered the Carnival excursion to a hotel for the day, to enjoy the pools and hot tubs, but when it came down to it, we opted to enjoy the pools and slides once again, because the weather was SO warm, and the lack of crowds, hopefully, would be nice. We enjoyed the mellow day onboard, and the lack of crowds.

Day 4 was our only sea day on this cruise, and there was so much to do! I love Carnival’s towel animal zoo, and was so excited to see these little guys hanging out, enjoying poolside sunrise. You would think they were real animals on a safari, from how many people were photographing them! I roamed the ship, while my family slept and enjoyed the peace, quiet, and morning light.

It was a wonderful cruise, and the ship is incredibly well maintained. The staff and crew are friendly, attentive and have SUCH high energy for a ship that turns over every 3-4 days. While a 4 day jaunt isn’t the most relaxing vacation, we totally recommend it, and would do it again.

Here is a playlist of all the videos from our voyage- enjoy!


Ship experiences

Food and Dining

5 out of 5


5 out of 5

Service and Staff

5 out of 5

Ship Quality

3 out of 5

Cabin / Stateroom

5 out of 5
Aft ocean view, very quiet.

Ship tip

Don't miss Guy's Burgers! Alchemy Bar offers great specials- check your fun times.

Ports of call

Long Beach (Los Angeles), California

5 out of 5

Catalina Island, California

5 out of 5

Ensenada, Mexico

3 out of 5
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