This was our third cruise with Carnival in the past year. Before this we had sailed twice on Carnival's Celebration (which we highly recommend). We wanted to try a slightly longer cruise and we liked the Inspiration's ports.
We live in Florida so it was only about a 2 1/2 hour drive to Tampa. The process for boarding the Inspiration was a breeze and very quick. The only downfall is finding parking. We opted for the valet parking which only cost $15 more and it was worth every dime.
When we boarded the Inspiration we really liked the open atrium style lobby. Since we arrived a little early (before noon) we went up to the Lido deck to wait for our cabin to be ready and to enjoy the buffet. The Lido buffet is the normal fare for Carnival and was reasonably good. We went to find our cabin on the Main deck about 1:30pm. Our cabin was very clean and exactly as we were used to on the Carnival ships. Our Steward was Fernando and he ended up being one of the best Stewards we have had on a cruise.
We left Tampa on time. Tuesday was a day at sea and we enjoyed walking around and seeing the ship and enjoying everything from the Lido deck to the Casino. We had the 8pm dining and had an excellent Waitress named Leysa. She was very attentive and very professional.
Wednesday we arrived on time in Grand Cayman. I had been there before, but this was a first time for my wife. The island has really changed over the years, but it is still beautiful. First, let me say that you don't go to the Caymans because you are expecting incredible deals in shopping. This isn't the port for that. But it has the best beaches, snorkeling, and diving in the caribbean. We took the Island tour and it was great. You don't really get enough time on the island though. The line for the tenders to the ship was already hundreds of people deep by 11:30pm and the ship didn't arrive until 7:00am. It took some people 2 hours in line to get onto a tender. They need to have more boats. They only had 2 tenders for our ship.
Thursday was the day our cruise went bad. Mexican authorities said that it was unsafe to tender (30 mph winds). Yet, all the tenders were in the water and the waves weren't bad. Also 5 other ships where there tendering so we aren't sure what was really going on. Carnival could not control this, but the problem was that they had no contingency plans for the ship afterwards. They offered board games, $10-$20 bingo games, and stupid pool games in substitution. They did offer a $25 credit to your Sail and Sign card, but considering you had to pay for almost everything they offered, it wasn't a very could compensation. The board games were actually an insult. So, we slowly made our way back to Tampa for 2 days. From Thursday on we were ready to leave the ship. It was boring and you could tell no one was happy. I called Carnival and they said that there was nothing for them to do and that my contract said that they didn't have to go to the ports or offer anything in return.
We ended up back in Tampa late because of Fog (how can that happen on a modern ship that had 2 days to make a trip that only normally takes just over a day?) People missed their flights and it took us 2 hours to get off the ship and to our car. That just seemed to add insult to injury.
Even though the service was great and the ship clean, the Cruise Director on this ship (Risa) is terrible and once things got messed up in Cozumel she was no where to be seen. I would not recommend this cruise since I understand that missing Cozumel happens frequently and Carnival isn't going to even try to make it right for you. They made more money from everyone because we were stuck on board an extra day and they took advantage of that fact.