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

by Tom & Mary Milano
Western Caribbean
April 10, 1999

Our agent recently called us that he had a fax special for the Carnival Imagination. The Carnival line was one line we didn't intend to book with, but the price of the fax special was so unbelievably low we decided to give it a try. This proved to be a huge mistake. If this had been our first cruise, we would never had cruised again.

In our opinion Carnival has the poorest cabin arrangement of any cruise line we have booked.. When they have a double accommodation they push two single beds together, against the wall. This necessitates one partner having to crawl over the other to get out of bed. They do not have any double bed sheets. They make each bed up individually, with the sheets and covers tucked in. A terrible arrangement. Its like camping out and sleeping in separate bed rolls. There is no way you can cuddle up to your wife with out tearing the bed apart. When we asked the steward for double or queen sized bed sheets, he looked annoyed and said they didn't have any.

There are no hair dryers in the bathroom. Also there wasn't any shampoo or lotion or any of the other goodies you normally find.


Food and Service:
We managed to have the Maitre Di get us a table for two which was fine. However the overall seating arrangement of the dining room was terrible. They are the only cruise line that we have seen that has straight booths for a seating of six and all along the exterior walls, straight tables of eight. In the restaurant business we call that barracks seating. It is impossible for the party of eight to have a conversation, unless the person would stand when addressing a person at the other end of the table.

And finally, the worst of all, the Bay Marie serving stand that ran down the full center of the dining room, is a real no-no. This is an area where the waiters got their soup, some appetizers and assorted items for the table. These areas are supposed to be concealed in a fashion that are out of the diners sight as much as possible. It is a poor way to expedite service detracts from the over all appearance of the dining room.

The food was not bad. In fact some of the entrees were excellent. The service was poor except for the bar girl Kathleen. The bus-girl was in a dither and couldn't get coordinated with the waiter.

My wife Mary, always looks forward to the shows and especially on this trip, since Carnival is considered to have great entertainment. I guess we were on the wrong ship because the show is the poorest we have ever seen. The lead female singer and male singers couldn't get their act together and were not very good and the costumes were very poor. Having the band on stage with them didn't help the situation. It took away from being able to focus on the show. We never attended another show. Instead, we decided we would find a lounge that had a group that played music that we could dance too. Unfortunately, we couldn't find any. It seemed in every lounge, they were catering to single girls line dancing (some in bare feet) or very upbeat (not jazz) music.

In General:
In our opinion, Carnival is for the very young and young adults that want to party. We have never seen as much drinking as aboard this ship. On three different occasions we were awakened out of a sound sleep between one and three in the morning with shouting and cursing and carrying on by a group of young people, in cabins down the hall. Security had to actually patrol our hall each night.

Their were bare feet everywhere. Many people walked along the promenade in bare feet. They even danced in bare feet in the lounges. On formal night, you could walk along the promenade and see people in shorts and tank tops. It is one thing to go casual, but this was a bit much. We met a number of people at open breakfast and open lunch that had the same experience as we did and were very disappointed and would never book Carnival again. In our opinion, being retired owners of a peoples business, this type general atmosphere will not enhance their image.

In Closing:
I again repeat that Mary & I had a great time. That may sound odd after all the things I have written, but it is the truth. In each port, Mary & find a good hotel that we can pay to use their facilities. Ocean front, pool, showers, changing rooms, dining facilities and etc. (Like the Jamaica Grande in Ocha Rios.)When we are on the ship we spend a lot of time around the aft pool area. After a late lunch, we take a nap and around five order a snack from room service. It then is about time to start dressing for dinner. The last two nights we found a group in a lounge that agreed to played some of our type music and we enjoyed a couple of evenings of dancing.

I write this critique for you from our personal perspective. We took our first cruise in May of 1996. We became addicted and since then have made 12 cruises in the last 35 months and 5 of those in the last 7 months. If we had booked Carnival for our first cruise, we would have never cruised again.

It is not very pleasant having to write such a negative review. I would much rather be able to tell you of the many nice things that took place, but unfortunately that was not the case. It was a terrible experience. If we can answer any questions, E-Mail us.