We enjoyed a quick 2 night cruise aboard the Imagination late January 2014. We’re a party of three- me, 40, my hubby, 50 and our 5 year old son. As we live on the Central CA coast, this was a convenient trip for us.
Overall, we enjoyed this short getaway and our expectations on the Imagination were exceeded.
We sailed in an oceanview cabin this time (R43 on the Riviera deck), rather than our standard balcony cabin. We were very happy with the size of the room, and the layout as well as the fact that the cabins below and above us were also cabins- so there was no chair dragging/people walking/loud lounge noise, etc. The window was very large, and helped us to avoid that claustrophobic feeling that can creep in when we don’t have a balcony. Unfortunately, we had rainy, very cool weather by Southern CA standards, so we didn’t get to enjoy as much time outdoors on this cruise. It drizzled pretty much the whole time, with a great break in the rain while we were in Ensenada.
The feeling the MOMENT we walked on board was upbeat, cheerful, and music filled. Every employee in the atrium greeted us, and the music playing let the passengers feel the vacation mood immediately upon boarding. The dancing towel animal, Ellie the Elephant is adorable, and really added to the smiles. The renovations on this ship were awesome (we cruised on it pre-renovation 8 years ago). They did a great job making the ship feel as new as possible- the pool deck looks great and the public rooms and atrium are very obviously updated. Passengers were respectful and party-focused, but not rowdy or obnoxious, from what we noticed. We noticed that a lot of people were carrying around beers and/or bucket of beers immediately after boarding- getting the fun started. We had thought that this cruise might be too rowdy and loud for us, but it wasn’t. It was fun to watch the many bachelorette party groups, families travelling in large groups together and groups of girlfriends looking for a weekend getaway.
Faster to the Fun
This was our second positive experience with FTTF. While we got to the port so early that it probably didn’t make a huge difference in check in time, we enjoyed the extra attention and would say it is worth the money, even for a 2 day cruise, for OUR situation. We were anxious to film the entire ship, so every hour of this cruise counted and boarding early helped.
As usual, we requested a small table just for the three of us in the early seating, main dining room, but checked with the maitre d on embarkation day and they’d pre-assigned us to sit with others (not sure why they don’t honor what you request on the website, but oh well). Our request to change to a private table was quickly accommodated, and we were put in a 4-top, banquette style (not my fave- as you’re seated right next others on the bench/table combo). Our main dining room servers were so friendly and caring for such a short cruise, and the main dining room food was great.
Lido Buffet food was better than average and the area was kept clean and well-stocked. The station set up really helps with the crowds- the lines were minimal even during peak times, and seating was always available. I particularly loved the Sandwich station, salad bar, and the Asian food.
This was a “one port” cruise, with just a day’s stop in Ensenada. This was our first time off the ship in Ensenada (we usually sit out this port on longer cruises), so we booked a tour through Carnival to La Bufadora, and enjoyed the blowhole, as well as the BEST tacos (the shop RIGHT near the bus stop at La Bufadora). The vendors were aggressive on the walk to the blowhole, as others had warned, but we made a few purchases, and enjoyed the shopping opportunity. All in all, we’re glad we went, but this is a place you probably only need to see once.
We'd do it again! Hopefully, this time, on the longer 4 day to Catalina.
Here's our video tour of the ship, as well as a quick tour of the stateroom. Enjoy!
Cruise Tips TV Carnival Imagination Ship Tour - YouTube
Cruise Tips TV Carnival Imagination Oceanview Stateroom Tour - YouTube