Cruise was sponsored by the Carnival Players Club. As a member there were a few perks (free drinks in casino, raffles, welcome aboard cocktail party) and the price was reasonable. I normally don't do less than 7 day cruises so this was a first for me. It also was my 9th with Carnival so our cruise in Mar 2010 will make us Platinum Members :o.
There were several firstsfor me: 3 day cruise, without my wife, inside cabin. I may take another 3 day cruise sometime but my wife will definitely be with me and we postitively will never do an inside together. We are spoiled balcony types. However, this did nothing to prohibit me from enjoying the cruise.
The Imagination was clean, the crew had plenty of smiles and greetings for everybody, stewards and waiters were outstanding. In fact, if you can swing it, this cruise is a very nice weekend get away.
Since I had only an overnight bag I parked at the pier garage ($20 a day is way to high
) and wheeled it the short distance to the pier. I checked it with the porters since I didn't want to be bothered wheeling it around. Embarkation was easy and quick only about 15 minutes and I was aboard. Had a quick sandwich on the Lido and then toured the ship to get acquainted. I had never been on this class before so it was all new. Christmas decorations were out and a festive atmosphere was very present.
Ate in the dining room for breakfast on Sat and was disappointed with the service. The order was placed OK but it took about 45 minutes to get the food. Several other table came and went before our table got its food. I mentioned it to the young lady at the desk and while she apologized she didn't really seem to care. I wasn't in a hurry so it was a big deal to me. However the other folks at the table were anxious to get off the ship since they had excursions. Other meals were excellent.
Arrived in Nassau at 10:00am right on time. Ship was cleared and folks were off on their tours. I chose to stay aboard since we have been to Nassau a few times and there wasn't much for me to do. I spent the morning in the Serenity area (I think this is how it is spelled) reading and catching cat naps (was up way to late the night before in the casino
). It was very enjoyable even though the weather was cooler than I would have liked it.
We stayed over night in Nassau and left at 0700 on Sunday. This was again a 1st for me. I was used to going to bed and getting up in a new port. It was a unique experience. The casino and shops did open at 7:00PM so there was plenty to do.
Sunday was a day at sea and we arrived in Miami early Monday morning. I did the self assist since I had only one small bag. The waiting place was in the Lounge (theater) which was on the 8th deck. The gangway was on the 7th deck which involved going down a flight of stairs. This was difficult for those folks who had a lot of luggage and really stretched the patience of those that had only a small bag. And to add to the mess if you were in the know (obviously I wasn't) you went up a couple of decks and took the elevator down to the 7th. There was a lot of milling around and pushing and shoving and in general a bit messy. But I was in my car and on the way about 9:00. Traffic was a little bit heavy getting to 95 and the turnpike. I live just outside of Winter Haven so it is about a 3 and a half hour drive.
Good points: ship was really immaculate and spiffy; crew was great; food was good; and in general very enjoyable. The Casino staff was especially wonderful and took very good care of us)
Bad points: breakfast on Sat (I know this was only one thing but still it did bother me); self assist was a bit confused but manageable.
Very bad points: Left too much money in the casino (I know this was a very, very good point for Carnival
Lessons learned: Last time I cruise alone. Even though folks were friendly I missed my wife more than I thought I would. Also, last time for an inside cabin. Too small and stuffy (personal opinion) and since I had no reference point to see the ocean it took me awhile to figure out which was aft and which was bow when I left the cabin. After 30 years in the Navy you think that would come naturally but it didn't.
Recommendation: a great cruise for a quick get away weekend.
Looking forward to Mar and a cruise we are calling the Holy One: St. Martin, St. Lucia and St. Kitts