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Imagination, 1 September, 4-Day


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I know there's an Inspiration review going on right now with the same itinerary, but I decided to post my review anyway. We did NOT get off the ship in Ensenada. Please see the other review if you wish to learn more about this port.

 

We drive to the port of Long Beach, about a 3.5 hour drive depending on traffic. The last time we were at that port it was to board the Splendor to the Mexican Riviera. We got there about 11:40 and were told the parking garage was closed until noon. Huh? This had never happened before and as our check-in time was for noon it seemed odd that we couldn't even enter the parking area until that time. After reading a few comments on CC, I decided maybe we could get there around 10:30 to beat any kind of lock-down of the garage. We arrived at 11:00, no goon prevented us from entering the garage, and were inside the terminal by ten after. We'd stopped first to give our single bag to the porter. It might be my imagination, but the porters at Long Beach seem extra nice.

 

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That's not me. That's my better half. I thought we might be seated in the priority lounge, but boarding had already begun so we were whisked through check-in and security and were on board having lunch in no time at all. Even though Carnival has check-in times, I'd hazard a guess that for these 4-day cruises the crowds aren't so big that this matters. It was a holiday week, so I was expecting a lot more people. Nope. I mentioned how empty the terminal was to the lady that checked us in and she said it would get a lot busier after noon.

 

Once on board we wanted to drop our backpack off in our cabin, which was U206, an Oceanview. A Carnival employee stopped us before we could open the door to the cabin area to make sure we had FTTF or were P/D. Once he checked he waved us through.  We weren't in the room for 5 minutes when our steward knocked. Norman welcomed us on board and offered us once or twice daily service. We selected morning service and he went on to ask us if we needed anything else: ice, bathrobes, extra pillows or blankets. Norman even moved all the luggage into his cabins. There were absolutely no bags cluttering the hallway when we came down later. He was amazing!

 

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The air conditioning in this cabin worked overtime, which I liked. It was COLD and perfect. I'll mention the door is magnetic since I noticed a lot of magnetic decorations on other cabins. We saw a lot of groups on this cruise. We had a group just a couple doors down from us occupying several cabins. Each night several people would congregate in the hallway outside their cabins and keep the party going. I didn't complain since I expect that on short cruises, but it might bother someone else.

 

I remember Soapgate on CC. People were having a hard time getting a bar of soap rather than having to use the liquid soap in the showers. We received bar soap, which I prefer. It comes in a little box rather than the old cellophane wrapper.

 

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Edited by fyree39
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Muster was held in the Xanadu Lounge in the aft of the ship. After the life vest demonstration I expected to be herded out the lifeboats, but that didn't happen. A fellow from the Fun Team was on stage leading us in songs, taking role when some passengers hadn't shown up and had their room cards scanned, and generally made the process a lot more enjoyable. He even handled the extra-drunk, noisy, disruptive passengers with aplomb. 

 

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Sail away was set for 6:30 and we chose ATD because we always seem to miss sail away. We really like watching them single up the lines, then a wee bit later the cruise officially begins as we push away from the pier.

 

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Edited by fyree39
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7 minutes ago, sanmarcosman said:

Good, I like the reviews of ships from Long Beach which is our nearest port, too. The soap box ( yes I know ) is cool and new. Is the bar of soap inside the same round that came in the cellophane? 

Pretty much so. Same size, same citrus scent. We didn't have these on our Splendor cruise in February. Maybe they were just using up old stock.

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Nice start to the review!  I look forward to more.  I'll be interesting to see how the cruises on two sister ships with the same itinerary compare.  You said you didn't go ashore in Ensenada; what did you do in Catalina?  

 

The Imagination was actually my first cruise ship.  I sailed out of Miami, to Key West and Cozumel.  That cruise and the friendly people I met got my cruising addiction started.

Edited by LandlockedCruiser01
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Whenever we cruise the little ships, we always sit in the very aft of the lido for our sail away lunch. It's called the Horizon Bar and Grill on this ship, so we found our table and settled in for some nummies. I'd been eyeing the Cheers package from the Hub app, but we weren't quite ready to pull the trigger. Instead, I headed to the Horizon bar to get him a Fun Ship Special and me a soft drink. I ran into Gergely, pronounced Ger-ghey, a Hungarian living in Romania and who also works in the ATD Pride dining room. I handed Gergely my card, which he looked at for a long time and chatted with me. He asked my husband's name and from that moment forward Gergely remember both of our names. We saw him often on this cruise and he always called us by name.

 

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Gergely also worked the Pride, so he invited us to sit in his section, which we did on one of our nights. He is one of those Carnival employees the line is famous for: personable, hard-working, friendly, and seems to actually care about his passengers.

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24 minutes ago, Shaded Lady said:

Looking forward to this review- we've been considering a cruise from the west coast one of these days soon!

 

On a little ship? Or one of the 7-day cruises to the Mexican Riviera?

 

14 minutes ago, LandlockedCruiser01 said:

Nice start to the review!  I look forward to more.  I'll be really interesting to see how the cruises on two sister ships with the same itinerary compare.  You said you didn't go ashore in Ensenada; what did you do in Catalina?  

 

The Imagination was actually my first cruise ship.  I sailed out of Miami, to Key West and Cozumel.  That cruise and the friendly people I met got my cruising addiction started.

 

We got off in Catalina, so that's coming up. I've lived in SoCal for 20 years and this was my first visit.

 

3 minutes ago, ObstructedView2 said:

 

Your cabin door was magnetic??

 

😜

 

 

Why, yes! Yes it was!

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4 minutes ago, fyree39 said:

 

On a little ship? Or one of the 7-day cruises to the Mexican Riviera?

We don't mind the smaller ships (or the bigger ships for that matter- as long as its a cruiseship we're pretty much okay with it!) but since we'd need to travel to the west coast we'd probably prefer the 7-day...

 

I lived in Huntington Beach (next door to Long Beach) when I was a kid and haven't been back since I was 10, so we'd love to spend a day or two on either end of the cruise exploring the areas from my childhood!

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I don't wear a lanyard, don't display my Carnival status, don't talk about it unless asked. It seemed like whenever I pulled my card out to make a purchase, the Carnival employee made a somewhat big deal about this card. It was a little embarrassing, truthfully. I'm Platinum, but so are a million other Carnival cruisers. I guess the white cards aren't seen as often, so it's noticed by employees.

 

After sail away we went to the Pride dining room for dinner. We ended up in Wanya's section. She and her team were real good, getting our food out fast and correctly. There was one hiccup on the last evening having to do with dessert, but I'll get to that later if I remember. We didn't ask to stay in her section, but ended up there more than once. Now, her assistant was Achmad. That guy looked exhausted every time I saw him. It didn't slow him down, but he wasn't as cheerful as the others.

 

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Here's Wanya gettin' down one night at dinner.

 

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A final look at Long Beach as we say buh-bye.

 

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I'm going to back up for a minute and talk about the Cheers package. I've been thinking about trying this out for quite some time. No, we wouldn't get our money's worth since I don't drink and hubby is a moderate drinker. Still, the idea of not even caring if we buy cocktails, wine, beer, cappuccinos, Rockstars and so forth is somewhat appealing. While we were parked in loungers in the Serenity area before sail away we decided to just give it a try. I purchased the package from the Hub app and away we went. Gergely hooked me up with blended concoctions and hubby enjoyed new whiskey drinks. I'd stopped at the Alchemy bar and the bartender there said she could come up with a variety of non-alcoholic drinks using fresh fruits. We never did make it to the Alchemy bar on this sailing.

 

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Pictured above is I believe a Pirate Punch. Wonderful Husband said this was really good and pineapple forward.

 

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Above is a Gergely blended concoction he suggested. I think it's strawberry and some kind of coconut goodness.

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15 minutes ago, Shaded Lady said:

We don't mind the smaller ships (or the bigger ships for that matter- as long as its a cruiseship we're pretty much okay with it!) but since we'd need to travel to the west coast we'd probably prefer the 7-day...

 

I lived in Huntington Beach (next door to Long Beach) when I was a kid and haven't been back since I was 10, so we'd love to spend a day or two on either end of the cruise exploring the areas from my childhood!

 

I've never lived in the area, but I imagine it's changed a wee bit since you were last there. lol 

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We never set foot in the theater, aka the Dynasty Lounge. I'd read the Fun Times each day and make suggestions, but, honestly, the stage shows are either made up of passengers (the Hasbro Show), or we've seen the production show one or ten times too many. I know, I know. We sound like a couple of kill-joys. We did, however, enjoy hanging out at the Dream Bar, just outside the El Dorado Casino. There's a stage there with nightly entertainment. We'd find a table, order a drink and enjoy the music. Here's a picture of The Seagles rocking it out. Poor picture, but you get the idea.

 

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We also like sitting near the coffee shop, Vittorio's Cafe, to people watch and see if there are any sports on the TV. I love a nice cappuccino and with Cheers I had these often. This area is also the promenade, so the Dr. Suess parade comes right by here.

 

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Mr. Wonderful and I slept terrible on this cruise. For him, it was the extra thick pillows. He's a stomach sleeper so he just couldn't get comfortable. For me, it was the noisy neighbors hanging out in the hallway and a too-soft mattress. As this was a short cruise, I didn't care. I could sleep when I got home. That's what retirement is all about!

 

When I woke up I looked outside the window to see where we were.

 

Land ho!

 

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We were eating breakfast by about 8 on the Catalina morning. This is a tender port so we expected there to be a wait for tenders. We had no excursion booked, so when we finally headed down to deck 4(?) we expected a long line. Not so. There was no wait so we boarded the tender (what's with this "water shuttle" Carnival keeps pushing? No one else in the industry calls it that) and headed to the top deck.

 

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Edited by fyree39
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There are a lot of restaurants here. It was morning, so some were serving brunch, others were closed.  This one was closed, but it sure looked interesting.

 

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Lovely outdoor seating was available.

 

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The menu...

 

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We walked around a bit before stopping at a shop for a cold drink, then settled on a bench to enjoy the morning.

 

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The area was densely packed with housing.

 

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If you're wondering, we saw many vacation rentals advertised as well as homes for sale. The homes were in the range of 1100-1400 sqft and ran from $1.1 million and up. Buy your lottery tickets today!

 

We made our way down to the casino, then turned back. There's a beach past the casino that seems to be private, or at least would charge to use a lounger, so we didn't bother going any farther.

 

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Edited by fyree39
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It was getting close to lunch and my better half had wanted to buy us some lunch in a restaurant. Most places had menus posted outside. We weren't sure what we wanted so we stopped at a few places. Mexican food sounded good, but the prices for a basic Mexican lunch were about as high as the home prices. We get some outstanding Mexican food at home, so I suggested we just go back to the ship and eat, which we did.

 

I expect we'll take a cruise back to Catalina and I'd love to go on either a glass bottom boat or a submarine. The California state fish is the Garibaldi, which is bright orange and hangs out near the shoreline. I'd love to snorkel there, but the water is COLD in the Pacific. We saw one beach right at the marina that had a wide swim lane roped off. There were some people swimming laps in that cold morning water. Bracing, to say the least.

 

So, anyway, we got back to the ship, got us a cold drink, and settled in by the pool.

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I'll finish this up since there really isn't too much more to report. In the evenings we liked to sit near the Dream Bar and listen to music. James from NZ was a solo guitarist and really quite talented. We've found quite a few solo musicians have some kind of karaoke back track that's cheesy. James didn't have that.

 

The next morning was Ensenada. As usual, we didn't get off the ship. See Landlocked01's review for his Ensenada tour if you're interested. It was foggy that morning and the ginormous Mexican flag was never raised while we were there.

 

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The crew held their weekly emergency drill so we sat by the pool, had a cold drink and watched the goings on. It's always nice and quiet on the ship on port days if one should decide to stay on board.

 

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Edited by fyree39
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Our final day was a sea day as we slooooooowwwwlllly made our way back to Long Beach. We parked our tookuses by the coffee shop and enjoyed the view out the window. He's Too Good for Me tried one of the double chocolate cupcakes sold at the coffee shop.

 

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If you love chocolate more than life itself, you might like this. My husband said it was just plain nasty. The frosting was so thick he thinks they were trying for "fudge" instead of "frosting." He tasted the cake, the frosting, and gave up. I tasted it, too, and didn't much care for it either.

 

While we were sitting there the Seuss-a-Palooza parade went past us, for which I posted a picture earlier in this thread. There's a story time involved with the parade, but there was also something fun going on in the atrium with Mel the cruise director talking to the kids and generally having a good time. This spread was set out for the kids and their families. I predict rainbow poop after all of this food.

 

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The last sea day was also the day of the Chocolate Extravaganza on the lido deck. I don't each much chocolate, so I didn't get anything. However, the lido servers were walking around with these creations so DH tried one and really liked it (which made up for the Chocolate Nastiness from earlier).

 

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Earlier in the cruise I'd received this in our cabin. I was a little confused because I was under the impression these coupons were reserved for birthdays and anniversaries, none of which we were celebrating.

 

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Well, we hit the dining room for our final dinner. I really wasn't diggin' the food on this trip and nothing appealed to me on the menu. I asked for the kid's menu for the heck of it and ended up with.....this!

 

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PB&J on toast. What I was craving was the potato chips. People sometimes complain that the snack foods on board are missing something. I'd hazard a guess that what's missing is a salty/crunchy snack like chips or nuts. The sandwich would've been better if the service wasn't stalled for not one, but TWO numbers by the serving crew which included the usual "leaving on the jet plane" tune. So, I ate most of my cold toast with PB&J, ate all my chips and skipped the cookies. Surprisingly, before we could leave the dining room our server brought us a Happy Anniversary cake. Our anniversary is in April and I have no idea why we got this. We played along, did the kissy-kissy with the song, and ate a couple of bites of the cake. Sorry I didn't get a picture, but I was too surprised to pull out my camera.

Edited by fyree39
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