Tom & Mary Milano
Age: Over 70
Number of Cruises: 11
Cruise Line: Carnival
Ship: Carnival Imagination
Sailing Date: April 4th, 1999
Itinerary: Western Caribbean
Our agent recently called us that he had a fax special for the Carnival Imagination. The Carnival line was one line we didn't intend to book, but the price of the fax special was so unbelievably low we decided to see first hand what Carnival was all about. This proved to be a huge mistake. We are fortunate this wasn't our first cruise because if it was it also would have been our last and we would have missed out on all the wonders of cruising. We know there are different strokes for different folks, but how different can peoples tastes be. Our cruise was a the very bottom of the enjoyment scale.
In our opinion Carnival has the poorest cabin arrangement of any cruise line we have booked. When they have a double accommodation they push two single beds together, against the back wall. Whoever is on the inside has to crawl over their partner to get out of bed. I know this will be hard to believe but they do not have any double bed sheets. Each bed is made up individually, with the sheets and covers tucked in. There is no way you can cuddle up to your wife with out tearing the bed apart. We have never ben camping but I imagine its like camping out and sleeping in separate bed rolls. The only thing missing were the zippers. When we asked the steward for double or queen sized bed sheets, he was actually annoyed and said they didn't have any. We knew we were in deep trouble A terrible arrangement
There are no hair dryers in the bathroom. Also there wasn't any shampoo or lotion or any of the other goodies you normally find.
FOOD AND SERVICE:
We managed to have the Maitre Di assign us a table for two. However the overall seating arrangement of the dining room was terrible. Carnival is the only cruise line that we have seen that has straight booth seating for tables of six. They had the same type seating for tables of eight all along the exterior walls. In the restaurant business we call that barracks seating. It is impossible for the full party of eight to have a conversation, unless the person stands up when addressing a person at the other end of the table.
Another very bad feature of the dining room was the Bain Marie serving stand that ran down the full center of the dining room. This is an area where the waiters pick up their soup, some appetizers and assorted items for the table. This type arrangement is a real no-no. These areas are supposed to be concealed in a fashion so they are out of the diners sight as much as possible. It is a poor way to expedite service and it detracted from the over all appearance of the dining room. Much to our surprise the food was wasn't bad. In fact some of the entrees were excellent. In general the service was poor. The bus-girl was in a dither and couldn't get coordinated with the waiter. The one exception was the bar girl Kathleen. She couldn't have been more efficient or more charming. She was a delight.
My wife always looks forward to the shows and it was especially so on this trip, since we had heard, (mostly from Kathy Lee Gifford) that Carnival had a great entertainment program. I guess we were on the wrong ship because the show is the poorest we have ever seen. The lead female singer and male singer couldn't get their act together and weren't very good. The quality and the design of the costumes was very poor. Also, having the Orchestra on stage through out the performance didn't help the situation. It took the attention away from the performers. On second thought, maybe that was good. We attended two show and decided we had enough. We decided we would try to find a lounge that had a group that played the kind of music we could dance to. Unfortunately we couldn't find any. It seemed like the lounges were catering to single girls, who liked to line dance. They dominated the dance floor, (some in bare feet) while we waited to hear something we could dance to. I admit we do the old WW #2, slide and glide, but our type dancing is never outdated. We can usually find a combo that plays some of our type music. Not so with Carnival. We don't normally feel old but after seeing the goings on in these lounges we felt like we were on another planet. We felt like a couple of dinosaurs.
In our opinion, Carnival is for the very young and young adults that want to party. We have never seen as much drinking as aboard this ship. On three different occasions we were awakened out of a sound sleep between one and three in the morning with shouting and cursing and carrying on by a group of young people, in cabins down the hall. Security had to actually patrol our hall each night.
Their were bare feet everywhere. Many people walked along the promenade in bare feet. They even danced in bare feet in the lounges. On formal night, you could walk along the promenade and see people in shorts and tank tops. It is one thing to go casual, but this was a bit much. We met a number of people at open breakfast and open lunch that had the same experience as we did and were very disappointed and would never book Carnival again. In our opinion, being retired owners of a peoples business, this type general atmosphere will not enhance their image.
I don't think it necessary to tell you of any more of the details, we think you heard enough.. What we would write would not be very pleasant to read. I know if I tell you we had a great time, you are either not going to believe me or your going to think I'm crazy. But I going to make that very statement. I know that sounds odd after all the things I have written, but it is the truth. In each port, we find a good hotel that we can pay to use their facilities. Ocean front, pool, showers, changing rooms, dining facilities and etc. (Like the Jamaica Grande in Ocha Rios.) When we are on the ship we spend a lot of time around the aft pool area. After a late lunch, we usually take a nap and around five we order a snack from room service. It then is about time to start dressing for dinner. We then like to go to a lounge for cocktails and a wee bit of dancing before dinner. We got lucky. The last two nights we found a group that agreed to play some of our type music and we enjoyed a couple of evenings of dancing. But most important, whaat is paramount in our live and when we cruise, is the simple fact that we enjoy each others company. We write this critique for you from our personal perspective which might be very different than yours. We made our first cruise in May of 1996 aboard Celebrity's Zenith.. We became addicted and have become avid cruisers. We have made 12 cruises in the last 35 months and 5 of those in the last 7 months. If we had booked Carnival for our first cruise, there is no doubt in our minds, we would have never cruised again.
It is not very pleasant having to write a negative review. We would much rather be able to tell you of the many nice things that took place, but unfortunately there weren't many. In our opinion, it was a terrible experience.