Carolina: Cruising Past 70: You Can Easily Sail Your Week Away with Food, Frolic, and Facilities in Carnival's Imagination

Thursday, September 13, 2018

You Can Easily Sail Your Week Away with Food, Frolic, and Facilities in Carnival's Imagination


Let your imagination soar.  The ginormous fin lords it over about 2,500 of us on board a fantasy cruise of the Carnival Line. Imagination will give you four nights and four days of cruising on the Pacific Ocean off the California coast. It was our gift to us on our 10th anniversary. The last cruise we had was in 2014, before that 2012. We have missed this kind of easy-going, no unpacking kind of trip. Everything is fine except for the unwanted pounds you realize you got at the end!

Long Beach Cruise Terminal

Checking in was a breeze. We parked at Carnival’s six-floor parking garage and paid $20 a night in the end. A huge domed facility, the Long Beach Cruise Terminal, housed all the departure and arrival activities. There were separate lines for early, on-time, and late arrivals so long queues were practically nonexistent. And there were great backdrops for souvenir photos right from the get-go. It’s so seamless it felt as if they had been doing this for years. And they have. The ship was born in 1995.

Long Beach from Carnival Imagination

Food

It was fine dining every night at the Spirit Dining Room. We were grouped with four other couples, three from around California and one from Hawaii. So the company was wholesome and the food was awesome. I had shrimp cocktail, flat iron steak, and tiramisu on the first night; crab cakes, oven-baked sea bass, and Carnival’s signature molten chocolate cake on the second (also cruise elegant night), steak, spring rolls, and chocolate tres leches on the third, and penne de mariscos, escargot bourguignon and baked Alaska on the last. Our Filipina hostess Ethel was unbelievably both charming and caring!

four nights of dinner with new friends

Open seating breakfast was at the other dining room, Pride. We loved their eggs benedict, Belgian waffles, Spanish omelet, and Breakfast on Board. On our day at sea (fourth day), we feasted on the buffet at Lido Restaurant with the special chocolate buffet, including truffle, fudge, and all kinds of things to dip into the rich brown stuff. I decided to worry later about the pounds I was packing in. It would have been cruel to disrupt the ambiance!

Frolic

nocturnal activities


day at sea
There was so much to do. My claim to fame was singing the Beatles’ “Act Naturally” at the High Seas Karaoke on the very first night. People recognized me the next day and congratulated me for my comedic styling. You see, I started my performance with, “Welcome to my show…” The next night, we watched a glitzy, high energy show called “Divas.” On the third night, we could not stop laughing at the hilarious Punchliner Comedy Act. Then it was “Epic Rock” on the last night.

On our day at sea, we lounged at the hot tub, couldn’t resist the discount shopping, and played some trivia games. A casino buzzed every night. Games for the kids were scheduled every early morning and late afternoon. You could dance, simply listen to the music, or chat with the bartender at the many lounges and bars. One of them even had Nadal in a tennis match that was ongoing at the US Open. So, of course, I was thrilled and stayed to watch for a while with other tennis fanatics!

fun facilities
Fun Facilities

All these were made possible by the ship’s top facilities. I found out later that a huge renovation was completed in 2016. On the top deck are a Water Park at one end, a Fitness Center/Spa, and a mini-golf/jogging course at the other. One deck below is the promenade with a pool, four hot tubs, a stage, lots of lounge chairs and the buffet and fast food stations.  The two decks below feature all the various lounges, Casino, Art Gallery, Fun Shops, and the Guest Services and Excursions Desk. A six-floor Atrium Plaza is carved out of the stern. Then there are five other decks below for staterooms and cabins.

Our room was spacious enough. Unlike on our second cruise where we had a tiny cabin and bunk beds, one on top of the other, we had a comfy bed. The staff cleaned the room, changed our towels, and vacuumed the floor every morning. Upon our request, the steward brought us a blow-dryer and extra pillows. And a play towel was left every morning with the next day’s schedule. The only thing missing are the chocolates and the turn-down for bed.   
our room
  
Ports of Call

The week is divided between two cruises: a two-night, three-day one that only goes to Ensenada, Mexico on Baja (Below) California. The one which we took goes to Catalina Island, 26 miles off the coast of LA, in addition. My next posts are about the two ports-of-call. Both cruises are very popular because you can simply sail away on either Imagination Getaway for food, frolic, and facilities. The only regret I have is that I gained 4.5 pounds! So the gym sees a lot of me now.