14 Carnival Inspiration Caribbean - Eastern Cruise Reviews

We dont have anything to compare the Inspiration to but it was Clean, always being maintained and in good order . Getting on the ship was a breeze! The buffet food was pretty good although the temp of the food was hit and miss. The main ... Read More
We dont have anything to compare the Inspiration to but it was Clean, always being maintained and in good order . Getting on the ship was a breeze! The buffet food was pretty good although the temp of the food was hit and miss. The main dining was excellent, the staff was spot on. The staff on the ship is very nice. If you pass a staff member on the ship they always say hello or something to that affect. The comedy shows are excellent along with the main cruise shows. You must get there early or will not find a seat. The chair hogs are not a myth they are real. The pool is always full and way to small but it worked. The Serenity deck was relaxing. I was really worried after reading some reviews about this ship but I can honestly say that the people who have negative experiences must be going into this ship with very high expectations and are very hard to please. I would book another cruise on this ship in a heart beat. We were extremely pleased with our inside cabin R14. It was EXTREMELY quiet! The only time we heard any ship noise was when they were setting anchor or letting ropes out. I could not imagine spending the extra money for a balcony or ocean view on "this" ship unless the price was cheaper than a inside cabin. Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
My daughter and I decided we needed some "Me" time and since it was my birthday, we decided to take a cruise. Overall, the cruise was very good. The room was quiet, we were the last room in the back of the ship. Wish we could ... Read More
My daughter and I decided we needed some "Me" time and since it was my birthday, we decided to take a cruise. Overall, the cruise was very good. The room was quiet, we were the last room in the back of the ship. Wish we could have had a balcony but the ocean view served the purpose of seeing sunsets and when we reached our ports. I love sitting on a balcony with a cup of coffee and watching the sea go by. It's better then any tranquilizer! If you can afford a balcony, go for it! The room was clean and pretty comfortable.If we needed anything, like extra hangers, the stewards brought us what we needed. My daughter and I pack like we are leaving for a month, "wishful thinking" so I am sure the stewards had to jump over a few things to get their cleaning done. The food at the buffet and in the dining room, was very good and the service in the dining room was outstanding. I like it when staff members remember your name. Even when we were in the buffet, if any of our servers saw us, they came over and addressed us by our names. Following is where I feel Carnival has the opportunity to do better: The hots tubs on the pool deck were always filled with children, we never had the opportunity to use them. The service in the Adult Only Area was very poor. We ordered drinks and 45 minutes later we received them. The outside deck area surrounding the buffet was never cleaned up on a regular basis. Cups,plates and napkins when it was windy were flying around and in some cases ending up in the sea. The dance club was OK but they did have 18 and older nights, which can be a turn off for those us over 21. Overall for the money and the limited time we had it was a fun cruise for us! Read Less
Sail Date July 2011
Let me preface this review of the Carnival Inspiration with this: We are frequent cruisers, who have only ever cruised with NCL in the past. We have been on 5 past NCL cruises, 4 of which were to the Caribbean, one to New England/Canada. ... Read More
Let me preface this review of the Carnival Inspiration with this: We are frequent cruisers, who have only ever cruised with NCL in the past. We have been on 5 past NCL cruises, 4 of which were to the Caribbean, one to New England/Canada. We took this cruise because we brought 4 of our kids and it was a little cheaper. Well, this was a hard lesson in "you get what you pay for". We will never, ever cruise Carnival again. I was *extremely* disappointed in this cruise. The ship itself was in good shape -- but the decor was so obnoxious. Horrible colors, very loud decor, very cheesy. The food was pretty bad. There were only two dining options for dinner. Either the main dining room -- which was about a 3 out of 5 stars, and the buffet, which was incredibly bad. The "sushi bar" was the size of a small closet and it was just shoved in the middle of a hallway not connected to any other eating areas. It was really odd. I guess I am used to having multiple, GOOD, dining options -- NCL has many different restaurants on their ships. I was shocked that we only had two options for dinner. At lunch they had a burger grill by the pool and a Mongolian stir fry area by the pool. Drinks were good -- but expensive. A cocktail was around $8 each. Smoothies for the kids were $5. I know I sound like a broken record here -- but the entertainment was horrible! On this 5 day cruise, there were 2 shows. That's it. 2 productions. The other three nights they had trivia or bingo in the theater. It was ridiculous. The first night they offered "Shout", which was actually pretty good. The lead female singer has a beautiful voice. There wasn't another show until the last night. And it was so painful to watch, I actually had to leave. The dancers timing was off so badly, it was distracting. Again, with NCL, they had shows EVERY night. Great quality shows, every single night, like Chicago Second City and Cirque. I guess I've been spoiled by NCL. On every NCL ship I've ever been on, the food, entertainment, and overall experience have been wonderful. Carnival was the direct opposite. The best part of the Carnival Inspiration? In my opinion, it was the cabin. The cabin was spacious for two people. There were 3 closets, 5 large shelves in the closet, and 4 drawers on the make-up desk. The bed was comfortable, the bedding was nice. It was actually roomy, and the bathroom wasn't bad at all. The staff on the Carnival Inspiration were very nice. Very gracious, very polite. Everyone smiled and were very accommodating. The Circle C club for 12-14 year olds and Camp Carnival for 7-11 year olds was pretty good. Our kids (ages 14, 11, 9, and 7) seemed to have a good time. They entertained themselves swimming or they would ask to go back to the organized kids activities, which we took as a good sign. To sum it up, you get what you pay for. The clientele on Carnival leaves something to be desired. In 6 years of cruising, I've never had to call security. I had to call them twice because of loud, obnoxious, drunken idiots in the cabin next to us. You pay cheap prices, you get cheap quality. Definitely NOT recommended.Let me preface this review of the Carnival Inspiration with this: We are frequent cruisers, who have only ever cruised with NCL in the past. We have been on 5 past NCL cruises, 4 of which were to the Caribbean, one to New England/Canada. We took this cruise because we brought 4 of our kids and it was a little cheaper. Well, this was a hard lesson in "you get what you pay for". We will never, ever cruise Carnival again. I was *extremely* disappointed in this cruise. The ship itself was in good shape -- but the decor was so obnoxious. Horrible colors, very loud decor, very cheesy. The food was pretty bad. There were only two dining options for dinner. Either the main dining room -- which was about a 3 out of 5 stars, and the buffet, which was incredibly bad. The "sushi bar" was the size of a small closet and it was just shoved in the middle of a hallway not connected to any other eating areas. It was really odd. I guess I am used to having multiple, GOOD, dining options -- NCL has many different restaurants on their ships. I was shocked that we only had two options for dinner. At lunch they had a burger grill by the pool and a Mongolian stir fry area by the pool. Drinks were good -- but expensive. A cocktail was around $8 each. Smoothies for the kids were $5. I know I sound like a broken record here -- but the entertainment was horrible! On this 5 day cruise, there were 2 shows. That's it. 2 productions. The other three nights they had trivia or bingo in the theater. It was ridiculous. The first night they offered "Shout", which was actually pretty good. The lead female singer has a beautiful voice. There wasn't another show until the last night. And it was so painful to watch, I actually had to leave. The dancers timing was off so badly, it was distracting. Again, with NCL, they had shows EVERY night. Great quality shows, every single night, like Chicago Second City and Cirque. I guess I've been spoiled by NCL. On every NCL ship I've ever been on, the food, entertainment, and overall experience have been wonderful. Carnival was the direct opposite. The best part of the Carnival Inspiration? In my opinion, it was the cabin. The cabin was spacious for two people. There were 3 closets, 5 large shelves in the closet, and 4 drawers on the make-up desk. The bed was comfortable, the bedding was nice. It was actually roomy, and the bathroom wasn't bad at all. The staff on the Carnival Inspiration were very nice. Very gracious, very polite. Everyone smiled and were very accommodating. The Circle C club for 12-14 year olds and Camp Carnival for 7-11 year olds was pretty good. Our kids (ages 14, 11, 9, and 7) seemed to have a good time. They entertained themselves swimming or they would ask to go back to the organized kids activities, which we took as a good sign. To sum it up, you get what you pay for. The clientele on Carnival leaves something to be desired. In 6 years of cruising, I've never had to call security. I had to call them twice because of loud, obnoxious, drunken idiots in the cabin next to us. You pay cheap prices, you get cheap quality. Definitely NOT recommended. Read Less
Sail Date January 2011
Some background info....This was our 4th Carnival cruise. We sailed twice on the Miracle and once on the Freedom. This was our first time on the Inspiration and also our first 5 day cruise. The others were 8 day cruises. I'm 43 and DW ... Read More
Some background info....This was our 4th Carnival cruise. We sailed twice on the Miracle and once on the Freedom. This was our first time on the Inspiration and also our first 5 day cruise. The others were 8 day cruises. I'm 43 and DW is 41. Our son Matthew is 12. We were cruising with friends of ours who have two sons ages 12 and 9. Flew into Tampa the night before and stayed at the Crowne Plaza Tampa - Westshore ... pretty nice hotel for the money. Nice pool and lounge area. Walking distance to a mall where we picked up last minute things and had a very nice dinner at PF Changs... Cab ride from hotel to port was reasonable ..... Getting out of the cab I was excited to see we were FIRST on line....Had our fun pass info all printed out and ready to go. Check in took us less than five minutes. Got our zone one card and waited to be called. They started with a wedding party...VIPs and special service people. Than they called zone one....I ran to the gate as I wanted to be FIRST on the ship....I know I'm 43 but still act 12 LOL. Went up to the Lido deck for a bite to eat and a DOD.....Lido deck was crowded as you would expect. The ship was at full capacity so we figured lines would be long. All in all was not too bad. Started out to explore the ship and let the kids check things out. None of the kids wanted to do Circle C or Camp Carnival which was fine by us. Our rooms were ready fairly quickly and luggage arrived not long after. Muster drill was handled nicely. They had passengers sit in different areas of the ship and show us how to use the life vests....Much nicer than standing in the hot sun trying to see the instructor. After the demonstration they took us to where our muster station was and that was the end of muster. First night we explored the ship...tried the casino and hit the water slides. After a very nice dinner we went to the shows. (More on those later) Went to a couple of the lounges for some drinks and called it a night. First sea day we enjoyed all the ships activities. Bingo...water slides...trivia....music...over all a good time. First stop was Grand Cayman....We booked the Hell, Turtle Farm and Stingray excursion with Carnival. Normally I book privately but with the kids and tendering in Grand Cayman figured better to book with Carnival. Our first stop was a town called HELL....Although the kids had a fun time saying they "went to HELL"...it was a TOTAL WASTE OF TIME. All you saw was a rock formation that was maybe 20 feet long and than you went into the gift shop. There they had all types of things to buy staying you were in HELL...Etc...STAY AWAY from the HELL TOUR if you can. Next stop was the turtle farm. It was fun, just wish we had a little more time to spend there. We were able to hold a number of turtles and see some really big turtles. After the walk through the turtle farm they had a place to order food and drinks. Grand Cayman is known for their turtle meat so I tried the turtle stew which was very tasty. I also had for the first time Conch critters. Our last stop was swimming with the stingrays. We took a 20 minute boat ride to Stingray Beach. Water was about 3 feet deep and stingrays all over the place. The guides were very helpful in showing us how to hold the stingrays. HIGHLY recommend this stop and would do it again next time in Grand Cayman. About an hour in the water with the stingrays and than back to the boat. Our second stop was Cozumel. Having been there in January we figured we would just get a cab and head to one of the beaches. In January we went to Mr. Sancho's and had a great time. However after some research we decided to go to Paradise Beach as they would have more for the kids to do. The cab told us it would be 30.00 for the 7 of us and we heading to Paradise Beach. On the way there he told us Mr. Sancho's now has water rides for the kids just like Paradise Beach. We decided to go to Mr. Sancho's again. To get on the beach was free and kids were 12.00 for the use of all the water rides and pool. My DW and our friend decided to try the jet skis...DW had a BLAST. Than the skies opened up and the rains came...and came and came....lol We decided to head back to the ship and get ready for dinner. We had a great time at both islands and would love to visit both again. Having been on two newer ships this was our first cruise on a small and older ship. That being said I can only compare to what I know of the Miracle and Freedom. Entertainment.....The singers and dancers were horrible IMO....We almost walked out of the show SHOUT but figured it would have to get better at some point...NOPE never did. The social director Stephanie was not good at all....The assistant social director Matt was HILARIOUS ...No matter if he was at bingo....trivia...dance he was always making us laugh. Food.....Can never complain about the food or service we receive from Carnival. Our waiters were excellent and knew what we would want on each night. Would bring our kids double orders of shrimp as soon as we sat down. I do have to say this is the first time I can actually say we enjoyed the Maitre D. Very friendly and came over to the table EVERY night to make sure our service was good. Staff....They were pleasant at all times but just didn't seem as friendly as our past cruises. Ship.......again because I've only been on two bigger and newer ships it's hard to compare. However I will say a few things I noticed. The dEcor of the ship was a little run down. The elevators were dark and you could barley see what was written on the floors. Around the ship there were a lot of places that needed general maintenance. I also noticed that they had no phones in the public area where you could call someone's room. Also didn't like the idea that our room had no cooler to keep our drinks cold. Overall we had a great time...We love Carnival and have another cruised booked for January and looking into another next summer. For my own personal taste I think I would stick to the larger and newer ships. Read Less
Sail Date August 2010
I will probably never go on "Inspiration" again.  Embarking and Disembarking was a breeze at Tampa though. I've been on a couple of Royal Carribean cruises and had a blast so this wasn't my first cruise.  First ... Read More
I will probably never go on "Inspiration" again.  Embarking and Disembarking was a breeze at Tampa though. I've been on a couple of Royal Carribean cruises and had a blast so this wasn't my first cruise.  First off, unless you have kids I would recommend going during the school season.  They have a very small pool and was always crowded.  The rooms were pretty good size(no complaints there).  The food was not that good at all, not even close to the other cruises I've been on.  I guess for the price of the cruise it wasn't bad.  The desserts were the best part of the meal.  The pizza bar would of been ok but the crust for their pizza was salty(can't figure that one out).  The pizza bar is open 24 hours though.  The waiters and Maitre'd were awesome.  They made the evening dining experience good.  Breakfast was the best meal of the day.  No complaints there in any of the places to eat for breakfast.  For lunch I would recommend the hamburger and hotdog line outside.  I would rate the buffet lunch inside better then the dinner in any of the dining rooms.  The food in the buffet was so so.  The salad bar was very good as well as the desserts at lunch time.  Now for the night life.  Once again I'm going to compain about the kids.  I have nothing against kids, but there should be a curfew for them.  Once all the kids left then it was ok, but they didn't leave till almost midnight.  The shows were pretty good.  I wouldn't recommend the comedy shows though.  Boring.  The karaoke was good, as well as the piano bars.  They do have areas specifically for the kids, don't know why they let them hang out around the club areas and the Karaoke bars.  The ship size is not that big, so expect alot of movement.  Definitely wear a patch or take some dramamine. You'd think I was drunk sometimes, and I don't even drink.  Overall for the first time cruiser and those wishing to take their kids this cruise would be great.  I guess I shouldn't complain to much, the price was pretty good.  For the more experienced cruiser I would not recommendthis cruise at all.  Overall the excursions at Cozumel were not bad.  The water in Cozumel is absolutely beautiful.  If you scuba dive I would recommend going to the Grand Caymans.  If you like to snorkel I would stay away from Cozumel, you will be disappointed.  Read Less
Sail Date July 2009
Even though I have cruised before my family has not. So I was so pleased with this first choice.  I have never been on Carnival cruises before.  I thought I might hate too many kids running around, but it turned out to be quite fun and ... Read More
Even though I have cruised before my family has not. So I was so pleased with this first choice.  I have never been on Carnival cruises before.  I thought I might hate too many kids running around, but it turned out to be quite fun and enjoyable.  My ten and twelve year old were upset at leaving by the end of the trip.The music on the Lido deck was wayyyyyy too loud!! I've heard the same responses from other people from other ships on the Lido decks.  I guess Carnival wants their guests to leave deaf.  This is the pool area and people are trying to relax during the day so loud electrical guitars just made me angry.  There wasn't even any steel drum Caribbean music which I would have been happy with if it was loud.  But they music they did play was unbarable some times.  PLEASE TAKE NOTE CARNIVAL music on LIDO DECK should be MODERATE! Not blasting loud!!Other than that it was incredibly wonderful.  The programs for my daughters were lovely, and my girls had a wonderful time! (That's a big plus for parents!!!)  We don't want to hear that kids hated it, we picked this cruise line because we can get a break too!!!!The shows were fantastic even for a smaller ship! For the most part every one was attentive to our needs.  Those people working on the rooms are a wonder! They were always trying to keep everything clean and fantastic!  Love the animal towels!Adults take note there is only one pool on this ship so if you want more than one pick another ship because by the noon hour it is packed and crowded on deck. We managed to do other things (there was so much to do!).Inspiration is a lovely break, but too short we really wanted to stay longer the crew was great except for the Lido deck drink servers at the front.  There were two ladies that were constantly miserable serving drinks.  guess I can't blame them it was 100 with humidity, but then again, if you don't like your job leave it!! No ones holding you hostage.  carnival expects you to be of a certain standard and now so do I!!!!  I will cruise with Carnival again.  Most likely Conquest, Valor or the new Dreambut remember...THE BIGGE RTHE SHIP THE MORE PEOPLE ON IT!  So just because it's bigger doesnot mean it's better.  Just more people to fight for things with!! Read Less
Sail Date July 2009
Had a great time on the Carnival Inspiration 6/20 sailing out of Tampa.  As I've written before in other reviews, Carnival is a line I want to hate because of the "fun ship" atmosphere (just don't like the idea of ... Read More
Had a great time on the Carnival Inspiration 6/20 sailing out of Tampa.  As I've written before in other reviews, Carnival is a line I want to hate because of the "fun ship" atmosphere (just don't like the idea of forced frivolity) but you know what?   I always end up having a good time (fun) on Carnival.   My opposition is waning and Carnival offers an incredible cruising value for the price paid.    Let me preface my review by saying we were traveling with a six-year-old which is why we selected the Inspiration, specifically because of the waterslides and the kid's club.   The Inspiration managed to exceed all of my expectations.  Food was excellent,  service was great, cabin was decent and crew were really nice.    Kid didn't like Camp Carnival, preferred hanging with the grownups and doing things like the pool and karaoke.  Can't say I blame him.  Other kids on board seemed to LOVE Camp Carnival.   One minor glitch was that bags didn't show up for several hours after the ship had left Tampa.    Eventually found them on a cart next to the pursar's desk.   Turns out our luggage had been left outside,  in the rain at Tampa, before loading on board, and the printout bag labels had run making the name and cabin difficult, but not impossible to read.  Each of the bags had 3 other plastic tags with my last name on it so I was a little disappointed that no one made the effort to send the bags down to our cabin, or at least call us and have us pick them up. Obviously we recovered our damp bags, and the Pursar's Desk offered to clean anything that was wet on the inside, an offer that was appreciated, but we didn't need.   If you're a regular cruiser you know what to expect on a cruise to I won't elaborate.  And if you're a first-timer there are plenty of other reviews on here that will fill in you in on the basics.   Carnival has a lot of nice, imaginative touches:  the adults-only deck at the back of the ship,  a sushi stand and a sandwich bar.   A special shout-out to the "Super-Charged" maitre'd.   He was a lot of fun and made our dining room experience special.   The guy doing magic tricks at the table was also a lot of fun.  And the waiter we had (a guy from Ukraine) was extremely pleasant, efficient and knowledgeable.  I wish him well in his Carnival career and beyond.   We also saw whales very close to the ship, so close that the crew were out with videocameras getting pictures.   Your kid will love the waterslides and the minigolf.   Have a great cruise and please don't forget to tip the cabin dude and waitstaff. Everyone works incredibly hard and if you have a good experience definitely show it (not just on this ship, but any cruise!) Read Less
Sail Date June 2009
Background: I had never been on a cruise before and wanted to take my 12 year old daughter on a "father-daughter" get-a-way. I choose the Carnival Inspiration primarily because of the sailing port (Tampa) and length of cruise. ... Read More
Background: I had never been on a cruise before and wanted to take my 12 year old daughter on a "father-daughter" get-a-way. I choose the Carnival Inspiration primarily because of the sailing port (Tampa) and length of cruise. It was a 5 day cruise to Grand Cayman and Cozumel. Embarkation: We were dropped off by family and easily made our way into the port building. Although Carnival said you wouldn't be allowed onto the ship until after 1:00 p.m., we were on board at the buffet by noon. I asked one of the employees at the check in counter (where you get your Sign and Sail card) if they would get busier or if they were just very efficient. He replied that by 1:00 p.m. they would be packed with people. Boarding the ship earlier allowed us time to explore the ship without the crowds. We were also able to glance into empty cabins as they were being cleaned to get an idea about the different styles of rooms. I should mention that when we dropped our three suitcases off with a curb attendant I tipped him $5.00. A man assigned to our dining table told me that when the curb attendant held out his hand for a tip, he told the curb attendant that he didn't have any cash. The man's cabin steward had to hunt down his bags and they didn't arrive until after 8:00 p.m. I don't know if the luggage was intentionally misplaced or that was just coincidence but I think it is appropriate to tip. The ship: I was in awe. It is a floating resort. Even though it is an older ship, you wouldn't know from looking at it. I know Carnival spent millions renovating it and it shows. The atrium is beautiful and has glass elevators. It has a Shakespearean style library, an art gallery, jewelry store, Spa, exercise room, miniature golf, water slide, pool and two hot tubs. There is an "adults only" deck with two hot tubs; however, I never used it as I was with my daughter. There were also a number of bars, dance clubs and a casino; however, I didn't use any of those facilities. Our cabin: We were assigned to cabin U-167. This was an inside cabin with bunk beds. The top bunk folds up against the wall during the day and is locked in place by the cabin steward with a special key. The only downside to this was that if you wanted to take a short afternoon nap, you had to get the cabin steward to put the bed down. I thought there was plenty of space for us in the room. It had a decent sized closet with a room safe. There was a flat screen television; however, the picture wasn't as clear as you would receive on a television in your own home. It didn't really matter as we only had it on for a few minutes a day. The only part of the cruise that didn't meet my expectations was the promptness of the cabin steward. Often by lunch our cabin still wasn't made up. Perhaps I should have mentioned this to him, but I assumed he had a lot of cabins and was doing the best he could. It didn't cause any inconvenience, it just surprised me as every thing else was so efficient. At night my daughter loved the towels transformed into animals. On board activities: We spent most of our free time at the water slides, miniature golf and pool. The line for the water slide was never long, even with so many children on board. I may have a slightly different perspective than some; however, as a Christian I was concerned with what I had heard about Carnival being a "party ship". I wasn't looking for that type of wild entertainment. I can say I was very pleased with the overall atmosphere of the ship. It wasn't a wild drunken party. I didn't hear a lot of foul language or see people passed out. For the most part it was a lot of families with younger children and a lot of young couples. The only "wild" activity I saw was at the "hairy chest competition" which we simply avoided by spending that time on the water slides. That one contest had some simulated male on female pelvic thrusting that would have made me uncomfortable had my daughter been present. There was one late night comedy show that the ship clearly labeled as R-rated. The rest of the entertainment seemed very family friendly. We loved the magician and the family comedian was very good. The cruise director and his staff did a great job. There were a few other competitions that were geared more for couples so I'm not sure how those were. My daughter had no interest in the kid's club so I'm not able to rate that. We did have a 10 year old girl at our dinner table that just loved her club though. She said they keep the kids busy with different activities every 45 minutes. Food: On the same level as the pool (Lido deck), at the rear of the ship, is the buffet. On different days Carnival featured a different country's food. The first day was Italian, then later in the week French and Mexican. Every buffet had 4-8 choices of entrEe and sides along with a salad bar, sandwich station, pizza and ice cream stand. There were always lots of fresh fruit, yogurt and a dessert station. Carnival provided all the coffee, water, tea, lemonade and fruit punch you could drink. If you wanted a soda you would have to buy it individually or buy a beverage card at the beginning of the cruise. They both seemed like a waste of money to me. There was also a late night pool party with lots of Mexican food the night we came back from Cozumel. The midnight buffet was beautiful to look at. It started with an ice sculpture, then had all kinds of fruit carvings and ended with breads, pastries and chocolates. We walked past it, but were too tired to stay up until 12:30 a.m. which is when you could actually begin eating. We ate four of five dinners in the dining room. This ship will assign you to one of two dining rooms and either a 6:00 p.m. or 8:00 p.m. dining time. We had the 6:00 p.m., which I thought was perfect, as it fit in with our dinner schedule at home. If you get hungry later you can always stop by for Carnival's 24 hour pizza and ice cream stand. The pizza was excellent, not the typical cheap pizza you might expect from an all night stand. Our dining room was beautiful. It was as classy as any fine restaurant on shore. Carnival sat us with other families with young children which made it nice for my daughter. This also put all the adults in the same age range allowing us much in common. The head waiter was excellent, offering us as many starters and entrees as we desired. The starters are good but quite small. It was not uncommon for most people at our table to order two. The entrees were varied every night and very good. The night we had lobster, almost everyone ordered two each. Starting the second night, the dining staff put on a small show after each dinner. It was a lot of fun; they would sing and dance around the room. After the brief show we would have dessert. The chocolate melting cake was delicious; although it was so rich I couldn't finish it. Other than our dinners in the dining room, we ate all our other meals at the buffet. We tried one breakfast in the dining room but it was no better than the buffet and took a lot longer. Overall I was very pleased with the quality and quantity of all the food served. Grand Cayman: Our first stop was in Grand Cayman. I chose to book an excursion independently and went with a Moby Dick Stingray/snorkeling tour. It was the highlight of my daughter's trip. She was able to get into about three feet of water and hold and feed those beautiful creatures. The Carnival cruise director gave a speech about how if you book independently and miss your ship you are on your own, but after all the good reviews I saw about Moby Dick I took my chances. It was definitely the right choice. By booking myself I paid half of what you would pay through the ship. We also had far less people on our boat than the cruise ship excursions. Capt. Nicholas and William did an excellent job. William spent a lot of time helping my daughter get comfortable holding the stingrays and was never impatient. Moby Dick was also very careful to make sure we were back in plenty of time to catch a tender back to our ship. I should mention, Carnival will tell you over the loudspeaker when the general public may head to the tenders to get off the ship. They do this to get those who booked excursions through them off first. They do not announce when it is time for their excursion cruisers to go as they don't want other people heading down at that time. We went with the first Carnival excursion group and had no trouble getting on the tender. Some people had excursion tickets and first tender tickets; however, all they do is scan your Sign and Sail card. Cozumel: The ship docked at the pier so all you had to do is walk off the ship. In Carnival's literature and on the Mexican government's web site it mentions that single parents should have a letter from the other parent giving the child permission to go ashore. I believe this has to do with the fear of parental abductions. I had a letter drawn up and notarized. I asked the Purser's desk and they didn't need it. No one on shore ever asked for it. It may be a Mexican government requirement but I never did have anyone ask me for it. You don't go through any type of Mexican customs. Perhaps it is just a safety feature should a question come up. We decided against any excursions and decided to just do our own thing. We chose to catch a cab and go to Chanakaab National Park. We avoided the taxi vans which we were told won't leave until they fill up and began walking into town. Within two blocks a cab flashed his headlights at us and I waved him down. It cost us $10 total each way plus I gave a $2 dollar tip. The cost to get into the park was $16 per person; however, I used an internet coupon and it save me four dollars total. We rented a locker for two dollars as I brought my good camera. The park was nice. We snorkeled for a couple of hours. I brought some bread from off the ship in a plastic baggie and fed the fish. It was awesome. They will swarm you to the point you can't see anything in front of you but fish. We had a disposable underwater camera and have some great photos. If you are an experienced snorkeler you may be bored with this site as there is very little rock and coral; however, as this is all new to my daughter she was thrilled. We caught a cab back to the ship, cleaned up, ate a late lunch, then went and did some shopping. I tried to find a music shop off the beaten path, as my daughter plays in a youth symphony. I quickly realized that Cozumel is much different once you go outside of the tourist areas. Although I never felt threatened, it was definitely impoverished to a level you don't see in the main shopping areas. Disembarkation: We were in port by 6:00 a.m. Carnival was allowed to let passengers off by 7:30 a.m. We chose to carry our luggage off. It was the "self assist" departure and allowed us to get off an hour early. If you had your suitcases taken off you had to wait until 8:30 a.m. although I'm not sure why. Customs was a breeze. We had filled out our Customs paperwork the night before listing what we had bought and went right through. Final thoughts: As this was my first cruise I have no real objective way to compare it with other cruises. We had a great time and I would love to do it again. The dining staff was great, the food was good and the weather was perfect. We had a lot of fun on the ship and enjoyed our days at sea just as much as our days in port. Our final day at sea had strong waves; however, the purser's desk will give you motion sickness pills for free. I don't know what I could change to make it much better. Over all, it was a superb experience. Read Less
Sail Date May 2008
We are from Ohio, so the weather here in January can be a bit unpredictable. Instead of flying down the day of embarkment and risking missing our vacation, we flew down the day before and stayed the night in Tampa. We booked a room through ... Read More
We are from Ohio, so the weather here in January can be a bit unpredictable. Instead of flying down the day of embarkment and risking missing our vacation, we flew down the day before and stayed the night in Tampa. We booked a room through Travelocity at the Days Inn East-Ybor city for about $80. The rates there are usually lower, but as it was the week before the super bowl, prices were up everywhere. It was about a 15 minute taxi ride to the hotel which was about $35. If you book this hotel, be advised that if you have an early flight in, they charge you $5 per half hour you arrive before their 4pm check in time. Also, it's not a horrible area and there is nothing but a gas station within walking distance, but they do have several take-out menus available. Day 1: We arrived at the port of Tampa around 10:30 am. Carnival will tell you that you should not show up until 12, but things will be much faster if you do. There is a little coffee shop that offers breakfast, so we grabbed some food and sat outside. Men will come around and offer to take your bags for you. It's not required, but do this! It's free (but they work hard, and carry your luggage around, so why not tip them?) and this also means that when other people are wheeling their luggage around the ship until the staterooms open at 1:30, you are able to explore! Embarkment was a breeze. Have your FunPass ready to go with your ID, and credit card if that's how you are setting up your sign and sail account. (I used cash, so when you get on the ship, go straight to information and set up your account while there is no line. They will say the purser's desk doesn't open until after dinner, but they were open immediately). We took a walk around the outside decks of the ship (we were the only ones on the upper deck!) and took some great pictures. Lunch was being served at the Lido buffet, which was decent (I would recommend going to the indoor buffets for food, everything served outdoors seemed to be the same temp. as everything else). When the staterooms opened at 1:30, we found our room and met our stewardess who's name I could never remember, but she was super sweet. (If you leave a tip the first day asking for ice, you will never be without it). We were seated in the Mardi Gras dining room for the 6:00 dinner. The only thing I regret about this dinner time was that we didn't get to see when we went under the bridge, but I wouldn't have changed the arrangement for the world. I'm not quite sure how the seating arrangements were made, but we were with all people our parent's ages, but we still had a great time. Vanburn "Spice" from Grenada was our headwaiter, and he was wonderful! He made jokes that completely went over the heads of the 3 other couples with us, but had tears rolling down our cheeks we were laughing so hard! Omar from Colombia was the assistant waiter, who was also outstanding. Sani, who brought us our drinks remembered our names and what we wanted to drink after only the first night. He also works the piano bar, and knew us then as well. He was FANTASTIC! There is not one bad thing I can say about the dining room food for the whole trip. The Melting chocolate cake is a must try. Don't ever complain about portion size or not liking your food. Just ask for more/something else. Nobody will question it, and they will bring you as much of whatever you want. There were several nights where we both got 2 appetizers, and my boyfriend got a second lobster on elegant night. You will never go hungry. That night, my boyfriend and I went to the 21 and older serenity deck and sat in the hot tub. I don't know whether people hadn't found it yet, or what, but we had the whole deck to ourselves and it was fantastic. We were exhausted and decided to call it an early night (9pm) but when I woke up and realized there was no clock in the room, I ended up wandering outside to see if it was light yet. I realized later that day that there is a channel that overlooks the bow, so from then on we left it on all night so I could see if the sun had started to come up yet. Day 2 (fun day at sea): The first full day at sea, there were a lot of fun things going on, there was a hairy chest contest which was hilarious, and Felipe, the cruise director (woo-hoo!), had a talk about the shore excursions available (hint: if you don't go to the talks, they play them repeatedly on the one channel if you decide you want to watch it). We competed in the adult putt-putt competition (my boyfriend would be disappointed if I didn't mention he came in 3rd of about 30) It was a blast! That evening was the captain's reception and formal dinner. We dressed up and had lobster, which was phenomenal, but as I mentioned earlier, my boyfriend had seconds... so rather small. This evening I also discovered that they sell punch cards for the drink of the day. You get 5 drinks (including 1 souvenir cup) for about $26. The drinks are $6.95 +gratuity otherwise. After dinner we went to see "Shout," which there was not enough seating for and we stood in the back. It didn't matter, because it was fun and we had a good time singing along and dancing in the back. Then we went to the R rated comedy show in the Candlelight lounge. He was really funny, and used a lot of crowd participation which was fun. Day 3 (Day in Grand Cayman): When I read these reviews before my trip, I never read about port days, because I already knew what I had planned. I'll explain this day because it was not as great as what I had planned, and is the ONLY thing I can find wrong with the cruise experience, and it WAS NOT Carnival's fault. We booked the "Discover Cayman: Stingray, turtle farm, and Hell tour" We got off the tender, and found out our group had already left (we were on time!) We got on a bus with another tour who took us to our group at the boat. The stingrays were fantastic, and I highly recommend this part! When we got off the boat, however, 12 of us didn't have a bus to get on. The bus driver forgot to pick us up. When he came for us, a woman asked for his name, and he said to call him "Goofy," she asked for the bus number and again he replied "Goofy". He told us we would only have 30 minutes at the turtle farm. (his guided tour during the ride was nice, and I did enjoy it) He set a time for us to meet at the bus and told us to leave our belongings on the bus because he would not be leaving. The turtle farm was great! You get to hold the babies and it is wonderful! We came out to meet "Goofy" and he was not there. We found someone from the same company who made up some excuse about "Goofy" and his personal life, but agreed to take us to Hell which is where "Goofy" would be waiting for us. Hell was nice, but there's not much more to say as we were getting very close to missing the last tender out of Grand Cayman at this point and I was in a full blown panic. We made it, but I was upset, so I talked to the people at the information desk, who were very concerned and understanding, and refunded 25% of our shore excursion cost. I hate complaining, but thought it should be mentioned. Dinner was great as usual, and every night after dinner when we came back to the room there was a different towel animal waiting for us. I fell in love with the manatee we received the first night and our stewardess taught me how to make him! I told her how much I loved Stingray city, and the final night she made me a stingray. While I'm on the topic of our stewardess, I'll mention that she came twice a day, everyday, and provided turndown service at night which was nice to come back to. The room had razors (which I forgot), toothpaste, antacids, soap, body wash, beach towels, and the softest robes EVER. It was wonderful. And our room, which was an inside room with a queen was very spacious. There was a fake window, which made it less claustrophobic for me. Day 4 (Day in Cozumel): We did the mini jeep and snorkel tour. It was fantastic, and I'd never be able to say enough how absolutely wonderful our tour guide Alvero (Al) and his driver Wally were. It was a perfect trip and I would recommend it to anyone who wants a (very safe) adventure. Such a beautiful tour! We made it back with two hours left, so we did some souvenir shopping and stopped at the Three Amigo's bar. We had lunch (very good) and 3 margaritas each (the best I've ever had) and it was under $60, which was reasonable for how much we drank. That night we went to the Carnival Colors deck party and had a great time dancing and cheering for the Blue team! We also went to the love and marriage game show which was a definite must see. Day 5 (Fun day at Sea): I don't think it ever made it out of the 50's on Friday. It rained steadily until about 4pm. I spent a good portion of the day on the Serenity deck in the hot tub with a family from Dallas, and a couple from Alaska. My boyfriend slept off his margaritas. We got lunch at the buffet (like we had done for breakfast and lunch all week, and it was good) and then went back to the room and watched "The Dark Knight" which was nice, because it's a recent movie. Dinner was fun, but sad to say goodbye to our wait staff and the other couples. It was still very cold after dinner, so we called it an early night. Day 6 (Debarkment): We did the self assist, and were off the boat by 8:15. Customs was a breeze, and we had purchased transfers through Carnival (hint: your boarding pass is in your FunPass documents) and were to the airport ready to head home by 9:00. All in all it was a fantastic vacation, and I couldn't have asked for a better last hoorah before I start my new job on Monday. Read Less
Sail Date January 2008
We have had a family cruise before on the Elation (our first one during the infamous Valentines day storm of 2007). We decided to do it again to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary year. Due to College and organized sports schedules, ... Read More
We have had a family cruise before on the Elation (our first one during the infamous Valentines day storm of 2007). We decided to do it again to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary year. Due to College and organized sports schedules, we needed to book it January 3rd and keep the younger kids out of school. We flew to Tampa a couple of days before due to the problems we almost encountered with delayed and cancelled flights the trip before. We were traveling with two adults, two 19 year olds, two 16 year olds, one 14 and one 12 year old. We cruised before, so we new what to do. We took a paid shuttle, reasonable price for the 9 of us $140.00, round trip from motel to port and then port to airport, with the number of us he gave us a deal! The porters took our luggage, and from past experience we did not tip the workers, as they are employees of the port and should not be tipped. We got to port fairly early so we could embark early, we wanted to enjoy ourselves every minute of this trip. We did the fun pass prior to traveling to Tampa, the passports were with the fun passes, etc. It took us about 10 minutes to register all 8 of us, my niece registered herself. We sat a few minutes, realized they were calling groups to load the boat, well, we entered the line and even though it was not our group, we left anyhow, they took us right on the ship. We entered the lido deck and had a buffet lunch with the other 5 family members we met there. You are allowed to bring a limited amount of your own drinks aboard, sealed,I believe one per adult, so we had 3 bottles of wine to enjoy over the next several days. We opened the first on the lido deck. The kids explored after lunch. We were able to enter our rooms about 130pm. Our luggage was there. My daughters one bag lost its tag along the way and we had to obtain it later in the day from the information desk. Of note, my mother in law was in a wheelchair due to her walking difficulty, the staff escorted her the entire embarking process and up to the lido deck. The kids went up to the lido deck, my husband and I took the tour of the ship at 2pm. Smitty, the fun ship team member was very funny and showed us the layout. He was very good at helping us understand the spacial layout on the ship between what is always found in what areas, aft, midship and forward. Before leaving port, we had the lifeboat drill, very informative, seemed however to drag on for a while, I think it was because there were people not following directions and that slowed the process down. Even a new bride and groom, in gowns and tux showed up like they were supposed to. What a site, a life vest on a gowned bride. What a memory! We were looking forward to our first dining room experience. We always book the early seating, as we like the evening shows and my husband and mother go to the casino. We ate in the Carnivale dining room, our waiter Sarwar from India, what a pleasant, professional and extremely friendly staff person. He was obviously very comfortable with what he was doing. My husband ordered several appetizers and entree's. We all sampled each others, as our family always does. The food was very delicious. I have read several review's stating that the food was horrible, I cannot understand why. My kids tried several things that were new to them, one my daughter really did not like, Sarwar got her the other entree. All you have to do is tell someone, and they make it very right. My sister in law has celiac's disease, she registered that on her fun pass and each night at the diningroom, the dietician came and had her order the next meals dinner and she tailored it to her dietary needs. My strong belief, if you take the efforts to communicate your needs, others will make the effort to accommodate. I am sure if someone is diabetic, the carb or calorie content can be calculated for you. I have found Carnival very accommodating to people with special needs. We had George the Greek as the Maitre d', he was entertaining, but you can tell he was very programmed after working in that field for over 40 years. We had 13 in our group, tables hold only about 8, therefore he placed an extra table on our table so we all could sit together. He has trained his staff in that dining room very well. The serving was very professional. Each time we saw either our waiter, assistant waiter, or George the Greek throughout our travels aboard ship, they all stopped, said hello and called us by name. This trip we ate breakfast in the diningroom a couple of mornings instead of the Brasserie buffet. That was enjoyable. The menu was the same each day, but if you wanted the service, and other items not included in the buffet, it was nice. The Brasserie buffet was also the same everyday, but it still had a large variety. We took in the Welcome Aboard show, that was okay, Not quite what I expected. We watched some of the comedians, some were good, some borderline, the shows were good, the Last night show, "Fiesta La Tina" I believe it was called, was fantastic. Over the 5 nights, we got to meet many people who fill many rolls. The cruise director, Filipe, was very nice, my husband spoke to him about getting a tour of the communications room, as he has a ham radio license, is an examiner, holds the highest license, is a civil air patrol and red cross volunteer, he really is interested in that stuff. Filipe said he would ask the captain, but it may not be possible due to the increase in homeland security. He followed up with us and stopped us in the hallways and called us by name the entire trip. My husband never got the tour, but at least we felt he made an effort to get one. We had two fun days at sea, nice weather on the first fun day at sea. We sat on the deck, relaxed, read, etc, most of the day. The Inspiration has the Serenity deck, we took in some of that too. Despite booking the trip during usual school time, the pool was a little too crowded. The hot tubs also. I found on Lido, the hot tubs were full of kids. The Serenity was better to get into. Both the lido and the serenity music was a little to loud. I however know we had a large amt of older clients this trip and I often heard them say it was too quiet. The day in Grand Cayman was beautiful! We did the reef and shipwreck snorkel. None of us have snorkeled before, our guides were funny, helpful and very encouraging, a fun time was had by all. They even provided a cooler of ice to keep our drinks we brought with us cold. We paid about $44 each and found it worth the trip, cannot wait to see the pictures. We walked about Grand Cayman and went back to the boat by midday. (8-2pm was the docked time). Although the food is safe on the islands, due to budgeting for our large group, we went cheap and ate on the ship whenever we could.As for Cozumel, we just walked around, shopped, hit Senor Frogs, (our group split up). Where we docked at port, it was a cab fare to Senor Frogs and the main shopping mall. $7.00, each way. The roads are horrible, bumpy and dangerous. I would not want to walk it. I stayed with my Mother and pushed the wheelchair. We often felt as though we were being harassed by the people at the stands in Cozumel. Everyone wanted the American money. We were off ship about 2 hours, that was all my Mother could stand. After a frozen margarita at a local spot, we all returned to the boat. Very easy process with the correct identification. The last fun day at sea was nice but cold, we had a spot of rain and winds, cleared me off the deck, I like the warmth! Overall, we met some very special staff. Our waiter was great, he spoke with us often. We give the cruise ship staff credit, they are away from their families for long periods of time and their friendliness does not reflect some element of sadness being so far away from their families. Everyone smiled and greeted. I always say thank you and hello as I roam around the ship. We had the opportunity to speak at length with a Dancer. He spoke of how the cruise line had strict rules, but none of them were unfair. They were allowed to go to the hot tubs on their off time. He said the staff is happy with how they are treated. I give the cruise line kudo's for providing a positive environment for their staff. They all do seem very happy, it is reflected everyday with their interaction with cruisers. Through both my cruises, I noticed that noone was competitive with each other, they all work as a family and team. Our rooms were immaculate, always picked up. I find it amazing that with our strange comings and goings how the steward and staff know when we leave our room, when to replace the towels and open the beds. We were very lucky, we were invited to the Captains Cocktail party, the previous cruiser cocktail party. Free drinks and food. They were nice. We wanted to win a free cruise, no such luck. I did win a free DelSol bag at one of the shopping informative sessions. The photographers were great. We had a wonderful photographer who took the pictures on formal night for the 13 of us, then split us in families. She did a great job. Thanks. I think the photographers should offer a discount on the pictures if ordered in a group. I had such a large group, if I was able to get the pictures I really wanted, it would cost about $500, who can afford that these days. Now for the not so positive comments.... There was too much drinking done on board. I know that is how the ship makes money, and some people have to have fun only when drinking. Not a great example for the kids. There were waiters everywhere asking if we want a drink, a simple no thank you worked. Sometimes if I was in a conversation, a hand up worked well. The pictures were taken all over the ship plus the ones we took. A little overwhelming at times. People like Bingo, I found bingo to be expensive and out of reach for me. The sales pitches throughout the ship make everything seem like gold. I never met my room steward, I would have liked to have met him. I met his assistant. My other family members had the steward knock on the door to introduce himself. We had the gratuity taken off two rooms as they were minor children. Perhaps that is why. Disembarking was horrible. NOT like our last time. The non-US citizens need to go through immigration first. That is US law. The people needed to follow those directions. It held up everyone else from leaving the ship. We did self assist as our flights were not going out until 6pm. We wanted to stay on the ship as long as we could. About 930am my husband had enough and wanted to leave. Empress disembarking floor was packed, and I as the last in my group could not get out of the elevator. I rode the elevator up and down about 4 times. I went up one floor, carried my suitcase down one flight and joined the rest of my group. I think if we were to wait until our zone was called to leave, it would have been better. I would avoid Cozumel and Grand Cayman if you want beach scene only, both you need to sign for excursions to take in a beach. Overall, you get out of a cruise what you put in. Research, read, learn before you go. Prepare and plan your days. Review the Carnival Capers daily events, circle the ones you want to do. Review the layout cards found at the information desk and plan how long it takes to get from your diningroom to the Paris Lounge, etc. Always speak up if you don't like something, they want everyone to leave very happy, they will go beyond the call of duty to make it that way. If you don't like the food, tell them, they will make it right. If you have allergies or special needs, they do not read minds. Communication is a necessary component in satisfaction. I cannot wait to go again!!! Read Less
Sail Date January 2008
My brand-new husband and I headed out for our honeymoon on the Carnival Inspiration on Sunday, January 13th, driving from Atlanta to the port of Tampa. We'd used Hotwire (HIGHLY recommended) to get a room at the Intercontinental Tampa ... Read More
My brand-new husband and I headed out for our honeymoon on the Carnival Inspiration on Sunday, January 13th, driving from Atlanta to the port of Tampa. We'd used Hotwire (HIGHLY recommended) to get a room at the Intercontinental Tampa for the night at about half off. The very kind staff there upgraded us to a suite upon hearing that we were on our honeymoon, and I have never stayed in a nicer hotel in my life. It was fantastic, and I can't recommend Shula's inside enough - pricey, but the best filet mignon I've ever had. Please do understand that this all is coming from a first-time cruiser, so... I may be talking out of my... well, you know. The Intercontinental allowed us to leave our car in self-parking for free and take a cab to the port. Embarkation was pretty quick, considering all the people that had to be processed. I would guess about 30 minutes from walking in the port's door. Our oceanview cabin was on the Riviera deck and nicely appointed; the only thing I could've used (that I foolishly left at home!) was an in-room hairdryer. Being on the bottom-most passenger deck, we heard all of the waves hitting the boat and felt the boat rocking a lot, but it was honestly soothing. Between that and the comfy mattress, pillows, and comforter, I got better sleep than I have in months! Our stateroom steward, Jimmy, was fantastic. It's SO nice to come back to a nice, clean room after being out all day, AND you get a cool towel animal. Those cracked me up. (My husband: "I don't know what's more amusing, the animals, or you squealing at them every night.") I have no experience with what the ship looked like before its overhaul in drydock, but it's quite pretty now - unless you look too closely. I was quite puzzled after a few days, because there were some things that still looked quite beaten up. Railings, elevator doors and ceilings, some walls, frames around pictures... It very well could be that those were pieces of the "old" ship that were being reused, so take that with a grain of salt. I will say that our dining room, the Mardi Gras, was really lovely, and the double staircase in front of the bar in the Empress deck was a work of art. We also really loved the Shakespeare library. Beautifully done. Whoever designed the Brasserie on the Lido deck needs their bodily fluids tested, though - illegal substances may be to blame for that one. It's almost like something out of a bad sci-fi movie... Purple tentacles going everywhere. Wish I'd taken a "Look at how weird this is!!" pic, but alas, hindsight is 20/20. Speaking of the brasserie, the food there is so-so, and the employees aren't terribly knowledgeable if you ask a question. On the other hand, the Mardi Gras dining room was fantastic. The food was almost always great (with one piece of advice - "chilled strawberry soup" is melted ice cream, seriously... I fell for that twice), and the maitre d is fantastic. His name is "George The Greek", and he's been working for Carnival for 23 years. Awesome guy. Hi-larious. Our waitress, Lelix, was just wonderful. Two pieces of advice: Try the chocolate melting cake, for one. And two, don't joke to the waitress that you'd like "one of everything" on the dessert menu, because enough people have seriously asked that that she will comply without even blinking. We, thankfully, caught the poor girl in time. The entertainment is honestly so-so... Some of the things felt hastily put together and were almost in a hallway. The comics weren't really that funny, unfortunately. I will say, though, that if you end up being the most newly married couple on board and volunteer yourselves for the Newlywed/Not-So-Newlywed game... be prepared. You will be high entertainment for the rest of the ship, and they won't let you forget it. (On the upside, you will have significant blackmail material against your significant other before the hour's out.) I will highly recommend the Serenity deck. Lovely, small spot with two hot tubs and lots of deck lounges to sit on while you watch the waves. Peaceful, quiet, lovely place to relax and read. In Cayman, we did the Nautilus semi-submarine tour - very cool. You get to see shipwrecks. And in Cozumel, we got to do the dolphin snorkel and swim, which was amazing. My husband and I only had one main complaint. Debarkation was CHAOS. They were late docking sue to fog, and people were pushing, shoving, and actually using elbows and suitcases. The self-assisted debarkation is a great idea, but they SERIOUSLY need to work out the kinks. Right now, on that ship, it's pretty much open the floodgates, and the stampede begins. Read Less
Sail Date January 2008
This was our my third cruise, we previously sailed on Royal Caribbean's Enchantment of the Seas in March 2006 and the Mariner of the Seas in October 2006. We wanted to try a new cruise line as we did not have anything to compare other ... Read More
This was our my third cruise, we previously sailed on Royal Caribbean's Enchantment of the Seas in March 2006 and the Mariner of the Seas in October 2006. We wanted to try a new cruise line as we did not have anything to compare other than Royal Caribbean. We found ourselves comparing all aspects of our Royal Caribbean to Carnival. I decided to write a review because I found it helpful reading reviews from other members before I booked my cruise. I will try to be as detailed as I can and hope that you find it helpful. We flew into Tampa on Northwest night before the Cruise and landed in Tampa around 11:30 pm. Made our way to the Taxi stop and found about 10 Taxis waiting to in line. As we went to the taxi at the front of the line, the taxi drivers on the first two taxies started fighting that it was their turn and after a few uncomfortable minutes we were able to board the taxi. Without additional drama we were driven to our Hotel at Days Inn Tampa/Port of Tampa/Ybor City. The hotel was clean and for staying a few hours it was ok but I would not recommend it. The hotel showed its age, they offered free breakfast which was had two choices of cereal on a dispenser, sticky buns, a gallon of milk sitting on ice for the cereal and coffee and juice. Hotel was $81.74 and taxi to hotel was $32. We took a taxi to the port and as we arrived the porter took our luggage and we headed inside to register. The only line we encountered was outside waiting for the IDs to be checked (we were fifth in line). We made it thru registration in about 20 minutes. We were assigned group number 6 and were asked to wait for our number to be called. At 11:30 group number 1 was called and it took another 15 minutes for number 6 to be called. We made it to the Lido deck in less than an hour from the time we arrived at the port. The staff at the port were extremely polite and helpful and the port was clean. Taxi from hotel to port was $22.00. We boarded the ship and proceeded to the Lido deck and headed for the buffet. The line was long and the food was so-so. We attempted to upgrade our cabin but the ship was sold out. All the halls for the cabins were blocked by a security door that was not opened until 1:30 PM. At 1:30 we headed to our stateroom which was an inside cabin E150, this was the only cabin available at the time we booked the cruise. We were apprehensive about choosing an inside cabin since in our last two cruises we had balcony staterooms. The cabin was surprisingly large, the beds were comfortable, and the bathroom had a large shower and much more comfortable than the Royal Caribbean's shower. We also had an extra bed stored under one of the beds. My only criticism is that there is only 1 electrical plug in the room and one in the bathroom. The position of the plug in the room was just above the desk which would not allow any of our cameras or hair dryer to be able to plug in. In addition the one plug in the bathroom was unusable. The hangers in the closet were tricky and kept falling so we did not use them. Our room stewart was Norman who was very friendly. Our luggage arrived in on our door around 7 pm. All in all we were very pleased with our cabin. After dropping off our carry-ones in our cabin we started exploring the ship. Although the ship is older it is in very good shape, the new upgrades have given this new ship a new life. I found the decks somewhat confusing due to the galley being placed in the middle of the ship and therefore does not allow free flow from one side of the ship to the other and for us to go to lunch from our cabin, we had to go up two decks go towards the end of the ship and go down one deck. I found the new waterpark to be a very nice addition to this ship, it was fully functional and enjoyed by children and adults. My favorite part of the ship was the adult area behind the candle light room which had two hot tubs and a great quiet area for relaxing with a great book. The food on the buffet was ok but not great. I did not think the selection was large and the set up on the buffet line was kind of awkward. I did not find out until our last full day that both sides of the buffet offered different foods. I assumed that it was the same as embarkation day when both sides were the same so I'm not sure how much we missed. During breakfast, they had an omelet area which became the sandwich area at lunch time. The deserts were very good. I much preferred going to the buffet for breakfast than the dining room. Breakfast in the dining room was mediocre at best so after the first two days we only went to the buffet. We always dined in the dining room. I found the food to be very good and the staff great. It is amazing the detail they remember. After our first dinner they all knew our names and our drink preferences etc, they made you feel special and welcomed. We were in the Canivale room for the second seating. On the first day of the cruise we were assigned teams by the number of the dinner table and during the cruise each team would earn points if their members participated in the ship's activities and on the last day of the cruise they would tell you which team won, well the last day came and no one mentioned the results. That was kind of disappointing. By the way, the chocolate melting cake was out of this world. The only criticism I would have is that there were activities that we could not attend due to the time of our seating such as Karaoke. Unlike Royal Caribbean where the activities were planned so no matter what dinning time you had schedule you would not miss activities. In a review I read prior to our cruise it said that the chocolate strawberries were great in the Artist Cafe and they were. I would also recommend their fruit cups. Although they charged, it was well worth it as a special treat. I was very disappointed by the Captain's Gala, what a waste of time. Although we did receive free drinks this was the one and only time I saw the captain and for this one time he and his officers acted like they would rather not bother with this whole event. The captain barely said two things and then introduced his officers and promptly walked off. I understand that they probably do this two time a week and are sick of it but there were many first time cruisers that would have loved to hear more about the ship and the captain. I never again saw the captain. This is in stark difference with Royal Caribbean where the captain goes out of his way to make you feel welcome and you see him around the ship thought the cruise. There were a lot of activities to choose from. I went to all the shows and they were great, I would say that Carnival has better shows that Royal Caribbean. The first comedian was so so and his late night adult comedy show was disappointing to say the least. I think he was upset by a hackler and thru him off his game. The second comedian (Esposito?) was great, we even went to his late night adult comedy session which did not disappoint. I only joined on one Bingo game which were awkwardly placed between activities. Usually one round a twenty dollars for 3 cards. They also tried to sell a lot of scratch off cards. I found the Cruise Director Risa and her staff somewhat so so if I compare them to Royal Caribbean which the staff becomes so involved with the guests that it makes you want to participate in their activities. Grand Cayman was great we booked the trolley experience. It was an overcast and windy day so most of the water sport excursions were canceled. The ship was late getting the clearance from the Island officials so we were not able to leave the ship until around 9 am. The island was beautiful and there are so many interesting shops but unfortunately we did not have enough time to really shop and 1 pm came way too fast and we barely made the last tender back to the ship. Calica was our next port of call and it was another overcast day. Calica is just simply where the ship docks and there is nothing but take a taxi or a bus for the excursion. There are about 4 little posts of the typical tourist stuff. We went to Playa del Carmen and did a little shopping and relaxed at the beach. A word of warning, the shops by closer to the beach are twice as expensive as the ones on the entrance. It was very nice relaxing day. We went back to the ship around 3 pm. We had two sea days and they were awesome and relaxing. I visited the casino and played lots of poker. At first I won but then I lost. Surprisingly the casino was pretty empty and even the casino staff remarked that it was a lot lighter than normal. We attended the art auction and bought a piece of art. I can't wait to to receive it in the mail. Embarkation was pretty easy. The ship was late getting clearance to disembark so the first people off the ship was about 8:30. We were group number 10 and our number was called around 9:45. We walked off and went to the line number 10 where our luggage was waiting for us. No issues going thru customs and were in a Taxi within 25 minutes. The Port was very organized but one of the escalators was broken and if you did not want to walk down two flights you needed to wait for the elevator which caused a wait of a about 5 minutes. All in all this was a good trip and we had a lot of fun on this ship. I would sail again in Carnival but I think I would choose one of the newer ships. Read Less
Sail Date November 2007
BACKGROUND: I am a first time cruiser, age 29. I traveled with my wife who is 31, and also a first time cruiser. I am a very large and tall guy, which was a major concern. I have become an avid reader of cruise websites and message boards ... Read More
BACKGROUND: I am a first time cruiser, age 29. I traveled with my wife who is 31, and also a first time cruiser. I am a very large and tall guy, which was a major concern. I have become an avid reader of cruise websites and message boards and have learned many tips that have proven to be very helpful. We booked the 4/23 Inspiration cruise after learning that my best friend would be getting married on 4/21 in Tampa and I would be the best man in his wedding. I brought a collapsible chair just in case deck chairs weren't sturdy enough. We also had lanyards from walmart and id badge holders off of ebay which worked out great for keeping our Sign and Sail Cards, ID's and cash. So many people asked me where I got those from and even told me I should have brought extras to sell. PRE-CRUISE: We departed from our home city of Columbia, South Carolina on Friday, April 20th early in the morning and arrived in Tampa around 4:00 pm. We booked the Amerisuites Busch Gardens Hotel on priceline for three nights pre-cruise. It turned out to be a perfect location because of its proximity to the wedding site and ease of travel to the cruise terminal. We were literally a couple of blocks away from the wedding. I have heard people say not to book in the Busch Gardens area, but it was very safe, convenient and the hotel was very nice. The hotel is changing over to Hyatt Place, and all of the rooms were already fully upgraded with a nice dEcor and include 42inch plasma Televisions. The rooms were very comfortable and the staff was extremely friendly and helpful. Sunday we visited the Florida Aquarium right at the port. It was a great entertaining afternoon, and we got to see the Carnival Legend and take pictures of it from the aquarium. After the aquarium we went to University Mall which was about a mile from our hotel. It's the average mall, but we mainly went to just walk around and eat. We had a great time overall in Tampa. EMBARKATION/DAY 1: We arrived at the port around 12:15 pm. We knew how to get to our terminal, but we were not really aware of how the whole parking/unloading luggage process worked. We circled the block a few times and eventually found the correct garage entrance. They told us we needed to pull into our terminal to unload our luggage with our porters if we were not carrying it on. We did as they instructed and got a few additional luggage tags from the porter and he unloaded everything and we tipped him. The porter was very pleasant and friendly. Parking and embarkation didn't really take long at all. Maybe 20-25 minutes from the parking lot to boarding the ship. We were on board around 1:00pm. We immediately headed for our cabin U4, which was a porthole on the upper deck at the front of the ship. The cabin was larger than I expected, as were the portholes. It was not ready yet, so we sat down our carry on bags and headed to the Lido Deck for lunch. We ate burgers, hot dogs, and fries which were all very good. We started off the cruise on a very full stomach. After lunch, we walked around the ship a bit to explore the public areas. While the ship was large, it was not overwhelming as we thought it would be and it didn't take us long to get our bearings and figure out how to get around. There were people everywhere cleaning. We returned to our rooms and it was ready for us. Announcements were coming in every few moments it seemed. We met our cabin steward who didn't seem very friendly. She wasn't rude but it seemed as if she wasn't as wonderful as some of the stewards that everyone wishes they could take home. It was almost time for muster drill. Some of my luggage arrived and one of my bags came back with one of its handles shredded and ripped off. I called my cabin steward and she told me to take it to the pursers desk. Muster Drill time...I won't spend a lot of time on muster drill in this section of the review, but it didn't seem very well organized. I was also very uncomfortable, and my allergies were bothering me because our room seemed to be smoky from the previous cruisers. After muster drill, I took the damaged luggage to the pursers desk. They asked me the value of the luggage and told me I would receive a call about it. We went back to our cabin for a little while, then headed out for sail away. We took lots of pictures and enjoyed the views for awhile then headed back to the room to relax and get ready for dinner and the welcome aboard show. All of our other luggage arrived just fine, including our rolling cooler. Before the show and dinner we stopped back by the pursers desk and they told us we would have a "letter" in the morning regarding our damaged luggage. We decided to give the dining room a try on the first night. We thought that we wouldn't enjoy the dining room and would prefer the buffet but we had the friendliest most welcoming head and assistant waiters. Both were great and my favorite staff on the cruise. We had a late 8:30 seating in the Mardi Gras Dining room. The Maitre D was Ajimi. We sat a table with a bunch of young couples, all of whom were first time cruisers. Dinner was kind of awkward as there was very little conversation or small talk. Everyone warmed up a bit before the end of the meal. We enjoyed the food although I can't remember what we had the first night. I remember having the pasta dish as an appetizer which I really enjoyed. Dinner moved quickly. The welcome aboard show was cheesy but hey, it was something to do. The first comedian Tony Esposito was very funny. We went to bed, and the rocking of the ship was very noticeable the first night. My wife is prone to motion sickness but she slept like a rock. She was taking bonine and ginger pills and seemed to handle the movement very well. She didn't even notice that night. DAY 2: AT SEA We slept in pretty late because we were still tired from the wedding and all the activities in Tampa. We got up and went to lunch at the Brasserie. I had a grilled reuben which was very good and my wife had a burger and fries again and some fruit. We are not big fans of the sun and heat, so we found a nice shady spot with a breeze and a view beside the childrens pool on the promenade deck. Surprisingly there were very few children. We didn't see many kids at all the entire cruise. It was quiet and breezy and we drank and slept the afternoon away in loungers. Everyone on that deck seemed to have the same idea. I spent a little bit of time in the casino, which wasn't smoky at all! I only went 20 dollars, I won 10 dollars on the wheel of fortune machine. I only played for about 45 minutes before getting bored. We never got our letter from the pursers, so we went by to check on it. They printed it out and it was just an insurance claim form. I was expecting a small onboard credit or something but now we have to file an insurance claim. We also asked about the tender process because we booked an independent stingray city sandbar tour. They told us to just go down to level 3 in the morning around 7:45 or 8:00 with our excursion reservation. We went back to our spot and then watched the sunset. It was amazing. We didn't bring clothes for formal night so we skipped the dining room and ate dinner in the brassiere. The food was decent, but we preferred the dining room, or the lido grill. We went to bingo and I think we saw the second comedian, and a magician that night. The magician was funnier than the comedian. The comedian was so bad it was funny laughing at how bad he was. He reminded me of Screech from Saved by the Bell. After dinner we went back to our room after dinner and watched Pursuit of Happiness on a Carnival movie channel. . This night we felt a little bit of rocking but not as much as night one. My wife noticed more it because she wasn't as sleepy. She got a bit sick, but she says it wasn't because of motion sickness but because she ate too much. We were unable to get in touch with our cabin steward or housekeeping. We had to leave a sick bag in the garbage locked away in the bathroom all night. We left a note on the garbage can for our steward to see the next morning DAY 3: GRAND CAYMAN We woke up, showered, got dressed and headed down to level three for tendering around 7:45am. We didn't have any problem with getting an early tender and didn't have to show anyone a reservation. We had to wait about 20 minutes before getting on a tender boat. It took about 15 more minutes to fill the boat it seemed. The tendering process was better than expected. It was really nice weather and the water was amazingly blue. Stingray City and Barrier Reef: Moby Dick Tours We arrived on land around 8:30am and dodged the photographers, right on time to meet with Moby Dick tours. The Moby dick staff hadn't come down to our tender landing yet, as they were at the next landing. Soon Mark from Moby Dick showed up, and we walked to the second landing to sign in with Kim and wait for our excursion group. At around 9:30 am (8:30 GC Time) we walked a short distance to a parking lot and boarded an old school bus. There were around 25 people in our group. Our driver gave us a very informative mini tour on the ride over to the boat. We got to hear a bit of history, see some of the resorts hotels, a bit of seven mile beach and the Governor's House. I wish we had more time to see more of Grand Cayman as it looks like an amazing island. We arrived and boarded the Moby Dick. Captain Zak and William were fun and briefed us on what to expect with a stuffed stingray. The ride was very scenic and water and fruit juice was provided. We met a few people from our ship and had some great conversations on the way over to the sandbar. We had a blast with the stingrays. This is truly a not to miss experience. My wife who is expected to be afraid had the time of her life. She held and fed the stingrays and loved it. She said she could have spent the whole day out there. It was great fun for everyone, even if you think you will be afraid try it. It's a rare opportunity that you will not regret. I am a non-swimmer and I had a ball. After leaving the sandbar we rode over to the barrier reef for a snorkel stop. My wife and I stayed on the boat and dried off but we were able to see some tropical fish, occasional stingrays and even a nurse shark from the boat. The water crashing against the reef was amazing. One of the most amazing natural things I have ever seen. On the way back we saw some nice homes and some iguanas sunning on rocks. Stingray City Sandbar was unforgettable. I highly recommend a private tour with a smaller group. If we go back to Grand Cayman we will definitely do Moby Dick again. We were cutting it close, for our 1:00 tender and had to hightail it back to the landing, we got there around 1:05, but there was plenty of time. We had to wait in line about 30 minutes for a tender but it was a nice breeze clouds keeping us from being to hot in the sun. We returned to our room to find out that someone had switched our door sign from "Please Make up Our Stateroom", to "Privacy Please", so our room and the sick bag in the bathroom were never cleaned. I think we went to the Newlywed not so Newlywed Game this night. It was a riot. The passengers are often the best entertainment. This older couple married 50 plus years were really shocking and provided some of the funniest moments of the cruise. We ate at the dining room again and there were two other couples there. We got to chat a bit more with the other couples and they were very nice. The head waiter seemed so excited to see us. We had a really fun dinner and the waiters danced and entertained and got everyone involved! A conga line and limbo line ended the night. Ajimi our Maitre D was hilarious. We again really enjoyed dinner and it got us excited for our next day. Finally when we returned to our room, it had been cleaned up but we didn't get our capers for the next day! We called room service that night and ordered sandwiches and also asked could they bring us a copy of the capers. They showed up with the food and the capers and all was right. This night we didn't experience much movement at all. It seemed as if we were not even moving. We slept very well and felt refreshed in the morning. DAY 4: COZUMEL, MEXICO The Inspiration docked downtown at Punta Langosta! We got a huge breakfast from the lido deck and ate while looking across at the balconies on the Grand Princess. The omelets were very good. We got off the ship around 9:45 am. We were immediately caught by photographers before we even exited the ramp. It was a minor annoyance. I took some amazing pictures of the Inspiration and Grand Princess that just look like enhanced the sky and water is so perfect. We walked into the open air Punta Langosta Mall, and were again badgered by Cozumel natives looking to sell things, direct us to beaches or tours, or take photographs. They were all very nice and it wasn’t too annoying. The mall was huge and had a lot of stores. We knew thanks to tips from other cruisers that better deals were to be had in town. There was a quick rain and we waited for it to pass then exited the mall and headed into San Miguel. Store merchants were calling out to us from all directions it seemed trying to sell us silver, tee shirts and Cuban cigars. We passed them by and walked into a small shop area off of the main road with a bar. We bought several souvenirs at one shop, and bought a bunch of t-shirts at another. We entered both shops mainly because the people in the store weren’t bugging us. It got very hot walking around so we decided to go ahead and catch a taxi to our beach destination, Playa Uvas. It was easy to catch a cab, and the ride was $10 to playa uvas but we gave the driver a 2 dollar tip as well. It was a lot to see on the way. It started raining a little again, but by the time we got to Playa Uvas it was bright and sunny. Uvas was very nice. The landscaping, green grass, and beautiful beach and water. All of the facilities were extremely nice. We prebooked open bar and lunch. We were greeted by the hostess Carmen, who was very friendly and called over our waiter Raul to take care of us for the day. Raul was very friendly and funny. We rented a locker for our stuff and Raul took our drink orders, asked us what time we wanted dinner then sent us down to the beach. We enjoyed the spot for awhile but it had become very hot. There were several snorkel and clear kayak excursion groups who came through, but the beach was never crowded. A beautiful and relaxing spot. The place was immaculate. We spent about an hour sitting under an umbrella in the loungers, Raul brought us some drinks then we decided to come back to the restaurant and bar covered area and sit where it was cooler. Shortly after there was another quick rain. My wife wasn’t drinking alcohol and had some virgin strawberry daiquiri’s and soda, but I had a whole bunch of drinks. I had a beer to start, then I had 2 mango margaritas, then I had about 4 strawberry Daiquiri’s, then I had a regular margarita, then about two more mango margaritas, then another beer. For dinner I had garlic fish, with steamed vegetables and rice, and my wife had beef fajitas. The food was tasty and very colorful. We had to take pictures of the food. There were some huge pelican looking birds flying around frequently. We didn’t get into the water but we took pictures at the shoreline. We spent about three or four hours at Uvas. We took more pictures together around Uvas and some pictures with Raul and Carmen. We visited the gift shop but we didn’t buy anything, despite one of the merchants coming down from 15 dollars to 8 dollars on an item my wife was considering. We were going to leave and head back to downtown San Miguel to shop a little bit more before heading back to the ship, but a very heavy rain and wind storm came out of nowhere. We stayed on the covered eating and bar area for awhile and waited out the rain. Tipped the bartender and our waiter Raul, and caught a taxi when the rain slacked off to a drizzle. By the time we got to Punta Langosta/San Miguel, it had stopped raining but it was still cloudy so we decided to head back to the ship. We showered and took a nap. We came back out for dinner at the dining room only one other couple was there again. The ship was rocking like crazy that night and the dining room was moving. Dinner was good again and the waiters danced again. There seemed to be a lot of casualties from Cozumel and tequila. The dining room was less than half full. We went to the guest talent show which was fun and entertaining as well. There was actually some pretty good talent aboard. A guy even played the bagpipes. Risa was a great host for both the talent show and the newlywed game. We checked out karaoke for a little while and the clubs. Then we went to the midnight buffet and went to bed shortly after. DAY 5: AT SEA We slept in a bit again. I went to the debarkation talk, while my wife stayed in bed. When I got back she was up and we went to eat burgers and hot dogs at the lido deck. We could not get our spot all morning next to the kids pool. It seems everyone else discovered that spot too, and it was crowded. We moved around the ship all day just trying to find a spot we liked as much. We took a nap, and got up later and found a spot on the other side of the kids pool which we also enjoyed. We relaxed awhile and tried to catch another sunset, but unfortunately it was too cloudy. We decided to eat at the brassiere buffet for our last night because I was out of dining room clothes. I had a huge salad and a sandwich. We attended the last show “El Caribe”. It was vegas style and pretty entertaining. The lead female singer was very good, but the male singer was Sanjaya status. He had the energy and the performance down, he just had a weak voice which was very noticeable compared to the female lead. The dancers did a great job. It was a nice production with lots of set and costume changes and even some pyrotechnics and lighting effects. The music was very appropriate for a Caribbean cruise and some of the songs are still stuck in my head right now. We were sad to have to leave in the morning. After the show we packed and started setting out our luggage for debarkation. That night it was hard to sleep because I kept thinking about all of the cool things we had experienced. DAY 6/ DEBARKATION: We woke up around 7:30 as the calls for self assist debarkation were coming out. We showered got dressed and went to the lido deck for breakfast. General clearance was called around 9:00. There were too many people waiting in the atrium lobby and crowded on the stairs to debark with their carry off bags . It seemed as if they were stuck in line for awhile so we went back to our rooms. It was announced that we should wait awhile for it to clear up and they would announce when it would clear. About 9:25 our steward asked us to leave the room and go to the promenade on standby. We left the room and went to the promenade but no-one was out there. I looked down at the lobby and it seemed a lot clearer. Almost immediately they called for people to disembark again. We went down and a crowd quickly formed. We stood there not moving for about fifteen minutes, but when the line started moving, it went quickly. We seemed to get through the line almost as fast as we could walk. We found our luggage quickly and got a porter. He was also very nice and extremely talkative. He helped us get all the way to our car in the parking garage and even chatted with us for awhile after I tipped him and the car was loaded. We were in the car around 9:50 and headed out of the garage. THE GOOD: Embarkation, Tendering, and Debarkation were all pretty easy. The weather was near perfect, the dining room was fun and our waiter and assistant waiter made us want to keep coming back. Risa the cruise director did a great job and we really enjoyed the games and activities she hosted. I also never had to use my chair. I never made use of the plastic deck chairs, but the loungers were just fine. I think we picked the perfect time to cruise. After spring break, and there were few little kids or big kids. We got to dock for the first time in awhile on this cruise itinerary in Cozumel. And we made Grand Cayman. Besides the brief rains in Cozumel, the weather was great the whole time! THE BAD: The only negative points of our experience were our cabin steward who wasn’t terrible but wasn’t great either. Also we felt that the photographers and photo staff were pushy and annoying at times. We feel that they were much more invasive than most of the venders in Cozumel. THE UGLY: Muster Drill was miserable time of the cruise. It’s a necessary evil. It just seemed as if life vests are designed for small people. I felt like my head was about to pop off. I had to suck in and stretch to get the life vest around me. And being so tall it seemed like my head was baking directly in the sun while we stood on the deck waiting for the whistle. BEST TIPS I RECEIVED: bring a collapsible cooler if you wish to, insulated mug, lanyard and badge id holder, and cable ties to secure luggage! BEST TIPS I CAN GIVE: Do what you want, when you want. There is so much fun to be had. Do not be afraid to book private excursions with reputable companies. Do your research It will save you a lot of money, and likely a better overall experience. OVERALL EXPERIENCE: Best vacation we have ever had! We are spoiled now and want to be able to wake up and eat and not have to clean up a thing afterward. Based upon this trip, Carnival is right for us we would like to try a larger ship next time…and we are pretty sure there will be a next time! We loved both ports and would like to return, and look forward to visiting new places in the future. We brought a few things we didn’t need and we left behind a few things we should have brought. Next time will be even better. Read Less
Sail Date April 2007
We arrived at the port at 11:15am and we were on board by 12:00pm. The only glitch we had was our fun pass which had been filled out weeks in advance was not in the system, but this was remedy quickly and we were on our way. Once on ... Read More
We arrived at the port at 11:15am and we were on board by 12:00pm. The only glitch we had was our fun pass which had been filled out weeks in advance was not in the system, but this was remedy quickly and we were on our way. Once on board our rooms weren't ready so we went to the Lido deck and began eating. The food on the cruise was very good as was all the wait staff but more on that later. At 1:30 our cabin was ready. It was very clean and nicely decorated. Our room steward came by and introduced himself. I don't remember his name, but this is my fault he could tell me 100 times and I still wouldn't remember. But he was great. He was never too far away, but he was never in the way either. He was always right there when we needed something. ANd no matter how messy we left the cabin each morning or evening. he always had it looking real nice when we returned. He would have all our shoes all lined up for us, fished out from under the bed. Our ice bucket never melted down he always knew when it needed more ice. We had a bottle of champagne and he kept that iced down also. The Muster drill was quick and painless. My previous cruise it had taken over an hour and we were still doing it on sailaway. This one was all of 20 minutes. My mother had a hard time climbing stairs so they took her to another muster station and had her registered for assistance. That evening we ate in the dining room. We had early seating in the Carnivale. George the Greek was amazing. Not only did he keep us informed as to what was going on in the dining room but what was going on on the ship. Our waiters were AMAZING. They came around the first night and asked us our name. and then called us by our name the rest of the cruise. We all joked that they had a chart and reviewed it before we came in so they could remember our names, but the next day we had lunch on the Lido deck and our assistant waiter was there and he called us all by our name. We were quite impressed. The food was very good in the dining room as was the entertainment by the waiters. The Melting chocolate Cake was by far my favorite Desert. We saw a few of the shows and participated in few of the games they were alot of fun. The female singer by far was the strongest singer of the two. The male singer was a weak singer I was not impressed with him. The male dancers were very good, the female dancers were ok. Mexico was wonderful. We did the Highlights and shopping tour. For the price it was a little over priced for what we got, but it was nice. We had a wonderful time shopping and got some great bargains. We went to Playa Mia Beach and had a nice time this is a very nice beach. I would recommend going there. ONce back in Tampa. we waited until they made the final call for all to leave the ship. The announced there was only 91 people left on the ship and it was time to go home. So we headed off this process only took just a few minutes I think it only took us 20 minutes. I had valet parked and they brought the car right out to us and we were on our way. Overall It was an Amazing cruise and I would highly recommend the Inspiration to anyone looking to cruise Read Less
Sail Date February 2007
Carnival Inspiration Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 3.0 4.1
Dining 4.0 3.9
Entertainment 4.0 3.8
Public Rooms 4.0 4.1
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.9
Family 4.0 3.9
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.8
Enrichment 1.0 3.3
Service 4.0 4.2
Value For Money 5.0 4.1
Rates 2.0 4.3

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