3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
DW & I have been on four other cruiselines and this was our first on Carnival. We went on this one since we wanted to join a large group gathering of about 50 folks. Even though it was a four day Carnival Long Beach-Catalina ... Read More
DW & I have been on four other cruiselines and this was our first on Carnival. We went on this one since we wanted to join a large group gathering of about 50 folks. Even though it was a four day Carnival Long Beach-Catalina Island-Ensenada-Long Beach trip from embark Monday and debark Friday, it was still a party crowd. We usually prefer a quiet, refine cruise but wanted to join the many folks we knew. Since there were many we have known for many years, the party type atmosphere worked well and we were pleasantly surprise that we enjoyed it. The cost was relatively inexpensive and we set our expectations lower and were overall happy with the cruise. The Guy's Burgers, deli, and pizza were great. The other dining venues, such as buffet and sitdown dining were disappointing. The servers often did not bring us and others what we ordered. Even request for crackers was given a response of call room server. A request to clean some chairs with food debris was met by the worker slapping the chairs with her dish towel. What was worst was that the sour cream and butter were not fresh, i.e. the potential for an upset stomach or worst. The cabin was larger than other cruiselines for the same category but the restroom had a foul odor that repeated attempts to pour water down the floor drain only partially helped. A number of folks got seasick even though they never had before on other sailings. Being a smaller ship of about 70,000 tons is part of the reason. But more likely it was the short sailing distance between the ports. Long Beach to Catalina is about 29 miles and the sailing was a leisurely 13 hours which meant say 2 miles per hour which is far too slow for the stabilizers to be effective. Also this slow speed means the wave actions will affect the ship more. The shows in the main theater were not Broadway type productions. They were just singing with related dance moves and much of the time was wasted with pulling audience members up to the stage to participate. The timing of the show comedians were too close to the main theater shows so we could not see them. The raffles at the ship stores were a big waste of time. They kept on delaying the start of the drawings and the prizes were terrible, such as a cheap shopping bag. The embark and debark were fast since for the short cruise we did carry on luggage. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2018
Team headwaiter: Fathor Team waiter: Sulistiano Asst. Team waiter: Wayan Amazing dinning experience ! They are great with customers. They remembered rhe foods and drinks we liked. Time consistent Always making us laugh. ... Read More
Team headwaiter: Fathor Team waiter: Sulistiano Asst. Team waiter: Wayan Amazing dinning experience ! They are great with customers. They remembered rhe foods and drinks we liked. Time consistent Always making us laugh. Sang to us. Suggested great food and entertainmant. The musical shows were amazing. The band near the casino was phenominal. I think the band name was moccha sound. The MC was hilarious and always helpful. Our cabin was always clean. I loved the little details with the towels and towel animals. The excursions were so fun. Fiabola and Armando from the tour bus were funny and great to talk to. They gave us great recommendations. Felt safe with the tour vus as well. Ping ball ans miniature golf was so much fun. Swimming was fun. All staff on deck was excellent. Very sweet staff. I hope to see the dame staff there when I take another carnival inspiration cruise. I also loved the staff in the boutique store near the casino. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2018
I booked this cruise maybe 9 months before we sailed. This was a return of an annual party cruise trip I used to throw for friends and family. I was disappointed at the time that I could not book it as a 'Group' trip as I had ... Read More
I booked this cruise maybe 9 months before we sailed. This was a return of an annual party cruise trip I used to throw for friends and family. I was disappointed at the time that I could not book it as a 'Group' trip as I had in years past, so I could not take advantage of the cocktail party or room comps that sometimes go along with them. Regardless, I was able to get my travel partners to use my reservation code and link theirs, so we could all sit together at Dinner. I learned about 1 month prior to our departure that Carnival had made this date cruise a theme cruise called 'Country Booze Cruise' which included bands, parties and all. This was a huge group for sure, which explains why the 'group' reservation option was not available to me at the time. Once on board however, all my quips re the Group thing went away. I purchased the 'Faster to the Fun' package so I could get on as soon as possible, and also so we could debark early. It was well worth the price. We were the VERY FIRST people off the ship, and some of the first on board. I have done many cruises, and enjoy the party aspect of them. This weekend cruise is perfect for that purpose. I have done this one before (weekender to Ensenada), on Carnival Paradise, as well as several RCCL ships, and hands down this was the best to date. This is solely because of all the Country Music and People and Attitudes. I am hoping Carnival does this Country theme again. This really was the reason this experience was so good. Dancing and Music was non-stop. People's attitudes were amazing and everyone was smiling all the time. So much fun was happening everywhere and by everyone. Food was fine. Drinks were fine. I loved the PYOB (Pour Your Own Beer) stands. I was able to drink Heineken and the Carnival beer for ~$4.75 out the door. Couple things I noticed different from past cruises... - I never met my cabin steward. He/She did a great job and I have no complaints, but I wonder if because of pre-paid gratuities this is becoming more of the norm? - It was hard to get drinks at pool bars. Many people now do the Cheers program (up to #15 drinks/day for around $55/day. I wonder if because of this, and Carnival has your money already, if there is less incentive to push drinks, therefore less desire to hustle and serve customers. Seriously, I waited 30 minutes at a bar for a drink, and it was not that crowded. There was not many waiters walking around taking drink orders near the pool either, so getting drinks near the pool was a challenge. Again, I loved the PYOB stands for this reason as well. My 15 year olds were not able to meet many other teens on board. I think because of the Theme 'Country Booze Cruise' that may parents chose to not take their kids. Not many younger kids either. Despite this they had a great time. Loved the 24-hour Pizza and Ice Cream. Also, Guy's Burgers are AMAZING! All in all, a great cruise, and cannot wait to do this again. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2017
We have been Carnival cruisers for years and have enjoyed their cruises. This is the first time we went on the 3-Day Ensenada cruise. The boarding process was great and went quickly, however, I was surprised that you couldn’t carry on ... Read More
We have been Carnival cruisers for years and have enjoyed their cruises. This is the first time we went on the 3-Day Ensenada cruise. The boarding process was great and went quickly, however, I was surprised that you couldn’t carry on sealed/unopened plastic water bottles and the confiscated 4 of them telling is the don’t allow plastic. Kinda funny as soon as we got to the stateroom they provided plastic water bottles at $3.75 each. No worries though as there is plenty of water to drink on board. The ship is the oldest of the fleet and has been refurbished, it was nice and comfortable. The onboard activities were great and the crew was fantastic. The breakfast and lunches were also great. The Lido deck was the place for good food. They opened a burger place called “Guys Burger” – probably the best burger around. The dinner was another story. We had late dining at 8:15. Normally Carnival schedules the shows after dinner so the early diners get their show then the late diners get their show. They didn’t finish with delivering dessert until after the start of the show so we missed the shows as we didn’t want to enter 30 minutes late. The food at our dining room was like cafeteria food, actually Denny’s is much better. My wife had the apple pie and the crust was so hard you could etch glass, next night she ordered apple pie (same thing) horrible. We have always enjoyed the surf and turf or steak, now they charge and extra $20 per plate for the “better food”?? I am sorry, but I have spent many days on Carnival cruises and the dinners were always something to look forward to – not the case on this cruise. My suggestion is get a late lunch on the Lido Deck and bypass dinner (it is not worth the calorie count). The servers were fantastic and really did a good job with what they had to work with. The selection of food in the dining room is different than we have experienced, they really have down scaled the type and quality of the menu. IE the shrimp cocktail was four small shrimp on a glob of cocktail sauce (you wouldn’t serve that at any dinner party) you know the 60 per bag shrimp – not the 20-30 per bag shrimp. The pools and jacuzzi’s were great and the deck activities were good as well. The gym was fantastic and the steam room wonderful. Leaving the ship was very smooth and organized. We had a good time, but it apparent there was some cost cutting going on during our dining experience. Really Sara Lee frozen pies are much better than what they had on deck. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2016
We took the 3-day trip from Long Beach to Ensenada. We had an awesome experience and the entire weekend was just one long party. We got to pre-board for the wedding making it very easy, then a beautiful wedding/reception that was followed ... Read More
We took the 3-day trip from Long Beach to Ensenada. We had an awesome experience and the entire weekend was just one long party. We got to pre-board for the wedding making it very easy, then a beautiful wedding/reception that was followed by 3-days of non-stop fun and partying. The room steward was the best, our room was always fresh, clean and he always met us with a smile or friendly word. This was our first cruise and we were impressed by how much space we actually had in our standard room, good water pressure in the shower and toilets worked surprisingly well. Nice linens & pillows, the cute towel animals each night was a pleasant treat, and room was relatively quiet except the drunks/kids in the hallway. We dined with our group in the dining room each night and was treated to nice dinners and friendly wait staff. There were a couple of hiccups there, but the staff was always so friendly, accommodating, and fun, you really didn't mind. The only thing that could use some improvement was the very slow service at the bars. Be ready to spend a bit of time to get a drink, and even when they're not busy don't expect fast service (and they're not friendly ~ except the young gal in the atrium bar, she at least served her drinks with a hello & smile). We used the Carnival Hub app on our phones to communicate with each other, $5 charge is well worth it if you are travelling with a group. Our day in Ensenada was a lot of fun too. We went to the Rosario Beach Party at Papas & Beer. It is just what you would expect for a laid-back Mexico style party bar. They provided us seating in their reserved beach area (broken old plastic furniture), shade umbrellas, decent lunch, cold beers and great service. No complaints. The locals will try to peddle their wears but that is just Mexico, be ready for it. It's only about 30 minutes south of San Diego, so expect the ocean to have the same cold water. When the cruise ended they have that have that process down really smooth too, and we had no delays or problem (we took our own luggage off the boat). Would definitely do this trip again!! If you're looking for a quiet relaxing get away this is NOT the cruise for you. It's a fun party from the minute you board the ship. Read Less
35 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2016
Took this 3 day cruise as part of a large group leaving from Long Beach down to Ensenda, Mexico and Back. This was our first time on Carnival having previously sailed on Princess and Disney. By far this was the poorest excuse of a ... Read More
Took this 3 day cruise as part of a large group leaving from Long Beach down to Ensenda, Mexico and Back. This was our first time on Carnival having previously sailed on Princess and Disney. By far this was the poorest excuse of a cruise one could imagine. Stood in line in the cold waiting to check in for an hour, then people coming late to check in were ushered inside and allowed to board while we were still in line. Nothing special about these folks other than being late. Whats up with that. Got n-on board the ship Riviera Deck outside cabin, Quite small and décor reminded us of Walmart ala Circus Circus, looked like someone threw up color on the carpet and walls, no worries not planning on spending any time in there anyway. Acquainted ourselves with the ship and went to the 6:00 dinner in the assigned dining room. Waited for 30 minutes at table with other guests before we could order, then took another hour to get food. Horrible waiting times as they were clearing other tables before we got our food which sad to say was pathetic, kind of what I would have expected in prison, poor quality and mushy. Never went back! Ship was freezing, there is no heat, so even though it was January and a bit cool there was no way to warm up anywhere on the ship, was told since it is a summer ship only A\C is available so turn off the vent in your room to let it warm back up to 60 degrees. Proble is on the Riviera Deck you sit right above the food lockers, butcher shops garbage dumps etc so if you don't let the air circulate you get horrible smells so either freeze or puke, we chose freezing. Crowd for this ship would have been typical people of Walmart, loud, obnoxious, drunk, no manners or class. Also everywhere you turned, someone trying to take your picture, sell you some cheap jewelry or drain your wallet with other lame merchandise. Second day decided to let the wife do the spa treatments, although over-priced they did a great job and the staff was friendly, professional and accommodating. Kudos to them, this was a solid win. Dinner that night was at the buffet which again was marginal but better than the dining room and off to the musical shows, late night comedy and casino. Musicals were fair, signers were off key, but probably due to the fact that they have ear pieces and can't hear what is going on around them, Comedians were not very good, but I think comedy in general has gone from trying to be funny to trying to shock people so that being said they were just doing what everyone else does, but doesn't mean they are funny. Go to bed Freezing, but sleep in clothes to stay warm. Day at sea is nice spent time on decks too cold to do much else but nice day at sea. Spent time at Casino until smoke was so bad you couldn't see the top of the craps table so left and tried to find something else to do, not much to do during the day. Afternoon was spent in business meetings which was a reprieve from the chaos. Also took Behind the scenes tour of Ship. I would highly recommend this, you have no idea what goes on to keep the ship running but that being said, I get why they have poor food onboard, you can't personally prepare individual meals for that many guests, I like princess and Disney as you could choose to go to a nice restaurant and pay for a nice meal, no such luck on Carnival. Evening was spent in Casino, and early family friendly comedy show which was actually better as the shock factor mentioned earlier was not present. And finally here is where it goes downhill. Ship is scheduled to dry dock for a few weeks so staff is more concerned with preparing to get us all off and on to dry dock so.... They plan to dock at 2:30 in the morning so you can plan on being awake for that loud process, ok, that is part of the cruise, but then they immediately start offloading the ship so loud noise all night now way to sleep during the racket so finally got up at 7:00 having a restful 2 hours of sleep due to these inconsiderate folks and take the early disembark to get away from that floating hell. I will give a shout out to our Steward Kevin who was very accommodating and sympathetic to everyone and overall the staff on the ship were mostly friendly and considerate. But.... That being said, I would rate this cruise a solid 1 out of 5 and will never ever set foot on any of their ships again! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2015
I’m a 33 year old male who sailed solo on the Carnival Inspiration for the 3 day charter for Groove Cruise. I’ve sailed many other cruise lines including Princess, Norwegian, Royal Caribbean and Celebrity. This was my 32nd cruise ... Read More
I’m a 33 year old male who sailed solo on the Carnival Inspiration for the 3 day charter for Groove Cruise. I’ve sailed many other cruise lines including Princess, Norwegian, Royal Caribbean and Celebrity. This was my 32nd cruise overall and second cruise with Carnival. My first cruise with Carnival is on a ship now known as the Carnival Sunshine. The Groove Cruise is a charter for the electronic dance music world with this year’s west coast charter featuring artists like Ferry Corsten, Paul Oakenfold and Dirty South along with many others. This review focuses primarily on the ship itself and the crew who are usually onboard and not overly on the entertainment brought on. Day 1 – Embarkation: I arrived to the pier early before the throngs did at Noon. By 1:30PM, the line was into the haunted Queen Mary attractions. Check in was painfully slow, further slowed by the extra customs and border patrol staff on hand to search people’s luggage. Having checked in early and not boarded the ship, I was able to breeze right through security and past the CBP folks and get on the ship. Compared to GC Miami it was an overall smooth embarkation. Once on the ship, it was time to orientate myself because studying deck plans can only get you so far. Christened and delivered in 1996, she’s the oldest ship I’ve sailed on. She sailed full with over 3,000 guests and most berths (including third and fourth) filled. The layout of the ship is typical for Carnival. Hallways and stairwells that just don’t go places and elevators which only go so far and you have to take the stairs to the rest. To get to the Carnivale Main Dining Room which was the only one of the two open for the charter you had to go up and then down to get to it or down and then up one deck. Best deck to get around the ship on was Deck 9 – Promenade or Lido Deck 10. It took some getting used to but by the end of the first full day I could get from here to there without any issues. The ship inside was pristine. It definitely showed the pride that the crew took in keeping her clean and looking polished and new. Most, if not, all public areas, were clean and no visible signs of wear. The décor was tacky but on par for Carnival ship design. The favorite deck space was the Lido Deck – wide open and available for all your dancing needs. Some of the venues Groove Cruise used included a large main stage with LED panels on the main pool deck where the deck stage was, the main theater or Paris Lounge with a large LED / intelligent lighting and laser concept, and the Carnival Waterworks with a sound system and using the ship’s lights for sunset sessions. Each of the venues were unique in their own right. The theater was the night time performance venue and if you weren’t out in the middle of the floor you were definitely getting hot. It can’t keep up with the body heat and the heat from all the electronics plus the pumped in fog for the lasers. The pool deck was wide open and provided plenty of places to talk, chat and dance. You could even sit in a Jacuzzi just in front of the main stage and chill to some really awesome beats! Dinner was at the Carnivale Main Dining room. The one place which was quiet from all the music of the ship, well until someone found the sound system and blasted it! It was so loud in there that even guests were wondering what the heck was going on! It eventually was brought down to a more manageable level and the dinner service was excellent and food great. The steak was cooked to order but the side dishes were loaded with salt. After dinner it was time to go change for the night theme party – 50 Shades of Disney - and head to the theater with a stop at the pool deck stage first. Everything was a go for the main sets of Darude and Ferry Corsten, only I was exhausted and fell asleep before Ferry’s set began. (Luckily it can be found on YouTube now! Score!) Day 2 – Catalina Island, California, USA I woke up pre-sunrise and decided to get up and go on deck for sunrise with the after hours music playing on the pool deck. Technasia was playing as the sun came up and did a phenomenal job playing well until I got off the ship. It pays to be up early on Groove Cruise as I got off the ship with the previous night’s talent in Catalina Island. Ferry Corsten and Darude got off the same time I did. I did an island tour independently of the ship which cost me $18. Tip is to walk over to the wharf with the green houses on them from where the tender boat docks. Two tour companies operate from there with varying tour options. I took the one that drove you around the island and gave you an overview. I did some quick souvenir shopping in town and then headed for the private beach party at Descanso Beach Club. Descanso Beach Club was taken over by the Groove Cruise for a private beach party featuring the beats of Fyasko, Le Youth, Vinai, and Dean Mason. I got there about mid-day before it got too packed. Since I had toured the island, I had a backpack with me which precluded me from getting out on the sand to dance. I really wasn’t dressed right but the beats were spot on. I headed back to the ship to grab some lunch and to change. Problem was I never went back ashore! I stayed on the ship all afternoon after running into some GC GLBT virgins up on deck who were not getting off. We hung out and had a blast instead. The ship was empty! DJ Scooter started the pool deck up at 3PM and in the first hour dropped an astounding remix of the Pina Colada song! I’m still looking for it for download but it was definitely the song of this cruise for me! It was only played twice the whole cruise but it was kick butt awesome!! After hanging out on the pool deck for a few hours and at Carnival Waterworks with the water slides open, Sidney Samson came on and the ship started to fill as the island-goers returned. I headed down to shower and change and get ready for the GC Family reunion dinner. The maître d had set aside the left side of the dining room for the attendees and I felt bad for the waiters working our specific table as people couldn’t sit still long enough. They ordered food and then got up and left while waiting for it to arrive. The food that night was prime rib and it was super tasty. I ordered two plates of it as I was hungry and the dining room was the only place you could get half-way decent food on the ship. Again the food was too salty! Tonight’s theme was Neon Candyland and I donned neon body paint and ran around the ship checking out the Classics night in the Candlelight Lounge with beats by Chris Garcia and Anthony Attalla before heading to the Paris Lounge (theater). The theater had all the main acts and tonight was no different with Kristina Sky opening up with an awesome set. She was new to me and then Kyau and Albert took over to warm up the place real good. When Paul Oakenfold took the stage everyone went crazy and the energy was everywhere! Oakenfold did an amazing set supported by great visuals from the LED wall, intelligent lighting and lasers. Unfortunately I had run out of energy when Orla Feeney came on at 3:30AM and headed to bed for a few hours of sleep. On my way back to the cabin I bumped into some people and talked for a bit. Day 3 – Ensenada, Mexico This morning was a rough start as I only had two hours of sleep before getting up to do the Destination Donation program. The Whet Foundation is a non-profit arm of the parent of Groove Cruise which donates items and time to a foreign port that the ship visits. I participated in both experiences and am happy I did as they are both uplifting, enlightening and extremely sad all at the same time. We met in the atrium and debarked the ship together with items for the children. We headed to the City of Children and Carnival was nice enough to donate some of their Camp Carnival team members to come with us so we could do some fun activities with the children. We taught the children how to do one of those traditional cruise line dance songs, played a game where you hand a balloon around and if you get stuck with it you have to sit and squish it until it popped. We also went to visit the younger children in the nursery house. We gave them all stuffed animals before leaving. Don’t you know during the balloon game I got stuck with one and had to sit and squish it. My knees were wrecked from dancing forever. I sat down but couldn’t get back up! How embarrassing but funny too! These kids were so amazed and shy. They come from all sorts of backgrounds from being abused (both sexually and physically) to being abandoned by their parents. This place along with many others gives hope to the children so they can make themselves better and not wind up on the streets or involved with the drug cartels. It’s a truly amazing place. We headed back to the ship to welcome on a group of children from another orphanage into the area. Carnival, Whet Foundation and the Government of Mexico allowed a group of children to visit the ship! I couldn’t honestly believe how much red tape the Whet Foundation must have gone through to get that done but it was simply amazing! The kids don’t get to leave the orphanage except to go to school and to doctor’s appointments. It’s so very sad. Seeing them walk up to this huge ship and just be in awe on the gangway looking up at it was amazing! They got into the ship and we toured them around showing them all the different things on there (Carnival Waterworks the Promenade Deck) and brought them to Camp Carnival for a visit. The children had a blast and the time of their lives. One of them bonded with me despite the language barrier (English / Spanish). We took the kids to lunch in the main dining room not being used by Groove Cruise and they had a buffet style lunch for them. A Carnival table entertainer came in and wowed the people with the magic tricks. The kids got up and sang for us when lunch was done. Carnival donated some items to them and then the kids came over and thanked us and the one I bonded with me hugged me. I melted (cried). It was such an amazing experience. For a part of a day I touched so many children’s lives and gave them hope. I couldn’t have been more proud of my decision even though I was sleep deprived. Big shout out to Carnival Cruise Line for their generosity and cooperation on getting all this done with the staff dedicated to it, food donated and the other items donated too. After the children debarked the ship, I headed over to Papas and Beer to check out the scene there with DVBBS playing. The club was insanely hot and the music was pounding. I forgot my ear plugs and was just not comfortable so I left and did some shopping before realizing the port city was in bad times. Parents had their kids begging for money and selling things. The local shops knew we were coming in and so they had EDM music pumping out of everywhere. I felt bad for the kids. They have no future if they’re constantly after tourists for money and trying to sell things. They’re not getting an education. After having such an uplifting morning, I was an emotional wreck and went back to the ship. The ship was quiet when I got back. The room was not though. I had noticed an odor the prior evening but couldn’t figure out what it was. A pipe had burst between the two rooms and it had flooded under my bed and my part of the cabin. The stench was awful. They brought in a high power fan but it wasn’t helping. Guest services offered to move us to a different room but I had to find my roommate first! Oh boy… I was exhausted but found him and we moved our cabin. Guest services was incredibly patient and helpful through the whole experience. I ended up getting moved again because of the location of the new room being under the stage and I just needed some sleep! They did move me again thankfully. I felt bad for the guest services team as the line was growing as people wanted to know about their folios like usual at the end of the cruise. I went to dinner with my friend and can’t honestly remember what I had but it was great as I needed a lot of food. The waitress we had was on point and understood exactly what I meant when I wanted a double meat order and not a double plate of food! It was my last night with my dinner buddy and then I slept for about 4 hours. I woke up and headed for the theater with the beats of Sandro Silva followed by Dirty South. Both sets were downright phenomenal. I then went up to the pool deck to await the ship’s arrival into Long Beach while listening to the after hours beats of Guy Gerber. He brought us until the port and played until the end. Day 4 – Long Beach, California – Debarkation Due to some poor behavior on the ship, our debark was turned into a nightmare because everyone was trying to carry off their luggage. Customs was there in full effect and people were so tired from having not slept that people were still hanging out in their rooms. I got off the ship at 9AM with waiting in line for a relatively short period of time compared to the people behind me who waited for hours to get off. The last passenger from our cruise got off the ship at 12:45PMish. I’ve never seen a debark go so late!! I purchased the Carnival airport transfer to LAX and the bus left on time and got me to the airport in plenty of time. The cost was $30. It might have been cheaper to van pool it but not by much so the convenience was definitely worth while! Overall, the Groove Cruise LA 2015 was an epic production. Amazing talent with names I’d never heard of before along with old timers (like Ferry Corsten, Oakenfold and Dirty South) turning it up! The production side was on point the whole trip with lasers, intelligent lighting and LED panels that helped to move you. The sound system was amazing. It was effective but not so loud that you couldn’t talk in the middle of the dance floor and not be heard. The people were amazing. So many new faces to Groove Cruise and by and large the overall vibe was one to rage but respectfully so. There were a few bad apples but that can happen on any cruise! They were largely ignored and I had a great time! Would I do Groove Cruise again? Sure bet I would! It was also nice to see so many of the GLBT community on the ship and hanging out! This was the largest GLBT contingent yet on GC which is an open and welcoming community! Groove Cruise is twice a year, one from each coast. Next up is Groove Cruise Miami in January 2016… can’t wait! Read Less
Sail Date: April 2015
My limited Cruising experience is only with one other line, for which I am now certain has spoiled me for life. Having said that, I consider myself reasonable when travelling. My cruise aboard the Carnival Inspiration was planned as ... Read More
My limited Cruising experience is only with one other line, for which I am now certain has spoiled me for life. Having said that, I consider myself reasonable when travelling. My cruise aboard the Carnival Inspiration was planned as part of a group cruise to celebrate an anniversary. The 3-day itinerary and overall cost were deciding factors in our choice of Carnival. This 3-day trip has a reputation for being the "booze Cruise" and that it was! The only true value for money was the "Cheers" all-inclusive drink program which is offered. We all agreed that this program should be available to "purchase" online as part of the pre-check in process to minimize additional delays in getting the fun started instead of needing to wait in line the moment after boarding. The "Cheers" program sticker could be placed on your sign and sail card at check in. The Inspiration is nearly 20 years old and shows its age. This was my first cruise on a Carnival ship, and I had heard that the interiors were "different" than other lines.... It was as if the common areas were decorated by every available designer at the time and every idea, color scheme, lighting concept and material were used at once. The Las Vegas tackiness of the Grand Spectrum atrium was laughable and repulsive at the same time. By far the most bizarre is the decor of the Brasserie Buffet; the unsettling purple tubes which permeated the surroundings could have been named for Ursula the Sea Witch from the Little Mermaid as "Ursula's entrails". It is more than apparent that no upgrades or alterations of any kind have been made to this ship throughout its lifespan. Our Mustering "Safety Drill" was ridiculous. I don't see how any Cruise Line that allows passengers up to 3 hours time prior to drink to the point of complete intoxication to be cooperative during any sort of "safety Drill". God help us all if we did indeed incur an emergency throughout our cruise. By far the most frustrating experience on board was our dinner service. Our group had second seating in the Mardi Gras Dining Room. The international crew (which I know is commonplace on cruise lines) was friendly, yet incompetent in that few spoke good English which made for very difficult communication. Drink orders were misunderstood (Cabernet Blanc ordered and Cabernet Sauvignon received- this occurred more than once with white and red wines...) The steward responsible for the delivery of drink orders consistently looked perplexed and confused. The waiter would ask for our drink orders and we would then have to remind him to bring us a wine list. When seated at a round table as part of a group as we were, the the table was set for too many people to provide a comfortable dining experience. (Think crowded wedding reception) Nightly menus were unimpressive and lackded creativity. I knew I was not travelling on a 4-star Michelin rated cruise, but I expected a more enticing menu. Most frustrating was courses were almost served simultaneously. Soups, then MOMENTS later, salad, almost without fail, if an additional appetizer of a shrimp cocktail or other selection were ordered, it was forgotten, left behind, or delivered to the table after the main course was served. One night in a moment's notice, I had three courses in front of me! I didn't complain for fear that I would never see my food again! The first night I ordered from "The Grill" a pork chop. Probably the oddest-looking cut of pork I have ever seen with more gristle and fat than anyone would desire. "Grilled" way past well done, I sent it back. My replacement was tolerable. An obvious lack of training was very apparent among the crew. There is no reason why any dinner service should be so rushed. On ANY cruise, at ANY price, I find this unacceptable. Entertainment was good. The shows in the Paris Lounge were high energy and professionally produced and fun to watch. Entertainment in the lounges was also found to be good. We experienced unfortunate delays in debarkation. The ramp at the Long Beach Port was not functioning and we all needed to exit via deck three, the door that is used on Port days like in Ensenada. The communication from the Cruise Director regarding any necessary changes in the debarkation process was inadequate, infrequent and incompetent. Not ONCE did the Cruise Director explain WHY we were delayed and he made no mention of ANY apology for our inconvenience; very unprofessional! My cabin was on Deck 5 and we were scheduled to debark at approximately 8:30 AM. We finally got off at noon. NO crew members were available on the Empress deck (where the debarkation lines formed) NO ONE! We were left to our own devices to locate the end of the "endless" line to debark. Stairwells were congested nightmares. When we finally reached the exit on deck three, there were at least five crew members standing there apologizing to us! (Not a very good use of the crew!) Shame on the crew leaders of the Inspiration for their inept handling of this situation. The true "good sports" of the situation were the fellow passengers who showed exemplary patience within a very frustrating experience. It left several of us talking among ourselves wondering how an emergency would be handled by this crew. I will seek out other lines' 3 and 4-day cruise options for future travel needs and gladly pay more if needed! Read Less
Sail Date: January 2013
We had a grand suite, which has a large pole in the middle. Bath has small Jacuzzi tub. Amenities not refilled. Even if you ask. TV reception poor. Internet connection strong. Balcony. Room is NOT heated, a consideration in the ... Read More
We had a grand suite, which has a large pole in the middle. Bath has small Jacuzzi tub. Amenities not refilled. Even if you ask. TV reception poor. Internet connection strong. Balcony. Room is NOT heated, a consideration in the winter, although the comforter was great. Only one outlet in the room. One outlet in bathroom which cannot be used for hair iron. The safe requires a credit card or license to lock or open. Thin walls, so we heard the kids next door, who remarkably only slept from 2:00 a.m. to 6:00 a.m. When awake, their favorite activity was banging on our common wall. Food selection in buffet is thin. Some food is not labeled, such as the sushi. Pizza, which is served continuously, is not great. There is a deli, but pastrami and corned beef served cold, heated when sandwiches are put in panini maker. Mongolian Wok very good. Dinning room food selection is good. Always found something to eat, usually more than one thing. Service was slow. Dinner is a two hour event. One night it took 8 requests to get a bottle of champagne opened. Finally opened with dessert. We had a 8:15 seating so getting out for a 10:00 p.m. show was always impossible. Dining room for breakfast and lunch is slow and service is spotty. Many requests must be made twice. We are still waiting for my son's french fries. Maybe Carnival will mail them. One day we needed maitre d' help to get (a) coffee and (b) tea. The Taste Bar was only open once. The show was good, and the comedy show was OK, but not great. Constant interruptions by folks buying and selling drinks. We drink too, but I don't stand in front of others and conduct my business with the server. Went to see a free show, the marriage game. While it is going on the staff brings in 100 or so guests who want to play Bingo, blocking view and making noise so that about 1/5 of audience can't see or hear. In full view of the cruise director, Steve, who is on stage. Also on stage are three staff selling Bingo sheets. According to Steve, Bingo must start on time, even if it bothers the previous show. The gym was adequate in size. Sauna and steam room are gender specific. The sauna was never warm enough. The steam room, on the other hand, can double as a steamer for the lobster tails. Some stalls in ladies rest room not functioning, were not scheduled to be fixed until the cruise ended. Pool is not large. Jacuzzis near pool tended to be full (it's amazing how many people can fit) with kids and young drunks. Jacuzzis in the Serenity area much better, although one evening only one was available as the couple in the other one were "busy." (hey, Cruise Critic is a family site.) On two occasions, I nearly sat on a beer bottle cap, once in steam room where it could not be seen, and once at Jacuzzi. As another reviewer remarked, this is the Wal-Mart of cruising. My observation is that this is not the good Wal-Mart. The ship attracts a wide range of guests, but a large group are 20 somethings who are there to drink. For $300 per person, a good deal for three days away. We paid for the best room on the ship (we hosted cocktail parties each night for our group) but paying a premium price gets you nothing more. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2012
I am not normally the type of person to stuff myself into an inside stateroom, much less with three other women, but we got a the crazy idea to go on this cruise a few months ago and I'm glad we did. First let me say that ... Read More
I am not normally the type of person to stuff myself into an inside stateroom, much less with three other women, but we got a the crazy idea to go on this cruise a few months ago and I'm glad we did. First let me say that squeezing four late twenty something ladies into a stateroom was not so bad. I guess I had prepared myself for a much tighter fit, so I was pleasantly surprised when we managed to have enough room to actually move around. We did have to ask the stateroom steward to pull out the roll away bed bits so we could stuff our suit cases under the bed and it was quite the task to leap up into the upper bunks while slightly (or maybe more than slightly) inebriated, but overall I'd probably do it again. I think my max would be 5 days and that might be pushing it. I was bummed that our stateroom steward never once introduced himself. He and his assistant actually never spoke to us. We communicated exclusively by post-it. I take that back, one morning the other girls went to get a massage and I stayed in bed, only to be awoken by the room steward making the other beds. He apologized and backed out of the room looking embarrassed. It seems someone stole the "snoozin" sign off of our door. Also, on the final night, they never brought us the blue tags you put on your bags. We didn't mind so much since we carry our own bags off the ship, but we did feel a bit abandoned. We never did find the room service menu, I'm not sure they ever put one into the room. Food was so-so, but desert was craptacular... seriously bleh. Our waiter, Lloyd, and assistant waiter (whose name I could never remember) were fabulous. We also had a great bar waiter named Fitzroy who gave me quite a few extra drinks when I'd run into him on the ship. I never did have to pay for a soda with dinner. We ate in the MDR every night since we had a good time with our table mates. The highlight of the cruise was that a good 1/3 of the ship was in costume on Saturday and Sunday night (cruise was the weekend before Halloween). We had a great time. People were taking pictures with everyone else. It was like one big fabulous Halloween party. I did feel bad for the families (not that there were many of them) on board since some of the ladies were not what one could describe as modest... I'm no prude but some of them made me embarrassed by how much of them I could see. It was a damn good time. I'd do it again, but I'm going to need several weeks to recover. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2012
There were 8 people in our group from the age of 25 to late 50's. 3 males and 5 females. We live in the Inland Empire. We left home at 8:30am, and made it to Long Beach at 10:30am. Check-in at the Queen Mary was very fast, but the ... Read More
There were 8 people in our group from the age of 25 to late 50's. 3 males and 5 females. We live in the Inland Empire. We left home at 8:30am, and made it to Long Beach at 10:30am. Check-in at the Queen Mary was very fast, but the ship didn't board until 11:30am. We were the 2nd group to board... The Inspiration's atrium is extremely dark (decorated in black). The rest of the ship is very tastefully decorated. The staterooms are the most spacious cabins I have ever had (this was my 12th cruise). Even the bathroom was huge compared to others in the industry (your knees aren't in the sink!) The ship seemed very clean. The food was very good. They even served lobster which they usually don't on shorter cruises. I've had better food on Celebrity and maybe Princess, but it is on par with Royal Caribbean and Disney. The service was as good as any ship I've been on. The activities on board were extremely boring! I thought this was supposed to be a party ship, and I was afraid that was what I would find. This was not the case at all! The ship was pretty dead. Deader than I wanted. With the exception of the cruise director herself, the cruise staff was in need of some training. I have to say, the stage show "Shout" is not to be missed! Catalina is a great port! We played miniature golf, rented a 6-person golf cart ahead of time (make sure you do this), and some members of our party went para-sailing (I think you must have reservations to do this as well). Tendering is no problem. Just go before 10am. I didn't get off the ship in Ensenada since i have been there 2 or 3 times and it is just a tourist trap in my opinion. The disembarkation was slower than getting on the ship, and even that only took about 30 minutes. We went immediately when our number was called. Overall, it was a great cruise and I would definitely recommend Carnival for a cheaper option. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2012
I have cruised twice with Royal Caribbean, 7-night Mexican Riviera (Cabo, Puerto Vallarta, and Mazatlan) and 7-night Western Caribbean (Labadee, Ocho Rios, Grand Cayman, and Cozumel). I had such great experiences cruising that I decided ... Read More
I have cruised twice with Royal Caribbean, 7-night Mexican Riviera (Cabo, Puerto Vallarta, and Mazatlan) and 7-night Western Caribbean (Labadee, Ocho Rios, Grand Cayman, and Cozumel). I had such great experiences cruising that I decided to have a weekend cruise with my girls for my Bachelorette Party. Pros: - Carnival was the only company offering what we were looking for - 3 nights, and sails on the West Coast. - Embarkation and debarkation went smoothly. Cons: - Charging $$ for a lot of things after booking. i.e. We booked 2 rooms for 9 girls (room of 4 and room of 5), two of the girls wanted to switch rooms and I called Carnival 2 weeks prior to cruise and was told it would cost me $150 to do that. Why? - Decor: very retro, really should upgrade to more modern. - Service: I have always known who my wait staff were and who my room attendant were when on Royal Caribbean...neither introduced themselves to us and frankly, we never met our stateroom attendant. - Room: there was no hair dryer in the room. - Entertainment: For a sea day and raining/storming, there wasn't a lot of activities scheduled..it was kind of boring. And the level of entertainment wasn't up to par to what I have seen on Royal Caribbean either, the shows weren't entertaining, and the comedy shows weren't all that funny... Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2012
Embarkation from Los Angeles went smoothly and quickly. Had lunch on the Lido deck while waiting for luggage to be delivered to room. I think that in the future we will opt to carry on our luggage even though it might take a little more ... Read More
Embarkation from Los Angeles went smoothly and quickly. Had lunch on the Lido deck while waiting for luggage to be delivered to room. I think that in the future we will opt to carry on our luggage even though it might take a little more time to screen through security. We chose early dining 6:00 in the Carnival Dining Room but you do have option of not attending and going to open seating in the Mardis Gras dining room if you want to eat a bit later or you can go to the Lido deck for choices of buffet, pizza, deli, or hots and burgers. I like to have a reserved seat for dining and prefer having the same wait staff as they cater to you and are much more efficient. Talking with others that tried the open seating said they prefer the reserved seating also after trying the other. Our waitstaff were attentive and fun and greeted us enthusiastically each night (we were group of 8). Food selections were good and we did not have a entree we didnt like. Lobster and grilled shrimp excellent,as was the prime rib and the veal parmesean. The chocolate melting cake was so good I had chocolate overload as ordered it three nights...oh boy! Tried the deli for lunch one day...grilled rueben sandwich very good, husband had pizza which he said was not bad at all for cruise ship. Went to lido buffet one morning for breakfast, good selections but dig deep to get the hotter eggs etc. After that went to sit down breakfast in Mardi Gras dining room which service was a bit slower then at dinner because of few waitstaff but food hotter and fresher. If you are in hurry, stick to lido buffet or get limited room service breakfast. Day of sailing signed up for a wine package for 3 bottles of wine at $63.00 plus gratuity and was given tear off card to present in dining room at dinner (selections of wine available on back of tear off). Tried three different ones and all good. Presented card to waiter and the bottles were served with our dinner. Room steward introduced himself and was very attentive during our stay. Booked with a group and chose ROS so ended up with inside cabin on lowest deck. Would not have been our first choice but price was right and thats the cabins we got with our group. Couldnt upgrade as ship sailed full. Room was very adequate however and bathroom and shower good size - happy with that. Shampoo and body wash in shower dispenser. Small toothpaste, small body lotion also. No hair dryer - had brought my own traveling one. Two closets which good for short cruise but for longer, ask for more hangers. Safe in closet. No mini-fridge. If longer cruise I would have liked and outside cabin but being an inside cabin didnt bother us at all though room seemed smaller then outside cabins. Entertainment was excellent!! Especially the Carnival crew singers and dancers. Went to one comedian show and was pretty good. Listened to some of the bands and one was just okay, other was good. Casino paying off first two nights not so much last night of cruise. Pet peeve children in hot tubs!! A little annoying is the waiters trying to sell drinks while you are around the pool area especially even though you have a bucket of beer on your table or glasses of other beverages. Learned to just put up a hand as they approached! Lots of picture taking too everywhere but we did end up buying two pictures as they made us look pretty good for a change! Stopped at Catalina Island and Ensendad, Mexico but will write about them in excursions. Back at Los Angeles port we decided to do the self-assist and take luggage off ourselves as we had a bus leaving for airport at 9:00am and the ship had our deck going off at 9:45am. Customer relations offered to give us a earlier disembark ticket but the earliest for them is 8:45am so rather then chance it we walked off with our stuff at 7:30 and had plenty of time to get our bus. One couple took the earlier disembark ticket and were fortunate that the bus didnt leave til 9:30 or they would have had to get own selves airport. They said it was fault of customs not having enough stations open to accommodate number coming off ship. HIGHLY recommend that at this port you walk your luggage off ship (customs was a breeze when we disembarked) especially if you have early flight or ride. If not, then eat a leisurely breakfast on the lido deck and wait for the lines to go down. Conclusion, our trip on the Carnvial Inspiration was fun, great food, wonderful entertainment and after all, a cruise is what you make of it. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2011
This was our 6th cruise on Carnival Cruise Lines, 5th time on the Inspiration. Arrived at Tampa early and enjoyed beverages at MJ's while we waited on all of the members of our group to arrive. The Tampa port is easy to navigate ... Read More
This was our 6th cruise on Carnival Cruise Lines, 5th time on the Inspiration. Arrived at Tampa early and enjoyed beverages at MJ's while we waited on all of the members of our group to arrive. The Tampa port is easy to navigate and we were on the ship in less than 30 minutes. Having traveled on the Inspiration before we new where everything was so we were off to having a good time. We enjoyed dinner in the Mardi Gras dinning room, this might have been the best food and service that we have ever had on a Carnival ship can say nothing bad about the food. Ist stop Cayman Islands been here 3 times just went to Margaritaville 2nd stop Cozumel we arrainged a private tour with Eduardo (eduardoczm@gmail.com) using Gerry as our guide, toured the eastern side of the island would recommend them to anyone who wants to get away from all of the tourist traps. The only negative that I can say about the cruise is that some parents do not know how to control their kids. We took this cruise at this time of the year hoping that most were still in school, not. Suggestion to parents with small kids Disney Cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2011
I just got back from my first sailing with the Carnival Inspiration. This was also my first experience with Carnival all together. I did this sailing as a part of a group booking with a large group of friends. Now I didn't pick this ... Read More
I just got back from my first sailing with the Carnival Inspiration. This was also my first experience with Carnival all together. I did this sailing as a part of a group booking with a large group of friends. Now I didn't pick this particular cruise and I will admit that was a little skeptical about going on because Carnival has gotten a lot of bad PR lately. I had also read reviews on this site prior to sailing and they were overwhelmingly mixed. As a whole, the trip was a lot of fun because I had a great time with my friends. As for the Carnival Inspiration itself, I'll just say that it was decent.Now I will say that I actually am a pretty easy person to please. You put me in warm weather with a drink in my hands and good friends in company, and it is impossible for me to have a bad time. My only other cruise experience was with the Norwegian Gem, and I had an absolute blast on it. Just great overall satisfaction. The entire time on the Carnival Inspiration, I was struggling to find some of the same great qualities. Here's a break down: The food: Satisfying overall. No complaints here. The waitstaff were extremely friendly and warm. Can't say I didn't like any of the food, but there wasn't a meal where I was blown away.The Layout of the ship: A bit confusing. But of course, you're able to find stuff with trial and error.Just a few gripes:- The drain in our shower was clogged the whole week and filled up the whole time.- A few of the staff members (non-food service) were a bit rude to some of my friends for undeserved reasons.- Lack of entertainment and activities. For a group of 20-somethings, from 8-11 at night there was nothing to do besides the casino. The club was taken over by teens until 11 (I wish they had a separate one for them). There were only a few nights where the cover band played and the area they played wasn't exactly much of a dance area. We also wished there were more nightly game shows/activities for adults).- Pool was too small. The whole week we stayed on the back deck near the slides. My biggest gripe with that is that I wished they had music playing back there on the speakers because there wasn't any at all.- I knew the Inspiration was an older ship, but it didn't handle the motion of the ocean very well. Pretty bouncy.Other than that, it was still a fun time. But as my first Carnival experience, I just think it was a little too kid/family oriented and not that great for 20-somethings. I would say I prefer Norwegian more. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2011
.....That said, this was certainly not our finest cruise experience. This was our 7th cruise, the 6th on Carnival. We had a small group of 10 adults to celebrate a family milestone, and the group included some first time cruisers. Although ... Read More
.....That said, this was certainly not our finest cruise experience. This was our 7th cruise, the 6th on Carnival. We had a small group of 10 adults to celebrate a family milestone, and the group included some first time cruisers. Although everyone had fun, we were disappointed on several levels, including the cabin, the service and the dining experience. The biggest detractor was the terrible embarkation melee and being delayed 8 hours. If this had been my first Carnival cruise I'm not sure I would be all that excited to re-book with Carnival. Embarkation Nightmare Ship was significantly delayed getting into Tampa from the previous sailing due to fog, and did not arrive in port until 6:00 PM. Meanwhile we were sitting in the cruise terminal for 8 hours with very little information forthcoming. We were not able to board until 9:30 PM, and the ship did not sail until 12:30 AM. This certainly put a damper on festivities! Carnival issued each person a $40 credit, which seems a little stingy, considering we missed out on half a day. Micro-Cabin This is the smallest cabin we have ever had. We had an interior cabin, which is usually no problem for us. But I am telling you, this cabin was small! With the beds pushed together to make a king, there was not enough room to pull out the stool to sit at the dresser. There was only one outlet in the entire cabin, located on the dresser. The issue was that it was so small it would not accommodate the larger plug-ins that are common on newer hair dryers, etc. So, I could not use my hair dryer the entire trip - bad hair! Dining Ho-Hum For dinner we had late seating in the Mardi Gras dining room. Service was simply OK - not stellar. Food choices were routine, nothing different. Food was prepared very well. We purchased a wine package which was a pretty good deal. However, one of our selections was not to our liking (a terrible Sauvignon Blanc that tasted like green apples!). Unlike a normal restaurant where you can send back the wine, they would not let us return it. So we were stuck with wine we couldn't drink. Breakfast service in the dining room was lacking - several times we actually got up, found the coffee pot, and poured refills for the entire table. Nice Pool/Serenity Area The pool area was very nice. Big problem with chair hogs, with no intervention from staff. I finally removed towels that had been saving chairs for over 2 hours. Could never score a chair in the Serenity Area. The poolside activities were "same ol'-same ol'" - nothing new or different. Anemic Service Service in general was lackadaisical. Exceptions: our room steward was wonderful, and the bar servers on the pool deck were terrific. But, generally-speaking, we were not bowled over. An example of the tepid service: we were trying to get to the Serenity Retreat, and couldn't seem to find the right elevator. I asked several employees and did not receive one solid, helpful response! One staff member said "Yesterday was my first day - I don't know". Not one person offered to find someone who could, in fact, help us. I encountered 2 staff members in the photography display area who were downright rude. De-embarkation: Well Done We were very impressed with the speed and efficiency. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2010
I just got back home from my first cruise on the Carnival Inspiration. It was amazing!!! The fun force was great and had many activities. The deck party at Christmas had great music, and we had a 185 member congo line. The slide and putt ... Read More
I just got back home from my first cruise on the Carnival Inspiration. It was amazing!!! The fun force was great and had many activities. The deck party at Christmas had great music, and we had a 185 member congo line. The slide and putt putt were fun, and the food was good, not great. Cozumel was a lot of fun, we took an excursion not sponsored by the cruise ship and enjoyed it very much. There were a lot of space to enjoy the sun, and each floor was always bustling with fun activities. The best part of about the cruise was the teen (15-17 year old) club 02. Our directer, Ilijah was the bomb. I had the chance to mix and mingle with other teens on the ship which was great. My only negative things about the ship is that many areas require extra fees, or require an age requirement. Also, the last "fun" day at sea, we drove into a massive all day storm, and half of the ship was seasick, and that really dampened things, along with the fact everything outside was closed for high winds. Lastly, our CD Stephanie Meads was annoying, her PA announcements sounded sarcastic, and woke me up on multiple occasions. Overall, Carnival's Inspiration is a great cruise. From the evening dinner "Shoooowtime!" to parties and all the "fun", it was a welcomed Christmas experience. Great for all ages. 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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