My wife and I just returned from the four day cruise on the Inspiration, this was her 10th cruise and my 9th so reading all the reviews good and bad doesn't really matter to us. The Inspiration is one of Carnival's oldest ships and its really starting to show, the crew does an outstanding job trying to get the ship looking better but I personally think its time for this one to be retired. Having said that what I getting at is the exterior appearance of the ship, the overwhelming amounts of rust build up. The interior seemed to be maintained fine.
The check in process was very well organized and well controlled; we have learned over the years there really is no need to show up early because the rooms are not available till 1.30pm anyway. We showed up at the terminal about 12.30 and by the time we parked and checked in we went right to our room. Our cabin steward met us right away and was the friendliest guy you could find, he introduced him and asked our names and throughout the four days never forgot our names. I no it's a simple thing but to me I was impressed. The cabin was your typical cruise ship room but was exceptionally clean!!!
We asked and were assigned early dining and sat at a table with eight other couples, as usual the first meal was a bit awkward but we all seemed to get along real well. Our Waiter and his helper by far WERE THE BEST we have ever had on any cruise ship. Every dinner we had the food was well beyond our expections, and everyone at our table felt the same. We were never rushed and they always provided us with awesome service. We only ate in the dining room for dinner so that's all we could rate about the dining rooms.
The nightly shows were your standard singing and dance shows but was very entertaining and fun. They booked two comedians for this trip and were outstanding, if you had thin skin the "R" rated shows were way beyond that which everyone seemed to enjoy, at least we did.
The piano bar was our hang out at night, the guy they had was the best, we had so much fun singing along with him and he also provided the crowd with percussion instruments to play along. OUTSTANDING
Not much to say about the shopping onboard, your typical over priced stuff that they try and make you feel like your getting good deals.
The rest of the onboard entertainment (games) was very well done, if you want to play along. Along with the ships casino, which you never see anybody win. Since we live in. Nevada and don't gamble for us it's a good place to avoid.
The port of Catalina is and will always be just another shopping trip, they do offer a few tours but most people just rent Golf Carts by the hour and drive the island. We've done that before and it was a lot of fun. The port of Ensenada is a good and fairly safe place in my opinion to buy some local stuff, if you like to haggle over pricing then it's a lot of fun. The ship offers various tours which are way over priced, you can find the same stuff on the pier for half the price.
The day at sea after Ensenada is a good way to unwind, we had fairly decent weather so we stayed aft on the Serenity deck most of the time which is a 21 and over place. No kids aloud so it stays real quiet.
We choose the self assist to disembark and it was way easy, other than that you have to wait for your assigned times to leave the ship
We talked with a lot of people, some didn't have a good time and others had a great time. Like I told them the ship only provides things to do and they are not going to make you play along, if you want to have fun you will. Of course drinking and some games cost but I always say if you can't afford to vacation then don't, stay home and leave the fun to us.
So overall we once again were very pleased with Carnival and how they treated us.