Carnival Reviews - Cruise Ship reviews by Cruisemates Readers
Carnival Cruise Lines

by Kim
Western Caribbean
June 10, 2002

We just took a 5-day cruise on the Imagination. I am sorry to say we will not be doing so again. We have cruised 4 times, the last two being on Carnival's Imagination. The quality of the cruise has dropped to a very disappointing level.

The Food: The food on the previous cruise we took in 1999 was great! This time, I would only rate it mediocre. While a few things were quite good, the words chincy, cheap, and repititious come to mind to describe most of it. There was very little seafood. When there was, it was used sparingly mixed with vegetables in a sauce. The desserts were the worst. They looked delicious, yet tasted horrible. I'd stick with the ice cream if I were you.

The Activities: Four times we went to a scheduled activity and no one showed up to facilitate it. We waited for 30 mins each time. One day this happened 3 times. The 4th time it happened we had finally had it. The activity was a game of trivia. When it was obvious it was happening again, my husband went to the information desk to inquire about it. They checked with the crew member who was supposed to be facilitating it and he said, "Oh, I was supposed to be their at 9:30? I have on my schedule 10:00. I'll be there ASAP". My husband then came back to the trivia game, and announced to the group what the reply was. 15 mins later he was still not there. So I went to the information desk to inquire. They said they knew nothing about it, apologized, and logged a complaint (big deal). I then returned to the trivia game. The facilitator was there and had already started. My husband told me that when the guy (facilitator) came out onto the stage he told everyone he was late because he couldn't find the key to the cabinet that held the game (hmmm). When he started the game, Several in the group said to him, "His wife is really upset and went to the info desk to complain. It would only be right to wait a couple of minutes for her". His reply was, "Well, if she weren't complaining she'd be here wouldn't she". The group booed and hissed at him so he apologized. My husband spoke up and said to him, "Well she was here at 9:30". Well, he did not wait. So when I got there I could not participate.

Each time we complained about the absence of the facilitator, all they would do was apologize. One time a person suggested giving each of us a free bingo card as compensation. They said no. They refused to do anything, but apologize.

Camp Carnival: Their activities were quite fun. My 11 yr old son went to some of them and had a good time. The water slide was his favorite. However, one day my husband took him to the scheduled Mini Olympics, but no one was there. We found out later they had taken the kids who showed up early and moved it to a different location, but no one was left behind at the scheduled location to tell anyone. Another time, they dismissed the kids 10 mins. early from an activity. I'm sure parents showed up to get their kids and wondered where they were. If we hadn't accidentally bumped into our son in the hall on our way to get him, we wouldn't have known where he was either.

The Evening Shows: The B-bop show is adorable and the kids will love it. The rest were definitely not family oriented, so if you are taking your kids along, skip them. The female costumes are R rated and the comedian, even though very good, was too suggestive for kids.

The Service: Dining staff were great, no complaints. Other services poor. Fun Vision on the TV did not work the entire cruise.

Other problems: On the second day of the cruise, I woke up with a severe rash all over me. I went to the infirmary and the attendant and I troubleshooted the problem trying to figure out the cause etc. We had no luck so she sold me some Benadryl and anti-itch cream and I left. The next day, I determined that I was allergic to the laundry soap they used. I spoke to my room steward, she was very sympathetic, but said she couldn't do anything. Then I spoke to the infirmary, after that the info desk. They each told me there was nothing they could do, and guess what, apologized. I asked if they could run my linens through a rinse cycle and dry them. They said no, but they could give me a stack of linens and I could go to the laundry room at U154 and do it myself. Oh yeah, and take money because it will cost you. Well, since I was not about to do laundry on my vacation, I wore long sleeves and pants to bed and used tissue to dry myself after showers. Then, on the third day, I got a call from the cruise director (Mark Price). He was apologizing again for the activities fiascos I previously mentioned. He also refused to do anything but apologize. He asked if anything else was not right. So I told him about the rash situation. He said, "Let me see if I can do something about that". We hung up. About 5 mins later the Chief Room Steward showed up at my door and told me he would give me new linens (never been washed), new towels, and a new bathrobe for the rest of my visit. My rash immediately got much better, and almost disappeared completely. I am grateful to the cruise director for helping with this matter. He is a very nice gentleman and good with people. My question is why didn't I get that service in the first place!

Ports of Call: Grand Caymen was nice. It is a pretty port with shops right there so you don't have to go far to get a souvenier. We took the Reef Snorkel Tour and really enjoyed it. The tour guides were funny, pleasant, professional, and polite. We had a fun time.

Calica's port is not much more than a sand pit. There is a tent market set up there though, and you can get some nice things for a good price if you dicker with the venders.

We went to Xcaret it was great. I highly recommend it. Especially if you are traveling with kids.

Things you should bring: Clock you can read in the dark - If you have a cabin without a window, it is dark 24/7. So, unless you have a clock to look at, you won't know when it is morning.

Clothes with pockets.

Shampoo and conditioner - Carnival will only give you enough free shampoo to last you 1 day. After that, you'll have to buy it at the gift shop.

Hat - ladies the sea air will flatten your hair.

Walkie talkies - I called Carnival before my trip to ask if they would work on the ship. They told me mine would not, but that they had special ones on the ship I could rent for $20 per day that would. I saw people all over the ship using their own walkies just fine.