Number of Cruises: 1
Cruise Line: Carnival
Ship: Carnival Imagination
Sailing Date: October 13th, 2003
Itinerary: Western Caribbean
We departed from Port Miami on October 13, 2003 aboard the Carnival Imagination. It was our first cruise and we enjoyed it. However, I would like to share some things with you about the cruise.
We arrived by car at the Miami pier. The porters took our bags and we easily unloaded our vehicle. The porters were nice (I suggest $1.00 per bag tip – it helps).
We entered the Carnival facility. It was a very large warehouse type location. However, it was very clean and our embarkation was smooth. We were forced to set for about an hour before we were allowed onto the Imagination. While we sat, Carnival offered us soft drinks and other consumables for about 1.00 each. I felt that was cheesy. They could have provided a free beverage.
We entered the entered the ship through a maze of check points and identity assessments. We were ushered into a line, had our photos taken and our sail and sign cards issued. This process took 15 minutes and we were aboard ship. Also, we were afforded an opportunity to have our photograph taken at the gangway (this would prove to be a very common opportunity aboard ship).
The Imagination proved to be in good shape. It obviously is a workhorse ship for the Carnival fleet. However, the wear and tear is minimal. The crew seemed to be constantly cleaning or repairing aboard ship.
The Grand Atrium was pretty (but very gaudy). I found it easy to get around the ship after only one day.
Our cabin was fine. We booked a quad, inside cabin. It was small but larger than expected. Our Cabin steward (Edward) kept the room clean. He made towel animals. Overall, it was a very nice location to spend 5 days.
I could find no fault in the ship other than the elevators. The elevators were constantly out of order. However, these would be fixed in relatively short order.
The only let down with the Carnival crew came from my experience in the Spa/Beauty Salon area. I needed a hair cut and beard trim. I booked this and waited in the lobby. The beautician (a British girl from Liverpool) did a terrible job cutting my hair. Then, she refused to trim my beard. I was embarrassed and disgusted. The total cost for me was $33.00.
The food aboard imagination was excellent. The servers (ours were IMade and Emmanuel) were wonderful. They were considerate and well mannered. I actually felt that they cared about our experience. They danced very well (our servers were the best!). They doted on our children. I can’t say enough positive about them.
Crew members who deserve to be mentioned: IMADE, Emmanuel, Captain Angelo Salvimini (Ciao, Ciao!), Constantine, the young crew at the Pizza bar, The Sushi Chef, Edward the cabin Steward, the Australian girls in the Horizon Grill and ALL the Camp carnival Staff.
I fell in love with the level of service, good manners and friendliness of the Carnival Crew. They are the best sailing!
Our itinerary was: Departure from Miami, a day at sea, one day at Grand Cayman, One day at Ocho Rios Jamaica, a day at sea and return to Miami.
The fun days on board are okay. I liked walking the deck and watching the passing shipping. Sadly, everything costs money (except for food). So, if you are on a tight budget it might eat into your chances for entertainment. Overall, I enjoyed the ship experience. We saw Cuba on the eve of the second day at sea. That made the trip worth it to me.
Our ports of Call:
I liked Grand Cayman. I enjoyed the little, old port of Georgetown. It has a nice English feel to it. The locals are friendly and polite.
We opted to take the Grand Cayman Island Tour. It was guided by Sherwin Bush. He was a nice person, fun and we enjoyed ourselves. We visited Hell, the turtle farm, and Tortuga Rum Cake factory. All very entertaining and nice.
I would visit Grand Cayman again.
Ocho Rios, Jamaica:
We booked the Dolphin Touch /Dunn’s River Falls Package. This was the biggest rip-off. I was really disappointed.
Firstly, we departed the ship for a 9:30 am show at the Dolphin Cove. We arrived and were immediately told we would have to return at 11:00AM. They plan this so you will have to go to the Dunn’s river Falls exhibit. They will attempt to sell you a bunch of junk made in China (with Jamaica stamped on it). In addition, I was constantly offered Marijuana (in the presence of my children). It was upsetting.
The falls are pretty. It is unfortunate it is surrounded by the Jamaican, tourist rip-off , village.
We arrived, at the Dolphin Cove. They will not let you take your camera into the attraction (they offer to take your photograph instead. Later, they want to sell it to you for 14.00 US). We paid 100.00 a person to touch Dolphins. We were allowed 10 whole minutes with the Dolphins.
Friends, I don’t want to sound bitter, but save your money – Dolphin Cove is a big Rip-off.
Lastly, the Jamaican vendors are rude, pushy, insensitive and ill mannered. If I knew what I knew today – I would have stayed aboard ship.
We departed Jamaica and returned to Miami.
We arrived on Saturday in Miami. We were the last to be allowed off of the ship. But, this was okay; we relaxed and had fun waiting to depart.
Overall, the cruise was fabulous. I enjoyed the ship; the Imagination crew was super (especially the Camp Carnival crew – the kids didn’t want to leave them!). I would recommend this cruise. It was affordable, fun and overall, an excellent value for the money.