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Carnival Cruises aboard the Imagination
Above: Carnival Cruise Lines Imagination Cruise Ship.

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Ship Details
Began service:1995
Guest capacity: 2,052
Total staff: 920
Length: 920 feet
Passenger decks: 10
CDC inspection score: 92

Imagination Overview

The Imagination cruise ship departs from the Port of Miami. Throughout the year, she offers ocean cruises to the Western Caribbean.

Check Dates & Prices for cruises to Western Caribbean.

There's a boatload of things to amuse passengers aboard the Imagination. Service is a key factor on this vessel. Whether it's a request to your room steward or stewardess, a menu decision in the formal dining room, a towel at the pool deck or just about anything else, expect service with a smile.

Many first-timers get their initial taste of cruising on the Imagination and are, for the most part, younger than passengers on other lines. Today's cruisers are honeymooners, young families, and singles, as well as veteran travelers who like the Carnival ambiance. Dancing is a popular pastime for all, and late night adults-only comics bring out huge crowds.


Standard cabins are 185 sq ft. and most cabins have twin beds that can be configured into a queen-size bed. Lighting is good with individual reading lights at each bed. Bathrobes are included in the amenities of all outside cabins. In-room safes, satellite television and standard amenities are offered ship-wide. Bring your own hair dryer. Only suites and demi-suites offer balconies/verandahs. Twenty cabins are equipped for physically challenged passengers. Six cabins on Verandah Deck offer partially obstructed views. Drawer and closet space is more than adequate for two people for four- or five-day itineraries.


The two main dining rooms, Pride and Spirit, are not crowded and service is good.

Tables range from booths for four to tables of 10. Three meals a day are also available in Horizon Court on Lido Deck, room service, and a 24-hour pizzeria. The Horizon Court provides good service but passengers carry their own plates to the table and have to wiggle past the line to get drinks from another area. The same dinner menu that is offered in main dining rooms is available in Horizon Court with waiter service. A Nautica Spa menu provides calories and carbohydrate totals for some menu items and special diets are available with advance notice.

Room service is available 24 hours a day with a limited menu. New staggered serving times on Imagination, as well as other Carnival ships, mean early sitting is at either 5:45 or 6:30pm, and late sittings at 8 or 8:45pm. Midnight buffets continue to be popular on Imagination where passengers party heartier and stay up later than on similar mass market cruise ships. Carnival's food service has been kicked up several notches and presentation and variety are superb.


The Dynasty Lounge is the site of the Captain's Cocktail party, Broadway-type productions, port talks and more. Sight lines are unusually good, but a few poles offer some blocked viewing. Carnival's shows are state-of-the-art musical productions with lots of pizzazz, strong visual effects and a strong Latin music influence.

The Dream Bar is a piano bar that's one of the hottest spots on the ship while Pinnacle Bar attracts before and after dinner crowds. The disco rocks 'til early morning hours. The large Casino offers seven blackjack tables, one face up, one each of roulette and dice and two poker tables in addition to a variety of slots. Tournaments are scheduled almost every day. These are the fun ships and everyone parties full speed ahead. Few passengers seem to be in bed by midnight, yet there's always a crowd at breakfast.

Fitness & Recreation

Nautica Fitness Center is open daily from 6 am to 8pm and is probably one of the most active at sea. A variety of treadmills, steppers, circuit training, weight machines, and aerobic room are busy all day long. The rooms are well designed and have plenty of space to move around in. The adjacent spa and beauty salon offer discounted treatments on port days and the "couples massage" is a popular service. Eleven laps around the Sports Deck equal one mile.

The main pool, with the signature Carnival slide, is on Lido Deck and another is on Verandah Deck. A second pool and a children's pool are also available. Lounge chairs are sufficient, towels are readily available, and bar service is always accessible.

Shore excursions can be booked from individual cabins via Interactive TV, but a shore excursion desk is also open through the day; most people opt for organized tours. Information on taxi service and shopping recommendations are available at most destinations, but no suggestions are made for onshore dining.

Daytime activities include port lectures, bingo, Internet access (open 24 hours at a fee of 75 cents per minute), various pool contests, games, trivia and the El Dorado Casino, open at sea from 8am - 3am.

Public Areas

With a mix of decor that includes countless gold-tone sphinxes and bars evoking fantasies of Shangri-La, the ship's "heart" is the Promenade on Deck 9. Leading from the Dynasty Lounge to the Pinnacle Club and Xanadu Lounge, more people gather here than elsewhere on the ship. They dance at the Dream Bar, try their luck at the El Dorado Casino and access the Internet at Vittorio's cafe. It's also the site of a boutique and the stairway to the Spirit Dining Room.

At the bottom of the six-story glass and brass atrium, on Empress Deck, sits a tall sculpture by Fort Lauderdale artist Len Janklow. Called "Space Illusion" it is a conversation piece and speaks to Carnival's outstanding use of passenger space.

Two self-service laundry rooms are located for passenger usage, $1 to wash, $1 to dry and 50 cents for detergent.


Camp Carnival is one of the most successful kids' programs afloat, featuring a mix of structured and individual activities. Programs feature four categories: Toddlers (2-5); Juniors (6-8); Intermediates (9-12) and Teens (13-15). Teens enjoy their own "disco" and seem to take part in the camp program without being forced into it. Counselors are trained and complimentary activities are available on sea days from 9am to 10 pm and on port days from port arrival to 10p.m. Baby-sitting is offered for children 12 and under from 10pm - 3am in the Children's Playroom. Pillows, blankets and cribs are provided. Cost is $5 per hour for the first child in the family and $3 per hour for each additional sibling. Each child, 12 and under, wears an identification bracelet and must be signed in and out by parents. A children's menu offers traditional items such as burgers and grilled cheese sandwiches and Camp kids usually enjoy a pizza party together. Formula and diapers are not available on the ship and parents of youngsters are urged to contact the line's Special Needs Department before sailing. Pregnant women in their third trimester cannot sail.

Expert Imagination reviews are edited by Michelle, and provided by Ian and Cruise Critic.com, an award-winning cruise community. This objective information can help you choose just the right ship for your next cruise vacation.

Check Dates & Prices for cruises to Western Caribbean.


Discount Code

Imagination cruise reviews

Cruise Ship Inspection Report
All passenger cruise ships arriving at US ports are subject to unannounced CDC inspection. Imagination Score: 92

Cruise Critic: Imagination
The Cruise Critic gives Carnival's Imagination a 3-ribbon rating.

Web links

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