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Pilar DiTomaso

Age: 39

Occupation:Marketing

Number of Cruises: 2

Cruise Line: Carnival

Ship: Carnival Imagination

Sailing Date: April 6th, 2006

Itinerary: Western Caribbean

This cruise was our 2nd cruise. We flew to Miami and had purchased the ground transportation to the Port of Miami. We had no problem finding the cruise office to meet the bus this time and we were on our way within 20 minutes of touching down in Miami. We tipped the Carnival luggage handlers $5 to ‘take care’ of our luggage and we were happy to have our luggage in our stateroom an hour later. Going thru security and getting our cabin key and sign and sail card went very fast. We were off the bus and enjoying lunch on the Lido Deck in less than 25 minutes. We had an Ocean view Room (R128) and it was fine. This time we went a few floors lower than last time and I made a mental note to myself to not go below deck U. I heard the water against the side of the ship and engines and one day the water was very choppy and I felt it all. After getting into our room, we began to explore the ship. Everyone was happy, friendly and with a ready smile on their faces.

The food was unbelievable again. There was such a variety and you could eat from morning to night. We ate constantly and the food was delicious!! A variety of food for all different tastes. Our cabin steward, Ernesto, was available at all hours of the day and night. It didn’t matter what time it was when we went back to our cabin, he was always there with a ready smile and asking us if we needed anything. Our dining team, Nooman, Santana and Peter, were fantastic! They were so personable and friendly, their commitment to excellence was unbelievable. I can’t say enough about our ‘team’ but every Carnival employee that crossed our path were just as friendly and helpful. The photographers staff, particularly Carlos, was an added treat.

Our first port of call was Key West. We loved it. There was a free trolley service set up by the ship that brought us into downtown Key West (a short 7 minute ride). I wish we could have stayed in Key West longer (8-2) because it had a lot to offer. The shopping was great and the restaurants and bars were quaint. The next day’s port of call was Calica. We didn’t sign up for any excursions, we were told that we could hire a taxi for $10 to take us to the beach. Well, Calica Port was a barren quarry. We got off the boat and there were a few vendors outside about selling souvenirs. We tried standing in line to get a very limited number of cabs and it was too much. We waited about 45 minutes and there were still a ton of people ahead of us. We finally heard that the price for roundtrip to the beach was $120.00 for a party of 5! There were private vans charging $145 for a party of 5! So much for the $10 taxi ride. We decided that we had had enough and went back to the cruise. The cruise was a lot of fun but I was disappointed with Carnival for not choosing a better place to port. From the ship, we got to sit in a rock quarry – that was fun, NOT! We were forced to either pay the Carnival Excursion or to make our own excursion at the hands of strangers. I like when the ship goes to a port and I walk out into the town to shop and enjoy. That was the only downside, but it was big because we wasted a whole day and never got to visit anything in Mexico. So… beware.

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