4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
We were looking for a family friendly 4 day cruise and we found it! First time on Carnival Crew was very very nice My cabin was clean all the time Orlando our cruise director was a delite! Loved the dining was pretty good ... Read More
We were looking for a family friendly 4 day cruise and we found it! First time on Carnival Crew was very very nice My cabin was clean all the time Orlando our cruise director was a delite! Loved the dining was pretty good always a vegetarian selection Our kids enjoyed the kid activities such town animals, arcade, kids club - (although this was disorganized and s small fight broke out with several 10 years old in the kids club) yikes! Guys burger bar and taco bar by the pool was great! The winner for us was Alchemy Bar which mixed delicious martinis! Don’t miss this bar! Photo ops were everywhere so that was also a plus! Perfect amount of time on the cruise- Tiny bit sea sick due to boat going so slow- The Stufio VIP show on the last night was hysterical! Go to the comedy shows too If you a party this is your cruise! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
DW & I have been on four other cruiselines and this was our first on Carnival. We went on this one since we wanted to join a large group gathering of about 50 folks. Even though it was a four day Carnival Long Beach-Catalina ... Read More
DW & I have been on four other cruiselines and this was our first on Carnival. We went on this one since we wanted to join a large group gathering of about 50 folks. Even though it was a four day Carnival Long Beach-Catalina Island-Ensenada-Long Beach trip from embark Monday and debark Friday, it was still a party crowd. We usually prefer a quiet, refine cruise but wanted to join the many folks we knew. Since there were many we have known for many years, the party type atmosphere worked well and we were pleasantly surprise that we enjoyed it. The cost was relatively inexpensive and we set our expectations lower and were overall happy with the cruise. The Guy's Burgers, deli, and pizza were great. The other dining venues, such as buffet and sitdown dining were disappointing. The servers often did not bring us and others what we ordered. Even request for crackers was given a response of call room server. A request to clean some chairs with food debris was met by the worker slapping the chairs with her dish towel. What was worst was that the sour cream and butter were not fresh, i.e. the potential for an upset stomach or worst. The cabin was larger than other cruiselines for the same category but the restroom had a foul odor that repeated attempts to pour water down the floor drain only partially helped. A number of folks got seasick even though they never had before on other sailings. Being a smaller ship of about 70,000 tons is part of the reason. But more likely it was the short sailing distance between the ports. Long Beach to Catalina is about 29 miles and the sailing was a leisurely 13 hours which meant say 2 miles per hour which is far too slow for the stabilizers to be effective. Also this slow speed means the wave actions will affect the ship more. The shows in the main theater were not Broadway type productions. They were just singing with related dance moves and much of the time was wasted with pulling audience members up to the stage to participate. The timing of the show comedians were too close to the main theater shows so we could not see them. The raffles at the ship stores were a big waste of time. They kept on delaying the start of the drawings and the prizes were terrible, such as a cheap shopping bag. The embark and debark were fast since for the short cruise we did carry on luggage. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
Needed a cruise that began and ended in the week of 7/16. This was the one available. When we take short cruises, we often like to go Carnival. they really do provide the most fun. Particularly as the end of the day.. This ship had 2 ... Read More
Needed a cruise that began and ended in the week of 7/16. This was the one available. When we take short cruises, we often like to go Carnival. they really do provide the most fun. Particularly as the end of the day.. This ship had 2 late night comics, that were hilarious. When I go on Princess and other lines, once the main show is over, there isn't much to do, unless you like gambling or dancing. Many people say that the food on Carnival isn't very good. That hasn't been our experience. While not the gourmet food one finds on some of the Luxury lines, it is more as good as most of the other ships we travel on. Our cabin service, as well as our food servers were outstanding. No issues with service. I've had much more difficulty with the service on Princess, which I usually take. Others providing excellent service include the pool bar staff, and the Customer Service desk. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
We have always flown out of Florida for our cruises, as the west coast did not have options we were fond of. We decided on a whim to try it out. * Embarkation - Great! So fast and easy - very different from Florida. * Ship - ... Read More
We have always flown out of Florida for our cruises, as the west coast did not have options we were fond of. We decided on a whim to try it out. * Embarkation - Great! So fast and easy - very different from Florida. * Ship - Beautiful! This class of ship has beautiful ships - they are older but have less gaudy decor and carpet. The Inspiration was very lovely! Our last day (sea day) was very windy: 30-40mph winds. This made for high swells and rocky waters. We *always* take Dramamine with us, just in case of these situations. You could definitely feel the boat moving. The top of the ship will be blocked off for safety reasons when there are high winds or bad weather. * Cabin - We were in R10. This is in the left (port) side front bottom of the ship on the Riviera Deck (level/deck 4). If you plan to do a lot on the upper decks (10 is lido with the pool and food), plan to use elevators or stairs. We liked this cabin because of the cost and the ease of getting back on the ship after port (embarkation is deck 3). We had two portholes - they are awesome to at least see daylight and know around what time it is. There was a slight odor in the bathroom (from the very first time we walked in). I am not sure if it was from mold or from a pipe. There were days we noticed it more than others. * Cabin Steward - Huge shout out to Dante! He did an amazing job keeping us comfortable and our cabin stayed very clean. He remembered our names (I always wonder how they do that) and always greeted us, and asked if everything was okay. He was very respectful of our times we didn't want the cabin cleaned. * Dining - We ended up having to go with Your Time/Anytime dining. We usually go with the early dining. We did not sit in the same seat/area twice (although I heard you can request this), and had different wait staff each meal. We ate breakfast and dinner in the dining room and were very happy with both. The staff did an amazing job and the food was wonderful! For dinner we ate mahi mahi, prime rib, spare ribs, salmon, steak tacos (Ensenada port of call on the menu); for breakfast we had omelette’s for most of breakfast meals, but had a good offering of sides (hash browns, English muffins, etc.). We are not adventurous eaters, they had a lot of seafood and at least 4-6 different options for dinner, plus options for those non-adventurous eaters. If you do not like your meal, let the waiter know and request a different meal. We ordered sides from other nights with no problems (even if they weren’t on the menu for that night). The wait staff was always happy to please and always took care of you. I was _very_ surprised and pleased when I heard of another member on board having a gluten intolerance - the dining room prepared her a full menu for each day – allowing her to order the night before so they could get it prepared for the next day. So awesome! * Ports – (Itinerary – Long Beach->Catalina Island->Ensenada, Mexico->Long Beach): ** Catalina Island: We LOVED Catalina Island. It was so quaint, cute and a pretty island. We rented a golf cart and toured the island – with no regrets. ***If you do the golf cart tour, reserve WELL in advance! For some companies, you have to just stand in line and wait for golf carts to return. They don’t have a wait list. People were very friendly and we highly enjoyed ourselves. The beach was beautiful, but the water was cold. ** Ensenada: Just as personal preference, this is not somewhere we would go again. We walked the city around 1st street just a few minutes from port and were hounded by little kids trying to sell items – to the point of them following us and walking next to us for ½ a block. After that, we decided to get on a tour bus to La Bufadora ($17/pp) with a stop at the Corona Distillery. The Corona “distillery” was very much like a tiny convenience store. Corona cans are under a dollar. At the time we went, the bathroom was inoperable. Then, onto La Bufadora. This shopping area is 45 minutes away from port. It is a street vendor/flea market. There is a least ¼ to ½ of a mile of both sides being filled with street vendors that are very pushy, direct and will yell out to you to come to their shops. There are a lot of free samples – we were offered a lot of free tequila shots. To give you an idea of pricing, we were interested in a Lucha Libre mask and were told it was $25.00. They asked us to make an offer – which we didn’t. We just moved on. We did not spend much time there. You do have to go through this flea market to get to the blow hole. Sadly, the blow hole was not very active when we saw it – it had a few small bursts, but nothing really big. If we go on this cruise again, we will stay on the ship for this port (again, just personal preference). Overall, we were very happy with this trip. We will go again someday! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2018
I stopped cruising Carnival several years ago after a particularly bad cruise on the Carnival Spirit but this cruise coincided with grandchildren's Spring break and family birthdays and it was affordable, though by no means ... Read More
I stopped cruising Carnival several years ago after a particularly bad cruise on the Carnival Spirit but this cruise coincided with grandchildren's Spring break and family birthdays and it was affordable, though by no means inexpensive. Thought the family activities were really fun, the cruise itself left me resolved to not cruise Carnival again for several more years. Two of us shared an obstructed view "junior suite" that was really an average cabin with a balcony so small that you could not sit on it without moving the chairs sideways to the rail. The view was completely blocked by a rescue ship. It seemed that there were few advantages to this class until we compared it with regular ocean view cabins on lower decks. For us, service was pretty much the same as non-suite cabins on other cruise lines with the addition of free bottled water. When we compared it to the standard ocean-view service our family received, though, it was quite different. They received once a day cabin cleaning (no turn down service) and no luggage collection for diebarkation without a special request. The ship has been redone and is generally comfortable. My one complaint was the poor lighting. Our "suite" had bedside lamps that were non-functional and extremely poor lighting in the closet areas. With closet doors opening to the entry instead of the window and no overhead or interior lights, I needed a flashlight to see the clothing storage area. This ship has one fairly small swimming pool that was usually crowded. There was a very nicely designed water slide area that was not crowded that the grandchildren really loved. Entertainment was really awful. The atrium entertainment drove me out with the volume and I spent one sad evening in the piano bar listening to a guy who really couldn't play and didn't want to. I generally avoided it. We enjoyed the spa and found the spa attendants to be better than on most ships. The one drawback there was that the ship redesign put the running track above the spa so that it was quite noisy. Dinner service was spotty. The one night that we were celebrating two birthdays, our desert order was not even taken yet when other diners had finished and left the dining room and their tables were cleared and reset for breakfast. Food was average. Though no fault of the ship, I'm sure, debarkation was delayed nearly two hours and the ensuing lines to leave the ship were extraordinarily long - 35 minutes in our case. As "suite" guests two of us had priority debarkation but chose to disembark with the family. We were unable to gain any privileges for the family, even though the fares for everyone were paid by the "suite" passengers. I would rank this as a good cruise for families with children who are cruising on a budget. Don't expect the service or amenities you might enjoy on one of the other cruise lines but you can have fun anyway. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2018
Myself, DH and our son and his family (kids 12.10, 8 and 2 years old) went on this cruise on March 26th. I was a little hesitant to cruise on this ship, as quite a few people were not very kind in their reviews. We have been on 12-15 ... Read More
Myself, DH and our son and his family (kids 12.10, 8 and 2 years old) went on this cruise on March 26th. I was a little hesitant to cruise on this ship, as quite a few people were not very kind in their reviews. We have been on 12-15 cruises in the past. The ship is smaller than we are used to; however, there are benefits to this. Such as, you don't have to walk a country mile to get to your room or events every day. We booked interior rooms. Normally, we try to get a window or a balcony, but expenses prevented this on this sailing. My daughter-in-law required a frig for medicine and a crib for the 2 year old. The housekeeper had it delivered into the room before 6:00 pm! He kept the room very clean. We only requested morning service. I like to keep the rooms tidy, and with a 12 and 8 year old in the room, it was a must. I know these people work hard, so giving him one less room to turn down was something I thought he would appreciate. He did leave a towel animal every day. We were supposed to be porting in Catalina on Tuesday, but this didn't occur. We found out that the wind was high, and this made it difficult to run the tenders. Tuesday became our full day at sea. I think the smaller ship and its slower moving caused quite a few people to become seasick. I saw a a young teenage boy vomit in the main dinning room. Fortunately, I was the only one to witness the event. We did hit Catalina the next day. Mostly, we walked around for a bit. There isn't a lot for kids to do, so we headed back to the ship for lunch. We ported in Ensenada the next day. Again, not a lot to do there for kids. The 8 & 10 year old opted to stay on the ship at their camps. We walked around a bit, and made a few purchases. We returned to the ship again for lunch. Now, I will say this; the kids were fine with this, as they spent two days prior in Disneyland. The food was good. I found the main dinning room in the evening to be an enjoyable experience. I am in agreement with others who have said that people come to the dinning room very casual. We did dress up (not too formal) for formal night. My favorite dish was salmon and my favorite dessert was Creme' Brulee. Very yummy! The kids enjoyed the dishes served on their menu. The eight year old is a boy, and he was thrilled to have 24/7 pizza and ice cream! The buffet was adequate, and I enjoyed the Blue Iquana was good. I had a breakfrest burrito and I had the tomato and fresh mozzarella sandwich from the sandwich counter twice. The second time I had it on a wrap, as it was too much bread for me. We went to brunch on our sea day, as well as the afternoon tea. Our 2 year old grand daughter is very charming. She waves and smiles at everyone. One of the waiters from another table came over to see her. She ended up liking him so much, she kissed his cheek. He wanted her to dance with him during one of their shows. She wanted to dance with her grandpa. We later learned he wasn't fond of children, so she had worked her charms on him. They made over here every night, as well as the other children. All of them are well behaved. We didn't attend the shows. Some of our family went to the comedians late show. They said he was funny but very "crude." They said the sing around the piano player was really great. We hit Karaoke and trivia several times. They both were a lot of fun. My birthday fell the day after we left the ship. I found a birthday card from the staff, as well as a $50.00 gift card to the spa! I was shocked and thrilled. I went up and purchased some expensive hair products. It was a great touch! Thanks Carnival! The younger three children loved their camp and the crew. They opted to attend more than anything else going on! The 12 year old is shy, so she went less than the others. I do think they all enjoyed themselves. We purchased the FTTF option for both cabins. We arrived after 11:00 am to the port, so they had already started allowing zone one to board. Although, our room was ready, and not having to drag the bags around was nice. We only tendered once, so it wasn't a big deal to use these. Now, on debarking the ship was another subject. We went down the waiting area for FTTF folks at 7:00 am, so we could try to get to Universal Studios by the time they opened at 9:00 am. We didn't get off the ship until 9:00 am. There were people trying to change their flights over the delay. This was not Carnivals fault. We were told by other cruisers that a passenger had tried to bring in illegal contraband from Mexico and was found out. She got into an altercation over this with a crew members. Port Authority held everything up over this. It was a young lady that had been overly drunk the night before. She had cursed all over the place, talked very loudly and tried to take over the comedians act. He didn't stand for it. The family members left every single place they went when she was present. It was sad that so many were affected by one persons actions. Overall it was a good trip. I like a longer cruise, but limited time and the kids wanting to go to the amusement parks, we opted this route. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2018
We chose a 4 day to Catalina and Ensenada since this was our first time as a family of 6 and wasn’t sure what to expect. We booked 2 cabins next door to each other on the Riviera deck (4) so the kids (13, 7, 4, and 4) could be close to ... Read More
We chose a 4 day to Catalina and Ensenada since this was our first time as a family of 6 and wasn’t sure what to expect. We booked 2 cabins next door to each other on the Riviera deck (4) so the kids (13, 7, 4, and 4) could be close to us. The embarkation process went smoothly. We purchased FTTF for both rooms. We didn’t need it because we arrived around noon and it wasn’t crowded but on the way out it helps avoid the lines. Either way I will always purchase it since you enjoy other perks like no line at the info desk, and no lines when getting on the tender to go to Catalina. Also, if there’s a long line to exit through customs be sure to grab a porter and he will avoid the line completely and get you right through. That was well worth $10! We had the most amazing head waiter named Arwin. We have some allergies and he was always very accommodating with a smile on his face. He was so nice that one of my twins got teary eyed the morning we left when he found out he wouldn’t be seeing him again. The food was good. There’s a lot of complaints on this site but honestly I am pretty picky and I liked the food. If there was something I didn’t like I just ordered something else! The burgers at Guys were really good. I only had it once and both my husband and I wished we had it more but we had so many other things to try. Their burritos and taco salads were delicious. Steak, shrimp, roasted corn, grilled onions, the works! Don’t eat the tacos. Not good. Even the buffet is decent. I had potato leek soup one day that was delish! I’m gluten sensitive and they did have gluten free bread, buns and pizza but they weren’t good but I was fine with all the other options they had. The kids loved the water slides, pool, and hot tub. The kids club was also a hit for movie watching and making new friends. We enjoyed craft cocktails at the Alchemy bar and there was never a wait. I think it helped that we were traveling mid week during spring break. The comedy club was fun as others mentioned and hubby won a little money in the casino. Overall, I would recommend this cruise for a nice easy getaway at a reasonable price. If you keep your expectations low you will be blown away. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2018
We wanted to try a cruise out of Long Beach. Stayed in V-19 a Junior Suite. Nice time and for sure you should try the Chefs Table!! The room was nice and yes the balcony is small but its nice to have air and early embarking. Not a fan of ... Read More
We wanted to try a cruise out of Long Beach. Stayed in V-19 a Junior Suite. Nice time and for sure you should try the Chefs Table!! The room was nice and yes the balcony is small but its nice to have air and early embarking. Not a fan of kids so the Serenity are was our hang out. Good food and really good service. Catalina was a great stop for us. We had good drink service as well. A little cooler than we expected but made the best of it. If I had to do it again, I probably would but I think I would find a more adult cruise with no kids. Not a ton of them on board and for the most part well behaved but I think its strange seeing kids belly up to the bar for soda? Never experienced that before. I also like the curb side service. Saved tons of time. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2017
I went on this cruise with a group of girlfriends for a fun weekend. We had a great time together. BUT..... The food was pretty bad, just cheap buffet type food, even the sit down dining was just the same food put on a ... Read More
I went on this cruise with a group of girlfriends for a fun weekend. We had a great time together. BUT..... The food was pretty bad, just cheap buffet type food, even the sit down dining was just the same food put on a fancier plate. There was no one checking to make sure people washed their hands before touching the buffet utensils. I'm glad i didn't get sick . Drinks from the bar were hard to get to because there weren't enough and always crowded with the partiers. There were barely any cocktail servers. The room was absolutely disgusting. We upgraded to a suite, and it was so tiny we could barely move. The lighting sucked so bad we couldn't use the mirror for our makeup. There was no exhaust fan in the tiny bathroom. Our friends were in an inside room on a lower level, for half the price and their room was nicer than ours. The balcony we paid extra for was unusable. It was so tiny we didn't fit on it, and there was a stairway right outside the balcony for people to walk to an upper level, so they could look right into our room!!! we had to have the drapes drawn the entire trip. What a waste of money for a balcony suite. If i wasn't stuck in the middle of the ocean i would have gotten off and stayed somewhere else. The public bathrooms were so gross i could not use them. The cruise lines do this thing where they charge a gratuity to your room, so no one tips directly, and that is clearly reflected in the enthusiasm and service of anyone working on the ship. Don't expect them to hustle your request or even care. I got an occasional smile from some of the workers, but for the most part they looked tired and beaten down. this was my first and last cruise on Carnival. Its might be a good cruise if you are young and just want to party and drink the whole time with all your friends. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2017
This is the second time I cruise out of Long Beach to Catalina Island and Ensenada, the first time being on the Ecstasy. This time I went with my best friend who is wheel-chair bound. Her father dropped us at the Long Beach cruise ... Read More
This is the second time I cruise out of Long Beach to Catalina Island and Ensenada, the first time being on the Ecstasy. This time I went with my best friend who is wheel-chair bound. Her father dropped us at the Long Beach cruise terminal, and we were directed by a very friendly employee to a different line. We bypassed the long line straight to a counter for passengers who required special assistance. Our check in took only a couple of minutes and we were on our way. We arrived at the port at around 1:00 p.m. and were able to board the ship and straight to our cabin. Cabin: Cabin E65 is a handicapped accessible room on deck 7 (Empress Deck) where passengers board the ship. That was a big plus for us as we were literally a couple of steps away from our room . . . but, being right by the atrium is not pleasing at night when you're trying to sleep and are able to hear everything that goes on ouside your door, from the music playing in the atrium, the rambunctious crowd to people walking by your door talking loudly. It didn't bother my friend or me in the least, but I personally prefer the Riviera deck as it's much quieter, but Carnival has no accessible cabins on the lower decks. Meals: It was always a bit of a challenge for my friend and I when trying to eat at the buffet. I would have to help my friend with her food, find a table, leave her there while I again got in line for my food, go back to the table with my plate, and then go back for drinks. By the time I was ready to eat, her food would be cold, and she hated to eat while I was still getting my food. On embarkation day we opted to eat out on deck, but it was uncomfortably chilly so we ended having all of our lunches inside. Our room steward, Ronaldo, was the sweetest, politest steward I have ever met during any of my cruises. He knocked on our door before the muster drill to inform us that we should head on to our muster station, which happened to be the Paris lounge, before people started using the elevators and make it almost impossible to use them. When we got to our muster station there was a young lady going around making sure that all the passengers in the handicap cabins actually needed special assistance. My friend's name was on the list, and we were directed to stay in the lounge as everybody else was taken to the lifeboats. We were told that in case of a real emergency, someone would be actively looking for us. The Food: After the muster drill we headed to our assigned dining room, Carnivale, for dinner and to meet our table companions. I'm not fond of eating with strangers, but our tablemates were very friendly and sociable. The next morning we had the Dr. Seuss Cat in the Hat breakfast which was really good and inexpensive. For a nominal fee of $5 per person you get to enjoy a really nice breakfast in the Carnivale dining room which is transformed to all things Cat in the Hat. The decorations are beautiful and picture opportunities abound. Although it's catered to children, my friend and I really had a nice time. We had made reservations to eat the the Chef's table, and it was the highlight of our cruise. Our reservation was for the same day as our Dr. Seuss breakfast, our day at sea. I received a letter that was left underneath our door informing us of the time and place. We were to meet by the bar in the atrium and when we got there, there was a waitress waiting for the group. We were all welcomed with a glass of champagne, but I don't drink alcohol so she served me ginger ale instead. If you've never done the chef's table and have some money to splurge, go for it! I did it once, enjoyed it to the fullest, but I'll never do it again. First, it's too expensive. I paid $172 for two people, which included a 12% gratuity. At first I said, "ouch" to the tip, but after everything was said and done, I realized that the people that tended to the group for 3 hours really work hard for their money. Second, you're fed so much food, you can easily go into a food coma. It starts in the galley where you're given some appetizers, all delicious by the way; then you're given a tour of the galley where you bump into the employees who are so very friendly. You are given a demo on how to make hot chocolate cake, but no sampling. I was extremely impressed with the service. I was ready to push my friend's wheelchair for the duration of the event, but little did I know that they had assigned someone to be her personal assistant. I wasn't allowed to push her wheelchair which made it so much enjoyable for me. The group consisted of 9 people and we were escorted to the library, which was set up, oh, so beautifully. We took a group picture, and then looked for our names, sat down, and the feast began. I can't even begin to explain how delicious everything was. It was a total of 7 or 8 plates, all with small portions, but so filling. The champagne and wine kept coming, but I only drank water. If you decide to do the chef's table DO NOT EAT DURING THE DAY!!!! You'll regret it and it will be wasted money. We had a good, hearty breakfast with Dr. Seuss, but didn't have anything else to eat until dinnertime, and by that time, our stomachs were grumbling. Dinner lasted about 3 hours. . . it was too much food, but so delicious. The shows in the Paris lounge were very good, and I especially enjoyed the last night's performance. I can't say much about the ports visited because we didn't get off the ship, and it was nice having the ship to ourselves, so to speak. Disembarking the ship was a bit of a hassle, but because my friend uses a wheel chair, we were able to cut the line . . . somewhat, but I know that there were unhappy passengers complaining about how unorganized everything was. It took us longer to disembark the ship than to board it. All in all, it was my friend's first cruising experience and she loved it. It's my 6th cruise with Carnival, and I was given a bottle of water and two pins. It was an inexpensive Spring break vacation, and although we didn't leave the ship, we thoroughly enjoyed the trip. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2017
I departed from LA and the cruise had a Day At Sea, and stopped in Catalina, California, and Ensenda, Mexico. I didn't explore LA cause I've been before but its a fun place. As for both Catalina and Ensenada I debarked both days ... Read More
I departed from LA and the cruise had a Day At Sea, and stopped in Catalina, California, and Ensenda, Mexico. I didn't explore LA cause I've been before but its a fun place. As for both Catalina and Ensenada I debarked both days and explored/shopped like crazy! We get dropped off in the touristy spots and they offer other adventuring options from there i.e zip-lining or travel tours. My group didn't personally do that stuff but just walking around and enjoying the view was nice. I really adored how easy it was to get on and off the ship! I usually travel by plane so in comparison embarkation/disembarkation was like floating through the clouds; it was swift, easy, and a lot friendlier than going by plane. In essence, the ship itself was huge. I have no previous experience with boats but this one certainly had lots of room. However, despite that, the cabins were pretty small. Although it may have just been the package I got. There were five of us in one room (three adults and two children) and it was very tight but doable. The ship itself had so many entertaining activities that we didnt spend much time in our room anyway! As for the entertainment, it was definitely the star of the show! They had multiple live musicians throughout the boat (SHOUTOUT TO MOD SQUAD YALL WERE AWESOME!!), as well as comedy shows, and even a theatre troupe that performed shows nightly. I spent lots of time listening to the musicians who were more than happy to entertain. They were eager to take requests and were overall extremely friendly and encouraged a relaxed and happy atmosphere. The theatre troupe too. All the entertainers genuinely made me feel welcomed and at ease in the middle of the ocean. I simply cannot emphasize enough how they really made the trip worth it. As for the basics, Inspiration had both a dining area and buffet and food spots open 24/7. The food was really really good! They had regular options like seared sea bass and steaks to what they dubbed 'rare finds' ie alligator fritters and frog legs. I ate so much on the cruise it was ridiculous! Speaking of ridiculous, thats exactly how the service was. The service works were ridiculously nice, ridiculously accommodating, and ridiculously happy to help. I was honestly surprised at how friendly all staff members were. And last but not least, the children. My group had 4 children, a 2 year old, 5 year old, 11 year old, and 13 year old. The kids 5 and up spent the majority of the time swimming to their hearts content in the swimming pool and hot tub. As for the 2 year old we just passed him around between us cause we didnt really want him alone though the cruise did offer a daycare option that watched him while we had dinner. The kids had a blast as well. The ships various activity options catered to all of different needs and interests. Conclusively, I, as well as my family, 100% plan to go again and are already discussing our next trip. This cruise was unimaginable fun and I can't wait to do it again!! Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2017
This trip formed part of a two week trip to the west coast of America, this being the last leg of the trip before embarking on our flight back to London. The check in onto the boat was smooth and once on board we were given our access ... Read More
This trip formed part of a two week trip to the west coast of America, this being the last leg of the trip before embarking on our flight back to London. The check in onto the boat was smooth and once on board we were given our access keys to the Stateroom which we had chosen with a balcony and all the trimmings. The room was cleaned every day by a happy member of staff who clearly had a job she loved doing, every night she had made sculptures out of towels that made us smile. Her smile would have lightened any thing that went wrong but it didn't. Our Dining experience was not always to an acceptable standard. We had been given Mardi Gras as the Dining area to attend. We attended this restaurant on the first Elegant night of our stay. We waited outside the restaurant for 20-30 minutes before we were shown to our table, we chose from a meal from the menu and it took 45 minutes before our starter arrived, the meals were lukewarm and tasteless. Our main course arrived 20 minutes later, our meals at least turned up at the same time, the ravioli was lukewarm with no recognisable taste to it. My main course was tasteless, the steak was cold and pale pink. I engaged with the staff on several occasions, asking that they take the meal away. In the end i had to ask to see the manager. He apologized and said he would speak to the catering team/chef. It was clear to me that batch cooking was being used which suggest a lack of staff competent enough to meet the standards Ii had anticipated. A couple on the next table had one starter (soup) served with no sign of when the other would appear. In the end the soup was returned to the waiter as it was getting cold and the lady did not wish to eat alone. Both meals were eventually served together but again only lukewarm. We then decided to use other food outlets on board and the service there was OK and cooked freshly. The different forms of entertainment were to a reasonable standard the jewel in the crown was the Rhapsody In Blue Piano Bar that we visited every night, fantastic host,(Skip) who enjoyed what he was doing, playing music and songs to suit all requests that had been made, a great sense of humour he was able to engage with all of those who he entertained each night. Bravo. Other pop up musicians were located around the ship to add atmosphere with songs that they had chosen. We had not been made aware that the trip coincided with school Spring break time so there were several unruly children on board, who tended to roam around the ship in packs. Overall the service offered throughout the ship was good, some always giving more than others. The noticeable failure was that tables were left with food and drink on for long periods of time before they were cleared and prepared for the next customers to enjoy, Bar services were quite good. Went on two excursions, the first was to Catalina Island and was excellent, lovely location with friendly staff, went on the Submarine/glass bottom boat trip, good shopping opportunities and plenty of food and drink areas to enjoy. Second trip was to Ensenada, this was a disappointing trip, we were taken to shore and we went on an island tour, wherever we stopped we were approached by street sellers. There was really very little to see and we did not feel that the trip was worth the money we paid for it. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2016
We arrived early - around noon. The queue was already outside, but we only we were onboard the ship 61 minutes from the time we joined the queue, which is very good. Long Beach was in the midst of a heat wave, so the terminal was very ... Read More
We arrived early - around noon. The queue was already outside, but we only we were onboard the ship 61 minutes from the time we joined the queue, which is very good. Long Beach was in the midst of a heat wave, so the terminal was very warm. They could do with the installation of a few fans. We were told our room would be ready by 1:30, but we snuck down around 1:15 and was able to get in. The room was much larger than some other outside cabins I've seen. This was our first Carnival sailing, so we didn't know what to expect. The ship decor was a bit tasteless, but overall it was clean, yet tired. The service was much better than I had anticipated. The crew seemed very happy. The ship's band, "Magic Tractor" played near the casino and was fantastic! We had been to both Catalina Island and Ensenada before, but I don't go on cruises for ports - I go to relax on the ship. I would definitely book this little cruise again for a getaway! Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2014
Well, I'm from Chicago & I flew to the port of L.A. . The scenery of the port was nice looking, since I've never been to California before. While on the cruise, I was very amused by the scenery & activities they had on ... Read More
Well, I'm from Chicago & I flew to the port of L.A. . The scenery of the port was nice looking, since I've never been to California before. While on the cruise, I was very amused by the scenery & activities they had on the ship like Golfing, Karaoke, Game Show, Comedy Club, & Show Performance. The Service people was very nice & friendly to me & seemed like hard-workers. When we did our shore excursions , we went horse-back riding, snorkeling, & parasailing although while on the boat to prepare to take off onto parasailing, our service got cancelled due to the windy weather. I was a little disappointed about but it was fine since we were able to get our money back (refundable). The cabin that we stayed in met my expectation although i didn't focus so much how our room looked like since we were only going to be there to get our selves up & sleep. the room was clean, nice size cabin, and every time we returned to our cabin the employees always organized our room & left cute animals made out of towels on our beds. The food was good & satisfying and always had clean tables to eat on. I thought that the carnival camp for kids that i joined was Okay/Mediocre and bit too out of my age so i got bored easily. Overall I really liked this cruise and will be returning next time. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2014
A little back ground. Our family had a rough year. Moving, Job loss, Cancer. We needed a getaway. A cruise. Spingbreak. Yes, it's a go. Invite a few family members. No one else can go. Invite Grandma from Michigan. Sure she'd ... Read More
A little back ground. Our family had a rough year. Moving, Job loss, Cancer. We needed a getaway. A cruise. Spingbreak. Yes, it's a go. Invite a few family members. No one else can go. Invite Grandma from Michigan. Sure she'd love it. So it is set. DH,DD (6) MIL and me. Then we get a super rate and I call a cousin to brag about the rate, So we and her and her DH. YEAH we are going to have the best time ever! Check in was a breeze. I thought. MIL wanted a wheelchair. Needed a wheelchair. Wish I had known this when I booked. Carnival was great. Sit here. Wheelchair came and whisked us away. Xray check of cooler. We need to check this. No they are with the wheelchair. We were with in the first 15 on board. Get my first DOD check face book while I still can and HOLY. My cousin, who has yet to board, has major family drama. I have major family drama. I know at this point the tone of the cruise will change. I will make the most of it and have FUN! Stateroom Great! Service GREAT! Thank you Michelle DD loved you. Always greeted in the hall by name. Rooms super clean. Always made sure DD had her special blanket and pillow neat on her bed. We had set early dining Mardi Gras. Service was EXCELLENT. DD had a shrimp cocktail most nights. Richard and his staff. Made us feel at home. Both DH and I are in the food service industry and thought they were amazing. Food was served hot. Waters filled. Great Job. Catalina. Wish I could have explored more. I will be back Ensenada DD,DH and MIL went to the blowhole. I hung out with my cousin and her DH. Had fun shopped and a few Dos XX. Waited for DD DH AND MIL to get back to our meeting place for over 90 min. Went back to the ship and found them. Again I will be back. This is when My fun began. MIL~ Why can't I smoke in my cabin? It's too far to walk to the lido for coffee, how do I get it in my room? Call room service :) That's too much work. The ships moving make it stop. Michigan doesn't move I just want to go home. They moved the smoking section to paint. WHAT! Can't they wait to refuel the ship so I can smoke. I want a do over. I know I would have had a much better time if I had not had to cater to MIL the whole time. I did not end up in the brig, even though I wanted to strangle her, after the 25th time of hearing say THIS IS MY CRUISE. DD loved Camp Carnival and the water park. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2011
Our pre-cruise plans were upended by the death of a close family friend. We shuffled our travel plans around, cancelled our free (with Marriott points) room at the Springhill Suites near TPA/Westshore and wound up using a rental car from ... Read More
Our pre-cruise plans were upended by the death of a close family friend. We shuffled our travel plans around, cancelled our free (with Marriott points) room at the Springhill Suites near TPA/Westshore and wound up using a rental car from National. We eventually arrived back at TPA just after noon on sailing day, dropped our car off ($37 rate turned into $46 with taxes and fees) and utilized the free shuttle National offered to get us to the port of Tampa - the ride took about 15 minutes. Free pick-up from the port is also available - can't say enough about the great service we received from National Car Rental. Dropped 6 bags with the porter (I'm travelling with 3 females!), tipped him $12, and we were off to security. The lines were not too bad and were steadily moving. We skipped the embarkation photo and were having lunch on the Lido deck 45 or so minutes after stepping out of the shuttle van. The ship was packed with more than 2600 passengers, including lots of families and children, who were all cruising this week for the same reason we were - school was out. We were in adjoining porthole staterooms, R20 & R26, 4th deck forward on the port side of the Inspiration. The rooms were a great value, with slightly more room than a standard inside stateroom, 2 port holes, enough storage, and except for when we anchored in Grand Cayman, no noticeable noise or other issues. We missed the extra room that comes with an ocean view or balcony room on a larger ship, but for a quick 5 day cruise these rooms were fine and a great value! Overall impressions: Spa - saw the entrance, never went in, not interested. Gym - heard it was well equipped and busy from both DS and DDs; that's all I know about that. Sports deck - played putt-putt in the wind one day and made a few laps on the rubberized track with DS; it would take at least 11 or 12+ laps to make a mile; I was getting dizzy so I sat down and recovered with a DOD. Waterworks - Kind of fun and not as crowded and noisy as the main pool area; this was a popular spot for sail away photos of Tampa. A good alternative if the Serenity area is jammed and you don't want the noise and crowds of the main pool area. Serenity area - aft on deck 9, access through the Candlelight lounge or by taking steps down behind the pizza station inside the Lido grill seating area. Very quiet and comfortable with lots of lounge chairs, a good mix of sun and shade, and two hot tubs (they were only sort of hot). The BEST THING about this area was the towel attendant who monitored how long chairs had been saved and was not afraid to move towels, hats and books after 30 minutes. I told Carnival they need more like him! Casino - always looked busy when we went past; never set foot inside. Shows - the best we've seen on any cruise ship or cruise line. We enjoyed the Inspiration's very talented group of singers and dancers, with good choreography, costumes, and stages. Candlelight Lounge/Punch liners Comedy club - great! Carl Strong performed several wonderfully funny shows; some for families and some for adults. The other comedian was just okay. If Carl is performing on your cruise, be sure to see him, but be careful about sitting up front or arriving late. MDR - We were assigned to the Mardi Gras Dining room, table 168, a 4-top next to a service station. The location was awkward, but our waiters (Joseph from the Philippines and Mario from Peru) did their best to make it work. We carried on 3 bottles of wine with us and were charged the $10 corkage fee on each one. The first night there was a bottle of water on each MDR table, which DD promptly opened and cost me $4 - I wish cruise lines and restaurants would not do things like that, but it was a cheap lesson for DD. While service was good and improved as the cruise went along (we had a few issues where grated cheese or cracked pepper were not offered until several minutes after the applicable dish had been served) the food was just okay, with some dishes being served cold while others (including the Caesar salad) were bland. Nothing was bad, but it just did not seem to match what we had last experienced on Destiny and previous cruises. This was our first experience not sharing a table with other cruisers, but we had a few good conversations with the neighboring tables and enjoyed eating in the MDR every evening. Cruise Elegant night was on the second day of our cruise (1st at sea day) and I saw lots of suits, blazers, and shirts and ties - I did not see any tuxedos. Cruise Director - Stephanie did a good job. Does she always sound a little raspy, or was she just having a tough week? Both she and the entertainment staff did a great job all week. Room Steward - He must have been a ninja because while did a great job, we never met or saw him. Room was always cleaned while we were out, and my girls loved all of the towel animals. Sushi - Deck 9, starboard side just forward of the Casino. Great snack when you need something to hold you over for late seating. Past Cruisers party - we enjoyed good hor dourves and several watered down drinks at the party, held in the Paris lounge from 5:00-5:45 PM after we had departed Grand Cayman. The staff was collecting invitations at the door - we did not try to sneak our DDs (both first time Carnival cruisers) into the party. If you pour a glass of wine or champagne into the rum punch, you sort of make sangria and can almost taste the alcohol. Bar servers - seemed to be hit or miss; they were either thick & very aggressive, or could not be found necessitating a walk to the bar. I purchased the soda package ($6/day + 15% gratuity) after we were underway and was still charged the Tampa sales tax - I guess you need to wait until after the ship has passed under the bridge and is international waters to avoid the sales tax. Grand Cayman - one of my favorite stops, but this one was a little too short. We dropped anchor on time at 8:00 AM and the tenders started running shortly after that. However because priority was (correctly) given to those who had booked excursions through the ship, we could not get in line until 9:00 AM, and the loading process seemed very slow. We did not get off the tender until almost 9:45 and just made our 10:00 (ship time) Stingray and Snorkel tour with Moby Dick. After a short an informative bus ride to the marina, about 50 of us boarded the boat and took a 20+ minute ride out to the reef. This tour was much more crowded than the one we did with Moby Dick in 2009, but as I said it was Easter week and everything was crowded. Mark from Moby Dick added extra crew to handle the load and we had great fun first snorkeling on the reef with lots of fish and coral and then spending 40+ minutes interacting with the stingrays. We returned via bus to the port, after dropping a few passengers off at 7-mile beach and Rackham's (a waterfront bar/restaurant near the port - great conch fritters!) arriving about 1:30 to find a very long line extending outside of the security area and into the bus/van parking lot. We had been warned to join the line NLT 2:00 ship time, so we joined our fellow Inspiration passengers and spent the next hour+ waiting, loading the tender, riding 5 or so minutes to the ship, and finally unloading. In my feedback to Carnival I complained about the short port visit, particularly with the delays inherent with tendering - we will not do another cruise to GC unless the port stop is longer. Cozumel - There were 5 ships in port including the Oasis of the Seas and her 4000+ passengers, but we did not notice any crowding. We departed the ship shortly after 11:00 AM (ship time), enjoyed the long walk down the pier and through the various gift shops (do we need 10 shops selling the same t-shirts and ear rings?) to the cab line. Rates were posted ($15+tip for us) and we were soon enjoying the trip to Nachi Cocom with our frustrated NASCAR wanna-be driver. 15 minutes later we were taking our sombrero photos, checked in, paid our balance (in cash), received our wrist bands, and were deposited in ocean front loungers with a great view of the crystal clear water. Manuel was our waiter and the drinks were great, service was good, food was good (we ate by the pool - try the shrimp!), pool and swim-up bar were relaxing, and the hot-tub was lukewarm at best. Nachi was a great choice - quiet, relaxing and not crowded - just what the Dr. ordered! Between the facilities, unlimited drinks and food we thought $50 each was good value. My youngest DD is under 18 and was only charged $35 and they strictly enforced the no-booze for her rule - a first for us in Mexico. Manuel called a cab for us when we were ready to leave (about 5:00 ship time) and he was there in under 5 minutes. Another exciting ride and $15+tip later we were back at the port. The girls promptly took all of my remaining cash and went shopping while I returned to the ship for a shower and a nap. Disembarkation - could not have been smoother. We had an 11:45 flight out of Tampa and were assigned zone 2 and instructed to meet in the Piano Bar (which still reeked of smoke from the night before) at 8:45 AM. Just before 9:00 we were led down to deck 7 and walked off the ship - our luggage was waiting, there was only one family in front of us at the customs line, we hopped in a cab ($25 flat rate), and were checked in for our flights and through security at TPA before 10:00. WOW! I wish the end of every cruise was that smooth. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2011
Recently we went for a Spring Break Vacation to Grand Caymans and Cozumel, Mexico. We booked on Carnival Inspiration sailing from Tampa as we had a fantastic previous experience on Carnival Sensation to Bahamas a year back.Based on the ... Read More
Recently we went for a Spring Break Vacation to Grand Caymans and Cozumel, Mexico. We booked on Carnival Inspiration sailing from Tampa as we had a fantastic previous experience on Carnival Sensation to Bahamas a year back.Based on the great trip we had on Carnival Sensation we upgraded our travel to Grand Suite and doled out extra 2000 dollars for it.Boy what a let down! must be the economy.The only positive was the embarkation were we had a VIP checking in, while disembarkation the VIP checkout was UNVIP, we were crowded into a library lounge without seating and made to wait a long period before being escorted out into the crowd at the entrance of the ship.The worst part of the vacation was the room service. It was totally atrocious,even a motel would have had a better service.In the five days we stayed in the Grand Suite there were too many complaints to write in detail.Here we go,1. The room was cleaned only once per day and that too we were forced to request the cleaning every time. Even putting the Service Sign on the door knob did not help. The reply we got from the service guy was, he had too many rooms to clean and he can do it only when we go for dinner.2. The linens were never changed on the whole trip.3. The day bed/sofa was changed into a bed on the first day and remained as it is until the last day, we never had a opportunity to sit on the sofa for the whole trip.3. One day we come back from a on shore excursion to cozumel we found the room stinking with cigarette smoke smell, I asked the service guy to check the smell and he flatly denied smelling anything.4. First two days there was a constant creaking noise in the room basically disturbing the sleep the whole night. When we complained to guest services they came in and again denied any noise, after I asked for room change something was done and from the third night onwards there was no noise.5. The bathroom shower was not working properly and we were forced to hold it in hand all the time while we showered.6. The toilet supplies were not properly replenished and we had to ask for it everyday.Above all when we complained to the guest services about this, the answer we got was, we will be receiving an online survey once we are back home and we can write our complaints there and they cannot do anything more than that on the ship. Finally we rescinded the room service charges from the bill, that is the only thing we could do and got a small change of $70.00 credited in our bill.To add the woes, the highly rated camp carnival was a disaster for the 6-8 group. One big issue was separation of siblings due to age policy they have, when asked to be flexible on this to the youth director she was very rude and that was the feed back we got from many other parents. Most of us who had children in 6-8 group formed our own circle and kept them engaged.So my recommendation is find the best possible cheapest deal in carnival and go for it DO NOT EXPECT A PUBLIX EXPERIENCE IN WALMART AND PAY FOR IT. 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: March 2010
This was my 2nd cruise and my husbands 1st cruise. My son and his girlfriend have cruised on Carnival 3 other times. My son and his girlfriend flew into Tampa Friday night and stayed at the Sheraton Suites Tampa Westport. Really nice ... Read More
This was my 2nd cruise and my husbands 1st cruise. My son and his girlfriend have cruised on Carnival 3 other times. My son and his girlfriend flew into Tampa Friday night and stayed at the Sheraton Suites Tampa Westport. Really nice hotel! Got it for $76. Drove to Port of Tampa and stopped at Valet. Porter took our bags and valet took our car. Walked into terminal at 11:30 and we were on the Lido deck at noon. Had a hamburger, put on our bathing suits and relaxed on the lounge chairs by the pool. Had a few drinks and then went up to our room at 1:30. We had an ocean view on the Upper Floor right next to the Grand Suites. The room was clean and comfy and roomy. Our steward, Alfred, came and introduced himself and took care of us all week. Exceptional service! I went up to the top deck a little after 6pm to view the ship going under the bridge. All I can say is that is was an awesome memorable experience!! We had Your Time Dining (YTD) confirmed. (Our son was confirmed in the Carnivale dining room and waitlisted for YTD) Went up to talk to Joseph in the Mardi Gras Dining Room and poof, no problem changing them to YTD! First night dinner was so much fun! Went around 7:30pm and waited 5 minutes for a table. The guys had the steak and loved it - I had the pasta and loved it. Then, I had the chocolate melting cake for dessert and I was hooked. The wait staff was excellent! The ship was rocking and rolling the first night. Heard that half of the passengers were sick. (I did not get sick the entire cruise and did not take any medication - yippie!) We spent Sunday at the Lido pool. Walked around the ship to familiarize ourselves. All of the whirlpools are closed for maintenance. Had fun poolside. Entered the Mixologist contest. Made my "Shake Your Rumba" drink, but lost out to "Blue Paradise" which was actually really good! They show the video non-stop for the rest of the cruise ~ oh my goodness - I did not know that when I was mixing my drink shaking my rumba!!!!! Elegant night tonight. I did not like my lobster - but the guys loved their steak. Grand Cayman on Monday - beautiful! Took a taxi to Sea Grape and walked over to the Ritz. Chatebreand for dinner - nobody liked it. But the salads and dessert were great! Hit the casino - oh my goodness. That darn sign and sail card - I kept pressing the button for "add more funds"...... Cozumel on Tuesday. We rented a jeep from Avis for $55 + $30 for full insurance (did not want to take any chances) and went exploring on our own. Drove around the island and stopped at magnificent beaches. Then went to Paradise Beach for some Dos Equis and Guacamole. It was a great day! Woke up to rain on Wednesday. Then the sun came out between 1-3 and then rained again. We still had fun. The ribs for dinner were so yummy!!!!!! I had purchased Behind the Fun Tour tickets on the first day and My DH and son went on it. They said it was great! But be careful, my son sprained his ankle coming down some stairs in the engine room - think of the big guy on the Blind Side and that is my son....oh well - he just had a few more drinks of the day and some ice. He'll go to the doctor when he returns home. By the way - did you know that the medical center closes during certain times of the day??? They did give me a bandage wrap for the ankle (only charged $2.00)... Went to the Fiesta show and enjoyed it. Went to the R-rated comedy show, and boy it was r-rated! The ship was rocking and rolling tonight so went to the casino, dropped a few more "not real money"...and then went to bed. We decided to carry our own bags off. Went to Mardis Gras Dining Room for a quiet breakfast at 7:45am. Came back to our room at 8:30am on level 6 and walked up the stairs to level 7 and debarked in about 10 minutes. By the way - we had room service for coffee and danish every morning, and also went to the Mardis Gras Restaurant 2 times for breakfast. Excellent. I had the Eggs Benedict (with the sauce on the side). My husband loved his omelette. Went for lunch in the Mardis Gras dining room 3 times and had a nice salad and some pasta. Very good. The Brasserie had some great desserts! The Serenity lounge looked nice and relaxing but only went once. I already had a drink in my hand so I don't know how the service was. I went on the water slide twice and had a blast! This was Spring Break season - and there were tons of high schoolers and college kids but they were fun and well-behaved. During embarkation, I had 2 bottles of wine in my carry on and it went thru x-ray with no questions and no issues. I did not carry on any extra liquor. The bartenders were fun and we did not have to wait. All in all we had a great time on this ship. She is older, but she is charming and clean. The staff was exceptional. Many were calling us by name after the first night. (They called me Mrs. Patricia). Joseph - Our Super Charged Matre Di was a delight! He called us by name every evening, and took us by the hand and came to our table. Very sweet. We came home Happy....... Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2010
I'll start off by saying, as with all of my vacations, I did a ton of research when choosing our spring cruise this year. I read review after review here on Cruise Critic, and can safely say that any bad review is from someone that ... Read More
I'll start off by saying, as with all of my vacations, I did a ton of research when choosing our spring cruise this year. I read review after review here on Cruise Critic, and can safely say that any bad review is from someone that you just can't please. My husband and I are pretty much "go with the flow" type of people, and small stuff just doesn't bother us. One bad food item (not that we had any on this trip) or a long wait for an elevator is NOT going to rain on our parade. You can tell the bad reviewers are just people who set the bar way higher than it should be. If you go on a cruise, whether it be on Carnival, Royal or Disney, you should expect bumps in the road (I mean, come on...you are on a large ship with thousands of other people), but know that they aren't going to ruin your good time. Vacations are meant to take your mind off of the day to day struggles...so let that happen!!!! We live in Lakeland, which is only 35 minutes away from the port. We arrived at the Tampa port around 11am and were on the ship by 12. This is my 3rd time sailing from Tampa, and every time embarkation has been a breeze. We went straight up to the Lido deck and enjoyed our first vacation lunch while looking over beautiful Channelside at the Port of Tampa. We were in our room by 1:30, and had plenty of space in our inside cabin, even with 4 adults. The muster drill is super easy these days since you no longer have to tote around and wear those bulky life jackets. Once we set sail, we ran upstairs to watch. My SIL still swears that she saw a shark jump out of the water, but none of us saw it thanks to a kid who decided to try and climb a slopey thing and fell at the exact same moment. We did see something going back into the water, but I guess we'll never really know. We especially enjoyed seeing the ship go under the Skyway Bridge...absolutely breathtaking! Dinner for us was at 8:15 every night, and we had great meals every night. My sister in law and her boyfriend are both 18, and they really surprised us with their willingness to try new things. Almost every thing they tried they loved, and the rare items that they didn't, our waiter (Claude) hurried to get them something that they did like. He was amazing and so was his assistant...TEQUILA!!! :-) We had breakfast in the restaurant three times and on the Lido desk twice. I prefer the restaurant since the lines can be a bit much first thing in the morning. Our first fun day at sea consisted of us doing some trivia games, lounging out in the sun for a few minutes, playing in the casino some and getting ready for our formal Captain's dinner. I was a little disappointed that they no longer do the Captain's party with the free drinks and appetizers, but they do offer a Happy Hour special with all drinks being $1 off. We got all dolled up and went down to take pictures at all of Carnival's great portrait settings. My sis in law wanted a formal pic of her and her BF and after going to about 10 different settings, she was able to pick out the cream of the crop. Three of us ordered the lobster and shrimp for dinner, and my SIL ordered the steak. After seeing our lobster, she wanted one as well, and our waiter jumped on that for her. The lobsters are on the smaller side but you can have as many as you want...not bad if you ask me. The last fun day at sea we took in the newlywed game, which was hilarious. We also hung out in the casino for a little bit. We didn't hit anything big, but did wind up spending a few hours there for only $20. We played Bingo and never won. Such a suckers game. Haha! We chose to take our own luggage off the ship, which was great. We called the front desk the night before and confirmed that we had to be out of our rooms by 9am, which is so much better than the 7:30am that it used to be. We got up around 7, went to breakfast in the dining room and then headed back to gather up our belongings. We made our way up to deck 6 to wait and once deck 5 was called (we were actually on deck 4) we got in line and headed off the ship. It took about 10 minutes to get through the line and down to customs, and about 10 minutes waiting through that line. We had family pick us up (so we didn't have to pay those ridiculous parking charges) and we were back in the car by 9am. All in all, one of the best cruises we've been on! Highlights: dinner, Carlos n Charlies Beach Club and the employees of Carnival. We never came across any employee that wasn't all smiles and full of "How are you doing's". Anyone who says they experienced a rude employee must be confused. People seem to forget that some of the employees don't speak good English, and tend to shy away. It's probably extremely frustrating for them to get involved in a conversation where neither party understands the other one. So the way they avoid this is to shy away from guests. I can't say I blame them. :-) Oh, and the cruise director and his staff were awesome! Very funny and kept us laughing all the time. "Come on Matt!" :-) Read Less
Sail Date: April 2009
For clarification purposes my wife and I have 20+ cruises and are in our early 50's, we have cruised on RCCL, Carnival, Holland America, and NCL as well as a few older lines. Our Easter week cruise on the Inspiration was excellent and ... Read More
For clarification purposes my wife and I have 20+ cruises and are in our early 50's, we have cruised on RCCL, Carnival, Holland America, and NCL as well as a few older lines. Our Easter week cruise on the Inspiration was excellent and we had a good time. I do not inflate scores so a 3 was good a 4 great and a 5 one of the best. After 20 or so cruises you have certain expectations and for the most part all lines meet these expectations, occasionally they exceed them, and of course at times they don't meet them. Our embarkation in Tampa was great. We had spent the night in Ocala, driving down from NC on Good Friday. We stayed at the Best Western, which we had booked on Priceline for a $40 total fee, much cheaper then anything in Tampa and about 80 mile drive away. The hotel was great as was the heavy continental breakfast. We left Ocala around 9 am and got to the port around 10:30am. A little earlier then we hoped but we had seen a lot of traffic the day before and we wanted to get a jump on it. We parked at the pier and it was $60 for the 5 nights, and literally a 5-minute walk from the ship to our car. We often stay at a hotel that offers park and cruise but we wanted to get a early start at the end of the cruise so we opted to park at the pier. It's easy to eat up 45 minutes waiting for shuttles to fill and travel time so our 5 minutes saved us considerable time. We got thru the check in early and had to wait until 11:30 to board the ship. We immediately went and ate, then proceeded to the pool. We wear our swimsuits under our shorts so the change is easy and we were among the first to enjoy the sun. This cruise was a spring break cruise and we were sure we'd see many kids coming aboard and we were not surprised. We were told there were 2600 people on this cruise that lists 2000 as capacity, and over 1000 were minors. That said they were fine for the most part, the exception to this was the pool area where anarchy ruled. The pool had way to many people in it, jumping wildly with no real supervision. Kids running in the wet splash zone looked like an accident waiting to happen, but in truth I never saw one. There were many children making use of the hot tubs and the slides and adults were seemingly banished from their use. No problem for us but it might be for some. The pool calypso band was quite good and did most of the old standbys. We found the food in the buffet area to be ok, very similar to the Golden Corral, plentiful but nothing especially superb. The carving board slicers have mastered the art of the very thinly sliced roast, but not being shy, I just inform them I would like several slices and the happily accommodate. I can't say I enjoyed the atmosphere of the buffet whose purple tubes remind me of an X-files dream, but even with the large number of guest the always was a seat. The deli was a big hit with me with the turkey on a country roll lightly toasted being our favorite. After numerous Carnival cruises I have determined that the Lemonade on the buffet does not sit well with parts of my anatomy and I swear I will never drink it again. The burn is unending by the second day. Was not impressed with the pizza although I did get it several nights as a late night snack. The chili and cheese over the chips with salsa and sour cream, lettuces jalapenos was a a great afternoon snack. The food in the Carnivale dining room was quite good. I am strictly a beef man and with the exception of the flat iron steak all the beefs were good. My wife eats a greater variety and she enjoyed all the fish and lobster, especially enjoying the grouper. The soups were good especially the cream ones, and the appetizers were good as well. Our waiter Denton and his helper were fantastic and we enjoyed our third cruise with the supercharged maitre-d Joseph. Joseph has been the best maitre-d we have experienced, he keeps it fun and he seems to be able to time the "show" such that the guest is not kept waiting for the next course. Of course Denton had a lot to do with this as well. We were not as happy with the lounge entertainment; in fact we found it very disappointing. Usually we find a venue we can enjoy sitting in but we were not able to on this sailing. We ended up spending most of our lounge time in the karaoke bar where some of our fellow guests were more entertaining then the paid help. The shows were good and we were happy to see the comedian Hank Mcauley, he was very funny and his late night show was funny without being lewd. The Vegas style show was good and the dancers were great, we were not impressed with the Latin show. The highlight of the entertainment came from our fellow guest on talent night. Really good, and while there were no Sarah Boyles there were still a couple of "oh my gosh" moments. Our cruise director Skip was very good and kept us chuckling on a regular basis. In the Caymans we snorkeled right near the pier. We walked to the left til we came to a small beach area next to the Burger King and swam several hundred yards out to a reef we had read about. It was quite good and several boats carrying other snorkelers who had paid excursions came to the same reef. If you are not a strong swimmer this is not a good place as there are no fish til you get to the reef. In Cozumel we taxied to the money bar restaurant and spent the day at this site. We were able to snorkel and beers were $1.50. This was good, not great snorkeling with an easy access with an $8 taxi ride. We would go back. Our room was nice, an inside, and our steward kept us in towel animals and the room clean. I have decided I will bring my own aloe infused toilet paper from here on. Lemonade ooohhh One negative for us was the lack of any form of Easter service on the ship. While I can see where cutbacks limit how many free rooms they would want to offer pastors/priests I would have liked to see at least an inquiry to see if a guest who might want to lead a short prayer service on the holiest of Christian days. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2009
We're a family of 4 from southern Indiana. My husband and I are mid-40's with 2 daughters, 15 and 13. We also took another 15 yr. old with us. As a teacher, I always look forward to spring break and my kids do as well. We ... Read More
We're a family of 4 from southern Indiana. My husband and I are mid-40's with 2 daughters, 15 and 13. We also took another 15 yr. old with us. As a teacher, I always look forward to spring break and my kids do as well. We originally wanted a quiet trip to Mexico,possibly Cabo san Lucas, but airfare was sky high and the flight took us from Indy to Pittsburgh to Houston before arriving at destination. So with further searching, we found this cruise that embarked from Tampa, making it easy to drive, with a stop in the Caymans and Cozumel, Mexico, plus it fit in our time frame and I had Disney mastercard points to redeem. A word on that; I had 19,000 points which equaled 2 years of at least $800/month on that card. You had to have 25,000 pts to earn a free room, so that was out, so for 10,000 points, you got $75 off. Wow. And at that, there was a $62 reservation fee, so all of my anticipation and spending on this card got me $13! Won't do that again. Port Hotel: We stayed at Hampton Inn and Suites, which is a nice hotel in a kind of off beat location.  It's in the Ybor City historic district and we could see our ship from the window. We got some sun by the pool and used the exercise room treadmill before walkin down the street and having dinner at the Green Iguana restaurant. The girls enjoyed all the buzz, as the street is lined with nightclubs, restaurants,and shops. I'm sure it gets a little wild after dark. We had our free breakfast in the morning before driving over to the port. Embarkation: My husband dropped us off around 11 while he parked and we were herded through the lines. I had the folder with our birth certificates, fast passes, etc..so when he couldn't find us, it was a little stressful. Soon, we were sitting and waiting to embark. The weather was not good though, rainy and a little windy. We all had some kind of backpack/beach bag with our necessities so we could go straight to the pool and wait on our rooms to be ready. When our number was called, we got in line, had our picture taken, and stepped onto the ship. The Ship: We enjoyed it. Having cruised on the Disney Wonder and the Carnival Celebration, this was somewhere in between. It always takes a few days to get your bearings. There are lots of places to sit and enjoy the view or have coffee or drinks. We're not big on shows and we ended up going to bed early most nights, other than watching the NCAA final games on the deck one night. We used the exercise room in the mornings, and it was great, running on the treadmills overlooking the ocean. We had saved our chairs with a towel or magazine and that worked out fine. There are plenty of deck chairs, but if you want a good view of the pool activities or the ocean, get there early. The putt putt course was almost impossible to use b/c of the wind on the upper deck, but equipment for that and ping pong was checked alot by the kids. The big slide is something to see, but is actually on the end of the ship, so not part of the main area. Mostly younger kids. Teenagers/Spring Break: We actually ended up having 30 people from our town on this same cruise and they all hung out together most of the time. That was nice b/c they always had something to do or someone to do it with. They weren't crazy about the teen clubs. They complained that nobody would dance and then the boys that were 18 from our town were too old to get in anyway. So nightlife for them consisted of walking around the ship and trying to meet boys. Most teens were trying to get people to buy alcohol for them.Food: It was okay, typical buffett style fare. I liked the grits,bacon, and coffee for breakfast. Enjoyed going through the outside deck line, then eating near the pool by the windows after a workout. My favorite lunch was the pizza station and the spinach/gouda. The big buffet was just too much for me at lunch, with strange combinations like lasagne and some rice dish. Dinner was in the dining room and that's fun. Selecting each course and all you want of it. I liked the lobster and shrimp, shrimp cocktail, soups, and chocolate melting cake. Deck drinks are nice too, when you're hot and thirsty and just want to sit in your chair and read by the pool. Ports of Call: Cayman Islands. We walked to Hard Rock and a few other stores before taking a shuttle to Sea Grape Beach, for like $20 for the 5 of us. My youngest and a friend snorkled, which didn't really amount to much. The rest of us laid on the beach. There was a small bar/grill and a volleyball area.Cozumel-We took a taxi to Mr. Sanchos Beach Club. It was okay, small beach area but you could use the chairs free. The restaurant waiters would come around and give you menus and bring your food to you. It was Mexican food of course and we ate under umbrella tables. There is also a small pool that is part of the restaurant. We were kind of disappointed b/c we didn't see all the beach toys and things that I'd read about in reviews or on their site and the girls didn't find any cute boys there. We found out later the rest of our group had went to Paradise Beach, which was the next one down, about 2 miles down or so and the girls walked down there. We noticed the water toys situated more between the 2 beaches. On the way back, we stopped at Margaritaville, which was a happening place. Taxi drivers not as friendly in Mexico as in the Cayman Islands and we paid more as well. People told me later they got prescription meds over the counter, which I'd wished I knew about beforehand. Rooms: Small, as expected, but okay. We just had to make the best use of our space. I had brought the over the door hanger for toiletries, which is a must, but with 5 people, we had to also live out of our suitcases. I was taking classes for my masters degree and had a final during the cruise so I had brought my laptop, which worked out okay. I purchased minutes the first day and was given a log-in. It probably cost me around $30 for 1 1/2 hrs. of time. Overall: Nice Spring Break getaway. You don't worry as much about your teenagers, b/c you're all there together in this confined environment, but they feel they can get some space and with kids their own age as well. 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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