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Candy

Age: 36 to 45

Occupation:n/a

Number of Cruises: 3 to 5 Cruises

Cruise Line: Carnival

Ship: Carnival Imagination

Sailing Date: March 6th.2000

Itinerary: Grand Cayman and Calica

On Sun Mar 5. We left Las Vegas. 24 and 1/2 hrs later we reached Miami.

**Long nightmare flight story about American airlines follows this review.

It was only 11am too early to check in at the pier so we decided since the hotel room had already been paid for we would take a shower and short nap.

I booked with the Everglades Hotel on Biscayne, right by the pier.

*** Review on Everglades Hotel following this review.

At 2pm we headed to the pier. The check in room was FULL, the line was sooo long, but much to my surprise it started moving immediately. We were in our room within 45 min. Check in was so smooth. Only picture I D was asked for. No birth certificate or passport. I’m guessing the rules are dif at each port... maybe even dif at each check in window because sailing from New Orleans and San Juan we needed more than an ID.

The ship...

Imagination is a fantasy class ship; I was familiar with the layout having been on the Fascination and Ecstacy. Clean, beautiful, and the best service, food and staff I have ever experienced.

We had a suite on the upper deck U-76. The cabin was clean and cool. Our cabin steward was Jury, the best steward we have ever had. He was quick and quiet and best of all... spoke English! I didn’t have to ask for beach towels for shore excursions, he already checked which ones we were on and which days we would need towels. Had them ready for us the night before.

They put my daughter 19, and her room mate on the Empress deck, inside cabin. I was surprised they were on a dif floor than me, but they were directly above us. Also the girls were in Rock and Roll heaven being that *Kid Rock* was on board and staying 2 suites down from us. The girls had pictures taken with he and his wife. Personally, I didn’t know who he was, my age was REALLY showing.

Food...

I have not one complaint about the food aboard Imagination. EVERY steak was cooked perfect. Our waiter was slow, but good. We even made it to the Gala Buffet this trip. WOW! The decorations were fabulous, but the food... Not much of it. Lots of desserts though. I think the whole idea is the decorations. Ships made out of cheese cubes... animals carved out of whole hams and turkeys...butter sculptures...flowers made from fruits and veggies. Ice carvings...etc.

Entertainment...

I made it to the Comedy shows, early and the *adult* late show. The comedian was good. We saw the Magician show (same ole stuff). I don’t go to the *Las Vegas* style reviews because being from Vegas, I can tell you... that is NOT Las Vegas style. A bunch of dancers running around hooping and hollering under a black light... Ill pass thanks.

The cruise director was Shawn, our first female director. She was ok, same ole jokes though.

The first day was at sea. Travel talk, bingo, pool games etc. Captains formal dinner was that night too.

Grand Cayman.. . Ok so I chose an itinerary with Grand Cayman on it so I could swim with the Stingrays (Last Sept on Celebration it was canceled)

Murphy’s law... wind forced the ship to cancel all stingrays shore tours. I was soooo disappointed. We tendered over to Grand Cayman to make the best of the day by shopping. EVERYTHING is soooo expensive there. I believe there are over 500 banks there on that island, and a real nice beach, but not much else to do.

Cancun/Calica..

Ok now here is where I have my only complaint about Carnival. In the brochure it says Calica/Cancun for the port. That is the last time you hear Cancun mentioned. All the shore tours and info say. Welcome to Calica.

If you’d like to see Cancun its an hour away.. (A$160 cab ride...Same with Cozumel which is across the channel). You can take a cab for $7 into Playa del Carman. They have shops, food and a bar called Senior Frogs, and a nude beach. We signed up for the late jeep Safari tour at 2pm.

We met on the pier at 2pm. There were 20 jeeps, 4 people in each, elect the driver. We had 2 tour guides. Started off on the Mexican highway, a caravan of jeeps, turned off onto a bumpy road that led to Aktun Chen a natural cavern. We were given hard hats and led thru in 3 groups. It was really neat to see the formations, but I have to tell ya. Its A LOT of walking, steps, uneven ground, and even times you practically have to crawl to not hit your head. I was sooo glad to have survived it and the bumpy road up! Then the guides waited for us at the exit with water and soda and we rested a while. Then the guide says, " Ok you guys ready for the BUMPY road? " I was wondering what he called the first road we were on. My husband decided to let our daughter drive. I strapped myself into the back seat and said a prayer! I swear trees saw that kid coming and moved! hehehehe! We ended up at a really nice beach, where they fed us fish and steak fajitas, chips, guacamole, fruit and soda. We spent an hour and a half there. Then back to the ship via the Mexican highway.

This excursion was exhausting, but REALLY fun I have to admit.

We had missed formal dinner and my husband NEEDED meat he said. We showered and went up to the Lido deck to try the relaxed alternative dining.

They had prime rib, some Chinese dishes, cooked to order steaks, and the normal burgers, pizza etc. It hit the spot! We went back to our suite to relax and got the dreaded phone call from the girls. We are going back into Playa to checkout Senior Frogs. Ok they are 19... I have only so much control...

My husband bartered a return time with them of 11pm. The ship was leaving at midnight. Needless to say until I KNEW they were back on the ship I was worried. They made it and had a blast at senior Frogs (surprise surprise).

****I really feel the need to mention the change I noticed on this cruise concerning alcohol. Not ONE shore excursion offered alcohol.. even the famous rum punch. My daughter and her friend we carded several times on this cruise and were not served at those times. Either Carnival is cracking down on the drinking and partying or it’s just this ships policy. This is the first cruise I have been on that I have run into this.

The last day was a day at sea. Debarkation was perfect. Took only about an hour. Customs was a breeze. We spent the day in Miami and took in the Sea-aquarium. I'd recommend trying the zoo. All in all this was a wonderful cruise.

****America West Airlines****

I made our reservations for the day before the cruise and not red-eye flights so we wouldn’t be so tired and cranky when we got to Miami and also we could spend the night in Miami and have some local cuisine. Our flight was scheduled at 1030am sun. They boarded us, then told us that phoenix, our next stop had weather and we would be delayed. We only had 30 min to make our connecting flight to Miami in Phoenix. I called the attendant over and explained. She checked with the pilot to made an announcement that no flights were taking off out of phoenix so don’t worry your connecting flight is being held for you. Finally at noon the plane left. When we reached phoenix we found our connecting flight had left on time. We missed it! The directed us to the customer service dept for American airlines to get another flight. Waited in that line 2 and 1/2 hours. The girl takes my tickets, says ok back to Vegas in 5 hrs to take the red eye out of Vegas that night at 1115pm.

I asked for a supervisor as they should have NEVER sent us to Phoenix in the first place and now we were stuck there for 5 hrs. She said she was the supervisor and this was all they could do for us. We were stuck in the middle seats between strangers back to Vegas. At 2am the flight scheduled for 1115 finally left. We made it to Miami finally at 11am Monday. Needless to say I will be writing a letter to American Airlines.

*****Everglades Hotel*****

On Monday morning we went to the hotel to shower since I was already being charged for the room because of their 24 hrs cancellation policy. The room was so nice!! I wasn’t sure what to expect for $80. We had a view of the pier and the cruise ships. The hotel lobby has a Cuban Restaurant and a coffee shop. I was pleasantly surprised.

On Saturday when the ship came back to port I had reserved a room for the day just for a rest spot and a place for our luggage till our flight left. It was like an entirely different hotel on the weekend. We got a crappy run down room with no view. The lobby was full of loitering Cuban dudes. I learned that in Miami English is NOT the first language and if you don’t speak Spanish you are in deep trouble. (Good thing my husband does)

I think this hotel is good for weekdays but on the weekends id skip it.

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