I just returned from back to back cruises on the Carnival Glory, seven day, Western Caribbean and the Carnival Imagination, four day, Key West - Cozumel cruise.
The seven day Glory cruise was a pretty typical Carnival cruise with decent food and friendly staff.
The Imagination was good but very different than the Glory. It lived up to what I have been told and knew about four day cruises. It was a much younger demographic, more active, more lively deck parties and they sell a lot more alcohol.
It was a fun four day party. We met a number of very nice people but a number of them had definitely consumed a bit too much but no one was a nasty drunk. I may have fallen into the "too much" category on one night.
I was also a bit surprised that the decor wasn't quite as gawdy or "overly neon" as I thought it would be. Some of Carnival's other ship's like Legend and Pride are more "over the top" with their themes than Imagination. She is an old ship but overall well maintained. It was nice to see "teak" decking again. I haven't seen that in a long time. I also "liked" the upper mini-golf area but they could do so much more up there than that. My first thought was a "Lawn Club" concept like Celebrity has on their Solstice class ships.
The buffet was smaller but overall adequate but I sure missed the Guy's Burger's from the 2.0 ships. The regular burgers were hunks of overcooked and dry meat. I was somewhat impressed with the selection in the buffet on Elegant night. We ate in the YTD dining room and my wife ordered the shrimp and lobster and I had the prime rib. My wife's lobster was dry and "fishy" tasting and my prime rib was about 1/4 " thick. This night our service was SLOW so we didn't even bother asking for new entrees. We just left. (The other three nights the service was great.) We were both still hungry so we went up to the buffet. The prime rib there was wonderful and seasoned better than what I had in the dining room. Also, the other selections were very similar to the dining room menu but, of course, no lobster.
This was also our first time in an outside cabin. We had an inside once...........once. I hated it and will never book another one. This cruise was a last minute add on to the Glory cruise so I took my chances with an outside cabin. I liked it. It has almost as much room as a balcony cabin and the window gave us plenty of light and a nice view of the ocean. I'll give an outside another try. Who knows I may be able to cruise six times a year now.
On both cruises we tried the "Faster to the Fun". I have one more cruise before Platinum so I figured I'd see if the price was worth it. I have to say that if you aren't Platinum and want to get on the ship fast and have your luggage delivered and unpacked before muster drill, this is worth it. On Glory we went from taxi to cabin in less than twenty minutes and it was less than fifteen on Imagination. On Imagination our luggage arrived at the door about five minutes after we did. On Glory it took about forty-five minutes. It was also nice to be able to go right to the cabin. We were also walked off the ship on Imagination. On Glory we just went when our "number one" was called.
I have to say we had a great eleven days at sea. There was more rain than I would have liked. Especially Costa Maya, where it poured, but we had a great time and it was nice to just have fun and relax.
Last, but not least, I have to say how impressed I was with the dining room staff on both ships in regard to my special diet. I am gluten free because of Celiac's disease. The assistant maitre 'd, Tuiana (sp), on Glory and Olga, on Imagination went over the menu with me each night, made sure I had gluten free bread, arranged certain foods like the cream of mushroom soup, to be made gluten free and best of all they made sure I had chocolate melting cake each night. The cake was a bit runny but still good and gave me my chocolate fix. In December we sailed on Celebrity Millennium and other than having their menu items marked gluten free they never would go out of their way to accommodate me. Most seemed to have no idea what "gluten free" was. Sorry Celebrity but Carnival beat your pants off in this area.
I don't know if I will do another four day cruise again. Perhaps as another add-on. It was fun but not long enough and as Danny Glover said in "Lethal Weapon". "I'm getting too old for that s***"