Hey, Ya'll; Just returned from our five day trip to Grand Cayman and Cozumel aboard the Inspiration.
First, the trip down: We drove down from North Florida. There were six of us and we left at 6 am. I was worried about leaving out of Tampa as the port is practicaly "Downtown". I had pulled up Flash Earth and picked out the best looking roads, then entered it into our GPS and we went straight to the port with very little hassle or traffic! We arrived a few minuets early and had to wait for the departing passengers to clear. Be sure to use the Valet Parking, about ten dollars more, as this will save your nerves getting around in Tampa! Check in was a "Breeze" it took about 10 min. as the Tampa's "Got Their Ducks In A Row"! Total time in the terminal was less than 30 min. I also liked the gangway entering on the Empress Deck, very handy to the Lido! I give the Port of Tampa five stars.
Next, The Ship: The Inspiration is a Beautiful, Well Maintained Ship! Some folks had complained about the purple decor and I was expecting tacky, but it is actually not bad at all! The layout is basically the same as the other Fantasy Class Ships, so we had no trouble gettin' 'round. The night before leaving, Carnival had announced that our itinerary had been changed and that we would be in Key West the next morning, but about three hours into the trip they changed us back! YAY, Carnival!! We had a Port Hole [PT] cabin and it was nice. This trip was rough so we felt it a little more because of the location. It wasn't very bad, though! We had encountered our first problem early. We used my Buddy's PVP and she didn't link our bookings like she was supposed to! I went to see the Maitre'd, Roland and he straightened it out, "No Problem"! He brought us a new table number before dinner! The food was Great! We ate in the Mardi Gras with Uysef [sp] as Maitre'd, and our two waiters[ they were Russian or Romanian or something unpronounceable] were a lot of fun! Hot food, hot and Cold food, cold! Just like it should be! The only time we had long lines were in the buffet during the busy times at lunch. I give the food five stars for the trip!
Our room steward, "Ten" was just OK. He was efficient, but he didn't speak English very well, so some of the little things I asked him to do, such as removing the mini bar stuff for more room, didn't get done. No big deal! The rest of the staff was very friendly and helpful! I give the staff four stars!
Next, entertainment: The first night, I found out the first "Negative" of our trip. I thought that since school was in there would be fewer kids, well so much for that! First the children were no problem! You rarely saw them probably due to Camp Carnival and when you did they were pretty well behaved! But then there were the College Kids! I think that more than 60% of this cruise were between the ages of 18-30 and you knew they were there! This was definitely a Fun Ship if by fun you want Drinking and Dancing! I enjoyed watching them, but didn't enjoy hearing them in the hallway at 2:30 am! Since there were so many Young'uns on board I think the entertainment folks really catered to them, as there didn't seem to be the activities as on previous cruises. Stephanie the CD was OK, Matt the assistant was everywhere with the dancing and activities! He was a "Hoot"! The shows especially "Shout" was really Good! We saw it twice. The Other show, "Fiesta", was good but it was the same as "Hey Mombo" we saw on the Fascination last year. The magician, and the Comedians were good! They didn't have the Talent Show. I give the entertainment four stars.
Next, The Cruise: The trip was pretty rough! We were following Tropical Storm Mathew and we could really feel it! Everybody needs to experience the Thrill of being in a fwd. PT cabin when they are trying to set the anchor! What a Racket! Since it was so rough, the "Tenderizer" boats in Grand Cayman did just that! They beat us up! Swam with the Stingrays,booked through Stingray Sailings found on Trip Advisor, Coolest excursion I've ever been on! Went snorkeling, used my $79 "Splash" underwater camera to take 170 pictures and Had A Great Time! Cozumel, went shopping with DW and spent many "Pesos". Had Fun! I give the cruise four Stars! [only because of rough seas that were NOT Carnivals fault]
I feel that Carnival did a Stellar Job on this cruise and I am looking forward to our next trip in Jan. I even purchased a Future Cruise Cert. for one after that! I give the overall trip, four stars! [mainly for personal preferences] Be Blessed! Mikey<><