My husband and I went on this cruise with another couple. This
was a first cruise for us all. I wasn't sure what the best way to
make reservations was, but didn't have to worry about that,
Carnival called us! My friend and I had started researching cruises
on the Carnival site. We already knew that we were interested in
the 5 day Western Caribbean and the Imagination fir those
Our Carnival representative was Chris. He was very nice to talk
to and though we hit a couple of minor snags, (which were taken
care of with no problems) I'd highly recommend him.
We're all from Cedar Rapids, Iowa. We received our papers about
10 days before the cruise. We found out then that Carnival would be
flying us out of C.R. on Friday and would be putting us up for the
night at the Wynham Miami Airport Hotel. That sounded great to all
of us, we wanted to make sure nothing happened (air wise) to make
us miss our ship! Everything went very smoothly. We were met at the
baggage terminal by a real nice Carnival gal (can't remember
her name). We then were taken to a shuttle bus to our hotel.
After checking in, we called it a night. The next morning, we
were to "pre-register" at the hotel. We brought our entire luggage
from our room to the lobby, stood in line with many other fellow
cruisers and showed the required papers. Our luggage was then taken
to a designated area of the hotel to be left until later. We pretty
much had just enough time to have breakfast, and then we all waited
in the hotel bar for our shuttle bus to arrive.
After showing the Carnival rep. which bags were ours, we boarded
the bus and waited for it to fill before taking off for the pier.
It only took about 15 minutes to get there. They have everyone wait
on the bus until the entire luggage is unloaded. We then pointed
out our bags to the porter, tipped him $1.00 per bag and left to
walk onto the ship! Before I forget to mention, I found making
bright colored pom-poms very useful. We could spot our luggage in a
sea of bags with no problem.
Now, on to the ship. We were directed every step of the way,
just make sure you have your paperwork and photo I.D.'s ready. We
walked unto the ship and found our room (upper deck, oceanview)
with no problem. At this time, we met our cabin steward, Muhammad.
What a great guy! He remembered all our names from just a brief
introduction and never forgot them! Can't say enough about Muhammad
and his whole crew. All were very friendly. We never had to wait
for our room to be cleaned or ice to be forgotten. .
After snooping around the ship an announcement came on the
speakers that it was time for the "muster drill". We got our life
jackets and went to our designated area. Had the drill (took about
45 minutes). The drill was finished with us all out on deck, next
thing we know, we're off! As we passed several other ships, we
waved at their passengers and they waved back, everybody was so
I'll start skipping to just points of interest now (wouldn't
want to bore anyone). We were surprised that for a full ship, we
weren't constantly bumping into crowds of people. There was hardly
any congestion. I'd suggest taking the stairs though, you could
wait forever for the elevators. There were stores to shop (got
plenty of souvenirs) pools, whirlpools, buffets, nightly shows and
of course, beautiful scenery from the decks!
I had booked all our excursions on the internet. Sure, you could
do this through Carnival, but why wait in line to reserve (while
you could be doing something fun on the ship) and taking the chance
that maybe after all the line waiting, you find out that the best
ones are all filled? I'd heard a lot of very good things about
swimming with the stingrays and Captain Marvin's came highly
recommended. Our spots were reserved for the two hour trip with no
We left the Imagination by tender, got on the island and walked
straight to Capt. Marvin's with no problem. We paid and then were
to wait out front for the shuttle to the boat. Once there, we were
shown to a room to get our snorkels and fins. Next, we were
directed to the boat we would be taking out to the sandbar. Our
tour guides were very nice guys. Marshall was one and I believe the
others name was Armand.
The wind was very strong that morning and we had quite a wild
ride out to the sandbar. As soon as the boat anchored, the sea
turned almost black with rays! We jumped in and started to get
acquainted with them. Believe me, they are so gentle, seemed to
love having us there (or was it just the squid we had?) We spent
about 20 minutes with them (the waves hitting you were getting
old), but once you snorkel, it's so peaceful! Next, we sped over to
a coral reef where we could also snorkel, but because the winds
were so bad and the water about 8 to 10 feet, I declined. My
husband did go in though and said there had to have been about a
hundred fish swimming all around him. If it wasn't for Marshall
asking me if I'd like him to take some underwater pictures for me,
I wouldn't have the great pictures of rays and fish to show back
home, that was very nice.
After arriving back at Captain Marvin's and saying good-bye, we
all boarded the shuttle back to town. I had already made online
reservations for the Nautilus, so we had to hurry and make that
tour. Found it without too much of a problem. This tour was nice,
but just wish it could have been a little longer.
We walked around town afterwards. I wasn't very impressed. The
shops are pretty much all the same and a little bit high priced. We
did have lunch at a sandwich shop, very good. It got pretty crowded
on the streets, so we just decided to get back on the tender for
That night, the winds were so strong, the ship rocked pretty
good, kind of scary (not to mention several people were sick). It
would have been nice after that night to get off in Ocho Rios, but
we were told the next morning that the port authority's thought it
was too unsafe to do so. I had also booked an excursion on the
internet for here. I'd heard about A-Z Jamaica Planners. I so would
have loved meeting these gals! Belinda and Jane were their names.
They custom tailored a whole day tour for us with no problems.
Trust me, if you have any questions, they'll answer back in no
Wouldn't you know it, after turning back towards Miami, the
winds died down? Oh well, the ship had extra activity's to enjoy
and our last day was beautiful. In fact, it was really the only
good weather day the whole cruise.
The next morning, we had breakfast one last time and waited to
hear when we could disembark. That went very smoothly also. The
Carnival staff direct you every step of the way.
Oh, I can't end this without mentioning our waiter, Edwardu
(Spirit dining room). He's a real nice guy. The food was also very
Well, that's about it. Sorry it's so long. All in all, it was a
nice cruise. I'd sure like to do another one someday, but with a
group of gals