Background Information: This was my third cruise with Carnival and DH's second cruise with Carnival. Also, this was my second time sailing on the Inspiration. I was on the Inspiration last June for the four day sailing.
We flew in the day before to Tampa from Kansas City. It was raining when we left KC and it started raining once we got off the plane. Otherwise, it was a great flight.
Hotel: We booked a room at the Comfort Inn on Dale Mabry due to the price. All I will say about this hotel is you get what you pay for. We did have dinner at the restaurant next door, Sam Seltzer's. The food was pretty good.
Embarkation: We decided to take a cab to the pier for $20 at around 10:30 and arrived within 15 minutes. There were no lines at the desk. We were checked in within 5 minutes. It was only another 20 minutes till we boarded the ship and enjoying a 'Funship Special'.
Ship Info: Yes this ship is an older ship and does show some wear and tear, but you really have to look for it. I was not looking for it, so I didn't see any of it. Service was above average, crew was friendly and helpful. That's all that matters to me, IMHO.
Stateroom: We were on the Empress deck - ocean view E-172. This room had an upper bunk (which we didn't need). There was plenty of room for the two of us. This room was close enough to the stairs or elevators to go to the dining room, bar and Brasserie Grill on the Lido deck.
Dining/Food: We had the 8:00 seating in the Carnivale dining room. The service was very good. The food in my opinion was hit or miss in the dining room. The only entree that I did not care too much for was the turkey with some sort of dressing. But DH had ribs one night, and loved them. Warm Chocolate Melting cake…what's not to love about this dessert? We ate breakfast and lunch at the Brasserie Grill on the lido deck. DH had the hamburgers most days and I tried the different items they had on the buffet, which the food was not to bad for a buffet.
We were seated with four other couples at dinner. I must admit Carnival did a great job at this. One couple was from the same city as us, and two other couples were also from the same city, the fourth couple was from Florida. I really believe that we all enjoyed dinner time together.
Entertainment: We went to see "Shout" and "El Nuevo Caribe". Both shows were very good, but I liked "Shout" most of all. We also saw the magic show and the comedian. The comedian was good, but the magician was lame. The Newlywed Not So Newlywed was extremely funny.
Excursions: In Grand Cayman we did the Fisherman’s Rock Swim and Snorkel. The snorkeling was awesome, and the water was so clear that you could see the fish without going under water. But the operators of this excursion did not impress me to much. After this tour we still had some time to do a little shopping and make it to a tender in plenty of time.
Cozumel: We docked at the Punta Lagosta Pier, and took a $13 cab ride to Paradise Beach. This beach lived up to its name: Paradise!!! The moment we pulled up the drive, I knew it was going to be awesome, and it was. The food and service was great. We had a bucket of ice cold beer, some frozen drinks and nachos while we there. With only one ship in port that day, I thought that there would only be a few people there, but it appeared to busy that day, IMHO. We were going to get massages, but decided we didn’t need them, because it was so relaxing and peaceful just being there. I can’t wait to go back!
Disembarkation: We had no problems with this, as we waited for as long as possible to get off the ship. Once passed customs, we walked out and found the place that stores luggage, booked the aquarium tour, had lunch and got the shuttle to the airport.
Summary: The Inspiration is a great ship and really enjoyed ourselves. The itinerary was perfect for us, and Tampa is a lovely city. I would definitely cruise the Inspiration again.