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
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: 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
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
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
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
Sail Date: September 2013
We sailed out of Long Beach on September 20. We booked an interior cabin at the last minute. We arrived at the pier at about 12:30 PM, and were on board by 1 PM. Great service there. We were booked on the Empress Deck (deck 7). This was ... Read More
We sailed out of Long Beach on September 20. We booked an interior cabin at the last minute. We arrived at the pier at about 12:30 PM, and were on board by 1 PM. Great service there. We were booked on the Empress Deck (deck 7). This was convenient, as only one floor up to dining room, and three to lido deck where we found the buffet, and the pools etc. The service there was excellent. While my wife and I aren't big drinkers, we were approached for drinks by waiters regularly. There wasn't any pressure to drink, and they were friendly, and accepted this easily. We met our cabin steward, Roderick. He was friendly, and throughout the weekend, was able to provide great service. In the main dining room again, we had outstanding service. My wife has severe food allergies, and the crew was extremely attentive, providing us with the next night's menu, and recommendations for her. We took an excursion to the Wineries of Ensenada. This was a great tour. We had a sea day, that was totally relaxing. The shows were average, but enjoyable. You should be aware that for a weekend cruise this is a "party boat" with a lot of young people, doing stags and stagettes etc. We saw some loud and rowdy behaviour, but nothing that caused concern at all for us. The ship is also a fair bit smaller than many out there today, so there aren't as many amenities as you are perhaps used to. We were stuck with lousy weather, but obviously this was out of control for Carnival. All in all we had a great time, and for a weekend away, I'd do it again. I should say that in the past we have sailed with Princess. This has spoiled us for some of the nicer parts of cruising. You do pay a little more with them, but the experience is a little nicer. For a longer cruise, I would go with Princess.   Read Less
Sail Date: November 2011
Pre-Cruise hotel: Arrived two nights prior to embarkation and stayed at the Wyndham, Westport. We booked through Priceline and won a $45 bid. The hotel was convenient, good quality, and had an attentive staff. I had reserved the ... Read More
Pre-Cruise hotel: Arrived two nights prior to embarkation and stayed at the Wyndham, Westport. We booked through Priceline and won a $45 bid. The hotel was convenient, good quality, and had an attentive staff. I had reserved the Embassy Suites at $93 for Sat and $103 for Sun and found that to be the average in Westport. The Wyndham was more than adequate and nicer than expected for the price. Unfortunately they discontinued the M&M's at the desk. I asked about it and the manager told me it cost on average $5,000 per month to keep M&M's on the front desk. They still have bags, all you have to do is ask. Recommend against the "Stay and Sail" package. The transportation folks will pick-up and drop off at the airport and the cruise port without the package. Save your money. The drivers don't see any of the $ from the package deal anyway, so our party of 6 tipped $30 each way and they were very appreciative. Embarkation: Standard porter haze, they won't let you check your own bag, so porter/tips are part of the deal. I guess $2 isn't too much to ask, I just don't like not having the option. Most of us did the "roll on" option and it was painless. The "Platinum Class" process looked very quick and efficient. The regular folks (us) were in line about 45 minutes. We've have definitely seen less efficient and comfortable operations. The Cruise itself: Ship- adequate, but lacking in many of the modern facilities of the newer ships. The ship only had a small pool and two hot tubs, no "jumbotron" for MNF or movies for the kids and an older somewhat inefficient design for traffic flow. Overall the ship was in decent shape but showed a very hurried dry dock where many of the finishing/cosmetics were rushed or incomplete. The carpet for example was not trimmed properly in areas or was left uneven. This is not a big deal but something that even a casual observer would notice. Our daughter was in the 9-11 year old kids program and quickly bored with the program. They do more babysitting than actual programs. Not terrible though, but anticlimactic after our last cruise on Disney. Food: Hit or miss. The dining room fare vacillated between above average to totally uninspired. The Lobster, prime rib, and chocolate melting cake were all good. The rest was mass produced and lacked inspiration and freshness. The Eggs Benedict had a hard crust every morning on the hollandaise sauce from sitting under the heat lamp. The service was polite but often deplorable. I use the empty water as a metric of service and we had to ask for more water every single meal. The servers are spread very thin and appear harried and undermanned. The days of personal service and building a report with your service staff are apparently over on the big box lines. JMO We never did room service, our daughter enjoyed the pizza and it looked fresh and good. The buffet on the Lido was often overrun with guests loading up on platefuls of medium quality fare. Entertainment: The comedians were fine, not to my taste but my wife laughed at Valerie Storm's show. The Variety show was actually well done. Not to Disney standards but well above the amateurish NCL star crew we saw last year on the Star. Ports: Grand Caymen- Walk outside the fence and book your own excursion, you end up at the same place and in our case the very same boat, at half price or less. Cozumel- We took a taxi to Palancar, I dove a single tank (Columbia, and Palancar gardens) and my wife and daughter snorkled. It wasn't cheap but very relaxed and low key. The dive was first rate ($60) and the snorkel equipment for the girls was $10 each. Mario the beach server was a genuinely nice man that doted over our daughter. Summary: Have fun but manage expectations before time so there are no major disappointments. Carnival is better than we remember but it's still very entry level. The rooms at 185 square feet are better than most and our steward Gabby was first rate. he definitely deserved the extra gratuity. The only negative comment I have about the stateroom was the dirty exterior of the window. Enjoy your vacation! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2011
This was our 8th cruise overall, but our second cruise with Carnival. The last Carnival cruise was really boring. This cruise however, was really nice. We decided to book since our 7 year old was out of school for the Thanksgiving week. ... Read More
This was our 8th cruise overall, but our second cruise with Carnival. The last Carnival cruise was really boring. This cruise however, was really nice. We decided to book since our 7 year old was out of school for the Thanksgiving week. We were really surprised at the number of children on this cruise. We were told that of the almost 3,000 passengers on board, 800 were children. We recommend getting to the ship by 1200. Check-in really is a breeze. The cost of parking is about $75. Before you park, drop your bags off and have them delivered to your cabin. When you return from parking, have your passport ready. Expect 15-20 minutes to get through security and checked in. We also recommend bringing as many cases of water on board as you can carry. We didn't know they would let us, but we wished we had. Once you're on board and settled, take a tour around the ship. This is not a huge ship, but one can get lost often enough. Shortly after sailing, you'll have to go through the muster drill. This too is very simply and Carnival does this drill by zones. Once the drill is complete, consider attending the Camp Carnival introduction. This is a free day care service which our daughter actually had fun participating in. They offered a list of daily activities and again, our little really enjoyed this. The food was not so great, but good enough for a cruise. Carnival does not offer open seating which we prefer, but we were lucky enough to sit with a very nice family. I'm not sure why, but Carnival did not have a lot to offer in the form of entertainment. Besides one really good show at the end of our cruise, there really was nothing offered. I mean outside of "Hair Chest" competition, gender wars, music trivia, etc. NCL & RCCL offer great shows. Overall, we would do it again. We didn't expect to be this happy with this cruise, but we were. On a scale of 1-10, we give this cruise a 7.5. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2010
OK, so I'm new to writing reviews, but I'm not new to cruising. This last sailing on Carnival's Inspiration was our 4th cruise, our first and third on RCI, our second on Disney. When we decided to celebrate our 20th ... Read More
OK, so I'm new to writing reviews, but I'm not new to cruising. This last sailing on Carnival's Inspiration was our 4th cruise, our first and third on RCI, our second on Disney. When we decided to celebrate our 20th anniversary by taking a cruise, we went in looking for a very inexpensive trip that also fit our schedule. This cruise was preceded by a week in Disney World with our 10-year old whom we shipped off to the grandparents so that we could have some mommy and daddy anniversary time. From the start, we had very low expectations as this was a Carnival cruise and we were somewhat snobbish. At each point we were met with smiles from the crew, especially the check-in staff. Once on board, we went right to our cabin, a Main deck midships interior stateroom that had a lot more room than I expected. It was well ventilated and unless someone walked by with a loud voice or heavy footsteps, we could not hear anything in the hallway. Here are our observations, cheers and jeers: The ship: Time for redecoration, Carnival. Dated is the best word I could use to describe the Inspiration's New Orleans themed decor. And who decides what gets shown on TV? The major networks were represented by Denver affiliates. Denver? We're in the Western Caribbean. Obviously, if you're in your cabin, you're not spending money in the bar; a place where the ship wants you to be. But for a ship with an east coast route that on our cruise seemed to be populated by mostly Floridians and east coasters, I would have expected something more Eastern. Oh, and if you're a ship nerd, take the behind the scenes tour. It was great seeing the crew areas, bridge, and engine control room. It really tied things together for me. The mostly Italian crew was so proud to be a part of this ship's operations that it showed in the way they did their presentations. Lastly, during this tour, it was revealed that the Inspiration is a training ship, most of the cruise staff works here to then be relocated to other ships. While it showed occasionally, it wasn't obvious. The food: with few exceptions, the food at the buffet was OK, not spectacular, but edible and filling. The only problem I had was the fried chicken - I tried picking pieces that were not too overcooked, but I was left very dry. In the Mardi Gras dining room, things were very different. Everything was well displayed, well cooked and with only one exception tasted very good. The exception was a lobster bisque that was not prepared to my liking. Otherwise, I looked forward to our dinners. One observation: we took the Your Time dining option which allowed us to show up at the dining room anytime we wished. Of the five dinners, only once were we seated immediately and that was at a time in between the early and late seatings. We were given a pager and told to wait for each of the other four dinners. The waits were not long, I think the longest we waited was about 15 minutes, but the first time we came to dinner and given a pager was somewhat surprising. The service: Our cabin steward was very attentive even though we met him late on our first night. Our cabin was always clean and our bed was always turned down at night with chocolate mints and the next day's cruise newsletter. Our ice bucket was always filled (something that I remember I needed to remind our steward of during our Disney cruise). This was one area where our expectations were exceeded. Because we ate a different times, we had different dining staff each time, however, I think because we were there at different times, we had unusually long waits for our orders to be taken, for food to be delivered, and for bar orders to be filled. Again, something to watch for if you take the Your Time option. All other staff and crew that we interacted with were otherwise OK, the cruise director was very personable, the assistant cruise staffers were typically corny. The itinerary: We had never been to Mexico nor the western Caribbean before so we would be experiencing new places. Grand Cayman, our first port, was very pretty. We selected on board, the Best of Grand Cayman tour, a bus tour with stops at a beach, a turtle farm, the Tortuga Cake store, and Hell, about three hours in total. We found Grand Cayman very pleasant and the Turtle farm a very interesting place to stop. Tendering wasn't a problem, but for the folks behind us in line there was a delay while the tender needed to change positions and then accommodate a handicapped girl. Be forewarned: the tenders are not wheelchair accessible and there can be large gaps between the tender and the ship's ladder. The crew did a commendable job with the young lady, but, it would seem to me there's got to be a better way to accommodate wheelchair bound guests. Our second port was Cozumel and our tour was a 7 hour trip to the Mayan ruins at Tulum. While this was a very hot day, our tour bus was air conditioned and we were never uncomfortable until we returned to the bus after walking the ruins. Again, be forewarned: much of this tour was travel, ferry from Cozumel to Playa del Carmen, bus from Playa to the ruins. The star of our tour was Tour Guide Juan, a Mayan descendant who gave us the best history lecture I've ever had. He talked almost 4 hours straight, but it was not idle chatter. I would recommend this tour to anyone and if there's a way to get on Juan's bus, fight for that spot. The disappointment: After walking around the ruins in the Mexican heat, we really didn't want more heat. A day at sea was our last full day of the cruise and we didn't want to spend it outside on deck. We were dismayed to find that there were no truly comfortable reading locations anywhere indoors. There was a library and the internet area, but none of these places had anywhere one could recline and put one's feet up to read or simply snooze. We wound up spending many hours in the buffet, but a booth there was just not that comfortable. The surprise: We came into Cozumel near 11 am and before we docked, the cruise staff wanted the tour groups to organize early. We arrived in one of the lounges and sat facing a set of windows. As I was looking out the window, I saw that we were docking near another, larger ship. It was the Oasis of the Seas, RCI's monster leviathan. How the Oasis stays upright I'll never know and how sea captains of other ships don't get a case of ship envy is beyond me, but, in a word WOW. The other ships I've been on were certainly bigger than the Inspiration, but, none compare in sheer size or visual impact. Anyway, this would be a cruise line I would travel again but I would definitely not go to Mexico in August. 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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