Carnival Inspiration - Western Caribbean: Carnival Inspiration Cruise Review by Gjules
Overall Member Rating
Carnival Inspiration - Western Caribbean
Destination: Western Caribbean
Embarkation: What a breeze! We stayed at the Holiday Inn Express-Airport/Stadium (nice motel except they had a problem with their water heater and we only had cold water) and our wonderful shuttle driver picked us up at 10:30 to take us to the pier. We arrived at the pier at around 11:00AM (lots of traffic due to the Outback Bowl) We checked our luggage, took the escalator up, walked right up to the counter to check in and were assigned Group #4. We embarked at about noon and were having lunch at the Brassierie by 12:30.
Cabin: We found our cabin at about 1:20 and met our room steward, Mohammed. He was very nice and always kept our cooler of bottled water full of ice. There were 3 of us in an inside cabin on Upper deck and it worked out quite well. We had plenty of space in the closets and the roll away didnt take up much room at all because it was pushed under the counter during the day.
Dining Room: We had late seating More (8:30) in the Mardi Gras dining room and it was wonderful! Our waiters name was Catelin (or call me Bobby-everybody does!) and he made dinner such fun every night, our whole table was in stitches! He danced for us and was very funny and friendly. Our assistant waiter was named Joel and he was nice, too. We had a table for 9, which included my 19 yr old daughter, 78 yr old mother and myself (46), a couple from Canada and their 18 year old daughter and a couple from Minnesota and their 18 year old daughter. We all seemed to have a lot in common and got along quite well. The food was very good. My filet mignon was cooked to perfection and very tasty. Formal night I, of course, had lobster and I expected it to be rather chewy like the lobster Id had on the Miracle last year. I was pleasantly surprised to find it very tender and tasty. The only thing I didnt like was the grouper one night. It didnt seem to have much flavor. We ate in either the Brassierie or the Lido Deck Grill for our other meals and both were good.
Shows/Activities: We went to the Welcome Aboard show the first night and the comedian was pretty funny. His name was Tony Esposito. We went to Name that Tune-we didnt do very well, only got 10 ½ out of 15! Fear Factor was a lot of fun to watch, as was the Hairy Chest Contest! My dd and I went to the Deck Party the night after Cozumel. Fairly light attendance (too much Carlos & Charlies?!) but we had a good time anyway. The only other show we went to was the Fire Gauchos/Blues Brothers Show. The Fire Gauchos were great but I didnt really care for the Blues Brothers. The Gala Buffet was beautiful. We took pictures, but were too full from dinner and too tired to go back and eat.
Ports: Grand Cayman was our first port. We booked an excursion through Captain Marvin for 8:30, so we needed to be off the ship on the first tender. We simply blended in with the ship excursion people, got on the first tender and were at Captain Marvins with about 20 minutes to spare. I think we had 28 people in our group, all from the Inspiration and most of them (coincidentally) from Iowa like us! We got to the stingray sandbar and held, kissed and were massaged by the stingrays! I had done this before, but it was definitely a new experience for my mom and daughter! They really enjoyed it and we took lots of pictures! Next we went to Stingray City. I didnt see the big stingray there, but my daughter saw it and took a picture. I did get lots of pictures of fish. My mom didnt get in the water for that part of the trip, because she doesnt swim and it was deeper there. We tendered back to the ship and had lunch on board. Cozumel was our second port and we had to get tickets to tender to the Island. We were in line for tickets by about 8:15 and they started giving them out at 8:30. We were in group 2 and got on the first tender at 9:25. We were on Cozumel by 10:00. We grabbed a cab and went to Paradise Beach where we had lunch. Cab fare to Paradise Beach was $13 one way. At Paradise Beach, we had Shrimp Ceviche, Guacomole and chips, 2 yard Dos Equis and a bottle of Dos Equis and our bill was less than $40. Very good food!!! My dd got a henna tattoo for $10 and we each got braids in our hair for $2 per braid. We stayed at Paradise Beach until about 2:00. We got a cab back to Puerta Maya, did some shopping at Los Cinco Soles and had a margarita (wow&strong!) at Panchos Backyard before we got back on the ship.
Weather: The weather in Tampa, pre-cruise, was wonderful! We wore short skirts or capris, tank tops and jackets. The jackets didnt last long&the temperature was probably about 80! Our first 3 cruise days were very warm also, but the weather took a drastic turn on our last sea day! Right after we left Cozumel the water became a little choppy. Our last sea day was VERY uncomfortable! Being in our cabin was bad, being in the Paris Lounge was REALLY bad. We discovered the 2 best places to be: the lido deck in the open air, even though it was cold or the Promenade on the window seats. It was very cool in Tampa when we got back on Jan. 7&I think it was 42 when we left the ship.
Disembarking: Not bad, actually. We chose relaxing disembarkation. We ate a leisurely breakfast in the Brassierie (didnt eat much, we were still rocking and rolling from the day before!) and then sat in the Paris Lounge to relax until they called for us to leave. We waited until most people had left the Lounge and the line was a little shorter. We handed our custom form to the custom person, they waved us through and we were off to find our luggage. A port person noticed my mother struggling with her carry on and sent us down to the warehouse on an elevator. My daughter and I parked grandma by a wall with our carry on luggage. We walked over to the purple tags, picked up our luggage, found a porter who found us a cab and we were off to the airport very quickly. I think we got to the airport by about 10:00, plenty of time for lunch and shopping before our 1:44 flight (which got delayed to 2:30!).
All in all, it was a great trip! I was pleasantly surprised to see most people in the dining room dressed appropriately. Most people dressed nicer than I had expected even on the casual nights. There were a lot of children on board, but I didnt see any misbehave at all. A couple younger boys got a little overly excited during a scavenger hunt and were running, but a Carnival employee put a quick end to that and I never saw them misbehave again. I did see security kick a couple kids out of the adult hot tub a couple times. There seemed to be a lot of chair saving, but we never had trouble finding some when we wanted them. One complaint that I can say I have was the tickets for the tender to Cozumel. There was a little confusion over where we were to wait in line to get the tickets, but I hesitate to even mention this, because we ended up being among the first in line and were on the first tender! The tender to Cozumel was very nice. It looked like an airplane inside and was a very smooth ride to the island. Another complaint I have is that the photographers on the ship were a little annoying. I enjoyed the embarkation picture and the pictures taken in the dining room on the first night and formal night. I also enjoyed the optional stations available for photos, but the others were just annoying. Like the guy who shoved the life ring around my head and insisted on taking my picture or the woman with the sombrero who jammed it on my head at dinner. They dont even give you time to smile!!! I didnt like that at all, but it was a small price to pay for the rest of the cruise. One tip I have is to take lots of small bills...it seemed like between taxis, porters, etc we were tipping ALL the time! But I didn't mind because everyone was so nice and helpful. Less
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