I have posted a complete and VERY long review of our experience and impressions on the Carnival Inspiration page, but this review will cover the highlights!
We sailed on the Carnival Inspiration on October 3-8, 2011 to the western caribbean, leaving from Tampa. This was the first cruise for both of us and we are late thirties business owners. We left the teenagers at home!
Check in was very easy. From curb-side to boat was less than 30 minutes and all the staff we encounted in port and when entering the ship were friendly and knowledgable. Finding the port was somewhat difficult as our GPS insisted on sending us over a bridge that was closed for repairs!
Food was very good, the staff were mostly great and most of the cabin stewards knew our names by the second day! We only ate in the dining room for one meal (the one formal night) and service was not as expected for that meal but the food was very good. Buffet was good most meals, salad bar was great, pizza is exceptional and mongolian wok was very good.
The ship was very clean, although it did have an occasional odor on the port side hallway on the Empress deck that was very unpleasant. The pool area is a bit too small for the amount of passengers and was packed to capacity at all times. The serenity area is great for adults only and would be even better with a pool!
Standing at the front of the ship, on the top deck, became our favorite place as we entered and left ports and a covered deck on the rear of the ship, outside of the buffet, became our favorite outdoor area during general cruising. This trip was mainly about relaxing and that was best accomplished by not planning activities but taking things one minute at a time. Just sitting in the fresh air, watching the wake from such a huge ship, viewing the sunsets and enjoying a few drinks was how we enjoyed this journey.
Valerie Storm, the female comic, put on a great adults only show but we did not attend any other shows or activities. We did visit the casino and played some slots, blackjack and roulette. We enjoyed the casino but did not win. The shops on board were interesting, but strangely hidden. The only one that is overtly visible is the package store which you must travel through to reach the other shops.
Overall, this was a great experience and a great value! We loved the cruise and will be looking for more great deals to book again!
The weather was great for most of the trip but became rough on the last day as a storm began to move in. Even so, the boat remained stable and I felt safe. We loved the overall feel of the ship and will miss the Inspiration as she moves to California in December. We are looking forward to giving her sister Paradise a try!