Wow, there was a cold snap in Tampa over Christmas and couldn't wait to be headed south! We boarded the Inspiration at 11:30 on Monday, Dec. 27 and lunch was already being served on the Lido Deck. We were in Tampa the previous night, so arrived at the dock earlier that if we had purchased airline tickets through Carnival.
Our stateroom was ready at 1:30 as promised. We were greeted immediately by our steward, Arnold, and were made to feel that if there was anything we needed, he was there to assist us. Dinners in the dining room were wonderful, we ate in the Mardi Gras dining room with "Your Time" option. That was far better than an assigned seating, at least for us. We were traveling with our son and daughter-in-law and "your time" accommodated our daily schedules. Our maitre'd was Yusef, and the best waiter in the world: Bonijan!!
One night we skipped the dining room in favor of the Brasserie on Lido Deck, which I regret. I preferred the dining room and the service we received there. Also, although it was stated that no beach flip-flops were allowed in the dining room, I was surprised to see that this was not enforced. Oh well.....The dining room was especially busy on New Year's Eve, but the waitstaff supplied us with horns and hats, which added to the festivities. The comedy show on New Year's Eve was good, albeit too short (30 minutes).
My only complaint about the ship was that we were unable to find any deck chairs. Apparently one has to arrive on deck at 7:00 a.m. and place towels over the chairs to ensure a spot. That's ok.....we found four on the top deck where the water slide was, and the splashing was pleasant sitting under the (delightfully) hot sun! The seas were a little rocky and my husband, son and daughter-in-law were a little seasick part of the time, but nothing Carnival could do about that. When we disembarked yesterday morning, everything was smooth and orderly, no long lines. We waited in the Paris Lounge after eating breakfast on the Lido Deck; on a scale of 1 to 10, I'm giving this cruise a 9, because nothing's perfect! We've already paid $100 towards our next Carnival cruise, we're that happy with them.
In Grand Cayman, we hired a local to take us to Hell and a short tour around the island for $15. Unfortunately, they have small buses that they fill us before leaving - we waited in our bus for almost 45 minutes! Hell is nothing to visit for more than a brief stop for postcards to mail. We wish we would have had some more time on the island, though. The ship shopper/advisor had some good recommendations, although I'd suggest that you read some of the cruise blogs for opinions on some of the shops the Carnival recommends. We had good experiences in Georgetown with shopping.
On Cozumel, we opted for the Carnival "Mayan Ruins of Tulum" tour (7 hours). It was fantastic! Our tour guide was very knowledgeable, we had plenty of time to wander around by ourselves. They mention that you can go to the beach while you're there - be advised that you have to climb down many, many steps to get down to the beach and then have to climb back up all those steps! The light snack was a bag of chips and Japanese (!) peanuts, bottle of water. The driver had cold towels waiting for us at the bus, to wipe our hands and faces off - that was a nice treat.