As I read all of the reviews I could prior to our cruise, I thought I should submit one of my own in hopes of helping someone else. We traveled with two children, ages 14 and 12. Our concern prior to sailing was that there would be other kids on the ship for ours to pal around with. Fortunately, my kids each met other kids the same age on the first night. The ship had a get-together for Camp Carnival where you sign up. It was based on their ages and met in different places depending on their ages. Our kids were in the 12-14 year group and met in the teen room. I would recommend going to this the first night. They met a few kids and had get to know activities and went for ice cream and it really helped them meet others.
We sailed on the Carnival Inspiration, 5 nights, to Cayman Islands and Cozumel, out of Tampa. We chose this cruise as it was the first for the kids and we had to take them out of school. My husband and I had previously sailed on a Princess cruise that was 7 nights and we thought it would be too long for the kids. We had relatives in Tampa so they delivered us to the ship around 1 p.m. The line was very long, it seemed to take forever to get on the ship. Our baggage was delivered to our rooms quickly. We had a quad even though our kids are almost adult size. It worked out OK although it was a little cramped. I though they put the wall beds back up during the day, but they stayed down the entire time. Perhaps if we had asked, they would have put them up for us. I took a power strip, as I had read in other reviews, and it was very useful. Also, I took an over the door shoe rack for misc. stuff and that was very useful. We had a room with a window, but where we were located, the window was filthy the whole time so it was not the best view. The shower was actually bigger than ours on Princess.
The ship was nice, the food was not nearly as good as Princess. We ate on Lido deck for all meals except dinner which we ate in the dining room. Dinner was good, small portions but we weren't very hungry anyway. Lido deck food was not good at all. Breakfast was the same every day. The line for omelets was very long as it was the best choice. Overall, I would rate the food as the worst part of the trip. The kids liked the ice cream machine and the pizzeria. The pizza was very good and available 24 hours.
We booked our excursions ahead of time through private island companies. Cayman Island we did the Soto's cruises. They were very good. They picked us up at the ship dock and delivered us back afterward, included in the price. The price was half the price of what the ship excursion was, and our boat only had 13 people on it! We did snorkeling on a reef and Stingray City. Soto's were very good. The only thing, they said they water and lemonade on the boat, but it was not bottled, so we did not dare to drink it. Take your own. Do a search for Soto's cruises and you will find it. Cozumel we did snorkeling on 2 reefs on a 54 ft. catamaran with Island Marketing Ltd. They were excellent. We had to take a taxi to a resort,$15 each way, and they picked us up at the dock. Our only problem was that we changed into Central time and did now know it and we waited forever at the dock and thought they forgot us, but really they were right on time. They were the best part of our trip, the kids even agreed. The snorkeling was excellent and they were very professional. Afterward we had Coronas (spelling?) and margaritas -- as many as you want. Their water was safe, ice cubes too.
Remember to take cash. Even though we reserved our excursions with credit cards, when we actually got there, they wanted paid in cash. They will tell you this ahead of time also in e-mails.
I hope this is useful to anyone planning a cruise on this ship. Overall it was good for us as we took the kids and it worked nicely, but don't get excited about the food or you will be very disappointed.