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Carnival imagination-carnival victory "back-to-back" review (pics) 4-12-2013

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Just back from a "back to back" on Carnival Imagination and Carnival Victory! I have my photos uploaded and now the work begins--bringing you a review chock full of pictures and yes, some "food porn". I hope you like it!

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First up: Carnival Imagination--Bahamas

 

We really enjoy Carnival Cruises. Last year, or the year before, when they changed how to get to Platinum, we discovered if we took one cruise a year like we'd been doing traditionally, it was going to take us SEVEN more years to get to Platinum on the new plan. However, we found out that if we got our 10th cruise in before the end of 2013, we could still get Platinum status. So we made the decision last year aboard Carnival Valor that we would invest in getting Platinum status accomplished this year (2013).

 

We fly the day before the cruise, so we ended up at the Marriott at the Miami Airport. Funship Freddie came with us:

 

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We really liked this Marriott. Very comfortable bed and nice and easy to get to from the airport. We decided to rent a car to pick up water, and since we rented a car (cheaper than a cab even if for a few hours), we got a free ride to the port by the rental car company.

 

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We got to the port around 11:30 and got right on the ship! This was a 3-day trip to Nassau, and we decided to try a porthole room this time up on Empress.

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To me, the lobby seems *similar* to Inspiration. Not the same, but similar.

 

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This is the entry into the Lido deck buffet:

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Inside the Lido buffet area:

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Some of the food offerings. It seems that every "first day" of the cruise, the buffet is serving "Italian".

 

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I was pleased that they offered a diet selection in the dessert. As someone who really should not eat sugar at all, and my husband having gluten issues, it's a treat to find something we can have as a treat.

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Great pictures. Thanks for sharing your cruise adventure with us!

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk. Please excuse any typographical errors.

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Shore Excursions desk:

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The Casino:

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This is the bar right outside the Casino:

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The Promenade:

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This is an entrance to one of the dining rooms:

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We got a big table; 3 of the 4 couples were there each night. It was situated right near the Captain's table (not that he came to the dining room... LOL)

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This was right near the Casino. Barry watched the Master's from this spot while I played in the Casino:

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Where they held the Punchliner Comedy shows:

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On the Promenade Deck out by the atrium:

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So our first day, we spent wandering around the ship, getting unpacked in our room and dinner and the show.

 

Some narrative: We just ran out of time before our departure and Barry needed a haircut. He called the spa to see if they had an opening and they could take him in 15 minutes. He took our raffle tickets up there and put them in the box. Later, after sail-away, he saw the gal that cut his hair and said that they drew his name for the Spa drawing... but because we weren't there, we didn't get it. ARRRRGH! (So go to the Spa drawing if that interests you. You never know!)

 

We also liked his haircut. :)

 

For the Welcome Aboard show, Barry got chosen to go up there. It was a bunch of silliness, but Skip was FUNNY. (He was even more funny on the Love & Marriage show). So my 6'10" husband got a LOT of press because (a) he's tall; and (b) because Skip made such a big deal about it. It was fun.

 

The next day: Nassau... more to come.

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Nice Start.....we were looking at the Imagination. The prices for that ship are amazing right now......too hard to pass up

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Day Two: Nassau

 

Since we were doing 3 cruises in 2013, we didn't have a lot of $$ for excursions... this turned out to be the right decision as we had such fun doing so little. We'd always enjoyed doing something in each country to feel like we really "visited" the country. This time, we shifted that thinking and just went with the flow and didn't have a lot planned.

 

We got up and walked two miles on the track on deck. We love doing our walks outside rather than in the gym. Love having the view and smelling the fresh air and getting more Vitamin D (I suffer from SADD, so anytime I can get sun, I take it):

 

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In Nassau, we decided to go to Ardastra Gardens. We didn't do it through the ship and saved about 1/2 the price had we gone with the ship. We boarded the #10 bus. If you walk down Bay Street, down by Diamonds International somewhere--kind of across the street from the Straw Market--you will see a jitney. They all have numbers on them. It costs $1.25 to ride to the drop off for Ardastra Gardens. You pay when you get off the bus and they only take cash. The stop for Ardastra Gardens is at "The Fish Fry". Just ask them to tell you and they will. But if you hear Fish Fry, get off. There is a sign right there. You will walk about 1/2 mile (estimated) to get there. You walk past Fort Charlotte. Get to the top of the hill and you'll see another sign (you walk past the Humane Society--which we originally thought that might have been Ardastra, but it's not). The sign will lead you across the road to the right and down a lane and then you will arrive.

 

Coming into port. Carnival Sensation was there with us this trip as well as Holland America:

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Oh, I forgot... Carnival Glory was with us, too... (I visited the Bahamas twice in 3 days... it gets jumbled, sorry!)

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In Nassau, there is an abundance of taxi drivers and horse drawn carriages, etc. waiting to help you enjoy your day. You really don't have to plan anything specific. You can take a taxi guided tour for $20 a person if you want.

 

You have to go through Festival Place to get to town.

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On our way to Ardastra Gardens:

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This is the lane into Ardastra Gardens:

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Ardastra Gardens was created in 1957. It is not an all-day thing, if you ask me. We enjoyed our time there and are glad we went. People are very proud of Ardastra Gardens in Nassau. They have a Flamingo Parade at scheduled times and bird feeding at scheduled times (bring quarters to purchase the food for the birds).

 

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Peacocks and flamingos were everywhere at Ardastra Gardens. Lovely subjects to photograph.

 

We walked back to the corner where we were let off and picked up the #10 bus back to Bay Street. We then walked back to the ship, and had lunch.

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Lunch from the Wok area of the ship:

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This is the one time we were lucky enough to score a couple of seats in the Serenity area. We spent the entire afternoon in the hot tub and in the quiet bliss of Serenity...

 

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Loving your review so far! I'll be sailing on the Victory in a couple of months. Your pictures are absolutely gorgeous. I can't wait to hear about the rest of your trip! Thank you for posting :D

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The Serenity Deck was wonderful. It was our first time being on Serenity (and our last)... Any other time we went to visit, every chair was full, which is good for others, but disappointing for us.

 

Time for some food pictures:

 

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This is GLUTEN FREE Warm Chocolate Melting Cake. Hubby has a gluten intolerance and they make it for him every night. One night, the Hostess on Imagination, Jurga, got me some sugar-free Warm Chocolate Melting Cake and sugar-free ice cream. It's been 3 years since I've had it and it was SOOOO good.

 

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Here is a sample breakfast menu from the Main Dining Room:

 

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Every morning on the cruise, we got up and walked a couple miles on the track. The track is 11 laps to a mile and on the inside of the track is the miniature golf course:

 

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More various pictures:

 

Serenity Deck:

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Main pool area:

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Chocolate buffet on the last day. This is something Barry and I really can't participate with very much as he can't have gluten and I can't have sugar. I found a few things for him, thankfully, but sugar-free people are pretty much left out.

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Waterworks for the kids and the young at heart:

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We decided to go to the Love & Marriage show the last day of the cruise, and while we were sitting there, I decided to take our picture. What cracks me up is the couple behind us got into the act. LOL

 

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Here's our cruise director Skip:

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Love & Marriage show contestants:

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A sample dinner menu for one evening:

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On the last night of the cruise, the singing and dancing was "Gangnam Style" and Edguardo let me put the ruffles on and dance. How fun was that!

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Edited by valancy1

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Loving your review so far! I'll be sailing on the Victory in a couple of months. Your pictures are absolutely gorgeous. I can't wait to hear about the rest of your trip! Thank you for posting :D

 

You are most welcome... I am closing in on starting on the Victory part of the cruise :)

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We decided to go to the Love & Marriage show the last day of the cruise, and while we were sitting there, I decided to take our picture. What cracks me up is the couple behind us got into the act. LOL

 

P4140424_zps65965c0e.jpg

 

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Here's our cruise director Skip:

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Love & Marriage show contestants:

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A sample dinner menu for one evening:

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On the last night of the cruise, the singing and dancing was "Gangnam Style" and Edguardo let me put the ruffles on and dance. How fun was that!

P4140442_zpsf67c6ef3.jpg

 

 

 

Where is everyone, the restaurant looks empty?

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I am literally loving this review. Imagination was my first ship ever last November, so it brings back memories and I sail on Victory in July. Can't wait for that part of the review.

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Where is everyone, the restaurant looks empty?

 

This was after the actual dance ended. We found that the dining room was not heavily populated on EITHER of our cruises...

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This was after the actual dance ended. We found that the dining room was not heavily populated on EITHER of our cruises...

 

You should of had your wait staff complete attention. :)

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The BEST. HEAD WAITER. EVER.

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Imagination's Atrium at night... just like Inspiration, it is so colorful at night:

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And right behind the Imagination, the Victory awaits:

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Monday was the last day of our cruise and the first day of our next cruise--this is to be my Platinum cruise! So excited!

 

We exit the ship to an absolute downpour. So badly was it raining that we couldn't see the Victory in front of us. We needed to get to terminal D from terminal C. Thankfully, one of the porters told us to get in this one bus and he would take us there. STILL got drenched but was so thankful for the little loop-de-loop to get us to terminal D.

 

When we went to go inside, I told the guy monitoring the "rope" that we were priority and he let us go in. WOW this is easy, I said. LOL. Boy was I wrong.

 

I got to the VIP Captain's Lounge and we were turned away. This was the FIRST time I'd heard, "We don't count cruises anymore... we count days cruised". ARRRGH.

 

So we went up to the terminal and got checked in. Once again the lady at the counter where we get the keys says, "It doesn't work that way anymore."

 

So we trudge...soaking wet, discouraged... to the gangway and get on this ship that I've wanted to cruise for at least 3 years. The Atrium was incredible:

 

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So we just walked right down to our room. We got right on the ship and walked right to our room... This time we got an Ocean View.

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There were these hand-laid mosaics everywhere... even the entire atrium where the glass elevators are--giant mosaics. Stunning.

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We went to Guest Services to find out about my Platinum status. We were told that it didn't work that way anymore. I tried explaining that on their website it says specifically that if we were close to 10 cruises and get them in by December of 2013, we would be Platinum. Still no go.

 

I tried to say that even John Heald was supposed to write them. The guy at Guest Services said, "Who's that?!" (I nearly fainted, to be quite honest). I said he is the senior cruise director and brand ambassador at Carnival. We got a curt, "Well I know my boss and his boss. I don't know of a John Heald," and it was like "whoop de dooo." Seriously... OMG.

 

I got on FB and wrote to John on his FB page and just asked about how we might get this done because we specifically and intentionally booked enough cruises for Barry and I to be Platinum before the year ran out.

 

While we waited (and I chewed on my angst for awhile) we roamed about the ship...

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The dining room. Oh how I hated our table assigment... I asked to be switched and so he did switch us... to a TWO TOP. Not that I don't love my husband, but sitting at a big table to get to know other people is what we really like to do. It wasn't happening this cruise. The Maitre'd stuck us all the way at the back in the "forgotten" section as well as just a table for two. VERY disappointing, and it seemed bigger than it was considering how we were still trying to get the Platinum thing worked out too.

 

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This is at the end of the Promenade--this is a bar and just past that to the right of this picture is the Irish pub/piano bar

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The Promenade on 5...

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Thank you for the Imagination review. I am taking my parents on that ship for Christmas. It will be their first cruise, and I can't wait to see how they enjoy it. :)

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I loved the Imagination review. I will be on her June 3-7. Cant wait. I see you are from the easternshore, what part? We live in Sharptown, MD :rolleyes:

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