Thought we’d share our Inspiration 4 night experience. I’m 40, DH is 51 and we have a 5 year old son. We’ve sailed many times with Carnival and this cruise was to celebrate hubby’s birthday in early May.
We booked an outside cabin, but received a call a few weeks before the cruise offering an upgrade to a Grand Suite. I researched the price Carnival offered, and it was about 60% less than the normal cabin cost, so we jumped on it, mainly because of the balcony and bathtub.
As always, we purchased Faster to the Fun, and were glad we did. We are the types that love to arrive to the port early and unpack immediately so we can enjoy every moment of the ship on the first day, so it’s worth it to us. Plus, with a tender port in Catalina, we thought it would be worthwhile. We probably didn’t need it since we’d upgraded to a suite, and we knew that, but we kept the FTTF since we’d purchased it prior.
I’ll start with a few overall pros and cons, then break down our experience a little more.
Timely room service
American Table- fun to try something new!
Service in dining room
Waterworks- all of us (yep, even the grown ups) loved the waterslides. The water was chilly, but so was the air. It's just the time of year we traveled.
Lack of suite perks
Had to miss first night in dining room to wait for a private table for our family – so tired of this Carnival- please honor the request for table size made on your website! Some of us just want to dine with our families.
Cigarette smoke coming through vents and doors. No clue where it was coming from, but it permeated our bathroom a few nights on the trip.
Noisy neighbors at times, hosting late night parties in the room.
Overall, we were very impressed with the cleanliness of the ship, particularly due to its age. The staff works so hard to keep everything sparkling and it was clean and bright.
We really enjoyed the balcony and extra space in the Grand Suite. It’s odd that Carnival offers no suite perks, aside from priority embarkation, but hey, we save a lot of money sailing with Carnival so I get it. I did have a hard time with the fact that there wasn’t even free bottled water with the suite, but again, no biggie.
Our son slept on the full size pull out couch – it was a huge bed for a couch arrangement, and still left plenty of room to walk around the suite when the bed was fully extended and made.
The Jacuzzi tub in the room was really nice, but rather narrow. I’m petite and when I was showering, the tub felt super narrow (like my feet were pressed up against the edges), but it was SO nice to be able to bathe our son, and relax in the tub rather than the standard small shower routine.
Here’s a little video tour of the room:
Yes, the ship features the American Table menu. The menu is a little visually confusing at first, but you get used to it. I did find that we tended to order fewer dishes, perhaps because we were SO in love with the “for the table” size calamari every night that we filled up on that. The food quality seemed the same or better to me than it normally did with the old menus and we had no trouble finding entrees we liked. The only thing I didn’t care for was the Veal parmesan. Too gamey. We’re putting a little food video together too, and will try to post it when its done.
The Service & Staff
Great- all around, from the dining room to the room service staff to the room steward, especially considering the fast turnaround on this ship (short sailings).
We still haven’t found anything we love doing in Ensenada, so we took a quick walk around and immediately got back on the boat. We did La Bufadora last time, so we didn’t want to it again. Wish I knew some “secret fun” things to do there!
Catalina was beautiful the day we were there, and pretty uncrowded. We rented the golf cart, and took photos and videos around the island. That was super fun.
So smooth! We did take advantage of express debark and while they started it earlier than they were supposed to and the lounge we were directed to for priority was CLOSED at debarkation time, we still walked right off the ship and were in our car by 8:30am to drive home. Awesome job Inspiration staff!
Overall it was an awesome trip and we'd do it again. It was about half the price of a 7 night to Mexico, which offered the chance for a nice getaway.
Have a great weekend everyone!
Oh, and here's the ship tour: