Here are some comments/observations about our first cruise on the Inspiration:
Getting on to the ship was well organized, but took a long time. After dropping our bags with a porter, we lined up to enter a large dome. The line was long, and moved slowly. Once inside the dome, a Carnival employee lined up people in order of arrival. Total time to reach the check-in desk from dropping off luggage was 45 min.-1 hr.
The check-in clerk was friendly & courteous. All of our info was correct, and we were issued our Sail & Sign cards & ship info. We passed through security easily, boarded the ship and went to our cabin.
When we reached our cabin, we met Ben, our steward. He showed us into our cabin, answered our questions and told us to enjoy ourselves, and not to hesitate to call on him as needed. The room was clean and fully ready for us.
The cabin was small, but sufficient for a short cruise. There was plenty of closet space. Unfortunately, we were unable to secure a larger cabin or one with pull down beds. There were two adults and a 6 yr. old, so we would have preferred a larger cabin or one with pull down beds. Still, things worked out well, as we spent very little time in the cabin, aside from sleeping.
Our luggage arrived by late afternoon, as promised.
Fortunately, we did not experience the noise that others wrote about.
Each evening, we received a brochure of the following day's schedule (daily schedules are also available in various locations around the ship). There was a large variety of activities, from trivia contests to dance lessons to cooking to bingo. Activities began early in the morning and stretched well into the night. We participated in numerous trivia contests, went to late night comedy shows, played miniature golf and saw the stage show. One of the comedians was excellent, the other OK. The stage show was a scaled down version of a Broadway type musical, and featured Beach Boys music. The show was held in the large theater.
The ship has a pool, and a large kids' pool with several slides of different heights.
Each day, our daughter attended Camp Carnival. They are fully staffed, and do a wide range of activities with the kids. Some nights they had kids meals, movies and late pick-up. One night's kids' activities went until 10 or 11pm. From our experience with activities, camps, the best judge of a program is our daughter. She had a great time!
We have special dietary requirements, which we made clear to Carnival when we reserved. We also spoke with the hostess, prior to our first dinner on board. There was some initial confusion and a long wait, which we attribute to language differences. By day 2, we decided to take our meals on the Lido deck, and forego the main dining rooms, as we were traveling with a 6 yr. old and one of our parents. They dining staff made every effort to meet our needs.
It would be unfair to say that this cruise was dominated by families or young people or old people, etc. There were families, singles, older people, babies and people in wheelchairs. I had some concern about a frat party atmosphere, but saw no drunkeness, rowdiness or drunk kids running through pasageways. Obviously, there is plenty of alcohol on board, but people were generally friendly and polite.
Overall, we were pleased with the staff and level of service. Staff was extremely friendly, professional and courteous, and made us feel at home.
In sum, our first cruise was smooth sailing, and we look forward to our next cruise.