2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
Overall, we had a good time, but I'm not sure I would do it again anytime soon. Here are some thoughts: => Boarding was quick and easy, even though we were early (12 noon arrived for a 1pm reservation) => The crew was ... Read More
Overall, we had a good time, but I'm not sure I would do it again anytime soon. Here are some thoughts: => Boarding was quick and easy, even though we were early (12 noon arrived for a 1pm reservation) => The crew was friendly, every time. => Meals were decent, but not great. The 'Chef’s Table' is seriously overrated, and we would not do it again. Our chef leader (Anthony) was pompous and not fun, which made the whole experience a lot less fun. the food was great, if ‘over processed’ foodie fancy stuff. => This is definitely a party boat, that draws a middle class crowd, that sometimes gets drunken and messy. The good side of this is that it's a much younger crowd and only a little bit geriatric. If you want well behaved, take one of those nice boats with the old folks. => We did not do any of their excursions and didn’t need to. Carts in Avalon were fun and easy, and the botanical garden was great. I did a hike on my own in Encenada, which was fun. => The breakfasts at the Mardi Gras dining hall were much better than the buffet. => What's up with the coffee?! Embarrassingly weak. Pathetic. => The 'Deep Blue Soul' band was quite good! Their base player is AMAZING! => The shows were solid, if not stellar. => Standing in line is no fun, but it really wasn’t that bad most of the time. => We each brought a bottle of wine on board, and were not hassled at all. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
Let me start off by saying this is well worth $350 per person. I have been on this cruise a few times and I was able to see the improvements Carnival has made to this ship. In fact, I have been on brand new ships like the Breeze that were ... Read More
Let me start off by saying this is well worth $350 per person. I have been on this cruise a few times and I was able to see the improvements Carnival has made to this ship. In fact, I have been on brand new ships like the Breeze that were not as clean as this ship. Ancient? YES! Dirty? No. We arrived at 10:30am and we were on the boat by 11:10am (we are Platinum guests). Our room was ready right at 1:30pm and our bags were in our room by 4:00. VERY ORGANIZED embarkation. I saw our room stewardess once in 4 days but he did a good job, just wasn’t warm and fuzzy which is fine with us. Now to the dining room. I would give it a “C-“ at best. Most of the food was bland, not very warm and took forever. Sorry but you get what you pay for. I knew it wasn’t going to be elaborate, fine dining so I wasn’t all that surprised. Our served was just ok but rarely checked in on us. On the other hand, we loved the room service option, pizza, Guys Burgers and Blue Iguanas. The boat stopped in Ensenada overnight because of the rough seas. We are gamblers so we were obviously sad to see the casino close but still had a blast. Both comedy shows were absolutely amazing, the Alchemy bar was some of the best drinks I’ve ever had and we enjoyed being losers at Bingo. I loved the dealers and bartenders at the casino. They were extremely friendly and almost all of the employees were talking about how much they loved this ship in particular because of the people. I highly recommend the drink package for a 3-4 day cruise. I would say I had 9-10 drinks a day on average (you can have 15) and that saved me soooo much money. If you are a beer drinker, it might not be the best package at $60 a day after tip. I also steer away from drink packages on 7 day cruises since you are off the boat for half of the trip. Overall, if you go into this trip knowing it is cheaper than a weekend in Vegas, you will be happy. Don’t listen to the complainers. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
We have done this 3 day cruise 2x now. All in all, fun. Booze Cruise; though I don't partake. Lots to do...plenty to eat; buffets, dining hall. All of it, though mostly fresh, was not that good. Great dining staff, they were all ... Read More
We have done this 3 day cruise 2x now. All in all, fun. Booze Cruise; though I don't partake. Lots to do...plenty to eat; buffets, dining hall. All of it, though mostly fresh, was not that good. Great dining staff, they were all friendly and fun and accommodating. Shows were fun. Casino staff was fun. Now for the not so fun. One outlet in bathroom and one in cabin. We asked and received a power strip. On this trip, the room cleaning service was not good. Trash from past guests and a dirty bathroom counter greeted us. They cleaned it right away and apologized...but then, saw not a little but a ton of mold in the bathroom. I know it's a ship in the water but this was unacceptable. Get some bleach and clean this! Which they did but, eeeeeeeeewwwww...not what I want to see on vacation and it's not healthy to be around. They didn't seem to care much this happened on the ship or after we called when we came back. They gave us minimal on board credit for a future cruise....I just don't see doing this cruise ever again. Again, we had fun, went to shows, gambled, ate, went to Ensenada, played bingo, art auction...etc but the gross cabin infringed on my experience.Uhhh, and that bed, oh man, I was glad to get home...Less towel Elephant, more hygiene. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
Never going back--even if free So there are good things about this cruise. 1. SOME of the staff were very nice.The guy who cleaned our room was amazing-super friendly and always greeted us with a smile. The girls working the ... Read More
Never going back--even if free So there are good things about this cruise. 1. SOME of the staff were very nice.The guy who cleaned our room was amazing-super friendly and always greeted us with a smile. The girls working the excursions. . BUT we had a few VERY BAD THINGS. 1. The FOOD WAS HORRIBLE across the board. It was like bad, cheap mall food and there was hardly any available. The food at dinner was a little better, but two nights, I didn't even eat because it was so yucky. Cold, soggy, smelled "off", and it was obvious that it was premade. In the Mardi Gras room, I tried to eat there twice with no luck. Bad service--one guy got really mad that I didn't want coffee and the next day the guy kept bringing me the wrong food. They tried hard, but it was bad. Room service was lackluster and they charged for everything. 2. There wasn't much to do on the ship except drink and since so much of the ship was filled with smokers, it was bad. 3. They didn't explain anything to us and when we asked we got yelled at. We were very confused much of the time (it was our first cruise)*** come back to this. 4. Excursions were very expensive and they were super unorganized--getting off the ship etc. It was chaotic. 5. The "safety" thing was just the cruise director taking roll and telling us what shows were coming up. And he mentioned that kids had armbands. We would have been screwed had anything happened. 6. Our stateroom was FREEZING. I had on three shirts, a sweatshirt, two pairs of thick socks, a hat, gloves and a scarf and got under the covers. There was no way to warm up. The shower was lukewarm. So we FROZE. It was warmer on the deck in the rain and 50 degrees. I caught a really bad cold and was coughing. It was so uncomfortable. When I asked the man who cleaned our room he said that was how it was. It was like camping, outside, in the winter. This was probably the thing that was the hardest to deal with. 7. The internet for $59 was super slow and you couldn't even access the app without it. Only one person can be on it. 8. The hallway and room smelled like rotting feces at all times. (E78) 9. We were by the atrium where they had parties and loud music and games from early morning til midnight or later. THE WORST WAS this one lady at the guest services. We asked her how to disembark on day three--we thought we should know. She started immediately yelling at us to "turn on the tv!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" when I explained that on the Carnival TV channel there was only ads and a cartoon explaining how to put on a life jacket she got more angry. She told us to TURN ON THE TV!!!! IT WAS ON THERE. Then I suggested that the rooms should have a book or something with information like hotels do---she got upset again. She demanded to know why we were confused. I said that for example we had no idea where to eat or anything and that's when she lost her mind. She literally said, "JESUS CHRIST!!!" and then called me a B**ch Then put her hand up and refused to answer any questions. We were then AFRAID to ask anyone anything. I was in tears at that point because I hadn't eaten all day (due to the lack of food choices) and just wanted an explanation of what time we could leave on Friday morning. There was no need to be nasty. I even explained that it was our first cruise. I left in tears. I asked a man in the hallway to see a manager and he told me that there was no such thing on Carnival cruises and that guest services were the boss. I explained what happened and he said that was up to them how to treat people. Then I said, "so you could verbally abuse me and no one would do anything, not even the captain?" He confirmed. I was crying. I went outside to sit on deck nine to calm down, because there was nothing we could do to get help. I got locked outside for 45 minutes. :( I don't know if I will get a lawyer because of he behavior, but honestly verbally abusing guests is UNCALLED FOR. Also she NEVER told us how to do anything. I went down there at 3 am and asked someone else. To end on a good note, the guys in the dining hall were amazing. Once we figured out where to go and went there every night at 8:15, they went above and beyond to make us feel welcomed. Sadly this was our honeymoon and because the stateroom smelling like poop, being about 50 degrees, and being called names and cursed out. It ruined it for us. I am drafting a letter---the old fashioned way and mailing it to them. I hope they refund at least half or it, but even if they do, we aren't going back. It was really, really, really bad. PROS: some of the staff, and the people we met, the comedy shows were good, the entertainment shows were good. CONS: Food, some of the staff, freezing & stinky rooms, no hot water in shower, general confusiong, loud parties outside our room. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2018
Ship was great with a lot of entertainment! Cabin was very nice and clean, our room was cleaned up quickly once we left. We were greeted by the steward and I was impressed that he remembered our name the entire time! Dinner was great, a ... Read More
Ship was great with a lot of entertainment! Cabin was very nice and clean, our room was cleaned up quickly once we left. We were greeted by the steward and I was impressed that he remembered our name the entire time! Dinner was great, a lot of food choices was wonderful for my husband who loves food. My favorite was all the photos all through the cruise, we now have plenty of keep sake memories. Dressing up for a formal dinner and photos was a night to remember, everyone was so professional and helpful always with smiles on their faces. My only regret was spending so much money at the spa! I would have given a 5 star had I not felt cheated at the spa. At the time I didn't say anything however for I should have. Ladies don't waste your money with the ionithermie! I went for a walk through and the "deal" sounded amazing. All areas plus a temple massage for $129 well I never got any massage at all! And the equipment they promised to be so relaxing was actually horrible to feel like your getting shocked! Then after the process they recalculate your measurements to see how many inches you have lost. She said I lost 3" but as I looked at the paper I lost none. NOT worth the money I spent! I much rather could of used that money on something else on this cruise. That was my first time ever at a spa and probably my last time. Shore excursion was AMAZING! If I could give them a 10 stars I would. We did the Baja Off the Road Buggy Adventure. This was the highlight to our cruise. Those guys were fun, nice and professional. Money well spent there and if we were to go I would chose that excursion again. My husband and I both are wanting to do a longer cruise next time. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
We were given a lot of misinformation.. CONS: 1). We were told the buffet was 24/7. Not true. They shut down daily by a certain time. Everything has a schedule, some food vendors open early and close early. 2). Only 2 power ... Read More
We were given a lot of misinformation.. CONS: 1). We were told the buffet was 24/7. Not true. They shut down daily by a certain time. Everything has a schedule, some food vendors open early and close early. 2). Only 2 power outlets in room. One in restroom and 2nd next to bed. 3). Guest services (over the phone) some language barriers and they didn't pick up at times. Not sure if they close at certain times. 4). We were told every room comes with a fridge. Not true. They can provide u one if u have medications 5). We were told every room came with an iron. Not true. You had to take your close to another deck and iron it yourself there. 6). We were told there was a movie theater on board. Not true. PROS: 1). Team leader waiter Manoj in the Mardigra restaurant was by far the best. He went above and beyond to make sure I was pleased with my dinner. 2). Over all most staff on ship was professional and practiced good customer service. From food service to house keeping. Really good staff. 3). The ship overall was very well kept, clean including the public and personal restrooms. 4). A lot of food selection during the day and scheduled times. 5). A lot of eye candy. But my favorite eye candy was my wife. Dang she's hot. 6). Despite the misinformation my experience was very good. No rif raf or weird people that I could tell. I would definitely come back again. There's a lot of down time so pay attention to their app. It keeps you posted on weather, on board activities and schedules, including what food vendors are open. They had a stand up comedian who was funny, etc.. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
My husband and I have done this itinerary with Carnival before and decided to do it again. We just love cruising and love Carnival. Everything is easy going, fun, and relaxing. Ship: easy to get around, we really enjoy the water slides ... Read More
My husband and I have done this itinerary with Carnival before and decided to do it again. We just love cruising and love Carnival. Everything is easy going, fun, and relaxing. Ship: easy to get around, we really enjoy the water slides (even though we are adults with no kids!), food and drinks are available everywhere. The 1st day the pool was out of service, and it was actually REALLY hot, so we were kinda disappointed (especially since we purchased the faster to the fun and got on early). BUT it wasn't that big of a deal, plenty of other things to go see and do. :) Also, some bathrooms did not work, but they eventually got it fixed. My point is, things don't always go as planned, but they work really hard to get it back to working. Cabin: we had a porthole cabin. It was nice because the porthole gives a little shelf to store stuff = MORE SPACE! But the rest was just as any other room we have stayed in (window/no window). LOL, our toilet seat broke one day. But our steward replaced it right away and was super cool about it. Dining: everything was good. Food wasn't amaaazing always, but it was always good. Lots of options. And of course, the molten chocolate cake never disappoints. This was the 1st time we had "your time dining", and we won't do this again. There is less organization going this route, so be prepared to wait. One time we were sat and had to wait about 15 minutes till others were sat until we could even start ordering. They like to get the whole section ordered at the same time. Entertainment & Activities: We did our usual stuff, casino, trivia, mini golf, pool, comedy shows, karaoke and as usual they are all amazing and fun. BUT the funnest thing we did this time was the late night "Adult" scavenger hunt. This was the 1st time we saw it on a cruise and had a hilariously fun night. If you see it in your schedule, DO IT! :D Service: no complaints. Everyone was super friendly and helpful. Take some time to talk to the staff, especially your room stewards. They remembered our name right when we were on board! Ports & Shore Excursions: Ensenada ... we didn't do any planned excursions. There is some shopping right when you get off the boat. You can get some trinkets, jewelry, etc. You can also sit down there and have a beer or drinks. We ended up getting on a bus, which was $4 roundtrip/each of us. Just keep your ticket to get back on the bus. Dropped us off in the shopping area, near Papas n Beer. Walked around, had some food, drinks, shopped. No kids were with us, but I really want to take my niece sometime soon. :) But there were plenty of kids on the ship, tons in the pool. But it is all good. For this cruise, we purchased the "Faster to the Fun" for ~$40 (it's good for anyone in your cabin). We got to get on board early, our room was ready (we got to the port around 12), there was absolutely no line at this time, flew by security, scanned bags, walked up and onto the ship! Literally less than 20 minutes. But the reason we purchased it was because I had to go to work the day we got back. It was GREAT!!! We had a special waiting area which had some pastries, coffee, water, juice. And we got to get off the ship 1st, again no line, no waiting! Definitely, the way to go. You also get priority at the ports, but we didn't use it then. We will definitely go again. We've been on about 5 Carnival Cruises now. We want to try others, but for now we're sticking with Carnival! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
We arrived 30 minutes earlier than our check in time but the let us board. After showing home printed boarding pass and passport, we boarded without any lines. We carried our own luggage and went straight to Lido deck to eat lunch where ... Read More
We arrived 30 minutes earlier than our check in time but the let us board. After showing home printed boarding pass and passport, we boarded without any lines. We carried our own luggage and went straight to Lido deck to eat lunch where the had buffet as well as Guy's burger and mexican food. Guy's burger was delicious and we came back multiple times. Our stateroom steward was very friendly every time we saw him and did great job of cleaning our room as well as provide us a different towel animal each day. At Catalina Island, we decided to stay on board since we've been there multiple times and not much to do there. This worked out good so very little people/crowds on board and thus were able to explore the ship and do mini golf. We gambled black Jack and Cash crane game and lost money but not too much. Dinner at Carnivale dining room was great with many different selection of menu items. We were able to order multiple appetizers, main course, and dessert. The service from dining staff was fabulous which included the dancing entertainment. We enjoyed playing Carnival Tower with large Jenga pieces and large dice. The nightly entertainment was great. The main shows (Studio VIP, and other shows) at Paris Lounge was spectacular. The Punchliner Comedy club was good although we sometimes could not understand or hear John Caponera jokes because he talked a bit fast. Jamie Lissow was geat comedian. I waited in line to get sandwich at Carnival Deli just before closing at 11pm and without the deli cook saying anything, he closed up area and then left which was very rude. I should have complained to his manager. We paid Wifi Internet Online Value Plan and first 2 days was just ok but the 3rd and 4th day was horrible and useless. We complained at Guest service on last evening at Guest Services and they were nice enough to refund the $41 Wifi charge to my CC since it was pre-paid. We went to Art auction and won a raffle for a choice of 1 of 4 different pieces of art prints but had to pay $35 shipping which was ridiculously expensive. We then made the mistake of purchasing a Thomas Kinkade art print for $200 which was overpriced after returning home and researching it. We could not research Park West Gallery's negative review while on board because of the bad wifi. The day we debarked, I tried to call Park West customer service to cancel this order but gave up after waiting an hour on the phone. It's ridiculous to pay 15% cancellation fee. They better not charge 15% cancellation fee on $35 shipping charge. The next day, I called again and waited for almost an hour to talk to a customer service rep but she was unable to find my invoice # and stated to call back again a few days later but I was never able to speak to a customer service representative again because of the very long wait on the phone. I also emailed their customer service email but never received response. Only after posting negative Yelp review did I get a response to send email to a different Park West customer service email address to which they finally responded stating they will cancel my invoice and process refund through Carnival. But a few days later, I got email stating that my order is being processed. I will now dispute the original Carnival cruise charge on my credit card. My wife paid $33.50 for 2 yoga classes and 1 Pilate class. The Carnival Fun Times showed the Yoga classes but not show the Pilate thus she missed Pilate class. We tried to explain to the Spa manager that they need to include Pilate class on Carnival Fun Times like Yoga classes but she blamed Carnival management. My wife spoke to Carnival manager who then blamed Spa manager for not telling Carnival to include Pilate class. This was disappointing to see both parties blame each other at the expense of us paying for service we did not receive. We will never attend Carnival spa ever again. We should have asked for a refund. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2018
We wanted to try a cruise out of Long Beach. Stayed in V-19 a Junior Suite. Nice time and for sure you should try the Chefs Table!! The room was nice and yes the balcony is small but its nice to have air and early embarking. Not a fan of ... Read More
We wanted to try a cruise out of Long Beach. Stayed in V-19 a Junior Suite. Nice time and for sure you should try the Chefs Table!! The room was nice and yes the balcony is small but its nice to have air and early embarking. Not a fan of kids so the Serenity are was our hang out. Good food and really good service. Catalina was a great stop for us. We had good drink service as well. A little cooler than we expected but made the best of it. If I had to do it again, I probably would but I think I would find a more adult cruise with no kids. Not a ton of them on board and for the most part well behaved but I think its strange seeing kids belly up to the bar for soda? Never experienced that before. I also like the curb side service. Saved tons of time. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2018
This is the first cruise for my husband and I. Because there was no phone or internet service readily available, it forced us to unwind and relax that we otherwise would not have done. I appreciated that actually. My husband unfortunately ... Read More
This is the first cruise for my husband and I. Because there was no phone or internet service readily available, it forced us to unwind and relax that we otherwise would not have done. I appreciated that actually. My husband unfortunately has stage 4 cancer and is not as mobile as he used to be. He doesn't like to draw attention to this so he uses no aides. The elevators not always going to the desired floor, but needing to go up a floor and then going to a different area to go back down was hard on him. If that could have been marked clearer it would have been helpful. The best part of the cruise for us was the delightful 2 people that assisted in the carnival dinning room. I can not say enough good about Dejan (I hope that is spelled correctly) and Yves. He and she, respectfully, was so kind and courteous. They are the memory I brought home with me. I actually wish I could have brought them home!! I enjoyed the craft portion of the day. I did not get the name of the girl who made the valentine cards, but she was amazing. She deserves special recognition. and the bubble of fun with the Aussie or British accent in the quilt a bear. She is the perfect personality for the public. Too bad that can't be bottled up and sold. I would really love to take this trip again. Dejon/Dejan asked me if I would be back. I told him no. This is because I doubt my husband will live much longer. However, if luck falls on my path, I truly would like to return. Especially if my favorite waiter is there. We was invited to come with a group of about 24, called the Lovers Holiday. BTW. Food was fabulous everywhere.. Especially the dinning room Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
I chose Carnival cruise lines because of the lower prices and a younger crowd. I had a bad experience with Princess Lines as a Gold member and wanted to try something new. The entertainment and staff are less professional and there was not ... Read More
I chose Carnival cruise lines because of the lower prices and a younger crowd. I had a bad experience with Princess Lines as a Gold member and wanted to try something new. The entertainment and staff are less professional and there was not a good dance band for mature cruisers, but I knew that for less money we get less luxury and benefits. The food was OK and the ship was clean. All things functioned in our cabin without problems. We had very slow service in our formal dining room late seating and missed a few shows, (took over one and a half hours to finish a dinner). I think this was due to our table being located in a back corner. The entertainment was not very professional and was only 70's R+B, which got a little old. The comedians were OK. There is limited space on the main open pool deck and a shortage of seating for the big events, but that is due to it being an older ship. For the money it was a good overall value, but if a person has cruised Norwegian or Holland lines, or even Princess it is best to have lower expectations and not be disappointed. There is a little more rudeness with a younger L.A. crowd. I have nothing but praise for the Long Beach poet facility for Carnival! Very easy parking, hotel access and very quick embarkation and departure process. We got off 1 1/2 hours early! That has never happened to me before on a score of cruises. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
We booked a sxuite since I need a balcony and this is an older ship and only suites have balconies. We had a blast we went with 3 other couples.The food was fine in the dining room if you didn't something you just ordered something ... Read More
We booked a sxuite since I need a balcony and this is an older ship and only suites have balconies. We had a blast we went with 3 other couples.The food was fine in the dining room if you didn't something you just ordered something else. Sure it's not Ruth Chris but never had a bad meal and the molten cake is always a yummy desert. Our dinning staff Priyesh, Sheena, and Jordeesh always made our dining experience a joy! The best bar on the boat is the Alchemy Bar it is in front of the theater on the top portion. We called it the foo foo bar they don't have beer but the best mixed drinks!! Katie, Michelle, Zolton and bar manager Marin always went above and beyond!! We also booked a tour with Valley Girl tours in Ensenada I didn't want to get off the boat at first but found another person's post who was sailing on the same cruise and they mentioned wine tasting in Guadalupe Valley. A a was our tour guide and even though we had some issues with things being closed on New Years day she gave us the best tour!! I asked to see the best brewery and best winery since we had both beer and wine drinkers and an authentic Mexican lunch and she met those needs for sure I would highly recommend her!! All in all it was a fun time and I chat see why people would complain!! The comedian on the boat was hilarious! It is an inexpensive fun time in my eyes!! Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2017
We were going to do the 7 day cruise on the Miracle, but right before booking we heard that the State Dept. had issued travel warnings for Cabo, etc...so we settled for the 4 day to Ensenada. Embarking was not bad...disembarking seemed a ... Read More
We were going to do the 7 day cruise on the Miracle, but right before booking we heard that the State Dept. had issued travel warnings for Cabo, etc...so we settled for the 4 day to Ensenada. Embarking was not bad...disembarking seemed a little difficult and time consuming. We were told to leave our luggage outside of our rooms by 11 pm the night before...kind of hard to decide what to leave out for the next morning, etc...it didn't help that our cabin steward was in our room by 7 am...we had gone to eat breakfast and came back to the room, wanting to stay in the room until 8:30...since he had already started cleaning we felt uneasy and went back to the buffet area with a few heavy bags and finally got called to stand in a very long line about 1045. Our last cruise was about 10 years ago on Royal Caribbean...The entire cruise we were comparing this one to the RC cruise. I didn't like this ship...it felt "compartmentalized" for lack of a better word...kind of like a maze...it didn't feel wide open...its like you would go to one floor, step out of the elevator, and you'd be in an area that wasn't recognizable from anywhere else on the ship...does that make sense...lol. It seems like the ship is like a house with a lot of rooms, but no wide open spaces. Entertainment was okay, but confusing...again, it seemed like we always knew what was going on at what time with RC...but on this cruise its almost like you are on your own, its up to you to try to figure out what's what and when. The cabin was decent...nothing special, just a small clean room...nowhere to put your clothes really...no drawers...I ended up putting my clothes in small desk drawers...my wife wanted to keep her stuff in her suitcase. The one thing that bugged us is that the TV was up in the corner where if we wanted to lay in bed and watch TV we had to put the pillows at the foot of the bed...it was awkward. The food was decent, but just the basics...nothing special, no wow factor...just real basic. Limited selections in the buffet...more like cafeteria food. The dining room wasn't much better. The Captains dinner was kind of a joke...half of the people that night were dressed casual...I'm sitting there in a suit and tie next to people who look like they're at Chili's. The best food on the ship was Guy Fieri's burger joint. That place saved me. Best burgers I think I've ever eaten. The décor of the ship looks dated and kind of run down...you occasionally find something that needs paint or repair...kind of ghetto-ish. The glass elevators were non operational...looks bad and inappropriate. The crew were all very nice and polite...no issues there. Bottom line...this is a basic, no frills cruise with all of the basics and absolutely no wow factor. I didn't like the layout of the ship...the food overall is disappointing...but it does seem that they really try hard to make it a nice experience. At the top of this review I struggled between 3 and 4 stars...3.5 would be more appropriate. On my next 3 or 4 day cruise I hope to try a Princess cruise. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2017
We picked this cruise because it was short and we knew the ship,having sailed on it previously 13 years previously to the Caribbean. This time we went by just ourselves Both of us are in our late 50s. Unfortunately it was April Spring ... Read More
We picked this cruise because it was short and we knew the ship,having sailed on it previously 13 years previously to the Caribbean. This time we went by just ourselves Both of us are in our late 50s. Unfortunately it was April Spring break and the ship was over run with children and young adults. The adult only area is small but nice. They really need 2 of them. Several things are different now. You have to pay for virtually EVERY THING. TOO many photos! I know its a selling thing but, overwhelming for me, who hates to have her picture taken. We bought a bubbles program so that we could get sodas at no additional cost. NOT TRUE. They automatically add tax and gratuity, so each drink costs you $2. Too much for a coke! You get food of course, but the restaurant you are assigned to and the Lido buffet serve almost exact same meal. SO its up to you whether you want to be waited on or just do your own thing. The entertainment was okay. Punch liner comic are good. Believe it or not, the dance clubs were empty. Best music was in hall at Violin bar by casino. You have to pay an additional $$$ for WiFi hook up. Port trips were okay. We rented our own golf cart on Catalina. Go to one farthest from port. Saw all of Avalon on our terms. We went to beautiful winery in Ensenada. Too much for what we did but, our hosts were very nice. We were let off in down town, crowded with over zealous sellers. We only bought from women and only small things. Probably won't go on cruise again. Not really a bargain any more. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2017
Chose this cruise mostly due to restrictions on time. Only had Friday through Monday available. Starting out on a cold windy rainy day was our of our control. Luckily Carnival let us on ahead of our scheduled time, hopefully this let some ... Read More
Chose this cruise mostly due to restrictions on time. Only had Friday through Monday available. Starting out on a cold windy rainy day was our of our control. Luckily Carnival let us on ahead of our scheduled time, hopefully this let some others in early missing when the rain started. The dining was wonderful. Due to the late embarkation (purely caused by weather, not the cruise line) first dinner was random seating. I asked that night if we could be switched to a table for just two. The next morning there was a not slipped under out door stating our wish had been granted. After looking around more in the dining room I was amazed they were able to grant that since there weren't many tables for only two, The service in our room was just perfect. Couldn't have been any better. We hadn't planned on a shore excursion yet left the ship anyways since there were was a place to shop right next to the ship. Tom D. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2016
The food was good, to very good. You need to know what you like to eat. The buffet was lacking at times and we thought that the food could have been left out longer but the MDR was good. Not all the food was perfect but it was all good. My ... Read More
The food was good, to very good. You need to know what you like to eat. The buffet was lacking at times and we thought that the food could have been left out longer but the MDR was good. Not all the food was perfect but it was all good. My eggs in the dining room were cold ish, but most everything we ate was enjoyable. The room was bigger then we thought it was going to be. The staff was great! It was a fun cruse, we enjoyed every minute (except for the losing in the casino). This was our first time on carnival and we found it to be a good fit. We expected a super 8 or motel 6 vacation and got a much better quality then that. So much better than Norwegian. The night time entertaiment was fun, the cruse director was great, it was great what a fun trip. The ship moved a lot at times so bring your motion sick med's if needed. Embarkation is slow but went smoothly, disembarkation only took like 18 minutes total. I realy enjoyed the comedian and entartainment, I even got to play simon. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2016
I chose this cruise as a gift for my hubby's 60th birthday. He loved it! While we enjoyed the cruise overall, there were a few flies in the ointment you might say. First oops was, they got our boarding pass pictures mixed up with ... Read More
I chose this cruise as a gift for my hubby's 60th birthday. He loved it! While we enjoyed the cruise overall, there were a few flies in the ointment you might say. First oops was, they got our boarding pass pictures mixed up with someone else and security held me back, treating me like some kind of terrorist and never apologized. I was NOT happy with this but they finally figured it out and we boarded the ship. Number one and a half was the stability of the ship. I've been on 2 other cruises (both Princess) and other than 1 stormy night at sea, they were as stable as being on dry land. The Inspiration was like one giant rocking chair floating in the water. Good thing we brought our Pepto and nausea tablets! Number two was we had a little misunderstanding with our room cleaning situation and the phone didn't work right. It took 3 different attempts with guest services to get it right but all in all, Carnival staff more than made up for it by treating us to steak and lobster (normally charged for on this particular cruise) and a free bottle of wine. Number 3 was no hot shower for me on the first day. Brrrrr. They sent someone to fix it though and everything was fine after that. The food was deelish especially the Guy burgers and that chocolate molten cake...mmmmm! Things to bring if you go or ( when we go again): bring sodas in an aluminum can, not a plastic bottle. Bring a little clock for your room and make sure to have a watch. Make sure to bring your own tote/shopping bag when you get off in Ensenada so you can fill it up with goodies you buy. And don't forget to go tinkle BEFORE you get off because finding a bathroom on shore was a real hassle. McDonald's makes you buy something before you can use theirs and it was stinky and deplorable! The 70's show on night 4 was GROOVY baby! We got to be VIP's and danced on stage with the cast. SO much fun! The line dancing and social dancing on the lido deck was a blast too! It was definitely a 20-30 somethings cruise but we made it our own. We danced to hip and sassy music of Magic Tractor in the Violin lounge. They were rockin!!! I was told at first there was no formal night but there is. It's called elegant night so, bring your dress up duds. Men: you don't have to wear a tux and ladies don't need a fancy ball gown. My hubby wore a dark shirt and black pants and I wore a black cami with a white tutu skirt...again: we made it our own! Do I recommend this cruise? Yes. Absolutely! For the money, you just can't beat it! Read Less
30 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2016
We have cruised on several lines including Carnival over the years. Wife and I wanted to try a shorter trip close to home to Catalina Island and Ensenada. Before booking we closely looked at reviews about this exact cruise. It funny that ... Read More
We have cruised on several lines including Carnival over the years. Wife and I wanted to try a shorter trip close to home to Catalina Island and Ensenada. Before booking we closely looked at reviews about this exact cruise. It funny that some people have a great time with maybe minor issue or two, but other people have nothing to say but bad things while on board. This trip was way beyond my expectations. We got boarded and debarked on the Inspiration quicker than any other cruise. We were in our cabin at 12:30pm with our luggage in the cabin. Our cabin steward KEVIN was the best. The food was all good, entertainment great , and the service from every person on the ship was fantastic. There weren't many kids on board and didn't see one person out of control. The ship was clean and didn't smell as people have mentioned. The bed was great and the shower was actually big. The ac was the best I had in any cabin. I guess it all comes down to what kind of attitude you have when going on a cruise. Either be positive, go with the flow, and have fun or be grumpy and have a bad attitude and bitch about everything. Not one person did I hear complain about anything. And we met some fine couples that we will be in touch for a long time. Great job Carnival Inspiration and keep up the great work. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2015
My husband and I booked a 4-day cruise on the Carnival Inspiration, out of Los Angeles/Long Beach to Catalina & Ensenada. The reason for the cruise was a short getaway to celebrate our 10-yr wedding anniversary, without our 3 and 4 ... Read More
My husband and I booked a 4-day cruise on the Carnival Inspiration, out of Los Angeles/Long Beach to Catalina & Ensenada. The reason for the cruise was a short getaway to celebrate our 10-yr wedding anniversary, without our 3 and 4 year old kids. We traveled with another couple, long-time friends. We have cruised before on Carnival (one 10-day), Princess (one 10-day) and Royal Caribbean (one 4-day), so we have some experience cruising and some metrics to measure by. Though the ship was small, we never found it crowded or had to stand in a line for anything. There were not a lot of lounge chairs except for those by the pool - even those, we never had trouble finding either 2 or 4 (when our friends joined us) together, in a spot we wanted to sit in. Our primary goal on the ship was to sit at the pool and relax. We achieved our goal, but a few times on our cruise - we did find ourselves searching the daily for something fun to do...not much that interested us. We never saw the cruise director out and about, interacting with guests...something we expected from past cruises. Service was very good. If we wanted drinks at the pool, we were asked frequently - we only needed to show the slightest amount of "need" and someone would come and take our order. We ate in the Carnival Dining room every night for dinner, our waiter was excellent, but there never seemed to be anyone around to take our alcohol order. We never met our room steward, but our room was always in order and turned down - we never needed anything. Because our goal was to soak up as much pool/lounge time as possible, we did not book any shore excursions. However, we did notice there are substantially MORE excursion options in the book provided in our cabin, as opposed to what we saw on-line. We tendered into Catalina on the first day, it was nice to use a larger fishing boat instead of the life boats to tender into port. These private boats are much more comfortable than the life boats. Lines to tender in and out were relatively short, we did not go during "peak" on and off times. When we arrived into Ensenada, no tender required, we walked through the gate, through the port mercado, and onto an awaiting bus for a ride into town. The cost was $3.00 p/p round trip. The entire 5-7 min. drive the "guide" spoke about the excursions/tours that her company provided cheaper than Carnival. When we arrived to their bus depot, we walked one block to the "shopping zone" and quickly found the few souvenirs that we promised people. Since we were there early in the morning, shortly after 10:30AM, the shops were just opening and many either did not have change to break a $20, or were not set up for credit card purchases. As I mentioned previously, we booked the least expensive cabin we could find. We ended up with Cabin #U-43, on the Upper Deck (Deck #6). I was very happy with our cabin, it was larger than I expected. This was the first time we have ever booked an interior. Our suitcase fit nicely under the bed and there were three closets that could have held additional bags. The cabin worked well for the two of us, I do not know if it would have felt as spacious if we had our children with us. I would book a similar interior cabin again. The service in the Carnival Dining Room was the best thing about it. While there were a few good food items, in general, we found ourselves looking forward to McDonalds when we got off the ship. We chose not to pay an extra $20 for the steaks or the surf and turf, we ate off of the "regular", " included menu". We usually ate Lunch at the pool-side grill, and sometimes, in the buffet at the back of the Lido Deck. Breakfast was either room service/continental breakfast or in the Mardi Gras Dining room. The Dining Room had nearly the same menu as the continental breakfast/room service, except for the added omelets. The best breakfast was, by far, the Sea Day Brunch in the Mardi Gras dining room. They did promote Bloody Mary's - however, when we asked our server - he said the cocktail server would be around. When the cocktail service made it around - about 15-20 minutes later, he only took the order of the table next to us. On my attempt to find a decent Bloody Mary, I was extremely disappointed....I was greeted with Ocean Spray Bloody Mary Mix (who knew O.S. made a B.M Mix!?), it was basically tomato juice and a lime wedge, no traditional garnishes - by far, a big disappointment. We did not purchase the CHEERS! (unlimited alcohol package), though our friends did. They said that if they did this cruise again, they would NOT pay for the CHEERS Pkg ($250 p/p) - instead they would rather apply $500 cash to their on-board account so that they did not feel "obligated" to drink in order to get their moneys worth (15 drinks max per day). They also said that they thought drinks were less expensive than they anticipated ($7.95 drink of the day - foo foo drinks); $5.45-$5.95 for beer. Not much except for really fancy, high end liquors were more expensive. My husband and I did, however, purchase the Bottomless BUBBLES package - unlimited soda and juice ($30 p/p). That hit the spot for us since I am a big club soda person (club soda and cranberry juice w/ lime wedge!! refreshing and guaranteed NO HANGOVER!). Sodas are typically $1.95 each if you are paying out of pocket. Disembarkation was great, they offered "self debarkation" where you can carry your luggage off yourself, or you can do "relaxed debarkation" and they unload it for you and you leave the ship by zone. We were Zone 14, (Zone 1 leaves first). They release in groups of 5 about every hour - so it took us about 1-1.5 hrs to get off the ship after Customs cleared the ship. We arrived at the port at 7:30AM, debarkation started about 8, and we were off the ship and in our car by about 10. My husband and I were looking for a "good", "inexpensive", get-away. This fit the bill perfectly. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2015
My husband and I just took the Carnival Inspiration on the 4th of July long weekend cruise to Ensenada. We both have done many cruises before, on other cruise lines, as well as Carnival. Our expectations were definitely exceeded, ... Read More
My husband and I just took the Carnival Inspiration on the 4th of July long weekend cruise to Ensenada. We both have done many cruises before, on other cruise lines, as well as Carnival. Our expectations were definitely exceeded, especially considering, the VERY AFFORDABLE price point. We arrived at the port next to the Queen Mary at about 12 noon, parked the car, checked our bags with the porter (don't forget to tip!), and boarded the ship at about 1pm. We enjoyed lunch in the buffet, a self-guided tour of the ship, and checked out our stateroom. We selected the guaranteed oceanview stateroom. We were pleased with our ocean view room, the shower was awesome (great water pressure and plenty of HOT water!), the room wasn't too small. The room attendant was great, servicing our room 3 times a day, complete with the towel animals! Dinner at the formal restaurant - Carnivale dining room was excellent. Food selection and quality were great and well worth our money. Service was fantastic, the waiter knew each person at the table by name, and service was quick. Yes, you really can have as much food as you want - including entrees! Entertainment was fun - various shows, comedy shows, and a casino on board. There are also plenty of photo opportunities. Taking the pix are free, and it's up to you which photos you want to purchase (if any). There is also mini-golf on board, and tons of little activities and clubs for kids. Port Excursions: we did not book any of the excursions on board. Instead, when we got off the ship, there are local shuttles available to take you into town. $3 ROUND TRIP. There is plenty of shopping and bars right at the shuttle stop. If you want to continue on to other excursions (horse back riding, La Bufadora, pub crawls) - it's much cheaper to book with the shuttle guide (about half price from excursions sold on the ship). Everyone on board was extremely nice. Gratuity is already included for everything you do on board, but you can always adjust (increase or decrease). Debarkation was surprisingly fast! Each deck on the ship has an assigned debarkation time. We were located on the Upper Deck (level 6), and did the self-assisted debarkation (you take care of your own bags), as opposed to the relaxed debarkation (you check your bags the night before and they will be waiting for you in baggage claim. debarkation time is much later (10:30am). We were off the cruise ship, sailed through customs (pun intended), into the parking lot and in our car before 8am! TIPS: the lower the deck your cabin is on, the more you will experience the rocking of the boat, and all the stirring up of the engines. It can get loud. We were on deck #6 (Upper deck) and it wasn't that bad. We met some people who were on the two lower decks and couldn't stay in their rooms for long. Also bring some dramamine just in case. I never get sea sick. You can experience some swaying, but if you take one pill, you won't notice it at all. Pack a sweatshirt or a warm jacket. It gets windy out on the decks, especially at night. Overall, I would recommend this cruise to anyone who is looking for a quick weekend getaway. 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
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2015
Just back from our sailing on the Inspiration. I must say we were pleasantly surprised with our overall cruise experience. My wife and I have cruised more than 20 trips and this was our first on Carnival. We chose Carnival for one ... Read More
Just back from our sailing on the Inspiration. I must say we were pleasantly surprised with our overall cruise experience. My wife and I have cruised more than 20 trips and this was our first on Carnival. We chose Carnival for one simple reason; we have friends who had never cruised and they asked us to come along to "show them the ropes." The one condition they placed on our trip - it had to be short juts incase they hated the cruise experience. so we booked the 3 day trip to Ensenada. We set our expectations very low after hearing that Carnival is the "party boat" cruise line and others comment on their Carnival experiences. We found the ship to be a bit tired and the décor to be gaudy - Vegas-like. However, that didn't adversely impact our overall experience. We will start at the beginning. The embarkation could have gone more smoothly. There were few clerks processing passengers. We did all of our paperwork at home so we were ready to go thought he embarkation quickly. it was slower than we thought I would be, especially given our past 21 cruise experiences. Once on board, we weren't handed a glass of champagne or any other drink to celebrate our voyage - disappointing as well. We did want to buy the "drink package" and that was an experience as well. Carnival Tip - it would be nice to be able to pre-purchase the drink package so a person doesn't have to wait in line to buy it. We merely wanted to get the package and go get a drink. Most of the people in line for the drink package needed to be told what it entailed rather than just make the purchase. We didn't need to be sold, just wanted to charge the purchase and get a drink. For those worried about the 15 alcohol drink limit - don't. You will get enough drinks throughout the day, trust me! Now for the good stuff. The staff was amazing and the most friendly we have ever encountered in our cruise life. The "fun ship" identify Carnival adopts is found in the crew on board. With only a couple of exceptions, the staff was very friendly and happy to be serving us. That really made out trip wonderful. We also found the food at dinner to be much better than expected. The wait staff was attentive and happy. Food choices were plentiful and tasty. The nightlife was good too. The shows were adequate and entertaining. The comedians were good with one (who had CP) completely hilarious - especially his "adult" show. The dancing was really fun too. If you are into people-watching, you need to come on this cruise and sit back to be entertained. We noticed lots of people sporting tattoos, piercings, and thong bikinis. Some people should have covered up for sure but it made for interesting viewing. All in all, we would sail again with Carnival. Just understand what you are buying with a sailing on Carnival. It's a party! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2015
My wife and I have cruised on many cruises to Mexico, Hawaii, the Caribbean, and in Europe on Carnival, Norwegian, Princess, Celebrity, and MSC - the the cruise line we keep coming back to is Carnival primarily because the shorter cruises ... Read More
My wife and I have cruised on many cruises to Mexico, Hawaii, the Caribbean, and in Europe on Carnival, Norwegian, Princess, Celebrity, and MSC - the the cruise line we keep coming back to is Carnival primarily because the shorter cruises offer a great deal for a short 3 or 4 day getaway. Many reviewers have referred to the 3 and 4 night cruises on the inspiration as "booze" or "party" cruises, which is sort of like criticizing Denny's for being a coffee shop and not a steakhouse. The primary reason people go on these short cruises is typically because they are relatively inexpensive, offer decent entertainment and food, and a fake-feel of a tropical cruise while visiting Catalina and Ensenada. Comparing the Inspiration to a 7-plus night cruise on a larger ship and more comprehensive itinerary is comparing apples to oranges. Embarkation is fairly efficient, although we are Platinum Club members so get priority check-in and disembarkation. Carnival recently started a system of assigning check-in times based I am guessing on loyalty points for past guests (Carnival refers to it as the VIFP club), so I have no idea if this is going to be a good or bad thing. My advice has always been to come really early & beat the crowd (like, around 11 a.m.) or later to miss the rush (after 3 p.m.), but this may not hold true any longer if they will not allow people to board until their assigned times. The ship is smaller than the newer ships on longer itineraries, but they also have fewer passengers and consequently shorter lines and generally better service at the bars and dining areas than what we have experienced on Princess, Norwegian, and Royal Caribbean. Food is a mixed bag; we actually found the food on the Inspiration in the dining room better than the set menus on our last Princess cruise to Hawaii last year, but of course the larger ships have specialty dining for an extra charge not available on the Inspiration. Dining on the Lido deck is also hit-and-miss, although we generally prefer to avoid the buffet-style eating on most ships and when we do, enjoy the salad bar and sandwich kiosk, which is actually very good. In my opinion, the best meal on the cruise is the Sea-day Brunch, and breakfast in the dining rooms on in-port days always is a better bet than the Lido buffet. For a special treat, ask about the "Chef's Table." We do this special dinner every so often on the Inspiration, and it is well worth it. The $75 per person charge includes unlimited wine and an excellent seven-course meal served by the head chef - not as spectacular as the same offering on the Princess cruises, but still a real treat. One tip for good service in the dining rooms: opt for "anytime dining" and tip your waiter or waitress the first night a few dollars. I know the tips nowadays are charged to your sail-and-sign cards or prepaid before the cruise, but it is amazing how well you are treated when taking care of your staff. The same advice holds true for the room stewards. The advantage of anytime dining is you can eat when you want, can opt for a small table for 2, or sit with a larger group. Service is less rushed, and if you tip the first night & request the same server on subsequent dinners, you will be amazed at how attentive the staff will be. And, I have never had to do this (at least not for wait staff) but if you do not like your service and wish to "take back" the tip, you can opt to have the tips taken off your bill or reduced by visiting the service desk. The same tipping advice goes for service at the bar. IF you like a "good" drink for want the bartender to remember your "favorite" drink, tip an extra buck the first time you see them and when they provide good service. Several people have described the ship decor as "gaudy" or "bizarre", and the layout of the Lido dining room in particular is a bit... well, peculiar, I am personally not bothered by it. Like I said, this is a short cruise for those looking for an inexpensive getaway, so do not expect "J.W. Marriott" surroundings at a "Quality Inn" price. The Casino is always active, and something people either love or hate. Smoking is allowed through much of the casino as well as part of the adjoining "Violin Bar", so be advised. The pool and "Serenity" (adults only) decks are smaller than most other cruise ships and there is no, for example, large-screen TV to show movies; but, they also feel less crowded than the larger ships as well. One thing Carnival does better than most cruise lines is keep the kids busy with their children's clubs during the sea days; some other cruise lines seem to limit the kids activities to only certain times meaning there are times when kids run rampant, but that has not been the experience on the Inspiration. One negative is that Carnival pushes their special punch-type drinks in the pool area and Lido deck, but just let the services know you are not interested (assuming you are not, of course :)and they will avoid bothering you. As for the ports; well, if you opt for a 3 or 4 night cruise out of Long Beach, it is assumed you are likely not on the cruise primarily for the ports of call. Catalina is pleasant enough but can be visited from Long Beach via ferries that run several time each day for much less than the Carnival cruise and the lines for tenders from ship to shore can be annoying. Ensenada is OK, for being in Ensenada. In my opinion the best excursion is the Winery Tour to the Guadelupe Valley, which is a Napa-like area with some surprisingly nice wineries about 45 minutes inland from the ship. The city is about a 20 minute easy walk from the ship, but there are lots of kids selling gum & begging for coins, and taxi drivers trying to sell you trips to La Bufadora or elsewhere. Walk past them to the main shopping drag, and they will not bother you. Shops do not open until around 10 a.m. in town, so there is not much point in walking into town too early unless you just want to stroll. Restaurants are OK along Blvd. Mateos (the main tourist zone) but the ones towards the end of the street near Hussong's are mainly for drinking. Lots of curio shops, trinkets, t-shirts, and pharmacies. Entertainment is "so-so"; production shows are OK, some of the bands that play on the promenade deck in the evening are great; lots of family-oriented gameshow-type shows that I personally find boring, but sometimes the comedians in the evening are good. But, I personally find almost all cruise ship entertainment (with the exception of some shows on Celebrity) to be mediocre at best, and the Inspiration's is no better or worse than most. Bottom line: for a quick getaway on the cheap, with all-inclusive food and Entertainment, it is a great deal, especially for those who have never cruised and want to see if it is something they like. Like I said, this is the cruise line and class of ship we keep coming back to because of the convenience and overall value, but do not expect White Star or Cunard service or amenities. 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: December 2014
Sailed the Inspiration as a getaway for my wife and I as we had been apart due to work for a couple of months. Wrote to John Heald (who gets bashed here way to often), asked if he could help with the MaitreD in getting us a table for 2 as ... Read More
Sailed the Inspiration as a getaway for my wife and I as we had been apart due to work for a couple of months. Wrote to John Heald (who gets bashed here way to often), asked if he could help with the MaitreD in getting us a table for 2 as we did not want to share our time with others as we had not seen each other in a long time. We had a great Table for 2 as requested when we arrived first night in the MDR!! Thanks John!! The Ship was decked out in Christmas festive attire :-) and looked awesome - for being an older ship I thought it was in awesome shape and the crew obviously took good care of it as evidenced later by all the attention to detail the crew provided at every turn. All the bar staff, deck hands and the entire crew were always happy to help and in a good cheerful mood! I thoroughly enjoyed being able to just take it easy this cruise - not rushing from one island to the next and the next excursion as I / we have done in the past. We went to the MDR every day for breakfast - after having coffee in the cabin :-) and then took our time on Catalina ( just took a trolley around town and strolled) and did the same in Ensenada where we after B'fast just took a cab to La Bufadora on our own ($40 RT for 2, and he waited for us 1.5 hrs (Paid on the return trip) ) MDR Staff FANTASTIC - Head Waiter Noel - what a hoot - and his whole team was very very attentive right down to knowing after the first night my DW drinks her H2O w Lemons so there was a plate of them every evening!! Overall it was a great cruise, loved the sea day - they actually just drifted for the whole day - a first for me - and the staff was great, atmosphere was relaxing - exactly what the Dr ordered! Thanks Carnival!! Another Job Well Done! Be back in April to do a 9 day Eastern Caribbean!! Read Less
Carnival Inspiration Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 3.0 0.0
Dining 4.0 0.0
Entertainment 4.0 0.0
Public Rooms 4.0 0.0
Fitness Recreation 4.0 0.0
Family 4.0 0.0
Shore Excursion 4.0 0.0
Enrichment 1.0 0.0
Service 4.0 0.0
Value For Money 5.0 0.0
Rates 2.0 0.0

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