Inspiration -â€" Uninspired
This was my 10th cruise, 7th on Carnival and 2nd on the Inspiration. So -â€" I knew what to expect from Carnival.
The Inspiration's days are numbered out of Tampa. Soon, this ship will be on the west coast and the Paradise will be taking its place. The Paradise is the same ship, same age, different dÃ©cor, so I don't expect it to be much different.
Here are the high- and low-lights:
Food: The main dining room still provides good food. It seems like the waiters have bigger areas to serve, as service was slow. Highlights off the menu continue to be Warm Chocolate Melting Cake, Prime Rib, Farmer's Salad and BBQ Ribs. Bread was hot and fresh one night and cold and somewhat stale the next. Outside grill continues to serve hot and tasty hamburgers, fries and chicken nuggets with very good honey mustard sauce. The inside buffet lines ranged in themes from French to Caribbean and none were inspired. Lots of carbs -â€" not so much protein. Breakfast at the buffet was the same every morning. You have to go one place to get sweet rolls, one place to get (and toast) your bread, one place to get your omelets and another place to get your drink. By the time you are done getting your food together, some is cold and then you have to find a place to eat. We usually get our table set-ups and drinks, find a place and then go get the food. The coffee machines in the buffet area did not work properly the entire time. Very frustrating. When they were working, coffee was terrible.
Entertainment: The live entertainment on the 5-night cruise has been cut to 2 production shows. The Latin-themed show was excellent. The Shout! show is about 2-3 years old and the costumes look it. The other nights are lame. The piano player in the main atrium was great, but there are so few seats in the area, that you have to just stand around if you want to listen to him. The other groups I heard throughout the ship were mediocre and one duo was so bad, I winced while hearing them while I was in the casino.
Entertainment Staff: Some of the best I have sailed with. Matt, especially, has a lot of personality and a great sense of humor. Stephanie, the Cruise Director, was adequate, but it seemed like we heard a little too much of her over the loud speakers.
The crew was, as usual, nice and helpful throughout.
One last thing: music was too loud everywhere: especially on deck and in the Paris Lounge. Bring some earplugs.
Miscellaneous Hints and Tips:
1. There are no fridges in the staterooms.
2. Bring an extension cord. There is one plug in the stateroom and no plugs in the bathroom.
3. If you have "Anytime Seating" for dinner and you like where they put you the first night, remember to write down your table number and waiter's name, so you can ask for them for the rest of the cruise. If you don't like where they put you the first night or your waiter, you can ask for someone else the next night.
4. One bottle of liquor and one carton of cigarettes per person. That's it. If you buy more, you must pay duty when you re-enter the country. Duty on one carton of cigarettes is over $23.00!!!!
5. Cappuccino after dinner is included -â€" no extra cost.
Even for the money, this cruise was disappointing. My first Carnival disappointment.