On August 18th we boarded the Carnival Inspiration after the very fast and easy embarkation procedure. This was our 3rd time on the Inspiration for a 4 night cruise. The Inspiration is a Fantasy class ship so she's smaller and older but in excellent condition. The 1st and 2nd time we had the same maitre d' (Yusuf from Turkey) who we also had before on the Legend. He remembered us both times and made sure we got a great table. This time though he was not on board. We heard he was now on the Conquest (lucky Conquest).
We got our lunch on the Lido deck and at 1:30 headed down to our cabin. At 3:15, as we exited our room to attend the safety drill and we heard someone say "Mr. Jon, Miss Holly!!!" We turned around and there was Ronato our cabin steward from our cruise the previous year with his new assistant, Richard. It was like seeing a friend we hadn't seen in a long time - just a happy moment! After asking about how everyone had been, hand shakes and hugs all around we continued on to the safety drill. After the safety drill we went up to the highest deck to be there when we cruised under the Sunshine Skyway Bridge and when we returned there were extra pillows in our cabin - Ronato had remembered without us even having ask. This was a fantastic start to our much needed time away from work. We went to dinner and then to the show and off to bed.
On our first sea day we ate breakfast in the dining room, stopped in at the library and got a couple books (they now have board games as well), spent some time watching some of the events, reading on the serenity deck, reminiscing with Ranoto and just relaxing. I also did the teddy bear build. I do this on every cruise and name the bear after the ship as it's a great inexpensive souvenir.We dressed up for dinner because that what we do on formal night and enjoyed Thomas Brown for the third time. (funny is funny no matter how many times you hear it).
For our day in Cozumel we had signed up for the Dolphin Swim and Lunch through Carnival and we were at the end of the pier by 8:45am. This excursion was $130/person. I realized I had forgot sunscreen so we ducked into a store and got some for $31 Yikes!!! After a very short taxi ride to Dolphinaris and a safety drill (oh yeah, no sunscreen allowed) we were in the water with about 5 dolphins. No cameras allowed, they have staff doing still shots and video. All the dolphins looked very healthy and happy. Our group included another couple and a family with 2 young children (3 and 5 years old). We spent about an hour in the water with the dolphins swimming back and forth in front of us so they could get to know us by us touching them, getting the token kiss (you have to kiss the dolphin back), flipper shake, splashing and an amazing belly ride.
The staff was very friendly, knowledgeable, informative and happy to answer any questions. FYI, Mexico does not capture wild dolphins any longer and about half the dolphins at Dolphinaris were born there. We were then escorted around the pools so we could see the baby (only 200 to 300 pounds) dolphins,
Of course, we exit through the photo area where you can look and buy your pictures and videos. The prices are, as usual, high, however, we said we would come back later, changed into dry clothes and got our lunch. Lunch was better than expected. We had the fajitas and quesadillas and they were both very good. When we did go back to the photo store they said they would give us everything for a much lower price.....hhhmmm? Of course we bought the whole package (DVD and photos) have shown them to anyone that would watch.
Taxis run about every 5 minutes and we and headed back to the port about 1:00pm. We would highly recommend this excursion to anyone that wants to do a dolphin encounter. This price is half the cost of Discovery Cove in Orlando and there you're lucky to get 20 minutes with the dolphins. FYI - we were able to return the sunscreen for a full refund.
Our last day is always a sad day since it's the last day. We enjoyed breakfast in the dining room, finished our books on the serenity deck and attended some events in the lounge, packed and went to the dinner and comedy show. The comedy show was Thomas Brown again and he was trying out new material, We laughed until our sides hurt.
This was a short cruise but it was also one of the best we've had.