Well I spent a year and a half planning my wedding and researching all kinds of info off of these boards, so it is only fair that I share my experienceJ This is my first review, so please bear with me. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask.
We had a large group of 51 sailing on the Imagination on 3/28. Our wedding was in Key West booked separately through the Pier House Resort and the reception was booked through Carnival Weddings and held in the Illusions Disco Lounge.
Sailing Day 3/28-
We drove down to Miami though lots of rain and I was very scared this was the weather we would have all week. We got to the Port of Miami around noon and the weather was looking up. I had 8 large boxes and two dresses to take on board with me. I had two collapsible carts and had family help me get them to security. We were waived through to the VIP line since we were having a wedding and went directly to the scanners. Each box had to be placed through the scanner, as well as the dresses, but it went quickly(I would definitely recommend getting there early). Security did have us open some of the boxes with the OOT bags and randomly checked the personalized water bottles for alcohol, but quickly let us through. We got through to the ticket counter and were once again put through to the VIP line and Carnival brought us a luggage cart and the gentleman helped us put some boxes on there and walked us to the ship. It was quick and easy and they were very accommodating. I went to guest services to drop off all of the OOT bags for delivery. I was told by Carnival Wedding Department that the bags could be delivered for $1/per bag. I had all of my emails with me from the wedding department(highly recommend doing everything via email so you have it in writing) and it came in handy as the guest services manager wanted to see in writing that they would deliver the bags for $1/bag. She verified with housekeeping and then informed me they would all be delivered during first seating dinner which was fine by me so I dropped off 5 big boxes to her and then was allowed to take the other two boxes and dresses and drop them in my cabin.
OVERALL RATING-A+-port was quick, easy and accommodating
Wedding Day 3/29-Key West
Pulled into port around 7am and the forecast was for a 30% chance of rain. I was very worried and went up to the Lido deck to get a look and it was beautiful and then it hit me-I WAS GETTING MARRIED! I took a few minutes to catch my breath while watching the sunrise and some of my friends joined me on deck for some pictures. The weather was beautiful and I was ready to get off the boat and head to the Pier House for hair and makeup. The Imagination docked at the Navy Mole pier south of town, you cannot get directly off of the boat and walk because it is an active Navy base, but trolleys and trains were provided to take you to town. The Pier House is located at 1 Duval Street and it was very convenient as the trains and vans dropped you off right in front of the Pier House. The green and orange trolleys dropped guests off by the Sponge Market further away, so you may want to ask which one will drop you closer to your destination. Got to the Pier House at 8am and the room that I rented for 4 hours was not ready, had to wait and was finally able to get into the room at 8:30. We had a room in the Caribbean Spa building and it was very roomy for me and the bridesmaids to get ready in.
Elena Southcott came to my room to do airbrush makeup and my hair. I cannot say enough great things about airbrush makeup as I did not have to touch up my makeup all day and my hair was absolutely gorgeous. I did not do a trial run, but brought a few pictures of ideas that I wanted and Elena knew exactly what would work for me. My makeup was natural looking and my hair was breathtaking. Thank you Elena and Olga!
Next, Peter and Sharon Estenoz of EZWeddingsinparadise.com came to my room. I cannot say enough great things about this couple. They were very prompt in responding to emails, stayed in touch with me throughout the planning stages and were the sweetest couple. Sharon does the officiating for the ceremony and worked with me in developing my own ceremony which she loved! Peter is the photographer and knows exactly what makes you look and feel beautiful. He was joking with me and having a fun time, like I have known them for years! Peter took a lot of getting ready shots before it was time to go, we even hopped on some guys motorcycle on the way for a few shots! Peter quickly sent my pictures and I have to pick them up tomorrow, so I will add a few from him later.
I had 4 bridesmaids and 2 maids of honor and the girls had everything under control. There is a new wedding coordinator at the Pier House and I was very nervous. The ceremony was scheduled to start at 10:30am with prelude music(steel drums) starting at 10:15am and my bridesmaids were not allowed at the ceremony site because there was a yoga class going on. I also had emailed Karen at the Pier House with a diagram of the seating arrangement-I noticed in a lot of pictures the groomsmen were standing right in front of guests as the chairs were not arranged properly(brides side was facing the ceremony, the grooms side was facing the brideâ€™s guests). I even emailed here with the design layout and the chairs were still placed wrong, we also did not get the white chair covers that I had paid for in the chair set up fee, but the chairs were nice and white so I didnâ€™t complain. The ceremony was beautiful and intimate and exactly what I had dreamed about. We went to the back and had a mini receiving line to thank all of the guests for coming and took more pictures. It was absolutely fantastic as I did not feel rushed and was able to truly take it all in and feel all the love around us! The package at the Pier House included the photos and was a great deal.
We scheduled the reception back on the boat at 2pm to give the guests time to walk around Key West while we were taking couple pictures and it was perfect. No one felt rushed to get back on the ship or that they missed out on a port and we had enough time to take some great pictures with Peter and Sharon.
Elena Southcott-A+-I cried when I saw what I looked like-natural and beautiful
Peter and Sharon Estenoz-ezweddingsinparadise.com-A+++++-loved them!
Pier House Resort-B+-could have been a little more organized
We got back on the boat at 1pm to meet with our cruise photographer-James. Forgot to mention earlier that Pauline was our wedding coordinator onboard. She came to dinner the first night and arranged for us to meet with James and set up the appointment for pictures before the reception. James was awesome!!!! The pictures turned out fantastic and we wound up buying a larger package than we had intended to. The reception was SPECTACULAR!!! Pauline did a wonderful job arranging everything and even helped my bridesmaids fix the bustle on my dressJ She allowed my bridesmaids in early to set up the photo signature mat, cake topper and a few decorations. I got to keep the Carnival cake topper and toast glasses as souvenirs. We did the 1 ½ hour reception in the Illusions Disco and we had the DJ. We gave him a cd with all of our songs on it and he played it without any problems(we had the original cdâ€™s just in case, but didnâ€™t need them). The DJ announced us and we came in and did our first dance to All About Loving You by Bon Jovi and then the parent dance(we combined the parent dance to one song to save time). Next was the cake cutting and toasts and then the party got started! The food was delicious! I canâ€™t remember everything we had, but I do remember salmon cut into rose shapes, deviled eggs with caviar, sushi, chicken nuggets, chicken skewers, various fruits and cheeses and my favorite-blue cheese stuffed mushrooms! And the food kept coming along with the open bar drinks. Nothing ever looked empty and the servers were constantly handing out rum punch, blue margaritas and some orange cocktail. I ordered the mixed tier cake with strawberry filling and OMG it was good!!!! They served the left-overs at the formal night dinner later that evening. Our friends and family talked about the food and cake for the remainder of the cruise, it was that good!!!!!!!
After the reception was over at 3:30, we had a break before the elegant night dinner. I had met with the maitre d, Omur, on Monday and our travel agent had contacted him to set up the seating for our group at dinner. Omur was so sweet and had everything ready for me. He went over the seating chart and had everything organized. We were in the Spirit dining room and Omur would sing everynight-it was so much fun! I had made sand dollar magnet favors that I wanted to be placed on the place settings for dinner and went to the group guest services manager and she and Omur were more than accommodating, helping me have the perfect day. Our wedding party wore their wedding wear and I changed into a short wedding dress for dinner and we continued the festivities over a sumptuous dinner of steak and lobster. The guests loved the favors and really enjoyed how the day went. My husband and I couldnâ€™t have been happier at how everything went.
Pauline the onboard wedding coordinator-A+++
James the photographer-A+++
Omur the maitre d of the Spirit dining room-A+++
Food and wedding cake-A+++++++++++++++++++++++++++
And here are some pictures that James took on the ship: