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Old 03-16-2008, 12:27 PM
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We enjoyed a fun ship day at sea with the family exploring the ship, the pools, the new, beautiful Serenity Deck for adults, the water slide (that even the most middle-aged of us enjoyed!), the games, the PIZZA, the buffet, the casino (in case you see any butts lying around the ship in the future, they belong to us!), the drinks, the ice cream …

We arrived in Grand Cayman (along with 5 other ships!) and tendered at 8 am for our shore excursion to snorkel with the stingrays. I will say that for having 6 ships in port, Grand Cayman has a very efficient system of tendering. We never actually felt the crush of people, and some of the ships in port were HUGE. It says a lot about how much they value our presence in the islands. How beautiful the stingrays are – a few people that wouldn’t go because of the Erwin experience – really missed out on a grand time. They are so tame and they look like a great migration towards the boats when you first arrive at the sand bar. We got to touch and kiss them, and enjoyed the trip immensely. Quite the experience. DO IT.

Jamaica – now here’s my problem. Jamaica has a questionable reputation and this trip didn’t help. The port is one of the ugliest places there is to greet thousands of visitors I have ever seen. It smells awful and you are herded from a space that isn’t meant to hold more than a couple hundred. One lady was run over by one of the taxis. And I do mean run over, broke both ankles. Note to Jamaica – there will come a day when NOBODY will want to get off the ship. I am a very tolerant, patient person. I don’t complain about the small stuff, and I rarely complain about the big stuff. All 12 of us booked the Bamboo Beach Club and Dunn’s River Falls adventure. The Falls were great, everyone loved them. (Some of us didn’t climb, but all the kids did.) Took some great pictures – a lifetime of great memories.

HOWEVER, the rest of the time there was awful. The beach was advertised as: unlimited drinks, Jamaican food, beautiful beach, thick-cushioned lounge chairs, tents, a personal host or hostess to ‘cater to your every whim’ (you kinda know where this is going, don’t you), regional dancing, music, and more fun than you can fit into one day! Interpretation is everything, I suppose…The drinks were sweetened with cane syrup or something none of us liked, God knows (maybe) what the heck the substitute for the mint in the mojitos was (tarragon maybe, but definitely not mint), the punch (ick), the lemonade (ick, ick) (on a happier note, the beer was good), the food was gross, none of us ate it – believe me we tried, but it was just the worst island food I’ve ever tasted. I won’t even go into the thick (interpretation – smelly) cushioned chairs. We didn’t complain – just kept saying ‘no thanks’ and returned to the ship the first chance we had. They asked us to fill out a comment sheet, I said as politely as I could, “you don’t want me to fill one out.” Just not a very good experience at $90 per person. I would just do the Falls in the future, never mind the beach thing. I don’t recommend it. We were harassed at every chance, not nice Jamaica, especially for the first time visitor!

The rest of the cruise was time well-spent with family. Half of the family lives in Tampa and the rest of us in north Florida so we don’t get to visit as much as we would like. We ALL plan to take another trip together as a group. We love Carnival and the Imagination was even better than we had imagined! I LOVE TO CRUISE!!
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Old 03-16-2008, 01:32 PM
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I'm glad you enjoyed your cruise. It makes me think I may try the Imagination again. My husband and two kids went on her pre refurbishing and I said I wouldn't go on her again. Everything was peeling off the walls and was just really run down. We are taking a 5 night on the Destiny in Oct with the same itinerary you just took. I haven't been to Ocho Rios for a long time and thank you for this information. I may rethink some of the excursions I was considering. By the way how do you get Platimum status? Is it the amount of Carnival cruises you took? Welcome back.
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Old 03-16-2008, 02:30 PM
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We're leaving on the Inspiration 10/6. Thanks for the info!
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Old 03-16-2008, 07:15 PM
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Debster,

Do consider another Inspiration trip. As I said, everything is shiny and new and, of course, very clean.

I would poll other cruisers for good shore excursions they would recommend. I really do hate to be so negative about the one we went on, just our opinion. Hopefully, someone will suggest something that was great!

You will get Platinum status on your 10th cruise. I took four cruises from December 06 until August 08 in order to build up my number. Some of the other lines count the number of days not the number of cruises. Fortunately, Carnival still just counts the cruise, not the days. So, take some short cruises and get your platinum status!

Have fun on your cruise in October.
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Old 03-16-2008, 07:16 PM
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Oops, my cruises were from December 06 until August 07. Working on August 08 now.
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Old 03-17-2008, 12:33 PM
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Welcome back, sounds like you had a wonderful time. Sorry about Jamaica, but Dunn's River Falls is a must. The last time we went, we did a catamaran sail/snorkel and then returned to the ship afterwards. It is ashame. It is such a beautiful island. I do hope that one day they will realize how many dollars they are losing and turn things around. Can't wait to see what you select for your next cruise!
 
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