9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
We went on a short "themed" cruise to Ensenada. We were very excited and we looked forward to our first cruise. What a complete Disappointment The Good: The wait staff and room staff were excellent. The comedy show was ... Read More
We went on a short "themed" cruise to Ensenada. We were very excited and we looked forward to our first cruise. What a complete Disappointment The Good: The wait staff and room staff were excellent. The comedy show was decent The Food was terrible.....the only decent meal was the hamburger, but how many hamburgers can one person eat. The buffet was terrible - breakfast, lunch, and dinner were all below par. The only good items from the buffet were the fresh fruit and chocolate brownies (available after midnight). The food on the ship tastes like its frozen and just reheated. The buffet even messed up the prime rib and carved turkey....The tacos/burritos/ and Mexican breakfasts on the pool deck were horrible. The only good item from the dining rooms was the Escargot (surprise, but it's soaked in garlic, butter, and topped with melted cheese). The Pool is soooooo very small. It's literally smaller than one's pool at your home, but it's supposed to accomodate 2,000 passengers. We were so very disappointed and won't be going on any other cruises after this experience. Read Less
48 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2016
Wow, we were so excited for this Cruise. It was our first. I took my husband for his 50th birthday and my mother-in-law for her 80th birthday. We booked JR. Suites with a balcony. V-5, V-7, and V9. All of which are directly under the ... Read More
Wow, we were so excited for this Cruise. It was our first. I took my husband for his 50th birthday and my mother-in-law for her 80th birthday. We booked JR. Suites with a balcony. V-5, V-7, and V9. All of which are directly under the weight room so we heard employees working out above us all night long. We had weights dropping on our ceiling waking us up with a jolt every night. The balcony's were too small to sit in the chairs provided. They are squeezed in the space so there is no where for you legs. To sit in them you have to remove the little table they give you and lift the chairs up over the railing to turn them sideways. Then you can't get back in the room until after you turn the chairs around again. Don't waste your money on a Jr. Suite. In fact, don't waste your money on this cruise. The Safety Briefing started at 4:45pm and lasted until 5:55pm. We were made to stand in lines shoulder to shoulder while we listened to it in multiple languages. Many people could not stand that long and needed to sit, despite the protest of the staff. We did not have time to change for our 6pm Dinner seating and were turned away at the door because we had not changed our clothes. The dining room had great choices and great wait staff members but the chef was not able to cook meat. We had tough veal, chewy pork loin, over done lobster (that we had to pay $20 extra for) and leathery steak. The food was horrible and not available the entire cruise as promised. Many places were closed most of the cruise. The Breakfast Buffet was the worst, cheapest food I've ever had so we tried to avoid it by going to the Dining Room for breakfast only to find that they fill your plate from the BUFFET! They have no snacks available at anytime during the cruise, a Mexican buffet with no chips and salsa and the taste bar they brag about is a joke and was rarely open. I lost 2 pounds and my husband lost 4 pounds during this cruise. I'm very glad for the burger bar as it was to only consistently good food. The drinks are great when you can get one as the bar tending staff is so slow it was faster for us to go get our own drinks EVERY TIME we wanted one. I observed more underage drinking than I ever have and security does nothing to stop it. They just follow these minors around so they don't fall down the stairs or off the boat. They hadn't cleaned the Lido deck before we got on the ship the first day, there were drink spills all over so we had to avoid the sticky mess while walking around. The ladies rest room on the Lido deck was filthy the entire cruise with only two toilets and one plugged and over flowing most of the time. That toilet didn't work the entire cruise yet they left it open and smelly. There are two main elevators to get to the top levels and one was broken for the entire cruise. They were so unorganized that it appeared that the staff had never been on a cruise themselves. To top it all off, when I would try and speak with someone to complain we could not understand them. Very few of the staff speak understandable English. I spoke with several passengers who had cruised with carnival many times and I was told not to judge them by this particular cruise as it was they worst they had every seen and not typical for carnival. However, it will be pretty tough to get me or any of my family members back on a carnival ship. Thank god for our Cabin Stewardess. Mai was fantastic! She is the only one on the ship that made us smile. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2015
My family (including 3 kids: 17, 11 an 9) spent Dec 21-25 on the Carnival Inspiration for our Christmas break. This was our first cruise and after reading reviews, we expected a great time, fun-filled vacation. Unfortunately, our trip was ... Read More
My family (including 3 kids: 17, 11 an 9) spent Dec 21-25 on the Carnival Inspiration for our Christmas break. This was our first cruise and after reading reviews, we expected a great time, fun-filled vacation. Unfortunately, our trip was less than great. Our port at Catalina was delayed by a day, putting our first day spent at sea. The seas were incredibly rough and the boat ROCKED and ROCKED! I had no idea that a cruise ship would be tossed around. The bartending staff said that the winter months off Cali are like this, so why didn't Carnival warn vacationers ahead of time? After rocking around for the first full day, we were supposed to tender into Catalina at 7:30a on the second day. However, at 8am, we were moving and moving fast and away from Catalina. It was not until 11am that the cruise director announced that we were not able to port at Catalina and instead, we were making our way to Ensenada for an early-evening port, which meant our third day was spent at sea (again, rocking and rolling). We spent the night docked and were able to spend a full day in Ensenada. Our last night was spent sailing back to Long Beach. In all, we spent 1 day and a few hours on land. All of the other time was at sea. Given this and the usual winter sea weather, you'd think Carnival would be well prepared for a lot of "ship time." The ONLY THING TO DO FOR ADULTS was to play bingo and the casino, which wasn't even open half of this time. Bingo consists of three fast games and the cheapest buy in is $20. They offered this twice in the same day. That's it. The "shows" were high school musical quality, dated costumes and performances. The best entertainment was the Mardi Gras dining staff dancing to "Gangnam Style." Really, that's it! The saving grace in all of this was the staff: atrium bartenders, Ali - the Lido deck server, David the Magician, and the comedian who made fun of kids. The buffet and self-serve food was mall food court quality (plentiful, hot) and the dining room options were banquet style. To have lobster or finer cuts of meat were $20 upcharge. Desserts were great! Service was great! The kids club's were great. Our 9 and 11 year olds had a blast. Met lots of kids and kept themselves entertained and well-hydrated! The best purchase was the bottomless soda package!!!!! In all, this was our first and likely last cruise. I am just surprised that the ship didn't have much to offer adults except for a few very dated shows and bingo. Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2015
We were so excited to go on our first cruise. We paid for Faster to the Fun which was definitely worth it and got started. Once we got going on the cruise, there was disappointment after disappointment. First, our room stunk of smoke. The ... Read More
We were so excited to go on our first cruise. We paid for Faster to the Fun which was definitely worth it and got started. Once we got going on the cruise, there was disappointment after disappointment. First, our room stunk of smoke. The room itself was fine, especially for a cruise, but stunk. We called down to complain so they sent someone who did nothing and said they'd send someone else. HOURS later, someone else came and did nothing. Fast forward again to the next day (after I got sick from the smell) and someone else came and said they could use some machine to fix it. They left the machine for longer than expected at 11pm when we were exhausted and it didn't help. We asked about changing our room and no one even valued us with an answer. That wasn't the only thing... ever single member or the waitstaff or casino staff was rude, short and unpleasant with the exception of our two dinner waiters. At breakfast buffet - rude, at the casino - disrespectful and it seemed it was because I was a woman gambling at table games, at sit down breakfast - rude, inattentive and full of attitude. I have a severe wheat/gluten allergy and anyone who I asked to accommodate (with the exception of our dinner waiters) seemed as if we were asking them to jump off a bridge and serve their water soaked bodies to us. If it weren't for the fact that my boyfriend and I made fun for ourselves in port and around the ship playing cards and people watching, it would have been the most awful trip of my life. I do not recommend this trip to anyone. To top it all off, after returning, I voiced my concerns to Carnival and they seem to barely care. After 3 tweets, a survey and two emails, I finally received a response saying sorry, we'll give you a bon voyage gift next time you sail. They'd have to pay me to sail with them again. I asked for a refund. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2015
We embarked in Long Beach heading for a 4 day cruise to Catalina/ Ensenada. After getting herd from one stop to another we were on the boat. Luckily, for us we were on the main floor and easy to locate. First impression, the décor is oh ... Read More
We embarked in Long Beach heading for a 4 day cruise to Catalina/ Ensenada. After getting herd from one stop to another we were on the boat. Luckily, for us we were on the main floor and easy to locate. First impression, the décor is oh so tacky 80's like wow, but whatever we were going to have some fun. First day we settle in, check out the activities in the itinerary, we were just soaking it all in being it was our first cruise. The workers were kind and everyone we met said hello, I did notice may passengers with "bitter beer face" I felt like saying smile you're on vacation. First day we got to check out everything on the itinerary. We played miniature golf, went to the casino, saw a comedy show. Then headed to our room for some rest as we anticipated Catalina island in the morning. Second day, around 10am we hear the Captain’s message due to weather there would be a change in plans instead of the island we would wait till the next day to dock. So we had our "At sea day" which was a bummer but it happens, can't argue with mother nature. Again, we looked at the itinerary not much to do during the day besides eat and sleep, they had some lame gift shops so we checked those out . Later that evening we hung out at the violin room for some live music, went to a comedy show, casino, played outside (miniature golf, corn hole) it was a cold windy day for June but we made the best of it. I could tell you that for most of the day time we were bored not much to do. The boat has many activity rooms that weren't utilized I think there should be different things going on at once. I wanted to Karaoke and it was sad only about 5 people in that evening. I will say the thing that got us by was the hot chocolate and sitting watching the beautiful ocean views. Get used to it because they'll be a lot of down time eating, and sitting. Finally, the third day we dock in the Catalina island. They boat us in, kind of a bummer because this process takes a while and cuts into the excursion/ exploring time. We get to the island and off we went on our search. This gave us about an hour before our excusion began. We headed to some shops and found a few overpriced souvenirs. Finally, it was time to take our “glass bottom tour” we went around the island looking at fish. It was relaxing, maybe a bit too much because I was falling asleep. There isn’t much to say about the boat, it’s a boat ride and you see fish. That was over and we were hungry, you’d think cause we’re near the ocean we’d find some seafood spots. I spotted a Mexican restaurant called "Mi Casita" from the outside it looked okay, we get seated. They bring us chips and salsa, the salsa is not homemade looked and tasted from a can. Whatever so we decided since we were so short on time to ex the food and order some drinks. We ordered Margaritas, they bring out the bring and gave us some dirty napkins. The drinks we nothing spectacular and expensive. We paid and off we went for some real seafood. Let me tell you this place of course is very touristy beautiful views but everything is overpriced. Avoid this place, it isn’t authentic Mexican food, but more half-assed microwaved Americanized-Mexican. We ended up eating some fish and chips by the boat so mediocre. About this time it's back to the boat. Time sure flies when you're looking for things to do and eat. We get back on the boat, look at the itinerary and the same things to do and eat as the nights before but we made the best of it. Again, we did the same ol’ thing comedy, casino, and ate pizza since it’s open late night. We’d grab our hot coco and head outside for some cool sea gazing. That evening I decided to order breakfast for the following morning. That morning bright and early as requested our breakfast had arrived. Unfortunately, not what we expected the orange juice was watered down and the salmon looked old. This wasn’t gonna damper our good times of relaxation. We got dressed, waited for the Captains daily message and off to Ensenada we went. We decided to do the “La Boufadora” excursion. Our guide was a very nice woman, she guided us to the bus, on our way to “La Boufadora” a fire truck almost crashed into us. Luckily, it was quick and nothing happened, our guide lady told us about the city and we enjoyed the hour or so drive up. We get there, step off the bus and were told we have an hour to see La Boufadora and then we can go to the market which we passed on our way to our walk to the location along the way sellers are trying sell you things, offer drink samples. Once we get to the location the anticipated Boufadora is nice, nothing spectacular but the ocean is beautiful that lasted about 20 minutes if that. Then we were released and told to meet up at the bus in 45 minutes. We started up the market looking and bargaining with the sellers, some spoke English fortunately for us we spoke their language too. We were able to find a few treasures, I think this was my favorite part of the trip so far minus the animal rights issue. Time flew and again not enough time, we got back on the bus and headed to our next destination. It took about an hour to reach “El Centro” this place is beautiful a great historic place, inside our guide gave us a quick tour, and your choice of sample size Margarita/ beer/ or soda. We grabbed our drink and headed to the atrium where we found a few vendors. The prices were okay, some cheaper than our previous stop. About this time it was time to get back on the bus, we hopped on and our guide told us the next time you can stay and explore the shopping strip or they would take you back to the boat. We decided to stay and explore, you have the option of walking back to the boat or taking a taxi but walking is okay since you can see the boat from your location. Let me tell you a bit about this place. It’s like the center of town, streets full of shops, street vendors, restaurants, “happy pharmacy’s” unfortunately all the vendors sell the same crap. Street after street and so much to see, after a while we got tired of everyone’s one liners all we kept hearing is “my turn” one lady said, “Come see me, I’ll rip you off for less” funny that is until someone else said the same thing. We started wondering if they have a school of how to talk to tourist, because it got old quick. Around this time we were getting hungry and asked around looking for a taco called “el gobernador” the restaurant was all the way down the strip and worth checking out the salsa and chips are authentic. The taco was okay not what we expected but it was decent. We worked our way up the street again heading towards the boat, when a taxi flagged us down so we thought he said to follow him and he lead us to his poor, tired horse. The horse didn’t want to walk, looked hungry and his feces bag was full. I didn’t want to contribute to the abuse of this beautiful animal. Finally, we reach the boat again and go straight to our room. The thing I enjoyed was the towel animals we got daily, it’s the little things. That was going to be our final night, we rested up and got dressed for a good time. Again, we did the usual boat activities and called it a night around 2am. The following morning went quick we had packed the previous night and at 8am we cleared out, only to find out that we were each charged a $15 fee, plus a $48 gratuity fee which was never specified all this time we were tipping left and right, what a rip-off. Well, we paid and finally on our destination back home. Pros: Lots of leisure time, lots of mediocre buffet food, stir-fry (limited hours), the cleaning staff, towel animals, laundry facilities. Cons: Hidden fees, not enough time off the boat (always feeling rushed), water is turned off at times, so you get brown water in the faucets, not enough variety when it comes to the activities. Next time, we will ex the excursions and head out solo, rent a golf cart and cruise around town. Out of a 10, I give it a solid 7. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2015
This was my first cruise. And it was a fun one. The people were very friendly and helpful. We didn't ever have that lost feeling. They would help us find our way, which is a good thing because the embarkation port is a big place. ... Read More
This was my first cruise. And it was a fun one. The people were very friendly and helpful. We didn't ever have that lost feeling. They would help us find our way, which is a good thing because the embarkation port is a big place. Once we got underway, we almost didn't feel like we were on a cruise ship, it was so rock solid. And we soon were getting around on the ship like old pros. They have maps all over the ship and elevators to get you to the deck you need to go to. I had heard about the food, but until you experience it, you don't know. There was food available 24 hours a day. We tried the food at the cafeteria type places and it was always very good. We had the late (8:15pm) dining in the dining room, but it wasn't that bad having to wait that late. And the food and service was great. Our first stop was at Catalina Island. They have tender boats that take you to the island. We didn't get any shore excursions. We did however, rent a golf cart for an hour drive around the city of Avalon and that was a lot of fun. We followed the road up into the hills and had a spectacular view of the bay and our ship. We had breakfast at a restaurant on the main street. Then we went and rented the golf cart. After, we strolled around Avalon for a while before heading back to the ship. The next day, we arrived in Ensenada, Mexico. We were docked, so we didn't have to ride a tender ship into port. We rented a taxi for a tour of the city. It was fun and very informative. The next day was a fun day at sea. Then we returned to the port in Long Beach. Overall, definitely worth it. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2015
My husband and I are in our early 30's and really an adventurous couple. That being said... I felt like I was sailing on a Motel 6. The ship was built in the 1990's and it showed. The pool and hot tubs are TINY, and because of ... Read More
My husband and I are in our early 30's and really an adventurous couple. That being said... I felt like I was sailing on a Motel 6. The ship was built in the 1990's and it showed. The pool and hot tubs are TINY, and because of that the pool water is extremely warm because so many people are trying to cram into it. Our room was right by a service entrance and on the main floor and the music/party kept us up until late night hours. The food wasn't even Golden Corral material ( and I consider Golden Corral pretty mediocre) it was more like your high school cafeteria. The meals in the dining room were better but not amazing. I understand that this is because they have to cook everything before hand and just keep it warm - but it was still pretty mediocre. I stuck to the seafood and that was pretty good. I am quite the foodie, so I went excited to try their food and was very disappointed. So don't pick this food for the cruise. The ports we docked at were pretty docile retirement community stuff too. Catalina Island was pretty slow. We booked a discover scuba diving adventure which was the highlight of the entire cruise - it was amazing and highly recommended. Ensenada, we held off because we heard there were locals who would sell you excursions off the boat. There weren't. There were only taxi's who would take you horseback riding or to La Bufadora. We went to La Bufadora in hopes to find some kayaks...our taxi broke down and we coasted into La Bufadora and were only able to stay 10 minutes before the taxi driver brought his friend to us and we had to leave. Because we didn't plan ahead there wasn't anything to do but shop. We wish we had bought another shore excursion. The day at sea.....borrriiinngggg......they should have shows all day, but it seemed that all they wanted to do was make money that last day. Casino stuff, shop sales, bingo..etc. Nothing to really entertain. The highlights were the waiter at our dining table who was really great and the people we met at our dining table, the comedian show at night, and the scuba diving adventure. Other than that we really weren't impressed by the ship or their daily plans at all. We won't be sticking to carnival anymore...we will look for a better ship with better food. You get what you pay for I guess. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2014
This cruise was the final part of a US tour that took us to Vegas, Grand Canyon Ranch and LA, by way of celebrating my 60th birthday. The tour got off to a good start with a direct BA flight to Vegas where we stayed at the Luxor Hotel. ... Read More
This cruise was the final part of a US tour that took us to Vegas, Grand Canyon Ranch and LA, by way of celebrating my 60th birthday. The tour got off to a good start with a direct BA flight to Vegas where we stayed at the Luxor Hotel. Vegas was everything we expected, big, brash and fun, topped off with clear blue skies and temperatures in the mid 70's. We then moved onto the Grand Canyon Ranch, where we got a real taste of the old Wild West, horse riding with Bison and songs round the campfire. LA was next, where we hired a car and stayed at the Crowne Plaza Beverly Hills. This was the low point of the trip, with LA offering little for our tastes but obviously appealing to many others. Still, we're pleased we went. On down to Long Beach to embark on our maiden cruise, where we were met by a DJ playing up-beat party music and as we had purchased the Fastest to the Fun option, we were allowed to avoid the queues and embark earlier than most. Embarkation was painless and as smooth as silk - so far so good. We were directed to our cabin and it was a pleasant surprise to enter a roomy and spotlessly clean Stateroom. We are both seasoned travelers but both of us commented on the cleanliness and appearance of the room and this standard was maintained throughout the cruise. Other seasoned 'cruisers' we had met at the Ranch told us that this ship was small but as we toured the ship, we found it plenty big enough, with numerous lounges, restaurants, two theatres, water flumes for the kids, swimming pool, four jacuzzis and even a crazy golf course. Information regarding activities, shows and dining were in abundance, both in the written form and on the TV, which was already playing when we entered the cabin. Staff were everywhere, dressed in Red garb with badges asking 'Can I Help'. We considered the drinks packages on offer but decided against purchasing, as we would not benefit, despite drinks being on the pricey side, especially when tax and 15% gratuity had been added. This proved to be a wise decision. We had purchased tickets prior to our cruise to see Jewel and whilst we weren't familiar with much of her music, there was no doubting her talent and we both enjoyed the show. From there we headed to the Piano Bar to be met by a rousing cheer from all and sundry, as we entered. This welcome was afforded to all who ventured into the bar and TC (the piano man) had everyone singing at the top of their voices to a huge variety of songs, topping off a great night. The Motor City Show was good enough to grace a Vegas theatre and the following 70's review came a very close second. We managed to see both comedians during the voyage but were a little disappointed with the amount of bad language from the first guy, although his content was funny enough. The second guy tried something different to involve the fair sized audience but this fell short in comedic value. Food throughout was of high quality and available in copious amounts, consisting of a wide variety, including Fillet Steak, Lobster, Frogs Legs, Snails, Alligator, Clams, Mussels, Shrimps - in fact the list is endless. We were very impressed how the Al Le Carte staff managed to provide prompt and polite service every night and even found time to slip in a dance show. The only downside to this cruise was the stop off at Ensenada, which is a nothing sort of place and from what we saw, consisted of one street dedicated to tourist shops and bars. However, we went horse riding with Desert Trails Ensenada, as opposed to doing it with Carnival, which we both enjoyed and it was far cheaper with well cared for horses. Overall, we had a great time, especially as we had some reservations about taking a cruise but based on this experience, we will no doubt be booking again in the very near future. Thanks everyone at Carnival. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2014
This was my first ever cruise, upon arrival check-in and porters were professional and well organized. Once I got onto the ship, I knew straight away it wasn't what I was expecting...These are the things I noticed upon arrival. ... Read More
This was my first ever cruise, upon arrival check-in and porters were professional and well organized. Once I got onto the ship, I knew straight away it wasn't what I was expecting...These are the things I noticed upon arrival. Every single color you can imagine and swirls is on the carpet, very dated decor which looks like it has been designed by a 5 year old and the smell of cigarettes throughout the entire ship. I went to the Spa to get a manicure and it was the worst manicure I have ever had in my life, plus the beauty therapist was overworked exhausted and complaining alot, I felt sorry for her, she also told me that on every cruise from Long Beach to Ensenada they will call the helicopter for a medical emergency because people take drugs and get too drunk. I upgraded to the Emporer level and after finishing at the salon and returning to my room, there was vomit all down the hallway, keep in mind we had only been cruising for 3 hours. We had to turn around and go back to port because somebody had drug overdosed too. Ensenada is horrible, if you have ever been to Patong in Phuket, think of that x100 worse. We felt more safer and clean on the cruise boat, so we only spent 1 hour in starbucks on the mainland before making a quick B line back to our "fabulous ship". In all fairness there were alot of people who appeared to enjoy the cruise, but I am positive its only because of the copious amounts of alcohol and/or drugs they had consumed so they couldn't actually register where they were. If you are healthy, and like to eat well you will hate the food on board. I don't have anything to say about the food except for heart attack. I wanted to get off the ship and fly back to Los Angeles, and even contemplated breaking my leg so I could get airlifted by helicopter. DO NOT TAKE THIS CRUISE if you are the following.... Parents with children Honeymooning You are Health Conscious GO ON THIS CRUISE IF YOU ARE THE FOLLOWING An alcoholic or full blown drug addict. Wanting a booze cruise   Read Less
Sail Date: September 2014
We went on Carnival Inspiration to celebrate our one year anniversary. We based which ship we went on from the reviews on cruise critic and we made the right choice. The crew was excellent and friendly and the ship was always clean. While ... Read More
We went on Carnival Inspiration to celebrate our one year anniversary. We based which ship we went on from the reviews on cruise critic and we made the right choice. The crew was excellent and friendly and the ship was always clean. While it is an older ship, evident in the decor, the crew does make the best with what they have. The comedy shows were very good, better than we would have thought. We actually didn't get a chance to see the shows because we were so busy doing so many other events. The art auction was a great time, and a great way to get free alcohol. Only downsides to the cruise was the number of days and size of the ship. A 4-day cruise is great for a first time when you don't know how a cruise will be, but definitely wish we did longer. Also, since it is an older and smaller ship it was rocked by the seas depending on the weather. The rocking wasn't a big deal, however if you aren't used to it then it will be noticeable. Signing up for Faster to the Fun was the best $50 we have ever spent. Walked right onto the boat when we got there and also walked immediately off the boat at the end. Didn't deal with any lines anywhere. Pros: * Great ports of call. * Amazing crew. * Great activities and entertainment. * Faster to the fun, best investment ever. Cons: * Older ship * Can notice rocking. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2014
Who traveled:  3 boys- 15/17/19  Myself-39 (mom) Trip for boys: 15yr old- He had a great time, met a ton of other kids running around. Played games, hung out at the O2 club and ate all day and night. Never a dull moment. 17 & 19- ... Read More
Who traveled:  3 boys- 15/17/19  Myself-39 (mom) Trip for boys: 15yr old- He had a great time, met a ton of other kids running around. Played games, hung out at the O2 club and ate all day and night. Never a dull moment. 17 & 19- They hung out and met a lot of others around their age. Played miniature golf most of the time. There were contests by Carnival that they participated in, and actually had fun lol It was sort of an in between age though. The clubs are 15-17 or over 21 yrs. this kind of left them wondering in the evenings. Myself: Bored. It was either kids, couples or older people. I tried to meet people at the bars, but people were pretty involved in their own trips. Usually I can talk to the bartenders if I am alone, but they were all foreign, and not very social. There is an adult area that has sunbathing and two jacuzzis, very quiet....if you gamble, it would probably be more fun. Gym- I was looking forward to taking the spin classes. I signed up the first day for two classes. The 1st one, they told me was cancelled and when I went to work out,saw it happening. The second they said Was happening, and did not! This was one of the most disappointing things, since I had been looking forward to enjoying some good work outs on Va-K! Lol Catalina: Getting off the ship- get off before 9:30am if you do not want to wait an hour in line. You will be lined up 4 flights of stairs between 9:30-12. Getting back on is easier. On the island- shopping, eating or excursions. Not a lot to do otherwise. Ensenada- take the shuttle, it's only $3 round trip. They will offer you the Bufadora, shopping and horseback riding for $35. Great deal! Better and more shopping than downtown by Bufadora for sure, and more negotiating. Hazel is a great tour guide BTW! Food: All buffets except dinner and seaday brunch. Ice cream ice cream ice cream! The kids ate like 10 a day!!! Food was ok, pretty much as expected. Kids thought it was great though. Cost: 1 ocean-view ( riviera) and 1 inside with bunk beds ( not as crowded as I thought it would be.) $2000 $500 on cruise included Cheers program and 3 bubbles program & gratuity. I tipped $1 per alcohol drink & a couple random things. Plus spending $ for Catalina and Ensenada Conclusion: Was it worth it? Only to see my kids enjoy their vacation. It's been 10 years since I have been on a Carnival cruise, and probably will not be for 10 more. If I would of had another adult with me, I am Sure it would have been much more fun. They could of fit another kid in the inside cabin, and would of been ok. Check out the comedy shows, good start for the evening after dinner. Hopefully this helps a little, I usually don't write reviews, but thought this one was needed for the single moms traveling with your kids! Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2014
Well, I'm from Chicago & I flew to the port of L.A. . The scenery of the port was nice looking, since I've never been to California before. While on the cruise, I was very amused by the scenery & activities they had on ... Read More
Well, I'm from Chicago & I flew to the port of L.A. . The scenery of the port was nice looking, since I've never been to California before. While on the cruise, I was very amused by the scenery & activities they had on the ship like Golfing, Karaoke, Game Show, Comedy Club, & Show Performance. The Service people was very nice & friendly to me & seemed like hard-workers. When we did our shore excursions , we went horse-back riding, snorkeling, & parasailing although while on the boat to prepare to take off onto parasailing, our service got cancelled due to the windy weather. I was a little disappointed about but it was fine since we were able to get our money back (refundable). The cabin that we stayed in met my expectation although i didn't focus so much how our room looked like since we were only going to be there to get our selves up & sleep. the room was clean, nice size cabin, and every time we returned to our cabin the employees always organized our room & left cute animals made out of towels on our beds. The food was good & satisfying and always had clean tables to eat on. I thought that the carnival camp for kids that i joined was Okay/Mediocre and bit too out of my age so i got bored easily. Overall I really liked this cruise and will be returning next time. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2014
On the Final night of the cruise the dinning staff sang a cute goodbye song, when they stopped singing my son hugged me and told me "I never want to get off this ship." Now that's a very good indication that my son really ... Read More
On the Final night of the cruise the dinning staff sang a cute goodbye song, when they stopped singing my son hugged me and told me "I never want to get off this ship." Now that's a very good indication that my son really enjoyed his first cruise. I have to admit that I only selected this cruise for cost and convenience for us. I had always wanted to take an Alaskan cruise and before I paid for a trip, I wanted to make sure that my son and I wouldn't spend our vacation time sick in bed. There was no problem here! The ship is great for kids and adults alike. My son discovered the waterslides, miniature golf course, and the all you can eat self serve ice-cream and he was set. However, the Punch Line comedy club was great. We both enjoyed the comics that were performing. We watched only one other show of Australian Dancers....no, not Thunder from Down Under! It was a youth dance group. The food was good. The youth activity center was good. My son only spent a few hours there, but he enjoyed himself while he was there. I enjoyed my spa treatment and shave. We took the tour of Catalina, and it was fun to see the buffalo and the vastness of the Island. We also took a tour of the Mexico Blow Hole in Ensenada. We really enjoyed Ensenada, including the shopping district near the pier. Both the Margarita and Churro were invented in Ensenada. Our cabin was an ocean view. It was sort of frustrating that the water stains on the exterior of the ship somewhat obstructed our ocean view. However, my son is a cuddler, and midway through our crew we had our cabin steward configure our room to a single queen configuration in lieu of the dual twin bed layout. The shower was warm, and easy to control, and the room met our needs and expectation. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2014
This was a first cruise for myself and my children. My husband had traveled on many cruises when he was a child and had expectations that this cruise would live up to his memories Our children are 12 and 14 years old. They chose to not ... Read More
This was a first cruise for myself and my children. My husband had traveled on many cruises when he was a child and had expectations that this cruise would live up to his memories Our children are 12 and 14 years old. They chose to not participate in the the teen club so spent much of their time in their rooms playing on their iPhones -which they could have done at home for free. Had they participated in the Teen Club and made friends, they would have had a more fun. We had chosen to eat at 6:00 in the Carnivale dining room. Our waiter was good - but not great. If we asked for a soda it took a while to get it- if he remembered. I ordered the Prime Rib on Elegant dining night. I opted to have the "juice" poured on it. It was really gravy and ruined the flavor of the prime rib. I would recommend not getting the "juice". The macaroni and cheese with bacon was good as well as the mashed potatoes. I am not an adventurous eater so not the best to give an opinion. I had read reviews about the wait staff bringing all the food at once to the table. Our waiters did not. They did a good job serving us. On the last night, I had ordered a baked potato with sour cream. The sour cream never arrived and my son was given the wrong entree. The waiter was quick to bring the correct order. We stayed in rooms M78 and M74 - adjoining rooms. The beds were very comfortable. It is difficult to adjust the temperature in the rooms. Even when I thought we had closed the fan on the ceiling all the way, it was still cold in the room. Naturally the rooms are small, but having nothing to compare them to, they were what I expected. I seemed to be the only one who had trouble keeping the water in the shower stall and not on the bathroom floor. All the floors have drains in them in the bathroom, so I suspect it is a common problem. We accidentally set the smoke alarm off in our room twice with the steam coming from the bathroom - so make sure to keep the bathroom door closed. The fire marshals were quick to respond when the alarm went off. Overall, the experience was ok for our first cruise. Had we been able to go ashore in Catalina Island it may have been better. Ensenada is also not a very nice town, so a better Mexican town to stop in would have also been much better. I am glad we didn't pay extra for any excursions. We would have been forced to brave the waves to get to Catalina Island and in Mexico- the weather was chilly so scuba diving or any outdoor actives would have not been pleasant. I would say I would go on another cruise, but not on this ship nor to these locations. We choose this particular cruise so we could stay a few days longer in California and take the kids to Disneyland. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2014
I had really low expectations for this cruise, as I had read 50+ reviews and 95% were negative. I wasn't expecting much. Embarkation was a breeze. Got there at 1:30, very little waiting time in the line. Good to print out your ... Read More
I had really low expectations for this cruise, as I had read 50+ reviews and 95% were negative. I wasn't expecting much. Embarkation was a breeze. Got there at 1:30, very little waiting time in the line. Good to print out your luggage tags and check in on-line first which is what we did...major time savor. By the time we got to our room, our luggage was delivered very promptly by a nice fellow. Unfortunately the weather was poor. Not to Carnival's doing obviously. So that put a damper on pool time. We hit the tail end of spring breakers so we had lots of drunk kids especially the day at Ensenada. Fall down drunk...I even ran into some vomit on the staircase. Not fun for my boys to see. The kids club was marginally fun for my 8 and 10 year olds. We luckily went with friends who have boys our age so they did everything together. Ping pong was a huge hit as well as mini golf. Due to bad weather (cloudy, windy and at times it sprinkled) the boys only went down the water slide twice... too cold. Not much to do in Catalina unless you like to shop. The zip line looked fun but the two younger boys were not heavy enough so we all opted to not do that. We did the golf cart rental. Saw one side of the island but wasn't very interesting. We didn't get off the ship in Ensenada as we weren't too crazy about the excursions. It was nice to have the ship to ourselves on that day...till all the drunks came back! Comedy club was funny. The trivia games were fun. Hasbro game was ok. The food wasn't horrible but wasn't anything to brag about either. I felt it was par for a kitchen that serves 2900 people at once. The melted chocolate cake for dessert was yummy. I lost 3 pounds on the cruise as there wasn't anything worth indulging in more than once. Our room was always clean. We had the same waiter for breakfast, lunch and dinner. His name was Arnold and should be recognized for his excellent, friendly service each and every sitting. Shower was nice size and water pressure good and temp warm. No storage for bathroom supplies though. We were in cabin U161. Didn't hear too much engine noise that others complained about. I liked having a window. Made the room seem bigger Leaving the ship was also a breeze. We chose zone departure and it went without a hitch. Overall a pretty good first time cruise. Would choose to avoid spring break next time. Was kinda bored but it was great NOT having to cook and clean for a few days! Gave this mommy a needed break! Read Less
Sail Date: February 2014
After reading some reviews, I wasn't expecting much out of this cruise before we went. It definitely exceeded my expectations! From the moment we walked up to the port, the staff were incredibly friendly and helpful. Carnival really ... Read More
After reading some reviews, I wasn't expecting much out of this cruise before we went. It definitely exceeded my expectations! From the moment we walked up to the port, the staff were incredibly friendly and helpful. Carnival really makes you feel that they appreciate your business. We had an interior cabin on the Riviera deck, and it was very comfortable. The bedding was fantastic. Of course the room was small, like any cruise line, but we were pleased. We had the same housekeeper for the week, and he cleaned our room twice a day. Bring your own lotion and conditioner. There's soap and shampoo in the shower. The dinners were fantastic! Incredible food! Our team of waters (three of them) were on top of everything. We were so pleased with the selections. The waiters even sang and danced for us the last night! The breakfast and lunch food was good. I wouldn't call it incredible, like the dinners, but it certainly wasn't bad. The ship was very clean, and the crew was constantly cleaning up after people. Lovely boat :) The shows were very entertaining, and there was always something going on. I loved the adults only section on the back of the ship - quiet and great views of the ocean without much wind :) As far as excursions go, you simply must wait to book them when you get off the ship - at least half the price for the same tours. Catalina Island is small, but wonderful. Plan on spending $40 (with $40 deposit) for an hour of gas-powered golf cart rental. So fun - you have to do it! Great way to see Avalon - you can drive the whole scenic route in one hour. Ensenada was great. We booked the Bufadora trip off the boat for $15 - great tour guide, plenty of time to bargain shop the flea market, and the blow hole was beautiful. You gotta get fresh churros and fish tacos! Allow 3 hours for the trip. If you're on the line about this cruise, do it! It was so much fun! Such a great value! This cruise, in my eyes was underrated in the reviews I read. I had a fantastic vacation!   Read Less
Sail Date: September 2013
Let me start by saying this was my first cruise. I went with 19 girlfriends from work and the cruise was coordinated by a local travel agent who did a great job. Had no problems with my reservations. Embarkation - This was probably the ... Read More
Let me start by saying this was my first cruise. I went with 19 girlfriends from work and the cruise was coordinated by a local travel agent who did a great job. Had no problems with my reservations. Embarkation - This was probably the worst part of my trip. I had no idea what to expect, but didn't expect line after line after line in a very warm location with no water! We didn't arrive until about 2:15, but so did everyone else. Next time I will DEFINITELY buy priority boarding. 2 of the girls did this and were on the boat, unpacked and having fun at least 1.5 hours before we were. However, I did like I could carry on my own luggage (small amount for a 4 night cruise anyway) so that I didn't have to wait for it later. Carnival staff was all terrific and very patient, just the long lines were miserable. Ship - very clean. The staff was always cleaning railings, carpets, rooms, dining rooms, outside areas and bathrooms all the time. Purell stations everywhere. Had no issues with sewer gas smells as indicated in other reviews. Was impressed at cleanliness considering other reviews and the age of the ship. Very easy to take stairs everywhere, but even elevators were never packed except on the last day when everyone tried to leave. Ship to me, even as a first timer, felt very small, but I was always able to find a quiet spot. Just wished there was more to explore and that there was more shopping! Just a couple of stores to shop in and that was it. Either we didn't have a lot of smokers or ventilation was great. Never had an issue with second hand smoke. I had absolutely no problem with the motion of the boat, but my roommate felt every little wave or turn. She wore a Dramamine patch; I needed nothing. Our weather was terrific the whole time. Staff - so friendly and totally remembered our drink orders from previous days, who needed ice, etc. Harri was our room steward and he was great. Just had to ask for ice on the first day and it was there whenever we came back to the cabin. He was like magic - even if we left for 30 minutes, when we got back our room was all straightened up again. We loved him and left him an extra cash tip and a thank you note. Cabin - on U deck in middle of ship. My roommate and I liked our cabin - we had a window which was great for getting in some natural light (and to see what was going on outside - very important since we were both first timers). 2 pretty nice sized closets! We had robes ready for us which was a huge surprise. Safe in the closet was perfect for our ipads and prescription meds. Bathroom had a shower bigger than the one I have in my master bedroom at home! Never had any issues with water pressure or heat of water. Thank goodness I brought a power strip as there was only one outlet for the whole room! That would have been an issue with 2 iphones and 2 ipads between us let alone a hair dryer and curling iron! One girl in our group got her power strip confiscated...what's the deal with that? Got mine in no problem. Definitely want a balcony room on my next cruise. Food - ok, so here's another area I was disappointed in. First, dinner was great. Tuesday night's lobster tail and shrimp was fantastic. If you like chocolate, don't miss the melting chocolate cake for dessert. Never even bothered to have a different dessert. So what were my issues with the food? A couple of things - first, on the last night of the cruise, they served veal parm with potatoes. Potatoes? On the menu was a pasta dish with seafood. You would think, hey there is pasta, so let's substitute potatoes for pasta. They would not do this for me. Not a huge problem, had steak instead (which was good) but considering my easy substitution request, I was a bit put off by the "no". Second, the cruise buffets are always hyped up by everyone who goes on a cruise. I was really disappointed by the buffet on our ship. French toast for breakfast was good. But eggs were runny, bacon greasy. Not many choices I liked. Tended to just have a plain bagel with butter and even that was just ok. I was on that boat for 4.5 days and I can say I couldn't find one thing I liked on that buffet any day. I did have a burger from the pool grill one day and a turkey sandwich from the sandwich line another. Nothing great. Never did try pizza or Mongolian grill because the lines were always long (because the buffet wasn't that great? don't know). As there were 20 girls in our group doing all sorts of stuff during the day, we had late seating for dinner. That, on one hand was good because we weren't rushed, but on the other hand it was really late. So I would go to find something to snack on around 5pm and the buffet was closed! I couldn't believe it closed every afternoon from 3:30 to 6! Then just left with pool grill and sandwich and pizza, but no snacks to tide me until an 8:30 dinner! Never thought I would have to bring my own snacks, but next time will definitely do so just in case. Probably should have ordered some room service, but that menu was also very limited. I think I actually lost weight on this cruise. Drinks - very very expensive. Bought only one - $10 with gratuity. You can bring 12 cans of soda and one bottle of wine in your carry on. 12 cans was too much for a cruise of this length. Left the rest for our cabin steward! For me and my roommate, 2 bottles of wine for dinner was just the right amount. Outside areas - Serenity adult area was great but way, way too small! Great for the days everyone was out to tour, but not good at day at sea. Make larger adult only areas!! Lucky for us not too many kids on the ship as it was a school week. I will say, even with the few kids on the boat, I will never, ever travel during times kids are off from school. Babies were cranky and the few teenagers were board. Put your kids in for a nap, and make sure your teenagers have something to do other than sit on the stairs or take all the lounge chairs :) And don't do late dinner with little kids! The kid next to us screamed every night at least one time during dinner. (probably because she should have been in bed!) Deck pool areas were pretty run. Always found a place to sit. Didn't use pools. People crammed into hot tubs especially kids(yuck. However many activities around the pool area. Line dancing, music, etc. A lot of fun to watch people! Excursions - didn't do any. The other girls had fun, but I chose to stay on the boat. Guess which days are fun to stay on the boat? When everyone else gets off the boat!! Everyone did say Catalina was fun but Ensenada was yucky (unfortunately lots of poverty). One of the girls said the best tours she did was the "behind the scenes" tour - on the boat! Sounded great. Will do one of those next time. Shows - Went to adult rated comedy show. Hilarious. Don't go if easily offended. Probably one of the highlights of my trip! Adult Karaoke also so much fun! Not many there, but those who were sang their hearts out. The girls went to other shows and to the nightclub each night. They had a blast. I went to bed as I am not a night owl and that was fine with me as I was on the cruise to relax, not be up 24x7. I did hit the casino one night - lost all my money, but for me that was fun and not really very smoky like you might think. Photos - omg they want to take your picture all the time. So get over it. Just smile. I never even went to look at the photos. Spa/Gym - didn't use spa. Some who cruised before thought spa was so-so. Gym was small but nice. Only used exercise bikes. Most of my exercise was walking and stair climbing so wasn't really in need of the gym. Debarkation - Had no issues. Carried our own luggage and were one of the first ones off the boat. However, later, the other girls said things got really mucked up because everyone was trying to get off at once and no one checked which deck they were on. Two of our girls had to beg to be let off because the rest of us were waiting and our shuttle to the airport was waiting for us. Other - Check your bill before you leave. A couple of girls were charged twice for their tours, and another charged for WiFi which she never signed up for. About that - WiFi is extremely expensive. Make sure you have your phone on airplane mode before you get on the boat! Otherwise you get linked up with WiFi without you even needing to do anything (at least that's what it seemed for a couple of girls with Verizon service). Bring a lanyard with a badge holder for your sign and sail card otherwise you have to carry a purse that you don't need everywhere. Gratuities are added to all drinks (so don't tip twice unless you want to) and automatically added at $11 a day to your bill. The folks on this cruise work so darn hard and get paid very little, do not begrudge them their gratuities because that's how they are expected to be paid (fair or not, that's the way it is). My roommate and I left additional cash for our room steward with a thank you note. BTW, say thank you to people...they work so hard for us; I hated when people didn't say thank you when they were sitting their butt in a lounge chair and someone was running in the heat getting them a drink. Summary - Great room, fantastic service, great dinners, fun shows. Not so great embarkation and buffets. Thank god hardly any kids on board. I give my first experience a rating of 4 out of 5. Will definitely take another cruise but I definitely need a bigger boat, better choice of food on buffet and more things to explore on the boat. I will be looking for cruises with better excursions, and probably more than 4 nights. Overall a good first cruise for me. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2013
For the price we paid, this short cruise to Mexico really exceeded our expectations. Getting on and off the ship was a breeze. The unlimited food is awesome, although the room service menu is pretty limited - mostly just sandwiches and ... Read More
For the price we paid, this short cruise to Mexico really exceeded our expectations. Getting on and off the ship was a breeze. The unlimited food is awesome, although the room service menu is pretty limited - mostly just sandwiches and salads. We only ate in the main dining room for dinner on the last night and were both impressed with the food quality. The buffet was good and never too crowded. One complaint - ice is hard to come by on this ship. We didn't even drink our bottle of champagne because we had no way to chill it and heard this from several other guests as well. The casino was large and usually full of people, but we were always able to find 2 seats at the table game of our choice. Warning for the blackjack players - there are no queens in the decks! We had a blast dancing to Michael Jackson hour at the night club and playing some competitive sports trivia during the day. It was also fun just roaming the boat and stopping at all the bars for a drink. The service was great, everyone on board was super friendly and helpful. The room itself was decent and I didn't find the bathroom to be too small despite being over 6 feet tall and 200 lbs. The cruise never seemed too crowded, except for the last day by the pool and in the hottubs. Every jacuzzi was so packed at all times that it seemed like a safety hazard and a little gross to be honest. Also - the water slides were closed every time we checked! But we still had fun laying out in the sun and people watching. One last word about the pool - towards the end of the day it gets super rowdy and loud because people have been drinking at the bars all day. We were bummed we missed the mini golf on the top deck also, but it was way too windy up there. We felt like we were going to blow overboard! But overall super value and super fun. Mexico was definitely a party! Can't wait to do it again! Read Less
Sail Date: May 2013
Carnival's Inspiration operates in a very special market: 3 or 4 night cruises from LosAngeles that especially locals patronize for reunions and birthdays: it gives the cruise line a great opportunity to be introduced to cruising, for ... Read More
Carnival's Inspiration operates in a very special market: 3 or 4 night cruises from LosAngeles that especially locals patronize for reunions and birthdays: it gives the cruise line a great opportunity to be introduced to cruising, for folks who have never cruised, like many of the 32 family members on our cruise. But the Inspiration staff on this this 3 night cruise did just a terrible, terrible job on two areas that one finds on every cruise: service at eating venue on deck for things such as pizza, deli sandwiches, and other specialties. Service at the pizza stations, deli stations, and mongolian BBQ were so bad as to give the impression that Carnival just didn't care: for example, often having one person on duty handling pizza orders, creating lines that just turned people away in droves, I heard many people say, it looks like they don't really want to serve food here. I have been a frequent cruiser and this was as contemptuous a treatment of travelers as I have ever seen in 25 years of cruising. The other aspect where the staff failed on this cruise was debarcation, and again staff showed utter contempt in their treatment of passenger. Those passenger who elected to have their luggage off loaded where told to report to certgaikn areas on the ship, where they waited for hours to leave the ship. One of our families waited in a room with a large group of travelers for over two hours, and among their complaints was that there was no one in the room from the cruise line to help them or answer questions. Finally this one family did find a staff member, and when they told them they had been waiting more than 2 hours, the person said, well, then , just get in line and get off the ship, which is what they did! Our group, which elected to carry our own bags, were told to be ready to leave the ship at 8:00 AM, and we did leave by 8:15 AM, via lines that were not long. We were sitting in the our airport gate by 8:45. For this cruise, if you ask, you will be told that each adult is allowed to bring one bottle of wine or champagne on to the ship. The problem is that NO ONE will tell you that at check in: so if you had wine in your suitcase, it was taken away from you and returned at the end of the cruise. However, if you carried ikt in your hands, purse or other hand carry, you were allowed to take it on. Again, just contempt for the passenger. Another sign of this contempt was that the pools and water park water were cold, cold, cold. If a cruise line is capable of showing such contempt for its travelers, I just can't believe this lack of concern doesn't affect everything about the ship. Don't take this cruise, even if they start giving it away. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2013
Our family just returned from the 3-day Ensenada cruise on Carnival. We had a great time and needless to say, the staff on board was wonderful. We got to know the staff in the buffet area, as well as the Mardi Gras dining hall pretty ... Read More
Our family just returned from the 3-day Ensenada cruise on Carnival. We had a great time and needless to say, the staff on board was wonderful. We got to know the staff in the buffet area, as well as the Mardi Gras dining hall pretty well and they were the highlight of the entire cruise. As a family we just did our thing for the most part. With teenagers, we let them explore and participate in age appropriate events as they saw fit. Because we wanted to give the kids their fist cruising experience, this was a great way to do it. The ship is a little dated and that can be made clear with the decor. My wife wishes that they offered zumba classes on the deck, or in the fitness area. The kids made friends in the O2 group and that was a positive experience. The PG rated comedy was really funny, especially Seth Buchwald. We didn't watch the main entertainment on board so I can't comment on that. I with they would have had a magic show or something as well. I thought some of the timing of the different events was a challenge. Especially if there was an event that was on during early dinner seating. The food was just ok. Nothing to brag about. Reminded me of a vegas casino buffet but the quality just wasn't there I'm afraid. Even the scheduled dinner quality was a little bland. The staff was fantastic though. Overall a good experience for us. We didn't notice the young spring break crowd that much. We just did our thing. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2013
We were first time cruisers and decided this itinerary would be perfect for us to try a cruise. We wanted a family experience without it being too stuffy or adult oriented and so Carnival seemed to be our best choice. We decided to fly ... Read More
We were first time cruisers and decided this itinerary would be perfect for us to try a cruise. We wanted a family experience without it being too stuffy or adult oriented and so Carnival seemed to be our best choice. We decided to fly out of Seattle (we live in Vancouver BC) to LA and tag on some days at Disneyland to finish our week away. First of all I would like to say that the Carnival website is great and was easy to use. I had made our booking online with a major cruise website and they provided the info I needed to complete my booking on Carnival. I checked us in online, updated our info, added our CC to our sail and sign account, looked at excursions, booked our transfers to Long beach, etc. Their FAQ section was great and answered a few questions we had. We felt very prepared. I am tempted to write a play by play of each day of our cruise but instead will try to break up our experiences/observations. Transfer and Embarkation We arrived in LA and Carnival picked us up at LAX. It was a relatively easy process and we were at the terminal within 20-30 minutes. We checked our one large bag with the porter outside the terminal and kept our carry-on's so we would have bathing suits, change of clothes etc as there is not guarantee when your bag will arrive at your room that evening. We lined up outside with the rest of the people and 15 mins later the doors opened...Embarkation was simple and easy and took no longer than 30 mins from start to finish. We were on the boat by 12 noon and having lunch on the Lido deck by 12:30. The Inspiration Entering the lobby is like entering a Vegas casino- lights, music and lots of people. Music was playing, people were smiling and the crew were helpful and friendly. Do I think that there are nicer, fancier ships to cruise on? Yes. Does the Inspiration need a bit of a face lift? Yes. But for our first time it was really about enjoying the experience of cruising and this ship was perfect for a 4 night trip. The boat was just the right size for us- big enough to find something new every day and yet small enough that we had the lay of the land by the morning of day two. Everywhere we went, things were clean and tidy and the staff worked hard to keep it that way. Stateroom We were on deck 7 in an outside room -forward room E30. Loved our location- close to the elevators, the lobby and easy access to everything, but far enough down the hall to have a quiet room. The room was much larger than we anticipated as was the bathroom. There was tons of closet space and our suitcases stored under the bed. Speaking of the bed, we thought it was quite comfortable and there were plenty of pillows. Our son slept in the drop down bed and it did not feel claustrophobic at all for any of us especially with the big fabulous window overlooking the Pacific. I had read somewhere to book an even numbered outside room and they were right- port side was great- especially in Catalina where the seals were playing outside our window in the bay. Activities So it turns out I am one of "those" people. You know- the ones who have to try every activity at least once :) I did as many activities as possible including seminars, games shows, parties on the Lido deck, etc. I could not contain my excitement at seeing the next day's itinerary waiting on the bed each evening. Loved the Mardi Gras party with dancing and beads and the Mexican fiesta on the Lido deck with the late night Mexican buffet was awesome. So much fun in 4 short days... Entertainment I enjoyed the Paris Lounge shows- especially the first night where you got a taste of everything- singing, dancing and the comedians. We also watched the Hip-hop break dancers the two evenings they performed in the lobby and had a great time- so much energy and crowd participation. I have to say our favorite was the comedy club. There were 2 comedians who each did 5 shows over the course of a couple of nights - some were for the family and some adult only and they were all different. We spent 2 full evenings there and had a great time- we laughed at both types of shows and our son enjoyed the 2 family shows he saw. Port & Shore Excursions We decided instead of an excursion in Catalina (water was too cold for snorkeling) to rent a golf cart and explore the town of Avalon. 1 hour is all you need to see everything and still have time to stop and takes pictures. You can wander the downtown section of foot- lots of little cafes and restaurants and there is a pretty little beach down at the marina. We loved watching the seals and even had a few dolphin sightings. If you are going in the late spring or summer I would encourage you to do some of the water excursions-we were not prepared to love the quaint town of Avalon so much and wish we had been there in June or July to really experience all it has to offer. In Ensenada we decided on a whale watching tour instead of the winery, town or blow-hole tours as my husband was not interested in any of them. Unfortunately Carnival did not offer this option but I had done my research and was able to find the sports fishing pier and get us booked onto a boat with Sergios. While we enjoyed the trip and the crew for the price ($80 for the 3 of us), it really was just ok. 4 hours is a long time to be out whale watching...I wish we had done the combo tour of the city and the blow hole that Carnival offers as we really did not get to explore the town very much beyond the shopping area. Dining Buffet: Lots of choices for breakfast and lunch every day. Also a sandwich deli station as well as the pizza bar. Each day the buffet inside was themed but you could get the usual burgers etc at the pool side grill or could enjoy the Mongolian wok. Plus who can resist all you can eat soft serve ice cream? Mardi Gras Dining room: We ended up choosing the late dinning seating (8pm) and it worked for us as a family. Each night we as a family shared the "have you ever tried" item on the menu...escargot, alligator fritters, etc. So much fun and a great experience as a family to say we tried all these things. We also tried a lot of the appetizers and enjoyed all of them including various soups and salads as well as shrimp cocktail ( order 2 its small!). Some of our favorite entrees were the flatiron steak and of course the lobster. Rave reviews for prime rib as well. I finished each dinner off with the cheese plate (small but the perfect size to end a meal) while the guys tried lots of the other deserts on the menu including the melting chocolate cake. Midnight Mexican buffet We really enjoyed this buffet at the pool side grill. Tons of great foods and what a display! Ice sculptures, carved fruits etc. Perfect after all the dancing. Room service We ordered room service once for a late afternoon snack - sandwiches, salads, cookies etc. Good and fresh and fast. Children's Clubs I knew that Carnival had great kids programming after all of the reviews I have read and we were not disappointed. We signed our son up for the Circle C ( teens 12-14 club) the first night on the ship and found out that there were 64 other kids in his age group on board. After dinner that night he headed over there for the meet and greet and that was the last we saw of him other than at dinner each night on the ship. Activities lasted till 12-1am each evening ( movies, ice cream eating contests, pizza making at midnight, etc) He had a great time on the cruise and a big part of it had to do with the Circle C and all the friends he made. Service Before the cruise I was convinced that $11.50 a day per person was too much for a gratuity and wondered why there were not more complaints about it. Once I experienced the service myself I understand why you would be hard pressed to find anyone who did not agree that the staff was worth every penny. I can not speak highly enough about the service we experienced on this cruise. From our room steward Ronny to Edwardo and the rest of our wait staff, we were cared for and treated liked old friends. The lobby bar staff greeted us by name each evening and asked us about Canada. It was so refreshing in this day and age to meet people in the service industry who cared about doing a good job. The entertainment staff was friendly and fun and seemed to be enjoying their interactions with the cruisers. The staff really made a difference and was part of the reason we enjoyed this trip so much. Summary We are not drinkers so got the bottomless pop/juice drink stickers for all of us. Hubby had a couple of beer each evening and so we avoided the crazy large bills that some of the other vacationers must have received. Loved that we could set a daily limit on our sons sign and sail card so he could play video games, pick up a treat at the sweet shop, etc without having to come to us. He knew his limit and stayed well within it. Beware the photo takers. Did not mind at port and at dining room but it was a bit much at times in the evening. As Canadians we have a lot of tax on alcohol and I was shocked by the prices in the on- board duty free. Forgo buying duty free at the airport or boarder. Buy on the ship- they will deliver it to your door the last night of the cruise. The on -board prices were CRAZY low compared to home. This was the perfect beginner cruise for our family. Carnival delivered exactly what it said it would: good fun for the whole family at a reasonable price. We loved it and can't wait to sail with Carnival again. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2013
Yes, Carnival's Inspiration is an older ship, however maintained quite nicely. I've read a lot of posts and spoken to many experienced cruisers. We really appreciate all of the valuable information, too. That's one of the ... Read More
Yes, Carnival's Inspiration is an older ship, however maintained quite nicely. I've read a lot of posts and spoken to many experienced cruisers. We really appreciate all of the valuable information, too. That's one of the reasons that we chose the 3-Day out of Long Beach. Santa Catalina is a beautiful laid back port along with Ensenada is a small and tranquil... do what you wanna do kind of place. Yes, we went on a couple of tours and then went back to the ship and relaxed. The highlight was the service on board. We could not ask for more. Oh sure, being the in the penthouse was fantastic, but if you can't host a party while having the most exquisite accomodation on the ship, what good is being there. We met many very sociable people and made friends, so we did it... on Formal Night, we had MaryAnne, our Steward help me put together an open house. Had some wine and sodas and some food... just about 15 people and had some music... had a blast !! --- oh, by the way, if you leave your front door open, expect to get some extra people to show up... that's even more fun ! Our waiter's in the main dining room... Jenner et.al. were the best... Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2012
Let me get to the conclusion up front - if you have kids under two, I wouldn't go. Granted, any vacation with kids under two is bound to be stressful, but even Carnival's much-touted kids program isn't much help here. But ... Read More
Let me get to the conclusion up front - if you have kids under two, I wouldn't go. Granted, any vacation with kids under two is bound to be stressful, but even Carnival's much-touted kids program isn't much help here. But let's start at the beginning. The check-in process is pretty smooth (even though the security screeners restrict more items than what is listed on Carnival's website). The rooms are what you would expect - standard 185sqft without anything fancy. The "individual temperature control" is a little dial to increase or decrease the cold air flow. The flat-screen TV is using an analog signal (and only on suites can you use your own input devices, and even there only with RCAs). The bathrooms show the most indications of the ship's age (it's from 1996, with an upgrade in 2009), and there are random bad design decisions, like the light switch for the bathroom being outside of it, making it a prime toy for little kids. Turns out that taking showers in the dark is pretty cool though. Hint for first-timers: Come early. There's a lot to do on the ship early on, so you'll miss a good chunk if you arrive later during the embarkation process. There's only one 110V and one 220V outlet in a room, so bring a power surge. However, certain power surges (they don't say which ones) will be confiscated. Try something small - I brought a compact one with two extra outlets and two USB charging ports, and they were fine. After the drawn-out safety briefing there's an orientation for the kids program, Camp Carnival. Once you're done with that, you'll want to eat - and realize that many of the buffets have already closed down. Nice timing there, Carnival. Still, you'll be able to get some hot dogs on already-stale bread, and there are still plenty of genuinely tasty desserts, so you won't be hungry. There's also a 24-hour pizza and late-night sandwich stand. Drinkswise, there's tons of juices in the mornings (including a great orange-guava-passion fruit mix), and lemonade and hot chocolate all day, all free. But you have to pay for soda. Not much of a problem for me, I like to keep my soda consumption down. In fact, I applaud this choice, it just seems like an odd decision from a financial standpoint. Especially because the free options are quite good, the lemonade even has lots of pulp in it. After eating, you'll probably want to get your kid into Camp Carnival. The check-in process is tedious, especially when you're coming at a hotspot time - each child is processed one by one, and most parents apparently have reading comprehension problems and need to be explained what had been laid out before during the orientation, so it can easily take 5-10 minutes to drop your child off, even though it's a matter of showing your "Sign & Sail" card and have the child pick up the name tag. Same with pick-up. Now for kids under 2 - they can't go to the kids club, even if they're just a couple of weeks shy of being 2. There is no child care option for them whatsoever, except for Night Owls after 10pm. Kind of nice, but guess when the gym closes? That's right, at 10pm! Same with many other amenities, like the pool. And since diapers are not allowed in any of the water-related offerings, you won't be able to experience them, period. There's also under-2 service at assorted other odd hours (like on one port day from 10am to noon), but those are essentially useless. Also, child care after 10pm is no longer complimentary. It's reasonably priced, but at the same time, it's not like a true babysitting service - if your child starts crying, they'll simply call you and ask you to pick the little one up. Even during daytime, the camp is closed for lunch and dinner, so you'll have to pick your kid up every so often, the exception being on port days, where they give your kids lunch and dinner if you tell them up front that you'll be on the shore. This is particularly infuriating when you also have an under-2 child to juggle around - you'll have one parent enjoy themself while the other one takes care of the little one, picks up the big one from camp, etc. The two options for dining on the Inspiration are the buffets on the Lido deck, and the MDR. For the MDR, you have three options - early seating, late seating, or open table. The latter sounds the most enticing for parents - you come anytime between 5:45 and 9:30, which is great to work around odd napping schedules. The problem here of course is that you're on the bottom of the food chain as far as priority goes. You'll stand in line to get a buzzer. Then you'll wait an unspecified time ("can't tell you how long it takes, depends on the guests") until the buzzer goes off. Then - my favorite - you stand in line to present your buzzer and be seated. The funniest part about this line is that there'll be plenty of people trying to brush past you with blinking buzzers, and you'll have to explain to at least five people that this is the line for people with ready buzzers. Dinner itself is decent though - there is a good deal of choice (half of the entrees available every day, half on a per-day basis) with a reasonable kids menu, and the staff is generally very friendly. Pretty much everybody on the ship seems to make a point to either already know or remember your name. The food itself is not bad - the MDR food isn't exactly high-end fine dining, but still quite good. The food on the Lido deck varies in quality. The Inspiration heads to Catalina (on the 4-day cruises only) and to Ensenada. Catalina offers enough to do during the relatively short stay, and the biggest advice for Ensenada is not to take the Bufadora or horseback excursions offered by Carnival. You can book the same ones on-site for much cheaper - get a shuttle to downtown ($3 for a return ticket for adults), and they'll drop you off at a ticket counter where you can get the excursion for half of what Carnival wants (plus - they're much more lenient about not paying for kids). We paid $15 for a trip to the blowhole for each person 5 and up - Carnival wants $28 (for kids 4 and up). Also important - be sure to bring cash to Mexico. We chose the blowhole because it seemed like the least crappy activity offered - keep in mind that Ensenada is not a particularly exciting location, its prime interest for cruise lines is its proximity to the ports in Southern California, so I lowered my expectations to a minimum. With that, it was surprisingly good - we hit the blowhole at a very good tide, so the water shot up in the air very high; it was off-season, so it was not packed, and the peddlers were most certainly not aggressive, even though virtually every review claimed that. I guess people are a bit sheltered. To get to the blowhole, you have to walk through a large flea market, and every thirty seconds, someone will try to sell you something, like pharmaceuticals and knock-off watches and handbags (one of them offered to "rip you off for less!"). But they're not in your face, and if you say "no thanks" once, they'll get you go. To come back full circle - I wouldn't go again with kids under 2. It's like being in a candy store when you're diabetic. If it wasn't for that, it's a great entry-level cruise. The staff was great throughout, and I have to mention their fondness of addressing you by name again. I'm sure it's a company-mandated policy, but it works. I was randomly walking through the buffet area to get somewhere, and a waiter we only met once before greeted my son by name in passing. It just adds a nice personal touch to the trip. Of course, the Inspiration is not like a brand new 3500-passenger dreamliner with dozens of restaurants and multiple fancy swimming pools (this one has one hot tub, a plain rectangular 5 foot deep swimming pool and three water slides), but this was our very first cruise, so we got to see how this whole cruising thing is. And we liked it. We'll do it again. Final tip: Since the vessel is spending most of the time traveling South, I would recommend a cabin on the port side (=even cabin numbers). There'll be more to see out of the window. Also, since you are more likely to hit the buffet with kids, stick with a cabin in the aft so you can get there quickly without having to walk through the entire ship. Here are some of the pictures I took. The 360 degree panoramas are typically pretty bad because my son just wouldn't sit still while I held him. https://plus.google.com/photos/108410866291813017116/albums/5830193956558294721?authkey=CIWIqa_Xq_3GTQ Read Less
Sail Date: October 2012
I've never cruised before but I've certainly enjoyed some good vacations. However, for our tenth anniversary I wanted to try something different. Having used up a good portion of my vacation days for other travel in earlier in ... Read More
I've never cruised before but I've certainly enjoyed some good vacations. However, for our tenth anniversary I wanted to try something different. Having used up a good portion of my vacation days for other travel in earlier in the year, I wanted to do something that would only take up one day so I searched for a short round trip cruise at the closest port to Las Vegas. The Carnival 3 day to Ensenada fit the bill so I booked a Grand Suite. We wound up getting a call for a chance to purchase an upgrade to one of the "owner suites" and I took it. Our suite was S-1 and it was on the Starboard side of the boat on level 12 looking over the pool. The suite itself was nice, but you could hear the joggers on the track above, the scraping of the deck chairs above as well, and the noise from the atrium came right through the door but thankfully did not make it into the bedroom. However, the large balcony, openness, and size of the suite made up for it. The room was cleaned up twice each day and our room service was delivered quickly after it was ordered. The pool wasn't filled on the first day but one hot tub was opened on the Lido and both were open on the Serenity deck. The water slides were also open and fun. I think our most expensive drink was a little under 9.00 with the tip included. I've certainly spent much more here in Vegas for one drink. Having read many reviews in preparation, I knew to expect that food would be fairly standard and that there would be a lot of drinking for this type of cruise. While the food review was dead on, there weren't very many drunken people staggering around the ship on this cruise. There also weren't very many children at all, which was nice. The one port, Ensenada, that we visited was basically a tourist dive. We did get a good lunch there and I picked up cheesy souvenirs for my family. We didn't do any excursions because nothing really appealed to us. A tip though, the shuttle operators to the shopping area offered their own tours that were much less expensive than the ships. Many people took them up on them so if you don't want to book through the ship, you can always do that option. Another tip, the shuttles drop you off at a place that isn't right at the main shopping area. You need to walk about a block in a kind of sketchy area to get there. All in all, it was a nice vacation. I definitely plan to cruise again, although our next one will most likely be on another line. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2012
My daughter and I sailed with friends a first cruise for all of us! It was great fun. So many things so do on board and ashore. We were very impressed by the staff. They were all so friendly and knew our names at first introduction. ... Read More
My daughter and I sailed with friends a first cruise for all of us! It was great fun. So many things so do on board and ashore. We were very impressed by the staff. They were all so friendly and knew our names at first introduction. Teh dining staff was great! And the room stewards even kept our cooler of sodas full of fresh ice each day. We did not do any prebooked shore excursions, but would highly recommend the Buffadora whether you book ahead or just get on the bus in town. It is well worth the trip and a great site. The stage show was very good! We were able to see both of them and were very impressed. One of our group won one of the trivia contests that are constantly being held somewhere on board, there are so many things going on that anyone complaining about the activities are too picky and impossible to please. I have had better food, but no complaints. When you think about the logistics and shear quantity prepared all day long I think it was very good. Read Less
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 3.9
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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