Do you enjoy the smell of raw sewage? What about the smell of taco farts?
Do you enjoy lots of tattoos and earrings? And a boat with so much neon, mirrors, and sparkly lights it looks like a disco from aft to fore?
Does Carnival's famed hairy chest contest sound like fun?
Do you like loud music blasting during dinner?
Are you down with lots of beers and margaritas?
Then my friend... the Carnival Inspiration's 4 day Baja Cruise is for you.
- A delightful stop in Catalina. Avalon is a pleasant, peaceful town, though I would've enjoyed it more had fewer of my fellow guests gone the lazy, thoughtless, polluting route and sped around on gas-powered golf carts everywhere. Stopping for a seafood lunch and an ice cream is a must, and you've got to get out and go for a big walk around the beautiful island.
- Quite decent food. The lead chef for dinners on this boat should be commended. The buffet fare is completely standard, but the seated dinners were delicious and creatively presented.
- Good work by wait staff in the main dining room. The "table artist" (table magician) did a fine job. The dining staff earned a good hundred bucks in extra tips from me.
- Delightful ocean views. Along the California and Baja coasts you're sure to see plenty of dolphins, porpoises, and
- Any time the boat had to go a while without dumping, the stairwells and public areas smelled strongly of sewage... like taking a big whiff of a septic tank. In several spots on deck, and in every stairwell and in every elevator waiting area, you were sure to smell the sweet, sweet smell of the effects of hundreds of passengers gorging at the buffet. It was absolutely disgusting and I've never been on a boat that's had this problem before. At first I thought I could chalk it up to the harbor at Long Beach, but no... it was the boat. (By the way, for those of you unaware, cruise ships don't just magically pipe their sewage into city sewer systems. They dump it out at sea. Hundreds of thousands of gallons of your poop and toilet paper floating around out there.)
- This boat is aging badly. Kids and first time cruisers may not notice it, but cruise veterans certainly will. The decor evokes the 80s... not even the 90s when the boat was built. It has few balconies, the public areas are rough around the edges, and it's wildly outclassed these days, of course. There's a reason it's been relegated to 3 and 4 day cruises now. (The water slides were very popular with my kids, though.)
- My steward was quite lazy and only became interested in my needs on the last night ("give me more tips" night). From failing to clean out dirty glasses and silverware, to ignoring towels on the floor when cleaning the bathrooms... this wasn't the best steward I'd had by a long shot.
- Ensenada smells like your stereotypical border town... a great combination of beer, taco gas, and dog crap. Boy, were the sidewalk salesmen ever aggressive. Ensenada wants your fat American tourist money, and it wants it bad. Anyway, the beers and margaritas were great, though.
- The fellow passengers were not a classy bunch. But it's a four day cruise from Long Beach. You should know what kind of fellow passengers you're getting just from that alone.
- Sailing around for a "day at sea" on this route is wasteful and is blatant money-grabbing. Better to spend two days in Catalina where people can really get out and enjoy themselves, rather than sailing some massive arc from Ensenada back to Long Beach. But if they did that, we'd spend less on beer and cocktails on the boat, wouldn't we. I see where you're going with this, Carnival.
I can see why plenty might enjoy Carnival's party atmosphere, but it's not for me. That doesn't mean it's a bad thing, though! This boat needed some upkeep badly despite the staff's efforts to clean, and the sewage smell was utterly overpowering and nauseating. Some staff were excellent, while others were clearly tired, disaffected, and bored with a group they didn't expect to tip well. The ports were hit and miss (Avalon: hit... Ensenada: miss...). I'm glad I'm home and as a cruise veteran, while I'd be open to a Carnival cruise in the future, I will not be sailing this route or sailing on this boat again.