123 Carnival Inspiration Cruise Reviews

We picked this cruise because it was short and we knew the ship,having sailed on it previously 13 years previously to the Caribbean. This time we went by just ourselves Both of us are in our late 50s. Unfortunately it was April Spring ... Read More
We picked this cruise because it was short and we knew the ship,having sailed on it previously 13 years previously to the Caribbean. This time we went by just ourselves Both of us are in our late 50s. Unfortunately it was April Spring break and the ship was over run with children and young adults. The adult only area is small but nice. They really need 2 of them. Several things are different now. You have to pay for virtually EVERY THING. TOO many photos! I know its a selling thing but, overwhelming for me, who hates to have her picture taken. We bought a bubbles program so that we could get sodas at no additional cost. NOT TRUE. They automatically add tax and gratuity, so each drink costs you $2. Too much for a coke! You get food of course, but the restaurant you are assigned to and the Lido buffet serve almost exact same meal. SO its up to you whether you want to be waited on or just do your own thing. The entertainment was okay. Punch liner comic are good. Believe it or not, the dance clubs were empty. Best music was in hall at Violin bar by casino. You have to pay an additional $$$ for WiFi hook up. Port trips were okay. We rented our own golf cart on Catalina. Go to one farthest from port. Saw all of Avalon on our terms. We went to beautiful winery in Ensenada. Too much for what we did but, our hosts were very nice. We were let off in down town, crowded with over zealous sellers. We only bought from women and only small things. Probably won't go on cruise again. Not really a bargain any more. Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
At our 58th anniversary we booked a four days since we live in Yorba Linda, approximately a 45 minute drive to the cruise ship. The drive was easy but in the morning there are a lot of truckers with containers on the same road. There ... Read More
At our 58th anniversary we booked a four days since we live in Yorba Linda, approximately a 45 minute drive to the cruise ship. The drive was easy but in the morning there are a lot of truckers with containers on the same road. There was plenty of parking in the garage at 11:00 am. There is a seven minute walk from the garage to the ship. Check-in was uneventful, except now you cannot bring bottled water to the ship. It was taken away, also empty bottles so you can't refill them. Southern California had a cold spell when we started our cruise. The main disappointment for our cabin and the ship as a whole was: "The ship has not heat". Yes, that's right, no heat in the cabin, or on the ship as a whole, only air conditioning. At age 82 I get cold. We ask for portable heaters, but he cruise line said they have none; it would create a fire danger. We were supplied with extra blankets, and we slept in our pajamas plus wrapped in the bathroom robes. The ship's carpet were fairly new and clean and the personnel was super friendly. Only the Carnival Inspiration has a unique buffet room decorated with shining 8" winding pipes, lit with at the end with a lighted dome, that felt to us like snakes all over. We dined thereafter in our assigned dining room. That was nice, but no more white tablecloths, except on fancy night. Formal has been done away with. On the plus side, the Aft deck has large and small water slides, that should be great fun for kids in warm weather. Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
My family and I went on this cruise for the superbowl. While the cruise it;s self wasn't too bad the food at the Captains Table was AWFUL! We went 4 times (I dont know why) and each visit was worse that the other from food with awful ... Read More
My family and I went on this cruise for the superbowl. While the cruise it;s self wasn't too bad the food at the Captains Table was AWFUL! We went 4 times (I dont know why) and each visit was worse that the other from food with awful taste /no taste, to served cold not one meal was worth the effort. I also came into contact with the Customer Service Manager who was rude and dissmissive when I inquired into items removed from my siutcase. This woman did NOTHING!!! If this what cruise life is about I don't thnk I will be spending any more money for this cruiseline. I also was not happy with staff in my room repeatedly throughout the day, each time we left they came in. This was not a comfortable feeling. I've also never had more trouble obtaining water in my life this was absolutely ridiculous! Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
Me and my wife tried this 4-day cruise again after a while. Embarkation and disembarkation went pretty well. Cabin was nice, but lots of children noise from outside. Shower knobs are a little confusing. The service was good, main showroom ... Read More
Me and my wife tried this 4-day cruise again after a while. Embarkation and disembarkation went pretty well. Cabin was nice, but lots of children noise from outside. Shower knobs are a little confusing. The service was good, main showroom musical entertainment was average, but stand up comedy was good. The ship was fairly clean and food was plenty but average. Lots of extra charges, including corkage, behind the scene tour of the ship, the captain reception was a joke; no free drinks or anything. My favorite decks were 9th floor Promenade with live band and 10th with pool and buffet restaurant. Overall the cruise was a good value. Since we visited the ports before, no shore excursions were taken. My suggestion: allow plenty of commute time to reach the ship better to reserve your check in time early, so you can find your cabin and catch the lunch, otherwise it will be selected for you the night before the sailing. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
We chose this cruise because it sailed over Christmas. We wanted to take a Christmas vacation this year instead of spending it at home, and Carnival Inspiration filled the bill. We live in Las Vegas so a Long Beach, CA departure was as ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it sailed over Christmas. We wanted to take a Christmas vacation this year instead of spending it at home, and Carnival Inspiration filled the bill. We live in Las Vegas so a Long Beach, CA departure was as convenient as it gets for us. The cruise was fine, it met expectations. This is our third cruise, our first being Norwegian Cruise Lines (NCL), our second being Carnival, and then this one again with Carnival. Carnival just doesn't seem to have the quality that NCL did, on both trips. We are taking another one on NCL this summer to see if the wonderful first experience can be repeated or not, or it if was just a lucky trip. Sorry, I digress. Booking: I booked through a private booking agent I know, so it was easy and great Price: I always book early because I desire specific rooms. I don't want to wait for last minute deals so I choose to pay the full rate. The price for this trip was fine and affordable. Embarkation: Smooth and easy. I parked in the Carnival parking garage ($19/day) and hauled our own bags through the terminal. They have the process down to a science, therefore, quick and efficient. The plenty of people to support the large groups arriving and we were on board in about 15 minutes from the time we found our parking spot until we stepped on board. Free Champagne During Embarkation: When we arrived on board we offered free champagne and was a classy tough. Probable because it was the Christmas Cruise. The last Carnival I did they offered you a drink, and when you take it and have a sip, they ask for your Sail and Sign card so they can charge it to your room. This time was different, it was complementary. Great job folks. That gesture goes a long ways with me. Entertainment: Entertainment was very good for a cruise ship environment. I mean that I don't expect them to be top performing/$180 per ticket acts. They have a local singing group that is very good and entertaining. Great fun. They have lots of activities scheduled and all of them were quality. We watched the shows in the main the first and last nights, the second night we watched the stand up comic. Food: Mediocre. For some reason our Carnival trips have seemed a bit skimpish on the food. The selection is ok but not elaborate. The quality is, "it doesn't suck" category. The only thing that made me say "now THAT is yummy", was their hot cocoa, and it is made with hot water in a machine. All other food is just, well, free. Cabin Service: Cabin service is very good. I've never had a bad experience with a cabin attendant on any of my three trips. I really admire our cabin crews, they always work hard and set your cabin at the right times of day for you. They always call you by name, even the first time they come face to face with you. This trip our cabin attendant knocked on our door the first day and introduced himself to us, and then looked at each one of us and spoke our names. He was great and I tipped him well as his reward. Dining Room Service: We ate there one night. The service was slow, portions small, food quality mediocre. I think our server was new. Spa Service: Great people and great experience. The Spa is expensive, it always is, so expect it. But they will pamper you accordingly. It's a vacation and I spend money on things I would never spend money on any other time of the year. I helps create the memories and I am always glad I did it. This is no exception to that. Parties: They held wonderful parties in the main lobby with the Christmas theme. Great touch and great job. Always had live entertainment, operated snow machines for a white Christmas, passed out hats and bells, great job. Shore Excursion: We did the topless bus tour and shopping of Ensenada. The bus portion was about an hour, shopping about an hour. It was raining that day so nobody rode on the top deck, and we didn't get off to do anything. Nobody wanted to because of the weather. They did stop downtown to let us shop. It was kind of a run down/depressed area. I noticed that when we rode up the street the bus driver honking his horn, and the tour guide was calling out specific establishments over the bus speakers (which can be heard outside the bus). The shopkeepers would come out and wave. I regarded this as the signal to everyone that the tourists just arrived. Of course when we stopped the we all went back the way we were shown. However, when we returned to the bus and departed, we went through a more clean and reputable looking district. I would have preferred to shop those stores but we were not shown them on our way in. Debarkation: Smooth, organized, efficient. No hassles and very quick. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
First timer looking for a quick cruise experience. This is a nice short one. Ship was full for the Holidays with lots of families. The staff was professional and made the cruise run smoothly. It was just not the right time of year. ... Read More
First timer looking for a quick cruise experience. This is a nice short one. Ship was full for the Holidays with lots of families. The staff was professional and made the cruise run smoothly. It was just not the right time of year. The water was choppy enough on Christmas from west coast storms to make the captain change course. Other experienced cruisers said this was the worst choppiness they have felt. It was cold, so few people tried swimming or the water slides. Food was average at best. No gourmet stuff here. The sit down dining venues seem to serve a lot of the same food as the buffet. The burgers were decent. Excursion to Ensenada was fine. The Bufaladora trip was fun but forces you to walk through a long tourist trap road full of merchants before you see the natural wonder. If you are looking for a first time quick cruise, do not take this during winter. Wait till summer. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
I chose Carnival for the price, finally receiving a special that allegedly included all the port, taxes, and any "air filter disposal fee" kind of bs nickel-and-dime hidden costs. For the most part, that was correct. THE ... Read More
I chose Carnival for the price, finally receiving a special that allegedly included all the port, taxes, and any "air filter disposal fee" kind of bs nickel-and-dime hidden costs. For the most part, that was correct. THE LIST OF THINGS I LIKED is probably enough to get you onboard: considering the amount of eating and drinking, the cleanliness was surprisingly exceptional, so much so that I stopped myself from putting empty glasses in random places. the crew seemed out-of-their-way helpful and friendly. The cabin window was much bigger than I expected, the shower had good pressure, heat, and height adjustment, and having a cabin light in the headboard is pretty smart. The variety of places to drink (Atrium Bar, Casino Bar, Alchemy Bar, pool bars, etc.) suited me. The Cheers program was a good value. And 24-hour ice cream and pizza is never a bad thing. THE LIST OF THINGS I DIDN'T LIKE. NOISE & NO WIFI. 1. The parents let their kids run down the halls all day and all night, banging the floor like constant drums, making it impossible to relax and sleep. It woke us every morning by 7am. 2. No wi-fi, even if you pay extra for it, as I did. If you are wifi dependent, make sure you bring reading materials, games, etc. Our phones didn't work either, so bring walkie-talkies. Other minor stuff: 3. AFTER taking my money, I learned in the small print that Carnival reserves the right to a) charge passengers for gasoline, and fees related to dockage, wharfage, inspection, pilotage, immigration, IRS, navigation, berthing, storage, security, customs, etc, 4. You can't sail until you sign a contract that allows Carnival to disclose our personal or sensitive date to unaffiliated third parties- UNACCEPTABLE. 5. The casino and casino bar allow smoking. 6. Guest services. Over 50% of the time I couldn't understand them (almost the whole crew learned English as a second or third language) and 25% they didn't have basic information we requested. 7. Nobody warned me of the boring, long, disorganized safety seminar thing, which is a horrible way to begin a trip, as unavoidable as it is unnecessary. Nor did they warn me how horrible it is getting off the boat, a horrible way to end a trip. 8. One plug. I'd do another cruise only if it was adults only. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
My husband and I have taken several Carnival cruises in the past. This was probably our last one. We are in our late 50's, not travelling with children. We choose this cruise because it was close enough to drive to. I wish there were ... Read More
My husband and I have taken several Carnival cruises in the past. This was probably our last one. We are in our late 50's, not travelling with children. We choose this cruise because it was close enough to drive to. I wish there were more destinations to pick from that leave from Los Angeles. Embarkation went smoothly. The staff was efficient and the wait was not long. They have this part down pact. I booked our trip on-line, selecting our cabin and requesting 2 twin beds and distilled water for my Cpap machine. Upon arrival the beds were not separated and there was no water. We had to wait for hours before we could get through to guest services for these requests. The Carnival Inspiration is showing her age: worn paint, railings, carpet and decor. My husband is disabled and was forced to climb stairs when time and again the elevator refused to stop at our deck. We had chosen this ship because it had a serenity deck, but were so disappointed to find out that it was anything but serene. It was more of the party place for the college students and rowdies. During our pre-cruise research, the schedule stated that the elegant night was on day 4, yet when we received our daily info sheet we discovered it was on day 2. Two couples at our dining table did not get the updated memo and were very disappointed when they came to dinner under dressed. The food in the dining room was good, not excellent, but good. The food at the buffet was very good with a nice variety. We pre-arranged our shore excursions separate from the cruise line and it went very smoothly. In the end we paid a fraction of what others had paid for the same activities. It's always a risky thing to do and you have to make sure the timing does not get you back to the ship late. Unfortunately, this time several cruisers were very lacking in social skills and their loud and rude behavior had an effect on everyone near them. I am not a goody two shoes by any means, but it's a shame that we need some kind of code of conduct so that other people aren't forced to listen to loud arguments and conversations that would make a sailor blush. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
The worst, most inedible food I have ever tried to eat. We were a party of 3. Took my mother for her 87th birthday, since she loves cruises and previously has been on 6 cruises. ( no Carnival cruises) Ship boarding in Long Beach ... Read More
The worst, most inedible food I have ever tried to eat. We were a party of 3. Took my mother for her 87th birthday, since she loves cruises and previously has been on 6 cruises. ( no Carnival cruises) Ship boarding in Long Beach went smoothly. People that are leaving reviews must remember that 2700 passengers are trying to board the ship so there are going to be lines. It went smoothly and the lines moved along well. Got on the ship and yes, the decor is dated , but it's clean and what I expected for one of the less expensive cruises. The problem with Carnival is the food situation. We ate in the dining room one night and the food was absolutely inedible. Our entrees were: salmon, Mahi Mahi, and flat iron steak. This food was so tasteless, rubbery, with mushy broccoli that all 3 of us were finished after eating a small portion of our entrees. For the rest of the cruise we ate in the Lido buffet which was worse than the dining room food. The set up for the buffet is so bad in that it is very difficult to reach the food trays in order to scoop food onto your plate. Eggs made from powder Pancakes , French toast, waffles that were sad, rubbery and never replenished Little hash brown patties that were obviously from frozen Baked goods such as croissants that were so old and stale I won't even go into the lunch and dinner items. The buffet closes at 9:30pm and the ship advertises that food is available 24 hrs. True, food is available 24 hours if you care to eat their pizza that is not edible as a food item. They also have what they call a "deli" available 24 hours and I had a few Reuben sandwiches and they were tasty. The best food on the ship is Guy Fiearys Burgers. One of the best burger and fries I have ever had. By no means did the food situation ruin our trip, but I don't understand why other cruise lines can do such a great job of food and Carnival can't even come close. I understand that these short Carnival cruises are one of the least expensive, but I am sure they could do something about the food situation. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
We choose to do this four night cruise to recover from our long haul flight from Oz. The Carnival shuttle meet us at the LAX International to transfer us to Long Beach where we embarked before the 5 pm sail time. The embarkation went ... Read More
We choose to do this four night cruise to recover from our long haul flight from Oz. The Carnival shuttle meet us at the LAX International to transfer us to Long Beach where we embarked before the 5 pm sail time. The embarkation went without a problem. Although we have previously sailed with Carnival (Alaska) this was the only cruise line which we could co-ordinate our flight with. This was the reason for our booking and that we had no over expectations on what the cruise would be like. Having said this we were not disappointed with the cruise and would sail with them again. One needs to remember the market that Carnival aim for, and that you will not receive anything more or anything less.Those wishing a more upmarket experience need to look elsewhere. The cruise took place during the summer break so there were many family groups on board who made good use of the pool area. It became noticeable that more older groups were selfishly reserving the deck chairs for lengthy periods. Because of the fine weather the buffet eateries were well used, although I must say that I found nothing special about the burgers at Guys. The two ports of call, both Catalina Island and Ensenada were enjoyable. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
Quick last minute getaway out of the port of Long Beach on the Carnival Inspiration. I had been on the Imagination twice and this ship offered a few pleasant upgrades from the Inspiration, such as the upgraded Alchemy Bar and and newer ... Read More
Quick last minute getaway out of the port of Long Beach on the Carnival Inspiration. I had been on the Imagination twice and this ship offered a few pleasant upgrades from the Inspiration, such as the upgraded Alchemy Bar and and newer theater where the comedians performed in the evenings. The Lido deck eating areas has been turned over from its previous "Off the Grill" dining area to both the Blue Iguana Burrito/Taco Bar on one side and Guy Fieri's Burger joint on the other. Both of those are nice additions. The Blue Iguana definitely has the better food. The tacos and burritos are excellent with a well thought out salsa and toppings bar. They have also added a Red Frog Pub and Blue Iguana Cantina on the Lido deck to replace the usual Lido bars and these are both nice additions. The ship itself remains the same in terms of layout and style, but most folks who book this trip are on a short getaway and like myself and my husband, you're really not looking for the grand stateroom and the all the amenities of a full week's vacation. For the first time, we stayed in an interior stateroom, on deck 4. While my husband missed the view of the outside, the room was just fine, in good working order, very clean and well maintained by our room steward. One of the downsides for us on this cruise, as with several past Carnival trips, is the food. The best food was had at the Seaday brunch, which is not to be missed. The dinner selections were lacking: not very imaginative, always overcooked, and under seasoned. We did have very prompt and attentive service dining servers.We really wished the Inspiration had an ala carte restaurant venue, or a "for a fee" restaurant. We would have glady opted to dine there at least a couple times. In addition to the poor food quality, the bar service was horrendous. We had purchased the all inclusive beverage package prior to the cruise, but we usually bring along a healthy supply of dollar bills to tip the bar staff so we spread a little good will and get them to remember us. Even that wasn't doing the trick on this cruise to get a smile out of any of the bartenders we encountered! We tried the casino bar, the Red Frog bar, and the atrium bar, and not only was it very difficult to get anyone to acknowledge you (even when there were only a few folks at the bar), they NEVER smiled! No one greeted you- no one suggested a drink- no one chatted with you. Really a great departure from almost every other cruise I've been on, whether it was Carnival or another line. While the bar staff were grim, the pool deck cocktail servers on the other hand were fantastic. Very prompt and friendly and went out of their way to see to it that we had everything we needed. Something we noted about the beverage package: while we were familiar with the rules regarding the alcoholic drink limit per day (15 per day), and that you may not order a drink within 5 minutes of your previous drink, we did NOT know that this also applies to water. Carnival;s new beverage package now covers bottled water, but you cannot order a bottled water AND a cocktail at the same time. You must wait 5 minutes to order one or the other, which both my husband and i found ridiculous. You can however,ask for tap water and a cocktail at the same time. How does that make any sense? i don't know. I really hope this was just the staff's poor interpretation of the policy and not really the intent of the new Carnival beverage package policy. As a huge plus, the disembarkation process was the fastest and smoothest on any ship, Carnival or otherwise, we've ever experienced. We did purchase "Faster to the Fun", so we were able to be grouped in one of the first groups off the boat after the self-assist people. We arrived in the library at 8:40, our designated meeting spot, and we were being escorted off the boat at 8:55 and were through customs by 9:10. Seemless- no waiting, no hiccups. That experience alone was worth the $50 for Faster to the Fun. Well done Carnival. i think we would probably return to Carnival, although I doubt we will do the Catalina/Ensenada trip again. After three times, we've given it enough chances and even though it's a good bargain, it's no longer worth the bad food and negative vibe at the bars. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
My family (including 3 kids: 17, 11 an 9) spent Dec 21-25 on the Carnival Inspiration for our Christmas break. This was our first cruise and after reading reviews, we expected a great time, fun-filled vacation. Unfortunately, our trip was ... Read More
My family (including 3 kids: 17, 11 an 9) spent Dec 21-25 on the Carnival Inspiration for our Christmas break. This was our first cruise and after reading reviews, we expected a great time, fun-filled vacation. Unfortunately, our trip was less than great. Our port at Catalina was delayed by a day, putting our first day spent at sea. The seas were incredibly rough and the boat ROCKED and ROCKED! I had no idea that a cruise ship would be tossed around. The bartending staff said that the winter months off Cali are like this, so why didn't Carnival warn vacationers ahead of time? After rocking around for the first full day, we were supposed to tender into Catalina at 7:30a on the second day. However, at 8am, we were moving and moving fast and away from Catalina. It was not until 11am that the cruise director announced that we were not able to port at Catalina and instead, we were making our way to Ensenada for an early-evening port, which meant our third day was spent at sea (again, rocking and rolling). We spent the night docked and were able to spend a full day in Ensenada. Our last night was spent sailing back to Long Beach. In all, we spent 1 day and a few hours on land. All of the other time was at sea. Given this and the usual winter sea weather, you'd think Carnival would be well prepared for a lot of "ship time." The ONLY THING TO DO FOR ADULTS was to play bingo and the casino, which wasn't even open half of this time. Bingo consists of three fast games and the cheapest buy in is $20. They offered this twice in the same day. That's it. The "shows" were high school musical quality, dated costumes and performances. The best entertainment was the Mardi Gras dining staff dancing to "Gangnam Style." Really, that's it! The saving grace in all of this was the staff: atrium bartenders, Ali - the Lido deck server, David the Magician, and the comedian who made fun of kids. The buffet and self-serve food was mall food court quality (plentiful, hot) and the dining room options were banquet style. To have lobster or finer cuts of meat were $20 upcharge. Desserts were great! Service was great! The kids club's were great. Our 9 and 11 year olds had a blast. Met lots of kids and kept themselves entertained and well-hydrated! The best purchase was the bottomless soda package!!!!! In all, this was our first and likely last cruise. I am just surprised that the ship didn't have much to offer adults except for a few very dated shows and bingo. Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
First this was our 5th Carnival Cruise. It just seemed to me there was a lot of cost savings and we, the passengers, paid the price. We were told to be there between 11:30 and 12:30....arrived at 11:15. We're used to waiting ... Read More
First this was our 5th Carnival Cruise. It just seemed to me there was a lot of cost savings and we, the passengers, paid the price. We were told to be there between 11:30 and 12:30....arrived at 11:15. We're used to waiting outside at Long Beach (only place we've ever had to) but the Customs folks were just silly. I could have brought a lot of items on board and they wouldn't have cared but Lord help me if I had soda I'd better be adhering to the letter of the law. We got on board by 12:30 and the room wasn't ready so we had to go to the buffet cause the other dining rooms weren't open and neither were all of the dining options at the buffet.....took them another half hour or so to open. Seemed a bit strange to me. Dining was ok....nothing spectacular. We received 2 liter bottles of water and no free drink voucher for the sea day brunch. The only time we had table cloths was on formal nite. Frankly, imo, formal nite on a 4 day cruise is a waste of time. The tea time was cut back severely....2 different types of sandwiches and 4 desserts. They ask if we wanted more tea and we said yes. We were given more water and no more tea bags....guess we were expected to reuse. First stop was Catalina Island.....we stayed on the boat. We'd been to Catalina before and as my dad would say....didn't lose anything the first time to come back to look for. We did not have the ship to ourselves.....lots of people stayed on board. Second stop was Ensenada Mexico....We got off just to walk around town and have our obligatory margarita. It's 2.00 to ride into town and 1.00 to ride back....not a bad deal. The entertainment was good. The cruise staff put on 2 excellent shows and the comedian was funny. Read Less
Sail Date November 2015
My husband and I booked a 4-day cruise on the Carnival Inspiration, out of Los Angeles/Long Beach to Catalina & Ensenada. The reason for the cruise was a short getaway to celebrate our 10-yr wedding anniversary, without our 3 and 4 ... Read More
My husband and I booked a 4-day cruise on the Carnival Inspiration, out of Los Angeles/Long Beach to Catalina & Ensenada. The reason for the cruise was a short getaway to celebrate our 10-yr wedding anniversary, without our 3 and 4 year old kids. We traveled with another couple, long-time friends. We have cruised before on Carnival (one 10-day), Princess (one 10-day) and Royal Caribbean (one 4-day), so we have some experience cruising and some metrics to measure by. Though the ship was small, we never found it crowded or had to stand in a line for anything. There were not a lot of lounge chairs except for those by the pool - even those, we never had trouble finding either 2 or 4 (when our friends joined us) together, in a spot we wanted to sit in. Our primary goal on the ship was to sit at the pool and relax. We achieved our goal, but a few times on our cruise - we did find ourselves searching the daily for something fun to do...not much that interested us. We never saw the cruise director out and about, interacting with guests...something we expected from past cruises. Service was very good. If we wanted drinks at the pool, we were asked frequently - we only needed to show the slightest amount of "need" and someone would come and take our order. We ate in the Carnival Dining room every night for dinner, our waiter was excellent, but there never seemed to be anyone around to take our alcohol order. We never met our room steward, but our room was always in order and turned down - we never needed anything. Because our goal was to soak up as much pool/lounge time as possible, we did not book any shore excursions. However, we did notice there are substantially MORE excursion options in the book provided in our cabin, as opposed to what we saw on-line. We tendered into Catalina on the first day, it was nice to use a larger fishing boat instead of the life boats to tender into port. These private boats are much more comfortable than the life boats. Lines to tender in and out were relatively short, we did not go during "peak" on and off times. When we arrived into Ensenada, no tender required, we walked through the gate, through the port mercado, and onto an awaiting bus for a ride into town. The cost was $3.00 p/p round trip. The entire 5-7 min. drive the "guide" spoke about the excursions/tours that her company provided cheaper than Carnival. When we arrived to their bus depot, we walked one block to the "shopping zone" and quickly found the few souvenirs that we promised people. Since we were there early in the morning, shortly after 10:30AM, the shops were just opening and many either did not have change to break a $20, or were not set up for credit card purchases. As I mentioned previously, we booked the least expensive cabin we could find. We ended up with Cabin #U-43, on the Upper Deck (Deck #6). I was very happy with our cabin, it was larger than I expected. This was the first time we have ever booked an interior. Our suitcase fit nicely under the bed and there were three closets that could have held additional bags. The cabin worked well for the two of us, I do not know if it would have felt as spacious if we had our children with us. I would book a similar interior cabin again. The service in the Carnival Dining Room was the best thing about it. While there were a few good food items, in general, we found ourselves looking forward to McDonalds when we got off the ship. We chose not to pay an extra $20 for the steaks or the surf and turf, we ate off of the "regular", " included menu". We usually ate Lunch at the pool-side grill, and sometimes, in the buffet at the back of the Lido Deck. Breakfast was either room service/continental breakfast or in the Mardi Gras Dining room. The Dining Room had nearly the same menu as the continental breakfast/room service, except for the added omelets. The best breakfast was, by far, the Sea Day Brunch in the Mardi Gras dining room. They did promote Bloody Mary's - however, when we asked our server - he said the cocktail server would be around. When the cocktail service made it around - about 15-20 minutes later, he only took the order of the table next to us. On my attempt to find a decent Bloody Mary, I was extremely disappointed....I was greeted with Ocean Spray Bloody Mary Mix (who knew O.S. made a B.M Mix!?), it was basically tomato juice and a lime wedge, no traditional garnishes - by far, a big disappointment. We did not purchase the CHEERS! (unlimited alcohol package), though our friends did. They said that if they did this cruise again, they would NOT pay for the CHEERS Pkg ($250 p/p) - instead they would rather apply $500 cash to their on-board account so that they did not feel "obligated" to drink in order to get their moneys worth (15 drinks max per day). They also said that they thought drinks were less expensive than they anticipated ($7.95 drink of the day - foo foo drinks); $5.45-$5.95 for beer. Not much except for really fancy, high end liquors were more expensive. My husband and I did, however, purchase the Bottomless BUBBLES package - unlimited soda and juice ($30 p/p). That hit the spot for us since I am a big club soda person (club soda and cranberry juice w/ lime wedge!! refreshing and guaranteed NO HANGOVER!). Sodas are typically $1.95 each if you are paying out of pocket. Disembarkation was great, they offered "self debarkation" where you can carry your luggage off yourself, or you can do "relaxed debarkation" and they unload it for you and you leave the ship by zone. We were Zone 14, (Zone 1 leaves first). They release in groups of 5 about every hour - so it took us about 1-1.5 hrs to get off the ship after Customs cleared the ship. We arrived at the port at 7:30AM, debarkation started about 8, and we were off the ship and in our car by about 10. My husband and I were looking for a "good", "inexpensive", get-away. This fit the bill perfectly. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
I’ve cruised some 42-times (really). It can be a wonderful vacation. Cruising has changed so much so over the last two decades and sometime back in 1990, I took my first Carnival cruise. I recently decided to do another Carnival ... Read More
I’ve cruised some 42-times (really). It can be a wonderful vacation. Cruising has changed so much so over the last two decades and sometime back in 1990, I took my first Carnival cruise. I recently decided to do another Carnival cruise this July 2015. The first one was fairly sub-standard in comparison to the other many lines I have sailed and I wanted to give Carnival another chance this 2015. I boarded Carnival’s ‘Inspiration’ with no expectations. Carnival delivered on that concept with even less than I expected. This was just a 4 day cruise out of Long Beach to Catalina and Ensenada, Mexico. Let’s start with embarkation/boarding… One hour and a half was the process time from entering the terminal to actually boarding the ship. We arrived at our recommended time of 1:30pm to 2:30pm. They were overwhelmed at check-in. In fact so much so that you had to assume this must be Carnival’s first time at this terminal. It was not. The check-in representative shared with us that so many Carnival passengers (many first-timers) fail to do their pre-departure online check-in process before sailing and that disrupts and slows down the check-in process. Boarding the ship itself and entering the ships small atrium/lobby area resulted in several 25-30 year olds in Carnival t-shirts (staff we guessed) which appeared to be there to do something with the boarding process. They did not greet or assist but we had accomplished our pre-homework (before sailing) and knew exactly where to go while some passengers did not. We headed off to Stateroom/Cabin M-187. The lifeboat drill is a mandatory attendance requirement before sailing (yet Carnival does not take role/attendance as other lines do). That was a full hour with staff/crew sadly unprepared and certainly not qualified to ever initiate an evacuation from one of its ships. Carnival has learned nothing from the sinking of its COSTA CONCORDIA brand off the coast of Italy, a few years back (Carnival owned the Costa Concordia). Know you cabin areas and muster station areas and never wait for the crew to assist you aboard a Carnival ship if there is an emergency. Carry a personal led flashlight aboard any cruise and be prepared to get your life jacket and get topside ASAP. Things quickly improved and we met our stateroom steward (Gerald) who took Carnival up several levels to exceptional and friendly customer service levels. He was genuine and sincere and stayed that way for the entire crew (he had the task of cleaning 27 cabins per day). The cabin was old and tired (as was the entire ship) but workable. The ship was last refurbished in 2010 and is in dire need of dry dock time. The outside areas were rusted, torn and dirty and Carnival was putting no effort into the ships appearance. Maintenance was never evident during the entire 4 day sailing. The stateroom itself was very basic. Only one outlet was provided for A/C power. Chargers for phones, laptops, etc. were on a waitlist for that single shared outlet. The cabin came with a small-sized TV (maybe 13-15 inches ???). DirecTV was the service provider and TV channels came in clear and clean with about 7 available channels. There were no movies in a theater onboard but Carnival showed the movie GRAVITY over and over for 24 hours on the TV. This is a self-service cruise with few planned activities. Expect ports-of-call to be the focus of your sailing with a so-called Fun-Day-At-Sea. That Fun-Day-At-Sea means drinking and drinking, walking around and maybe some sun time in crowded (and close) deck chairs. I expect some harsh feedback or criticism (from this review) but the cuisine aboard the ship was very CHUCK E. CHEESE (in the dining rooms) and GOLDEN CORAL from the buffet areas. Food counters were dirty, abused and poorly stocked. Staffing was minimal everywhere and never would you see the ships actual officers walking or inspecting the food areas or open deck areas. It was more like going to CAMP. Food quality was beyond sub-par. No effort at presentation, quality or taste. One exception to that rule was a venue called MONGOLIAN WOK where for a few hours a day (usually Noon to 4PM), Asian stir fry dishes were created poolside. They were fresh, cooked well and very good! Dining room menus offered a chicken breast entree each night and specialties included Carbonara Spaghetti (without Carbonara) and flatbreads. For $20.00 person, you could UPGRADE the menu each night to a steak or lobster tail. Our ship (Inspiration) had no other alternative pay-venue restaurants. Dining room tables (main dining room) were mostly large, seating 10 to 12 guests per table. Again, Carnival was poorly staffing the dining rooms with the waiters working incredibly hard to try their best to accommodate guests onboard. NEVER did we ever see a Maitre d’ make his/her rounds in the main dining room. There are NO RULES aboard a Carnival ship. We saw a 7-9 year old playing the slot machines in the casino with her dad. Jacuzzi tubs marked ADULTS ONLY were filled with kids. Glassware (instead of plastic wear) were in the pools and Jacuzzi’s while deck staffed looked on with no authority to enforce or they simply didn’t care. Smoking of cigars and cigarettes occurred in all areas. No enforcement. Older teens bragged that they got adults to buy them drinks or that they held out large cash tips for the bar staff who would then serve them. Carnival does have a very strict rule of bringing alcohol aboard its ships and beyond all other efforts or concerns, they placed extreme interest and time/staffing to make sure you were only buying their drinks while onboard. Liquor, wines and beer were caught always from both checked luggage and carry-ons. You also cannot carry on bottled water and must purchase their water as of July 2015. In fairness, Carnival promotes its cruises as ‘FUN’. These are boat rides and not cruises. Filled with 24/7 partying (especially in the 3-4 day segments/market). The type of Carnival passenger is varied by many 20-30 aged young adults; sometimes very rowdy. Yet many families were aboard as well. There were few senior people aboard. It’s like a Greyhound Bus at-sea or a Motel 6 at poolside. Sometimes self-centered, loud and obnoxious. Many are first-time cruisers and many are simply just good-old-boys that can down two 6-packs a day with ease. The profile of so many Carnival passengers probably can be best described as AL & PEG BUNDY along with ZZ Top at your dining room table... It’s just a boat ride for many. They have no idea of what a real cruise is really like. It really can be a classless experience if you don’t have an open mind and are not tolerant of 3-7 days of pure crazy. Vegas with Randy Quaid and Chevy Chase? Randy Quaid’s (Vegas Vacation movie) classic scene in the buffet line (with Clark Griswold) hoarding the buffet line with food piled mile-high on his plate is another profile of a Carnival passenger. This is the type of individual that Carnival sells to! It’s not wrong and it’s not bad! It’s simply Carnival and so many of the passengers onboard really enjoyed their first-time experience and liked Carnival! Some argued, some wore baseball caps to the dining room and some wore very little period! Again, a unique passenger base of varied and laughable characters. Disembarkation consists of three groups. You can pay $50 extra to Carnival to both board early and disembark early. Then there is the self-assist group for *walk-offs/carry your luggage off* and finally the cruise tradition of placing your bags outside your stateroom (night before) and waiting for your group to be called. Clear US customs, clear the parking lot (parking is $19 a day at Long Beach, CA as of this writing) and finally either board a bus for the airport or jump into your car and drive away as fast as you can! I’m personally very glad that there is a Carnival Cruise Lines! It keeps Carnival passengers off of the quality cruise lines such as Royal Caribbean, Celebrity and Disney Cruise Lines. Many passengers loved it! Many said they had sailed Carnival 8-12 times. For myself, I’ll pass on a future Carnival Cruise. Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
This was our eleventh cruise on several different lines. We are a couple in our 50s. This Carnival cruise is not a first-class experience, but if you lower your expectations, it's pleasant enough. We cruised with our extended ... Read More
This was our eleventh cruise on several different lines. We are a couple in our 50s. This Carnival cruise is not a first-class experience, but if you lower your expectations, it's pleasant enough. We cruised with our extended family to celebrate my parents' 60th anniversary. (By the way, the dining room staff did a wonderful job of celebrating that event with dessert and hats and singing and dancing.) The 20- and 30-somethings were having their first cruise experience, and they seemed to enjoy it much more than the older generations. We had no trouble getting a parking space in the huge parking structure next to the check-in area at the Port of Long Beach, but it cost us $76 for the length of the cruise. It took us 40 minutes to check in starting at 12:30pm. Not even half of the check-in stations were open at 1pm, or it could have gone much faster. We had a comfortable oceanview cabin, but there was only one chair and a stool, so one person always had to sit on the bed. The bathroom was small, but the shower was adequate. There was no counter space at the sink except for one small shelf, which was very inconvenient. The room had sufficient storage space and hangers. My parents splurged on a Grand Suite, and we had up to a dozen people at a time lounging around their spacious room (though some had to sit on the floor or on the bed). The decor of the ship was rather gaudy. Some areas of the ship were quite chilly from over-air conditioning. I didn't think the stores had a very good selection of items. Photos were vastly overpriced, but we bought them anyway because the whole family was together. The dining room food was very good, but the buffet was only so-so. Service was sometimes quite slow in the dining room, but the staff were very friendly and helpful. In the buffet, dirty dishes sometimes piled up before they were removed. I felt there was not a lot of choice in the regular buffet line. I was especially disappointed by breakfasts. One day I had an omelet, but the processed cheese in it ruined the taste. The grill made a good hamburger and good but bready pizza. The deli was good. As far as entertainment, we had a bad experience with the Studio VIP show. The pre-event prevented the crowd from entering the showroom for a long period of time. Many people got fed up with the wait and left. The show was pretty good. The performers are very talented, but the choreography is inferior. One of the comedians wasn't very funny. The dancing was skewed mainly toward young adults. It would have been nice to have one venue for middle to older adult dancing. The acoustical guitarists were very good. In Catalina the young adults had a great time paddleboarding around the harbor while the older adults wandered around the shore. In Ensenada we wandered around for an hour but found nothing interesting to do and went back on the ship. During the day at sea we were disappointed with the activities offered, though we did enjoy the tea. Disembarkation was fast and easy, and we were off the ship earlier than we expected. I have no desire to take this cruise again, but it seemed to work out well as a family reunion and anniversary celebration. Read Less
Sail Date June 2015
First, a little background on me- I'm an avid cruiser in my late 20's and almost always cruise with Carnival though I have been on Royal Caribbean and Disney cruise lines as well. This cruise marked my 7th with Carnival and it ... Read More
First, a little background on me- I'm an avid cruiser in my late 20's and almost always cruise with Carnival though I have been on Royal Caribbean and Disney cruise lines as well. This cruise marked my 7th with Carnival and it was definitely the most unique experience I have ever had on a cruise. The very first thing I want to note is that from the moment I got to the port, this cruise definitely felt different. There were VERY few children on board as opposed to the other cruises that I have been on which were about 60-70% families with children. This cruise had mostly 20-30 somethings all looking to drink heavily and have a good time. It was definitely a new experience being on a cruise that is essentially a 3-day long booze cruise where the sober ones felt like the minority. Now- the good the bad and the ugly: The good: VERY easy and relaxed embarkation process. We were through security and on board within about 30 minutes. Our luggage arrived in a timely manner and our room was ready as soon as we boarded the ship. The staff was very friendly and I enjoyed the entertainment immensely. The live band outside of the casino area who mostly played funk music were fantastic and very engaging! The comedians were pretty darn hysterical (although I only watched two of the shows) but definitely R-Rated. The food in the main dining room was fantastic! The highlight was definitely the lobster on the formal night. The Bad: There is a reason this ship was chosen to do the 3-day long trips from Long Beach to Ensenada and back- it's in DESPERATE need of some love and a complete overhaul. This ship is much smaller than most of the of the Carnival fleet with very small cabins and the decor is quintessentially 90's with psychadelic colors and shiny objects around every corner. The carpets are rundown and there is a very distinct sewer type odor that permiates the air in certain areas of the ship (especially the art gallery). The food was mediocre at best in the buffets, and some of it was downright inedible. All in all- if you go into this cruise with the understanding that you are paying for a 3-day long booze cruise with free flowing liquor and a lot of 25-40 year olds looking to have a good time, then it's fantastic! But if you are looking for a nice relaxing 3-day getaway, this is definitely NOT the cruise for you. Read Less
Sail Date June 2015
We embarked in Long Beach heading for a 4 day cruise to Catalina/ Ensenada. After getting herd from one stop to another we were on the boat. Luckily, for us we were on the main floor and easy to locate. First impression, the décor is oh ... Read More
We embarked in Long Beach heading for a 4 day cruise to Catalina/ Ensenada. After getting herd from one stop to another we were on the boat. Luckily, for us we were on the main floor and easy to locate. First impression, the décor is oh so tacky 80's like wow, but whatever we were going to have some fun. First day we settle in, check out the activities in the itinerary, we were just soaking it all in being it was our first cruise. The workers were kind and everyone we met said hello, I did notice may passengers with "bitter beer face" I felt like saying smile you're on vacation. First day we got to check out everything on the itinerary. We played miniature golf, went to the casino, saw a comedy show. Then headed to our room for some rest as we anticipated Catalina island in the morning. Second day, around 10am we hear the Captain’s message due to weather there would be a change in plans instead of the island we would wait till the next day to dock. So we had our "At sea day" which was a bummer but it happens, can't argue with mother nature. Again, we looked at the itinerary not much to do during the day besides eat and sleep, they had some lame gift shops so we checked those out . Later that evening we hung out at the violin room for some live music, went to a comedy show, casino, played outside (miniature golf, corn hole) it was a cold windy day for June but we made the best of it. I could tell you that for most of the day time we were bored not much to do. The boat has many activity rooms that weren't utilized I think there should be different things going on at once. I wanted to Karaoke and it was sad only about 5 people in that evening. I will say the thing that got us by was the hot chocolate and sitting watching the beautiful ocean views. Get used to it because they'll be a lot of down time eating, and sitting. Finally, the third day we dock in the Catalina island. They boat us in, kind of a bummer because this process takes a while and cuts into the excursion/ exploring time. We get to the island and off we went on our search. This gave us about an hour before our excusion began. We headed to some shops and found a few overpriced souvenirs. Finally, it was time to take our “glass bottom tour” we went around the island looking at fish. It was relaxing, maybe a bit too much because I was falling asleep. There isn’t much to say about the boat, it’s a boat ride and you see fish. That was over and we were hungry, you’d think cause we’re near the ocean we’d find some seafood spots. I spotted a Mexican restaurant called "Mi Casita" from the outside it looked okay, we get seated. They bring us chips and salsa, the salsa is not homemade looked and tasted from a can. Whatever so we decided since we were so short on time to ex the food and order some drinks. We ordered Margaritas, they bring out the bring and gave us some dirty napkins. The drinks we nothing spectacular and expensive. We paid and off we went for some real seafood. Let me tell you this place of course is very touristy beautiful views but everything is overpriced. Avoid this place, it isn’t authentic Mexican food, but more half-assed microwaved Americanized-Mexican. We ended up eating some fish and chips by the boat so mediocre. About this time it's back to the boat. Time sure flies when you're looking for things to do and eat. We get back on the boat, look at the itinerary and the same things to do and eat as the nights before but we made the best of it. Again, we did the same ol’ thing comedy, casino, and ate pizza since it’s open late night. We’d grab our hot coco and head outside for some cool sea gazing. That evening I decided to order breakfast for the following morning. That morning bright and early as requested our breakfast had arrived. Unfortunately, not what we expected the orange juice was watered down and the salmon looked old. This wasn’t gonna damper our good times of relaxation. We got dressed, waited for the Captains daily message and off to Ensenada we went. We decided to do the “La Boufadora” excursion. Our guide was a very nice woman, she guided us to the bus, on our way to “La Boufadora” a fire truck almost crashed into us. Luckily, it was quick and nothing happened, our guide lady told us about the city and we enjoyed the hour or so drive up. We get there, step off the bus and were told we have an hour to see La Boufadora and then we can go to the market which we passed on our way to our walk to the location along the way sellers are trying sell you things, offer drink samples. Once we get to the location the anticipated Boufadora is nice, nothing spectacular but the ocean is beautiful that lasted about 20 minutes if that. Then we were released and told to meet up at the bus in 45 minutes. We started up the market looking and bargaining with the sellers, some spoke English fortunately for us we spoke their language too. We were able to find a few treasures, I think this was my favorite part of the trip so far minus the animal rights issue. Time flew and again not enough time, we got back on the bus and headed to our next destination. It took about an hour to reach “El Centro” this place is beautiful a great historic place, inside our guide gave us a quick tour, and your choice of sample size Margarita/ beer/ or soda. We grabbed our drink and headed to the atrium where we found a few vendors. The prices were okay, some cheaper than our previous stop. About this time it was time to get back on the bus, we hopped on and our guide told us the next time you can stay and explore the shopping strip or they would take you back to the boat. We decided to stay and explore, you have the option of walking back to the boat or taking a taxi but walking is okay since you can see the boat from your location. Let me tell you a bit about this place. It’s like the center of town, streets full of shops, street vendors, restaurants, “happy pharmacy’s” unfortunately all the vendors sell the same crap. Street after street and so much to see, after a while we got tired of everyone’s one liners all we kept hearing is “my turn” one lady said, “Come see me, I’ll rip you off for less” funny that is until someone else said the same thing. We started wondering if they have a school of how to talk to tourist, because it got old quick. Around this time we were getting hungry and asked around looking for a taco called “el gobernador” the restaurant was all the way down the strip and worth checking out the salsa and chips are authentic. The taco was okay not what we expected but it was decent. We worked our way up the street again heading towards the boat, when a taxi flagged us down so we thought he said to follow him and he lead us to his poor, tired horse. The horse didn’t want to walk, looked hungry and his feces bag was full. I didn’t want to contribute to the abuse of this beautiful animal. Finally, we reach the boat again and go straight to our room. The thing I enjoyed was the towel animals we got daily, it’s the little things. That was going to be our final night, we rested up and got dressed for a good time. Again, we did the usual boat activities and called it a night around 2am. The following morning went quick we had packed the previous night and at 8am we cleared out, only to find out that we were each charged a $15 fee, plus a $48 gratuity fee which was never specified all this time we were tipping left and right, what a rip-off. Well, we paid and finally on our destination back home. Pros: Lots of leisure time, lots of mediocre buffet food, stir-fry (limited hours), the cleaning staff, towel animals, laundry facilities. Cons: Hidden fees, not enough time off the boat (always feeling rushed), water is turned off at times, so you get brown water in the faucets, not enough variety when it comes to the activities. Next time, we will ex the excursions and head out solo, rent a golf cart and cruise around town. Out of a 10, I give it a solid 7. Read Less
Sail Date June 2015
This was the first cruise on any line where I chose a guaranteed cabin in order to get a lower rate. My initial reaction when I got the room assignment was disappointed to say the least. I realize this is the risk with the guaranteed ... Read More
This was the first cruise on any line where I chose a guaranteed cabin in order to get a lower rate. My initial reaction when I got the room assignment was disappointed to say the least. I realize this is the risk with the guaranteed cabin but figured with several cruises under my belt, Carnival would make an effort to give me a decent cabin. The stateroom assignment was on the Riviera Deck, far Aft. However, I quickly learned to like the location. Because it was far aft, there was no drunk, obnoxious, running in the halls at 3am that I had come to expect with midship cabins. Noise from the engines and galley, and jerking movements from docking was negligible. Our room steward was fabulous and made every effort to accommodate requests by the kids. The quality of dining has slipped significantly in the past several years. For example, neither of the main dining rooms was open for lunch during the cruise, even on the sea day. The lido buffet had the same hot dog and burger options every day. I was traveling with my 2 children who are generally very accommodating. In the MDR, the other patrons assigned to our table never showed. Every night the dining room staff was reluctant to allow us to order without a full table. Note-making small children wait over an hour to eat does increase the comfort of the people at the next table. On the bright side, the warm chocolate melting cake was still fantastic. Due to weather issues, the itinerary as well as the embarkation location was changed. This was communicated effectively by Carnival prior to embarkation through email and phone calls. The only complaint would be having to check-in twice. The first time at the original embarkation port before being shuttled to the new embarkation port, then a second time before boarding the ship. I personally didn't care for the décor of the ship, however, I don't think it looked dated as others have indicated. Yes, the ship is older, but had an upgrade done about 3 years ago. The purple wave poles at the buffet on Lido reminded me of Ursula from Little Mermaid. On other cruises I have been on the cruise director has been actively involved and knows many of the passengers by name. This particular cruise, I knew who the cruise director was, but rarely saw him at activities. Overall, it was a budget friendly trip, in part because we drove to port, and I would do it again for the same price. However, it was not up to par with previous Carnival experiences. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
First of all, the ship departed late. It was supposed to leave at 5:30pm, but it didn't leave until 6:30pm. We waited on the deck until the ship sailed, so we were late to our first dining at 6pm. The waiter gave us an attitude about ... Read More
First of all, the ship departed late. It was supposed to leave at 5:30pm, but it didn't leave until 6:30pm. We waited on the deck until the ship sailed, so we were late to our first dining at 6pm. The waiter gave us an attitude about getting there late, and rushed us through our meal. They even start taking away our kids' utensils, so my son had to use a fork to eat ice cream! Towards the end of the meal, the waiter gave us another lecture about getting there on time the following night. My kids enjoyed the punchlines comedy shows which was the highlight of the day, and playing table tennis. There was only 2 table tennis tables, so we weren't able to play until at night when people were at the shows. There's also mini golf if you can find a golf ball. I suggest bringing your own golf balls. My kids also stayed at camp ocean for 2 hours playing dodge ball which they enjoyed and also met some friends from there. The Hasbro show is fun and exciting. The Motown and VIP shows were just okay. The songs they played were oldies. I don't understand why they don't play some recent songs like Taylor Swift or One Direction. The VIP show is geared toward the VIP members. These VIPs were pulled to dance in the stage with the crews and they are ell wearing huge VIP tags. The food is mediocre. The formal night they serve lobster and prime rib. The following morning (day at sea) we had filet mignon and egg fir brunch. The filet mignon was very tender and tasty, but the portion is do small they we all had to order seconds. The last night, they served escargot as the appetizer which was really good. The Mongolian Bbq was not good - the noodles were too dry and hard. The deli bar had good sandwiches. Every night, we went up to the lido deck at10pm to get the sandwiches bc they close at 11pm. At Ensenada, we got jipped off by a guy who offered us a $25 per 1/2 hour carriage ride. He told us he would take us to the beach and downtown, but 15 minutes into the ride, he said we had to pay another $15 for him to take us to the beach bc it would be an hour ride. We decided not to yield, so we only went 3 blocks down the street and then turned back to downtown. There are plenty of beggars, and my dtr felt bad for them until we figured we spend way too much money on donations. We bought 3 name on the rice necklaces and 3 friendship bracelets for $10, and 3 wooden turtles for $2. My daughter really enjoyed the little booths. I also had done street tacos for$1-1.50. They were greasy but delicious. The gym had a sign on it that said only for > 18y/o, so my kids can't go in. Someone suggested bringing magnets, but the door wasn't made of steel, so that didn't help. And yes, you can still ask for playing cards at guest services, but they don't have post cards. Lastly, you can get lanyards for you S&S card at the casino. The pictures on board Are expensive, but we were tempted into spending $65 on them. Parking at the dock is $19 per day. Overall, my kids really enjoyed the cruise. It was their first time, but they had a lot of fun. Because if this, I will overlook the bad customer service and take them back again. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
Overall, we had a really good time. My Dearest and I know how to find the fun in every adventure. One of the questions below asks what type of cruise applies to my review, but they don't list "Just for FUN". Odd, ... Read More
Overall, we had a really good time. My Dearest and I know how to find the fun in every adventure. One of the questions below asks what type of cruise applies to my review, but they don't list "Just for FUN". Odd, considering Carnival calls themselves the FunShips. We both just love to travel and have become expert at finding great deals. Therefore, this review will be kind of long and thorough to help as many people as possible. **Frame of Reference:** This was our fourth cruise. Second time to these same ports AND second time onboard the Carnival Inspiration, but both of those first experiences were very different from this one. We are not drinkers, smokers, or gamblers, so this time, we pretty much had to find our own ways to occupy our time on the ship. Tip #1: Bring binoculars! We saw lots of dolphins, sea birds, sealions, and a whole school of tuna jumping and frolicking as we pulled in to Catalina! At different times of the year, you may see whales, too. Back in 2006, our very first sailing was the "Mexican Riviera" cruise with Royal Caribbean, which we took with our three teen-aged daughters. The seas were very rough. Everyone on board was seasick the whole time. That was only nine years ago, but before scop patches were readily available (even for this cruise, I had to explain to my doc what they were, how to use them, how many I needed [1], what the side effects were, and where to send my prescription). I am surprised after that first cruise that I ever got on another ship, but now I am pleased to say that I, of all people, have spent over a month of my life at sea. The best day of that RCI cruise was our day in San Diego. I can only imagine money is the driving factor for making us spend a super-boring day at sea instead of docking in San Diego, but this 4-day Baja cruise on Carnival didn't take us there. Bummer. The second cruise we took was aboard the Inspiration. It was their 2011 repositioning cruise and sailed from Tampa to Long Beach via the Panama Canal. We stopped in lots of awesome ports along the way. It was 17 days and I could have stayed longer. Even the sea days were filled with interesting lectures, fun craft and dance classes, holiday sing-a-longs (it was December), and so much more. It really lived up to the FUNSHIP moniker! Plus, spending that much time with the same bunch of people, we really got to know a lot of new friends. The whole experience was wonderful. I expected the same standards to be met this time, but, tragically, I was disappointed. I'll get to specifics in a minute. Our third and most recent cruise before this one was a week to Alaska with Holland America. Very fun. **Travel to Long Beach:** We live in Arizona, so we simply woke up in the morning, drove for six hours, hopped on the ship and sailed away. Well, sorta. That's what I tell my friends, anyway! ;) **Former Ship Experience:** Like I said, we've sailed on the Inspiration before so we had expectations. One way better thing this time was that they started serving food right away. Last time, we had to wait 24 hours--or was it 48?--before the buffet opened. There was still walk-up food available, but I can eat hot dogs, hamburgers and pizza (better pizza) at home any day of the week, so we appreciated being able to get a little something to eat as soon as we boarded, especially after such a long day of driving. Having already spent so much time on the Inspiration, it was kind of nice knowing where everything was, but so much was missing from this cruise. We didn't expect an entirely different crew, for one thing. They had no classes or ANYTHING to do on the sea day and the photographers were OVER-THE-TOP obnoxious! One night at dinner, some clown dressed as a pirate dumped a forkful of my food on my blouse as I tried to take a bite while he pestered me to pose with him. I told him to get lost instead. Mostly what was missing were the shows! We had late seating for dinner, 8:15, and that was what time they ran the only show of the night. That was really disappointing. The first night, the show started at 7:30, so we got to watch most of that one, and an early comedy show one night, too, but that was it. Too bad. Last time, we really liked going down to the Paris Lounge after dinner with our whole table and sitting together to watch the show, but this time we didn't get to. One night, the Hasbro show was still going on by the time we got out of dinner, and that was fine. It was crowded, though, so we had to sit in the balcony where we were not allowed to participate. One wonderful thing this cruise had that the other didn't have was a musician in the "Rhapsody in Blue" Piano Bar who was amazing! We really enjoyed him, especially since there was no late show to see in the main lounge. On this cruise, the tips were reasonable, the room stewards were awesome, the dinner staff was super nice, and the food was decent. The pizza guy had a little bug up his bonnet for some reason, though. He didn't care to make pizza to order the day I decided I might like to try it. Some men got pizza to order, but he told me I had to pick from what he already had. I walked 10 feet to the panini station instead. The sandwich guy was plenty willing to grill me whatever I asked for. And they had my strawberry soft serve for about half the trip! I have craved that stuff for three years! It's sooo yum. :) **Lines:** If you are new to cruising, KNOW THIS: Cruising is all about waiting in lines. You wait in a huge line to get on the ship, a line to get back off in port, a line to get back on in port, and another to debark at the end of the cruise. There's a line for anything you might want to eat...ever. Even before dinner service in the Dining Rooms, there's a queue all the way around the Grand Atrium balcony just to walk in to be seated. There's a line to wait for the Paris Lounge to open so you can see a show. There's a line for sports equipment. There's always a long line at Guest Services for ANYTHING. About the only thing I never had to wait in line for was a bathroom. There are plenty on the Inspiration, and they are clean. The examples I used here were specific to this ship, but the line thing applies to all cruise ships. **Cabin (also see below):** Our cabin was nice. Really comfortable. They squished two twin beds together for us, and the king size sleeping area was great. We always pack super light, so there was plenty of space for everything we brought. The only thing we were missing was a nightly ice refill. Or for that matter, any ice bucket at all. Another reviewer said their room stewards kept their ice chest full, so perhaps if we had asked for ice, we would have had it. We just left the room and got our own. It was not a big deal. Hey! I remember something else missing from this cruise. We didn't get any of those little chocolates wrapped in gold foil. Oh well, it's not like they taste good, anyway. I still have the ones from the 2011 cruise. They look like gold coins and are useful for pirate or leprechaun decorations. **Dining:** Really, the food was good and the dining room experiences were pretty much the same as any other cruise ship: personable and friendly waitstaff and super slow service. The buffet lines are fine. It's food if you're hungry. Both times I've sailed on the Inspiration, I have had requests at the buffet that were apparently a chore to fulfill (oranges, I think, and this time, honey), but the buffet manager sent someone to the storage room both times to get me what I wanted. He could have just said they didn't have any, but he made sure my needs were met. I appreciate that! **Embarkation:** Like I said before, unless you have VIP passes, which mostly nobody does, you have to wait your turn to get on the ship. OK. We all know how to take turns. It was not unexpected, but it did make my back ache from standing for over an hour. I don't quite get why they have "online check-in" when they make you check in all over again when you get there, and there was no porter service. I found that peculiar, but our room was right around the corner from the grand entrance, so we didn't really need it anyway. In fact, it made it super easy for us to just go drop our stuff in the room and head out to explore. **Enrichment Activities:** What Enrichment Activities?!?!?! There weren't ANY. It was the most disappointing thing of the entire cruise. No craft classes. No dance classes. No wildlife lectures. No history lessons about the ports we visited. The ship provided transportation, lodging, and food. They did have a variety of trivia games in the Violins Lounge, but that is the smokiest place on the whole ship! The suffocating air and the stench were revolting. A full activity schedule should be what sets cruising apart from other types of travel, but it was entirely lacking. Was it because this cruise was cheap? If so, we didn't get quite as much of a bargain as we bargained for. **Entertainment:** Oi. They did have shows in the Paris Lounge, but apparently it was only for the people who were assigned early dining. The Motown show the first night was pretty fun. Not my personal taste in music, but the singing and dancing of the ship's troupe was very good. The second night, we had time to go see the comedian before dinner. He was okay. Not hilarious. It was nice to have a show to see, so we just sat and enjoyed it even though his humor was mostly hollering sarcasms, which is just not our favorite. We really missed being able to watch a show at end of each night. I've already mentioned the piano man. He was amazing! His sets were sing-a-longs and he took requests. What a great variety of music! He was more entertaining than the ship's troupe, so if they weren't going to have a magician or a ventriloquist or what-have-you for a nightly show, then this guy was definitely the best choice they could make! I wish I knew his name. **Fitness & Recreation:** The Inspiration is equipped with a pricey spa, which is apparently popular, but I simply feel no desire to pay three or four times more at sea for the same services I can get in my own neighborhood. There are plenty of pools (with and without slides) and hot tubs on the Inspiration, but in 21 days of sailing on that vessel, and equipped with swimwear just in case, we've never actually used them. It's been too cold to get in the pools, and the hot tubs have been too crowded. Of course, even then, you still have to get out, and I don't like freezing. brrr! What I really appreciate is the Inspiration's Sun Deck! A climb up the stairs from the 12th floor is a minigolf course and a fabulous jogging track. I haven't been able to run for two years due to a broken ankle, but I was able to run on that track because it's soft! I wish we had something like that close to my house. I'd be on it all the time. Sproing! Sproing! heh heh :) **Public Rooms:** The RESTROOMS were constantly cleaned and always smelled good. The LIDO DECK was usually busy, especially when people came back from port hungry. The GRAND ATRIUM and adjacent HALLWAYS were kept uncluttered. The bar in the atrium was usually crowded and there was usually some music being performed there. GUEST SERVICES ALWAYS HAD A LINE. I never looked over toward the Shore Excursion Desk, so I don't know if they were busy or not. On the PROMENADE Deck (level 9), the entire hallway was cluttered with photographers and all their crap ALL THE TIME. It was pretty annoying, actually. Also, the Promenade Level is where the casino is. We never went in there. Too stinky. Plus, we don't gamble, so what would be the point? The shops are on that level, too. They're fine. The little jewelry shop where I bought a bunch of necklaces last time was changed to a scarf store. I had no use for it this time around. The folks down in the big jewelry store were much too pushy for me, so I mostly stayed out of there, except while waiting to get into the Paris Lounge for an early show, only to find out that it was merely a "pre" show and they would only be choosing participants for the "real" show, which would take place during our dinner time. I've already covered our impressions of most of the public areas of the ship. The Inspiration is a beautiful ship and they keep it looking nice. The cleaning staff are undoubtedly Carnival's busiest employees! **Service:** Throughout the ship, service was usually provided with a smile. Our room stewards--no, not just our own, but ALL the room stewards, no matter what hallway we walked down on the ship--were courteous and kind, smiling their hellos, stepping aside and getting their carts out of our way, like WE were so important. It was almost humorous, but it WAS really, really nice. The Guest Services people were always right on top of whatever we asked them. They even gave us a couple decks of cards so we could occupy our time while waiting around before dinner. Dinner service, as stated by almost all reviewers, including me, was unnecessarily slow. It took well over an hour to get through appetizer, entrée and dessert. On the other hand, we enjoyed the food and since there was no late show to hurry off to, we were able to lounge around, enjoying the waitstaff and whatever company was around the table, which at our table, changed every night because some preferred the speed of the buffet. As already stated, the photographers were blatantly rude. On the sea day, we were sitting along a window, playing cards with another couple when a photo crew came and told us to get out of their spot. They weren't even nice about it. Whatever happened to putting the guests' needs first? **Shore Excursions:** We made our own. Catalina doesn't have THAT much to do if you've already been there. All the excursions offered by the ship are available as soon as you get off the tender. The last time we were in Catalina, we walked up and bought tickets. This time, we decided to just walk around sightseeing, maybe hike up one of the hills. BUT...We saw a hut with a segway sitting next to it. The girl inside said they weren't open yet, but if we'd like to go on the first tour of the day, we could go for half price. Well, we've both wanted to ride segways ever since they were invented, so she didn't have to ask us twice! We had a great time tooling around Avalon, and had most of the town to ourselves at 9:30am. There was one other couple from the ship. An old man who could not lean forward enough to make his go, and so kept stopping...right in front of me. 0.o His wife drove hers into a curb and fell off of it into the grass. She was not hurt. We were all glad for that. Still, it was so super fun, I think even they must have a great time that morning! We went horseback riding in Ensenada. La Bufadora? Been there. Done that. The blowhole (and all of its attendant merchandising) is the main tourist attraction of the area. Before we left Arizona, I contacted a lady to make reservations, which included her husband coming down to Ensenada to pick us up. She didn't get back with me until we were driving across the desert on the way to Long Beach, so I wasn't sure if we'd be able to go or not, but we got it all worked out and had a marvelous time! The trail started out in their neighborhood, and went over a hill, through a little canyon, and up a mountain. Ohmigosh! The views from up top were AMAZING!!! Then we rode back to their house and they laid out a huge spread for lunch. SO good! We sat around laughing and talking about the horses and the dogs and the plants and their new property. In fact, my dearest is a contractor, so the guy ran in the house and brought his house plans out to show us. It was like spending the day with old friends. Just wonderful. **Sea Day:** Yuck. That's the best word for it. Rough Sea. Traveling at half a knot, just to make the mal~de~mer (seasickness) last longer. At least I had the patch this time, but even with it, I was really feeling the movement, and so was everyone else. The rocking was the handy topic of conversation between strangers (like the weather, but on water). And nothing to do. Just YUCK. **Disembarkation:** Pretty easy. We had one of the earliest times because we've sailed with Carnival before and so our cabin was on a choice floor. We had our breakfast in the Dining Room and met some more new people, checked our watches, picked up our stuff at the room, and got in line. It took about half an hour before we were free (when you've been in lines for four days, "freedom" from them is easily appreciated). Then we walked 800 feet or so to our car in the garage, paid our (aaack!) $68 for parking, and we were on our way. Easy peasy. **Value for the Money:** Well, we kind of booked at the last minute, so we got a screamin’ deal of $159 per returning passenger for an Oceanview room. Even with tips and taxes, our total for 2 people was around 500 bucks, so about $62 per day per person. That’s a pretty good value for the money, even if it did only include transportation, lodging, and food. The dinners alone were worth a fair chunk of that by themselves. Then there was all the other food. Fares for two on the Catalina Express would have taken up another third. Plus, we didn’t have to deal with a border-crossing to get to Ensenada. **Summary:** This was a great little getaway and we really enjoyed our stay with the Inspiration as a floating hotel, a gourmet restaurant, and comfortable, albeit very slow, way to get from one place to another. They need better planning for the Sea Days and they really need to fix the entertainment schedule, but OUR vacation certainly was not ruined by Carnival's lack of ... um...inspiration... in these matters. We would recommend this cruise, especially for first-timers. It's a short introduction to cruising and you get the good, great, wonderful, and even sometimes kinda sucky aspects of cruising without investing much time or money. Have Fun and Happy Sailing! == CLB & LCB == Read Less
Sail Date February 2015
I read a few of the other reviews saying that the boat smelt of sick etc and so was expecting that when we got on the boat but no smell of sick! Yes agreed this is a booze cruise and some of the bar bills would have been HUGE i am sure, ... Read More
I read a few of the other reviews saying that the boat smelt of sick etc and so was expecting that when we got on the boat but no smell of sick! Yes agreed this is a booze cruise and some of the bar bills would have been HUGE i am sure, most people that we spoke to had done the unlimited alcohol package but did not think that they were getting their monies worth from it. CABIN - this was nicely set out we had a room with a trundle bed and king size bed - our 11 month old went in the bed with us and our 6 year old had the trundle and we still had lots of room - we had the oceanview room that could accommodate up to 5 guests. BOAT - yes it is an older boat but we got a cheap cruise so what is to complain about? Went on the slide, the large slide but was not very fast unfortunately and their is only a small pool but it was fine as the weather was not too hot. 2.0 playlist productions were great but they do repeat them, you get the same shows over again over two nights, and the love and marriage show - don't bother the cruise director Jeff takes way too long over the questions, if you have kids like us the Hasbro game show was fun. CASINO - Very nice but a little smokey that was all. BAR SERVICE - good overall for the number of people on the boat. DINNER - Seems that this is the boat where Carnival send their staff to train, very slow and we were put on a table for 2 when there was 4 of us and one in a high chair!! PORT - it was ok just did some shopping in Ensanada then came back to the boat, did not feel threatened at all in the area and the Mexican people are very nice. KIDS CLUB - They do a great job, our 6 year old loved the club. EMBARKATION - on in half an hour (GREAT) DISEMBARKATION - Its a fight to get off with everybody that is returning to work on the Monday, but all in all a good service. WOULD I GO AGAIN - Only if the price was very cheap, lots of stag and hen parties on board and lots of swearing, nothing Carnival can do about that but just be careful if you have kids! Read Less
Sail Date February 2015
We sailed from Long Beach to Catalina to Ensenada back to Long Beach the week of Christmas 2014. Everything went well and we all had a great time. Our servers were tired and obviously wishing they were home with their families, but we were ... Read More
We sailed from Long Beach to Catalina to Ensenada back to Long Beach the week of Christmas 2014. Everything went well and we all had a great time. Our servers were tired and obviously wishing they were home with their families, but we were treated very well. The only negative, besides the VERY choppy seas on Christmas Day (which was out of anyone's control), was the horribly planned, ridiculously long and tedious muster drill....COME ON CARNIVAL....seriously???? I'm pretty sure a fifth grader could figure out a better and more efficient way of handling this part of the cruise. Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
I regret to say that the cruise I just returned from today was disappointment. I'll start with the good. The adult comedy show presented by George Lopez was a blast. I would happily pay for a night out to see the two nut-balls that ... Read More
I regret to say that the cruise I just returned from today was disappointment. I'll start with the good. The adult comedy show presented by George Lopez was a blast. I would happily pay for a night out to see the two nut-balls that were on the cruise this weekend. This was the o ly adult entertainment I found to be good. The music shows were cliche' and of really crap quality (typical cruise ship crew players). Generally speaking, the food was the quality of what would be found ona low-cost cruise. The fare had it`s high points, but much of the grub remided me of Golden Corral. Food just tasted stored-over and a big disappointment for me. By the way Carnival, if you find it necessary to slice the cheesecake into paper thin pieces, you might as well just leave it off the menu. The ship was kept sort of clean except for the last night of the cruise. Berthing deck 5 smelled like the city dump. Trash from cruises past could be found if you knew where to look. Unfortunatelly I can go on and on, but I really do not want to crucify the line since I might of caught an "off" weekend, but if this is typical, sell your Carnival stocks and try soeone else Read Less
Sail Date October 2014
Who traveled:  3 boys- 15/17/19  Myself-39 (mom) Trip for boys: 15yr old- He had a great time, met a ton of other kids running around. Played games, hung out at the O2 club and ate all day and night. Never a dull moment. 17 & 19- ... Read More
Who traveled:  3 boys- 15/17/19  Myself-39 (mom) Trip for boys: 15yr old- He had a great time, met a ton of other kids running around. Played games, hung out at the O2 club and ate all day and night. Never a dull moment. 17 & 19- They hung out and met a lot of others around their age. Played miniature golf most of the time. There were contests by Carnival that they participated in, and actually had fun lol It was sort of an in between age though. The clubs are 15-17 or over 21 yrs. this kind of left them wondering in the evenings. Myself: Bored. It was either kids, couples or older people. I tried to meet people at the bars, but people were pretty involved in their own trips. Usually I can talk to the bartenders if I am alone, but they were all foreign, and not very social. There is an adult area that has sunbathing and two jacuzzis, very quiet....if you gamble, it would probably be more fun. Gym- I was looking forward to taking the spin classes. I signed up the first day for two classes. The 1st one, they told me was cancelled and when I went to work out,saw it happening. The second they said Was happening, and did not! This was one of the most disappointing things, since I had been looking forward to enjoying some good work outs on Va-K! Lol Catalina: Getting off the ship- get off before 9:30am if you do not want to wait an hour in line. You will be lined up 4 flights of stairs between 9:30-12. Getting back on is easier. On the island- shopping, eating or excursions. Not a lot to do otherwise. Ensenada- take the shuttle, it's only $3 round trip. They will offer you the Bufadora, shopping and horseback riding for $35. Great deal! Better and more shopping than downtown by Bufadora for sure, and more negotiating. Hazel is a great tour guide BTW! Food: All buffets except dinner and seaday brunch. Ice cream ice cream ice cream! The kids ate like 10 a day!!! Food was ok, pretty much as expected. Kids thought it was great though. Cost: 1 ocean-view ( riviera) and 1 inside with bunk beds ( not as crowded as I thought it would be.) $2000 $500 on cruise included Cheers program and 3 bubbles program & gratuity. I tipped $1 per alcohol drink & a couple random things. Plus spending $ for Catalina and Ensenada Conclusion: Was it worth it? Only to see my kids enjoy their vacation. It's been 10 years since I have been on a Carnival cruise, and probably will not be for 10 more. If I would of had another adult with me, I am Sure it would have been much more fun. They could of fit another kid in the inside cabin, and would of been ok. Check out the comedy shows, good start for the evening after dinner. Hopefully this helps a little, I usually don't write reviews, but thought this one was needed for the single moms traveling with your kids! Read Less
Sail Date July 2014
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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