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A little bit different from last time. There are major changes being made at the Port of Miami. Construction of new roads, an overpass, and new routes were visible, probably for security purposes. Instead of a huge parking lot, there is now a multi-leveled parking garage for the passengers of the ships, which was just a little walk away from the terminal. Since our suitcases on wheels were just small enough to fit through the security scanners, we were able to wheel all of our luggage right on the ship with us. This was great because we didn't have to wait to have our luggage delivered to our cabins. We had 2 cabins on the Main deck; Dad and I shared a cabin and Mom and my sister shared the cabin next door. After tossing all our luggage into the cabins, we were due for a very important date - lunch! The lunch upstairs in the Horizon Bar & Grile was delicious. Since we hadn't been on a ship in quite a while, it felt great to be back onboard a cruise. I hadn't been on the Imagination in maybe as much as 4-5 years, but right away my memory of the ship's layout came back. The departure of the ship was very punctual, unlike some of the cruises we have been on in the past. Lifeboat drill at exactly 4 PM and the ship slipped away the dock at 4:30 PM. It just so happened that the night before we boarded the ship was supposed to be the coldest night of the year for South Florida, and it was very chilly the day of embarkation. Everyone was wearing jackets, long pants, etc. I think it was in the 60's, and to top it off there was no sun - Overcast all day. Despite the lack of tropical weather, we were still in for a fun-filled vacation aboard the Imagination.
Key West, Florida:
If you ever have the chance to go to Key West, I highly reccommend it. Living in South Florida, I have been to the Keys many times, and I could never get sick of it. The atmosphere is just so laid back and calm. When you get off the ship, you must take the Conch Train to get into the tourist part of town. This is because the ship docks at a U.S. Navy base, so you cannot walk around on your own. The ride took about 10 minutes, it was very interesting to ride through the Navy Base and then a residential neighborhood before we got off. Walked around for a while, did some shopping, and had a great time. The power for the entire area was knocked out for a while. This didn't prevent all of us tourists from browsing the stores, though the shopowners weren't too happy about it. Key West is home to the infamous "Hogs Breath Saloon," a famous nightspot. Key West sounds like a very happening place at night, with lots of places to be and things to do. After we were all shopped out, we returned to the ship, ate lunch and relaxed for the rest of the day. Watched the ship depart from the island mid-afternoon, which is always exciting, and worked out in the gym.
As always, we had a nice time in Cozumel. Did lots of shopping, with lots of great deals. Got some t-shirts, a few things for myself, souvenirs for a few of my buddies back home. They really built up the shopping area right by the entrance shops to the dock. Several years ago when we were last there, there was Fat Tuesdays and just a few little shops and vendors. This time there was an entire shopping plaza, with dozens of different buildings and vendors everywhere. Way to go Cozumel!
This was the first cruise which I spent lots of time with my parents - Went to the shows with them, ate all meals together, and spent lots of quality time together. All of the shows were excellent. The first Las Vegas style show as ok, but the second one was amazing, as always! (B-Bop!) I've always loved the comedians on the ships, and this time they had a comedian every single night in the main show lounge, and they also had one every night performing the Adult R Rated show. The best comedian by far was Happy Coal. Anyone else ever see this guy?? He is amazing!
Didn't really spend too much time in there this time, because it was usually just older people dancing, and if it wasn't the older crowd in there, nobody was dancing. This was the first cruise ever which I didn't mean a huge group of kids to hang out with all week. It's much harder at my age (18) now and I just really couldn't be bothered any more like I used to. lol. I enjoyed relaxing and not having anything to have to do.
This was my first cruise I have been on that I've been 18 - of course I had to hit up the casino for the first tiem! And listen to this - I was a winner 2 nights! One night I won $19 and the last night I played $5.00 in the quarter slots. On the second to last quarter that I had, I won $25! So as you can imagine, I had a ball in the casino on this cruise! Not bad for a beginner, huh?
For the entire length of the cruise, I wore long pants half of the time during the days. It was just too windy and cold to be wearing shorts. Because of the wind mixed with the cool air, the lido deck was half empty every day, even when the sun was out. This was my first cruise ever which I didn't step in the pool/hottub at all - it was just too dang cold! The hot chocolate was a huge hit the entire week! It was mmm mmm good! Next time we cruise, I hope it's a little warmer out so I can lounge around the pools all week. Oh well. Despite the cold weather, the cruise was still lots of fun, a great way to spend 4 days and nights!
It was good, as usual. One night for the midnight buffet they had BBQ ribs - Oh boy, were those good! I must have had 2 full racks worth of those ribs! The best ribs I have ever had!! Our table-mates in the dining room were very nice people, they may even by joining us here. Throughout the 4 days, they served some very nice meals. Such as salmon, Roast Chicken, and all sorts of really tasty meat, stir fry,etc. Deserts were ok. Still the same old Carnival-style deserts though...tasting very airy and light. Oh well, maybe Carnival is doing us a favor that way. :)
This was the most distinguishable facet of the entire cruise! Carnival has a new thing, where if you can have all your bags and be in the main show lounge by 8:30 AM (maybe it was 7:30), you can debark from the ship immediately. It wasn't fun having to wake up so early after being out so late, but it was worth it! We were off the ship and in our car by 8:45 AM, and I was home sleeping in my nice comfy bed by 9:30 AM, attempting to make up for the loss of sleep that previous night. Slept till about 11:30-12ish, then went back to reality and went to work at my job that evening.
In conclusion, I had a great time on the Imagination last month. It was a great, relaxing, care-free way to spend 4 days and nights. Though the weather could have been nicer, still had a blast. The food, entertainment, ports, ship, and everything else was all great! After all the cruises we've been on, it still amazes me how these gigantic ships are able to stay afloat so easily! The first chance we got, we posted our CruiseCrazies Door Hangs on our cabin doors, so everyone could find out about CruiseCrazies! I have pictures that I took, but it's taking me forever to post them because they are on my new camera phone, and I am waiting to receive a cable that I bought so I can transfer the pics from my phone to the computer. I already bought one but it didn't work so I had to send it back. Now that this past cruise is history, seems like there's only one way to cure our Post Cruise Depression Syndrome - Book another one!!