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The 2,056-passenger Carnival Imagination, the sixth of Carnival Cruise Line’s eight Fantasy-class vessels, is the oldest and the smallest ship in the current fleet. Despite the lack of big-ships staples such as sports courts and balcony cabins, refurbishments have kept it up to date with more restaurants and bars, and a water park. Inspiration attracts a diverse crowd – from bachelorette parties to friend getaways to wedding-honeymooners. The ship has one elegant night per cruise where guests are encouraged to dress up. On regular days and nights, the dress code is very casual. Carnival recommends a $12.95 ($13.95 for those in suites) per person, per day gratuity, automatically added to the shipboard account, but this can be adjusted at the guest services desk.

Accommodation

Imagine has five cabin categories: Interior, Junior Suites, Suite and Penthouse Suite. Basic cabin configurations include twin beds that convert to queens, desk that doubles as a vanity area, an ottoman stool, drawers and a mirror, flat-screen TV,  one 110V and one 220V outlet, closets with shelves, hanging space, bathrobes for onboard use and a safe. About 50 cabins can be connected via side doors, which is perfect for big groups or multigenerational families cruising together. Penthouse suites are 79 square metres with separate bedroom and living area, and a larger bathroom with a whirlpool tub and shower.

Food

Inspiration’s two main dining rooms, Mardi Gras and Carnivale, both offer fixed-time dining at 6pm and 8.15pm, or Your Time Dining from 5:30pm until 9:30pm. Most nights, the dining rooms feature American Table Dinners where dishes are served on plastic plates and the tables are bare. On formal nights, they are decorated with white tablecloths for the American Feast menu. Other free dining venues include Brasserie Bar and Grill for pool deck buffets, Taste Bar, Guy’s Burger Joint and Bluelguana Cantina. At a fee, cruisers can try unconventional dining at Chef’s Table. In-cabin dining is available 24/7.

Activities

Spa Carnival on deck 12 has a beauty salon, relaxation room and 11 treatment rooms that offer a wide list of services including facials, detox, massages and cellulite-reduction treatments. Men and women have separate locker rooms with towels, lockers as well as complimentary steam and sauna room. Spa Carnival has a service specially catered for teenagers called Zspa with services like Acne Attack Facials and parent-child massages. The fitness centre is a roomy space with studios for fitness classes. Yoga, Pilates and cycling classes are $12 a session. For outdoor activities, there is a jogging track and a mini-golf course on Deck 14.

Families

Waterworks is a zone decked with sprinklers, sprayers and water slides where both kids and adults can have a splash. Camp Carnival sorts children in age groups and offers them age-appropriate programs. After 10pm, Camp Carnival Night Owls opens and kids can continue playing and hanging out in a supervised environment until 3am. Twelve- to 14-year-olds have their own zone called Circle C where they can chill out and play video games. Club 02, for older teenagers, is where pool parties are held. Carnival also offers babysitting at $6 per hour.

Verdict

Inspiration attracts a diverse crowd – from bachelorette parties to friend getaways to wedding-honeymooners.

– Cruise Passenger 

“Affordable cruise makes for the perfect short getaway.”

– Cruise Critic 

“This ultra-colorful ship is good for a first casual cruise.”

– Berlitz

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