Embarking was great. The parking attendant was pleasant and knowledgeable and kind. We arrived about 12:30, and were on board in less than 15 minutes. A wonderful buffet selection was waiting. The food was delicious throughout the cruse. We were in our rooms by 1:30. The room was neat and fresh.
The day at sea was very relaxing. We arrived in the Grand Caymans on Monday. We were following a storm and the waters were too choppy to come in on the Georgetown side. We were tendered to the island. This was efficient, but a bit time consuming. We had to pay $5 per person to get to the Georgetown side. The shops were nice. The island itself was not a beautiful as I had imagined.
The dinners each night were wonderful. The service was very good. The food on the Lido Deck was also tasty at each meal. We enjoyed the various entertainment around the ship all week, especially the guitarist, Jerry. His humor was refreshing, and he was very talented at performing in the voice and style of countless entertainers. We attended three stage shows. This was the only true disappointment of the trip. We had cruised on the Fascination twice, and the shows were Broadway quality. The introduction show was pretty good, however, the shows, Shout, and Fiesta Candata were poor. Individual dancers were good, but they were out of step quite often. It, overall, was not high quality and sharp.
We arrived on Cozumel on Tuesday, December 21st. We docked on time and walked into the town. It was charming. As we learned from the Internet, the shops on the main street are a little higher priced, and they will not negotiate. We traveled a couple of blocks back and found wonderful shops, with shopkeepers who were pleasant and would really strike deals. We purchased several silver items for great prices.
Our only complaint, besides the shows, was the noise in our cabins. We were in E-153 and E-157. As soon as we went to bed each night, we would hear beating on the walls, scraping of metal on metal, and various other metal sounds. We came to the conclusion were were situated under the galley. Night shift in the galley continued to be extremely loud all night long. After a couple of nights, we inquired at the Guest Services Desk and were told we were under the galley and the noise could not be helped. Later that night we received a letter from Guest Services offering to move us to another deck at the other end of the ship. Since we were traveling with others, and were settled in, we decided to stay. It would be a reasonable fix to insulate the galley. They indeed need to continue the work during the night, but guests also deserve a good nights sleep.
Overall, we enjoyed the trip. A 5-day cruise is a very enjoyable length of time. We will cruise again, and will probably use Carnival. I would tend to travel on Fascination if at all possible though. Inspiration was great overall, but I am a big fan of great shows.