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
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: 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
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
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
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
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
Sail Date: September 2014
We went on Carnival Inspiration to celebrate our one year anniversary. We based which ship we went on from the reviews on cruise critic and we made the right choice. The crew was excellent and friendly and the ship was always clean. While ... Read More
We went on Carnival Inspiration to celebrate our one year anniversary. We based which ship we went on from the reviews on cruise critic and we made the right choice. The crew was excellent and friendly and the ship was always clean. While it is an older ship, evident in the decor, the crew does make the best with what they have. The comedy shows were very good, better than we would have thought. We actually didn't get a chance to see the shows because we were so busy doing so many other events. The art auction was a great time, and a great way to get free alcohol. Only downsides to the cruise was the number of days and size of the ship. A 4-day cruise is great for a first time when you don't know how a cruise will be, but definitely wish we did longer. Also, since it is an older and smaller ship it was rocked by the seas depending on the weather. The rocking wasn't a big deal, however if you aren't used to it then it will be noticeable. Signing up for Faster to the Fun was the best $50 we have ever spent. Walked right onto the boat when we got there and also walked immediately off the boat at the end. Didn't deal with any lines anywhere. Pros: * Great ports of call. * Amazing crew. * Great activities and entertainment. * Faster to the fun, best investment ever. Cons: * Older ship * Can notice rocking. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2014
We decided to go on this cruise when we were told by Carnival that we had a free cruise due to being Casino Club members. We upgraded our ocean view room to a suite at a discounted rate and decided to go for our Anniversary July 14-18. We ... Read More
We decided to go on this cruise when we were told by Carnival that we had a free cruise due to being Casino Club members. We upgraded our ocean view room to a suite at a discounted rate and decided to go for our Anniversary July 14-18. We went on the Imagination in March with our boys (ages 11-16), and enjoyed the cruise, but the Inspiration was much nicer. We had a wonderful time. This was our 5th cruise with Carnival. It was perfect weather which gave us the opportunity to enjoy the sun. The food was really, really good in the dining room. We learned not to go to the Lido deck for breakfast. Carnival, please improve the quality of your bacon, eggs, sausages etc..at the buffet on the Lido deck, it is just bad. The omelet bar is pretty good, and for lunch the Panini bar and Mongolian food is really good. Our suite was on the Verandah deck was V5. It had a very small balcony but it was nice to go out there. I heard that Carnival will not allow smoking on the balconies anymore this fall so we were a little disappointed to hear that. My husband enjoys a cigar on the balcony and they are already not allowed in the casino. The Comedy Show was pretty good and the Hasbro show was okay. The Casino's slots were tight and we did the Slot tournament which was fun. Catalina Island is beautiful. We went shopping and had a drink at the Avalon Bluewater Grill which we highly recommend. The Seared Scallops were delicious as well as their Bloody Mary and Mai Tai. We stayed on the ship when we were in Ensenada, and really enjoyed being out on the Lido deck catching some rays. Loved this cruise, it was a nice getaway for our Anniversary and the crew was wonderful as always. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2014
My fiancee and I just finished a 4 day cruise to Catalina Island and Ensenada on Carnival Inspiration. The ship is looking great after its refurb in 2007, and we both commented on how it was far superior to the other fantasy class vessel ... Read More
My fiancee and I just finished a 4 day cruise to Catalina Island and Ensenada on Carnival Inspiration. The ship is looking great after its refurb in 2007, and we both commented on how it was far superior to the other fantasy class vessel we took out of New Orleans two years ago. We had a nice window cabin on the upper deck amidships. No great shakes. The view was unobstructed, and the cabin was in good shape. I have never had a better shower--the water comes out at 5,000 PSI and it can be anywhere from 32F to 195F. Ok that's exaggerating, but I like my showers lobster boil temperature with as much pressure as possible, and Inspiration delivers. Catalina Island was good fun--we took a semi-submersable tour and saw the giant kelp forests and a huge amount of sea life. Very nice. Had a MASSIVELY overpriced lunch at a trendy cafe. Also nice. Ensenada is a hole; a dirty tourist trap. We took a horseback riding excursion through Carnival, as I wanted to spend as little time in town as possible. Got some great pictures from a ridge above town, overlooking the pacific. Then we spent a little time in town haggling with street vendors over wares created by China for American's Visiting Mexico (TM) Back to the ship--we enjoyed all of the dining venues. and found the quality of the the food to have substantially improved over our last Carnival cruise. There is no added-fee restaurants aboard, which I prefer as it puts a bit more pressure on the MDR to produce quality goods. We didn't see any of the shows (heard rumors they were great) or spend time in the casino. The Adults-only deck aft was nice, but only had one HOT tub (there was another tub, which was, for some reason, tepid). The waterworks area was great fun. Overall, if you want a nice, quick, inexpensive cruise, this is your best bet. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2013
Yes, Carnival's Inspiration is an older ship, however maintained quite nicely. I've read a lot of posts and spoken to many experienced cruisers. We really appreciate all of the valuable information, too. That's one of the ... Read More
Yes, Carnival's Inspiration is an older ship, however maintained quite nicely. I've read a lot of posts and spoken to many experienced cruisers. We really appreciate all of the valuable information, too. That's one of the reasons that we chose the 3-Day out of Long Beach. Santa Catalina is a beautiful laid back port along with Ensenada is a small and tranquil... do what you wanna do kind of place. Yes, we went on a couple of tours and then went back to the ship and relaxed. The highlight was the service on board. We could not ask for more. Oh sure, being the in the penthouse was fantastic, but if you can't host a party while having the most exquisite accomodation on the ship, what good is being there. We met many very sociable people and made friends, so we did it... on Formal Night, we had MaryAnne, our Steward help me put together an open house. Had some wine and sodas and some food... just about 15 people and had some music... had a blast !! --- oh, by the way, if you leave your front door open, expect to get some extra people to show up... that's even more fun ! Our waiter's in the main dining room... Jenner et.al. were the best... Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2012
At the last minute we decided to go on the Carnival Inspiration cruise to have a fun romantic weekend trip. We were NOT disappointed. If you don't plan a head and read what is happening on Cruise Critics you might not know what to do. ... Read More
At the last minute we decided to go on the Carnival Inspiration cruise to have a fun romantic weekend trip. We were NOT disappointed. If you don't plan a head and read what is happening on Cruise Critics you might not know what to do. I looked at 130 reviews and it really helped me to figure out the best way to have the most fun with the few days at sea. First of all you need to have the best accommodations possible. We chose to pay the price and get a Grand Suite. It is not as grand as many other cruises but it is still great. As VIP's we were shuttled through embarkation (approximatley 11:30 a.m.), so not to miss anything. We had access to our room at 12:30 AND our luggage was there. For the time that we were in our room, it was always clean I don't even think we met our steward. Which is okay with me because he did a good job. The ship is old but well taken care of. I read reviews that it is like Vegas, but I disagree. It has it's charm. Most of the folks do not know about the Chef's Table. It is to die for. They only have room for 12 people but it is quite the experience. It is extra, but the menu and the knowledge of the chef was amazing. The other fun thing was to take a tour of the ship (again extra), it is something that is not to be missed. The gambling is really fun, I won the Texas Holdem tournament ($500) but did not do as well in the Blackjack Tournament ($20.00 buy in). We went to the two shows that were very entertaining. We missed the lounge shows, as we were in the casino. The food was good, the service really good. We ate only one night in the main dining room, one night pizza and the last night the Chef's Table. I would say that overall all of the other meals, breakfast and lunch were okay. We don't go on cruises to eat. We stayed on the boat when we got to Enseneda, Mexico. We are from California and have been there several times. And with the problems in Mexico, we decided to lay out in the sun and go on the ship tour. All in all, the trip was a lot of fun. The interesting part is that we were celebrating our anniversary and we were outside at the pool and realized that we were on this same ship in 1998 in the Bahama's. Too weird, but made the experience just a little more special. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2012
This was our 5 cruise to Ensenada and our 6th on Carnival. Being old hat in regards to this cruise destination, we didn't have high expectations, just really wanted to get away for a relaxing weekend...and Carnival Inspiration ... Read More
This was our 5 cruise to Ensenada and our 6th on Carnival. Being old hat in regards to this cruise destination, we didn't have high expectations, just really wanted to get away for a relaxing weekend...and Carnival Inspiration Delivered!!! Embarkation: A total breeze. We showed up around 12:00, the porter grabbed our bags from us right in the parking garage. We walked into the check in area and had a very brief wait in line, got our room keys, took the embarkation picture and we on board moments later. From the time we parked, we were on board less than 30 minutes. Everyone was very friendly and made us feel very welcome. Lunch was served on the lido deck. Mongolian wok station was very good and the line was short and moved quickly. Got access to our room by 1:15, and we were greeted by our stateroom attendant who was nothing but exceptional the entire trip. The ship was much more subdued in colors compared to other Carnival ships we have been on. The overall motif of the ship was really appealing. This was the 1st time we have been on this class of ship where they have completed all the Evolutions of Fun upgrades. The water park is a great addition to this class of ship. The Serenity Deck is also very relaxing and "kid free". The biggest thing that made this a great cruise was the entertainment. All the bands were fantastic! The shows were current and very entertaining. And to top it off the comedians were some of the best we have seen. They were on par or better and ones you find at any comedy club. Short sets but hilarious!!! Food....Carnival has gone to the basics, everything was very tasty and the prime rib was very tender. Only problem was that there was too many good things to choose from. The molten chocolate cake is not to be missed either. Disembarkation: A breeze!!!!! Walked off ship at 7:10...through customs and in the car by 7:25....15 minutes!!! Yes 15 minutes!!!!!! Read Less
Sail Date: October 2011
For 22 years now I have suggested to the wife that we take a cruise, she gave in this year. We decided on a 5 day trip in October thinking that this would keep the children at a minimum. Since this was our first experience we decided to go ... Read More
For 22 years now I have suggested to the wife that we take a cruise, she gave in this year. We decided on a 5 day trip in October thinking that this would keep the children at a minimum. Since this was our first experience we decided to go all out and get the Grand Ocean Suite. The ship was nice. The food was good but not outstanding. The ports of call were beautiful and the kids were out of control. After weeks of research we decided to go with Carnival. They had the best price on their 5 day trips to the Western Caribbean and the best price on their Grand Ocean Suites. If we ever go on another cruise the Grand Ocean Suite will be a must! The suite is a great escape when one gets ready to sit back and relax for the evening. You get a large room with a king size bed, sofa sleeper, sitting area, walk in closet, full size bathroom with Jacuzzi tub, large balcony, refrigerator and a nice size LCD TV that had a good choice of cable channels. The suite was an excellent choice! The ship, the Carnival Inspiration, is an older ship that has been kept in good condition. Everything was clean and for the most part up to date. There is only one formal dining room but there is a second dining area that one can get food anytime of the day or night. The food was all good but nothing to brag about. The one formal night in the main dining room they did serve lobster, steak and shrimp. The other nights they had a choice of other meat dishes, fish and chicken. We are not the type to over indulge but I was told before the trip by others that had been on a cruise that you could order as much as you wanted at dinner, this was never offered in the main dining room. In the second, cafeteria style, dining room you can eat as much as you can stand. Grand Cayman Island and Cozumel Mexico were both great ports of call. The ports were clean and the water was unbelievable! In Grand Cayman we to a really nice bus tour of the island and in Cozumel we did our own thing with a taxi into the downtown area. The people were all overly friendly and helpful. The only downside to our experience was the parents on our deck who pretty much their kids to run the ship. The parents went off to have their vacation and let their kids do whatever. At night there was running in the halls, yelling, screaming and banging on suite doors. Many calls were made to security but many times nothing could be done because the parents could not be located. One day I'm sure we will again take a cruise. It is a great getaway and a fun experience. We have since found that there are adult only cruises for those who want peace at sea, that will be our next cruise! Here is a link, http://ostrowsky.net/lifestyle.html , to a site where I have posted pictures if you are interested in seeing the Carnival Inspiration. Enjoy! Read Less
Sail Date: March 2011
Starting out with the booking 8 months in advance with the Early Saver Plan. I advise everyone who knows they will not be cancelling to go this route. I call several times and checked weekly for changes and got upgrades and obc very ... Read More
Starting out with the booking 8 months in advance with the Early Saver Plan. I advise everyone who knows they will not be cancelling to go this route. I call several times and checked weekly for changes and got upgrades and obc very wonderful. We arrived at port 11 am on Thursday and we checked in very smoothly with no problems we eating by noon. Weather was a big problem and we were delayed by about an hour and a half, but they had us in our rooms before 1 pm and the party started from there. Headed to the Lido deck with drinks in hand and had a great day with the Waite staff which was friendly fun and very energized. Went to check out towels and headed for the hot tubs which were warm (not hot). I headed to our room before dinner and family went to the small dining room with a wine package and the food was hot and I am told very well done. I had room service and it was fast and very nice. After supper we all rejoined to check out some of the ships night life. Had a over 40's dance which we enjoyed and after about 2 hours had to call it a night, but was such a great way to start the cruise. A little about the ship it has 10 decks one pool one buffet large water works area serenity area was small, but had very little trouble finding a chair was quite and very nice 2 hot tubs both different temps, so that was nice as well. Lido deck had 2 hot tubs and pool dance area with life size chest pieces very cool. The fun was non stop on this deck with games and contest and dancing and loud. We stayed on the Empress Deck which is main artery to most everything from gift shop to main elv. to entry bar with piano very relaxing with lots of people milling around. The ship for the most part was very comfortable temperature. The shows we saw were both full of fun and energy great performers and a very pleasant way to spend a little indoor time. Had a great time at the comedy club for the adults very funny. The day at sea was not much different that the first day, spent most of time between the Serenity and Lido deck. Had Breakfast and lunch at the Buffet and it was all good, nothing stood out, but was well prepared with plenty of variety to choose from. Dinner was wonderful we were greeted by name and got hugs from our hostess and she was very funny. We had different companions every night and managed to have a oceanview table every night. They sang and danced during dinner every night and fun was had by all great food. We party and danced after the main show and went to bed to a clean room with a strange looking animal on our bed I think it was an ant eater, but not real sure. Did not see our room staff until the day we left the ship. We woke up in Cozumel. Spent the morning shopping and wondering around on our own very nice way to spend the morning it was very slow pasted no one bother us in the least and all were very friendly. We went to Pasion Isle for the afternoon for a buffet and all you can drink open bar and beach with palm trees water toys and oh by the way they had beds on the beach very odd but very cool. We had chairs under the shade of the palms and played in the water. The only bad thing was the trip back to the ship we sat on the bottom and were soaked and very chilled by the time we got back to the ship. Overall we had a fantastic trip and booked our 2ND cruise on board with 100.00 off price and 100.00 OBC to begin with for 7 days on the Legend. The whole experience was a pleasure stress free and very relaxing. The embarkation was a little long, but that was our fault you get off faster if you choose to self disembark which we did not choose. It took about an hour to get off, but it was very quick with no problems encountered. I would be very happy to go back on the Inspiration and will be doing more Carnival cruises in the future. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2010
I haven't cruised with Carnival in over 10 years. I must admit that I wasn't impressed a decade ago but decided to give Carnival another try. I'm so happy that I did! My husband and I decided to celebrate our wedding ... Read More
I haven't cruised with Carnival in over 10 years. I must admit that I wasn't impressed a decade ago but decided to give Carnival another try. I'm so happy that I did! My husband and I decided to celebrate our wedding anniversary with Carnival and we had a blast! There were so many options for us to choose from. Sky was the limit depending on if we wanted to party or have a romantic evening. There are lots of activities on the ship as well as wonderful excursions to choose from. There is no need to be bored when cruising with Carnival unless you lack imagination and initiative. The Lido deck was one of my favorite destinations. There was always some type of activity going on there (i.e. Hairy Chest competition, various battle of the sexes games, group cha-cha slide, etc...) The cleanliness of our cabin and the ship as a whole was impressive. You definitely saw the pride that the staff had in insuring that the ship always had its best foot forward. The food was surprisingly yummy. No, it wasn't 5 star cuisine but it was definitely a step or two above the cafeteria descriptions that I've seen in previous posts. The weather for each port (Cozumel and Grand Cayman) was warm, beautiful and sunny. However, the weather leaving Tampa was not ideal and nor was the weather ideal for our return. The water was a bit rough and we became ill. The staff was attentive in providing us with ginger ale and medication for motion sickness. Again, no one has control over the weather but Carnival did a great job in making sure that its passengers were well taken care off. I can't emphasize enough about the staff and its dedication. I must also echo other posters who mentioned the chocolate melting cake. It was outstanding! All chocolate lovers must at least try it once! All in all, my husband and I had a fantastic time and we would definitely cruise with Carnival again. Kudos to Skip and Matt and the rest of the Carnival team. Well done! Read Less
Sail Date: January 2010
I will start with a little background...I am from Strongsville, Ohio and am 46 years old. This was my third cruise...the other two being Carnival's Triumph and Destiny. My boyfriend is 52 and lives in Denver, Colorado, this was his ... Read More
I will start with a little background...I am from Strongsville, Ohio and am 46 years old. This was my third cruise...the other two being Carnival's Triumph and Destiny. My boyfriend is 52 and lives in Denver, Colorado, this was his very first cruise. We decided to escape the cold, and head to a warm location to see each other. When I started researching trips,I originally looked at ground beach vacations. I went to AAA as well as a local travel agent, but nothing compared to the price I found online for the 5 day Carnival cruise on the Inspiration. We booked in early October and began our countdown. We flew into Tampa a day early to make sure if we had to deal with snow delays in our hometowns we would be covered. Luckily no weather issues delayed us, and we arrived in Tampa and checked into the Renaissance Hotel in downtown Tampa. It was awesome with a really nice shopping plaza attached with lots of restaurants and nightlife.Our hotel was $99 a night and had a free shuttle from the airport. We did have to pay for our transportation to the cruise terminal which was a $20 taxi ride. We loved having a relaxed start to our vacation and even purchased 2 bottles of wine at the Grape wine store located right by our hotel and carried them on to the ship, since you are allowed 1 bottle (150 ml.) per person. We had dinner at Aqua Knox a really nice seafood restaurant in the Westin Hotel. Very elegant and nice. Embarkation was a breeze. We checked our luggage at the curb, and walked right on at 12 noon, easy as anything. The weather was a little rainy,but we ate lunch on the Lido deck and went and checked out the ship. We found it to be spotlessly clean and very nicely refurbished. The staff was always painting or cleaning endlessly and it was reflected by the awesome condition of the ship. Our cabin on the Main deck (M48) was roomy and spotless as well. Our cabin steward Lino, was always available and eager to please. Our room was an outside room with a window, and was great for watching when we pulled in and out or our ports and to see if it was sunny on those fun days at sea...luckily it was!!! Our first night we ate dinner in our assigned Mardi Gra Dining Room...and Aslam, our waiter was amazing. We also had a wonderful family next to us, with their two very beautiful daughters and a couple from Atlanta, who were also very nice. We always had a great time at dinner with our new friends. We loved the chocolate melting cake and all the appetizers and main dished...the food was fantastic every evening. On our first fun day at sea, it was also our first formal night. My boyfriend rented a tux from Carnival, which was very nice, and fit perfectly. With his 6'4" build, he looked amazing...not to mention hot. I wore a long formal gown, and was so excited about this evening. I had no idea that my boyfriend was about to become my fiance when he proposed to me on the top deck, looking out onto the ocean. It was so romantic, and the moon sparkled off my gorgeous diamond that he placed on my finger. It was very romantic and the perfect evening. That evening, we attended the musical show, which we found to be awesome. The costumes, choreography, and the overall performance entertained us above our expectations. The late night comedian was also very funny and enjoyable. Our first port was Grand Cayman, where I had pre-booked a private tour through Moby Dick Tours. They met us at the gate once we were tendered off the ship, and we were on our way to swim with the stingrays and snorkel on a coral reef. The tour was $40. per person compared to the $100. Carnival tour that was the same. It was also way less crowded. We had a great time and my fiance LOVED the stingrays!!! That afternoon we were back on the ship at 2:30 pm and relaxed before heading to dinner. Another great day. Our second port in Cozumel, Mexico was a lot more relaxed and more on our own. We had the most amazing day at Chanknaab Park, snorkeling, walking through the botanical gardens, eating lunch at the restaurant on the beach, swimming in the beautiful pool, and sipping exotic drinks out of decorated pineapples. It was an awesome and romantic day!!! We brought 2 boxes of Cheerios from on the ship and fed the fish while snorkeling. We brought underwater cameras from home to capture this feeding frenzy, which was cool, but a little freaky, being in the middle of a huge bunch of fish that were anything but shy. We also snorkeled up to the fence where the dolphins were kept for the swimming with dolphins tour. As we tried to see the dolphins, we noticed they were there on the other side of the fence trying to see us!!! We weren't sure who was more interested in who??? We would highly recommend Chankanaab if you are looking for a relaxing day on the beach that you can do on your own. The taxi to the park was $10 each way for 2, and $19. to enter the park. Drinks were cheaper than on the ship!!! It was a wonderful day. We also had our pictures taken with 2 iguanas and 2 macaws that we got to hold ($10, but really cool). The macaw on my head was biting my fiance's ear in the photo...great memories!!! After the sun started to cool, we headed back to the cruise terminal for a little shopping and a beer at one of the bars right on the water, before heading back on board at 7:30 pm. We cleaned up and headed o dinner, which was our 8:15 pm late seating. Another perfect day!!! Our last fun day at sea was a little cloudy and chilly to start out, but warmed up and the sun peaked out between the clouds. We brought our bathrobes down to the pool for those chilly cloudy moments, which worked out great. That day at 11 am they had a talk about disembarkation. I went, but it was on the Carnival channel the next day, so wasn't really necessary to waste an hour, even though the cruise director, Skippy did make it fun as well as informative. I can't say enough about the staff in general...they were all awesome. That night we went to the dining room for dinner again, and said goodbye to our friends. We also purchased our last photo in the gallery, and found that on the last day you get 4 free wallets per 8x10. They are $21.99 each, and since we were celebrating our new engagement, we purchased quite a few...I wish I had known about the wallets special if we had waited until the last night. The photographs were very nice...and one in particular took some awesome engagement pictured with my fiance down on one knee...and me looking surprised and happy. It is something I will cherish forever. That night the show was a Latin musical...again, very entertaining. Our last day, which was the day we disembarked, we had decided to check our luggage the night before, leaving it out in the hall for pick up before 11 pm, and have a relaxing morning before heading off the ship. We had breakfast, and went smoothly and quickly through customs which was effortless. It was then that we walked around the terminal in Tampa, and by chance ran into our captain from the Inspiration and had our photo taken with him. We never once saw him on the ship...but funny we ran into him after our cruise. He was a very nice man, and didn't mind being photographed with us. All in all...we had a perfect cruise...romantic, fun, relaxing, and just perfect. Thank you Carnival, you really are the Fun Ship and so much more. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2009
This was the second cruise for my husband and I. The first was 3 years ago, also aboard a Carnival Ship (the Holiday), for our honeymoon. The first voyage was wonderful, and after 3 years of marriage, we decided we needed to get away again ... Read More
This was the second cruise for my husband and I. The first was 3 years ago, also aboard a Carnival Ship (the Holiday), for our honeymoon. The first voyage was wonderful, and after 3 years of marriage, we decided we needed to get away again for an anniversary trip :). We decided to go this time from Tampa. We drove down the day before the cruise and stayed at the Laquinta Inn across from Busch Gardens. Very clean and safe feeling room! Some of the other establishments closer to the port had topless bars and gentlemen's clubs right next door, so we stayed about 15 minutes out. Embarkation Day: We arrived at the port at about 12:45, gave our checked bags to the porter, parked our car ($75 for the week), grabbed our carry-on bags and headed down to get in line. Getting on the boat was an easy process. We had our passports and documentation in-hand and ready to go. *TRAVEL TIP: ONE OF THOSE PASSPORT HOLDERS YOU CAN PUT AROUND YOUR NECK IS A LIFESAVER! When we got on the boat, our rooms were already ready, so we went straight there to drop off our carry-ons and check out our room. We had an interior room: it was the perfect size, very clean and comfortable. After checking it out, we headed up to Lido to grab a bite to eat. We got our food and went out on the deck to eat. The view from there was even amazing! Looking out over Tampa, a slight breeze blowing through my hair, was absolute bliss! I had grilled tuscan chicken, fruit and some yogurt...it was great! (I am dieting, and I had heard from several people that it is impossible to go on a cruise and not gain weight...I am happy to report that this is false...with good food choices and taking the stairs, you can LOSE weight. I didn't even use the gym, just the stairs instead of the elevator.) Our bellies full, we explored the ship and proceeded to the front of the ship to watch as we set sail. There was a lot to see...we passed an airstrip, a beautiful little lighthouse, and even went under a bridge!! (Awesome sight...it looks like the ship won't be able to go under, but it does with about 6ft of clearance.) We spent the rest of the night wandering around, hand-in-hand, exploring the ship. Dinner was great! We were seated with a couple our age on their honeymoon. They were really sweet! We ended up hanging out with them after dinner several nights of the cruise. Speaking of Dinner, it was fabulous!! Our waiters were Antonio and Jimmy. They kept us laughing, were very attentive, and knew us by name. As a matter of fact, they became our friends and even cheered me on when I was in the Talent Show. The "Super-charged" Maitre D, Joseph, was very nice and entertaining. They did a little show and dance every night and we loved it! We even got up and joined them at times. The second day, we got up early and had room service brought down. Some coffee, salmon and fruit. Love it! We did the scavenger hunt, went to a shopping and shore excursion talk, browsed the shops, rode the glass elevator, and so much more. Just being there with my hubby with no schedule, knowing we had the rest of the week to be together, was such a wonderful feeling. The third day was our anniversary. It was also Grand Cayman port day. We went horseback riding, which we booked ourselves online. It was great! We rode along the beach and backroads on horseback as we took in the tropical air and warming sun. We found a HUGE shell that we stopped and picked up. After that, we went back into town and walked to Eden Rock to snorkel. It was beautiful! Crystal-clear water, lots of fish and coral, and you can see the cruise ships in the background. We reluctantly went back to the ship and got onboard. The tender boat was a little rocky, as there was a storm rolling in. I had ingested a little salt water, so I felt a little queasy, but I was fine after boarding and drinking some water. We outran the storm, and the weather was perfect the rest of the time. The fourth day was Cozumel. We also went there on our anniversary cruise, so this place was special. We took pictures in some of the same places, did some shopping and then took a cab to Chankanaab Park, where we went swimming with the dolphins. It was magical! They pushed you, pulled you, gave you a kiss, danced, jumped, and let you hold it like a baby! Also at Chankanaab Park is snorkeling, snuba, hair wraps, shopping and lots more. After leaving here, we took a cab and went downtown. *TRAVEL TIP: UNLESS YOU INTEND ON SPENDING ABOUT AN HOUR AT A RUG STORE LISTENING TO THEM TRY AND SELL YOU A RUG, DON'T USE THE CAB COUPON FOR FREE FARE FOR VISITING GALLERY ISTANBUL!! ITS NOT WORTH IT UNLESS YOU WANT TO BUY ONE. THEY WERE PUSHY, AND WE WILL JUST PAY THE $7 CAB FEE NEXT TIME! We did some more shopping, DH bought a hammock and a rose for me :)We watched sunset...stunningly gorgeous!* YET ANOTHER TIP: WEAR BUG SPRAY!! We were eaten alive as soon as dusk arrived. We made a mad dash from store to store trying to find bug spray, and finally got some in the pharmacy. It was pretty funny in hindsight, not so much at the time :) I was in the Carnival Talent Show that night, which was a blast! I made lots of friends, and got to be "famous" for the rest of the cruise. Lots of fun! The fifth day was a fun day at sea. The weather was perfect. We did a lot of the onboard activities, got into the hot tub and hung out on the serenity deck. We did another scavenger hunt, this time digital, and came in second place. We got on our swim attire and went down the waterslide over and over like a couple of kids! Great times... The sixth day found us back in Tampa. We woke up early, went up to the top deck and watched the sunrise. It was so pretty! Then, we went down to the main dining room and had breakfast. It was good, and as I looked out the window into the bay, I wished we could just stay forever. I didn't want to go home! We gathered our things and went through customs(very easy). When we got home, I could still feel the ocean breeze and hear the rythmn of the music from the ship. I couldn't help but smile as the thoughts of the past week filled my mind. I told my Mom and Dad and several other family members about the wonderful time we had, and convinced them all to go back with us...We are currently planning our next cruise! :) Read Less
Sail Date: October 2009
Background Information Previous cruiser (12), this was 10th on Carnival - first cruise as Platinum Guest and 5th cruise on the Inspiration. I am 66, retired, wife is 56, we are recently married, this was our honeymoon cruise. We ... Read More
Background Information Previous cruiser (12), this was 10th on Carnival - first cruise as Platinum Guest and 5th cruise on the Inspiration. I am 66, retired, wife is 56, we are recently married, this was our honeymoon cruise. We live in North Port, Florida, only hours away from major cruise ports in Jacksonville, Port Canaveral, Ft. Lauderdale, Miami, and Tampa. Travel To Port of Embarkation It's an easy drive from our home to the Port of Tampa, right up I-75, then I-275 over the Sunshine Skyway Bridge. Actually drove up the night before the cruise, eliminating any delays or unforeseen circumstances on cruise day. As an experienced cruiser, and having cruised out of Tampa many times, we arrived around 10 a.m., parked in the parking garage two blocks away, for which I was charged $56.00. Then, an easy walk to the terminal with our luggage. *Note - there is a sign at the garage that says "check your luggage first, and then park your car." I wouldn't recommend this, as you can have traffic problems getting to the curb with your vehicle, many people arriving, many still disembarking, typical pre & post cruise congestion. I find it much easier to park first and then walk the luggage over. Thank heaven for wheels on those suitcases. Although the official Carnival information advises you to arrive after 1:30pm, in reality the terminal opens for check-in at 10:30a.m. Checked the bags with the curbside porter, showed our funpass and photo ID, and we proceeded smoothly into the terminal. Another advantage of checking in early is that you simply beat the crowds. As we were Platinum Status, we proceeded promptly to VIP check-in, and in a few minutes were seated to wait for boarding to begin. There were two wedding parties which were boarded first, then all the VIPs were allowed to board, around 11:30 a.m. We proceeded to the Brasserie Lounge on the Lido deck for a nice leisurely lunch, then toured the ship until we could get into our stateroom at 1:30 p.m. Hotel Info We stayed at the Holiday Inn Express on Rocky Point Drive, (it's actually very close to the TPA airport), dinner at Bahama Breeze Restaurant which is adjacent to the hotel, simply walk next door and you're there. The hotel is located about 8 miles from the Port of Tampa, which makes for a leisurely drive to the Port on cruise day. I firmly believe that staying overnight near the port before cruise day eliminates any potential travel problems on embarkation day and contributes to more stress-free check-in experience. Stateroom We were on the Empress deck, Cabin E50. A typical ocean view cabin on the Inspiration, it was only about fifty feet from the lobby bar, purser's desk, and shore excursion desk. Although we were near the front of the ship, walking aft for dining or to lunch in the Brasserie lounge was not an issue. Nothing is really too far away on this ship. I had pre-purchased a dozen red roses for my bride, as well as "Happy Honeymoon" decorations, online through Carnival. Everything was there as ordered, the cabin was beautifully decorated, and my new bride was thoroughly impressed. Our cabin steward was Elio - what a jewel this man was. He was openly friendly and talkative, very helpful, and our room was always promptly cleaned each day. If you cruise aboard the Inspiration, you will be fortunate to have this man as your cabin steward. Ship Info Living in Florida, and Tampa being only an hour and twenty minutes away, I must admit to gravitating to the Inspiration many times. It's 4 & 5 day itineraries make for such affordable getaways and it's such an easy drive from where I live to the Port of Tampa. The Inspiration, although one of Carnival's older ships, has been well maintained, and continues to provide a wonderful and relaxed environment for cruising. Having been refurbished in September of 2007, everything is updated, new furniture, decorations, and especially the bathrooms in the cabins, all new and updated. Overall, a great ship and I've always enjoyed cruising on this vessel, even now planning our next one aboard this ship. I have cruised on the Inspiration three times before it was refurbished, and twice since the upgrade. Dining Someone in the Carnival dining room assignment hierarchy must have picked up on the fact that this was our "honeymoon" cruise, because we were assigned table 371 in the Carnivale dining room, (aft) we had late seating at 8:15p.m. It was a nice table for two, against the rail on the elevated portion of the dining room, overlooking the starboard side windows, with additional tables below our level between us and the windows. Our table was nice and private and would have been a great romantic experience except for the fact that our waiter also had two huge tables of ten people each. Because of the necessity of taking care of those two tables as well as us, we had to wait for what I consider unacceptable amounts of times between courses. For example, we would be served our soup, then 25 minutes later, the salad, then 30 minutes later the main course. We watched many other tables around us finish their meals and have their dessert and were up and gone before we even got our salad. I attribute this simply to the fact that our waiter just had too many people to take care of. My previous dining experiences on Carnival have all been good ones, so I consider this to be just one of those things that happen occasionally. (We did discuss changing our table, but we liked the small intimate arrangement and wanted to stay with it.) I would not give our overall dining situation a bad review because of this singular situation, but the slow service was so bad that on the last night of the cruise, we finally gave up on the dining room, and decided to have dinner in the Brasserie Lounge which was much more relaxing, food was fresh, and we enjoyed not having to wait between our courses. Overall the food was excellent, well-prepared. I did opt for the "pan-fried grouper" one night, which came out, cold, dry, and pretty much tasteless. Just a bad choice on my part, the other main courses were all very good. All things considered, the Carnival dining room experience is still a very good one. Service Except for our minor fluke experience in the dining room, Carnival's service overall was typically friendly, courteous, and at all times helpful. Crew members and service personnel were very nice, very friendly, very welcoming. I have found this to be a standard on all of my cruises aboard Carnival, and this particular cruise was no exception. This cruise was sold out (approx. 2000+ guests) so there were lots of people on board, quite a few children, and many teen-agers aboard, and there were a couple of incidents worth noting. Once, I saw two young boys repeatedly ringing the bell on the pizza counter to the point of obnoxiousness. Soon, a ship's officer (white uniform) appeared and gave them a sound scolding - you have to wonder, where were the parents? But kudos to this officer for actually doing something about it. On our second night out, we were awakened by rowdy guests in the hallway around 3 a.m. - sounded like teenagers partying down, lots of yelling, shouting and general horseplay. We mostly tried to ignore it and eventually went back to sleep. When the same thing happened on a subsequent night however, I called the Guest Services number, and was informed that they would take care of it. Soon, the noise stopped and to the credit of the security officers, we never heard that kind of disruption again. As this was my first cruise as a Platinum Guest, I want to comment on that aspect in particular; There was a letter in our cabin when we arrived, welcoming us as Platinum Guests, and describing the complimentary amenities, such as Personalized Stationery, Petit Fours delivered to our stateroom one evening, a special Carnival Logo item, along with guaranteed dining times, complimentary entrance to the Blackjack or Slot Tournament, complimentary arcade tokens, an exclusive "behind the scenes" tour of the galley, complimentary wash and fold laundry service, and last but not least, priority debarkation. The personalized stationery was in the desk - but who writes real paper letters anymore? The Petit Fours were delivered without warning one night just before dinner - and consisted mostly of small sugary items, small pieces of cake that looked as if they had been cut out with a cookie cutter, and some other small pastry items. They were all pretty unappetizing. We never touched them because they looked so dry and unappealing. We also did not take advantage of the casino benefit or arcade tokens, didn't use the Spa or the laundry service, or take the galley tour, so can't comment on those either. We returned to our cabin one afternoon, and were surprised to find a huge chocolate cake with "Bon Voyage" written across it, along with a note from the staff telling us the "special Carnival Logo items" had not arrived, so they were giving us a cake instead. (I think we were supposed to get a keychain or something.) Oh, well, can't blame them for trying to do something. But not being "sugar" people, we never touched the cake, but lo and behold, the next day another cake was delivered to our cabin along with another apologetic note! We carefully put both cakes in the passageway outside our cabin along with the unappetizing "Petit Fours," and at some point they all thankfully disappeared. Although it may seem strange that I see this as a "positive" experience, I actually do, because it means that somewhere, someone was actually paying attention to their Platinum Guests and at least trying to step up to the plate (no pun intended!) in living up to their promised Platinum Guest benefits. There were however, three other specific elements of Platinum status that actually had substance (as far as I am concerned) and that were meaningful to us; First, there was VIP check-in - instead of going to the "mass" check-in counter, we were directed to a smaller desk in a separate enclosed area, where a Carnival specialist verified our documentation, and gave us our Sail & Sign cards. Afterwards, we would normally be escorted to a separate VIP waiting area, although for this cruise that particular area was occupied by those two huge wedding parties. But to Carnival's credit, they kept all the VIPs together, an assigned agent continually brooding over us like a mother hen, and after the wedding guests and such were all on board, the VIP group was led aboard by a Carnival representative. So this is a really nice perk, you get to have lunch before the crowd hits, explore the ship ahead of the crowds, etc. Secondly, because we were Platinum Guests, our luggage tags had "VIP" on them, which provides for expedited handling. When we arrived at our cabin at 1:30 p.m. our luggage was waiting for us! This is something I have never experienced before, (my first thought was that it belonged to the previous guests) and I can say without reservation, this is a very nice perk. On previous cruises, sometimes the luggage didn't show up until after dinnertime, so this was quite a pleasant surprise. Thirdly - there was priority debarkation. On the last sea day, a letter was delivered to our cabin, inviting us to participate in "Priority Concierge Club Debarkation Service." You could either opt for the "self-assist" debarkation method, or the "check-in luggage" method. As we were in no hurry to leave the ship, we opted for the latter. We replaced our old luggage tags with the silver Concierge Club luggage tags provided for us, and put our luggage out in the passageway around 9pm. (You have until 11pm) On debarkation day, we were directed to go to the Shakespeare Library on deck 8 at 8:45a.m. As we were pretty much pre-packed because of having already checked our luggage, we slept in, said good-bye to our wonderful cabin steward, and then enjoyed a leisurely breakfast in the Brasserie Lounge. We arrived at the library at the appointed time, along with perhaps 50-60 other Platinum guests. A Carnival representative was there promptly at 8:45 to tell us that as soon as they received clearance, we would be escorted off the ship. The "self-assist" people debarked first, around 7:45, (this took the better part of an hour or so) and everything seemed to go smoothly. From my vantage point in the Library, I could see the guests leaving through two security stations on the Empress deck, and everything seemed to proceed smoothly. It was orderly and quiet, and there was never a back up into the stairwells and elevators like I have seen on some previous cruises. We were allowed to leave approximately 9a.m., and were escorted off the ship by a Carnival representative, and once in the terminal, were directed to collect our luggage from the "Concierge Club" staging area. All in all, this was nicely done, and as VIPs, we were essentially the first group (among those who had checked luggage) off the ship. (On a minor note - one of our bags was not in the Concierge Club area - so we had to flag down a Carnival rep who was very helpful in assisting me in locating the missing piece which had mistakenly ended up in the mass luggage from our deck. But this was a very minor event as far as I am concerned, and overall, Carnival did a really nice job with the priority debarkation) Port & Shore Excursions In Cozumel, we opted for the Ultimate Beach Adventure, purchased online before the cruise. We were met promptly at the pier at 9 a.m., left on time with about 20 other guests, for the 40-minute ride to the south end of the island to get to Crystal Beach which is located in Punta Sur Ecological Park. Our tour guide was "Felipe," very cordial and friendly, along with several other assistants, and a tour photographer. Once there, you could snorkel or use the kayaks, however those two activities were very structured and organized - you had to go with the group. Way too structured for me and my bride, so we simply stayed on the beach, swam a little, walked along the shore, and just relaxed. We were served a nice tropical lunch, barbequed chicken, rice, salad, guacamole & chips, fruit, water and fruit juice furnished as well. There were plenty of lounge chairs, and if you wanted shade you could go inside the luncheon area. We also had the opportunity to purchase photos on a CD (which we did), then a 40-minute boat ride back to the pier, arriving around 2p.m. This approximate 5-hour tour was just right, leaving us time to get cleaned up, and go back to the pier for a little souvenir shopping. It was a nice relaxing excursion, and we just might do this one again. (A reminder, bring some cash if you want beer, purchase photos, and of course for the tip - there was no pressure, but you do have the opportunity to tip if you want to.) Disembarkation Overall, very nicely handled by Carnival, very smooth. I have been on previous cruises before the current zone/color system was instituted, and it was an absolute nightmare. Carnival has truly put some effort into revamping this entire procedure, and now, all you essentially have to do is have some breakfast and wait for your area to be called. Unless of course, you opt for "self-assist" - but being retired and in no hurry, I don't typically use that method, although it works well for a lot of people. If you opt for self-assist you must have at least one hand free in order to grasp the hand rail on the escalators in the terminal, otherwise you will be directed to the elevators where there is usually a line. Summary You should be able to tell from this review that I am a confirmed Carnival "happy camper!" After ten cruises on Carnival, I have experienced nothing less than professional, friendly, and courteous treatment on each and every cruise. (I don't consider the minor issue in the dining room or with the misplaced luggage to be "cruise-killers," but then we are pretty flexible people and what bothers some people just doesn't bother us.) Although there have been minor bumps along the road in some of our cruise experiences, none of them has dampened our enthusiasm for Carnival. We have discovered that much of your treatment from cruise crewmembers and staff depends on your own attitude. Believe me I have watched some genuine idiot exchanges between unhappy and often impolite and downright rude guests and some of the Carnival staff, however this has not been the case for us. Always worthy of note on any cruise out of Tampa is the spectacularly photogenic and exciting cruise from the dock, along the Tampa ship channel, until finally passing under the Sunshine Skyway Bridge approximately 2 ½ hours after sailing time. It is truly a sight to behold, a genuine Kodak moment, as the ship majestically glides beneath the bridge span and heads into the sunset and the waters of the open Gulf of Mexico. According to Wikipedia, The Travel Channel rated the Sunshine Skyway #3 in its special on the "Top 10 Bridges" in the World, and the bridge is considered the "flag bridge" of the State of Florida (*Note - if you have early dining seating you will miss the bridge passing - it's best experienced from the outside upper decks. Our solution? - late seating, or just do the Brassserie for dinner first night out.) For you stalwart photographers or sightseers, the ship passes under the bridge around 3 a.m. on the return leg. Like most cruises, even though the ship was full, you could always find places to hang out away from the crowd. We never found serving lines too long, we could always find a lounge chair, a table for lunch, or a quiet place to read a book. Will we cruise Carnival again? Well, we already have a cruise booked for next year on the Liberty! Of course, in the meantime, there is always the Inspiration...so close... 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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