The Good, the Bad and the Ugly – First the facts. The 3 night trip was aboard the Carnival Inspiration, from Long Beach with one stop at Ensenada Mexico. I just got off the ship this morning, December 9, 2013.
The Good – The cabin, R119, an outside cabin on the lowest passenger deck exceeded my expectations. I haven’t been on a cruise for many years and the cabin was larger than I thought, about the size of a European buisness hotel. The twin beds were configured into a King and I still had plenty of room for suitcases etc. The shower/bathroom were small but again, bigger than I expected and did the job. The cabin was well maintained throughout my stay and the turn-down service was a nice touch. The only bad thing to say about the room is the low deck it was on, more on this later.
The food was abundant, plenty of variety in the buffet and resturaunts. The sandwich maker had long lines but really nice sandwiches. The lobster on “dress-up night” was average as was the rest of the food in the resturuant, as you would expect in a large hotel. The service at the resturaunts was top-notch; very friendly and hard working folks! They were there for Dinner and Breakfast.
The entertainment was very good, funny comedians and musical shows. There was always something to see.
The embarking and disemarking experience in Long Beach was fairly painless; I arrived at 2pm and it only took about 15 min to get on the ship. The stop in Ensenada also went very smooth on and off the ship.
The Bad – The lower Riviera Deck hallway smelled like cigarettes as soon as I stepped on and the entire trip. I belive this is because we were right above the crew deck. I asked one of the crew about the smell who replied that it was from the engine…give me a break dude, cigarettes and deisel smell very different.
The Ugly – This has actually more to do with the passgengers and less to do with the ship/crew. There are some very rude people who travel the seas and quite honestly, they looked out of place on a cruise ship; does Carnival advertise through Walmart??. For example, there were several people with boomboxes in their rooms, hanging out in their cabin with the door open…it’s bad enough they are noisy at night but this too? There are several all-night party zones on the ship; the stateroom shouldn’t be one of them. Also, these people don’t seem to know that a bathrobe is for cabin use and perhaps going to and from the pool. It’s not for the dining area, especially the resturant. Apparently, even though elegant night says no jeans/shorts/baseball hats, people don’t care and wear what they want; I wish the crew would have not let them in. Is there really a need to run up and down the halls of the rooms yelling at 3 am or anytime for that matter? Perhaps the next trip to walmart, they’ll pick up a book on manners but I won’t hold my breath. Maybe in the future, Carnival can assess a basic intelligence and manners test as a prerequisit for travel.
Ensenada; emphasis on the "nada" unless you like touristy souvenir shops, beggars and bars. Tip: Forget the city bus, you can walk it from the ship in 5 minutes. If you do want to give anything to the beggars, give them food, the money goes to a "boss" and they don't see any of it.
One bright spot....there's a ceviche stand between the edge of town and the port; awesome seafood and yes it's safe. Several locals were crowding around.