Number of Cruises: 1
Cruise Line: Carnival
Ship: Carnival Imagination
Sailing Date: January 17th, 2005
Itinerary: Western Caribbean
I think this process was made as painless as possible. We landed at Miami Intl, and decided to use Carnival’s transportation to get to the dock. It was $22.00 round trip per person. If I were to do it again, I would check with a cab on the cost of getting to the boat. Once you return, there are a large number of taxis waiting at the dock to transport you. But it is a nice conveyance of using Carnivals transportation. Once at the dock, we were met by a baggage handler that wanted a tip for our bags for moving 1 of our four bags after I had moved the other 3. Since I wanted to make sure all bags made it to our room….I paid him $4.00. Once inside the building and thru security, we started the in processing for our cruise. The lines were long and it did take some time to get to our rooms. But it was a lot easier then I had thought it would be. Carnival does have a smooth system in place for this part of the cruise. The one problem that I did see is with baggage delivery to our room. We dropped off all 4 bags at the same time when we arrived. The first 2 came about 1 hour after arriving at our room. One more showed up about an hour after that, with the last coming around an hour following that one. I don’t know why we just didn’t hand carry them all on. Some complaints about the baggage delivery, was that people didn’t have immediate access to a change of clothes or other personal items until their luggage made it to their rooms. They tell you that by 8:00pm that night, all luggage will be delivered. For the most part, I was satisfied with this phase of our cruise.
This was some what of a disappointment. Once enter our room, our initial opinion was favorable. We arrived at our room, checked it out. We took a quick look at it and headed out to take a look at the cruise ship. Once we returned and took a better look our room, E182 on the Empress Deck. We found some points about the room that we had missed when we first arrived. The biggest problem in the room was the dirt and salt water on out window. I paid extra to get a room a few decks from the bottom deck up to have a window to be able to look out of instead of a “Porthole”. But the streaks, grim and saltwater, left from the last cruise were still covering our window. I checked another window in a room down from us, and the same problem was also with that one. The streaks were so bad that they even showed up on the digital pictures that we took from our room. There is a medal cover that goes around the room. It is for protecting and hiding electrical wiring for the cabin. This was dusty and was not cleaned before we arrived for the cruise. We left it alone and didn’t say anything seeing what would happen. The only thing that changed during our cruise, it got dirtier. We opened the Cabinet in the bathroom and there were a tissue paper, a glass and a women’s highlighter for her eyes, (as explained to me by my wife), left in there all nicely stacked in one corner of the cabinet. Aside from these distractions, the room was kept up. Twice a day, morning and evening, the room was made up. The typical mints were placed on our pillows and the time was taken to leave some sort of imaginative creation made out of a small towel that resembled an animal or sea creature. There were good points and bad points with the room. The one thing that I noticed as we were driving away from the dock after our cruise was over. There was a worker up cleaning the windows. (As another point, it wasn’t just our room window dirty. But all the windows on the boat needed a cleaning. I thought that would have been something that would have been taken card of after every cruise). I do not know if this is something that Carnival takes care of every other cruise or just when they want to.
He was pretty nice. We never really needed him for much. I am sure that if we did that it would have been taken care of. It seemed for the most part. That most the staff was pretty friendly.
BAR / ALCOHOL:
With being with my Family, we really didn’t hang out at the bar much or do a lot of drink ordering. But the few drinks we did order seemed to be easy on the alcohol. The drinks, (the boat special of the day and a couple Pina Coladas), tasted weak. Not much of a taste from what ever alcohol they used in them.
FOOD / DINNING:
With this being a vacation, neither my wife nor I were wanting to take along formal wear. We took this cruise to get away from the clothes we were day to day. I did hear that the food at the Sit Down Dinners was pretty good. The day we arrived on the cruise ship there were hamburgers and hot dogs for us to have for lunch. The problem there was the hamburgers were all dried out from sitting there. The cooks kept on frying up to many at a time so most of them just sat there in a pan. The buns were either stale from being in the freezer or just down and out stale. This was the way they were every meal, every day of the cruise.
With most of our meals coming from the buffet line, it gave us a nice selection of side dishes. The food that was prepared for the buffet line was enjoyable for all 3 meals, except for the breakfast meal. The eggs seemed to have that microwave taste to them, not real eggs. We did have one breakfast in the Pinnacle Room. The service was so good, it was almost to the point of annoying. But the big reason we decided to stay with the buffet line was that the portions were small and not very filling. I ordered French toast with sausage.
It comes out of the cooking are with 3 pieces of French toast and 2 small pieces of sausages. They were about 1/3 the size of the buffet line. About an hour and a half after breakfast, we were hungry again. For the most part, we were satisfied with the buffet line. A nice option is 24 hour Ice Cream and Yogurt machine for filling cones and dishes. It was nice after a meal or even a snack thru out the day or night. There is a counter just for Pizza. The pizza was kind of thin and not much with the toppings, but the taste was better then what it look it would be. Another plus was the salad bar. Good selection of options for salad extras. The Lettuce always seemed to be fresh; with out the brown color you might see other salad bars.
The entertainment was pretty good. The few shows we were able to see were both professional and enjoying. Costumes were attractive and well maintained. The musical group that entertained on the Lido Deck was the low point of Imaginations Entertainment. No one seemed to be listening to them. It would have been better to have recorded music then the live music of this particular group. The Casino was fun but not a lot of room to play. Slots were taken up most of the time we were there. Having to wait to play a slot didn’t enhance our gambling. We really didn’t play much at the card table. There were different activities going on during the day and evening. Here is one of the big problems I had with this cruise. With all the day to day activities, not any, outside of sitting down for a show, involved the family. It was mostly single and couples that were able to participate in what was going on board. There are 4 ping-pong tables on board. But they are in need of repair. Useable, but needs work. There are families that on the cruise. But Carnival elects not to offer nor include this group in cruise ship fun.
PORTS OF CALL:
Our first scheduled stop was the Cayman Islands. It was due to an unexpected medical emergency involving one of the crew. The ship had to turn around and head back towards Key West to insure that proper medical attention to be giving for this life threading emergency. Once we were back under way. It was decided by the Captain that there wasn’t enough time to make both Ports of Call. So, Cayman Islands stop was drop from the itinerary. Here is where the second BIG disappointment comes from with Carnivals, (The first was not taking the time to include families as part of the cruise activities). CARVINAL decided that for compensation of missing a Port of Call, 1/3 of our itinerary. That is was appropriate and fitting to give everyone on board a $25.00 credit to our Sale and Sign cards. In my case, it was a $100.00 for my family missing something that we were promise and looking forward to see. It wasn’t my fault, nor Carnivals fault that this situation came up. But as the company that took my money, (which was paid in full 2 months before prior to sailing), would think more of it passengers then its own gain at taking my money, over $1650.00 and not applying a larger potions of it back to me for not making it to one of 2 ports. That shows to me, that we as passengers are nothing more then cargo on their “Fun Ships. Which wasn’t that much fun anyways?
The second stop was Ocho Rios, Jamaica. We paid in advance $49.00 a ticket for the Enchanted Gardens and Dunns Fall trip. My wife wanted to see the Enchanted Gardens with the many spectacular flowers that represent Jamaica. This is about the biggest waist of time and money. What you see is a stream that flows over a few small water falls that are part of the property of a run down, closed hotel. The whole tour from start to finish consisted of about 3 different flowers to look at. It wasn’t even a large area, just 3 or 4 flowers sprouting in small areas along the path. Very disappointing! Going to Dunns Fall was very nice. We were not prepared to actually climb the falls, but it was very relaxing to watch the water and people climbing up it. I am sure it was fun by the expression on their faces. If you follow the walk way all the way down. You will end up on a beach that can also be a very nice way to spend your time there. Bring food if you plan to stay awhile. Not much there in the way of food to buy. If you do decide to make this cruse with these stops. Look at the prices of getting your own tour instead of going thru Carnival. We paid close to $200.00 for both stops. As you read, the gardens are not worth it. A ticket to get into Dunns Fall is only $10.00 per person as of Jan /05. I am not sure of taxi prices, but has to be cheaper then 160.00 for a trip to the falls. And stay away from the Jamaicans
wanting to take pictures of you next to the falls. They will want a tip for doing what the guy 5’ down from you will do for nothing.
This phase of the cruise went pretty smooth like Embarkation did. Waiting for Customs to say it was okay to leave was the biggest part of the waiting. There was breakfast served before you left the ship on the last day.
The only draw back was that the Yogurt and Ice Cream machines were turned off. I guess Carnival thought I had enough.
With this being out first cruise, my family and I thought it was not that enjoyable. From the room, to the shore tour to the biggest disappointment with the amount Carnival Cruise Lines thought was enough money to give back to its passengers, or lets say KEEP from its passengers as their idea of compensations for what we paid for and didn’t get. We will be trying another cruise next year. But you can guarantee it will not be with Carnival.
To many options out there to see how other cruise lines treat there paying customers, or the way Carnival thinks.. it Paying Cargo!