Sail Date: January 2018
I booked this cruise maybe 9 months before we sailed. This was a return of an annual party cruise trip I used to throw for friends and family. I was disappointed at the time that I could not book it as a 'Group' trip as I had in years ... Read More
I booked this cruise maybe 9 months before we sailed. This was a return of an annual party cruise trip I used to throw for friends and family. I was disappointed at the time that I could not book it as a 'Group' trip as I had in years past, so I could not take advantage of the cocktail party or room comps that sometimes go along with them. Regardless, I was able to get my travel partners to use my reservation code and link theirs, so we could all sit together at Dinner. I learned about 1 month prior to our departure that Carnival had made this date cruise a theme cruise called 'Country Booze Cruise' which included bands, parties and all. This was a huge group for sure, which explains why the 'group' reservation option was not available to me at the time. Once on board however, all my quips re the Group thing went away. I purchased the 'Faster to the Fun' package so I could get on as soon as possible, and also so we could debark early. It was well worth the price. We were the VERY FIRST people off the ship, and some of the first on board. I have done many cruises, and enjoy the party aspect of them. This weekend cruise is perfect for that purpose. I have done this one before (weekender to Ensenada), on Carnival Paradise, as well as several RCCL ships, and hands down this was the best to date. This is solely because of all the Country Music and People and Attitudes. I am hoping Carnival does this Country theme again. This really was the reason this experience was so good. Dancing and Music was non-stop. People's attitudes were amazing and everyone was smiling all the time. So much fun was happening everywhere and by everyone. Food was fine. Drinks were fine. I loved the PYOB (Pour Your Own Beer) stands. I was able to drink Heineken and the Carnival beer for ~$4.75 out the door. Couple things I noticed different from past cruises... - I never met my cabin steward. He/She did a great job and I have no complaints, but I wonder if because of pre-paid gratuities this is becoming more of the norm? - It was hard to get drinks at pool bars. Many people now do the Cheers program (up to #15 drinks/day for around $55/day. I wonder if because of this, and Carnival has your money already, if there is less incentive to push drinks, therefore less desire to hustle and serve customers. Seriously, I waited 30 minutes at a bar for a drink, and it was not that crowded. There was not many waiters walking around taking drink orders near the pool either, so getting drinks near the pool was a challenge. Again, I loved the PYOB stands for this reason as well. My 15 year olds were not able to meet many other teens on board. I think because of the Theme 'Country Booze Cruise' that may parents chose to not take their kids. Not many younger kids either. Despite this they had a great time. Loved the 24-hour Pizza and Ice Cream. Also, Guy's Burgers are AMAZING! All in all, a great cruise, and cannot wait to do this again. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2017
Staff on cruiseships are always friendly and helpful, and this crew was no different. The highlight for us was the Alchemy Bar (deck 9 aft) -- great drinks! Strangely the "homemade" and secretive pineapple and strawberry ... Read More
Staff on cruiseships are always friendly and helpful, and this crew was no different. The highlight for us was the Alchemy Bar (deck 9 aft) -- great drinks! Strangely the "homemade" and secretive pineapple and strawberry infused vodka are not listed as ingredient in any of the drinks, ask the bartenders about them. They are delicious. The worst part of the cruise was the food without a doubt; 90% of what we had were overcooked, lacking flavors and just blah. For example, it's hard to screw up fried chicken and yet they managed to serve fried chicken that were fried beyond recognition with zero flavors. In the dining room, they can't seem to cook steaks to correct temperature. Expect medium-well to over-well done regardless of your preference. You do get what you paid for, not a lot in this case so can't complain too hard. A quick tip regarding Ensenada. If you book your own excursion (not via ship), you have to walk about a mile to get out to the meeting area. There is a small fee to take a bus out but we didn't know about it until after the fact. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2017
I chose Carnival cruise lines because of the lower prices and a younger crowd. I had a bad experience with Princess Lines as a Gold member and wanted to try something new. The entertainment and staff are less professional and there was not ... Read More
I chose Carnival cruise lines because of the lower prices and a younger crowd. I had a bad experience with Princess Lines as a Gold member and wanted to try something new. The entertainment and staff are less professional and there was not a good dance band for mature cruisers, but I knew that for less money we get less luxury and benefits. The food was OK and the ship was clean. All things functioned in our cabin without problems. We had very slow service in our formal dining room late seating and missed a few shows, (took over one and a half hours to finish a dinner). I think this was due to our table being located in a back corner. The entertainment was not very professional and was only 70's R+B, which got a little old. The comedians were OK. There is limited space on the main open pool deck and a shortage of seating for the big events, but that is due to it being an older ship. For the money it was a good overall value, but if a person has cruised Norwegian or Holland lines, or even Princess it is best to have lower expectations and not be disappointed. There is a little more rudeness with a younger L.A. crowd. I have nothing but praise for the Long Beach poet facility for Carnival! Very easy parking, hotel access and very quick embarkation and departure process. We got off 1 1/2 hours early! That has never happened to me before on a score of cruises. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
This was a Christmas cruise to Catalina and Ensenada. Not very exotic and they did double the normal rates - but it is something nice at XMAS. The cabin was roughly the size of most cruise ships we have traveled. Room was unadorned ... Read More
This was a Christmas cruise to Catalina and Ensenada. Not very exotic and they did double the normal rates - but it is something nice at XMAS. The cabin was roughly the size of most cruise ships we have traveled. Room was unadorned and very plain. It was clean. AC was not thermostatically controlled, rather and adjustment dial for force of air only. Ample closet space. The main bed was raised enough to store normal suit cases underneath which is a nice touch. Desk was not very big. Window was normal size but not very clean. Bathroom was about the size of other ships but had only one small shelf above the sink. Shower was adequate. Had wall mounted body soap and shampoo dispensers only. However, the room was set up with a king and two bunks. The steward pushed back the bunks and brought in a cot. My wife called Guest Services and spoke with Filip who told her that is the best they can do (problem is that the folded back bunk frame takes some of the room size away). She thought it a safety hazard. While we were ashore the supervisor came into the room and found the bed arrangement fine but they confiscated our one foot tall Christmas tree as a potential safety hazard. I did call Filip that the plug was labeled UL approved and if it were a problem simply unwind the lights (likely a 15 second task) and return the unadorned tree but he said no (we did see plenty of other guest rooms with XMAS lights). I would have simply accepted this but a staff member (anonomous) indicated it might be retaliation for lodging a complaint about the room. Readers will likely consider safety first and so would I. The only reason I mention this incident is that it displayed a similar cold, stoic and production line mentality I saw throughout the cruise. For example, in the dinning room we felt like it was a get them in, get them out fast attitude. They did not even recognize a birthday despite our mentioning it to the waiter and head waiter. Entertainment was just OK. Only one movie shown aboard. Pool was large rectangle with a hot tub on each end. Despite the cold weather these were occupied well into the evening. There are two hot tubs on another deck but we did not use them. Buffet was very good. Unlike other cruises, Carnival wisely spread out the food stations to prevent bottleneck traffic. Room was decorated but I really cannot define what that was. There are two other restaurants. One for those that reserved a time. The other for those that want to use at their leisure. Food was good. There is a casino but smoking was allowed so it can be torture staying there for very long. Surprisingly there are but two small stores. I thought this is how cruises make money? There is a large, tall atrium with a large glass skylight. Interestingly, the glass elevators have been removed. We did not use shore excursions. Catalina uses tenders. Avalon can be seen in 1/2 hour if you walk slowly. Highly suggest renting a golf cart and touring the perimeter of the town - lots of fun! The port in Ensenada is a quick walk to the main shopping street. Ship was generally clean. Again, my only complaint was the near universal attitude of the crew. Perhaps it was because the ship was completely full and that might have made it challenging. However, it might be because it was Christmas and they were apart from their families?? Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
We thought this would be a nice vacation for Christmas, we were wrong. The pool is unheated and very cold, same with the water slides. My daughter did not use them because she was freezeing. Forget using the hot tubs, full of children and ... Read More
We thought this would be a nice vacation for Christmas, we were wrong. The pool is unheated and very cold, same with the water slides. My daughter did not use them because she was freezeing. Forget using the hot tubs, full of children and even infants. Food is very low quality no matter where you eat, but the bufet is the worst. To add insult to injury we all came down with the flu. Even though we got flu shots. Perhaps because 80% of the passengers appeared to be from mainland China. Lots of cigarette smoke near the pool and casino. The ports are a joke, Catalina Island is nice but not much to do. Ensenada is a dump, unless you like getting ripped off and harassed to buy gum and have your hair braided. For $1684 it was the biggest rip-off I have ever experienced. I would never book again with Carnival. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2017
We enjoyed our 4 day cruise on Carnival Inspiration to Catalina and Ensenada The entire crew was so helpful and nice. Our cruise direction NoNo totally rocked! The whole trip was enjoyable and the crew, extremely professional! We ... Read More
We enjoyed our 4 day cruise on Carnival Inspiration to Catalina and Ensenada The entire crew was so helpful and nice. Our cruise direction NoNo totally rocked! The whole trip was enjoyable and the crew, extremely professional! We took the Ensenada city trip which covered 3 places - a winery, a local marketplace and an old municipal building. Our trip guide Kenya was smiling and knowledgeable. The driver drove around the city well. We would not have covered so much if we didnt take this guided tour. The ship was clean and the crew thoroughly professional. They had events every hour and we had so much fun. We went to the "harry potter trivia" show, the "trivial pursuit" game, dance shows, holiday party, ice carving event Overall, its was a great holiday break and the kids enoyed it as much as did I would definitely recommend it to a family with young kids Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2017
We've been on this cruise before and know what to expect. This time did not disappoint. Only issue (besides no balconies) was having to pay extra for Lobster. In my post-cruise review for Carnival, I said this is a key enjoyment feature ... Read More
We've been on this cruise before and know what to expect. This time did not disappoint. Only issue (besides no balconies) was having to pay extra for Lobster. In my post-cruise review for Carnival, I said this is a key enjoyment feature of cruises, and not the place to save money. Ship is nice, our room was fine, with free water supplied due to our VIFP status. Our room steward put in the requested ice at each cleaning, and we never had to ask a second time. Our wait staff was wonderful, and the comediennes in the late shows were beyond funny. Didn't miss any show. Not the all time greatest ship, but we love this short getaway, and are always happy upon our return. If you know what to expect, you'll almost always be satisfied. Lastly, once again, I was foiled by the prices and styles of the watches on the cruise. Every time, I say I won't get another watch, and as usual, I break down and get one. Price was extremely good, and without the outrageous taxes where I live (LA). Read Less
Sail Date: November 2017
We took this cruise as a suggestion from my wife after a terrible experience aboard the Breeze in March. We can afford one cruise a year and wasted our time and money on that one which left me wondering if I wanted to cruise anymore. We ... Read More
We took this cruise as a suggestion from my wife after a terrible experience aboard the Breeze in March. We can afford one cruise a year and wasted our time and money on that one which left me wondering if I wanted to cruise anymore. We picked up a pretty decent deal for this short offseason cruise and it's our local port so no airfare or hotel bill. We have always bought FTTF and embarkation was a breeze. We walked right on up, got our S&S cards (I guess others are delivered later to your cabins), and walked right to our room to drop off our carry-ons, and off to lunch. We see all the great reviews about guy's burgers and blue iguana and on embarkation day we feel the same way but from day 2 on we wish for the old off the grill and burrito bars. I don't know what happens but the wife and I thought the same thing on both cruises that had the upgraded restaurants. Lido buffet and pizza have never impressed us but the wait staff seemed friendly and did a good job clearing tables. We had YTD at MDR and really enjoyed the food and our waiter. We went to the Chef's Table and I must recommend it to anyone who hasn't tried it. Even my wife, who had no interest in going especially after she found out it's $75 + gratuity/person, loved it and it was very impressive. We had done this cruise before so the ports weren't that special. They had fewer tenders to Catalina Island so there was a wait, even with FTTF. We rented a golf cart in Catalina for the 1st time and it was terrific. They give you a tourist map and you travel over 1/2 the island. Definitely reserve online if you go during tourist season. At Ensenada (you might not want to get off) we did the cheapest La Buffidora excursion Carnival offered. This I would also recommend. Not so much for the "blowhole" but it's a marketplace dedicated to tourists. I you're forced to let your wife shop, like I am, this was a very safe area with hundreds of shops and they weren't too aggressive. Fun day at sea- we went to sea day brunch, bingo, and casino. Too cold for kid for pools or waterslide. Disembarkation with FTTF was a disappointment. They meet you in the dining room and escort you off but that happened so late that there was a huge line at customs. In the past, we have been in the front of that line. Overall a good cruise that reminded me how much we enjoy them. I guess I won't cancel my 7 day one in June. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2017
Chose this cruise after sailing multiple times on Carnival. Like the informal vibe and have had good experiences in the past. This was a short anniversary cruise out of the Port of Long Beach. First off, the ship is very old and ... Read More
Chose this cruise after sailing multiple times on Carnival. Like the informal vibe and have had good experiences in the past. This was a short anniversary cruise out of the Port of Long Beach. First off, the ship is very old and outdated and small. The layout of the ship was truly complicated and not user friendly even though the size of the ship was not intimidating at all. We chose a grand suite as there are very few balconies on this ship. The suite was large with lots of storage and more than ample space. The placement of the suites left a lot to be desired however. Grand suites are on the 6th floor just below the Atrium and bar. This was the loudest room I have ever stayed in on more than 20 cruises I have sailed on. Strange how your most expensive suites are in the worst part of the ship. The room had knocks and rattles and no noise proofing whatsoever. Had one good night out of 4 for sleeping. Balcony is narrow but long. Hair dryer was ancient. Food was good, particularly the mexican food by the pool and the flat iron and tenderloin in the Carnivale Dining Room. Even though we were return guests who booked early we couldn't get early seating and so were assigned my time dining. Didn't know at the time but the Mardi Gras dining room is ONLY my time dining. Lines were ridiculously long the first night. Poor organization. We requested assigned seating at the Carnivale for nights 2-4 and they accommodated us very nicely. Don't expect people to abide by dress codes. It is a free for all with no enforcement. Cheapens the experience a little. The cruise director was unimpressive. Not surprising he is stuck on a 4 day cruise with limited itinerary. Wait staff are generally very nice and helpful. Tenders to Catalina were ridiculous. The boats were so big that you had to wait over 20 minutes in the boat coming and going before you could take the less than 5 minute trip to the island. The operators of the tenders were rude and really unprofessional. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2017
Old ship with mold on the windows. Except for Guy's Burgers and the ice cream machine the other food served in the dinning room and buffet was below Carnival standards. Dinning room service was OK. However, when a bogus charge was ... Read More
Old ship with mold on the windows. Except for Guy's Burgers and the ice cream machine the other food served in the dinning room and buffet was below Carnival standards. Dinning room service was OK. However, when a bogus charge was discovered on my bill I called Customer Service and a Russian or Slavic speaking lady said she would take the charge off failed to do so, I had personally go to the Service Desk to get it properly adjusted. There were no temperature controls in our room and of course, no refrigerator or hair dryers. The hot tubs were filled with the kids. Reminded us of downtown Las Vegas in the old part. One show was quite good, but the rest of the entertainment was disappointing. In the buffet line (if you could get around the elbowing crowd) the bacon and some other edibles could only be doled out by staff members. Although we were told by our room attendant would turn down the room 6 and 9pm, when we left our room (E61) at 6:45 pm. the room was not turned down. When we requested ice for our room, it was provided in a large plastic tub. Not a proper ice receptacle. The music throughout the ship was set at a very loud level, not conducive to those who want to turn in early? The ship smelled of stale smoke. If you wanted even a mediocre environmental cruise, this is not for you. My wife compared this cruise to the paddle boat made famous in the movie "Porkey's". 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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