Occupation:Catering Sales Manager
Number of Cruises: 8
Cruise Line: Carnival
Ship: Carnival Imagination
Sailing Date: February 28th, 2002
Itinerary: Key West and Cozumel
Just returned from a 4 day cruise with my girlfriends. We had a lovely time aboard the Imagination. I have cruise before but the other 3 had not. We left from Miami on Thursday to be picked up by the pier transfer bus provided by Carnival and taken to the port. (I recommend taking a taxi instead - it's only $18 per trip not passenger and well worth not dealing with the hassle of the bus).
It was a fairly smooth check in and went straight to our cabin. There were four of us traveling and in one cabin. Not too bad. We survived.
Because a Navy Ship was in port at Key West they re routed us and we were at sea the first day and then to Cozumel and then to Key West on Sunday. That was really better because the ship didn't arrive in Key West until 1:00 Sunday and otherwise we would have arrived at 7:00 AM and left port at 2:00 PM.
Lots to do on board. Whatever your interest is, they have it.
Cozumel - take a taxi into town, do not try to walk.
Cozumel was very hot. I suggest that you wear lots of sunscreen and wear a hat or visor. If you've never shopped in Mexico-don't buy anything at the price that is first quoted to you. And don't buy the first thing you see. Make your way through the stores you like and then narrow down your choice and go back and negotiate the best deal. Mostly silver jewelry and turquoise are the best buys. But again, don't buy the first thing you see.
I would recommend getting your shopping done early and then doing something fun like Carlos and Charlies for the afternoon. (Also don't forget to have a margarita at Panchos Backyard-atmosphere is great) But don't have too much fun, you need to be sure to give yourself enough time to get back to the pier to board the ship - you will need to take a taxi ($5 pp)
Make your way down Whitehead Street for the most scenic view - not very commercial and very beautiful. Hemingway's house is at 907 Whitehead Street. Then after leaving there, cut over to Duval Street - next street over- and then you will have plenty of retail therapy at your disposal. When you get to the 500 block, have another margarita at Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville, conch fritters and a piece of Key Lime Pie and you will have done all the right things in Key West. If you are into art, this is the place to be. They have lots of beautiful art work and fun things to do.
If you are there in the evening, make sure to be at Mallory Square at sunset, it is the most beautiful site you can see.
The ship as a whole is very nice. Many things to do and fairly pleasant staff. Our cabin Steward, Rohan from St. Vincent was wonderful. He did an exceptional job keeping us straight....with four girls in one room taking at least two showers a day he had is hands full with us and never let us down.
Food wasn't great, but wasn't bad. It was just average. Waiter, Larme did a nice job of keeping us full of beverages and food and we sat with very nice people. I'm sure we will all stay in touch. I recommend staying away from beef unless you like it rare to med rare. They tend to overcook and then it is tough.
No one won in the casino-that's not so unusual though.
Drinks are not very strong.
Make sure to scrutinize your bill on the last day, had several mistakes, of course in Carnival's favor. They will fix it if you bring to their attention.
As they say, you get what you pay for and for what we paid for I would say it was just fine. My only problem throughout the whole trip was embarkation and debarkation of the ship, there has just got to be a better way. I know that as many crew as there are on a ship, they could put more lines in place to get on and off the ship. I spent more time waiting in line than anything else. But I didn't let it ruin my vacation. I probably won't sail on Carnival again personally but my friends will.
Happy Sailing to all.....