I had a very good time on Carnival Inspiration. We traveled from Seattle to Tampa on the day before the cruise and it seemed like that was a good idea. Flight from Seattle to Denver was on time but when we arrived in Denver our flight to Tampa was "delayed". Was to take off at 12:15 but we were told that United would make a decision at 1pm what to do. Then we were told they would make a decision by 2:30. At 2pm they told us plane was on the way and we would depart at 3:03 pm which we did. Arrived in Tampa at 8:30 instead of 5:30. When we got to our hotel ( Marriott Residence Inn on Boy Scout Blvd) at 9pm we were told they didn't have a room for us. DH called the day before and re-confirmed the room. They offered to put us up at a Howard Johnson's across town. We put up a fight and they finally gave us a handicapped suite at the price we had agreed to for the room we booked. From then on the cruise was wonderful.
We met the Mears Transportation (Carnival transportation) bus at the airport at 11am and left there shortly after that and arrived at the dock at about 11:30. Gave our bags to porter and got into a short line at the door to embark the ship. The line kept moving and we went through scanner and then to the check-in area. There were about 30 agents to help. Got our sign and sail cards in about 5 min and boarded the ship without any delay. Shortly after noon we were sitting on the back of the Lido deck eating lunch. We met up with some of the people in our group and just relaxed. Somewhere around 3pm we were called to the muster drill. Ours was in the Paris lounge. Much better than standing in line 4 deep on the deck. That lasted about 15 min and then we were back on the back deck to watch the ship leave the dock.
We had early seating in the Mardi Gras Dining room with about 38 others in our group (high school reunion). We ate in the dining room every evening and I had filet mignon the first night, lobster and shrimp the second night (Captain's dinner) grouper the third night and chateaubriand the last night. I loved all of them. Caesar salad each night as well as melting chocolate cake with butter pecan ice cream. Also cappuccino. DH had salmon the first night and the same as me the other nights. No complaints about dining room or food selections. We also had breakfast in dining room each morning and were happy with that. DH also had bagel and lox each day in the afternoon at the sandwich place. I had buffet one day for lunch, but wanted to avoid buffet because of what I read about each spoon being touched by more than 300 people before I touched it!
We played bingo each session, went to the shows after dinner, I tried out for the slot tournament both sea days and the first day I was 5 out of 6 to go to finals. I also came in 5 out of 6 and won a t-shirt and hat. Won and gave back on the slots and roulette in the casino. We also played the horse race game. I gave DH $10 to buy three tickets for drawing for free cruise and he argued that it wasn't worth it but did buy. Guess who won the free 3,4 or 5 day cruise? You got it DH. It was his first cruise and he had been dragging his feet not wanting to go at all. He loved it before the ship ever left the dock. We got sun time in (living in WA state we don't see much this time of year) visited with old friends and had time to just sit and do nothing. We enjoyed getting dressed up for formal night and liked the Captain's cocktail party with free drinks. We had no problem getting served drinks. This was in the Paris Lounge, so we were able to sit and listen to the music and watch the people dance.
Inspiration is an older ship but we didn't notice any wear that was a problem. Room steward Rota did a great job. We had an ocean view room and liked that. I had an inside room on my first cruise and that was alright, but the window was nice.
We didn't do an excursion in Cozumel but shopped (bought Tanzanite ring) and had lunch at an outdoor Mexican restaurant. We liked the wandering mariachis. We also stopped at an Italian restaurant a half block off the main street and had the best homemade gelato and latte. I would recommend the place for lunch. Restaurant was neat and clean and bathrooms were very clean.
Debarkation went very well. We went for a leisurely breakfast in the dining room and then back to our room to get the bags we were carrying off and about 9am we went to the main deck and got in line to get off the ship. Line moved very well, customs was a breeze and finding bags was no problem. We were on the bus in no time. We were at the airport by 10 am. Our flight wasn't until 4:30 so brother-in-law met us at Marriott for lunch and then we sat outside the hotel in the sun until time to go through security for our flight. We are looking forward to our next cruise! It was my second Carnival cruise the first being Triumph. I loved both. I didn't notice excessive partying and everyone was very friendly. We met several people besides our group and hope to keep in touch with all of them.