“Uneventful Cruise for First Timers”
Cruise review of Carnival Inspiration

Jagger19 Carnival Inspiration 5 Uneventful Cruise for First Timers
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Day 1 AM Embarkation: Arrived at Long Beach Port -- handed 2 large pcs of soft-padded (with roller) luggage to porter - $2 tip per bag. Then, parked car at nearby Parking Building - $15/day. Hand carried 2 8-pack 8-oz soda cans in a 7"D x10"H x12"L soft-padded cooler, 12 300-ml (?) water bottles, and a 1 750-ml wine in a carry on-bag In line at 11:00 am, thru Security at 12:00 showing passports, in line to obtain our Sail and Sign blue cards -- had our names, assigned deck - Main, room no. and dining preference showed passports and credit card to charge purchases on ship. Had picture (about $12.00 -- don't have to purchase) taken of entire family (can't get away from this), and went thru another check-in with individual security picture taken before pushing Sail and Sign card thru machine. Forgot to ask for deck of cards from Information Center. Gratuity ($12.00) had been paid in advance: $3.70/day for stateroom service. (Gave addl tip in a thank you card + Sees candy), $3.70/day for dining service. (Gave addl tip to server in a thank you card + Sees candy + small tip to busboy at BB&Grill, $2.00/day for alternative service (kitchen/entertainment/guest services). Cell phone roaming charges: $2.49/min (ship) + $0.79/min (AT&T); Text Msg: $10.00 for 50 text msgs, no more than 150 character per text message. Tip: Use 2-way radios, esp. off board the ship, on board is hard to talk/listen esp. inside the ship. Walk around -- using stairs is better than elevator. Elevator buttons has deck names not deck numbers -- hard to read inside the elevator. Deck 4 (R -- Riviera) has state rooms - noise from below incl. pulling of anchor. Deck 5 (M -- Main) has State Rooms - cruise critic suggested getting rooms here -- I agree! Deck 6 (U -- Upper) has State Rooms, Deck 7 (E -- Empress) has State Rooms - not good, kitchen noise from above, Internet Cafe, Atrium Plaza, Art Gallery, Guest Services, Shore Excursions, Bar. NOTE: This is where we embark on board and disembark off board. Deck 8 (Atlantic) has Lower Paris Main Lounge, Mardi Gras Dining Rm, Carnivale Dining Rm, Shops, Rhapsody in Blue Piano Bar, Library, Deck 9 (Promenade) has Upper Paris Main Lounge, Casino, Sushi by Photo Gallery (5:30-8:15 pm) Cafe Des Artistes, Dance Club, Video Arcade, Violins Bar, Chopin Cigar Lounge, Candlelight Aft Lounge, Serenity Adult Retreat, Avant-Garde Lounge, Deck 10 (Lido) has the Pool, Brassiere Bar and Grille Buffet -- pizza, deli, salad bar, bar, Off-of-the Grill, Rotisserie, Mongolian Wok (order omelet here), Deck 11 (V -- Verandah) has State Rooms -- forward not good, Waterworks, Camp Carnival, Observation Deck, Deck 12 (Sports) has Gym, Massage, Fitness, Aerobic, Spa Carnival (for kids), and Deck 14 (Sun) hasMini-Golf, Jogging Track. NOTE: Deck 3 is the Clinic and where we disembark for the tenders to Catalina and to Ensenada. Day 1 PM: Was told to head for lunch at either the Brassiere Bar and Grille Buffet, Off-The Grille, Rotisserie, or Mongolian Wok (Lido -- Deck 10) (NOTE: Each day has different theme -- Italian, Mexican, and Mediterranean). The Grille has 2 buffets on each side. It also has pizza, deli, salad bar, self-serve coffee machines, self-serve ice cream and a regular bar inside Brassierre. It has a 24-hour coffee and ice-cream self-service. Behind both sides of Brassiere are outside tables, overlooking the sea, not everyone knows. There are stairs that lead below to the Serenity Adult Retreat. Outside Brassiere, by Lido stage, are the Off-The-Grill, Rotisserie, and Mongolian Wok to order meals from. At 1:30 pm, it was announced rooms are ready but our luggage did not arrive until 5:00 pm. Safety Drill was held at 4:30 pm -- we were shown 'how to' (didn't have to wear our life jackets) on stage at Lido Deck (we didn't have to leave since we were assigned Muster Station F (Lido Deck). Immediately after the drill, we went back to our room and waited for our luggage. As soon as they arrived around 5:00 -pm, we went to the Observation Deck to look at Long Beach while ship is sailing away around 5:30 pm. How to get there: At Verandah -- Deck 11, walk through the entrance that says Verandah cabins, take a left. Walk as far forward through the cabins. There will be a door with porthole. Open this door, walk up the stairs and then open another door. The deck is right on top of the bridge, it has wings that extend further out on the side of the ship. The deck isn't so secret anymore, as it's on the deck plans as an "observation deck". It gets pretty busy out there during sail away. Great view, but windy and cold. Missed the Sail-Away Dinner at 5 pm -- a 5 course dinner. Although, we were assigned Late Seating, we had it changed to Open Seating. Was assigned Mardi Gras DR (Atlantic -- Deck 8, accessible via Atrium). We were told it has better food than Carnivale DR (Atlantic Deck 8, accessible via aft elevators) -- can order 2 appetizers and 2 entrees -- tried Chocolate Melting Cake (order 2 scoops ice cream it's it's rich), cappuccino is free. 'Welcome Aboard' entertainment around 10 pm at Paris Main Lounge (Atlantic -- Deck 8) -- be there early to be able to seat the first 3 rows -- however comedians may call you. Good coffee and pastries at Cafe Des Artistes (Promenade -- Deck 9) -- extra charge but reasonable. Cocktails at $7.25, beers at $5.75 plus 15% automatic tip -- a tip: 25oz Fosters at $6.75 (good for 2). There's 1500 ml (?) water ($6.75?) water in the room along with enough blue beach towels. Asked steward for ice in our cooler -- he'll supplied whenever we have the cooler open. Back to our room, the room steward left the Fun Times for Day 2. Fun Times shows, what goes on in the ship and what to do off shore. Day 2 AM Catalina Visit: Woke up and saw lots (I mean LOTS) of dolphins jumping from the ocean Breakfast at Brassiere Bar and Grille Buffet. Hubby and son headed on board the tender and explored Catalina Island. Stayed on board to explore. Nice reading a book at Serenity Adult Retreat (aft of Promenade -- Deck 9). Pool on Lido -- Deck 10 had less people at this time. Few people played mini-golf (Sun -- Deck 14). Day 2 PM Formal Night: Lunch at Brassiere Bar and Grille Buffet. Had sushi at Promenade, next to Photo Gallery -- Deck 9 (5:30-8:15pm). Formal night, almost 90% were dressed formally (we wore our "church" clothes) -- had dinner at MardiGras DR -- ordered lobster, prime rib, steak. Ship Captain and his staff stood by Cafe Des Artistes -- shook hands and talked to cruise passengers who walked by, some had pictures taken with staff. Back to our room, the room steward left the Fun Times for Day 3. Fun Times shows, what goes on in the ship and what to do off shore Day 3 AM Ensenada Visit: Breakfast at Brassiere Bar and Grille but ordered omelet from Mongolian Wok Headed off board. Walking out of ship, went past 2 ladies dressed in Mayan outfit and Pirate outfit (we know it will cost us to have picture taken with/w/o them). When walking out of small market there were several buses who will shuttle you downtown for $3 to town. Cost $2 back to ship. We walked with several folks, turned left, then left again at end of pier. Main shopping/eating/drinking area is very close to the ship ~1 block past the huge Mexican flag/pole. Walk the short distance to shopping area in town. There are horse and carriages ride at $5. We found all the shops in town to be fun and friendly, and non-threatening Walked to Our Lady of Guadalupe Church (bought some items from their gift shop), about 2-mi wall one way, even used a bathroom in nearby gas station. Had lunch at Papas and Beer, asked for a canned soda (don't trust their water) and bottled beer. Had coffee and pastry at Starbucks on the way back to ship. Walked quite easily along the touristy, scenic, safe waterfront walk. We did not sign up for any tour except the ship's tour during Sea Day. We didn't take the La Bufadora (blowhole excursion in Ensenada 45 min away) - $15 per person direct with bus tour or $30 thru Carnival since we saw one in Hawaii. We didn't do the Baja wine country visit either - $35 per person since Napa Valley is not too far from us Day 3 PM: Lunch/Dinner at Mardi Gras DR. Went to Comedy shows at Candlelight Aft Lounge at 10 pm for family comedy and at 11 pm for adult comedy. Back to our room, the room steward left the Fun Times for Day 4. Fun Times shows, what goes on in the ship and what to do during Sea Day. Day 4 AM Sea Day: Breakfast at Mardi Gras DR. Pool quite full (Lido Deck -- Deck 10) so go early for seats or chairs. Ship no longer allows reserving seats via towels. Security will remove them when left more than an hour. Serenity Adult Retreat, with 2 hot tubs -- was better. Missed Teatime at Rhapsody Blue Lounge (smoking -- Atlantic -- Deck 8, next to MDR) --good tea, delicious pastries, sandwiches -- be there early Day 4 PM: Lunch at Brassiere Bar and Grill Buffet. We signed up and paid for a tour of the ship. I STRONGLY suggest doing this -- very interesting tour where one can see the workings of a cruise ship. I also learned where the ship captain lives - on land, that is. Limited attendance. Tip: Free cocktails 5 pm -- 7 pm at Paris Main Lounge. Dinner at Mardi Gras DR. Went to a great stage show at the Paris Main Lounge. Very professionally done -- almost as good as those shows in Las Vegas. After the show, went to the adult comedy show at Candlelight Aft Lounge. Back to our room, the room steward left the Fun Times for Day 5 along with blue tags for each of our luggage showing our assigned group number. We had to replace our assigned boarding tags with these blue tags. Also, the tour director gave instructions on how to disembark via the television in the room. We were asked to wait at the Lido deck, to have breakfast at either the MardiGras DR or the Brassiere Bar and Grill Buffet until our group number is called to disembark. We were assigned numbers in the last group since we're local. Those heading for the airport were assigned earlier group numbers. Day 5 AM Disembarkation: Had breakfast at Brassiere Bar and Grille Buffet at 7:30 am and waited until our group was called. We did not avail of the Self-Assist luggage -- we didn't want to haul our luggage around. Our luggage was waiting for us in the building under assigned group number so it was easy to find our luggage. We went thru Immigration to show our passport for entry back to US and then thru Customs to declare purchases from Mexico or to get rid of any live plants or fresh fruit. Picked up our car from the Parking Building, paid $60, then thru a gate driving at the left-most lane to show the parking ticket to the attendant. Home at 10:00 am. The following are suggested items to pack: Important Documents and Necessities Cruise Documents Passport and Photocopies Cash Driver's License and Photocopy Car Insurance Medical Insurance Cards Credit Cards Credit card contacts Medical records Membership cards (AAA, AARP) Empty Gift card (for room safe) Money Belt/Pouch Guidebooks Husband's Personal Underwear Undershirts Pajamas T-Shirt White Socks Dress Socks Dress Shirt Dress Pants Dress Sweater Tie Dress Shoes Shower Clogs Belt Sweatshirt with Hood Sweater Blue Jeans Shorts Tennis Shoes Hankies Hat Sandals Light Jacket Swimming Trunks Jack Strap Sweat Top/Pants Spare Eyeglasses Sun Visor Shampoo/Conditioner Toothpaste/Toothbrush Baby Powder/Hair Gel Razor/Shaving Cream Deodorant Hair Brush/Comb Ear Plugs Nose Strips Soap Mouthwash Razor/Shaving Cream Nail Clippers Prescription Meds Poncho Wife's Personal Bras Panties Pajamas White socks Hose Belt Dress Shirt Dress Pants Dress Sweater Dress Top Dress Shoes Neck Scarf Sneakers Sweatshirt with Hood Sweater Blue Jeans Capri Pants Shower Clogs T-Shirt Slippers Sandals Light Jacket Bathing Suit Umbrella/Poncho Pashmina Hotel Clothes Sunglasses Reading Glasses Hat Jewelry Toothpaste/Toothbrush Small Handbag/Wallet Perfume Deodorant Hair Brush/Comb Mouthwash Soap Shampoo/Conditioner Baby Powder/Lotion Ear Plugs Medications and Health First Aid Kit Aloe gel Sunscreen -- SPF-70 Robitussin Tylenol Campho-Penique Motioneaze (behind ear) Sea Band (Bill/Elfie/Bruce) Ginger Pills Imodium Gas-X Pepto-Bismol Tums Hand Sanitizer Surface Disinfectant Wipes Neosporin Q-Tips/Cotton Belts Eye Drops Hand/Foot Lotion Anti-itch Cream Benadryl Salt (for sore throat) Cough Drops/Throat Lozenges Lip Balm Dental Floss Tweezers Moist Towelettes Alcohol Wipes Thermometer Gadgets Camera Cell phones USB Adapters Camera Charger Cell Phone Charger Spare Batteries Extension Cord/Multi-plug Extra memory cards Travel Alarm Clock MP# Player Binoculars Ear Phone Flashlights Nightlight Walkie-talkies Miscellaneous Address book Collapsible Cooler Chewing gum Spare Check Water Bottles Insulated Coffee Mugs Highlighters/Pen/Markers Journal/Writing Pads Post --It Notes Ziploc/Plastic bags Space Bags Snacks Swiss Army Knife Hangers Sewing Kit Magnifying Glass/Sheet Clothes Pins/line Detergent/Softener Dirty Clothes Bags/Pop-up Hamper Streamer/Ribbon Rubber Bands/Strings White Board/Pen Thank You cards (for cruise staff) Candy/chocolate (for cruise staff) Change ($1, $5, $0.25) -- tips/casino Corkscrew Can Opener 1-750 ml wine Soda (12 cans/person) Double-sided/Duct Tape Extra Luggage Names Magazine/Book Foldable Tote Bag Room Spray/Freshener Magnets Shoe Bag Wrinkle Spray Tissues Bug Spray/Insect Repellant Sink Stopper Candy, chocolate (for cruise staff
Carnival Inspiration Cruises to the Mexican Riviera
Overall Ratings
  • Cabin
  • Dining
  • Embarkation
  • Enrichment Activities
  • Entertainment
  • Family & Children
  • Fitness & Recreation
  • Onboard Experience
  • Public Rooms
  • Rates
  • Service
  • Shore Excursions
  • Value for Money

Cabin review: Ocean View

We don't have any complaint about our assigned cabin except our next door (we had an adjoining room) neighbors who were obviously honeymooners. But a knock on the door, stopped the moaning and groaning. We could not do anything on the other side of the room where a young child or baby cried every now and then. The bathroom has very little space for all our toiletries. Had it not for a tip I read on this website, I would not think of bringing a 99 cent shoe bag. All our toiletries just fit right in those individual compartments. Our bathroom has a laundry string that can stretch across the shower stall to dry towels. I also brought several dept store skirt hangers to hang wet towels. Otherwise, our room (Main deck, Room 16X. midway of the ship) is quiet without external ship noise. Also, we were glad we had a quiet hallway.

Port and Shore Excursions

Port Long Beach - Getting to the cruise terminal was somewhat confusing even with our google maps in hand. However, we were able to find the parking structure after several 'almost' near misses. Embarkation is easy to do for someone like us who are first time cruisers. The cruise ship personnel are not only courteous but very helpful and tried their very best to help anyone. It made us feel good and at ease knowing there are security all over the place. I didn't see or notice anyone complaining about any restrictive movements caused by security activities. We felt very safe getting on board. Port at Ensenada - Inspite of all the 'bad' news about Mexico, we felt very safe walking in/around Ensenada. One of their local merchants was very helpful giving us directions. He also assured us that Ensenada is safe. We never had any problem using the bathroom of one of their gas stations. Also, while we were crossing the street, a police car stopped to let us cross - I don't even see that here in the US! The only complaint I have is - the beggar's children both on city streets and on the way to the ship were very aggressive. I had to warn my son to check his pockets!!! These turned us off or we would have given a bit of our change.
Published 02/24/12
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Carnival Inspiration Cruises to the Mexican Riviera
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