Number of Cruises: 3
Cruise Line: Carnival
Ship: Carnival Imagination
Sailing Date: February 3rd, 2003
Itinerary: Western Caribbean
First, let me tell you that this cruise was fabulous, and went way beyond our expectations. We flew in the day before our cruise and before we dropped off our rental car on the day of the cruise we thought we might save some time by going to the port first and dropping off our luggage. This was at around 11am. Not a good idea, the port was extremely busy and confusing, so we drove back to the rental car agency and dropped off our car and they drove us in to the port. We checked in about 12:30pm, and they gave us the keys to our room, Sail & Sign card and let us on board immediately. Once we were on board, we dropped off some of our carry-on in our room and then took off to explore the ship. We stopped off at the info counter first and obtained a 'fountain' card for approx. $25. It's worth it, each pop drink, if you're paying for it at the bar is $2.88 each with gratuities. The drink of the day is being offered everywhere, it's kind of expensive, $6.25, but you get to keep the glass. We used some advice from someone else who wrote a review on this site, and that was - purchase your alcohol on land and transfer it into water bottles, or colored plastic pop bottles. It saves you a bit of money. We also brought our own bottle of wine on board to celebrate our 40th, and they didn't even ask us about it. We decided way too late to book a shore tour, we wanted to go snorkeling and it was sold out by the time we decided we wanted to do it, so my advice to you is to book your shore tours as soon as you get on board. The room was great. Roomy enough for the two of us, the sheets were a little stained when we first walked into the room and we called the cabin steward and asked him to change the sheets. The beds were together, but the sheets and blankets were still made for single beds. He offered to put one fitted sheet and one blanket on the bed for us to make up the bed as one, it was a great idea. Bathroom is a good size, shower is big enough for two. And we were pleasantly surprised to see a large medicine cabinet inside the bathroom for all our toiletries, making the bathroom look a lot less cluttered. Closet space is huge and there was plenty of space for all our stuff. TV. worked fine, but we didn't watch it that much. We had an ocean view room, but heard from our fellow passengers that if you have a interior room a night light is a good idea. There is food everywhere, all the time, you can NEVER starve on this ship. The food in the Horizon Grill was tasty, and there was always a good variety. We had breakfast room service a couple of mornings, we ordered bagels, with salmon and cream cheese, it was excellent. The dining room was way beyond what we expected, there were nights when we would order two appetizers and two entrees. Sometimes just to taste and see what that dish was like. This practice is not only accepted, it's encouraged. And we weren't the only ones doing that, our table mates did it too. And speaking of table mates, we had the BEST, they were great, we laughed and laughed every night, and were always the last to leave from dinner. The lobster dinner was great, everyone at our table all said their lobsters were excellent. We never saw the maitre d', only when at the end of each dinner he spoke to the room, via microphone, and let everyone know what was going on the next day. Our waiter and bus boy were ok, the waiter constantly screwed up our order, like putting in front of you something you didn't order, but he always rectified it. I have one beef about the dining room rules though...in all the Carnival brochures and literature it specifically states that no shorts or tank tops are allowed in the dining room for dinner. Yet on two separate occasions for dinner, at the table next to us, all the men showed up with shorts on, on one night, one of them showed up with shorts and a tank top. When I voiced my displeasure to the assistant maitre d', she said that they can't refuse to sit anyone in the dining room, no matter what they're wearing. Umm, ok, but listen, if you're going to print this 'rule', then enforce it. It's not fair to everyone else in the dining room who has to get dressed up. I know it's fun to get dressed up and go for dinner, but unpleasant to see the people sitting in the table next to you not dressed up at all, and getting away with it. Activities are abound all day, there is always something to do if you choose. Unfortunately, we were too late in getting a Belize tour. We went to the info desk on the ship and they recommended a couple of hotels that we could go to and use their facilities. We went to the Radisson, and they were gracious hosts. The drinks were great and although we didn't have anything to eat, the food looked great, they served whatever meat you ordered with a hot stone and you cooked your meat according to how well or raw you like your meat, an interesting concept. The casino was fun, but my advice to slot machine players, the machines don't pay out. At one time my hubby and I observed for a period of time the slot machine area, and there wasn't any big winners at all. My hubby played the tables, unfortunately he didn't win either, but I think you have better odds at the tables. We were told that this was a training ship for the dealers, so be careful, watch them. More than once we had to correct the dealers. The days at sea are very relaxing. The last cruise my hubby and I went on was a different port every day and it was really busy. This cruise was nice to have a break in-between. My hubby and I are Canadian. And on the morning that you reach Key West we had to be in the Dynasty Lounge at 7am to clear customs. Not fun when you get to sleep at 3:30am the night before. Unfortunately it's a necessary evil. My hubby and I have been to Key West several times. So we just sauntered up and down Duval and hit a few of the popular bars. Sloppy Joes, Fat Tuesday's, Tony's, Hog's Breath Saloon. There's some really good entertainers, even smack dab in the middle of the afternoon. Last night on the ship, you have to have your luggage out outside of your cabin before midnight. We had dinner (we had late seating - 8:30pm) and then went back to our room, changed into shorts and t-shirts, more comfy casual wear, (good enough to wear the next day too) packed what we wore that night to dinner. And placed our bags outside. We just wanted less to carry around the next morning. Next morning, we had a relaxing breakfast and when our tag color was called at around 10am, we took our time and exited the ship. Picking up our bags was not a problem, we grabbed a cab and we were out of there in minutes. We stayed at a friends house in Ft. Lauderdale for a few days after the cruise so it wasn't as much of a downer coming off the cruise ship as it could have been. All in all, we had a great time. We booked our cruise with www.cruiseshopping.com but found cheaper prices at www.cruiserewards.com . Although when I called Cruiseshopping.com they matched the price. I know that if you book this cruise you will enjoy it. Hats off to Carnival, I would not hesitate to book another cruise with them.