Carnival Inspiration Cruise Review by garrym: Carnival Desperation...
Member Since 2012
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I was part of a group of five -- the oldest was celebrating her 88th birthday. We're locals, so we drove to the Port of Long Beach (and paid $60 for four nights of parking on leaving the structure -- nice to have a monopoly!).
When driving to the port, one should know that if any of the passengers has a handicap parking placard, it's effectively useless, as the parking structure has only about a dozen handicap-reserved spaces. Fortunately, though, there's ample drop-off/pick-up parking.
Boarding was as expected -- crowded, but relatively efficient. However, I had set up my credit card to cover both occupants of my cabin when I filled in the on-line forms. My partner called to change her billing to her credit card. When we checked in, both of us were listed on my credit card. She changed it at the desk. More about this later.
Our cabin was adequately sized, in good condition, and well equipped. The mattresses were firm and comfortable. Cabin service was More excellent.
The ship decor can best be described as extremely tacky. Others here have commented on the lamprey-like ceiling decor in the Brasserie buffet restaurant, and the Atrium looks like low-class Las Vegas.
There were a lot of children on this cruise, and the Lido pool and whirlpools were loaded with them, as was the Brasserie. The Lido pool and food service area was very loud, with lots of activities aimed at a young crowd, such as deejays and the hairy chest contest.
The Serenity adults-only area had, at times, lots of young, imbibing adults who were somewhat rowdy, and one of our group tried it one morning and found the whirlpools had not been heated since the previous evening and were only lukewarm.
The Carnivale dining room, though, was an unmitigated disaster. The food was poor quality, badly prepared, and took a very long time to arrive. The steaks were tough, and one of us ordered medium rare and received it well done. Another received chicken that was undercooked. A fish dish tasted bad; it was replaced with salmon that had been onboard too long. Our two waiters and the bar waiter were very gracious and did their best to make up for the galley's problems, but I ended up supplementing our meals with good pizza from the buffet.
One of the couples who shared our table had been on the Inspiration last August for a Caribbean cruise out of Tampa and noted that the food was considerably better during that cruise.
And I can't forget the cornball "entertainment" interrupting the dinners. The less said about it, the better.
Entertainment: there were two production shows in the Paris Lounge. The first, a Latin "extravaganza", was exclusively Caribbean-themed, which is discordant with a Mexico itinerary. The choreography, costumes, and settings were, in keeping with the rest of the ship, in very bad taste. The performers worked hard, and the singers were quite good, as was the sound mix in the room.
The second show, "Shout", was considerably better. The choreography, sets, and costumes were gaudy but well done, and, as in the other show, the performers and sound were good.
We didn't partake of the other entertainment venues and can't comment on them.
Photographs are a big business onboard, but we were turned off by the unsurprisingly tacky backgrounds provided. We tried to find a plain textured background for a group photo, with no luck, and the Atrium staircase photos had no backlight, so dark hair blended into the background except for the neon that reminded me of Steve Martin's arrow through the head. We bought one group shot from the dining room.
The last morning on board, we found that the provided bill showed both of our charges on my credit card, even though my partner had twice attempted to get her charges put on her own card. Guest Services finally fixed it, we hope -- we'll find out when we get our card statements.
Debarkation was badly done. Two in our group needed wheelchair assistance, and we were literally the last passengers off the ship -- we waited for about 45 minutes, and only one wheelchair and attendant were available to handle our two, so one waited onboard while the other was brought through immigration, baggage claim, customs, and into the pickup area.
In summary, I have no complaints about the personnel with whom we dealt -- they were unfailingly courteous and gracious. But there's more to a cruise than that, and I wouldn't recommend this ship. Less
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