This was our 2nd cruise on the Inspiration. The first was back in July 2009 and this cruise was wonderful with some changes. We sailed on a 5-day cruise out of Tampa with stop in Grand Caymans and Cozumel. As we always do, we arrived the day prior and stayed at the LaQuinta Inn near with airport. The hotel was fine for the 18 hours we stayed there, not nothing fancy. We book round trip transportation with Blue One Transportation. We were picked up on time the day of sailing and they were right there when we returned. The van/bus was clean, air conditioned and friendly service.
We arrived at the port of Tampa at 10:00 and Carnival started the check-in process at 10:15. It was a breeze; we were zone 2 and on the trip at 11:15 heading to the lido deck for lunch. Cabins are not available until 1:30. The Brasserie Grill buffet on the sail date was fish, roast beef, soup and salad bar, pizza and sandwiches. This was the typical buffet items with burgers, hot dogs and Mongolian by pool side. There is a bar now in the back of the Brasserie Grill, This made it a lot easier to get a soda or beer instead of having to go by the pool area or wait until someone came by.
We had a ocean view cabin on main deck. We've had this type cabin before and it was the standard carnival room. Our cabin steward was Mr. Harry, who was quiet and had went about his busy. Our cabin was cleaned twice a day and he assisted us with any other request we had. Had plenty of space for clothes and personal items. One small thing was that the A/C didn't seem to work as good while in port, but at night, it worked like a charm.
We ate in the main dining room each night. Our servers were very nice and made of feel welcome, but really didn't go out of their way. Just serve and remain dishes. There were a couple of nights we waited about 45 mins for dinner. You could tell their were busy and we understood that. Good service overall. The main food items were delicious. We didn't have a bad meal the entire cruise.
Our grandson enjoyed camp carnival on this cruise. The smaller/older ships don't have the area that the larger ships have, and something you get so many kids in there it can get quite crowded. This was our first cruise (out of 9) that we were not issued a cell page in case of an emergency. It didn't concern us that much, because if they needed us, they could page us over the P.A system. Never had too. Camp Carnival offered a lot of activities and he stay busy the entire time. They do offer services after 10:00 p.m. for $6.00 an hour.
Our first port of call was Grand Cayman. We booked the stingray city tour. We have been on this type tour in the past, but my 5-old year grandson wanted to go touch and kiss the stingrays. He did and loved it. It was about a 30 min boat ride out to the reef, and while it was a bit crowded, we were able to spent about 45 mins with the stingrays. The boat offered water and fruit punch if needed. On the way back, we stop and the guide got a few conch shells and we all got to eat the conch inside. Not bad!
Our second port of call was Cozumel. We booked the dolphin push, pull and swim at Chankanaab National Park. Had a great time. Here's the link: http://www.dolphindiscovery.com/cozumel/cozumel-location-overview.asp
Entertainment - The entire staff from the cruise director to the dance team did a wonderful job entertaining everyone on the ship. They were also out and about and just did a great job with all the passengers. The adults only comedy show were hilarious and the show were flawless.
Debarkation was without any problems and the entire process was painless. We elected to debark using self-assistance instead of zone numbers. We left our cabin at 8:30 and was off the ship at 8:50. Our transportation was waiting there for us and we were at the airport by 9:15.
Overall, great short cruise for us and our grandson. This being our 9th cruise with carnival, we good the process down pretty good. If anyone would like more information about this cruise or the carnival inspiration, you can email me at email@example.com
Next cruise on the Carnival Legend from 16-23 October 2011. Family Reunion Time!!!!