A Quickie on the Imagination

OK… get your mind out of the gutter… a “Quickie” means that I’m doing a “quickie cruise”. It’s a four-day on the Imagination out of Long Beach. And a four-day really is a quickie since you barely have time to unpack. I rarely go for a quickie. I like it to last much longer than this. But even thought it’s short, a quickie is still good… isn’t it?

Those of you that know me know that I usually do a “live from”. But this time I’m not going to sign up for internet since it’s only a quickie. If I can pick up free Internet at one of the ports, then maybe I’ll post during the cruise. Otherwise, I’ll just write as I go along and put up the posts when I get back. In my usual irreverent fashion, I’ll tell you the good, the bad or the ugly as and if it happens.

[This is being posted completely after the cruise as I did not get to any good internet places]

I’m going to start with the Internet on board. I don’t know if this falls into the good or bad category. They have instituted the new Internet scheme here on the Imagination… at least new to me. They have three different tiers of service: “Social”, “Value”, and “Premium”. Social is just access to some of the social networks.

Here’s what Carnival says about their “Social” plan: “Access the most popular social websites and applications. Includes: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Snapchat and the most popular airline sites. Does not include access to other websites or apps.” The cost for this is five bucks for twenty-four hours or fifteen bucks for the cruise.

For “Value” Carnival says, “Surf all your favorite sites, including e-mail, news, sports, weather, banking and finance. Note: Does not support Skype calling or music streaming (eg. Spotify). This costs sixteen bucks for twenty-four hours or thirty-five bucks for the cruise.

The “premium” costs twenty-five bucks for a day or sixty bucks for a cruise. Carnival says, “From e-mail to Skype, our Premium plan offers the fastest possible connection, at speeds up to 3 times faster than our Value Plan. Supports Skype video calling, where coverage allows.”

I chose none of them. Thank you very much, but I think I’m going to continue boycotting Carnival’s internet. They’ve come a step closer… but no cupie doll. It’s still at least twice as expensive as it’s worth. Carnival likes to claim they offer exceptional value compared to land based vacations. Mostly that’s true, but they need to re-look at the internet charges. Till then my “live from” articles will only be posted when I get internet from ports or after the cruise is over. I guess that means they really aren’t exactly “live from” any more. Well… they are live in the sense that I’m doing the writing during the cruise and not after it’s over.

Boarding and all that stuff in Long Beach was good. We processed smoothly through the priority boarding and were on to the ship quickly. They have changed part of the processing for those that haven’t reached platinum status or purchased “Faster to the Fun”. Except for passengers with cabins on deck 4… I think it was just deck 4… everyone went through security first and then got their “sail & sign” cards inside. Then it is on to run the gauntlet past all the photographers and onto the ship. For us, all of that took just a few minutes.

Day 0… make that Day 0h… starts the minute I set my tootsies on board the ship and head off for a drink of the day! I rarely drink any kind of booze during the day… especially early in the afternoon. But there’s something about crossing the gang-plank onto a cruise ship that changes all that. For me it’s straight up to the Lido deck for a snack and a Carnival rum punch. I’m not usually a rum drinker, but there’s something about the “Funship Special” that’s mmmmmm-mmmmmm good. I always have one… or two… or three… or…

After boarding, I did a “walk-about” to check things out. I’ve been on this ship once before and on Inspiration (same class ship as this) a couple of times. But they’ve done some upgrades so I wanted to see what has changed. This is a nice ship even though it’s one of the older Fantasy class ships. As usual for all cruise ships, the maintenance is always all on-going. All of the facilities are like the other ships… gym, spa, restaurants, etc. They are good, and inviting places, but just smaller than the latest mega ships.

The only noticeable upgrade is the Serenity deck. On this ship, it’s on the faux poop deck. OK… there’s no such thing as a “faux poop deck”, but I just like saying “poop deck”… the highest point on the stern of the ship. On this ship the “faux poop deck” (Serenity Deck) is on the stern, but it’s two levels below the Lido deck. The Lido and the deck below it don’t go all the way to the stern so that makes it a “faux poop deck” because it’s open to the sun and sky.

Compared to the bigger and newer ships the Serenity area is quite small, but still has the nice chairs and a couple of hot tubs. I’m surprised they don’t have a bar back there because a bar is always a moneymaker. They did seem to have a waiter in the area, but I’m not sure if that was just for the “drink of the day” during the sail-away or if there will be one there all cruise long.

I’m disappointed this ship doesn’t have all the 2.0 upgrades. I really do like the Red Frog Pub as a place to hang out, and I like the Ferengie burger stuff along with the Blue Iguana and Red Frog Bars. I don’t expect any of that will ever make it’s way onto the Imagination.

Without saying much Carnival has continued to restrict the areas available to smokers. OK… don’t shoot me here… I’m just your dutiful cub reporter. It used to be that Carnival’s policy was that one side of the ship on all the open air decks were smoking areas. Now just a small portion of the Lido deck, furthest away from the buffet, is a smoking area. My Funatic friends would call this the “situation room”. Well, now there are only about 10 tables in the situation room smokers can choose from. There’s also a bar in the corner next to the “situation room” that’s a smoking bar. I’ll have more to report on this when I find out what else is available to smokers. No… I don’t smoke… but I have cruise friends that do and I think Carnival may be running them away.

Usually I’m in one of the Serenity hot tubs… with a frozen concoction to help me hang on… early in the cruise. But this time out of Long Beach it’s chilly… in the high 50’s or low 60’s at best. The forecast says it is going to stay that way for most of the cruise. Maybe it’ll be a little warmer when we get a bit farther south.

It’s time for the mustard off the hotdog drill, so I’ll stop for now and continue later.

Bob

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