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4 Night Mexican Riviera Cruise from Los Angeles

4 Night Mexican Riviera Cruise from Los Angeles

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Carnival Inspiration (Photo: Carnival Cruise Line)
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Itinerary

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  • Day 1
    Los Angeles
  • Day 2
    Catalina Island (California)
  • Day 3
    Ensenada
  • Day 4
    Cruising
  • Day 5
    Los Angeles

Carnival Inspiration

Carnival Inspiration - Carnival Cruise Line

Pros

Fun-loving vibe, very few extra-fee attractions

Cons

Old ship has very few cabin and dining options

Bottom Line

Affordable cruise makes for the perfect short getaway


Cruise Reviews

before i Sailed i checked here for a few reviews and didn't see many up to dated ones so i thought i would add one, it was a few ago and i did not write anything down so i will try to be detailed. This was a 4 day cruise from Long ... Read More
before i Sailed i checked here for a few reviews and didn't see many up to dated ones so i thought i would add one, it was a few ago and i did not write anything down so i will try to be detailed. This was a 4 day cruise from Long Beach Ca. Catalina, Ensanada Mx. sea day back to Long Beach So for the People reading this in the future we just started getting serious about the Corona Virus 3/9/20 and everyone was canceling there cruise, Carnival was trying to fill this ship up and so i booked this 10 days before they sailed through the Carnival Players Club ( Casino ) The Deal was $20 pp for a IS and I upgraded it to 6C for $10 so for double i paid $60 plus taxes of $105 and i received $100 OBC and a Drink on us package in the Casino then a few days after i booked is when the cruise industry really getting hammered with people getting Corona Virus. Carnival offered us a $100 more OBC if we didn't cancel but would honer anyone who wanted to cancel so to recap i Paid $165 got $200 OBC and free drinks..i couldn't say no. Before I boarded everyday Carnival sent emails everyday saying if you feel sick or have any signs dont show up you will not board that there was strong screening before you get on...making it easy to cancel for full refunds..and they were true to there word they did screen everyone, they took everyone's temperature as they boarded. never once did i feel like i would get sick, they were not allowing people to spoon there own food in the buffet they plated everything for you and they had full hospital gowns on face masks gloves etc..there were always people walking and wiping rails tables etc. This was my 9th Carnival Cruise 5th Fantasy class Ship and 2nd time on the Inspiration .So i knew the layout and i knew what to expect a older ship with funky coloring i like the ship and the layout and i know where to stay I like my room right by the Elevator that leads to deck 10 right in front of the buffet. easy access to food and the lido deck fun. I stayed in M 199 the room was set up as a king by my request and it had a hanging bed that was folded up out of the way. What i wanted to do this cruise was play some Craps in the casino and read some books I did just that I played a lot in the Casino they Have one of those Crap Bubble Machines that i love I probably played 7 or 8 hours on that plus about the same on live craps. I did not eat in the MDR... i ate Sushi twice Buffet once and Deli once for Dinner everyday is was Guys buggers and Fries...Omelettes for breakfast. The Buffet sucked i did not eat all of it i went and got a sandwich at the Deli later that night.I also had a new guy trying to make omelettes one morning he had to make it 3 times before he got it right,,,besides those few issues no problems with food. I only went to a few shows ...the same as always if you have not seen it go see it if you have ...unless your bored ,,, my guess was the ship sailed at about 90% so there was always people on the Lido deck as usual i walked around a few times tryig to find a quiet place to read and was not able to find it even on the ship the library had people playing board and card games only place was my cabin to read which sucked but im one of those guys who has distraction i cant read... Hey I have never been on a bad cruise I have not Issues but never have they ruined my Cruise this was no different.. My Cabin steward I met him my first day I tipped him $40 and said I am Solo i probably not gonna need a lot from you but Ice please keep my Ice chest full... I had to call him every time but once I only had him clean the cabin once which is the time he got the Ice...he was polite and professional but didn't seem to want to do the extra effort... he would of got another $40 but did not earn it. and yes i kept on the auto tip as well. also like i said with my breakfast i felt they were training people to do it, Besides that everyone was awesome and friendly the Casino crew was top notch from the dealers to the Cocktail servers i was greeted by name every time i walked in there. the staff during the Muster drill was awesome they were the Dancers in the show so they new how to Entertain us while dealing with a boring issue. So here are some weird issues this cruise had that normally you wont run into often We were suppose to leave Long Beach at 5:30 pm I was up on the lido and we just sat and sat finally i went downstairs because it was getting dark and i was hungry.. we set sail at 8:05 Captain came on once and said we were delayed because we hadn't been cleared to leave yet..First day we were suppose to be in Catalina I was going to stay on board the weather was poor and i have been to Catalina many times nothing i wanted see but i was woke up at 7:45 by the Captain saying the weather was to bad to be able to tender back and forth so we were going to make today the sea day and go to Catalina tomorrow and Ensanada on the last day. and any excursions would be refunded, taxes etc. everything would be re booked for Ensanada about 12 pm the captain came back on and said we were heading to San Diego to drop off a sick passenger and please dont try to get off the ship we are only going to stop and drop...then about 30 minutes later he cam back on and said the Coast Guard decided to come and pick him up instead please stay away from the back of the boat...of course everyone was up on the lido taking pictures...and we ended up canceling Catalina altogether and went to Ensanada as planned with the last day being another sea day... Getting off the ship I walked off at 7:45 right to my truck and on the road by 8am Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
A smaller ship has its benefits: It was easier to get on, get off, find a deck chair, and find a chair at the shows. But this is an older ship, it is worn on the edges, had some bed smells, and had a funky cabin layout (The 4 of us were ... Read More
A smaller ship has its benefits: It was easier to get on, get off, find a deck chair, and find a chair at the shows. But this is an older ship, it is worn on the edges, had some bed smells, and had a funky cabin layout (The 4 of us were layered like a Jenga game). The bands play in odd places that don't have chairs to watch them from. Even being an older ship, it is Carnival, and the staff is excellent. Our steward was awesome. The comedians were good. The staff we interacted with around the ship was great. The food was good, not great, not bad. The breakfast in the dining room was not the best, we had the same menu items on the Vista last spring and they were far better then. Catalina is a great stop, but the cruise passengers and their rental golf carts disturb the peace as they race around on their gas powered vehicles. We hiked up into the hills around town, that was really fun. Ensenada is nice along the waterfront and the fish market, but the the main shopping street was too much; very high pressure people on the street trying to get you in their store. I was exhausted from saying, "Gracias No". We bought souvenirs from an older couple that owned a store and did not hassle us. The Love and Marraige show, Hairy Chest Competition, and one of the comedians were fun. This was our first cruise, out of five, that loud passengers woke us up at bar closing time. They woke us up every night as they stumbled back to their cabins. Perhaps because this was a 4 night cruise, not to sound snobby but we had only been on 7 night cruises before this. Our kids liked being in their clubs as usual. We did not do any shore excursions. We booked this cruise 4 days before sailing and paid $1,000 for four people including tax and gratuities. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
This cruise was a four-night trip on the Carnival Inspiration, round trip from Long Beach, visiting Catalina Island and Ensenada. This was my 16th cruise lifetime, and 4th on Carnival. My most recent cruises were on Princess; my last ... Read More
This cruise was a four-night trip on the Carnival Inspiration, round trip from Long Beach, visiting Catalina Island and Ensenada. This was my 16th cruise lifetime, and 4th on Carnival. My most recent cruises were on Princess; my last cruise on Carnival was about two years ago. This was my first cruise as a solo (divorced) traveler. I picked this trip simply because the timing worked out, and the price was right. Even having to pay double occupancy fare, with taxes, port fees and gratuities prepaid it came to under $500. I arrived early on Monday morning at the pier at 10:30am. My boarding pass showed I was in boarding group A3 and has a check-in time of 12:30pm. The parking garage is incredibly convenient, being right next to the terminal building. Part of it is currently under construction for expansion, but I had no problem finding a spot, and ended up on the ramp between the 1st and 2nd floors, right near the exit. Incidentally, this location charges $23 per night for parking. There were several porters sitting around by the curb at the edge of the garage, but I couldn’t immediately tell if they were bringing luggage out for people leaving or picking up new luggage. So I walked past them before being directed back by the friendly Carnival staff at the crosswalk. At the terminal building there was no one waiting, and the staff welcomed me to come inside and “get the process started”. They have three lines at the entrance – one for priority and FTTF, one for people arriving at their check-in time, and one for people arriving early. It didn’t matter though, since again no one was there. So I walked into the terminal at 10:42am and was through security at 10:45. Then I had nothing to do but wait inside the large domed building on their cushy bench seats. They started calling priority and FTTF boarding at 11:13am. Since there was still not that many people there, they continued by calling groups A1 and A2 at 11:14, followed by group A3 at 11:15. So the folks who purchased FTTF, for which one of the perks is earlier boarding, got on a whole two minutes earlier than me. After walking a long distance through an inclined ramp that went around and around, I made it to the upstairs check point at 11:18 and was on board at 11:21. (Rooms are announced as being not available until 1:30, and the doors to staterooms corridors are all closed at this point). I had lunch at Guy’s Burger Joint, which is the first opportunity I’ve had to try this. It was actually a pretty decent burger, and they give you a small side of fries on the side. They have a pretty expansive condiment bar, with sauces and toppings such as bacon and mushrooms. Also on the pool deck is the Blue Iguana Cantina, offering street tacos, burritos, and taco salad bowls. They’re only open for breakfast and lunch, closing at 3:30pm (2:30pm on the last day at sea). Guy’s is open Noon-6:00pm. Incidentally, the Cantina also has an expansive salsa bar, so you can dress up your tacos any way you like. I was surprised that for burritos, the only tortilla offerings they had were wheat or jalapeno. They have two self serve beer kiosks on the Lido deck, one between Guy’s and the Cantina and one inside the buffet area, where you swipe your card and pour your own beer and it charges by the ounce ($.37/oz). I tried the one outside once – it coughed and sputtered up foam. And the resulting ounce of liquid I ended up with did not taste like the Dos Equus it claimed to be. Fortunately I did not incur a charge for this; I guess the machine knows when it’s not working. And even more fortunately, they have the Blue Iguana Tequila Bar and the more popular Red Frog Rum Bar, both of which feature their own menu of cocktails, and daily featured drinks for $1 off. I like how Carnival has its self-serve beverage station set up, out at the Lido deck near the pool, with machine dispensers for coffee, hot water for tea, and cocoa as well as water and lemonade all day (and other juices at breakfast times). It’s nice being out in the open with room to move around it. It’s so much more…user friendly then how things are setup on Princess. And I love having instant access to cocoa all day long. Except – the machine is a one-touch button that pre-fills the mug a specific amount. And that amount is 60% full. So you have to press it again and pull your cup out before it overflows, allowing the rest to pour down the drain. For some reason they had a person dressed up as Mr. Potato Head, taking pictures with people on the Lido deck on embarkation day. Still haven’t figured out why. Muster was call 25 minutes late according to the posted schedule, at 3:55pm. As is the norm these days, no need to bring a life jacket to muster. I was in the Paris theatre, and was impressed that the captain came to our muster station to talk, accompanied by the chief engineer and hotel director. I’ve never seen the high brass at muster before. I had Your-Time dining this trip, which was the first time on any line that I’ve done this. I’ve almost always done traditional early dining before. I was pleasantly surprised at how well the Your Time dining worked. I arrived the first night at 5:55pm (it opened at 5:45), and was seated right away at my own table. There wasn’t even a line to get in really, just a few people. They pull your room number at the front, which gives your waiter your name; it is a nice touch when they address you by name. My waiter this night was Julio, and it was his first night onboard too (he previously was on the Fascination). Nice guy, but this would be the only night I saw him. I started with the poblano and corn soup, which frankly was amazingly flavorful with just a bit of spiciness. I then had the lasagna, which looked good but was overly beefy and under-seasoned, nor was I a fan of the creamy white cheese they use. But it was still pretty good. And of course I had the chocolate melting cake for dessert. It’s basically like an undercooked brownie-cake with a side of vanilla ice cream. Sooo good. I left at 6:55 and noted that there was still no line outside. My dining each subsequent night went pretty much the same, and all of the food was enjoyable. I noted at one point on the first night that a pop version of My Heart Will Go On (from the movie Titanic) was playing on the speakers. Why do they play this on cruise ships?? ENTERTAINMENT The entertainment onboard was pretty good. I should mention that I never had issue getting seating at any show, early or late shows, whether I showed up 5 minutes early or 20 minutes early. Seating just wasn’t an issue here. The stage shows were…okay. Studio VIP and Motor City. You can tell the cast has some talent, although if I were to be nitpicky I’d say they’ve gotten a little lazy on the choreography. Just not a lot of attention to detail in uniformity. But my big problem is the design of the shows, which I just don’t find to be well written with a good flow to engage audiences. I’ve found the shows on Princess to be written much better, and on Princess they have a live orchestra that really adds to the experience. Where Carnival really excels is in their Punchliner Comedy Club. With two comedians on board and 2-4 shows nightly ranging from PG to explicit, there’s a lot of offerings. They blow Princess out of the water here. It’s among the best in comedy shows I’ve seen anywhere, on land or sea. Andre was a great host and has some talent of his own, and in particularly the comic Douglas Williams was fantastic. I also really enjoyed the Piano Bar, which is in a little lounge in a separate room off the atrium. Michael has great personality for this venue, and he’s quite talented. I also attended the Love and Marriage show, hosted by CD Ryan Rose, which was incredibly funny and well run. And that coming from a single, divorced guy. Incidentally, the CD on this trip w did a great job and was all over the ship. PORTS We had tender service in Catalina, and honestly it was the smoothest and easiest tendering I’ve ever done. No tender tickets needed. Just show up and go. Assuming you can figure out where to show up – they are not very good about posting anywhere where you’re supposed to go. It’s not in the FunTimes or on the Hub app. There’s no signs in the stair/elevator landings. I think they made an announcement, but I was in my stateroom and couldn’t hear it. Anyways, tender service was scheduled to begin at 7:45; I headed down at 8am. I basically kept going down as far as I could, wandering eventually to deck 4, where the signs say “Medical Center”. And that’s where you go, apparently. But I walked right on the tender, no waiting, and we were soon underway. Golf cart rentals in Catalina are $50 an hour, btw. It’s been a few years since I was here and I don’t remember them being quite that high. But I walked around on my own, first along the waterfront before heading up the hill to the Wrigley Botanical Gardens (admisson $8 general, $6 senior). They have a nice collection of cacti as well as plants such as aloe and agave, and a variety of small trees such as shrub oak. The old stone monument, built in 1933, offers some nice views down to the bay. I also did the Garden to Sky Summit trail, which goes up to the top of the hill offering even more fantastic views around the island. Ensenada was the next day; we docked in at 7:35am. Once again I found my way down to deck 4 and walked right off. I can tell Ensenada has been working on improvements over the last decade. They’ve improved their waterfront walk and added in fountains (which didn’t operate until the afternoon). It seems like there were less people around the pier area trying to hawk stuff. Though downtown, you still see a lot of this. I had lunch at a colorful little street café, and got approached every few minutes by 5-year old girls trying to sell trinkets. As well as groups of older men with instruments trying to play you a song. I was offered several massages with happy endings out on the street, along with all manner of pharmaceuticals and typical trinkets that are mostly identical in every shop you come to. I did visit the science museum just off the pier, which is a huge new building, of which only about 10% is finished and running. But for $3 you can visit a room with displays and videos about endemic plants and animals on the various islands around the Baja peninsula. On our last day at sea before returning home, I went to the Sea Day Brunch that is apparently a popular thing to do. I arrived at 8:30, which was the opening time, and the line stretched out of the Mardi Gras dining room and halfway around the atrium. And this was despite having competition with the Green Eggs and Ham breakfast going on at the same time in the Carnivale Dining Room. This was the longest I waited the entire trip to be seated for dining – and it still only took 6 minutes. Of course with the initial opening, service was a bit slow, and it took over a half hour to get served any food. But it was still good, and I recommend it. I had the eggs benedict and a blueberry muffin (served warm), along with a side of “brunch potatoes”. As far as dining goes, I should note that lunch is never available in the MDR’s. I often enjoyed this on Princess, especially on embarkation day. But it’s not offered on Carnival, or at least this ship. For cooked meats – they give you two options: medium rare or medium well. Getting drinks on the ship was never a problem, as I found servers to be plentiful anywhere I was. And the staff in general was great ship-wide, always friendly and seemingly glad that you are there. I should also note that this ship has the waterworks slides, as well as a 9-hole mini golf course area that also has a foosball table and two pool tables (not that the balls ever stay put much on a moving ship). And there’s one ping-pong table, midship deck 11, port side. Well eventually you have to go home. On disembarkation day the full breakfast buffet opens early, at 6:30am (instead of the normal 7am – on Princess incidentally they always open at 6am). The disembarkation process is more streamlined than on Princess, where they have you wait in a lounge somewhere while they call through dozens of different groups. Here on this Carnival ship anyway, they just call by deck starting at 7:30. You have to be vacated from your room by 8:30, and everyone is supposed to be off the ship by 9:30. I didn’t wait that long, as I hate long good-byes. I noted that a line started forming around the Deck 7 atrium just before 7am, which is when they allow those off who have priority or who are carrying their own luggage. I didn’t head up myself till about 7:08, and by then there were only a dozen or so in line. I made it off the ship and down to security in 10 minutes, and breezed through security in about 30 seconds. In summary, the Carnival Inspiration is an older ship but with recent renovations to give it some of the amenities you’d expect on newer vessels. It’s well maintained enough that it’s easy to forget its age, and the crew is by and large friendly, helpful, and energetic, displaying great pride in their work. Although it’s just a short 4-day voyage, and they don’t offer really any enrichment type classes on the places you’re visiting, it’s a nice little vacation getaway. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
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