We are seasoned cruisers with this being our 11th Carnival cruise - but first time on the Inspiration. This was just a "getaway" cruise for us... 4 days on a ship at sea.
We exited our car in the terminal parking garage at 12:15pm, and exited the elevator doors on the Lido deck at 12:38pm (we did have priority boarding as platinum members)....and that was after dropping off our carry on luggage in our cabin which was available upon boarding. Long Beach terminal was very organized - Great start!
After lunch, headed back to the cabin (M195 oceanview) where the luggage was waiting, unpacked, bummed around a bit, attended the safety briefing, grabbed a drink and sailed away on time.
The Inspiration was as advertised - a bit tired and worn, but in her defense, they have added new deck chairs and dining room furniture. She was clean and well cared for, just outdated. But it didn't bother me - I was on a cruise!
The crew, wait staff and room steward were all outstanding.
The food for the most part was not bad . Our 3 dinners in the MDR were all pretty good - I had lobster, Flat Iron steak and Brisket - all prepared well and served hot! All the side dishes were good as well as were the desserts.
We also had meals from the deli, buffet, hamburger bar and pizza station - no complaints from any of them. Not 5 star dining but good enough to eat!
Entertainment - 2 new production shows - "Shout" and "Fiesta". Both shows were OK - the dancers and singers obviously put a lot of work into their performances, so I cannot say they were bad - just that "Shout" was a variety of outdated music and "Fiesta" was just not my cup of tea - geared toward a Latin theme and Spanish songs that I was not familiar with. We did attend a passenger Karaoke show that was pretty good and there was live bands playing throughout the ship which sounded pretty good as well.
Ports of Call were Catalina and Ensenada - both places we've been to on many occasions. We opted to just get out and walk around for a couple of hours in each place. I will say that Ensenada sported a safe atmosphere, but the street vendors and child beggars were in full swing on this trip. I'm guessin that because the ships don't stop as frequently as they used to, they've picked up their aggressiveness.
Debarkation - as easy as getting on!
With all the bad press that Carnival has had in the recent weeks, we weren't sure what to expect. But all went well and we had no complaints about this trip - Not a 5 star experience but not a 2 star either. If you're easy to please without high expectations, you'll have a great time - we did!