Western Caribbean on **Inspiration** departing from Tampa
Our ship departed from Tampa on Monday, April 20th. We arrived late Sunday and lodged at the Best Western on Adamo. Our taxi got us to the ship around noon (departure was at 4 PM), and were able to travel through embark rather quickly. We already had our luggage tagged, and one of the porters gathered up our luggage for us just about as soon as we got out of the taxi. Be sure that as you walk into the terminal that you have your funpass in your hand, along with your passport or passport card, and that will really speed things up. The line was not really that long, so basically the only thing that we had to present to the clerk at the counter was our passport card, funpass, and credit card. That went very quickly, too. We were on the ship a little bit before our cabin opened up at 1:30, so spent a little time looking around. Then dropped off our carry ons in the room and went to the Lido deck for lunch. The elevators moved surprisingly fast, but like another person mentioned, it was difficult to see what floor you were on and to determine where you were going when in the elevator.
Our cabin was on the Rivera deck (4th floor) and we had a couple of port holes. The room was much nicer than we had expected. There basically was only one outlet at the mirrored desk, and one in the bathroom. We brought an outlet cube and extension cord which was essential for us. We requested a larger drop cord for my c-pap machine, and was sent one rather quickly (although we had some difficulty in making the person on the phone understanding what we needed and for why). As someone else mentioned, hair dryers are not standard in the cabins, but they will gladly bring one for you to use. My husband called our cabin steward to request one. He was told to "hold on" and then we heard a knock on the door, while he still was holding the phone....yes, the hair dryer had arrived! I would suggest that you bring your own shampoo, though. Their's is gosh-awful!! We usually use room service, but did not on this trip.
We ate every night in the Mardi Gras Dining Room, late seating, and our table crew were a delight! The Maitre De was "George the Greek". He came by EVERY night to speak to us, and he is such a lovable character. When we cruised on the Inspiration a couple of years ago, we were in the other dining room (Carnivale) and that Maitre De left no impression as this upon us. Our breakfast and lunch was usually taken in the Brasserie on the Lido deck. We did not try the pizza, although it looked delicious. Oh, and most of the dining room staff work in the Brasserie during the day, in case they look awful familiar to you! We did not book any shore excursions. Most were rather pricey, or not quite what we wanted to do. The tv system was not set up to book your excursions from your room, like other ships. Wireless internet, laptops with wireless, and internet on their computers were available, but we did not use the service this trip. We had such a horrible & costly experience on the Glory last year that we passed this up. My husband was able to use an internet cafe at Grand Cayman for 15 minutes for $2.00, which made him happy.
At Grand Cayman we were let off the ship at about 9 and had to start back by 2. Not much time there. We did take one of the local tours offered by a lady named Bonnie. She kept delaying our ride in order to get more fares, which made it even more crowded on the "hot" van. Not much in the way of air conditioning. Then at our last stop, her van overheated, causing us much worry about getting back to the ship in time....but we made it. Hope she's able to upgrade her ride really soon! At Cozumel, we left the ship around 11 and needed to be back around 7:30, with the ship sailing at 8. We mostly went to the jewelry stores with friends. Diamond International had an awesome icee machine with strawberry frozen adult drinks! Don't pass up! We took a taxi into Cozumel for $7 for the group. We ate at Carlos & Charlies, which as always, is not for the faint of heart. We did have a fun time and did not have more than one beer, my husband having 2 frozen drinks and a couple of shooters. Our last full day at sea was really windy and rocky. Only saw the barf bags out in one restroom, though. The day that we arrived back, the crew had many places roped off and were really giving the ship a good cleaning, etc., which was refreshing to see, especially with the breaking news of the swine flu in Mexico and other parts.