We had been thinking of experiencing a cruise for many years, but it never fit into our plans (all our destinations have been Europe) until my wife's very best and dearest friend from college asked us to join her and her husband for a Carnival Inspiration cruise to Avalon and Ensenada. Without a doubt, we are glad we accepted the invitation.
Our stateroom was adequately sized, very comfortable, well maintained, and well located. The forward and aft elevators were sufficiently far away to give us great privacy from traffic and noise, but close enough for easy access to the rest of the ship.
Our steward was a great help in many ways, including knowing our names within the first couple of hours and promptly readying our room while we were out and about. We have to call room service elsewhere for this service, but our steward was tuned in to this travel peculiarity of ours.
Carnival Inspiration food is more than adequate in quantity and quality. One can hope for no more when thousands are being fed. However, the Chocolate Melting Cake is world-class and if sprigs of fresh basil were put on the ship's rendition of Pizza Margherita (available 24/7) we could have existed on nothing else. Also available 24/7 from a deli are some fine renditions of Reuben and Corned Beef sandwiches.
If one is looking for a generally quiet environment, forget it or sit on the fantail all the time. Music and people talking are everywhere which fits not only Carnival's inclusive "family fun" theme, but also the all Italian senior officer crew. Like my wife from Naples, Italy, they too only function at their best apparently in a cacophony.
As to the crew and staff, all were very helpful, professional and engaging to us. The ship and facilities are well maintained although like all of us showing the usual wear and tare of time and use, but dealing with it gracefully. Sure the decor is a bit dated (Andy Warhol meets Baroque), but that is part of the ship's charm.
Lastly, getting on and off the ship was a breeze. Carnival has it down to a science.