Review of Our Carnival Imagination Cruise

Carnival Imagination docked in Key West, FL
Carnival Imagination docked in Key West, FL | Source

This was our 2nd cruise with Carnival Cruise Lines, and was my daughter's 1st cruise ever. We chose this particular cruise because last year we had sailed with Carnival Inspiration out of Tampa, and we had a wonderful time, and were 100% satisfied with our cruise. We never would have believed that things could have gone so differently when we stepped foot on the Imagination cruise ship.

Embarkation

Getting on the ship went very smoothly, and before we knew it, we were in our stateroom. Carnival does a very good job at the port of Miami, when it comes to getting their passengers on their ships. I have to give them thumbs up for that.

Stateroom

We were on the 4th floor (Riviera deck), near the front of the ship, but further to the center, pass the front elevators. Our stateroom was nice, and clean. Our stateroom was kept clean our entire cruise, however, I couldn't begin to tell you what the stateroom attendant looked like. I seen a guy, and I seen a gal. I actually asked the female that was standing in the hall if we could get a bucket of ice, and she told me to call room service. I did, and about 3 1/2 hours later, the ice arrived. By that time, the ice wasn't needed because it was past the time for what we needed it for.

We never received a "hello", "good morning", or "good evening" from any of the stateroom attendants that we did pass or see in the forward portion of the ship on our deck. Guess they were just having a bad week.

However, we did have a new towel animal in our room every night, which was nice.

Dining

We always choose to eat at the buffet, and have often been told that what you see on the buffet, is actually what is being served in the dining rooms. We chose this particular cruise for two reasons. One was because we enjoyed the food that was available on the Inspiration cruise ship, and we wanted our grandchildren (ages 2, 5, and 6), to be able to enjoy the Carnival Water Works that was located at the aft of the ship.

We were not quite pleased with the food on this ship, compared to Inspiration last year. The seafood fritters that were really good on the previous cruise, were much different on this cruise. The shrimp and octopus were diced in the fritter on Inspiration, and on Imagination, I think they just crawled into the batter and were fried up in what ever position they ended up in. Nothing was diced, and they didn't have the taste they had when we ate them on our last cruise.

You have to arrive early for dining, or you won't find a table. The servers constantly kept the tables clean though, and removed trays when needed. My grandchildren liked the chicken tenders that were being served at the poolside buffet, and they also enjoyed the pizza. Most of the adults in our party ate from the buffet at Horizon.

Entertainment

I'd have to say that I'd put the female adults wearing thong bikinis, leaving the cheeks of their behinds hanging out, would probably be the worse entertainment on the ship, which I'd classify right there behind the main shows. I've actually seen better entertainment of dancers and singers in high school musicals, and plays. We were not entertained other than it passed time for what was seeming to become a rather boring night.

We went to the karaoke one night, and there were a whopping 9 people there, in which 5 of them were us. The music was overly loud, and when the host started singing, my 2 year old grandson actually put his fingers in his ears. That's when we decided that it was best to leave.

If I was to rate the entertainment on a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being the best. I'd rate it a 1.

Poolside

This was probably the worse section of the entire ship. We spend a lot of our time in this area, because we are smokers, and other than the 8 barstools at the bar near the Casino, and a limited about of slots to smoke at, this was the only other available area for a smoker. You can smoke in a small area on the right-hand side of the ship. Sometimes there was only standing room.

Not only was it extremely crowded, but it was also extremely loud. The music on this ship had their volume really up there, to the point that you'd be lucky if you could hear what the person next to you was even saying. I lost count of the times I said "Huh?" or "What?" to my husband which was in the chair next to me. And believe me when I tell you that my husband is not one of those soft quiet speaking people.

We kept the grandchildren from this area as much as possible, because I wasn't quite sure how to explain to my 5, and 6 year old granddaughters of the reasoning of why grown adult women would want to wear thong bathing suits with their butt cheeks hanging out. Have these women ever looked at their bottom ends in a mirror?

The pool (which is pictured below at early morning hours as the sun was rising), was small. I really believe that the pool in my back yard is larger, but then again, I've never had about 200 people in my pool all at one time, so maybe that's why it appeared smaller at the time. People were stuffed in the pool like sardines. It was really the only water place they had to escape, other than the Carnival Water Works.



Carnival Water Works

Our grandchildren looked forward to going to this area of the ship every day. However, the first day we were there, we were in shock of how slippery the floor area is around the slides. We actually watched a small child (that was walking, not running), slip before entering the steps of the smallest water slide, and she cracked open her chin, and was taken to medical. I lost count of how many children I seen fall and slip. My daughter, with 3 children said "I would not refer to this area as children-friendly".

Camp Carnival

My 2 granddaughters, ages 5 and 6, attended this program throughout the cruise. They always seemed to look forward to going there, and they got to color their very own t-shirt one of the nights. There is no children's pool on this ship, and with the main pool being at approximately 4 1/2 ft. deep, there is no place for small children to enjoy the water on this ship, other than the Water Works, which I mentioned earlier, of how dangerous this area is for small children. The staff at Camp Carnival, seemed to be very nice, and very understanding. I would recommend Camp Carnival, and thank goodness Carnival Cruise Line has this, or children would be bored out of their minds on this cruise.

Disembarkation

Our disembarkation went very smoothly, getting off the ship, however, we parked at the Terminal C parking garage, which is where the ship was, upon arriving for our cruise, so it was only a matter of dropping our luggage off with the porters, and walking across the street to get on the ship. But, getting back to the parking garage was an entirely different ball game.

The ship returned way further down near Terminal F, and the long walk back to the parking garage, with luggage, 3 small children, and construction every where, was a chore in itself. It was one of those situations where just when you thought things couldn't get any worse..... they do.

Conclusion

I'd have to say that if it wasn't for my family being with my husband and I, and being able to enjoy the time we had with my daughter, her husband, and our 3 grandchildren, this cruise would not have been enjoyable at all.

On a scale of 1 - 5, with 5 being the best, I'd rate this cruise a 1. I have no plans on ever returning back to Carnival Imagination, and wouldn't cruise on this ship out of Miami, if they gave it to me for free.

I heard so many different stories from other passengers that I met on this cruise. I heard stories of people being bumped in elevators by drunks that were falling over, to the smell of marijuana on deck 5. When I read that this was a "party" cruise line, I didn't believe it when we sailed on the Inspiration, however, I've learned that it's possible that the "party" remarks, depends on maybe where the ship is departing from. I've chosen to stay away from Miami, and choose ships that go out at either Tampa, or Fort Lauderdale, other than maybe Disney from Miami.

My next cruise is still in debate, but I know one ship I won't be going on, and that's the Carnival Imagination.


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