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Quick Getaway


RayColey
"Four day jaunt to Key West and Cozumel"

Overall Rating: Excellent

TRIP INFO

Sail Date:06/24/2013
Destination:Caribbean - Western
Departed From:Miami
# of Nights: 3-4 Nights
Cabin Type: Ocean View
Sailed As: Couple

RATINGS

Food:<p>1</p>
Itinerary:Very Good
Cabin:Very Good
Entertainment:Excellent
Overall Value:Excellent
Spa/Fitness: Didn't Use
Embarkation: Poor
Debarkation: Very Good
Staff/Service: Excellent
Overall Rating: Excellent

COMPLETE REVIEW

We have to give this cruise high marks - the staff was wonderful. The cabins were clean and quite functional. The food was good and the entertainment was pretty high caliber.

That being said, I must confess that the "Fun Ship" just isn't my cup of tea. I found the buffet to be designed to create long lines (not a fault of the very attentive staff, just the design of the dining area). I also did not find it very inviting - too dark and the low ceilings allowed a lot of noise to build up very quickly. The "closed-in" atmosphere permeated the ship; while everything was very clean and tidy, I found myself always wanting more light, and certainly more open views.

The dining room was about the only place on the ship (other than out on the decks) that had an open, welcoming feeling about it. And everywhere, the staff was pleasant, attentive and gave the appearance of genuinely wanting you to have a good time.

The itinerary was one that we have done before, so we were quite used to the ports. There was the usual pre-docking spiel about all the wonderful things that could be bought in that port, and I even won (be still, my heart!) a genuine tanzanite necklace at the one we attended (and I should have, having put about 30 tickets into the bucket).

It may not be fair to rate the airport transfer, since there was a parade on the morning that we arrived in Miami, and there was no traffic getting from the airport to the sea terminals. Suffice it to say that the city of Miami was not prepared to deal with the consequences of so many people being stranded in the airport... It was a long wait.

Carnival has had a reputation for safety problems. There were exactly no safety issues that arose during the cruise we were on; however, I did notice that he muster drill was not conducted in the efficient way to which we have been accustomed. I would venture to guess that of the people who attended the drill (there was nobody checking off cabin numbers, so it really wasn't necessary to attend) only about ten percent were able to understand the briefing, which was over a loudspeaker amidst a cacophony of echoes. Carnival needs to do better here.

Now, I've said a number of negative things about this cruise in my review; however, most of these things have to do with my own perception of the "ideal" cruise. Except for the muster drill, I can't point out anything that Carnival did wrong. As I said up front, the ambience of the Imagination simply wasn't my cup of tea. I give Carnival high marks for service, food preparation, menus and the overall friendliness of the staff. Moreover I firmly believe that this cruise provided good sailing bang for the buck. While I may not venture back aboard Carnival vessels, I think the world of the way they dealt with us.

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Thanks for the review, Ray. I wonder if the newer ships have more open and lighter spaces....I go back and forth about trying Carnival. The pricing certainly is compelling....

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Andi, I was thinking about the "pricing" issue on my drive in today. RCL offers the same cruise itinerary that Carnival offers out of Ft Lauderdale to the Caribbean. RCL prices are sometimes 3 times that of Carnival. While I would love to experience the Allure or Oasis, I have to consider the cost.

So I look at it like booking a hotel. I sleep and shower in the room. Pretty much everything else is same-same.

Is the "hotel" clean?

Are the bathrooms clean?

Is the food good?

I guess the older I get and the more I cruise, I'm stingy about my money because I want to be able to continue doing this. I say, give Carnival a try. Seek out one of their newer ships, but select an itinerary that you really want to travel to.

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Thanks for the great review, Ray...so glad you and Yuki had a good cruise. I do understand what you mean about it not being your ideal cruise. Same with us, although, we do have fun on the "fun ships." The older ships do have a darker and sometimes neon look to them. I did like the Carnival Liberty...it was different than the older designs...and I hear the new "Breeze" is nicer, also...I will see in a couple of months.

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Forgot to say...the muster drill thing did surprise me...I would think that after Carnival's recent troubles they would be very strict with this...but I do know that some of the people also don't take these drills seriously. I remember when we were on the "Holiday" back in 1984...people were talking and partying through the whole drill and, one guy had his girl on his shoulders and playing around, no one seemed to be paying attention to the drill...not good. That was not a good cruise back then, but after our last Carnival cruise I do think they have improved since back in the '80s.

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Nice review – thanks for sharing! Carnival was definitely long overdue to update their décor. They had the same person do all of their interior design for years (decades?) and every ship felt a lot like old Las Vegas until very recently. We’ve always enjoyed the crew and the food quality aboard Carnival – and we always have lots of fun – but we mostly sail them for quick getaways from close-to-home ports…

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