We traveled with a party of twenty; eleven of which were children ranging in age from two years old to sixteen years old. Overall everyone behaved admirably and the chaos and confusion was kept to a minimum. About the ship: I found the Imagination to be beautiful. It was well kept, spotless and all of its crew was friendly and helpful. I sailed last summer on it's sister ships the Sensation and the Fascination which from what I recall were very nice too, but for some reason I found this one even nicer. We sailed out of Miami to Grand Cayman and to Ocho Rios. The ship ran smooth, very little movement and there was plenty to do around the ship. I was on Adventure of the Seas last month and what I've discovered in my opinion although AOS was magnificent and a great experience, it's not the size of the boat that really matters. It definitely had more bells and whistles than the Imagination and I think every cruiser should experience the "big" ships at least once, but now that I've done it once, ships like the Imagination are greattoo. I've had great cruises on both lines. I really think you should make your choice on the itinerary rather than the size of a particular ship.
We found the food to be excellent every night, service great and friendly; our waiters took care of the kids at a separate table extremely well, and had a great time. The bars and lounge areas were beautiful, shows were first rate, and casino was large and very nice. Getting on and off ship was a pleasant experience. We stayed in the Horizon grill the morning of disembarking, ate breakfast and waited to be called. There was no hustle and bustle and got off very easily. The two excursions we chose were in Grand Cayman - 7 Mile Beach and in Ocho Rios my wife and I took a cab to a public beach about five minutes from the pier and enjoyed the local culture and the beach. 7 Mile Beach in Grand Cayman was very beautiful and a very nice day. We had a terrific time on this cruise and are looking into booking next July on the Destiny out of San Juan. If you have any questions and would like more info or pics, drop me a line and I'll be happy to get back to you.
I would like to begin this narrative by stating that my intention is to provide lots of detail primarily for first time cruisers. I spent a great deal of time before my cruise reading cruise reviews and message boards in preparation for a great vacation. At that time I decided I would take notes while I was away so that, upon my return, I could return the favor and give as much information as possible to those who use this forum for help. That said, past cruisers will probably find my information redundant so I will also slip in some of the hilarity that inevitably accompanies three wild and crazy gals on vacation.
My friends (Kathy and Veronica) and I are each thirty-something and are fellow classmates at a local university here in Florida. We decided to go on this cruise to do something fun together, to ease the pain of a difficult semester, and to celebrate Kathy's graduation. Kathy and Veronica are both "married with children" and I am engaged so this was not a singles' excursion.although I must admit we were hoping for a really cute cabin steward. Vand I have never been on a cruise and K's last cruise was many years ago. We spent approximately 2 months preparing by reading the reviews and boards, making lists, and shopping, shopping, shopping.for those not in the know, a cruise is a great excuse to buy new clothes! Although we did not use 90% of the information we gathered due to time constraints etc., I do not at all consider the research wasted time as a great deal of vacation fun for me is in the planning. It is for those unusual people like me that I am writing this review.
We booked online through Expedia after checking other sites, not through Carnival directly, a guarantee window cabin category. We ended up on the Empress Deck with 2 twin beds and a pull down that was only one category below a mini-suite. Our room number was hidden on the back-side of our tickets which we saw some people on the message boards had located. Besides the planning, Veronica and I very sneakily decided to surprise Kathy with a Carnival embarkation gift. We chose the Congratulations decoration and cake package, which I ordered. The decorations consisted of streamers, a balloon, 2 Carnival key chains, a Congratulations sign in the window, and a vanilla cake with cream and apple filling. Decorations were a nice surprise and the cake was delicious. The only downside was that there were 3 of us but only one plate and set of silverware.did they think we wouldn't demand a slice?? V had also decided to buy a soda card and did but turned out to be a waste of money. There is plenty to drink on the ship that is included and the card is only good for a glass of soda not cans or bottles.
We live approximately 2 hours north of the Miami Port and decided we wanted to arrive early so we aimed for 11am. We used the directions from Carnival's site and, although we missed an exit, we did arrive shortly after 11 and had little trouble finding the building. You do need your drivers' licenses and tickets to enter the port so have those ready. Once we arrived at the building, we were able to pull up and unload our suitcases easily. One note here: I was told that the porters would check at that time to see what our cabins were and give us new luggage tags (for guarantees you are given TBA silver tags). He actually handed us a clipboard and had us look up our own cabin and then write it on the old silver tags although I saw a box of new colored tags right there. He was not friendly or helpful at all. Not a complaint as I don't let things like that ruin my vacation.just a note to let others know what to expect. We did tip him as we already had our money ready. I bid my fiancé (who kindly drove us to the port) farewell and we then took our carry-ons and headed the few steps to the building. We had decided to use beach bags as our carry-ons thinking that we could also use them the days we were in port and not carry pocket books for safety and convenience reasons. We entered the building and used the ladies room (I did warn that this would be detailed) before going through the metal detectors, which had no lines. I "beeped" and was told to take my shoes off and walk through again-yuck! Since we had completed our fun passes online, we were able to bypass a long line.
We then got in a line for a long counter which was set up like an airline or bank counter with several "tellers" who called next in line which made the line move quickly. At this point you will need your tickets, license, birth certificate or passport, and credit card or debit card handy. When we were called, we went as a group and asked for 2 additional (one comes with your tickets) sail and sign forms as we wanted them linked to our own separate credit cards. Kathy and I used credit cards and Veronica used a debit card. We had all called our banks and companies the week prior to tell them to expect unusual expenditures and had no problems during the trip. This whole process took no longer than 10 minutes. You will see signs when you get on the ship to go to the information desk to activate your sail and sign card but, if you have already given your credit card at this point, that is not necessary. We then walked down a hallway and up an escalator to a large room where we received our sail and sign cards and room keys. We were then directed where to sit by a man we dubbed "little Hitler" who pointed out restrooms and vending machines and constantly reiterated that no pictures could be taken in the building. It was so attractive with its gray walls and black seats that we were really disappointed in not being able to memorialize it on film. Anyway, we were seated in such a way that, when boarding began, those who arrived first boarded first.excellent whiner prevention! When our section was called we proceeded down a hallway and needed to show our sail and sign cards before going up an escalator, posing for our first pic, putting sail and sign card into machine that takes ID pic, and entering the ship. At this time you will be given a "map" of the ship.I did not find it to be any help at all. Next time I will bring the detailed layout map that is included in the cruise brochure.
You enter the ship on the Empress Deck in the Atrium Plaza. It was a bit smaller than what I had pictured (after walking the ship I amended this "small" idea a great deal) and is as "flashy" as described in other posts. The information desk is located here as well as the excursions desk. I wanted to drop my bag in our cabin but V overruled that idea and we headed for the Horizon Buffet on the Lido Deck. We headed up in the glass elevators and walked aft (see, I did pick up some cool nautical terms) through the pool area which was already jammin' and loud enough to overwhelm non-club types like me. We waited in a short line, picked out some food, and sat at a table near the salad bar. Now please bear in mind for the rest of this review that if I don't have to cook it or clean up after it, most food tastes great to me! I thought the lunch was very good (and it must have been as our plates were clean and we each sampled 3 desserts.ok, we each ATE 3 desserts) but I was disappointed that the tea is not brewed. I did see on the boards several "tea discussions" and had held out hope but it was dashed. However, being Queen Make Do, I brewed a cup of hot tea and poured that over a glass of ice when I couldn't take the mix tea any longer. No big deal.I'm on vacation!!
I will say here in print that V was absolutely correct in her decree of lunch first as, when we left, the line was very long and the tables full. We headed to our cabin, saw the decs, and examined the room and our window. Unfortunately, the twin beds were pushed together and made up as a king bed and, when we tried to call our cabin steward Mu, we were ignored so V and I shared the bed the first night. Not a big deal but I did not like being ignored. I literally ran across Mu the next morning in the hallway and asked him into our room. We explained the bed situation and also that the rail on K's pull down bed was broken and he fixed everything that day. Much better as, when the beds are separated, the room has much more area to move around in. Speaking of size, I thought the room was fine size wise even for 3 and I did not see any problems with the bathroom at all. There was plenty of room for all of our things although we did utilize every available space. We had each packed a large suitcase of clothing and I had sent along with my suitcase a box packed with a case of bottled water. I kept that stored in the corner bin that holds the lifejackets. We also put our own beach towels in there (we brought them for port as we knew we'd be charged if anything happened to the ship's beach towels). There were two closets and I had brought extra hangers and we each had our own shelf in the closet plus one drawer apiece plus 2 shared drawers for brushes, papers, etc. I brought a store coupon card that had a magnetic strip which I used to activate our safe and then we hid it in the room so we'd all have access when necessary. K brought a Mary Kay cosmetics bag that had several compartments and we hung that in the bathroom to use for all of us plus there was lots of room in the medicine cabinet. All in all I thought the room was more than adequate and the only thing we wished for was a balcony.ok, a balcony without paying for it.
I am getting a bit ahead here.before our suitcases arrived and we unpacked, we did go back up to the Lido Deck and sat outside to have drinks (V-margarita, K-coffee, me-brewed iced tea) and took some pics of the port and then went back to grab our life jackets for the dreaded drill. Let's just say that if the ship ever sank, I think everyone would strangle in the life jacket before they ever got around to drowning. Our muster station was back up on the Lido deck and we sat there choking and sweating and feeling even hotter as we watched the Carnival workers choking and sweating in polyester suits. Yuck! It was over quickly and we headed back to our cabin to unpack.
Before dinner, I did go to one of the dining rooms to see about changing our dinner seating from 5:45 to 6:15 and to see about getting a table for 4 so we wouldn't have to sit with strangers. After being assured that we did not have to be in the DR at 5:45 on the dot and seeing (on the computer) that we were at a round table for 10, I decided to leave everything as it was and that turned out to be the best idea all around. Upon entering the DR, we were seated at an all female table.V, K, and I, Carmen and her daughter from NJ (originally from Puerto Rico), Liz, Katie, and Kristen from Boston, and Ophelia and her friend from Detroit. What super tablemates!!!! Honestly, when we discussed the dining room pre-cruise we thought that probably after being in port all day we would just want to order room service for dinner but after that first night, we ended up going to the dining room every night for the company and also because of our wonderful waiter Marco. After we had all arrived at the table and introduced ourselves, Marco (from Romania) gave us each a menu and some suggestions, his assistant Nabahat (from Macedonia) filled our water glasses and gave us bread. This was the routine each evening. The menu offered a list of appetizers that usually included soups and other choices, a choice of 2 salads, a list of main courses, and a wine list. Marco would then take down our choices (some nights we would have 2 appetizers instead of salad and choices like that are never a problem) and a server would come and ask if there were any requests from the bar (you must have your S&S card handy). I requested iced tea from Marco and from this night on, tea was poured for me without my ever having to ask. One evening, K and Ophelia's friend ordered the Caesar salad and felt that it did not have enough of an anchovy taste.next thing I knew they had a plate of anchovies in front of them! Little things like that made the dining experience wonderful. After the dishes were cleared, Marco would bring each of us a dessert menu. The desserts were wonderful and I would usually order 2 so that I could have ice cream or something that I knew I would like and then could also try something new. Unfortunately, many of the desserts had alcohol in them, which I do not like, but everyone else at the table loved them. We had such a good time each evening that we were usually the last table to leave. After dinner that evening, we headed to the Dynasty Lounge as they were having a game show similar to Jeopardy. K and I put our names in a hat and also filled out a slip for V who was in the ladies room. We had lots of fun watching but I was having trouble thinking fast enough to answer the questions so I told V if they called my name she had to go up for me. Of course, even though the lounge was full and only 9 names were called, they picked my name! V courageously kept her promise and went up for me. Even though she had a slow start (one of the contestant's boyfriend was calling out the answers so the MC called him onstage and sent him to the corner), V ended up winning and she received the ship on a stick and a bottle of Champagne which she grabbed before the MC could ask what she wanted, LOL. We then headed up to the Sports Deck to get some air and look around before heading to our cabin and dropping into bed exhausted. It was a spectacular day!
Day 2 At Sea
We had filled out the room service card and hung it on our door the night before and our order arrived right on time. We did this each morning and just ordered more on the days we were going to be in port and would not have time for breakfast. K needed her coffee fix and V and I liked to have a little something like a bagel or pastry in our stomachs. We usually tipped $1 per person.
We took our time getting ready and headed up to open seating in the DR (we had planned on eating in the Horizon but I had spotted windows in the DR the night before) and we were seated right by a window and, low and behold, Marco got stuck with us for breakfast! A brief review of ship breakfast food: eggs are not "real" unless they are fried, potatoes are hash browns on a par with McDonald's, V said eggs benedict best she's ever had, southerners said grits tasty but not quite thick as they like.
After breakfast, V spent some quiet time in the library writing in her journal and then went to the art auction. She later reported that it was deserted until the free champagne was handed out, LOL. K and I headed out to find a quiet spot to sunbathe and ended up above the Verandah deck which is the topless deck.I must say this spot is ideal! Quiet and restful but you can sit above pool deck and still see what's going on without the loud music. K slept and I read and it was heavenly. It was at this point that we finally realized that you do not have to go back to the atrium to find your way around the ship.we had elevators mere steps from our room that led to the Horizon, Pride Dining Room, etc. Again, bring a better map with you to get a sense of the layout of the ship. We went down to Horizon buffet (only two flights of steps down) and grabbed some pizza and tea for lunch and took it back with us. Afterwards, I felt the sun really start to cook so I headed back to the room to get showered as this was formal night. We went to the Captain's cocktail party which was held in the Dynasty Lounge where the Captain introduced some of the crew and we had free drinks and appetizers and saw lots of set-ups for formal portraits which they did every night. The Dynasty Lounge is very comfortable with typical theatre style, bench, and banquette seating. We then headed to dinner. Our tablemates looked fabulous and we had a picture taken of all of us which we purchased even though I do not usually succumb to buying "extras" ($8 for a 9X6 which I am going to copy for V and K). This was lobster night and the others said it was great.I do not care for lobster (yes, I know, crazy girl!!) so I had the prime rib and it truly was superb! After dinner we headed back to the Dynasty Lounge for a show and the Captain's Cocktail Party for the second dinner seating was taking place. Don't bother to get a seat at this point as they empty the theatre to clean it and you must get in line to go in. I went to Las Vegas for the first time last summer and I thought this show was comparable to a "traditional" Vegas show only I was more impressed because these people performed on a rocking (literally) stage. I will take space to note here that the ship does move more than I expected. We each took a different seasick medication the first few mornings (Bonine, ginger, etc.) and never had a problem. I noticed that some people changed after dinner and some did not and that the ensembles at dinner ranged from "prom night" to dirty jeans. After the show we headed to bed.noticing a theme here?
Day 3 Grand Cayman
After our substantial room service breakfast, we grabbed our beach bags (packed them the night before-be sure to bring Sail and Sign card, License, and excursion tickets or info) and headed to the Atrium Plaza to figure out where to go to disembark. The signs in the lobby said to head to Deck 3 but the Capers said to head to the Dynasty Lounge if you had booked a tour that left before 9am. Now although we had booked a Stingray City tour, we had not done so through the ship but I felt as though that did not matter so we headed for the Dynasty Lounge. I took a copy of our faxed itinerary to the girl who was facilitating the groups leaving for tours and she said we could wait in the lounge and leave with the last group at around 9am and that, after that, they would open another tender area and the rest of the people could leave the ship. I would like to make 2 important points here:
#1 when you plan your shore excursions please bear in mind that although the ship's itinerary says you will be in port from 7 am till 4 pm, that is completely inaccurate as it takes approximately 1 hour to clear immigration or whatever it is they do so you really don't start leaving till 8 and then you must be on the tender to return by 3:30 at the latest so you do not have as much time as you might think. I know this seems like common sense to you cruisers, but as a first timer I thought the times should be stated more accurately.
#2 Grand Cayman and Jamaica DO NOT observe Daylight Savings time so when we arrived in Grand Cayman it was 7am on the ship and 6 am on the island. This is important if you book a tour online and not through the ship as we did. When we "fall behind" and go back an hour, ship time and the islands' time run concurrently.
Ok, back to Grand Cayman. We left the Dynasty Lounge and followed the others down to Deck 3 where we showed our Sign and Sail cards and boarded a tender. These are little ferry-like boats with bench seating. The ride to the island was brief. We booked a tour through Soto's approximately a month before our departure to see Stingray City. We did hit one snag as we booked for the wrong date but we cleared that up the moment we arrived on the island. Let me say here that the people of Grand Cayman we met were EXTREMELY friendly and helpful and even gave us money to make a local phone call. We met the Soto's van in a nearby parking lot along with a couple from our ship. How do I know they were from our ship? Once we were in the van, V turned around and asked them which ship they were from (the Sensation was also docked) and they said the Imagination and wasn't she the Jeopardy winner? See, one night on a cruise and we already had a celebrity in our group!
We picked a few more people on the way and then arrived at Soto's dock where we paid ($24, a bargain compared to the ship!), signed a waiver, got snorkeling equipment, and boarded the party boat. There was the Captain, his assistant, a videographer, and approximately 20 tourists. There was a bathroom onboard (vertical coffin but adequate) and fresh water shower (they hose you down after the last stop). They took us out to 3 locations: the Corral Gardens, a reef, and the Stingray sandbar. To truly describe this experience would take many more pages and I'm sure I've filled enough already so I will be as brief as possible. This trip was incredible. V described it as the most amazing thing she has ever done. Bring a water camera particularly for the stingrays.I have some great pics of my friends and a nice memory of myself screaming my way back to the boat. Yes, I am a chicken. But even with being scared, it was still one of the best experiences of my life and I would do it again in a heartbeat. If you have children: 3 toddlers were taken on this trip. None got in the water. Not a trip for small children. We left the parking lot at 9:30 and returned at 12:30. We were starved so we headed to a restaurant across from the port called the Landmark (upstairs). The prices were GC dollars and I got some mini jerked burgers that were marked $5 but were $8 US. My friends each got a rum punch at $7 US apiece. The food was expensive but it was one of those times when you've been out in the sun and exercised and are truly hungry and truly relish the meal so it was well worth every penny and everything we had was delicious. The bathroom there was nice so I decided to change out of my swimsuit.I hate sitting around in a wet swimsuit. After lunch, we hurriedly souvenir hunted close to the port and then headed back to the ship on the tender. We had to show our Sail and Sign before boarding and again once we were back on the ship and we had to send our bags through a scanner.
We headed to our room to shower, dress for dinner, and relax. When we arrived in the dining room, Katie told me that she had looked at the menu before dinner (they are posted outside of the dining rooms each day) and had not found anything that appealed to her but she came anyway because of the atmosphere at our table. This was the night that we found out that "the girls", Katie, Liz, and Kristen, were actually close to our ages. We thought they were younger because they managed to stay out later clubbing and going to karaoke. We figured that was because they're single.it's much easier to cook and clean for one and you have more energy, LOL. I will not go into any detail about the dining room entertainment because first timers should be surprised.even after all my research I was and it was delightful! After dinner we stopped by the casino to drop a few nickels and then hit the stores. We didn't buy anything at this point because we heard the sales are better the last day and we also knew we'd be spending money in Jamaica. Off to bed.early again.
Day 4 Jamaica
We had ordered room service for 7am and it was there right on time. We headed off the ship (no tenders here) about 8:15 and I must say the port was stinky. Trash. Yuck. Hurry through this part but not too fast as we saw one guy on our return who had slipped and fallen and was scraped badly. We exited the gates and started looking for a JUTA cab which I had read are the "legal" guys and they charge $5.50 for a round-trip to Dunn's River Falls. A guy came from across the street and grabbed V who was in the lead. He led us across the street and, when I caught up, I asked how much and he said $20 for all three of us. Well, I knew this was wrong because of all the info I'd read but was too late at that point as my friends were in the van. I panicked once we left because I thought he was driving the wrong way. To make a long story short: this guy called himself "Music Man" and we ended up striking a bargain for him to take us to the falls and then to the craft market and then back to the ship for $10 apiece which he said later he had undercharged and I do believe he did from what I've read. Although he did as he promised, next time I will get a regular JUTA cab (they are vans as well) and pay more just so I feel safer. V has traveled much more extensively than I and she felt he was trustworthy but I have found myself to be a bad judge of character so I like the safer more "touristy" routes unless I really know what I'm doing. Anyway, it all worked out and we arrived at the falls, paid the $10 entrance fee, walked to the lockers, paid our $8 ($5 rental $3 deposit that is returned when you return the lock), put our things in the lockers and headed for the falls with just our water cameras. V had decided that she was not going to climb the falls as she considers herself "klutzy" at times so she stationed herself on a deck that was next to and about half-way up the falls. K and I headed down some steps, arrived on the beach, and started our climb. I will say 2 things here: one, the falls are an amazing not to be missed sight and two, the climb is much more difficult than described and I think that anyone who is too young, elderly, or out of shape should not attempt it especially starting all the way at the bottom. I am not in the best of shape but grew up near a river so knew to take my time and be VERY careful so K and I made it with only a few slips. For anyone unsure, I say start in the middle where the water is calm and the rocks are less steep and slippery and you can get off onto the steps at any time. Even if you don't want to climb or swim, I still say go and see them.amazing and beautiful! After our climb, K and I grabbed our things from the locker and headed to the changing rooms (outside stalls.decent but felt like a circus performer making sure no part of my body touched the ground and K cut herself on the door which was rusty so I was glad I had a first aid kit on the ship but should have brought it to the island). Of course we got tricked into following the signs and running the gauntlet of the craft market. Avoid this if possible by ignoring exit signs and heading back the way you came in. Music man was 20 min. late but did pick us up and we headed to the craft market. We spent about an hour shopping and it is intense. Usually 5 people at you at once to see their wares or offering to braid your hair. If you really want to buy, and we did (I wanted to get Christmas presents), then be patient and if you are not a good bargainer, have one with you. K did all my bartering and I am very grateful as this is a skill I do not possess. She got some great buys for all of us and we left pleased. Note: we did need the suggested bug spray here as V got bitten by some tiny, gnat-like bugs. We headed across the street to Soni's to buy some coffee as I read it is not a good idea to buy it in the craft markets. K and I got some Blue Mountain coffee in the first shop we came to while V asked for a good place to eat (we had done research ahead of time and had planned to go to The Ruins for lunch but did not have time plus were not really hungry enough for a buffet). We went right back across the street to a little place called the Jamaica Inn. We were seated in an outdoor, covered courtyard which was pretty and tropical and we ordered some jerked dishes which were delicious. V had an apple maple jerk chicken salad that was really different and very tasty. The ladies room here requires you to go up 2 steps to the "throne" which was kinda neat. We relaxed for a bit, decided we'd had enough of shopping, and even though Music man wasn't due for another hour, we headed to the rendezvous point. Thankfully he was there early and we headed right back to the ship. We tipped him a few dollars, took some pics, and boarded the ship to get ready for dinner. Same procedure: sail and sign card, scanner. Before dinner we hit the internet café ($16.50 per ½ hour or $40 per hour) to let our families know we were having a fabulous time without them (kidding!) and then went to have some sushi which does not open till just before dinner and has a long line. The sushi lover of the group enjoyed it very much. Another fun meal in the dining room and "the girls" invited us to go to karaoke later that evening. In between that and dinner, we went to the Dynasty Lounge to see Dr. Phil trivia and then Survivor. Survivor was hysterical! I actually laughed till I cried.you know, Carnival should seriously consider paying the passengers who participate in this stuff as they provide the best entertainment, bar none! LOL We only caught 3 songs at karaoke as this was the passenger talent show night. Off to bed.
Day 5 At Sea
K and I had promised not to wake V early for once so we quietly ordered coffee and hot chocolate from room service and then wrote in our journals sitting by our window. So relaxing and what a view! Once V arose we headed to breakfast in the dining room and again snagged a window seat. After breakfast, K decided to lay out before her scheduled facial in the spa, V very nicely offered to attend the debarkation talk (held in the Dynasty Lounge by the cruise director), and I had decided to do laundry. Yes, I said laundry. Why? Because I'm crazy. Because I did not want to go home with a bunch of dirty clothes. This is all I'm going to say because I do not want to remember the horror of spending $7 and over 3 hours doing one load of laundry on my last day of vacation: DON'T! Although the experience did prompt me to make a commitment to finally stay up late and see what nightlife on the ship was like. I finally completed my laundry and packed by 3:30 and V and I headed out to do the galley tour. We accidentally caught the end of high tea, which I thought I made us miss, and then hit the tour. Interesting but sadly some very rude people stayed too long at each "demonstration point" blocking everyone's view. They had demos of making drinks, decorating cakes, making towel animals, and folding napkins plus a walk through the galley. After this we got ready and headed to dinner. V headed to a comedy show afterwards and I headed to our room to change into something comfortable and help K pack. K and I found an unidentifiable towel animal from Mu.still not sure what it was but it was definitely phallic.what's up with that? I don't think I should go into K's antics with the towel but I do have a video and I am taking bids.We met up with V just in time for karaoke and "the girls" joined us there. V and K finally got enough booze in them to get up and do Madonna's "Holiday". Sooooooooo much fun! We headed back to our cabin just before 12 to put our suitcases in the hall and then K and I headed up to the Horizon for a midnight snack. Unfortunately, we missed the gala buffet but we'll be sure to go next time.if we can stay awake! We took our snack out on deck and enjoyed our last night on the ship and, of course, did a "Titanic" pose pic.on top of the world! We grabbed a snack for V and headed back to our room. We finally stayed up late! We're not total grandmas yet!
Day 6 Debarkation
I won't dwell too much here because the end is always the worst part of a vacation. We arose early, finished packing our last minute stuff and headed to the dining room. Tip: world traveler V had her original small carry-on, light and breezy. K and I had our original carry-on's filled to the brim, another full bag, and K also had a box of booze. By the time we got picked up I thought my arms were coming out of my sockets. I didn't want my gifts to get broken but there's got to be a better way. I ignored V's smirk as K and I huffed, puffed, and groaned our way off the ship. Anyway, they called our tags while we ate so we finished up, grabbed our stuff, and headed to the Atrium Plaza. You must have your Customs form (filled out), ID, Sail and Sign, and Birth Certificate or passport handy. The line to leave did not take long and we ended up in a large room searching for our bags. They are sorted by colored tag so it did not take us long to find them. Again, cunning V grabbed a porter and he loaded our luggage on a cart, followed us as we handed in our customs form, then took us out to wait for our ride. We tipped him and shortly thereafter, V's hubby picked us up. Time to go home.
I had the time of my life and cannot wait to do it all over again. I absolutely loved every minute (sans laundry fiasco), every person, every adventure, and can't say enough about the way the staff treated us. I have wanted to go on a cruise for over a decade and, while it was worth the wait, I'm not waiting that long again! If you have any questions, feel free to e-mail me as I have the whole summer to re-live my trip until I have to face the books once again. firstname.lastname@example.org
Our first impression of Carnival was negative due to the unfriendly, indifferent young lady who met us at the airport. Our flight was late and she told us we did not have time to wait for our luggage if we wanted to get on the ship. We arrived on board and were mortified when the ship sat at port for another hour and a half. Our children wanted to go to the pool so we changed into our suits which our travel agent told us to pack in our carry-on. There was no water in the kid's pool. We ate dinner at one of the buffet's as we could not shower and dress for dinner in the dining room as we had no clothes or toiletries. We retired early due to the stress of the day. The beds were comfortable however the room was very dark and we had to leave the bathroom light for our children. The water pressure in the shower was nil. It was very difficult to wash my daughter's thick curly hair.
Day 2: Ate bfast in the buffet again. We had to put onthe same clothes as the day before. The kid's pool is still without water. At this point we wished we were home. The buffet lines were long and the food was not great. We found nothing to entertain ourselves or our kids all day. Camp Carnival was not an option as we want to spend time with our children while on vacation not pawn them off on total strangers. We are unable to enjoy Formal night in our dining room because we have no clothes. Again- we retire early to put another nightmare day behind us.
Day 3: Grand Cayman. The weather is poor so we have to sail to the other side of the island to dock. The line to disembark begins on the 7th floor and ends on the 3rd floor. The wait time is 3 hours. We opt to wait it out by the kid's pool. It surprisingly has water in it. We enjoy having the whole deck to ourselves while waiting for the lines to thin out. We finally get off the boat at 12:30 and get to enjoy 2 and a half hours of Seven Mile Beach. We were able to relax and enjoy a great meal before having to go stand in line for 45 minutes to get back on the boat. At least our luggage is in our room when we get back. We are able to dress and go to our dining room for the first time. Our waiter (Jimmy) is the highlight of our cruise. He is attentive, gracious and entertaining. He is the only Carnvial employee we met who seemed genuinely concerned about whether we were having a good time.
Day 4: Jamaica. Due to bad weather Port Authority will not let us get off the boat. We are graciously refunded a total of $100.00 for this slight inconvenience. Our daughter is inconsolable and we are absolutly sick w/ disgust. We head back to Miami a day early.
Day 5: Supposed fun day at sea. The weather is gorgeous and why we were not taken to a different port of call is still a mystery to me. We spent all day at the kid's pool again and counted down the hours til we could get off this sailing nightmare. This experience was the worst of my life. We are still not over it and we have been home for 2 weeks. Carnival has only offered us a 20 percent discount on our next cruise. Buyer Beware and read the fine print.
I just returned from my second cruise on Carnival and my first on the Imagination. THe ship was nice, everything was clean and the crew was wonderful. Matt the CD was great and we all had a good time.
My wife and I did feel that there were not as many activities on the ship this time. When we cruised last January on the Paradise, it seemed as though there was always something happening on deck. There was a band and lots of night activities. This did not happen on the Imagination. There was only one night when they had any activities on the Lido deck.
Our shore excursion to Grand Cayman was great we snorkeled the Reef and Wreak. The guides were helpful and made it an enjoyable expierence.
Our Jamacia trip was not as good. We did the Dolphin Cove/Dunn's River Falls trip. Dolphins cove was ok but not great, the falls were fun but they spoil the day by having you thread a gauntlet of venders. They are very aggressive and don't take no very well. It left a very sour taste and spoiled the trip for our 12year old son.
Don't misunderstnd there was stuff to do but there was only one short activity around the pool the remander of the time everything was in the lounge. I will still cruise with Carnival and plan to do so soon.
The staff made the trip wonderful and I would say that if your not sure go for it. You'll have a good time.
Embarkation: We arrived at the port of Miami at 11:30 and were in our cabin by 12:10 VERY smooth !
Cabin: Booked a guar. inside but were upped to a window cabin(e-50). We found the cabin to be clean and plenty of room for the two of us. I was pleased with the size of the shower. Hardley ever saw our room steward but our room was always clean and the ice bucket always full.
Ship: The Imagination is in my opinion, fine in most areas but the Grand Atrium and Bar areas are a bit tacky ( Las Vegas decor). The ship is showing a little wear but we saw staff constanly cleaning & painting.
Dining Room: 5:45 seating in the Spirit. We found the food and the service to be EXCELLENT.
Lido Buffet/horizon food court: Breakfast was fair not great, lunch was OK, and dinner was pretty good. Pizza was good. Late night buffets were pretty good too. But I did see several things in this area that need improvement. 1) Horizon area was sometimes too hot sometimes to cold 2) Same so-so food every breakfast. 3) Some buffet lines haddiffernet items so when my wife wanted carved roast pork and mashed potatoes she had to stand in 2 different lines while the first item she had got cold. 4) Floors were often slick between the Horizon and Lido area and arround the drink areas.
Entertainment: We enjoyed the shows. The dancers and band work hard and it shows. The one comedian was VERY funny and the other bombed.
Cruise Directors: Matt the CD and Malcom & Jessica the asst. CD Were very energetic and fun.
Staff: Everyone we met went out of their way to be friendly and helpful.
Gift shop and Casino are run very proffesionaly. The Pursers desk seemed understaffed and frequently had long lines. The photo shop was way too small. We might have purchased a few more pictures but didn't want to stand with 200 people in a 8 foot wide hallway looking for our pictures.
Grand Cay: If it's your first time don't miss stingray city. We had been before so we just went to 7 mi. beach to relax. We went to the Holiday inn beach club, big mistake, it was crowded and the beach boy didn't want to get us a beach chair all he wanted to do was sneak off in the bushes with the jet ski boy and smoke pot.
Ocho Rios: Dunn river falls was fantastic but don't follow the signs that say exit they lead you into the flea market where they are VERY pushy. Just walk back to your bus the same way you walked in. If you want to shop have your taxi take you to Sonis mall they have security and you won't be hassled. DO NOT miss Margaritaville !!
Overall I would rate the Imagination an 8.5 on a 1-10 scale with her crew being her greatest asset. I wouldn't hesitate for a moment to book another cruise on the Imagination or any other Carnival ship.
Happy Sailig. Eric & Sandi
Pre-Cruise: This was our second cruise, the first being last year on the Grand Princess. The four of us (mom, dad, 16 and 11-year-old daughters) flew from Providence to FLL - cheaper than tickets to Miami. Our first snag of the week happened when the "meet and greet" town car reserved from Tri-County failed to show. However, we called them from the baggage area, but no problem - there was a car waiting right outside. We booked a room at the Sheraton-Biscayne Bay. Nothing fancy, but very clean, with a view of the pool and the bay. Well worth the $35 through Priceline. The hotel did not have pre-cruise booking as this was a Monday cruise, with hardly enough cruisers to warrant it. Spent some time at Bayside Market Place, taking in the bayside scenery, a little shopping, and then a late lunch at Bubba Gump's, with great shrimp and great Gump décor.
Monday Embarkation: This went very smoothly. We took a cab to the port ($10) and arrived at 11:30 for registration and virtually no line for the sail & sign card. Can't complain - we were in our cabins by12:00! Even though there were signs saying to wait before going to the cabins, we headed down to the Main deck anyway. Our cabin was all ready and we met Sheng, our steward, who was absolutely wonderful, always went out of his way to ask us how everything was, and kept the cabin spotless. As for the cabin, we had an inside quad, which was roomy enough with plenty of storage. The only downside to the inside cabin - no bridge cam or other means of viewing outdoor weather conditions on the cabin TV. Carnival definitely could improve on this. We dropped our stuff, and headed off to check out the ship.
Tuesday Sea Day: Our girls were not interested in the organized kid/teen program but (armed with walkie talkies) met kids their age while spending time at the ping pong table, video arcade, etc., and then teaming up with their new-found friends for karaoke and other teen activities. Hubby went off to the casino (doing quite well I might add!), and I spent time lounging in a deck chair. Tuesday was also formal night. Now here is where I noticed a big difference between Princess formal and Carnival formal. On Princess it seemed the big decision was, hmm, jacket or tux/short dress or long dress? On Carnival it was, hmm, jacket or shirt or maybe I can just get away with a jogging suit? So it seems that formal meant something different to everyone. There was quite a variety of attire, from jacket and tie (I saw perhaps one or two tuxes) and ballgowns, all the way down to shirt and jeans, and I never saw anyone turned away on formal night, or any other night for that matter, because of their choice of dining room attire. So if you're sailing Carnival, don't worry about clothing - it seems that anything goes.
Food: We thought the food was excellent everywhere - the dining rooms, the pizza, the ice cream, the Horizon court buffet (both breakfast and lunch), and the room service. The only disappointing entrée was the lobster tail on formal night - it was a bit chewy and a bit overdone, I think. Desserts were outstanding! We ordered room service one night which came in no time at all, and served BLTs and peanut butter and jelly, things the kids couldn't get at the buffet line! Our wait staff was wonderful (brought a cake to the table for our anniversary) and the maitre de, Joe, was very personable and professional and the waiters all sing and dance after dinner! The only thing we would do next time is change our seating to a late one. We were not always hungry at 5:45. (Here is where we preferred the Personal Choice dining of Princess, where you could head to the dining room pretty much any time you wanted.)
Midnight Gala Buffet: We are not late-night people, but on formal night we managed to stay awake for the gala buffet, and what a presentation it was!
Pools: Just to warn you, be careful on the tiles surrounding the pools - they are extremely hot from baking in the sun, as we found out on our first trip to the main pool, burning the bottoms of our feet. The pools are jammed with people on sea days, but you could always find a chair somewhere - my favorites were in the rear pool area by the railing - great place to check out the ocean view and it is a bit quieter. We weren't crazy about the salt water pools, but the water, although very warm, was refreshing.
Activities: Besides the casino, we also checked out the art auction. This turned out to be informative and a lot of fun, with free champagne! We bought a couple of inexpensive pieces and one which was a little more pricey, but what the heck - hubby had just won big at the Casino!
Wednesday-Belize: Belize was a bust - not because of Belize itself, but because the non-ship snorkleling tour we planned, so highly recommended by so many people, left without us! I partly blame Carnival for this. First of all, the ship was late arriving in Belize, and as anticipated, the ship's tours left the ship first. So I figured we'd have enough time to meet the tour people as long as we got on the first tender. My gripe with Carnival? An announcement was made to head to an appointed area to pick up tickets for a tender at 9:00 a.m. and not a moment before, as they would not be passing any out before then. We arrived there at 8:40, expecting a line. Well, they were already passing out the tickets, and those for the first tender were already gone, so we only got on the second tender, arriving at the port after 10:30. We asked around and discovered that our tour couldn't wait any longer and departed. I was devastated, but my family took it well and were just as happy, after a bit of shopping, to return to the ship and enjoy it without the crowds - which I have to admit was very nice after all. The lesson I learned? From now on it's the ship excursions or no excursions! As for Belize, a lot of people were disappointed - except for the shops at the port, there really is nothing there for those who do not want to spend money on an organized tour. I will not be disappointed if Carnival drops this port.
Thursday Sea Day - See Tuesday Sea Day - except that, for laughs, I checked out the men's hairy chest contest - what a hoot!
Shows - We caught were the Welcome Aboard Show which included Dana's (the cruise director) attempt at comedy, luke-warm at best, and another very funny comedian followed him. We saw a magic show and comedian another night, which were also very good. Our favorite was the "Imagine It", a song and dance extravaganza.
Friday Key West - Because the ship has to clear Immigration before allowing passengers off, we had to wait until well after 10:00 a.m. We had no excursion planned and since we had never been here before, we took the Conch Tour train. This gave us a nice view of the highlights of the island, although passing by them a little too quickly. The next time, I would take the trolley, which allows you to get on and off, in case you want to spend some time at a favorite attraction. The Island is very beautiful and I would definitely want to go back again when we can stay longer.
Saturday Disembarkation: Thanks to Carnival's color-coded system and the bright orange tape on our luggage, we retrieved it in no time at all. Since we had a late flight from FLL, we booked the South Beach tour, which we enjoyed, and this is another location I would like to check out again when we have more time. In fact, next time I would try to get a pre-cruise hotel in South Beach.
High points: Food, great weather, the beautiful ocean, service, casino, auction, pools, shows, the great show band
Low points: The disappointed Belize experience that never happened, those painfully hot tiles by the pool, the absence of outdoor info for inside windowless cabin passengers
Imagination is a very pretty ship and we would definitely sail her again.
I'll start by saying that we were originally schedule to go on NCL's Norway and our cruise was cancelled due to the explosion. We scrambled to find another cruise and the Imagination is what we got.
The ship is beautiful and the cleanest ship I've ever sailed on.
We were in quad cabins on the Riviera deck (all that was left) and the rooms were plenty big and were kept SO clean.
Food was excellent in every respect. We were in the Pride dining room with Robinson and Maria as our servers. They were great with our kids and so good at what they do!
In Grand Cayman we caught a taxi to 7-mile beach and snorkled and crashed on the beach.
In Jamaica we did the Sanara Catamaran trip which was awesome. We snorkled and also climbed to falls.
Cruise director was ok and the shows were good.
We were on the Carnival Imagination June 5th, 4 day cruise to Key West and Cozumel. We had a great and relaxing time. We arrived at the ship at about 2:15 and zipped right through the whole checkin process in 15 minutes. It was very easy and simple. We went onboard, checked out our room, Main Deck 81 with a window. (if you want to pay more, go higher but it is not a big deal, plenty of elevators and stairs and noticed that anybody who had a balcony suite, never used their balcony, DA!) The room was clean and ready to go. Yes, they had robes and all the ammenities for all your bathroom needs. The size of our room was great. We went up to Lido deck and checked things out, grabbed a bite to eat as they were serving food already and waited to go back to our room to get the life jackets for the drill. WE went back to the room to get the lifejackets and were surpirsed that our luggage had already been delivered before 4pm.
We had a late seating for dinner inthe Pride Dining Room and sat with 3 other couples. WE all ordered wine and had a great time getting to know eachother. We have to compliment Carnival, as the food and we mean all the food they served was great. The NY Steak, shrimp and Lobster tails were great quality and servered to us how we liked it and as much as we wanted. Geez we are still full!
We arrived in Key West, got up about 8am, had breakfast on Lido and headed to town on the tram that Carnival provides form the ship. We hung in Key West just a short time, about 2 hours then headed back to the ship, found a couple of deck chairs and ate lunch back on board (remember to eat back on the ship than in town)(save the bucks). We enjoyed the afternoon away, leaving Key West at 2pm and headed to Cozumel.
We arrived at Cozumel at 12noon the next day. Once there we just threw on our swim suits, some sandals and a bag filled with some lotion and goodies and grabbed a cab to Chankanaab National Park for some great snorkeling. The cab costs $10 and entrance to the park is $10 PP. Third time there and it is still beautiful. We went to the last snorkel rental stand and it was $6 US to rent the mask, snorkel and fins. We headed inot the water which is crystal clear and saw so many different kinds of fish and the "resident barricuda". At the park they also have thached covered "cabanas" that you can use(there are tons of them) and also come with a louge chairs when you want to relax and just lay there on the beach. They also have a few restaurants and you can order drinks while laying there. $2.50 for a Tacate beer.(Cheaper than in Chicago):) A couple at our Dinner Table did the Mayan Ruin Tour, They said it was hot, and way to long, plus they were stuck at a jewelry shop for an hour. We have heard that before on previous cruises form others who went on the "Ruins" tours.
We headed back to the boat about 5pm on a cab $10 back, took a shower and grabbed an earlier dinner on the ship, grabbed some chairs, had a few drinks and relaxed while the ship was sitting at Cozumel. Remember alot cheaper to eat on the ship. There restaurants in Cozumel if you want authentic Mexican food and tons of shopping, shopping and shopping if thats what your into.
We headed out of Cozumel at 10pm for a "fun day at sea" before being back in Miami
As for the Imgination, the ship was very clean and kept that way throughout our cruise. The Food was great and there is plenty of it 24 hours a day. The drinks as you probably know by now, you pay for so that's up to you on how much you want to party. We were able to bring aboard in Miami a large bottle of wine, which was great to have handy in out room or in a glass on deck.(saved a few bucks) The crew(cabin stewards, wait staff, and everbody else were very nice and made sure that we enjoyed our cruise. As they always reminded us, that "this is your vacation". We especially liked Carnival's tipping policy where the cabin steward and wait staff tips are automatically added to your "sign&sail". This SAVES alot of hassle for tipping during and at the end of you cruise.
We arrived back in Miami Monday morning, up about 7:30am, went to Lido to eat breakfast, then went back to pack our bags.(Hint: You do NOT have to have your bags out the night before as they say, You can take them with you off the ship yourself, then no searching for it in the baggage warehouse). We simply took our bags and left when they called out luggage tag color. It went smooth and hassle free, went thru customs and to our bus and over to Miami Airport. The bus is $11PP right from the dock to the airport and can be purchased at the pursers desk that day before on the ship.
Hats off to Carnival and the entire crew of the Imagination. Great job. We will be back!
We are some of the folks that were displaced by the Tragedy on the SS Norway, We booked this cruise on wed, sailing the following Sat, My wife and I with our 2 girls 16 and 14, We had 2 outside cabins on Riviera deck. ( Remember unless you get a suite all the rooms are the same you just pay more to be higher up.
Arrival: Port of Miami: This was probably the only hassle we had the entire week, and by no means am I complaining or blaming Carnival, This is a port authority issue, Any how we live in Fl. so we drive to the port. It was Sat so there were 5 ships in port and that made for congestion. We waited in our car bumper to bumper for 45 minutes before we even got close to the ship. As we approached the baggage drop off my wife noticed after we drop the bags we have to go back around in line again. ( good call on her part) So we just went directly to the parking lot and wheeled our luggage to the ship.Saved at least 45 minutes.( we arrived at 1 p.m.) We have never encountered this before but have arrived much earlier.
Embarkation: Since we had only booked a couple of days earlier we had to pick up our Doc's at the will call box (no line, had everything in 2 minute's) We then had to fill out all the stuff we usually do at home. No big deal as desk and pens were provided. Then off through baggage check and in line at the main concourse to set up our account with a C.C. This took all of 5 minutes very fast. Off we were to get our room key and the picture that has become so famous. ( Imagination uses a separate room key other than your sail and sign card.) We ate some lunch toured around the ship and got ready for life boat drills. This is so much fun. (I put in there suggestion box that they should have one every day.) The best thing was we were actually done before we set sail. We have not been so lucky the last few cruises.( we think sail away is one of the best parts of a cruise). We ordered drinks and just relaxed until our dinner time We had late 8:30 I felt this was a little late for me considering we had to be back on ship at all ports by 3.p.m. We had dinner and went to the show and off to bed about 1.
Day 1 sea Day We awoke kinda early and headed off to breakfast, We have breakfast in the dinning room instead of the buffet because of lox and bagels or eggs Benedict, 2 of my wife's favorite, ( Every thing else can be had at the buffet.) Another little not They make omelets to order at the buffet also. Most people don't realize you can order fried eggs as you like at the omelet grill. All you have to do is ask.
My wife headed to the pool and I headed to the casino Note: you have to check out towels on the pool deck and check them back in when you leave or they will charge you $22.00. You can check out as many as you want. She said she had no trouble getting chairs all week at any time. Later we meet up for lunch. (notice this food thing is very important to us) In the after noon we played trivia game and Bingo. This is also formal night so we headed back a little early to nap and get ready for dinner. (dinner this night was Lobster and or Prime rib Both were very good [snicker) After dinner we went to the first big production show a tribute to the 50 and 60. It was very well done. We played at the casino awhile and headed to bed.
Day 2 Grand Cayman We were looking at all the shore excursions offered and the only one that interested us was a reef and stingray city trip. This was $69.00 p.p. X 4 = $276.00. IM not cheap but do cruise on a budget. So we decided to go down to 7 mile beach on our own. ( Grand Cayman does not have dock so every one has to use tender's) So we tendered to shore about an hour after shore tours already had left. When we got to the main terminal there was a guy sailing coral reef and stingray city tour for $30.00 p.p. Guess what we did it and it was great, we had a blast and saved some money also. Just remember you are not on a ship tour so leave plenty of time to get back. We had plenty of time. After we got back on ship we got ready for dinner and a night out and about.
Day 3 Ocho Rios We did book a shore tour here. $48.00 per person on a large sailing Catamaran done to duns river falls and back. Free cocktails and all. This was a very good tour. well worth the money, The falls are so beautiful and fun to climb. After we returned back to the ship we walked down to Margarita where they have a water slide running through out the bar. Its a nice way to cool off. We stayed there till it was time to leave and catch the ship. We got ready for dinner and then attended and comedy and magician show (Very Good) and with all the rum we had it was night night for us.
Day 4 Sea Day We pretty much did the same thing as we did on the first sea day, JUST RELAXED and we really enjoyed this. Overall I would rate every part of our cruise an A+. This was our 11th cruise and 2nd on Imagination but we all felt this had to be the best all around experience we have had cruising. The only draw back was it was way to short. ED
It was just my Imagination............
Welcome to my review of the M/S Imagination of the Carnival "FunShip" fleet.
We sailed on the Imagination on a back to back sailing (because 5 days are not enough ! ) and took a 9 day voyage to some great ports.All in all we hit :Ocho Rios Jamaica,Grand Cayman,Key West,and Cozumel during our cruise.We sailed on the May 31st 5day voyage and the June 5th 4 day voyage.While onboard we really got an up close glimpse of life onboard this ship and became (in a slight way) part of the family for a few days...the crew got to know us and vise versa over the two sailing's and we left feeling like we made many new friends.I want to thank the staff and crew for what will be one of the most memorable cruises we have ever taken.
We considered a 7 day trip but were able to find this back to back for about the same price as a seven day.Really..... you only waste a morning during the embarkation of the second cruise but we made the most of our time.The M/S Imagination isin great shape,its clean and well maintained.We saw just what goes on from the time guests leave the ship until the next people come on board.Its amazing how fast they can turn around the ship...everyone was polishing brass,glass and vacuuming and we even witnessed a Coast Guard lifeboat drill just for the crew.The only drawback was that we had to change cabins between cruises...though it was quite painless.Helen the Chief Purser arranged our transfer to our new cabin and we never had to leave the ship...we did our new sail and sign at the pursers desk with ease and we were off again.
Suggest joining the Ocean Players Club......We had taken Kuki's Advise and done this on our last cruise aboard the Spirit.With what we played in the Spirits Casino...we were sent a rebate check good towards a future cruise...as little as it was.. Kuki also suggested I call and ask for a room upgrade as an OPC member.Well I was amazed when Barbara from Miami's OPC had upgraded our cabin (on the first sailing only) 4 categories.Decorated our room,sent a Bon Voyage Cake,Carnival gift boxes and a wine and fruit basket....I was impressed and really did not expect much if anything.The hospitality in the Casino on the Imagination was GREAT ! a good time was had by most everyone I played at the tables with. If your on please say hello to Ryan the Casino host,Kevin and Big A the pit bosses and my favorite dealers Maria,Dora,and Niko.Take care of my money...I'll be back for it on a future cruise !!
The entertainment was great.I'm a huge John Heald Fan...always have been...so most cruise directors never measure up...however Dana Hodson was just right...very palatable with information and his humor was tasteful and with great timing...we laughed with him all week.I hate to give away any of his jokes but ask him to tell you about the 111 year old guest in the balcony on our cruise...just to find out it was a note stating someone in the balcony was ILL......I will definitely look to book with him again. The dancers were great...we got to know Ashley during the lifeboat drills and my 4 yr. old daughter befriended her for the entire cruise...however she cant figure our how the magician chops up Ashley and spreads her apart before reattaching her into one piece....we sat in the front row to watch her at every show...while I thought she was winking at me...she really was winking at my daughter...LOL All the Dancers and Singers were very good.
The ports of call were great...the weather was perfect.....some recommendations are the Atlantis submarine in Caymans,The SEE and Sea tour which visits the turtle farm,Hell,and the Tortuga Rum factory where free all you can eat Rum Cakes (Banana,Coconut and others....) along with taste testing of all the rums...was a great time by all. In Cozumel...visit the local restaurants LaParillas (two blocks from Carlos and Charlies and the Mission House about 6 miles inland for great authentic and plentiful feasts !!!!!!
I played Golf in two of 4 ports....Ocho Rios at Sandals Resort (with caddies) and in Cozumel at Cozumel Country Club....both courses were in great shape.....I enjoyed Sandals in Jamaica the best. Bradley Shipton the golf pro on the ship was very good.....he was very quick to teach....if we wanted it and let us enjoy our $140.00 worth of golf.
Cabins were well cleaned and functional for the entire cruise and Roy from Empress deck cabin 14 was great !!
I saved the best for last and that was the friends we made in the Spirit Dining Room. I'd like to thank Joe the Matrad' for a great week of dining. Our table team waiters Demitri and Jamie did a wonderful job of feeding us anything we wanted and sang and danced with passion.
Finally a special note to our favorite person on the vessel. His name was Fuat. He was the asst. Matrad' .He was the first person to say hello onboard the ship and spoke to us every day...he befriended my daughter and took her to his dining table ....as his wife was cruising with us on this voyage and it was nice to see the crew go all out for his bride....Just an outstanding Gentleman who is great with kids in the dining room.I hope he gets promoted soon as I will sail just to enjoy his service and hospitality again.
While this review may be a bit on the personal side...I believe you will find the "FunShips" all about the people who deliver the Fun......and Its nice to sail and make new friends ..both shipmates and crew.
Thank you Carnival and Crew all the passengers who sailed with us...what a blast we had...and we will be back !!!!